Famous Last Words

In ‘Les Triumphes de messire Françoiz Petrarque, nouvellement translatées de langaige vulgaire (add. tuscan) en françoiz’. 16th century
  • Peter Abelard, Twelfth Century Philosopher:
    “I don’t know”
  • Archimedes, Greek mathematician, to a Roman soldier while working on an equation in the sand:
    “Don’t disturb my circles” (Μὴ μοὺ τους κύκλους τάραττε).
  • John Adams, US president:
    “Thomas Jefferson still lives.” (Adams was unaware that Jefferson had actually died only hours before.)
  • John Quincy Adams, US president:
    “This is the last of earth! I am content.”
  • Joseph Addison, writer:
    “See in what peace a Christian can die.”
  • Agrippina, mother of the Roman Emperor Nero:
    “Smite my womb.” (Spoken to assassins sent by her son.)
  • Louisa Alcott, author:
    “Is it not meningitis?”
  • Ethan Allen, American revolutionary general, upon being told “the angels are waiting for you”:
    “Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well – let ’em wait.”
  • Salvador Allende, President of Chile (1970-1973), upon being given a general’s offer to flee in face of a military coup,
    “Tell General von Schouwen that the president of Chile does not flee in a plane. As he knows how a soldier should act, I will know how to fulfill my duty as president of the republic.”
  • George Appel, a gangster, about to be executed by electrocution:
    “Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.”
  • Lady Astor, First female member of Parliament, upon awaking to find herself surrounded by her entire family:
    “Am I dying or is this my birthday?”
  • J. M. Barrie, writer:
    “I can’t sleep.”
  • Ethel Barrymore, actress:
    “Are you happy? I’m happy.”
  • John Barrymore, actor:
    “Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.” or “You heard me, Mike.”
  • Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury:
    “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the church I am ready to embrace death.”
  • Henry Ward Beecher, evangelist:
    “Now comes the mystery.”
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, 18th century German composer, having just been given Last Rites:
    “Friends applaud, the comedy is over.”
  • Alexander Graham Bell:
    “So little done, so much to do.”
  • Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney and Billy the Kid:
    “¿Quién es?” (“Who is it?”)
  • Simón Bolívar, to his physician:
    “The three biggest fools in the world have been Jesus Christ, Don Quixote, and… me.”
  • Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII, beheaded:
    “Oh God, have pity on my soul. Oh God, have pity on my soul.”
    Napoleon Bonaparte:
    “France! Army! Head of the Army! Josephine…”
  • John Wilkes Booth, actor, assassin of Abraham Lincoln:
    “Tell mother I died for my country… useless… useless.”
  • Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian:
    “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”
  • Lenny Bruce, stand-up comic and satirist:
    “Does anybody know where I can get some shit?” (meaning some heroin)
  • Buddha:
    “And now, O priests, I take my leave of you; all the elements of being are transitory. Work out your salvation with diligence.”
  • Luther Burbank:
    “I don’t feel good.”
  • Lord Byron:
    “Now I shall go to sleep. Good night.”
  • Julius Caesar, Roman dictator:
    “και συ τεκνον;” (Kai su, teknon?, Greek for “Even you, my son?”)—popularized as “Et tu, Brute?” (“Even you, Brutus?”) by Shakespeare’s
  • Julius Caesar.
    Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, stabbed to death by his own guards (as reported by Tacitus):
    “I am still alive!”
  • Donald Campbell, during the attempt on the world water speed record, as Bluebird flipped out of the water and crashed:
    “The water’s dark green and I can’t see a bloody thing. Hallo the bow is up. I’m going. I’m on my back. I’m gone.”
  • John Calhoun, Nineteenth century American politician:
    “The South! The poor South! God knows what will become of her”
  • Cassanova, world’s most famous lover:
    “I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian.”
  • Anton Chekhov, Russian author and medic, sipped a glass of Champagne and said:
    “Ich sterbe” (“I am dying”, in German).
  • Charlie Chaplin, actor, after a priest said “May the Lord have mercy on your soul”:
    “Why not? After all, it belongs to him.”
  • Charles II, King of England
    “Let not poor Nelly [ Nell Gwynne ] starve” or “I am sorry to be such an unconscionably long time a-dying”.
  • Christine Chubbuck, American television news reporter, shortly before shooting herself in the head during a live broadcast:
    “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts in living color, we bring you another first, an attempted suicide.”
