John Gay: Rural Sports

(1340 words)

Gay published Rural Sports, a poem of 443 lines, loosely modelled on Virgil's Georgics, in January 1713. Like Virgil, Gay focuses on rural activities, but in Gay's poem descriptions of pursuits of pleasure replace Virgil's descriptions of the labour involved in cultivating the land. Where Virgil celebrates the life of the farmer as the moral and political basis of national health, Gay praises the rural sports of fishing, hunting and shooting for the healthy life they offer, while at the same time gently mocking the idyll he describes.

Gay dedicated Rural Sports to his friend Pope, whose Windsor-Forest was finally published two months later, in March 1713, developing some of the s…

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Gordon, Ian. "Rural Sports". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 March 2004
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]