Christopher Smart: A Song to David

(2145 words)

At the end of January 1763 when Christopher Smart was liberated (he was never released as such) from Dr Potter’s madhouse in Bethnal Green, he lost no time in arranging for the publication of the astonishing amount of verse he had written during his previous seven years of confinement, and by the first week of April a signed quarto edition of A Song To David was being advertised. It was his finest work and ought to have established his reputation. Instead, the critical reception it was given ruined him. The Critical Review dismissed it as “a fine piece of ruins”. But it was The Monthly Review which did the lasting damage by starting off the story that “it was written when the Author was denied …

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Curry, Neil. "A Song to David". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 February 2008
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]