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Is in base durance and contagious prison;
[Shouts within, and the trumpets sound. Pist. There roar'd the sea, and trumpet-clangor sounds.
Enter the King and his Train, the Chief Justice
Fal. God save thy grace, King Hal; my royal Hal!
Pist. The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame!
Fal. God save thee, my sweet boy!
King. I know thee not, old man: fall to thy prayers; How ill white hairs become a fool and jester! I have long dream'd of such a kind of man, So surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane; But, being awake, I do despise my dream. Make less thy body hence, and more thy grace; Leave gormandizing; know the grave doth gape For thee thrice wider than for other men. Reply not to me with a fool-born jest: Presume not that I am the thing I was; For God doth know, so shall the world perceive, That I have turn'd away my former self; So will I those that kept me company. When thou dost hear I am as I have been, Approach me, and thou shalt be as thou wast, The tutor and the feeder of my riots : Till then I banish thee, on pain of death,As I have done the rest of my misleaders, Not to come near our person by ten mile. For competence of life I will allow you, That lack of means enforce you not to evil: And, as we hear you do reform yourselves, We will, according to your strength and qualities, Give you
advancement. -Be it your charge, my lord, To see perform’d the tenor of our word. Set on.
[Exeunt KING and his Train. Fal. Master Shallow, I owe you a thousand pound.
Shal. Yea, marry, Sir John; which I beseech you to let me have home with me.
Fal. That can hardly be, Master Shallow. Do not you grieve at this; I shall be sent for in private to him: look you, he must seem thus to the world: fear not your advancement; I will be the man yet that shall make you great.
Shal. I cannot perceive how,-unless you give me your doublet, and stuff me out with straw. I beseech you, good Sir John, let me have five hundred of my thousand.
Fal. Sir, I will be as good as my word: this that you heard was but a colour.
Shal. A colour, I fear, that you will die in, Sir John. Fal. Fear no colours: go with me to dinner.—Come, Lieutenant Pistol ;-come, Bardolph:- I shall be sent for soon at night.
Re-enter PRINCE JOHN, the Chief-Justice, Officers, &c.
Ch. Just. Go, carry Sir John Falstaff to the Fleet; Take all his company along with him.
Fal. My lord, my lord,
Ch. Just. I cannot now speak: I will hear you soon.Take them away. Pist. Se fortuna mi tormenta, lo sperare mi contenta.
[Exeunt FAL., SHAL., Dist., BARD., Page, and Officers.
P. John. I will lay odds that ere this year expire
EPILOGUE.--Spoken by a Dancer. First my fear; then my court'sy; last my speech. My fear is, your displeasure; my court’sy, 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 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 some, 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. 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 cloyed with fat meat, our humble author will continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make you merry with fair Katharine of France: where, for anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already he 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: and so kneel down before you; -but, indeed, to pray for the queen.