John Gay, Rural Sports

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Gay published

Rural Sports

, a poem of 443 lines, loosely modelled on Virgil's


, in January 1713. Like Virgil



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 same themes, though with far richer imaginative, poetic and mythological complexity [see separate entry]. Gay

1340 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "Rural Sports". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 March 2004 [, accessed 26 May 2024.]

2273 Rural Sports 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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