« PreviousContinue »
SPOKEN BY A DANCER.
FIRST, my fear ; then, my courtly; laft
, my Speech. My fear is, your displeasure; my court'sy, my duty; and my speech, to beg your pardons. If ycu 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 difpleasing play, to pray your patience for it, and to promise you a better. I did mean, 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 promised you, I would be, and here I commit my body to your mercies : bate me fome, and I will pay you some, and, as most debtors do, promise you infinitely.
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 will I. 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 mucha cloy'd with fat meat, our humble author will continue the story with Sir John in it, and make you merry with
' 'This epilogue was merely occasional, and alludes to some theatricaltranfaction. JOHNSON.
2 All the gentlemen, &c.] The trick of influencing one part of the audience by the favour of the other, has been played already in the epilog'e tu As you like it. JOHNSON.
fair Catherine of France ; where, for any thing, I know, Falstaff ball die of a sweat, unless already be be killd with
your bard opinions ; 3 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, and so kneel down before you; but, indeed, to pray for the queen.
3 — for Oldcastle died a martyr, &c.] This alludes to a play in which Sir John Oldcastle was put for Falstaff. Pope.
The reader will find this assertion disputed in a note on the play of Henry the Fifth. STEEVENS.
END OF VOLUME THE FIFTH.