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was but six years of age, he was apprenticed to a silk-mercer in London. Disliking the drudgery of a retail shop, he obtained the cancelling of his indentures, and devoted himself to literature. In 1708 he published a poem, in blank verse, called "Wine;" and in 1711 Rural Sports," a descriptive poem, which he dedicated to Pope, through life his admirer and friend. In Gay's time it was the fashion for the nobility to patronize men of letters, and he became domestic secretary to the Duchess of Monmouth. About this time he brought out a comedy, "The Wife of Bath," which failed. In 1714 he published his " Shepherd's Week," a pastoral, and obtained the post of secretary to Lord Clarendon on his appointment of Envoy-extraordinary to Hanover; but Gay was totally unfitted for public employment, and held the situation for two months only. On his return, he produced several dramatic pieces, with but slight success; but in 1727 his "Beggars' Opera" came out, ran for sixty-two successive nights, and not only became the rage at the time, but has remained ever since one of the most popular pieces ever produced on the British stage. Gay cleared 6937. 13s. 6d. for his share in the theatre, besides the profits of publication, and soon amassed 3000l. by his writings. This he determined to keep "entire and sacred," being at the same time received into the house of his early patrons the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry. Here he amused himself by adding to his "Fables." Had Gay written but his "Black-eyed Susan," that one song would have fixed his name in English literature. He died, suddenly, of fever, Dec. 4, 1732, aged 44, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.]

I HATE the man who builds his name
On ruins of another's fame;

Thus prudes, by characters o'erthrown,
Imagine that they raise their own;
Thus scribblers, covetous of praise,
Think slander can transplant the bays.
Beauties and bards have equal pride,
With both all rivals are decried :
Who praises Lesbia's eyes and feature,
Must call her sister "awkward creature;"
For the kind flattery's sure to charm,
When we some other nymph disarm.
As in the cool of early day,
A poet sought the sweets of May,
The garden's fragrant breath ascends,
And every stalk with odour bends,

A rose he pluck'd, he gazed, admired,
Thus singing as the muse inspired:


Go, rose, my Chloe's bosom grace!
How happy should I prove,
Might I supply that envied place
With never-fading love!

There, phoenix like, beneath her eye,
Involved in fragrance, burn and die!
Know, hapless flower, that thou shalt find
More fragrant roses there.
I see thy withering head reclined
With envy and despair:

One common fate we both must prove,
You die with envy, I with love.”
"Spare your comparisons," replied
An angry rose, who grew beside.
"Of all mankind you should not flout us;
What can a poet do without us?
In every love-song roses bloom;
We lend you colour and perfume.
Does it to Chloe's charms conduce
To found her praise on our abuse?
Must we, to flatter her, be made
To wither, envy, pine, and fade?”



'Tis not because thy brilliant dye
Attracts and cheers my wandering eye
Above all flowers I hold so dear,
For others greater beauty wear,
But for thy latent power

I love thee, scarlet flower,
That shed'st the balmy dew of sleep
On eyes that only wake to weep.



My sweet one, my sweet one, the tears were in my


When first I clasped thee to my heart, and heard thy feeble cries;

For I thought of all that I had borne as I bent me down to kiss

Thy cherry lips and sunny brow, my first-born bud of bliss!

I turned to many a withered hope, to years of grief and pain,

And the cruel wrongs of a bitter world flashed o'er my boding brain;

I thought of friends, grown worse than cold-of persecuting foes,

And I asked of heaven if ills like these must mar thy youth's repose!

I gazed upon thy quiet face, half-blinded by my tears, Till gleams of bliss, unfelt before, came brightening on my fears;

Sweet rays of hope that fairer shone 'mid the clouds of gloom that bound them,

As stars dart down their loveliest light when midnight skies are 'round them.

My sweet one, my sweet one, thy life's brief hour is


And a father's anxious fears for thee can fever me no


And for the hopes, the sun-bright hopes, that blossomed at thy birth,

They, too, have fled, to prove how frail are cherished things of earth!

'Tis true that thou wert young, my child; but though brief thy span below,

To me it was a little age of agony and woe;

For, from thy first faint dawn of life, thy cheek began to fade,

And my lips had scarce thy welcome breathed, ere my hopes were wrapt in shade.

Oh! the child in its hours of health and bloom, that is dear as thou wert then,

Grows far more prized, more fondly loved, in sickness and in pain!

And thus 'twas thine to prove, dear babe, when every hope was lost,

Ten times more precious to my soul, for all that thou hadst cost!

Cradled in thy fair mother's arms, we watched thee day by day,

Pale like the second bow of heaven, as gently waste


And, sick with dark foreboding fears, we dared not breathe aloud,

Sat, hand in hand, in speechless grief, to wait death's coming cloud!

It came at length: o'er thy bright blue eye the film was gathering fast,

And an awful shade passed o'er thy brow, the deepest and the last :

In thicker gushes strove thy breath-we raised thy drooping head:

A moment more—the final pang-and thou wert of the dead!

Thy gentle mother turned away to hide her face from


And murmured low of heaven's behests, and bliss attained by thee;

She would have chid me that I mourned a doom so blest as thine,

Had not her own deep grief burst forth in tears as wild as mine!

We laid thee down in thy sinless rest, and from thine infant brow

Culled one soft lock of radiant hair, our only solace


Then placed around thy beauteous corse flowers, not more fair and sweet

Twin rosebuds in thy little hands, and jasmine at thy feet.

Though other offspring still be ours, as fair perchance

as thou,

With all the beauty of thy cheek, the sunshine of thy brow,

They never can replace the bud our early fondness


They may be lovely and beloved, but not like thee, the first!

The first! How many a memory bright that one sweet word can bring,

Of hopes that blossom'd, droop'd, and died, in life's delightful spring

Of fervid feelings passed away-those early seeds of bliss

That germinate in hearts unseared by such a world as


My sweet one, my sweet one, my fairest and my first! When I think of what thou mightst have been, my heart is like to burst;

But gleams of gladness through my gloom their soothing radiance dart,


my sighs are hushed, my tears are dried, when I turn to what thou art!

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