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JOHN GAY, an English poet, born at Barnstaple, baptized Sept. 16, 1685; died in London, Dec. 4, 1732. He was apprenticed to a silk-mercer in London, but turned his attention to literary pursuits. In 1713 he published "Rural Sports," a poem dedicated to Pope, which led to a close friendship between the two poets. This was followed by "The Shepherd's Week," a kind of parody on the "Pastorals" of Ambrose Philips. He subsequently wrote several comedies; and in 1727 brought out the "Beggar's Opera," which produced fame and money. This was followed by the comic opera of "Polly," the representation of which was forbidden by the Lord Chamberlain. Other works are "The What D'ye Call It," a farce (1715); "Poems," including "Black-Eyed Susan" and "The Captives," a tragedy (1724); "Acis and Galatea" (1732). Gay lost nearly all of his considerable property in the "South Sea Bubble,” and during the later years of his life he was an inmate of the house of the Duke of Queensberry. Apart from the two comic operas, Gay's best works are "Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Street of London," and the "Fables," of which a very good edition was published in 1856.
THE HARE AND MANY FRIENDS.
FRIENDSHIP, like love, is but a name,
A Hare who in a civil way
And ev'ry creature was her friend.
As forth she went at early dawn
She now the trotting Calf addressed,
THE SICK Man and thE ANGEL.
Is there no hope? the Sick Man said.
When thus the Man with gasping breath:
I grant, my bargains well were made,
My will hath made the world amends;
When I am numbered with the dead,
And all my pious gifts are read,
By heaven and earth 'twill then be known,
An angel came. Ah, friend! he cried,