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Myself

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THE

LIFE OF JOHN GAY.

BY

DR. JOHNSON. .

JOHN GAY, descended from an old family that had been long in possession of the manor of Goldworthy* in Devonshire, was born in 1688, at or near Barnstaple, where he was educated by Mr. Luck, who taught the school of that town with good reputation, and, a little before he retired from it, published a volume of Latin and English verses. Under such a master. he was likely to form a taste for poetry. Being born without prospect of hereditary riches, he was sent to London in his youth, and placed apprentice with a silk mercer.

How long he continued behind the counter, or with what degree of softness and dexterity he received and accommodated the ladies, as he probably took no delight in telling it, is not known. The report is, that he was soon weary of either the restraint or servility of his occupation, and easily persuaded his master to discharge him.

The Duchess of Monmouth, remarkable for inflexible perseverance in her demand to be treated as a princess, in 1712 took Gay into her service as secretary: by quitting a shop for such service he might gain leisure, but he certain y advanced little in the boast of independence. Of his leisure he made so good use, that he published next year a poem on · Rural Sports,' and inscribed it to Mr. Pope, who was then rising fast into reputation. Pope was pleased

* Goldworthy does not appear in the “ Villare." - DR. J.

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