Glorious the sun in mid career;
Glorious the assembled fires appear;
Glorious the comet’s train:
Glorious the trumpet and alarm;
Glorious the Almighty’s stretched-out arm;
Glorious the enraptured main:

Glorious the northern lights a-stream;
Glorious the song, when God’s the theme;
Glorious the thunder’s roar:
Glorious Hosannah from the den;
Glorious the catholic Amen;
Glorious the martyr’s gore:

Glorious,—more glorious,—is the crown
Of Him that brought salvation down,
By meekness called Thy Son;
Thou that stupendous truth believed;—
And now the matchless deed’s achieved,
Determined, Dared, and Done.


from:  A Song To David
by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)



Precious the bounteous widow’s mite;
And precious, for extreme delight,
The largess from the churl:
Precious the ruby’s blushing blaze,
And alba’s blest imperial rays,
And pure cerulean pearl.

Precious the penitential tear;
And precious is the sigh sincere;
Acceptable to God:
And precious are the winning flowers,
In gladsome Israel’s feast of bowers,
Bound on the hallowed sod.

More precious that diviner part
Of David, even the Lord’s own heart
Great, beautiful, and new;
In all things where it was intent,
In all extremes, in each event,
Proof—answering true to true.


extract: A Song To David
by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)

Xiphias: Shot to His Aim

Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy limes;
Sweet, Hermon’s fragrant air:
Sweet is the lily’s silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers’ smell
That watch for early prayer.

Sweet the young nurse, with love intense,
Which smiles o’er sleeping innocence;
Sweet when the lost arrive:
Sweet the musician’s ardour beats,
While his vague mind’s in quest of sweets
The choicest flowers to hive.

Sweeter, in all the strains of love,
The language of thy turtle-dove,
Paired to thy swelling chord;
Sweeter, with every grace endued,
The glory of thy gratitude.
Respired unto the Lord.

Strong is the horse upon his speed;
Strong in pursuit the rapid glede,
Which makes at once his game:
Strong the tall ostrich on the ground;
Strong through the turbulent profound
Shoots Xiphias to his aim.

Strong is the lion—like a coal
His eyeball—like a bastion’s mole
His chest against the foes:
Strong the gier-eagle on his sail,
Strong against tide the enormous whale
Emerges as he goes.


 extract: A Song To David
by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)

Bezoar and Arabian Gums

For Adoration, David’s Psalms,
Lift up the heart to deeds of alms;
And he, who kneels and chants,
Prevails his passions to control,
Finds meat and medicine to the soul,
Which for translation pants.

For Adoration, beyond match,
The scholar bullfinch aims to catch
The soft flute’s ivory touch:
And, careless, on the hazel spray
The daring redbreast keeps at bay
The damsel’s greedy clutch.

For Adoration, in the skies,
The Lord’s philosopher espies
The dog, the ram, and rose;
The planets’ ring, Orion’s sword;
Nor is his greatness less adored
In the vile worm that glows.

For Adoration, on the strings
The western breezes work their wings,
The captive ear to soothe—
Hark!’tis a voice—how still, and small—
That makes the cataracts to fall,
Or bids the sea be smooth!

For Adoration, incense comes
From bezoar, and Arabian gums,
And from the civet’s fur:
But as for prayer, or e’er it faints,
Far better is the breath of saints
Than galbanum or myrrh.

For Adoration, from the down
Of damsons to the anana’s crown,
God sends to tempt the taste;
And while the luscious zest invites
The sense, that in the scene delights,
Commands desire be chaste.

For Adoration, all the paths
Of grace are open, all the baths
Of purity refresh;
And all the rays of glory beam
To deck the man of God’s esteem
Who triumphs o’er the flesh.

For Adoration, in the dome
Of CHRIST, the sparrows find a home;
And on his olives perch:
The swallow also dwells with thee
O Man of GOD’S humility,
Within his Saviour’s Church

 extract: A Song To David
by Christopher Smart (c. 1760)