Christopher Smart – 1

Christopher Smart (1722- 1771)

Allen Ginsberg on Christopher Smart continues

AG: And so what I’ll do now is read you some of Smart that you don’t have in the book and then we’ll get on to the book. It looks like that..long lines ..and it’s on facing pages, and on one side it begins, “Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together..”   (it depends., some are missing manuscripts)

“Let Zurishaddai with the Polish Cock rejoice—The Lord restore peace to Europe. For I meditate the peace of Europe amongst family bickerings and domestic jars” (so, it’s “Let” and “For” – so it’s statement and antiphonal statement, and using the “Let” and the “For”… [Allen is interrupted by a Student – “Hi,  come in and have a seat, we’re reading Christopher Smart and I have your manuscript xeroxed at the end”] So I’ll begin from the beginning – Fragment A only has “Let” – “Let..” – the beginning….

Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues; give the glory to the Lord, and the Lamb.

Nations, and languages, and every Creature, in which is the breath of Life.

Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together.

Let Noah and his company approach the throne of Grace, and do homage to the Ark of their Salvation.

Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption.

Let Isaac, the Bridegroom, kneel with his Camels, and bless the hope of his pilgrimage…

Let Moses, the Man of God, bless with a Lizard, in the sweet majesty of good-nature, and the magnanimity of meekness…

Let Othniel praise God with the Rhinoceros, who put on his armour for the reward of beauty in the Lord.

Let Tola bless with the Toad, which is the good creature of God, tho’ his virtue is in the secret, and his mention is not made.

Let David bless with the Bear — The beginning of victory to the Lord — to the Lord the perfection of excellence — Hallelujah from the heart of God, and from the hand of the artist inimitable, and from the echo of the heavenly harp in sweetness magnifical and mighty.

Let Chalcol praise with the Beetle, whose life is precious in the sight of God, tho’ his appearance is against him.

Let Joseph, who from the abundance of his blessing may spare to him, that lacketh, praise with the Crocodile, which is pleasant and pure, when he is interpreted, tho’ his look is of terror and offence.

Let Huldah bless with the Silkworm – the ornaments of the proud are from the bowels of their betters

>Let Ucal bless with the Chameleon, which feedeth on the flowers and washeth himself in the dew.

Let Malchiah bless with the Gnat — it is good for man and beast to mend their pace.

Let Mattithiah bless with the Bat, who inhabiteth the desolations of pride and flieth amongst the tombs..

Let Asaph rejoice with the Nightingale – The musician of the Lord! and the watchman of the Lord!

Then, from Fragment B 1

Let Zurishaddal with the Polish Cock rejoice – The Lord restore peace to  Europe/ For I meditate the peace of Europe amomgst family bickerings and domestic jars

For I bless the Prince of Peace and pray that all the guns may be nail’d up, save such are for the rejoicing days.

For iI have abstained from the blood of the grape, and even at the Lord’s table/ For I have glorified God in Greek and Latin, the consecrated languages spoken by the Lord on earth

Let Helon rejoice with the Woodpecker – the Lord encourage the propogation of trees!

For I have translated in the charity. which makes things better and I shall be translated myself at the last.

For I  bless God in the rising generation, which is on my side

Let Amos rejoice with the Coote – prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.

For he hath turned the shadow of death into the morning, the Lord is his name.

Let Ephah rejoice with Buprestis, the Lord endue us with temperance and humanity, till every cow can have her mate!

For I am come home again, but there is nobody to kill the calf or to pay the musick.

Let Ehud rejoice with Onocrotalus, whose braying is for the glory of God, because he makes the best musick in his power.

For there are still serpents that can speak—God bless my head, my heart and my heel.

For I should have avail’d myself of waggery, had not malice been multitudinous

For I bless God that I am the same seed as Ehud, Mutius Scœ vola, and Colonel Draper

Let Aschsah  rejoice with the Pigeon who is an antidote to malignity and will carry a letter.

For I bless God for the Postmaster general and all conveyancers of letters under his care, especially Allen and Shelvock.

Let Tohu rejoice with the Grouse—the Lord further the cultivating of heaths and the peopling of deserts.

For my grounds in New Canaan shall infinitely compensate for the flats and maynes of Staindrop Moor.

Let Jamim rejoice with the Bittern blessed be the name of Jesus for Denver Sluice, Ruston, and the draining of the fens.

For I have seen the White Raven and Thomas Hall of Willingham and am myself a greater curiosity than both.. – (Thomas Hall of Willingham was supposed to be the tallest man in England. I don’t know what the White Raven was.that was some local.. but there are drawings of Thomas Hall of Willingham, who was, like, some enormous giant, sitting next to his parents who came up to his knees) –  “For I have seen the White Raven and Thomas Hall of Willingham and am myself a greater curiosity than both”)

 to be continued

Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately thirty-seven minute in and concluding at approximately forty-three-and-a-quarter minutes in

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