  • Winston Churchill:
    “Everything is so boring.”
  • Kurt Cobain, quoting Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)”, found in Cobain’s suicide note.
    “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
  • Auguste Comte, philosopher:
    “What an irreparable loss!”
  • Noel Coward:
    “Good night, my darlings. I’ll see you in the morning.”
  • Joan Crawford:
    “Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”1
  • General George Armstrong Custer (attributed):
    “Hurrah, boys, we’ve got them! We’ll finish them up and then go home to our station.”
  • Charles de Gaulle, former President of the French Republic
    “I feel a pain here” or “It hurts”
  • Emily Dickinson, 19th century poet:
    “I must go in, the fog is rising.”
  • Joe DiMaggio, baseball player, American legend:
    “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”
  • R. Budd Dwyer, speaking to panicked journalists about the gun he was about to put in his mouth:
    “This thing will hurt someone.”
  • Amelia Earhart,
    “We are running north and south.”
  • George Eastman:
    “My work is done, why wait?”
  • Thomas Edison, inventor:
    “It’s very beautiful over there.”
  • The last words of Albert Einstein remain unknown. He said them in his native German but the only person present was an American nurse who only spoke English.
  • Elizabeth I, Queen of England:
    “All my possessions for a moment of time.”
  • Leonhard Euler, mathematician:
    “I die.”
  • Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.:
    “Never felt better.”
  • Thomas de Mahay Favras, upon being handed his official death sentence as he was led to the scaffold during the Reign of Terror:
    “I see that you have made three spelling mistakes”
  • William J. Fetterman:
    “Give me 80 men and I’ll ride through the whole Sioux nation.”
  • Richard Feynman, Physicist:
    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
  • W.C. Fields:
    “God damn the whole friggin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.”
  • Millard Fillmore, thirteenth U.S. president, upon being fed some soup on his deathbed:
    “The nourishment is palatable.”
  • Adolf Fischer, German anarchist, before his hanging:
    “This is the happiest moment of my life.”
  • James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy during World War II (quoted from Ajax by Sophocles, found in Forrestal’s suicide note):
    “Frenzy hath seized thy dearest son, Who from thy shores in glory came
    The first in valor and in fame;
    Thy deeds that he hath done
    Seem hostile all to hostile eyes…
    Better to die, and sleep
    The never waking sleep, than linger on,
    And dare to live, when the soul’s life is gone.”
  • Benjamin Franklin, when asked to roll over on the bed so he could breathe more easily:
    “A dying man can do nothing easy.”
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, whose assassination set off the First World War:
    “It is nothing. It is nothing.”
  • James French, sentenced to death in the electric chair:
    “How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’.”
  • Sigmund Freud:
    “My dear Schur, you remember our first talk. You promised to help me when I could no longer carry on. It is only torture now, and it has no longer any sense.”
  • Charles Frohman:
    “Why fear death? Death is only a beautiful adventure.”
  • John Wayne Gacy: serial killer;
    After being led into the death chamber, Gacy was asked if he had any last words, to which he replied: “Yeah; Kiss my ass.”
  • Mahatma Gandhi, India’s “Father of the Nation” – after being shot. These words are also inscribed on Gandhi’s memorial, the Raj Ghat.
    “Hai Ram!” (or) “Oh! Lord(Rama)”
  • Genghis Khan:
    “Let not my end disarm you, and on no account weep or keen for me, lest the enemy be warned of my death.”
  • George V, King of the United Kingdom:
    “Bugger Bognor!” or “How is the Empire?”
  • Gary Gilmore, executed by firing squad:
    “Let’s do it.”
  • George Gipp, American football player, according to his former coach, Knute Rockne, who went on to use these words at halftime to inspire the Notre Dame team to victory in a game against Army in 1928:
    “Rock, sometime, when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell ’em to go out there with all they got, and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.” (That Gipp actually said this is in dispute; that Rockne told it to his players is not. Notre Dame came from behind to win the game, 12-6.)
  • Jimmy Glass, murderer, while sitting in the Louisiana electric chair:
    “I’d rather be fishing.”
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th century poet, novelist, playwright, scientist and thinker:
    “Light! More light!” (Disputed)
  • Irwin Goodman, Finnish musician:
    “Don’t get nervous now.”
