Christopher Smart – 3

[“Let Christopher, who is Simon Of Cyrene…”]

AG continues with his reading of  Christopher Smart.

For I bless God that I am not in a dungeon but am allowed the light of the sun

For I pray God for the Pygmies against their feathered adversaries, as a deed of charity

For I pray God for all those, who have defiled themselves in matters inconvenient.-  (maybe it’s jacking-off?. no,  or it’s fucking boys, or old men, sodomy – “For I pray God for all those, who have defiled themselves in matters inconvenient”)

For I pray God for the introduction of new creatures into this island – ( that’s like “till London be a city of palm trees”)

Let Christopher, who is Simon Of Cyrene….   – (Cyrene – C-Y-R-E-N-E –  Cyrene? –   How do you pronouce that Greek – Cyrene?)

Student: Cyrene

AG:  Cyrene.- Let Christopher, who is Simon Of Cyrene, rejoice with the rough – “rejoice with the rough”?

God be gracious to the Cam and to David Cam and his seed for ever.

Let Timeus  rejoice with the Ling – God keep the English sailors clear of French bribery

For I pray God for the ostriches of Salisbury Plain, the beavers of the Medway and silver fish of the Thames

For I pray to be accepted as a dog without a fence, which is best of all,

For the tides are the life of God in the ocean, and he sends his angel to trouble the great deep – (that’s a good one –  “For the tides are the life of God in the ocean, and he sends his angel to trouble the great deep”)

For the grosser the particles the nearer to the sink, & the nearer to purity, the quicker the gravitation – (“For the grosser the particles the nearer to the sink, & the nearer to purity, the quicker the gravitation”)

For Matter is the dust of the Earth, every atom of which is the life. For Motion is as the quantity of life direct…” – (“For Motion…” ..now it gets very strange and interestingly alchemical-philosophical). – Christopher Smart’s “Rejoice In The Lamb”  we’re reading.)

Student: He refers to himself ..in that Simon of Cyrene poem (line..) ?  (“Let Christopher, who is Simon of Cyrene, rejoice with the rough”) ..?

AG: Well, “Christopher is Simon of Cyrene” ?-  Well, maybe, yes.  Not a biblical name.- Simon of Cyrene was the… (he) was forced to bear the cross after Christ, and so the appellation is, in some ways, appropriate to….

Student: Himself?

AG: Yeah.  Yes, so therefore. He bore the cross after Christ – like Christopher….

Student: Yeah, right

AG: ….who is Simon of Cyrene, yeah.

For Motion is as the quantity of life direct, & that which hath not motion , is resistance.

For Resistance is not of God, but he – hath built his works upon it – (that’s very Vajrayana-like, actually,  that notion, tantric – Resistance is not of God, but he has built his works upon it” – sort of like. “Emptiness is not of….”)

For Eternity is a creature… – (now, get that!) -For Eternity is a creature and is built upon Eternity… (and then there is some Greek here, which I can’t read.– anybody know Greek? –  do you know some Greek, sir? –

Student : No, but I think it’s “emptiness is not of energy”?

AG: Do you know any Greek?….. [to Student] – Just take a glance and you can see.. [Allen consults] – well  it worked, we’ve got the Greek – I’d better write that down  – Where’s that from? –  Have you ever heard that before? – “Foundation on slander – Satan” – The footnote here says  “the phrase means a foundation on slander – Satan”-  I didn’t look at the footnote but. he says  “catabolism on diabolism’.  –  ” Eternity is a Creature and is built upon a Eternity” -“catabolism on diabolism’   – or  “on the diabolism”,   “on the..” – “catabolism on the diabolism”. –  That’s pretty funny…sounds very familiar, archival –  “For Eternity is a Creature and is built upon a Eternity – catabolism on the diabolism” –  or ” a foundation on slander’ –  ” Eternity is a Creature and is built upon a Eternity” -a foundation upon slander”)

For a bad conjecture is a draft of stud and mud – (“For a bad conjecture is a draft of stud and mud”)

For there is a fire that is blandishing and which is God direct

For the shears is the first of the mechanical powers. to be used on the knees ( – “He may be likening these to the traditional posture of adoration”  – The tailor’s traditional posture of adoration)

For if Adam had used this instrument right, he would not have fallen

For fiction is inevitable because the universe is full of God’s works, God’s work – (oh, I see, that’s very interesting – “the shears is the first of the mechanical powers to be used on the knees” – however, the use of the shears may imply Smart’s familiarity of the ancient divination by sieve and shears. But he may only be likening the the tailor’s traditional posture to  the attitude of adoration, a matter of importance to him. See example…there’s an example later on. Robert Christopher Hunter reports in the Poems 1791,  “Mr Smart, in composing the religious poems, was frequently so impressed by the sentiment of devotion as to write particular passages on his knees”

[Audio for the above may be heard here, beginning at approximately fifty-two-and-a-quarter minutes in and continuing till approximately fifty-eight-and-a-quarter minutes in]

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