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Sos. No, I thank you; you may whistle me long enough; a beaten dog has always the wit to avoid his master.
Merc. I permit thee to be Sosia again.
Sos. 'Tis an unfortunate name, and I abandon it: he that has an itch to be beaten, let him take it up for Sosia;What have I said now! I mean for me; for I neither am nor will be Sosia.
Merc. But thou may'st be so in safety ; for I have acknowledged myself to be god Mercury.
Sos. You may be a god, for aught I know; but the devil take me if ever I worship you, for an unmerciful deity as you are.
Merc. You ought to take it for an honour to be drubbed by the hand of a divinity.
Sos. I am your most humble servant, good Mr God; but, by the faith of a mortal, I could well have spared the honour that you did me. But how shall I be sure that you will never assume my shape
Merc. Because I am weary of wearing so villainous an outside.
Sos. Well, well; as villainous as it is, here's old Bromia will be contented with it. Brom. Yes, now I am sure that I
chastise you safely, and that there's no god lurking under your appearance.
Sos. Ay; but you had best take heed how you attempt it; for, as Mercury has turned himself into me, so I may take the toy into my head, and turn myself into Mercury, that I may swinge you off condignly.
Merc. In the mean time, be all my witnesses, that I take Phædra for my wife of the left hand; that is, in the nature of a lawful concubinę.
Phaed. You shall pardon me for believing you, for all you are a god; for you have a terrible ill name below; and I am afraid you'll get a footman, instead of a priest, to marry us. Merc. But here's Gripus shall draw up
articles betwixt us.
Phaed. But he's damnably used to false conveyancing Well, be it so; for my counsel shall overlook them before I sign.—Come on, Gripus, that I may have him under black and white.
[Here GRIPUS gets ready pen, ink, and paper. Merc. With all my heart, that I may have thee under black and white hereafter.
Phaed. [To Gripus.] Begin, beġin-Heads of articles to be made, &c. betwixt Mercury, god of thieves
Merc. And Phædra, queen of gypsies. ---Imprimis, I promise to buy and settle upon her an estate, containing nine thousand acres of land, in any part of Bæotia, to her own liking:
Phaed. Provided always, that nó part of the said nine thousand acres shall be upon, or adjoining to, Mount Parnassus; for I will not be fobbed off with a poetical estate.
Merc. Memorandum, that she be always constant to me, and admit of no other lover.
Phæd. Memorandum, unless it be a lover that offers more; and that the constancy shall not ex: ceed the settlement.
Merc. Item, that she shall keep no male servants in her house: Item, no rival lap-dog for a bed-fellow: Item, that she shall never pray to any of the gods.
Phaed. What, would you have me an atheist? Merc. No devotion to any he-deity, good Phædra. Brom. Here's no provision made for children yet.
Phaed. Well remembered, Bromia; I bargain that my eldest son shall be a hero, and my eldest daughter a king's mistress.
Merc. That is to say, a blockhead, and a harlot, Phædra.
Phaed. That's true; but who dares call them so? Then, for the younger children-But now I think on't, we'll have no more, but Mass and Miss; for the rest would be but chargeable, and a burden to the nation.
Merc. Yes, yes; the second shall be a false prophet: he shall have wit enough to set up a new religion, and too much wit to die a martyr for it.
Phaed. () what had I forgot? there's pin-money, and alimony, and separate maintenance, and a thousand things more to be considered, that are all to be tacked to this act of settlement.
Sos. I am a fool, I must confess; but yet I can see as far into a mill-stone as the best of
I have observed, that you women-wits are commonly so quick upon the scent, that you often over-run it: now I would ask of Madam Phædra, that in case Mr Heaven there should be pleased to break these articles, in what court of judicature she intends to sue him?
Phaed. The fool has hit upon't:--Gods, and great
TRYON, ALCMENA, Polidas, and Tranio, all
And told us, we should see him soon return.
Alcm. I know not what to hope, nor what to fear, A simple error is a real crime, And unconsenting innocence is lost. A second peal of Thunder. After which, JUPITER
appears in a Machine. Jup. Look up, Amphitryon, and behold, above, The impostor god, the rival of thy love; In thy own shape see Jupiter appear, And let that sight secure thy jealous fear. Disgrace, and infamy, are turned to boast; No fame, in Jove's concurrence, can be lost: What he enjoys, he sanctifies from vice, And, by partaking, stamps into a price. "Tis I who ought to murmur at my fate, Forced by my love my godhead to translate; When on no other terms I could
possess, But by thy form, thy features, and thy dress. To thee were given the blessings that I sought, Which else, not all the bribes of heaven had bought, Then take into thy arms thy envied love, And, in his own despite, triumph o'er Jove.
Merc. Amphitryon and Alcmena both stand mute, and know not how to take it.
[Aside Sos. Our sovereign lord Jupiter is a sly companion; he knows how to gild a bitter pill.. [Aside.
Jup. From this auspicious night shall rise an heir, Great like his sire, and like his mother fair: Wrongs to redress, and tyrants to disseize; Born for a world that wants a Hercules. Monsters, and monster-men he shall engage, And toil, and struggle, through an impious age. Peace to his labours shall at length succeed; And murmuring men, unwilling to be freed, Shall be compelled to happiness, by need.
[JUPITER is carried back to Hearen.
Omnes. We all congratulate Amphitryon.
your congratulations to yourselves,
Tis a nice point, let me tell you that; and the less that's said of it the better. Upon the whole matter, if Amphitryon takes the favour of Jupiter in patience, as from a god, he's a good heathen.
Sos. I must take a little extraordinary pains tonight, that my spouse may come even with her lady, and produce a squire to attend on young Hercules, when he goes out to seek adventures; that, when his master kills a man, he may stand ready to pick his pockets, and piously relieve his aged parents. Ah, Bromia, Bromia, if thou hadst been as handsome and as young as Phædra !- I say no more, but somebody might have made his fortunes as well as his master, and never the worse man neither.
For, let the wicked world say what they please,