For I Will Consider My Cat, Jeoffry

Christopher Smart 1722-1771, confined first for one year in St. Luke’s Hospital, then for four years in Mr. Potter’s Madhouse, Bethnel Green

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry
for he is the servant of the Living God
duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance
of the glory of God in the East
he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body
seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk,
Line 10 which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing
he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his fore-paws
to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch
with the fore-paws extended.
Line 20For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself,
that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
Having consider’d God and himself
he will consider his neighbour.
Line 30For if he meets another cat
he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his pray
he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done
his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night
against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness
Line 40by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death,
by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun,
and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent,
which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed,
Line 50neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness,
when God tells him he’s a good cat.
For he is an instrument for the children
to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him
and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats
at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
Line 60For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his fore-paws
of any quadrupede.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance
of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace
Line 70when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life
when in motion.
For he is of the Lord’s poor
for so indeed he is called by benevolence
perpetually – Poor Jeoffry!
Poor Jeoffry!
the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus
that Jeoffry is better.
Line 80For the divine spirit comes about his body
to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure
so that it has in purity
what it wants in musick.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can set up with gravity
which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry,
which is patience in employment.
Line 90For he can jump over a stick
which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle
at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence
into his master’s bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the later refuses the charge.
Line 100For he camels his back
to bear the first motion of business.
For he is good to think on,
if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt
for his signal services,
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat
very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds
Line 110the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God’s light about him
both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance,
which God sends from heaven
to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of movements.
For, tho’ he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth
Line 120are more than any other quadrupede.
For he can tread to all the measures
upon the musick.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.