The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 9. Miscellanies
Seven years were to pass before the novel which justly earned him that title was published. Meanwhile, Fielding, who appears to have been still attempting to gain a practice at the bar, had not relinquished writing. In or about April, 1743, a little more than a year after the publication of Joseph Andrews, he issued by subscription three volumes of Miscellanies. The first volume contains a preface, largely autobiographical, followed by some poems. Fielding’s poetry is almost negligible in view of his other work, though the songs in his plays have plenty of spirit. The poems included in the Miscellanies are mainly early compositions, “productions of the heart rather than of the head,” as he calls them. They include love poems and light verse, addressed to Charlotte Cradock and others, and episties, together with some prose essays. The second volume contains more interesting matter: the long Lucianic fragment, A Journey from this World to the Next, which begins with some of Fielding’s happiest satire in the coach-driver of the spirits from earth. The judgment of Minos affords more excellent fun; and the talk of Homer (with Mme. Dacier in his lap), Addison, Shakespeare, Dryden and others is good. Then come sixteen less interesting chapters on the migrations of the soul of the emperor Julian, the tale of which remains incomplete; and, in a final chapter, Anne Boleyn relates her life.