Henry Fielding

Henry Knight Miller (ed.), The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding: Miscellanies by Henry Fielding, Esq, Vol. 1

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pg 236AN INTERLUDE between Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, and Mercury.

Which was originally intended as an

introduction to a comedy,

called,

Jupiter's Descent on Earth1

SCENE I

1Jupiter, Juno
2

Jupiter. Pray be pacified.2

3

Juno. It is intolerable, insufferable, and I never will submit 4to it.

5

Jupiter. But, my Dear.

6

Juno. Good Mr. Jupiter, leave off that odious Word: You 7know I detest it. Use it to the Trollop Venus, and the rest of your 8Sluts. It sounds most agreeable to their Ears, but it is nauseous 9to a Goddess of strict Virtue.

10

Jupiter. Madam, I do not doubt your Virtue.

11

Juno. You don't? That is, I suppose, humbly insinuating that 12others do: But who are their Divinities? I would be glad to know 13who they are; they are neither Diana, nor Minerva, I am well 14assured; both of whom pity me; for they know your Tricks; 15they can neither of them keep a Maid of Honour for you. I desire 16you will treat me with Good-Manners at least.3 I should have had pg 2371that, if I had married a Mortal, tho' he had spent my Fortune, 2and lain with my Chamber-Maids, as you suffer Men to do with 3Impunity, highly to your Honour be it spoken.

4

Jupiter. Faith! Madam, I know but one Way to prevent them, 5which is, by annihilating Mankind; and I fancy your Friends 6below, the Ladies, would hardly thank you for obtaining that 7Favour at my Hands.

8

Juno. I desire you would not reflect on my Friends below; it is 9very well known, I never shewed any Favour, but to those of the 10purest, unspotted Characters. And all my Acquaintance, when 11I have been on the Earth, have been of that Kind: for I never 12return a Visit to any other.

13

Jupiter. Nay, I have no Inclination to find Fault with the 14Women of the Earth; you know I like them very well.1

15

Juno. Yes, the Trollops of the Earth, such as Venus converses 16with. You never shew any Civility to my Favourites, nor make 17the Men do it.

18

Jupiter. My Dear, give me Leave to say, your Favourites are 19such, that Man must be new made before he can be brought 20to give them the Preference: For when I moulded up the Clay 21of Man, I put not one Ingredient in to make him in Love with 22Ugliness, which is one of the most glaring Qualities in all your 23Favourites, whom I have ever seen; and you must not wonder, 24while you have such Favourites, that the Men slight them.

25

Juno. The Men slight them! I'd have you know, Sir, they 26slight the Men; and I can, at this Moment, hear not less than 27a Thousand railing at Mankind.

28

Jupiter. Ay, as I hear at this Instant several grave black 29Gentlemen railing at Riches, and enjoying them, or at least 30coveting them, at the same Time.2

31

Juno. Very fine! very civil! I understand your Comparison.— 32Well, Sir, you may go on giving an Example of a bad Husband, pg 2381but I will not give the Example of a tame Wife; and if you will 2not make Men better, I will go down to the Earth, and make 3Women worse; that every House may be too hot for a Husband, 4as I will shortly make Heaven for you.

5

Jupiter. That I believe you will—but if you begin your 6Project of making Women worse, I will take Hymen, and hang 7him; for I will take some Care of my Votaries, as well as you of 8yours.

SCENE II

9Enter Apollo
10

Apollo. Mr. Jupiter, Good-morrow to you.

11

Jupiter. Apollo, how dost thou?—You are a wise Deity, Apollo; 12prithee will you answer me one Question?

13

Apollo. To my best Ability.

14

Jupiter. You have been much conversant with the Affairs of 15Men, What dost thou think the foolishest Thing a Man can do?

16

Apollo. Turn Poet.

17

Jupiter. That is honest enough, as it comes from the God of 18Poets: But you have miss'd the Mark; for certainly, the foolishest 19Thing a Man can do, is to marry.

20

Apollo. Fie! What is it then in a God? who, besides that he 21ought to be wiser than Man, is tied for ever by his Immortality, 22and has not the Chance which you have given to Man, of getting 23rid of his Wife.

