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The Beggar's Opera to which is prefixed the Musick to each Song

- By John Gay
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John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names.[1] Gay was born in Barnstaple, England, and was educated at the town's grammar school. On leaving school he was apprenticed to a silk mercer in London, but being weary, according to Samuel Johnson, "of either the restraint or the servility of his occupation", he soon returned to Barnstaple, where he was educated by his uncle, the Rev. John Hanmer, the nonconformist minister of the town. He then returned to London.[1]
If Poverty be a Title to Poetry, I am sure no-body can dispute mine. I own myself of the Company of Beggars; and I make one at their Weekly Festivals at St. Giles's. I have a small Yearly Salary for my Catches, and am welcome to a Dinner there whenever I please, which is more than most Poets can say.
Player. As we live by the Muses, it is but Gratitude in us to encourage Poetical Merit wherever we find it. The Muses, contrary to all other Ladies, pay no Distinction to Dress, and never partially mistake the Pertness of Embroidery for Wit, nor the Modesty of Want for Dulness. Be the Author who he will, we push his Play as far as it will go. So (though you are in Want) I wish you success heartily.
Beggar. This piece I own was originally writ for the celebrating the Marriage of James Chaunter and Moll Lay, two most excellent Ballad-Singers. I have introduced the Similes that are in all your celebrated Operas: The Swallow, the Moth, the Bee, the Ship, the Flower, &c. xiv Besides, I have a Prison-Scene, which the Ladies always reckon charmingly pathetic. As to the Parts, I have observed such a nice Impartiality to our two Ladies, that it is impossible for either of them to take Offence. I hope I may be forgiven, that I have not made my Opera throughout unnatural, like those in vogue; for I have no Recitative; excepting this, as I have consented to have neither Prologue nor Epilogue, it must be allowed an Opera in all its Forms. The Piece indeed hath been heretofore frequently represented by ourselves in our Great Room at St. Giles's, so that I cannot too often acknowledge your Charity in bringing it now on the Stage. Player. But I see it is time for us to withdraw; the Actors are preparing to begin. Play away the Overture

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Questions and Answers The Beggar's Opera to which is prefixed the Musick to each Song

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Word Lists:

Vogue : the prevailing fashion or style at a particular time

Heretofore : before now

Writ : a form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in some way.

Pathetic : arousing pity, especially through vulnerability or sadness

Beggar : a person, typically a homeless one, who lives by asking for money or food.

Celebrated : greatly admired; renowned

Charming : pleasant or attractive

Reckon : establish by counting or calculation; calculate

Withdraw : remove or take away (something) from a particular place or position

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Additional Information:

Rating: B

Words: 328

Unique Words : 194

Sentences : 20

Reading Time : 1:27

Noun : 90

Conjunction : 35

Adverb : 20

Interjection : 2

Adjective : 15

Pronoun : 44

Verb : 48

Preposition : 33

Letter Count : 1,366

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Conversational

Difficult Words : 87

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