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For first he looks upon his fore-paws 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 fore paws 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 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 he takes his prey he plays with it to give it chance.

For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.

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

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.

For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.

For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.

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 the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.

For every family had one cat at least in the bag.

For the English Cats are the best in Europe.

For he is the cleanest in the use of his fore-paws of any quadruped.

For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.

For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.

For he is tenacious of his point.

For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.

For he knows that God is his Saviour.

After developing a religious mania in which he would continually fall to his knees and pray, Christopher Smart (1722–1771) was confined in St. Luke’s Hospital and then in Mr. Potter’s Madhouse. At some point during the years of his confinement, between 1756 and 1763, he wrote his long antiphonal poem “Jubilate Agno” (Praise of the Lamb), the most moving section of which is this fragment in praise of Jeoffry, his sole companion during those years. Nine years after his release, “Kit” Smart was thrown into prison for the crime of being unable to pay his debts, and there he spent the remaining few months of his life. Unknown during Smart’s lifetime, “Jubilate Agno” was not discovered until the 20th Century. It was first published in 1939.

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Comments

CuddleFish March 11, 2010 @ 7:22 p.m.

Three paws up (have caught three ferals in three days this week).

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SDaniels March 16, 2010 @ 11 p.m.

I'll borrow straight from our poet and add:

"he works it upon stretch with the fore paws extended."

Honestly, haven't seen this sweet bit since my first English survey course--thanks, Reader staff! :)

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antigeekess March 16, 2010 @ 11:11 p.m.

Hey, Daniels --

Who wrote the one about his newly departed grey cat, saying something like, "all my joy is gone?"

Can't find it anywhere.

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SDaniels March 17, 2010 @ 5:55 a.m.

Huh. Not sure I know it. Anything else you can add? 19th century churchyard elegicac kind of thing? Short stanza, long ode?

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antigeekess March 17, 2010 @ 7:03 a.m.

Can't really remember anything else about how the lines go. Male poet, I'd say 19th century. I thought it might be this guy, but so far have only found this kitty poem from him:

http://www.esselin.com/poetry.htm#poemsofthebackyard1

...aaaand I gotta go to work.

:(

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MsGrant March 17, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

I looked and could not find it. But I did find the fully published works of Sylvia Plath, which I saved to my favorites, so it wasn't a total loss.

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CuddleFish March 17, 2010 @ 9:20 a.m.

Where did you find the Plath stuff, MsG, can you provide a link?

AG, there is a "Find A Poem" forum at Poets.org, sometimes they can help.

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nan shartel March 17, 2010 @ noon

i just love this emphasis on poetry and Cats here...isn't it just the Victorian cats whiskers!!!

thx Reader for the poetry corner..and this tidy cats tome...:-)

Plath would be great to publish something from here

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antigeekess March 28, 2010 @ 9:16 a.m.

Don't see how.

It was a male poet who wrote the poem. Seems to me, it's 'his' blog entry, circa 1760 or so.

Even Jeoffry the cat was a boy.

:)

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MsGrant March 28, 2010 @ 7:13 p.m.

Hence the appeal to a more cerebral audience.

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SDaniels March 30, 2010 @ 3:10 a.m.

Yeah, surfp, you really stuck yer paw in yer maw on that one!

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SurfPuppy619 March 30, 2010 @ 8:02 a.m.

My paw hurts.............from spanking Ms Grant :)

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