In that year James Craggs the secretary of state presented him with some South Sea stock. Pope had urged him to undertake this task in order to ridicule the Arcadian pastorals of Ambrose Philips who had been praised by a short-lived contemporary publication The Guardian to the neglect of Pope's claims as the first pastoral writer of the age and the true English Theocritus. In January 1717 he produced the comedy Three Hours after Marriage which was grossly indecent without being amusing and a failure.
He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728) a ballad opera. The characters including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum became household names.