  • Barbara Graham, convicted murderer to executioner Joe Feretti who was in charge of her 1955 gas-chamber execution. “Now take a deep breath and it won’t bother you”, Feretti said. To which Barbara retorted:
    “How in the hell would you know?”
  • Joseph Henry Green, British surgeon, after checking his own pulse:
  • Gregory VII:
    “I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile.”
  • Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary and Cuban guerrilla leader:
    “Just shoot, you coward. You are only killing a man!”
  • Benjamin Guggenheim supposedly said during the sinking of the RMS Titanic:
    “Dressed in our best, prepared to go down like gentlemen.”
  • Edmund Gwenn, English stage actor:
    “Dying is easy. Comedy is difficult.”
  • Amon Göth, a Nazi, before he was hanged in 1946:
    “Heil Hitler”
  • Nathan Hale, before being executed:
    “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
  • Hamlet, fictional Prince of Denmark:
    “The rest is silence.”
  • Robert Alton Harris, put to death in the gas chamber:
    “You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the grim reaper.”
  • George Harrison:
    A quote from Paramahansa Yogananda: “Everything can wait, but the search for God cannot wait.” He then added, “and love one another.”
  • Georg Hegel:
  • “Only one man ever understood me. And he really didn’t understand me.”
  • Heinrich Heine, German poet (died of syphilis):
    “God will forgive me–that’s his job.”
  • Bill Hicks, comedian. He lived for another two weeks after speaking these words, but never spoke again.
    “I’ve said all I have to say.”
  • Robert Karl Hicks, executed by lethal injection in Georgia:
    “Come get me.”
  • Joe Hill, labour union activist, executed by firing squad:
    “Don’t mourn for me. Organize!” (It has also been said that, as the firing squad was preparing, and their commander yelled, “Ready… aim…” Hill said, “Fire,” as if in one last act of rebellion, to show them that he wasn’t afraid.)
  • Thomas Hobbes:
    “I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.”
  • Doc Holliday: gambler, gunfighter.
    “This is funny.”
  • Victor Hugo, French writer:
    “I see a black light.”
  • Jan Hus, Czech reformist, burnt on stake:
    “O sancta simplicitas!” (trans. “O, holy simplicity!”)
  • Henrik Ibsen, after his housekeeper told a guest he was feeling better:
    “On the contrary!”
  • Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate general:
    “Let us cross the river and rest in the shade of the trees.”
  • Milton Jacobs, chemist, geologist, electrical engineer, layman physicist, sailor for the US Navy and World War II veteran, spoken before slipping into a dementia induced coma:
    “I used to know a lot, now I don’t know nuttin'”.
  • Alfred Jarry, French playwrite and absurdist:
    “I am dying, please…bring me a toothpick.”
  • Jeanne d’Arc:
    “Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames!”
  • Thomas Jefferson, third US president:
    “Is it the Fourth?”
  • Jesus Christ:
    “It is finished.” per John 19:30
    “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” per Mark 15:34-5 and Matthew 27:46
    “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” per Luke 23:46
  • Pope John Paul II:
    “Let me go to the house of the father [ Lord ]. Amen.”
  • David A. Johnston, US volcanologist:
    “Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!” reporting on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens
  • Al Jolson:
    “This is it! I’m going. I’m going.”
  • James Joyce:
    “Does no one understand it?”
  • Charles Foster Kane, fictional newspaper tycoon:
  • Ned Kelly (before being hanged):
    “Such is life.”
  • John F. Kennedy, told by Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connally of Texas, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you today.”
    “That’s obvious.” (Some say that, after being shot, Kennedy said, “My God, I’m hit!” but this is disputed.)
  • Robert F. Kennedy, after being shot:
    “Is it bad?” Then, “Please, don’t. Don’t lift me.”
    Often his last sentence of his last speech, “Now it’s on to Chicago and let’s win there,” has been interpreted as his last words. They were certainly the last words spoken before his shooting.
  • John Maynard Keynes:
    “I should have drunk more Champagne”
  • Sam Kinison: comedian;
    “Oh, ok. Ok.”
  • Aleksis Kivi, Finnish writer:
    “I am alive!”
  • Hugh Latimer, burned at the stake alongside Nicholas Ridley:
    “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
  • James Lawrence:
    “Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks.” His last words are often simply shortened to “Don’t give up the ship.”
