(stage directions). EPILOGUE.
Dancer. First my fear, then my curtsy, last my speech. My fear, is your
displeasure; my curtsy, my duty; and my speech, to beg your pardons.
If you look for a good speech now, you undo me; for what I have
to say is of mine own making; and what, indeed, I should say will, I doubt,
prove mine own marring. But to the purpose, and so to the
Be it known to you, as it is very well, I was lately here in the
end of a displeasing play, to pray your patience for it and to
promise you a better. I meant, indeed, to pay you with this; which if like an
ill venture it come unluckily home, I break, and you, my gentle
creditors, lose. Here I promis'd you I would be, and here I
commit my body to your mercies. Bate me some, and I will pay you some,
and, as most debtors do, promise you infinitely; and so I kneel down
before you—but, indeed, to pray for the Queen.
If my tongue cannot entreat you to acquit me, will you command
me to use my legs? And yet that were but light payment—to dance out of
your debt. But a good conscience will make any possible
satisfaction, and so would I. All the gentlewomen here have
forgiven me. If the gentlemen will not, then the gentlemen do not agree
with the gentlewomen, which was never seen before in such an assembly.
One word more, I beseech you. If you be not too much cloy'd
with fat meat, our humble author will continue the story, with Sir John in
it, and make you merry with fair Katherine of France; where, for
anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already 'a
be killed with your hard opinions; for Oldcastle died a martyr and
this is not the man. My tongue is weary; when my legs are too, I will
bid you good night.