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JOHN GAY
English poet and dramatist
(1685 - 1732)
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'Tis a woman that seduces all mankind;
  By her we first were taught the wheedling arts.
      - The Beggar's Opera (act I, sc. 1) [Women]

If the heart of a man is depressed with cares,
  The mist is dispell'd when a woman appears.
      - The Beggar's Opera (act II) [Women]

How happy could I be with either,
  Were t'other dear charmer away!
    But, while ye thus tease me together,
      To neither a word will I say.
      - The Beggar's Opera (act II, sc. 2) [Women]

The fly that sips treacle is lost in the sweets.
      - The Beggar's Opera (act II, sc. 2, l. 35)
        [Flies]

Lash'd into Latin by the tingling rod.
      - The Birth of the Squire (l. 46)
        [Linguists]

A justice with grave justices shall sit;
  He praise their wisdom, they admire his wit.
      - The Birth of the Squire (l. 77) [Judges]

Shall ignorance of good and ill
  Dare to direct the eternal will?
    Seek virtue, and, of the possest,
      To Providence resign the rest.
      - The Father and Jupiter [Virtue]

Excuse me, then! you know my heart;
  But dearest friends, alas! must part.
      - The Hare and Many Friends (l. 61)
        [Parting]

Friendship, like love, is but a name,
  Unless to one you stint the flame.
      - The Hare with Many Friends [Friendship]

To friendship every burden's light.
      - The Hare with Many Friends [Friendship]

Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise.
  For envy is a kind of praise.
      - The Hound and the Huntsman [Envy]

"I cannot raise my worth too high;
  Of what vast consequence am I!"
    "Not of the importance you suppose,"
      Replies a Flea upon his nose;
        "Be humble, learn thyself to scan;
          Know, pride was never made for man."
      - The Man and the Flea [Fleas]

Impartially their talents scan,
  Just education forms the man.
      - The Owl, Swan, Cock, Spider, Ass, and the Farmer--To a Mother
         (l. 9) [Education]

Learning by study must be won;
  'Twas ne'er entail'd from son to son.
      - The Pack Horse and Carrier (l. 41)
        [Learning]

Lest men suspect your tale untrue,
  Keep probability in view.
      - The Painter who Pleased Nobody and Everybody
        [Truth]

Thus shadow owes its birth to light.
      - The Persian, Sun, and Cloud (l. 10)
        [Shadows]

I hate the man who builds his name
  On ruins of another's fame.
      - The Poet and the Rose [Slander]

"Is there no hope?" the sick man said,
  The silent doctor shook his head,
    And took his leave with signs of sorrow,
      Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
      - The Sick Man and the Angel [Medicine]

While there is life there's hope (he cried,)
  Then why such haste?--so groan'd and died.
      - The Sick Man and The Angel [Hope]

In other men we faults may spy,
  And blame the mote that dims their eye;
    Each little speck and blemish find,
      To our own stronger errors blind.
      - The Turkey and the Ant (pt. I, l. 1)
        [Judgment]

So comes a reckoning when the banquet's o'er,
  The dreadful reckoning, and men smile no more.
      - The What D'ye Call It (act II, sc. 9)
        [Judgment : Proverbs : Results]

Breathe soft, ye winds! ye waves, in silence sleep!
      - To a Lady (ep. I, l. 17) [Peace]

Good housewives all the winter's rage despise,
  Defended by the riding-hood's disguise;
    Or, underneath the umbrella's oily shade,
      Safe through the wet on clinking pattens tread,
        Let Persian dames the unbrella's ribs display,
          To guard their beauties from the sunny ray;
            Or sweating slaves support the shady load,
              When eastern monarchs show their state abroad;
                Britain in winter only knows its aid,
                  To guard from chilling showers the walking maid.
      - Trivia (bk. I, l. 209) [Umbrellas]

Let firm, well hammer'd soles protect thy feet
  Through freezing snows, and rains, and soaking sleet;
    Should the big last extend the shoe too wide,
      Each stone will wrench the unwary step aside;
        The sudden turn may stretch the swelling vein,
          The cracking joint unhinge, or ankle sprain;
            And when too short the modish shoes are worn,
              You'll judge the seasons by your shooting corn.
      - Trivia (bk. I, l. 33) [Shoemaking]

O happy unown'd youths! your limbs can bear
  The scorching dog-star and the winter's air,
    While the rich infant, nurs'd with care and pain,
      Thirsts with each heat and coughs with every rain!
      - Trivia (bk. II, l. 145) [Youth]


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