    Timothy Leary:
    “Why not? Why not? Why not?”
  • Robert E. Lee:
    “Strike the tent.” (disputed)
  • John Lennon, after being shot
    “I’m shot!
  • Leonardo da Vinci, artist, inventor:
    “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”
  • Marc Lépine, before putting a gun below his face and firing:
    “Oh, shit.”
  • Otto Lilienthal, dying the day after he crashed with one of his gliders:
    “Sacrifices must be made!”
  • Abraham Lincoln, US president, when his wife Mary asked what the lady sitting next to them at Ford’s Theater would say if she saw them holding hands:
    “She won’t think anything of it.”
  • Richard Loeb, murderer, after being slashed 56 times with a razor in a prison shower room:
    “I think I’m going to make it.”
  • Louis XIV, King of France:
    “Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?”
  • Major Thomas McGuire, American fighter ace, killed in action:
    “Save your auxiliary tanks”
  • James Madison, US president, after his niece asked him at breakfast if anything was wrong: “Nothing more than a change of mind, my dear.”
  • Jean-Paul Marat, French revolutionary, seconds before Charlotte Corday stabbed him to death:
    “They shall all be guillotined.”
  • Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, as she stepped on the toe of her executioner:
    “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.” (“Forgive me, sir”)
  • Hans-Joachim Marseille, German fighter ace:
    “I have engine problem. I have to jump.”
  • Karl Marx, on his deathbed, to his housekeeper who had just asked if he had any last words:
    “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”
  • Edgar Lee Masters, American author:
    “Here, world, I hand you like an orange to a child. I can no more with you; do what you will.”
  • Auvo Maunula, Finnish fighter ace, to Sgt. Ringbom, after he had warned about taking his plane, assumed to be in an unflyable condition:
    “Is the sergeant going to teach me how to fly?”
  • Louis B. Mayer, film producer:
    “Nothing matters. Nothing matters.”
  • Pedro Medina, while being executed on a malfunctioning electric chair:
    “I am still innocent.”
  • Lauren Miller, actress,
    “Life is like…” And then she died.
  • Yukio Mishima, Japanese novelist and playwright:
    “Human life is limited; but I would like to live forever.”
  • James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, leader of the Monmouth Rebellion, to headsman:
    “Do not hack me as you did my Lord Russell.”
  • Breaker Morant, on facing a firing squad:
    “Shoot straight, you bastards! Don’t make a mess of it!”
  • Sir Thomas More, English philosopher (referring to the beard he had grown in prison, which he tucked up to prevent it being cut off by the executioner’s axe):
    “This hath not offended the king.”
  • Benito Mussolini, before being executed by Italian partisans:
    “Shoot me in the chest!”
  • Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson:
    “Thank God I have done my duty”
  • Nero, Roman emperor:
    Hoc aest fides, “This is fidelity.” (to an approaching soldier whom the dying Nero thought had come to rescue him)
  • Lawrence Oates, British expeditioneer:
    “I am just going outside and may be some time.”
  • Johan van Oldenbarneveld – Dutch statesman
    “Make it short!” (to his executioner)
  • William “Buckey” O’Neill, soldier in Spanish-American war:
    “Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.”
  • Lee Harvey Oswald, John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assumed murderer:
    “I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney if the attorney thinks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you.”
  • Alferd Packer: cannibal;
    “I’m not guilty of the charge.”
  • Pablo Picasso:
    “Drink to me!”
  • William Pitt, British Prime Minister:
    “Oh, my country! How I leave my country!”
  • Edgar Allan Poe:
    “Lord help my poor soul.” Or, “It’s all over now; write ‘Eddy is no more’.” (referring to his tombstone)
  • William Sidney Porter (O. Henry):
    “Don’t turn down the light. I’m afraid to go home in the dark.”
  • Francois Rabelais: “Bring down the curtain, the farce is played out.”
    Sir Walter Raleigh, to headsman:
    “Strike, man, strike!”
  • Cecil Rhodes
    “So little done; so much to do.”
  • Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi foreign minister:
    “My last wish is that Germany realize its entity and that an understanding be reached between East and West. I wish peace to the world.”
  • Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador:
    “May God have mercy on the assassins.” (After being shot while administering the Eucharist.)
  • Madame Roland:
    “Oh Liberty! Liberty! What crimes are committed in your name!”
