Christopher Smart: Poems on Several Occasions

(1422 words)

If Christopher Smart has now come to be generally recognised as our most significant religious poet between Herbert and Hopkins, it is no thanks to his immediate family. They did their best to suppress his religious poems; perhaps they were embarrassed by them. After all, it was due to his religious fervour that he had been locked away in Dr. Potter’s madhouse for seven years. His daughter, Elizabeth, included a few of his poems (“improved” by her) at the end of a collection of her own poems, but added that “few readers would labour through their shade to the flowers they precede and conceal. The Authoress, though his daughter, had not been induced to do so.” And Christopher Hunter, his nephew, who …

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Curry, Neil. "Poems on Several Occasions". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 November 2008
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]