"Poet G-" refers to John Gay. Later state, lacking references to 'Daily Journal April 19th. 1728' below the verses "to the Tune of the Soldier and ye Sailor" and to 'Daily Journal April 10 1798' below those "To Polly Peacham". Cf. Compare no. 1806 in v. 2 of Catalogue of prints and drawings in the British Museum. Division I, political and personal satires. Sheet trimmed within plate mark. Title from text engraved above image.
"Satire on the popularity of the Beggar's Opera in the form of a medley print. At top left a print shows two oval portraits, Lavinia Fenton as Polly Peachum on the left and Thomas Walker as Macheath on the right, two short columns of verse beneath. In the centre lies a print depicting a debased Parnassus: in the foreground muses drink from a barrel, one vomiting; a woman wearing a hat hands a basket to a muse sitting in a dust-cart drawn by a Pegasus; a cornucopia lies upended on the ground: in the background, is a boxing match surrounded on two sides with a temporary stand from which flies the flag of St George and to the right of which a bull and a bear are preceded by Apollo playing a fiddle; beneath are four lines of verse describing the scene. Behind the Parnassus print another shows the ghost of Jeremy Collier rising from his grave holding the pamphlet in which he had condemned "The Immoratlities of the English Stage", four lines of verse beneath. This print is overlaid by a smaller oblong print with four verses and portraits of Caleb D'Anvers (Nicholas Amhurst) Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and Lavinia Fenton (as Polly Peachum). On the left is a print in which Democritus and Heraclitus examine a globe together, eight lines of verse beneath. In the centre is an engraved address 'To Polly Peachum' quoted, according to the earlier state from The Daily Journal, April 19, 1728. At lower left is a print with a stage where a Apollo descends on a cloud to judge between rival singers (Faustina and Cuzzoni) to whom a group of gentlemen with asses' ears listen without judgement, two columns of verse beneath explain the scene. On the right, a scene by a river where a balance has been set up in which the Beggar's Opera outweighs Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Addison, Nicholas Rowe and Thomas Otway; the personification of trade collapses in the arms of George II, assisted by Queen Caroline; verses beneath claim that the popularity of the Beggar's Opera is indicative of the sorry state of the country. At bottom right is a scene in Newgate with men and women sitting round a table on which is a punch bowl and pipes; they are toasting a laureated John Gay who sits at the centre, saying 'The Beggers Opera for yr', 'G(a)y for ever', 'Let's vote him King of the Beggers' and he responds, 'Yov'e done me too great an honour but I'll -'; a small child stands beside the table; two columns of verse beneath."-- British Museum online catalogue.
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