Epilogue

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As You Like It

Epilogue.
ROSALINDIt is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue;
but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord
the prologue. If it be true that good wine needs
no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no
epilogue; yet to good wine they do use good bushes,
and good plays prove the better by the help of good
epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am
neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with
you in the behalf of a good play! I am not
furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not10
become me: my way is to conjure you; and I’ll begin
with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love
you bear to men, to like as much of this play as
please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love
you bear to women–as I perceive by your simpering,
none of you hates them–that between you and the
women the play may please. If I were a woman I
would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased
me, complexions that liked me and breaths that I
defied not: and, I am sure, as many as have good20
beards or good faces or sweet breaths will, for my
kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.
[Exeunt]

Next: As You Like It, Scenes
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Explanatory notes for the Epilogue
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
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This was spoken by the boy, who was playing the part of Rosalind, in his own person directly to the audience.

Line 1. It … fashion: It was not the custom, in Shakespeare’s time, to assign the prologue to any of the actors.

2. unhandsome: improper.

3. good wine … bush: A proverb referring to the ancient custom of vintners of advertising their wares by hanging a tuft of ivy at their doors.

17. If … woman: All the actors on the Elizabethan stage, even those who played the parts of women, were men. [Please click here for more on this subject.]

18. liked: pleased.

19. defied: disliked.

22. bid me farewell: How will the audience bid farewell?