Of Huguenot extraction, John Durant Breval was the son of a prebendary of Westminster. He entered Trinity College Cambridge as a pensioner in 1697 (B.A. 1701; M.A. 1704; Fellow 1703-08); in 1708 he quarreled with Richard Bentley and lost his fellowship. Breval served in the army under Marlborough before becoming a Whig pen-for-hire and target of Pope's Dunciad. He wrote under the pseudonym "Joseph Gay."
The art of dress. A poem. 1717.
Calpe, or Gibraltar. A poem. 1717.
The confederates: a farce, by Mr. Gay. 1717.
Mac-Dermot, or the Irish fortune-hunter: a poem in six cantos. 1717.
The play is the plot: a comedy. 1718.
A compleat key to the Non-juror [Cibber], by Mr. Joseph Gay. 1718.
The church-scuffle: or, news from St. Andrew's. A ballad. 1719.
Ovid in Masquerade: being a burlesque ... by Mr. Joseph Gay. 1719.
The church-scuffle, or news from St. Andrews: a ballad written by Mr. Joseph Gay. 1719.
Remarks on several parts of Europe. 2 vols, 1723.
The strollers, a farce. 1727.
Remarks on several parts of Europe. 4 vols, 1726-38.
Henry and Minerva. A poem. 1729.
The lure of Venus, or a harlot's progress: an heroi-comical poem. In six cantos. By Mr. Joseph Gay. Founded upon Mr. Hogarth's six prints of a Harlot's progress. 1733.
Morality in vice: an heroi-comic poem. 1733.
The history of the house of Nassau. 1734.
The rape of Helen, a mock opera. 1737.