The eccentric English poet Christopher Smart spent a considerable part of his adult life in confinement; besides being imprisoned for debt, he was institutionalized for madness connected to his extreme religious fervor. Almost unknown until the 20th century, when further manuscripts of his work were discovered, he is best known for poems celebrating God and His Creation. The fragmentary “Rejoice in the Lamb,” with its famous section “For I will consider my cat Jeoffry,” was set to music in 1943 by Benjamin Britten.
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Epistle to Mrs. Tyler
It ever was allow’d, dear Madam,
Ev’n from the days of father Adam,
Of all perfection flesh is heir to,
Fair patience is the gentlest virtue;
This is a truth our grandames teach,
Our poets sing, and parsons preach;
Yet after all, dear Moll, the fact...