Christopher Smart: Jubilate Agno

(1902 words)

From dated entries in the text of the poem itself it is possible to calculate that Smart began writing Jubilate Agno in June 1758, when he was confined in a private madhouse run by Dr Potter in Bethnal Green, London. The handwritten last line – the text stops half way down the page, so it cannot be considered as a final line –was written on 30th January 1763, the day when he was ‘liberated' (it does not seem that he was officially released) by John Sherratt. What happened to the manuscript then is not known. Somehow it came into the possession of the Revd. Thomas Cawardine, who was involved in the treatment of William Cowper, who had also been locked up in another madhouse. What possible use they could …

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Curry, Neil. "Jubilate Agno". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 December 2007
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]