For I will consider my cat Jeoffry


An excerpt from Jubilate Agno (Christopher Smart 1722-1771), usually known by the first line of the poem, For I will consider my cat Jeoffry

For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.

For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.

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 by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.

For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.

For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.

For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.


Electrical skin and glaring eyes! Isn’t that great?


9 thoughts on “For I will consider my cat Jeoffry

  1. Great poem. I thought that I remembered Kit Smart from my collection of poetry by Louis Untermeyer that a friend loaned me in 11th grade chemistry class, thereby altering my life from then on. but I had him mixed up with someone else and can’t find the other person now. At any rate, the real Kit Smart sounds like a difficult person to know, but a marvelous poet. Thanks Gert!

    1. He was known as Kit, or Kitty, Smart, and confined to a lunatic asylum from which he often escaped. Dr Johnson was a fan of his-

      “His infirmities were not noxious to society. He insisted on people praying with him; and I’d as lief pray with Kit Smart as any one else. Another charge was, that he did not love clean linen; and I have no passion for it.”

    1. Yes, a magnificent cat and an unforgettable poem. You can’t really think about cats the same way after you’ve read it.
      Leslie, we were talking a while ago about setting Shakespeare to music. Have a listen on YouTube to Rufus Wainwright’s version of sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”.

      1. That was beautiful. I see where he did a large number of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
        Well now i must get busy, being inspired by that.

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