Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry

Last week our beloved cat, "S'more" died.  She was a pretty white calico who liked to snuggle with you and tickle her whiskers in your face.  Henry took it pretty hard and we spent most of Tuesday crying together.  It's amazing how those furry little creatures get into your heart.  I know I'm not the only one who considers them part of the family.

Christopher Smart
illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 1984

This poem was written by Christopher Smart in 1757 extolling his cat, Jeoffry.  The biographical information about Smart at the front of the book is quite interesting.  He wrote humorous and sacred verse but ended up in the madhouse (where this poem was written).  He became fervently religious and was praying in the streets, but there is speculation as to why he really was committed to an asylum.

The poem comes from Jubilate Agno.  He writes lovingly of his cat Jeoffry (his only companion in the asylum) and the spiritual, God-loving nature of the animal.  The illustrator Emily Arnold McCully writes this:  "Smart wrote both masterpieces in the madhouse, celebrating God's goodness in all nature.  He never doubted that he was saved, nor that Jeoffry, pure in all his motions, was saved too."

The text can be awkward to read, it is 18th century poetry after all,  but the pictures make it fun to follow and well worth it.

1 comment:

  1. So sorry to hear about your sweet kitty. Just today, I hung a photo ornament on the tree of our kitty who went to Heaven in 1999...and, yes, I do mean Heaven. She had more personality and insight than many people I know, and I could well say, as Anne Bronte did about William Cowper: If "such a soul as thine is lost, -- Oh! how shall I appear?"

    Dear blessings and sweet memories during this time of mourning.