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John Gay
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    (June 30, 1685-December 4, 1732)
    Born in Barnstaple, England, United Kingdom
    Plays include 'The What D'ye Call It' (1715), 'Three Hours After Marriage' (1717), 'The Beggar's Opera' (1728), 'Polly' (1729) and 'The Distress'd Wife' (1734)
    Also wrote 'The Shepherd's Week' (1714), 'Poems on Several Occasions' (1720) and 'Fifty-One Fables in Verse' (1727)
    Wrote the text for Handel's 'Acis and Galatea'
    Jonathan Swift complained about his 'rooted laziness.'
    He dedicated his 'Fifty-One Fables' to Prince William in hopes of receiving a royal appointment even though several of the Fables mock courtiers and royal honors.
    He ignored the advice of friends and lost his first fortune investing in the South Sea Bubble.
    After regaining his fortune with 'The Beggar's Opera,' he avoided investments and squandered his money more gradually on drinking and gambling.
    He was orphaned at age ten and raised by an uncle.
    'The Beggar's Opera' satirized the government of Robert Walpole, who retaliated by banning the sequel 'Polly' from being staged.
    'The Beggar's Opera' was the most popular play of the 18th century, with one commentator noting that it played 'just about everywhere in the English-speaking world where room could be found to put up a stage.'
    'The Beggar's Opera' inspired Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill to write 'The Threepenny Opera.'
    He was buried at Westminster Abbey under the self-penned epitaph 'Life is a jest, and all things show it/I thought so once, and now I know it.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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