John Gay: Wine

(478 words)

Wine, published in May 1708 when he was twenty-three years old, was John Gay's first published poem. It is a Miltonic parody, of 278 lines, in the style of John Philips's (1676-1708) Splendid Shilling, which had been published seven years earlier in 1701. Gay parodies Milton's epic style as a witty game, or elaborate literary joke, for those in the know. The reader is expected to recognise the allusions to Paradise Lost and enjoy the comic application of a high Miltonic style to low subject matter. Gay flaunts his credentials as a poet, showing he is widely read in earlier poetry and has the verbal and metrical skill to re-create Milton's inverted, blank verse, epic style.

Gay ironically invokes Milton's �…

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Gordon, Ian. "Wine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 March 2004
[, accessed 28 November 2015.]