The Importance of Cats

Kathryn Hughes at Literary Review:

One day in 1757 the poet Christopher Smart went out to St James’s Park, started praying loudly and couldn’t stop. He was hauled off to St Luke’s Asylum, where a cascade of ecstatic verse proceeded to pour from him, in which he identified his cat companion, Jeoffry, as ‘the servant of the Living God’. According to Smart’s delighted itemising, Jeoffry served the Almighty by catching rats, keeping his front paws pernickety clean and observing the watches of the night. He was a peaceable soul too, kissing neighbouring cats ‘in kindness’ and letting a mouse escape one time in seven. But perhaps Jeoffry’s greatest accomplishment was his ability to ‘spraggle upon waggle’. Both spraggling and waggling, Smart’s magnificat suggests, are deeply pleasing to the Lord.

more here.