| The complete title of this book is: PLAYS Written By Mr. JOHN GAY, viz. The CAPTIVES, a Tragedy. The BEGGAR'S OPERA. POLLY, or, the SECOND PART of the BEGGAR'S OPERA. ACHILLES, an Opera. The DISTRESS'D WIFE, a Comedy. The REHEARSAL at GOATHAM, a Farce. To which is added, An Account of the Life and Writings of the AUTHOR.
The book was published at London for J. and R. Tonson, in the Strand.
The author, John Gay, was born in the year 1685 at Barnstaple, Devon, England. Orphaned at a early age, he was raised by an uncle, and when of age, was apprenticed to a silk merchant. By the time John was in his twenties, he was serving as the secretary to the Duchess of Monmouth, and from that point on his life was intertwined among the aristocracy and artists of his age. His literary friends included Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. John Gay died at the age of forty-seven in 1732. He was buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.