24

Jupiter. Apollo, thy Reproof is just; but let us talk of something 25else: for when I am out of the hearing my Wife, I beg I may 26never hear of her.

27

Apollo. Have you read any of those Books I brought you, just 28sent me by my Votaries upon Earth?

29

Jupiter. I have read them all.—The Poem is extremely fine, 30and the Similes most beautiful.—There is indeed one little 31Fault in the Similes.

32

Apollo. What is that?

33

Jupiter. There is not the least Resemblance between the Things 34compared together.

35

Apollo. One Half of the Simile is good, however.1

pg 2391

Jupiter. The Dedications please me extremely, and I am glad 2to find there are such excellent Men upon Earth.—There is 3one whom I find two or three Authors agree to be much better 4than any of us in Heaven are.1 This Discovery, together with 5my Wife's Tongue, has determined me to make a Trip to the 6Earth, and spend some Time in such God-like Company. 7Apollo, will you go with me?

8

Apollo. I would with all my heart, but I shall be of Disservice 9to you; for when I was last on Earth, tho' I heard of these People, 10I could not get Admission to any of them; you had better take 11Plutus2 with you, he is acquainted with them all.

12

Jupiter. Hang him, proud Rascal, of all the Deities he is my 13Aversion; I would have kick'd him out of Heaven long ago, 14but that I am afraid, if he was to take his Residence entirely 15upon the Earth, he would foment a Rebellion against me.

16

Apollo. Your Fear has too just a Ground, for the God of Riches 17has more Interest there, than all the other Gods put together: 18Nay, he has supplanted us in all our Provinces; he gives Wit 19to Men I never heard of, and Beauty to Women Venus never 20saw—Nay, he ventures to make free with Mars himself; and 21sometimes, they tell me, puts Men at the Head of Military 22Affairs, who never saw an Enemy, nor of whom an Enemy ever 23could see any other than the Back.3

24

Jupiter. Faith! it is surprizing, that a God whom I sent down 25to Earth when I was angry with Mankind, and who has done 26them more Hurt than all the other Deities, should ingratiate 27himself so far into their Favour.

28

Apollo. You may thank yourself, you might have made Man 29wiser if you would.

30

Jupiter. What, to laugh at? No, Apollo, believe me, Man far 31outdoes my Intention; and when I read in those little Histories 32called Dedications, how excellent he is grown, I am eager to 33be with him, that I may make another Promotion to the Stars; 34and here comes my Son of Fortune to accompany us.

pg 240SCENE III

2Mercury, Jupiter, Apollo 3[Mercury kneels.]
4

Mercury. Pray, Father Jupiter, be pleased to bless me.

5

Jupiter. I do, my Boy. What Part of Heaven, pray, have you 6been spending your Time in?

7

Mercury. With some Ladies of your Acquaintance, Apollo. 8I have been at Blind-man's-buff with the Nine Muses: But 9before we began to play, we had charming Sport between Miss 10Thally and one of the Poets: Such a Scene of Courtship or 11Invocation as you call it. Say, O Thalia, cries the Bard; and then 12he scratches his Head: And then, Say, O Thalia, again; and 13repeated it an hundred times over; but the devil a Word 14would she say.

15

Apollo. She's a humoursome little Jade, and if she takes it into 16her Head to hold her Tongue, not all the Poets on Earth can 17open her Lips.

18

Jupiter. I wish Juno had some of her Frolicks, with all my 19Heart.

20

Mercury. No, my Mother-in-law1 is of a Humour quite con-21trary—

22

Jupiter. Ay; for which Reason I intend to make an Elopement 23from her, and pay a short Visit to our Friends on Earth. Son 24Mercury, you shall along with me.

25

Mercury. Sir, I am at your Disposal: But pray, what is the 26Reason of this Visit?

27

Jupiter. Partly my Wife's Temper, and partly some Informa-28tions I have lately received, of the prodigious Virtue of Mankind; 29which if I find as great as represented, I believe I shall leave 30Madam Juno for Good-and-all, and live entirely amongst Men.