    Romeo Montague, fictional character of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
    “O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.”
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, US president:
    “I have a terrific headache.” (Sometimes printed as, “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head.”)
  • Theodore Roosevelt, US president, to his butler:
    “Put out the light.”
  • St. Lorenzo Ruiz, first Filipino saint, as he is tortured to death:
    “Ama namin, sumasalangit ka, sambahin ang ngalan Mo, mapasaamin ang kaharian Mo, sundin ang loob Mo dito sa lupa para nang sa langit…” trans. “Our father who art in heaven, holy be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
  • Babe Ruth, baseball player:
    “I’m going over the valley.”
  • George Sanders, actor:
    Suicide note: “Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”
  • Arthur Flegenheimer (“Dutch Schultz”) while dying of a gunshot wound:
    “A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim… French Canadian bean soup… The bears are in trouble and the sidewalks are in trouble…”
  • Francis “Dick” Scobee, astronaut and commander of Challenger mission STS-51-L:
    “Roger, go at throttle up.”
  • Robert Scott, British expeditioneer (on his diary):
    “Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale, but surely, surely, a great rich country like ours will see that those who are dependent on us are properly provided for. R. Scott”
  • John Sedgwick, Union Army General, was observing the lines at Spotsylvania when his men warned him to be wary of Confederate sharpshooters:
    “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…”
  • Sitting Bull, Sioux chieftain:
    “I am not going. Do with me what you like. I am not going. Come on! Come on! Take action! Let’s go!”
  • Socrates, Greek philosopher, executed:
    “Crito, I owe a rooster to Asclepius. Will you remember to pay the debt?”
  • Josef Stalin:
    “Where am I…What the hell? Oh God dammit no!…I couldn’t find the left foot sock. Is it under the chair?
  • Gertrude Stein:
    To her companion, Alice B. Toklas: “What is the answer?” When Toklas made no reply, Stein continued, “In that case, what is the question?”
  • Osamu Tezuka:
    “I’m begging you, let me work!”
  • Arthur Thistlewood, before his execution:
    “I shall soon know the grand secret.”
  • Dylan Thomas:
    “I’ve had 18 full whiskeys; I think that’s a record.”
  • Hunter S. Thompson, in a suicide note titled “Football Season Is Over”:
    “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”
  • Henry David Thoreau:
  • Joseph Trumpeldor:
    “Never mind, it is good to die for our country.”
    Karla Faye Tucker, executed by lethal injection:
    “I am going to be face to face with Jesus now… I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.”
  • Vincent van Gogh:
    “La tristesse durera toujours.” (trans: “The sadness shall last forever”)
  • Lope Felix de Vega Carpio:
    “All right, then, I’ll say it, Dante makes me sick.”
  • Vespasian:
    “Woe is me, I think I am becoming a god.”
  • Pancho Villa:
    “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”
    Voltaire (on his death bed when asked by a priest to renounce Satan):
    “Now now, dear man, this is not the time to be making enemies.”
    George Washington, statesman, American president:
    “I am just going. Have me decently buried, and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead. Do you understand?… ‘Tis well.”
  • Daniel Webster:
    “I still live.”
  • H. G. Wells:
    “Go away. I’m all right.”
  • Oscar Wilde, writer:
    “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go.”
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher, linguist:
    “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”
  • James Wolfe, general:
    “What, do they run already? Then I die happy.”
  • Thomas Cardinal Wolsey, Lord Chancellor of England:
    “If I had served my God half so well as I have served my King, He would not have abandoned me now.”
  • Yi Sun-sin, Korean Admiral during the Joseon Dynasty, after being shot during battle:
    “Keep the drums beating… do not let anybody know I’ve died.”
  • Giuseppe Zangara:
    “You give me electric chair. I no afraid of that chair! You one of capitalists. You is crook man too. Put me in electric chair. I no care! Get to hell out of here, you son of a bitch [spoken to the attending minister]… I go sit down all by myself… Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere!… Lousy capitalists! No picture! Capitalists! No one here to take my picture. All capitalists lousy bunch of crooks. Go ahead. Pusha da button!”
  • Zip the Pinhead, American circus freak:
    “Well, we fooled ’em a long time, didn’t we?” (seeming to admit that he was not really an African tribesman, but a guy from Harlem with an odd shapped head).