Christopher Smart was born in 1722 in Shipbourne, Kent, England. After college, Smart earned a living in London editing and writing copy for periodicals and composing songs for the popular theater. During this time, he became known for his reckless drinking and spending habits; he was arrested for debt in 1747. In the 1750s Smart developed a form of religious mania that compelled him to continuous prayer, and was confined to an institution for nearly all the remainder of his life. Smart is well known for his distinctive and oft anthologized homage to his cat, Jeoffrey.
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey.
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 having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws 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 forepaws extended.
For 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.
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.
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 he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Get Well Soon, Dear Jeoffrey of mine. For we would not be well without you.