31

Mercury. I shall be glad to be introduced by you into the 32Company of these virtuous Men; for I am quite weary of the 33little Rogues you put me at the Head of. The last time I was on 34the Earth, I believe I had three Sets of my Acquaintance hang'd 35in one Year's Revolution, and not one Man of any reputable 36Condition among them; there were indeed one or two condemned, pg 2411but, I don't know how, they were found to be honest at last. And 2I must tell you, Sir, I will be God of Rogues no longer, if you 3suffer it to be an establish'd Maxim, that no Rich Man can be 4a Rogue.

5

Jupiter. We'll talk of that hereafter. I'll now go put on my 6travelling Cloaths, order my Charge, and be ready for you in half 7an Hour.

SCENE IV

9Apollo, Mercury
10

Mercury. Do you know the true Reason of this Expedition?

11

Apollo. The great Virtue of Mankind, he tells us.

12

Mercury. The little Virtue of Womankind rather—Do you 13know him no better, than to think he would budge a Step after 14human Virtue: Besides, Where the devil should he find it, if he 15would?

16

Apollo. You have not read the late Dedications of my Votaries.

17

Mercury. Of my Votaries, you mean: I hope you will not 18dispute my Title to the Dedications, as the God of Thieves. You 19make no Distinction, I hope, between robbing with a Pistol and 20with a Pen.

21

Apollo. My Votaries Robbers, Mr. Mercury?

Critical Apparatus22

Mercury. Yes, Mr. Apollo; did not my Lord Chancellor Minos1 Critical Apparatus23decree me the Lawyers for the same Reason? Would not he be 24a Rogue who should take a Man's Money for persuading him 25he was a Lord or a Baronet, when he knew he was no such Thing? 26Is not he equally such, who picks his Pocket by heaping Virtues 27on him which he knows he has no Title to? These Fellows 28prevent the very Use of Praise, which while only the Reward of 29Virtue, will always invite Men to it; but when it is to be bought, 30will be despised by the True Deserving, equally with a Ribbon 31or a Feather, which may be bought by any one in a Milliner's or 32a Minister's Shop.2

33

Apollo. Very well! At this Rate you will rob me of all my 34Panegyrical Writers.

pg 2421

Mercury. Ay, and of your Satirical Writers too, at least a great 2many of 'em; for unjust Satire is as bad as unjust Panegyrick.

3

Apollo. If it is unjust indeed—But, Sir, I hope you have no 4Claim to my Writers of Plays, Poems, which have neither Satire 5nor Panegyrick in 'em.

6

Mercury. Yes, Sir, to all who are Thieves and steal from one 7another.

8

Apollo. Methinks, Sir, you should not reflect thus on Wits to 9me, who am the God of Wit.

10

Mercury. Hey-day, Sir, nor you on Thieves, to me who am 11the God of Thieves. We have no such Reason to quarrel about 12our Votaries, they are much of the same Kind: For as it is a 13Proverb, That all Poets are poor:1 so is it a Maxim, That all poor 14Men are Rogues.

15

Apollo. Sir, Sir, I have Men of Quality that write.

16

Mercury. Yes, Sir, and I have Men of Quality that rob; but 17neither are the one Poets, or the other Rogues: For as the one 18can write without Wit, so can the other rob without Roguery. 19They call it Privilege, I think;2 Jupiter I suppose gave it them; 20and instead of quarrelling with one another, I think it would 21be wiser in us to unite in a Petition to my Father that he would 22revoke it, and put them on a Footing with our other Votaries.

23

Apollo. It is in vain to petition him any thing against Mankind 24at present, he is in such Good-humour with them; if they should 25sour his Temper, at his Return perhaps he may be willing to do 26us Justice.

27

Mercury. It shall be my Fault if he is not in a worse Humour 28with them; at least, I will take care he shall not be deceived: 29And that might happen; for Men are such Hypocrites, that the pg 2431greatest Part deceive even themselves, and are much worse than 2they think themselves to be.

3

Apollo. And Jupiter you know, tho' he is the greatest, is far 4from being the wisest of the Gods.

5

Mercury. His own Honesty makes him the less suspicious of 6others; for, except in regard to Women, he is as honest a Fellow 7as any Deity in all the Elysian Fields: But I shall make him wait 8for me—Dear Mr. Apollo, I am your humble Servant.

