Songs from The Beggar’s Opera: Air IV-Cotillion

By John Gay 1685–1732 John Gay

Act II, Scene iv, Air IV—Cotillion

            Youth’s the season made for joys,
                     Love is then our duty:
            She alone who that employs,
                     Well deserves her beauty.
                              Let’s be gay
                              While we may,
            Beauty’s a flower despised in decay.

Chorus.         Youth’s the season, etc.

            Let us drink and sport to-day,
                     Ours is not to-morrow:
            Love with youth flies swift away,
                     Age is naught but sorrow.
                              Dance and sing,
                              Time’s on the wing,
            Life never knows the return the spring.

Chorus.         Let us drink, etc.

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Poet John Gay 1685–1732

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

Subjects Love, First Love

 John  Gay

Biography

Poet and playwright John Gay was born in Devon to an aristocratic though impoverished family. Unable to afford university, Gay went to London to apprentice as a draper instead. While in London, he began writing journalism, including the pamphlet The Present State of Wit (1711), a survey of contemporary periodicals and authors. Rural Sports (1713) is generally considered his first important poem; the poem is ostensibly pastoral, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, First Love

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Augustan

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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