Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/266

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SMART, SIR G. T.—SMEATON

come to the ears of Henry Vane (afterwards earl of Darlington), and endanger his allowance. At Cambridge, where he was entered at Pembroke College in 1739, he spent much of his time in taverns, and got badly into debt, but in spite of his irregularities he became fellow of his college, praelector in philosophy and keeper of the common chest in 1745. In November 1747 he was compelled to remain in his rooms for fear of his creditors. At Cambridge he won the Seaton prize for a poem on " one of the attributes of the Supreme Being " in 1750 (he won the same prize in 1751, 1752, 1753 and 1755); an d a farce entitled A Trip to Cambridge, or The Grateful Pair, acted in 1747 by the students of Pembroke, was from his pen. In 1750 he contributed to The Student, or The Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany. During one of his visits to London he had made the acquaintance of John Newbery, the publisher, whose step-daughter, Anna Maria Carman, he married, with the result of forfeiting his fellow- ship in 1753. About 1752 he permanently left Cambridge for London, though he kept his name on the college books, as he had to do in order to compete for the Seaton prize. He wrote in London under the pseudonym of " Mary Midnight " and " Pent- weazle." He had edited The Midwife, or the Old Woman's Magazine (1751-1753), and had a hand in many other " Grub Street " productions. Some criticisms made by " Sir " John Hill (i7i6?-i775) on his Poems on Several Occasions (1752) provoked his satire of the Hilliad (1753), noteworthy as providing the model for the Rolliad. In 1756 he finished a prose transla- tion of Horace, which was widely used, but brought him little profit. He agreed in the same year to produce a weekly paper entitled The Universal Visitor, for which Samuel Johnson wrote some numbers. In 1751 Smart had shown symptoms of mental aberration, which developed into religious mania, and between 1756 and 1758 he was in an asylum. Dr Johnson visited him and thought that he ought to have been at large. During his confine- ment he conceived the idea of the single poem that has made him famous, " A Song to David," though the story that it was indented with a key on the panels of his cell, and shaded in with charcoal, may be received with caution. It shows no trace of morbid origin. After his release Smart produced other religious poems, but none of them shows the same inspiration. His wife and children had gone to live with friends as he was unable to support them, and for some time before his death, which took place on the 21st of May 1771, he lived in the rules of King's Bench, and was supported by small subscriptions raised by Dr Burney and other friends.

Of all that he wrote, " A Song to David " will alone bear the test of time. Unlike in its simple forceful treatment and impressive directness of expression, as has been said, to anything else in 18th- century poetry, the poem on analysis is found to depend for its unique effect also upon a certain ingenuity of construction, and the novel way in which David's ideal qualities are enlarged upon. This will be more readily understood on reference to the following verse, the first twelve words of which become in turn the key-notes, so to speak, of the twelve succeeding verses:—

" Great, valiant, pious, good, and clean,
Sublime, contemplative, serene,
Strong, constant, pleasant, wise !
Bright effluence of exceeding grace ;
Best man ! — the swiftness, and the race,
The peril, and the prize."

The last line is characteristic of another peculiarity in " A Song to David," the effective use of alliteration to complete the initial energy of the stanza in many instances. But in the poem throughout is revealed a poetic quality which eludes critical analysis.

From the Poems of the late Christopher Smart (1791) the "Song to David" (pr. 1763) was excluded as forming a proof of his mental aberration. It was reprinted in 1819, and has since received abundant praise. In an abridged form it is included in T. H. Ward's English Poets, vol. iii., and was reprinted in 1895, and in 1901 with an introduction by R. A. Streatfeild. Smart's other poems are included in Anderson's British Poets. Christopher Smart is one of Robert Browning's subjects in The Parleyings with Certain People (1887). See also the contributions to Notes and Queries of March 25th and May 6th, 1905, by the Rev. D. C. Tovey, who has read, and in some places revised, the above article.


SMART, SIR GEORGE THOMAS (1776-1867), English musician,, was born in London, his father being a music-seller. He was a choir-boy at the Chapel Royal, and was educated in music, becoming an expert violinist, organist, teacher of singing and conductor; and in 181 1 he was knighted by the lord- lieutenant of Ireland, having conducted a number of successful concerts in Dublin. Sir George Smart was, from that time onwards, one of the chief musical leaders and organizers in England, conducting at the Philharmonic, Covent Garden, the provincial festivals, &c, and in 1838 being appointed com- poser to the Chapel Royal. He was a master of the Handelian traditions, was personally acquainted with Beethoven and a close friend of Weber, who died in his house. His church music and glees include some well-known compositions. He died in London on the 23rd of February 1867. His brother Henry (1778-1823), father of the composer Henry Smart (q.v.), was also a prominent musician in his day.


SMART, HENRY (1813-1879), English organist and musical composer, born in London on the 26th of October 1813, was a nephew of Sir George Smart (q.v.). He studied firsc for the law, but soon gave this up for music. In 1831 he became organist of Blackburn parish church, where he wrote his first important work, a Reformation anthem; then of St Giles's, Cripplegate; St Luke's, Old Street; and finally of St Pancras, in 1864, which last post he held at the time of his death on the 6th of July 1879, less than a month after receiving a government pension of £100 per annum. Although Smart is now known chiefly by his com- positions for the organ, which are numerous, effective and melodious, if not strikingly original, he wrote many vocal works, including some of the best specimens of modern part songs. His cantata, The Bride of Dunkerron, was written for the Birmingham festival of 1864; Jacob for Glasgow, in 1873; and his opera, Bertha, was produced with some success at the Haymarket in 1855. In the last fifteen years of his life Smart was practically blind.


SMART, JOHN (c. 1740-1811), English miniature painter, was born in Norfolk; he became a pupil of Cosway, and is frequently alluded to in his correspondence. This artist was director and vice-president of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and ex- hibited with that society. He went to India in 1788 and obtained a number of commissions in that country. He settled down in London in 1797 and there died. He married Edith Vere, and is believed to have had only one son, who died in Madras in 1809. He was a little man, of simple habits, and a member of the Society of Sandemanians. Many of his pencil drawings still exist in the possession of the descendants of a great friend of his only sister. Several of his miniatures are in Australia and belong to a cadet branch of the family. His work is entirely different to that of Cosway, quiet and grey in its colouring, with the flesh tints elaborated with much subtlety and modelled in exquisite fashion. He possessed a great knowledge of anatomy, and his portraits are drawn with greater anatomical accuracy and possess more distinction than those of any miniature painter of his time.

See The History of Portrait Miniatures, by G. C. Williamson, vol. ii. (London, 1904). (G. C. W.)


SMEATON, JOHN (1724-1792), English civil engineer, was born at Austhorpe Lodge, near Leeds, on the 8th of June 1724. He received a good education at the grammar school of Leeds. At an early age he showed a liking for the use of mechanical tools, and in his fourteenth or fifteenth year contrived to make a turning-lathe. On leaving school in his sixteenth year he was employed in the office of his father, an attorney, but, after attending for some months in 1742 the courts at Westminster Hall, he requested to be allowed to follow some mechanical profession. He became apprentice to a philosophical instrument maker, and in 1750 set up in business on his own account. Besides improving various mathematical instruments used in navigation and astronomy, he carried on experiments in regard to other mechanical appliances, amongst the most important being a series on which he founded a paper— for which he received the Copley medal of the Royal Society in 1759— entitled An Experimental Inquiry concerning the Native Powers of Water and Wind to turn Mills and other Machines depending on a Circular Motion. In 1754 he made a tour of the Low Countries to study the great canal