9

Apollo. My dear Mercury, a good Journey to you; at your 10Return, I shall be glad to drink a Bottle of Nectar with you.

11

Mercury. I shall be proud to kiss your Hands.

The End of the First Volume.pg 244

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
1 Nothing is known of this comedy. The most likely date for the Interlude would seem to be in the years 1736–7, when Fielding was managing the Little Theatre in the Haymarket; the burlesque treatment of mythological characters was also a feature of Fielding's Tumble-Down Dick in 1736 and Eurydice in 1737.
Editor’s Note
2 The opening and some of the other material in this scene between Jupiter and Juno repeat the dialogue of the first scene in Fielding's Good-Natured Man (posthumously titled The Fathers); he apparently stole from himself some material he did not expect to publish in play form.
Editor’s Note
3 A phrase repeated by Mrs. Boncour in The Fathers, i. i; Laetitia in Jonathan Wild, iii. viii; and Mrs. James in Amelia, xi. i.
Editor’s Note
1 Cf. Defoe's indignant lines on Jove: 'His rampant Vices the Creation Vex, / And make one General Whore of either Sex'; to which the note is added: 'Danae, Calisto, Alcmena, Semele, Leda, Antiope, Europa, and innumerable others, where [sic] his Whores; whom he Debauched, some by one Method, some by another' (Jure Divino, 1706, Book I, p. 9). Defoe continues: 'And Juno's made the Billingsgate o' th' Sky', with the note: 'The Wife of Jupiter Jealous of him, as well she might, Quarrelling with him or his Whores, and therefore represented Clamorous. Tantaene animis Coelestibus irae? Virgil' (Book I, p. 10).
Editor’s Note
2 Cf. Pope's version of Donne, Sat. ii. 81: 'Not more of Simony beneath black Gowns' (Twickenham edn., iv. 141); and Fielding's note to The Vernoniad, 244.
Editor’s Note
1 Cf. Jonathan Wild, i. xiv: 'one Part of my Simile is sufficiently apparent, (and indeed, in all these Illustrations one Side is generally much more apparent than the other)….'
Editor’s Note
1 Probably George II. In Jove's determination to visit earth, Fielding doubtless intends a reverse parody of Ovid, Metam. i. 210 ff.
Editor’s Note
2 Cf. Fielding's translation, with William Young, of the Plutus of Aristophanes. On Plutus, symbol of Wealth, see Hesiod, Theogony, 969–74, and Diodorus Siculus, v. xlix. 4 and lxxvii. 1–2.
Editor’s Note
3 Among many such complaints in Fielding, cf. Amelia, xi. ii.
Editor’s Note
1 Hermes' mother was, of course, Maia.
Critical Apparatus
241.22 Minos] W; Midos M.
Critical Apparatus
241.22 Minos] Midos M.
Editor’s Note
1 The mythical Cretan king, judge of the shades in the underworld (Homer, Od. xi. 568; Plato, Apol. 41 a). Cf. A Journey from This World to the Next, i. vii, and The Authors Farce (rev. edn.), iii. i. The text reads 'Midos' (see Textual Notes); this could scarcely be an error for 'Midas', whose story is irrelevant in this context.
Critical Apparatus
241.23 Reason?] W; ⁓. M.
Editor’s Note
2 Cf. Swift, Gulliver's Travels, i. iii.
Editor’s Note
1 Cf. Marlowe, Hero and Leander, i. 469–71; and Burton, Anat. Melancholy, i. 2. 3. 15: 'Poetry and Beggary are gemelli, twin-born brats, inseparable companions' (ed. Shilleto, i. 350).
Editor’s Note
2 'Privilege of Parliament, the immunities enjoyed by either house of parliament, or by individual members, as such; as freedom of speech, freedom from arrest in civil matters, the power of committing persons to prison; similarly of other legislative assemblies; so privilege of peerage, of peers' (OED). Cf. Otway, Venice Preserv'd, i. i, where Pierre, having beaten an old lustful Senator, says:
  • The Matter was complain'd of in the Senate,
  • I summon'd to appear, and censur'd basely,
  • For violating something they call Privilege
(Works, 1768, iii. 234).
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