Henry IV, Part II "We Owe God A Death"
by William Shakespeare

Henry IV, Part II book cover
Start Your Free Trial

"We Owe God A Death"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Download Henry IV, Part II Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Context: Sir John Falstaff, rude and roguish knight, recruits men for the army of King Henry IV, who is beset by rebellion and by ill-health. In Gloucestershire at the house of Justice Shallow, Falstaff and his corporal Bardolph survey the available men. Some of the more likely candidates approach Bardolph with excuses and bribes to avoid service, but Feeble announces that he is willing to serve "his prince" since every man must die at his destined time anyway:

FEEBLEBy my troth I care not, a man can die but once, we owe God a death. I'll ne'er bear a base mind. An't be my destiny, so; an't be not, so; no man's too good to serve's prince. And let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.BARDOLPHWell said, thou'rt a good fellow.FEEBLEFaith I'll bear no base mind.