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A collection of quotes by John Gay about love, self, brave, mercy, friendship, marriage, hope, evil and more.

27 Quotes By John Gay, The Author Of Beggar's Opera

Quick Facts

Famous As: Dramatist & Poet

Born On: June 30, 1685

Died On: December 4, 1732

Born In: Barnstaple

Died At Age: 47

British Poet and Playwright, john Gay is best known for ‘The Beggar’s Opera’, a ballad opera. Orphaned at the age of 10, John studied at a local school and at the age of 17 he started working as a silk dealer in London. ‘Wine’ was the first poem published by him. Later he published his first prose titled ‘The Present State of Wit’. During 1712-1714 he is said to have published most of his work. In the year 1713, Gay published two essays, six poems and a play. His poem ‘the Arts of Walking the Streets of London’ was published in three books. John had a close association with Alexander Pope, another prominent writer of the time, who helped him in producing a skit titled ‘What d’ye calls it? One of his most noted works was ‘The Beggar’s Opera’, which was a ballad opera. This play became so popular that it ran for more than sixty nights. His work and poery are a great source of wise, funny and serious thoughts about life, love, friendship, God, happiness, and other things. His words are famous as his quotes and people often quotes these to this day. We have collected some of his most famous quotes from his works.

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A man is always afraid of a woman that loves him too much

John Gay

Shadow owes its birth to light.

John Gay

My Own Epitaph Life's a jest, and all things show it. I thought so once, and now I know it.

John Gay

Lions, wolves, and vultures don't live together in herds, droves or flocks. Of all animals of prey, man is the only sociable one. Every one of us preys upon his neighbor, and yet we herd together.

John Gay

An open foe may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.

John Gay

There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence upon one's self.

John Gay

Cowards are cruel, but the brave love mercy and delight to save.

John Gay

Love is so whimsical in both sexes that it is impossible to be lasting. But my heart is particular and contradicts my own observation.

John Gay

Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.

John Gay

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.

John Gay

A rich rogue nowadays is fit company for any gentleman; and the world, my dear, hath not such a contempt for roguery as you imagine.

John Gay

MRS. PEACHUM How the mother is to be pitied who has handsome daughters! Locks, bolts, bars and lectures of morality are nothing to them – they break through them all.

John Gay

On the choice of friends, Our good or evil name depends.

John Gay

The comfortable estate of widowhood is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits.

John Gay

No retreat. No retreat. They must conquer or die who've no retreat.

John Gay

But money, wife, is the true Fuller's Earth for reputations, there is not a spot or a stain but what it can take out.

John Gay

I must have women - there is nothing unbends the mind like them.

John Gay

But his kiss was so sweet, and so closely he pressed, that I languished and pined till I granted the rest.

John Gay

O Polly, you might have toyed and kissed, by keeping men off, you keep them on.

John Gay

Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise. For envy is a kind of praise.

John Gay

She who has never loved has never lived.

John Gay

We only part to meet again.

John Gay

What then in love can woman do? If we grow fond they shun us. And when we fly them, they pursue: But leave us when they've won us.

John Gay

The brave love mercy, and delight to save.

John Gay

Follow love and it will flee, flee love and it will follow thee.

John Gay

Variety's the source of joy below, From whence still fresh-revolving pleasures flow, In books and love the mind one end pursues, And only change the expiring flames renews.

John Gay

Gulliver was soon being read "from the cabinet council to the nursery".

John Gay