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.