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Smart, Christopher  

(Apr. 11, 1722-May 20, 1771). English religious poet. He was born in Shipbourne, Kent, England. Smart was educated at Durham Grammar School and Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. He was elected a scholar of Cambridge University in 1742, and a fellow of Pembroke Hall in 1745. Emotional instability soon became evident, and in 1749 he lost his university appointment. He moved to London and tried to make his way as a journalist. Every year from 1750 to 1755 he won the Seatonian Prize of Cambridge for a poem on a religious subject. He won the friendship of many of the artistic and literary "greats" of his day. In 1756 he was confined to an asylum for the first time. He was in and out of asylums from 1756 until his death in a debtor's prison. During lucid periods, however, he was able to work creatively. Smart produced several collections of poetry which provide the sources of texts found in contemporary hymnals. The Hymnal 1982 uses four texts by Smart, including "Awake, arise, lift up your voice" (Hymn 212) and "Where is this stupendous stranger?" (Hymn 491). His poetry also provides the text for Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb" (1958). Smart died in London. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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