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JOHN GAY, born in the same year with Pope, much beloved by him in life, and mourned by him at his

1688-1732 death, was one of the most amiable of all these poets, and was known as a man too good-natured for his own advantage. He began by writing pastoral poems, which really contained some natural pictures of country life, in contrast to most pastorals, which are as stiff and unlike nature as possible. After these, Gay wrote, in contrast to his earlier works, a long epic called Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London, in which he describes city

This last poem is to me exceedingly dull, the only merit I find in it being that the street scenes it paints are interesting as a study of the times. After these achievements in verse he began to write dramas, none of them drawing much attention till he wrote the Beggars' Opera, which brought him both fame and money. The characters in this were highwaymen and thieves, the lowest characters in Newgate prison; but they were depicted with humor, accompanied by a biting satire against follies which were found to exist as well in the highest society as among thieves. The hero is the highwayman, Macheath, who narrowly escapes hanging. In one place he says, “As to conscience and nasty morals, I have as few drawbacks upon my pleasures as any man of quality in England ; in these I am not in the least vulgar; ” and Polly, the heroine, says pertly, “A woman knows how to be mercenary, though she has never been in a court or an assembly.” Besides such hits as these at the follies and vice of the age, some of the lines contain a vast deal of cynical wisdom. One of the rogues exclaims over his cups, “ The present time is ours, and nobody alive has more.” “Well, I forgive you," says Mrs. Peachum to Polly, as far as one woman can forgive another."

After the great success of the Beggar's Opera, Gay wrote a sequel called Polly, which, as almost always happens when one tries to repeat a success, was greatly inferior to the first. Yet he made money by it, and was able to retire in comfortable circumstances, leading a life of retirement

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the rest of his days. His latest works were fables in rhyme, inclosing a shrewd and wholesome moral. Here is one of the best :

THE MAN AND THE FLEA.

Whether on earth, in air, or main,
Sure everything alive is vain.
Does not the hawk all fowls survey
As destined only for his prey ?
And do not tyrants, prouder things,
Think men were born for slaves to kings?
When the crab views the pearly strands,
Or Tagus bright with golden sands,
Or crawls beside the coral grove
And hears the ocean roll above,
“Nature is too profuse,” says he,
“Who gave all these to pleasure me.”
When bordering pinks and roses bloom,
And every garden breathes perfume;
When peaches glow with sunny dyes,
Like Laura's cheek when blushes rise ;
When with huge figs the branches bend;
When clusters from the vine depend, -
The snail looks round on flower and tree,
And cries, “ All these were made for me.'

“What dignity 's in human nature !”
Says Man, the most conceited creature,
As from a cliff he cast his eye,
And viewed the sea and arched sky.
The sun was sunk beneath the main ;
The moon and all the starry train
Hung the vast vault of heaven;

the man
His contemplation thus began :

“ When I behold this glorious show,
And the wide watery world below,
The scaly people of the main,
The beasts that range the woods or plain,
The wing'd inhabitants of air,
The night, the day, the various year,
And know all these by heaven designed
As gifts to pleasure humankind,
I cannot raise my worth too high :
Of what vast consequence am I ! ”

“ Not of th' importance you suppose,”
Replies a flea upon his nose.
"Be humble; learn thyself to scan;
Know pride was never made for man;

'T is vanity that swells thy mind.
What heaven and earth for thee designed !
For thee, made only for our need,

That more important fleas might feed.”
One of the prettiest things Gay ever wrote is the ballad
of Black-Eyed Susan, which gave a later writer, Douglas
Jerrold, the title for a comedy. And let us note here that

, one thing for which Gay deserves credit is that he did not write, like so many of his compeers, about dukes and duchesses, but that in the Beggar's Opera he contrives to wake an interest in the human nature common to all men and women, just as in the ballad of Black-Eyed Susan it is the common sailor and his love for whom he seeks our sympathy. This is so much the case in our day that it would not attract notice; but we must remember that it was different in the time of Gay, and that the humanity that makes us all akin was not so much the subject of the poet's

verse.

WILLIAM'S FAREWELL TO BLACK-EYED SUSAN.
All in the Downs the fleet was moored,

The streamers waving in the wind,
When Black-eyed Susan came aboard.

“Oh, where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true,
If my sweet William sails among the crew.”
William, who high upon the yard

Rocked with the billow to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,

He sighed and cast his eyes below.
The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands,
And quick as lightning on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air,

Shuts close his pinions to his breast
If chance his mate's shrill call he hear,

And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Might envy William's lip those kisses sweet.
O Susan, Susan, lovely dear,

My vows shall ever true remain.
Let me kiss off that falling tear;

We only part to meet again.

Change as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.

“ If to fair India's coast we sail,

Thy eyes are seen in diarnonds bright,
Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale,

Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus every beauteous object that I view
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.

“Though battle call me from thy arms,

Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms,

William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye.

The boatswain gave the dreadful word;

The sails their swelling bosoms spread:
No longer must she stay aboard.

They kissed, she sighed, he hung his head.
Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land;
“Adieu,” she cries, and waved her lily hand.

THOMAS PARNELL was a clergyman and a scholar. He

wrote one piece which has earned him nearly all 1679-1718

the fame he possesses as a poet, The Hermit, written in that see-saw rhyme that becomes so tiresome to the ear when we read much of it. These are the opening lines :

“Far in a wild, unknown to public view,

From youth to age a reverend hermit grew.
The moss his bed; the cave his humble cell ;
His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well.
Remote from men, with God he passed the days;
Prayer all his business, all his pleasure praise.”

I shall not quote The Hermit further; it is a poem which I think will not find so many readers in the future as it has found in the past; but there is one little song by Parnell which we will read, that for melody and archness could easily be put among the best songs of the earlier singers, Suckling, Lovelace, or Waller. It is a wonder that a man who could write such a song could have been tied down to such stiff models, and have trained his muse to grind out the formal measure in which The Hermit is written:

“When thy beauty appears

In its graces and airs,
All bright as an angel new dropt from the sky,
At distance I gaze, and am awed by my fears,
So strangely you dazzle my eye.

“But when, without art,

Your kind thought you impart;
When your love runs in blushes through every vein ;
When it darts from your eyes, when it pants in your heart, --
Then I know you 're a woman again.
“ • There's a passion and pride

In our sex,' she replied,
* And thus (might I gratify both) I would do,
Still an angel appear to each lover beside,

But still be a woman to you.'”

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XXXVII.

ON THE AUTHOR OF “ ROBINSON CRUSOE."

OUR

name

UR hearts will always respond to the mention of the of DANIEL DE FOE, if we have read

1661-1731 the story of Robinson Crusoe when we were children, and who of us did not?

Most of these writers of the Augustan age were men who belonged to the English Church, and were in sympathy with the political party in power. De Foe was much of the time in opposition to both. In religion he belonged to the Dissenters; in politics he was a Whig; and although a few of his political pamphlets were popular, they brought him, for the most part, only trouble. He was several times fined ; three times set in the pillory; imprisoned in Newgate for more than a year, where he had an opportunity to study some of the types of character he afterwards put into his fictions. It was late in life when he gave up political writing and began to write novels. Then he seems

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