Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of the Beggar's Opera. JOHN GAY.

Polly: An Opera. Being the Second Part of the Beggar's Opera.

Publisher: London: Printed for the Author, 1729.
Edition: First edition.
Bibliographical References: NCBEL II, 498.
Condition: Binding a bit worn and stained; some light damp-stains in the text; a very good, large copy.
Book ID: 26308


4to, contemporary quarter calf, marbled paper boards, red leather label, gilt rules and lettering. 31 pages of engraved sheet music.


The sequel to John Gay's popular Beggar's Opera (1728), but in Polly the characters have moved from the streets and highways of England to the West Indies, a setting Gay uses to ridicule fortune-hunting colonialists and the English colonial system. Polly was sufficiently offensive to the powers-that-be that Lord Chamberlain declared it libelous and banned it from being rehearsed, which Gay writes about in his four-page preface. This is followed by a clever three-page introduction on the nature of sequels written in the form of a dialogue between a poet and actor. Contemporary armorial bookplate of Henry Streatfield on the front paste-down, father of the legendary beauty Sophia Streatfield (1755-1835). The Streatfield library was later sold by W. H. Robinson Ltd. On the front free endpaper is the bookplate of American collector Charles Walker Andrews, who has noted in pencil above the bookplate that he purchased this from Robinson in 1935.

Price: $500.00

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