[Spoken by a 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 venture. 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.
Content of EPILOGUE
King Henry IV, Part 2, a historical play/drama by William Shakespeare
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Table of content of King Henry IV Part 2
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