A Song to David

Original Text: 
Christopher Smart, A Song to David, 1763 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926). PR 3687 S7S6 1926 ROBA.
427  Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
428And drops upon the leafy limes;
429    Sweet Hermon's fragrant air:
430Sweet is the lily's silver bell,
431And sweet the wakeful tapers smell
432    That watch for early pray'r.
433  Sweet the young nurse with love intense,
434Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence;
435    Sweet when the lost arrive:
436Sweet the musician's ardour beats,
437While his vague mind's in quest of sweets,
438    The choicest flow'rs to hive.
439  Sweeter in all the strains of love,
440The language of thy turtle dove,
441    Pair'd to thy swelling chord;
442Sweeter with ev'ry grace endu'd,
443The glory of thy gratitude,
444    Respir'd unto the Lord.
445  Strong is the horse upon his speed;
446Strong in pursuit the rapid glede,
447    Which makes at once his game:
448Strong the tall ostrich on the ground;
449Strong thro' the turbulent profound
450    Shoots xiphias to his aim.
451  Strong is the lion--like a coal
452His eye-ball--like a bastion's mole
453    His chest against the foes:
454Strong, the gier-eagle on his sail,
455Strong against tide, th' enormous whale
456    Emerges as he goes.
457  But stronger still, in earth and air,
458And in the sea, the man of pray'r;
459    And far beneath the tide;
460And in the seat to faith assign'd,
461Where ask is have, where seek is find,
462Where knock is open wide.
463  Beauteous the fleet before the gale;
464Beauteous the multitudes in mail,
465    Rank'd arms and crested heads:
466Beauteous the garden's umbrage mild,
467Walk, water, meditated wild,
468    And all the bloomy beds.
469  Beauteous the moon full on the lawn;
470And beauteous, when the veil's withdrawn,
471    The virgin to her spouse:
472Beauteous the temple deck'd and fill'd,
473When to the heav'n of heav'ns they build
474    Their heart-directed vows.
475  Beauteous, yea beauteous more than these,
476The shepherd king upon his knees,
477    For his momentous trust;
478With wish of infinite conceit,
479For man, beast, mute, the small and great,
480    And prostrate dust to dust.
481  Precious the bounteous widow's mite;
482And precious, for extreme delight,
483    The largess from the churl:
484Precious the ruby's blushing blaze,
485And alba's blest imperial rays,
486    And pure cerulean pearl.
487  Precious the penitential tear;
488And precious is the sigh sincere,
489    Acceptable to God:
490And precious are the winning flow'rs,
491In gladsome Israel's feast of bow'rs,
492    Bound on the hallow'd sod.
493  More precious that diviner part
494Of David, ev'n the Lord's own heart,
495    Great, beautiful, and new:
496In all things where it was intent,
497In all extremes, in each event,
498    Proof--answ'ring true to true.
499  Glorious the sun in mid career;
500Glorious th' assembled fires appear;
501    Glorious the comet's train:
502Glorious the trumpet and alarm;
503Glorious th' almighty stretch'd-out arm;
504    Glorious th' enraptur'd main:
505  Glorious the northern lights a-stream;
506Glorious the song, when God's the theme;
507    Glorious the thunder's roar:
508Glorious hosanna from the den;
509Glorious the catholic amen;
510    Glorious the martyr's gore:
511  Glorious--more glorious is the crown
512Of Him that brought salvation down
513    By meekness, call'd thy Son;
514Thou that stupendous truth believ'd,
515And now the matchless deed's achiev'd,
516    Determin'd, dar'd, and done.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP 1.726.