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The Augustan Ages

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J. Underbill ("Muses Library"), 1893. Fables, ed. A. Dob- son, 1882.
^ " See who ne'er was or will be half -read ; Who first sang Arthur, then sang Alfred.
Then hiss'd from earth, grew heavenly quite ; Made every reader curse the light, Undid creation at a jerk, And of redemption made damn'd work. " THE ENGLISH AUGUSTAN WIIITKRS. 311 Fahles (first vol. , 1727 ; second vol. , where " the morals of most of them are of the political kind, " posthum- ously published) shared with Pope's Homer and wi Gulliver the popular vote, and have been reprinted and translated very often indeed. Gay took unfamiliar pains to invent subjects, and to make his treatment obvious and glossy ; his " morals " are sometimes saved from triteness by a trace of personal disappoint- ment. The famous Beggar's Opera (1728), Gay's great external success, with its tinkling songs, its topical satire (continued in the prohibited Polly, 1728) on Walpole, and the facility of its sentimental interest in the operatic blackguard, is one of the works that may be said to hold a recognised position outside literature.

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