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Cat Jeoffry

Cat Jeoffry

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Cat Jeoffry is a self-contained passage from Christopher Smart’s much longer work Jubilate Agno (Rejoice in the Lamb), and one of the most famous pieces of poetry ever written about a cat. This new edition retains the original Peter Hay illustrations, using his rubber stamps and linocuts, and adds Tom Woodman’s informative commentary to place Cat Jeoffry in the context of Smart’s life and works.

Christopher Smart (1722-1771) was born in Shipbourne, Kent. A Cambridge graduate, he spent over ten years of his life in mental institutions, suffering from a form of religious hysteria. In 1936 W.B. Yeats singled out Smart’s A Song to David in the introduction to The Oxford Book of Modern Verse as the inaugural poem of the Romantic period; Dante Gabriel Rossetti pronounced it “the only accomplished poem of the last century”. Since then, his Jubilate Agno has captured the interest of modern poets including Allen Ginsberg, Alec Hope, John Heath-Stubbs, Peter Porter, Jeremy Reed and Wendy Cope.

For I will consider my cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships him in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
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 search of food.
For he counteract the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

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 every house is incompleat without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.

A wonderful present for cat lovers.