Fables. The opening page from The Poems, of the Late Christopher Smart, volume II, 1791
The Fables by Christopher Smart were written between 1750 and 1767 and partly published in the periodicals The Midwife; or The Old Woman's Magazine, The Gentleman's Magazine, The Literary Magazine, etc. The order in this collection of the fables was made by Smart himself and Christopher Hunter, Smart's biographer and nephew, after him, as it was printed posthumously in 1791 edition.
Among the shorter poems, the fables were the pieces most highly prized by Smart's contemporaries, and they still wear well, showing a lightness of touch and acuteness of social observation that made eighteenth-century critics put him in the same league as John Gay. Charles Burney in the Monthly Review (January 1792) rated him "the most agreeable metrical Fabulist in our language" after Gay, finding that although his versification was less polished and "his apologues in general perhaps less correct" than those of Gay and Edward Moore, nevertheless "in originality, in wit, in humour, the preference seems due to Smart."
— Karina Williamson, St. Hilda's College, Oxford, and University of Edinburgh
The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart: Volume IV: Miscellaneous Poems, English and Latin Edited by Karina Williamson Oxford University Press, USA (May 21, 1987) ISBN 0-19-812768-5ISBN 978-0-19-812768-0