The Poetical Works of John Gay: Including Polly, the Beggar's Opera, and Selections from the Other Dramatic Work

By John Gay; G. C. Faber | Go to book overview

LESSER EPISTLES.
ON A
Miscellany of POEMS

TO
BERNARD LINTOTT.

Ipsa varietate tentamus efficere ut alia aliis; quædam fortasse omnibus placeant.

Plin. Epist.

[From Miscellaneous Poems and Translations, 1712, 1714, 1720, and 1722.

See pp. xxxv, xxxvii, and 88.

The editions of 1712 and 1714 use capital letters freely, and white lines between paragraphs; the editions of 1720 and 1722 do not. The motto from Pliny is only given in 1712 and 1714.

There is, I think, sufficient though indirect evidence that this poem is by Gay. In all four editions of the Miscellaneous Poems and Translations it is printed anonymously. In the editions of 1712 and 1714 it is, besides Arachne, Gay's sole contribution; but in the editions of 1721 and 1722 three other poems, with Gay's name attached, were added (The Epistle to Burlington, Epistle to a Lady, and Sweet William's Farewell). Arachne was then transposed from its place in the earlier editions, and printed with the last-named pieces. Between the Epistles and Sweet William this poem is printed, followed by the "Verses design'd to be prefix'd to Mr. Lintott's Miscellany" now generally attributed to Pope. Nichols's edition of 1779 includes our poem; and the style is very evidently Gay's. There is, in my judgement, no force in Mr. I. A. Williams's contention that, if this poem is by Gay, so must be the verses following it and beginning 'Some Colinaeus praise, some Bleau'. Identity of subject, not of authorship, is the reason for their juxtaposition.]

As when some skilful cook, to please each guest,
Would in one mixture comprehend a feast,
With due proportion and judicious care
He fills each dish with diff'rent sorts of fare,
Fishes and fowl deliciously unite,
To feast at once the taste, the smell, and sight.

So, Bernard, must a miscellany be
Compounded of all kinds of poetry;
The muses O'lio, which all tastes may fit,
And treat each reader with his darling wit. 10

-171-

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The Poetical Works of John Gay: Including Polly, the Beggar's Opera, and Selections from the Other Dramatic Work
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction. xi
  • The Doubtful or Disputed Poems. xxiii
  • Bibliographical Summary. xxxv
  • Wine a Poem. 1
  • Wine a Poem. 1
  • The Fan. a Poem. in Three Books. 9
  • The Shepherd's Week in Six Pastorals. 27
  • Trivia; Or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London 57
  • The Story of Arachne, From 88
  • Ovid's Metamorphoses. Book Ix. 95
  • Rural Sports. a Georgic. Inscribed to Mr. Pope. 107
  • Tales. 117
  • Eclogues. 131
  • Epistles on Several Occasions. an Epistle to a Lady. 147
  • Lesser Epistles. on a Miscellany of Poems 171
  • Songs and Ballads. Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Ey'D Susan. a Ballad. 181
  • Miscellanies. 197
  • Minor Miscellaneous Pieces. 210
  • Translations from Ariosto. 216
  • Fables 233
  • Fables. 275
  • The Mohocks. a Tragi-Comical Farce. as It Was Ac + ͡ ted Near the Watch-Houfe in Covent-Garden. 309
  • The Mohocks. a Tragi-Comical Farce. 310
  • The Wife of Bath. 327
  • The What D'Ye Call It: 335
  • Three Hours After Marriage 362
  • Acis and Galatea: An English Pastoral Opera. 423
  • The Captives. a Tragedy. 433
  • The Beggar's Opera. 483
  • Introduction. 487
  • Polly: An Opera. 534
  • Introduction. Poet, Player. 537
  • Achilles. an Opera. 593
  • Appendix I. Poems of Doubtful Authenticity Horace, Epod. Iv. Imitated 638
  • Appendix Ii. Rural Sports: First Version (1713). Rural Sports. 655
  • Appendix Iii. 666
  • Appendix Iv. 667
  • Appendix V. 671
  • Index of Titles 691
  • Index of First Lines 694
  • Index of First Lines of Songs in the Plays and Operas 698
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