Friday, April 11, 2008

Kit Smart's Birthday

Sherry notes that Christopher Smart, one of the great poets of the early modern period, was born on April 11, 1722. So it seems fitting to celebrate the day. Here's one of his poems.

Psalm CXLVIII

Hallelujah! kneel and sing
Praises to the heaven'ly king;
To the God supremely great,
Hallelujah in the height.

Praise him, arch-angelic band,
Ye that in his presence stand;
Praise him, ye that watch and pray,
Michael's myriads in array.

Praise him, sun at each extreme,
Orient streak, and western beam;
Moon and stars of mystic dance,
Silv'ring in the blue expanse.

Praise him, O ye heights that soar
Heav'n and heav'n for evermore;
And ye streams of living rill
Higher yet and purer still.

Let them praise his glorious name,
From whose fruitful word they came;
And they first began to be
As he gave the great decree.

Their constituent parts he founds
For duration without bounds;
And their covenant has seal'd,
Which shall never be repeal'd.

Praise the Lord on earth's domains;
Praise, ye mutes, that sea contains;
They that on the surface leap,
And the dragons of the deep.

Batt'ring hail, and fires that glow,
Streaming vapours, plumy snow;
Wind and storm, his wrath incurr'd
Wing'd and pointed at his word.

Mountains of enormous scale,
Every hill and every vale;
Fruit trees of a thousand dyes,
Cedars that perfume the skies!

Beasts that haunt the woodland maze,
Nibbling flocks and droves that graze;
Reptiles of amphibious breed,
Feather'd millions form'd for speed.

Kings, with Jesus for their guide,
Peopled regions far and wide;
Heroes of their country's cause,
Princes, judges of the laws.

Age and childhood, youth and maid,
To his name your praise be paid;
For his word is worth alone
Far above his crown and throne.

He shall dignify the crest
Of his people, rais'd and blest;
While we serve with praise and pray'rs,
All in Christ his saints and heirs.

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