Real Last Words and death-bed quotes

The ultimate and final wisdom ?

"Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."    — Buy at Amazon.comKarl Marx (1818-83) to his Housekeeper.
On this page:

Antiquity

"Here's to the health of my beloved Critias !"    — Theramenes (?-404BCE), Athenian statesman, after being forced to drink a cup of hemlock.
"Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comSocrates (c.469-399BCE).
"I foresee a great funeral contest over me."    — Buy at Amazon.comAlexander the Great (356-323BCE).
"You too, my son..."    — Buy at Amazon.comJulius Caesar (100-44BCE).
"I am still alive !"    — Buy at Amazon.comGaius Caligula (12-41 AD), Roman Emperor, after being stabbed to death by his own guards.
"Dear me, I believe I am becoming a god. An emperor ought at least to die on his feet."    — Buy at Amazon.comVespasian (9-79 AD), Roman emperor.
"I have made but one mistake."    — Titus (39-81 AD), Roman emperor.
"How the little piglets would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffered."    — Ragnar Lodbrok, (?-c865) norse hero, after being thrown into a snake pit, about how his sons would avenge him.

Dark Ages

So dark indeed that they couldn't even write them down...


16th century

"I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven."    — Buy at Amazon.comPietro Perugino (1446—1523), Italian painter. Giving his reasons for refusing to see a priest as he lay dying.
"The king has been very good to me. He promoted me from a simple maid to be a marchioness. Then he raised me to be a queen. Now he will raise me to be a martyr."    — Buy at Amazon.comAnne Boleyn (1507-36), second wife of Henry VIII.
"The executioner is, I believe, very expert, and my neck is very slender."    — Buy at Amazon.comAnne Boleyn (1507-36).
"I have passed in ease and prosperity and in a state of pleasure such has been the lot of no monarch."    — Sultan Ghiyas-ud-Din Khilji (15th century), who had 15000 wives and concubines.
"I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor."    — Buy at Amazon.comFrançois Rabelais (1483—1553), French satirist.
"You pronounce sentence upon me with greater fear than I receive it."    — Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), to his inquisitors before being burned at the stake.


17th century

"May I not seem to have lived in vain."    — Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), danish astronomer.
"I have a long journey to take, and must bid the company farewell."    — Lord Buy at Amazon.comWalter Raleigh (1554—1618), English explorer.
"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter Raleigh (1554—1618), upon seeing the axe that would behead him.
"Strike man, strike !"    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter Raleigh (1554—1618), just before being beheaded.
"All right, then, I'll say it: Dante makes me sick."    — Buy at Amazon.comLope Félix de Vega Carpio (1562—1635), Spanish dramatist and poet. On being informed he was about to die.
"I have the consolation of leaving your kingdom in the highest degree of glory and of reputation."    — Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), written to Louis XIII just days before he died.

18th century

"Has God forgotten everything I've done for him ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comLouis XIV (1638—1715), French king.
"Why are you weeping ? Did you imagine that I was immortal ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comLouis XIV (1638—1715), noticing as he lay on his deathbed that his attendants were crying.
"Here am I, dying of a hundred good symptoms."    — Buy at Amazon.comAlexander Pope (1688—1744), British poet.
"Ah, a German and a genius ! A prodigy, admit him !"    — Buy at Amazon.comJonathan Swift (1667—1745), Irish-born Anglican priest and writer. Learning of the arrival of the composer Handel.
"I feel nothing, apart from a certain difficulty in continuing to exist."    — Buy at Amazon.comBernard de Fontenelle (1657—1757), French philosopher. Remark on his deathbed.
"It is high time for me to depart, for at my age I now begin to see things as they really are."    — Buy at Amazon.comBernard de Fontenelle (1657—1757), French philosopher. Remark on his deathbed.
"Give Dayrolles a chair."    — Buy at Amazon.comEarl of Chesterfield (1694—1773), English statesman. Said on his deathbed when visited by his godson, Solomon Dayrolles.
"No, it is not."    — Oliver Goldsmith (1728-74), British writer, when asked "Is your mind at ease?"
"Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies."    — Voltaire (1694-1778), on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan.
"A-t-on des nouvelles de Monsieur de Buy at Amazon.comLapérouse ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comLouis XVI shortly before being executed.
"Farewell, my children, forever. I go to your Father."    — Buy at Amazon.comMarie Antoinette (1755-93).
"Show my head to the people, it is worth seeing."    — Buy at Amazon.comGeorges Danton (1759-94), French political activist, to his executioner.


19th century

"Thank God I have done my duty // Drink, drink. Fan, fan. Rub, rub // Kiss me, Hardy."    — Lord Nelson (1758—1805), English admiral. Three different accounts of his last words.
"I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies."    — Buy at Amazon.comWilliam Pitt the Younger (1759—1806), British statesman.
"Cheer up, children, I am all right."    — Buy at Amazon.comFranz Joseph Haydn (1732—1809).
"I'm going now. My time has come."    — Daniel Boone (1734—1820), american pioneer.
"Josephine..."    — Buy at Amazon.comNapoleon Bonaparte (1769—1821).
"A king should die standing."    — King Buy at Amazon.comLouis XVIII (1755—1824).
"Friends applaud, the comedy is over."    — Buy at Amazon.comLudwig van Beethoven (1770—1827), sarcastic remarks after a priest's gave him the last rites.
"Nurse, it was I who discovered that leeches have red blood."    — Baron Buy at Amazon.comGeorges Cuvier (1769—1832), French zoologist. On his deathbed when the nurse came to apply leeches.
"More light !"    — Buy at Amazon.comGoethe (1749—1832).
"I inhabit a weak, frail, decayed tenement; battered by the winds and broken in on by the storms, and, from all I can learn, the landlord does not intend to repair."    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn Quincy Adams (1767—1848), Sixth president of the USA. Said during his last illness.
"The earth is suffocating... Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive."    — Buy at Amazon.comFrédéric Chopin (1810-49), polish composer and pianist.
"God will pardon me. It is His trade."    — Buy at Amazon.comHeinrich Heine (1797—1856), German poet and writer.
"I did not know that we had ever quarreled."    — Buy at Amazon.comHenry David Thoreau (1817-62), US writer. On being urged to make his peace with God.
"Moose... Indian..."    — Buy at Amazon.comHenry David Thoreau (1817-62).
"Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."    — John Sedgwick (1813-64), US general. In response to a suggestion that he should not show himself over the parapet during the Battle of the Wilderness.
"I do not have to forgive my enemies, I have had them all shot."    — Ramón Maria Narváez (1800-68), Spanish general and political leader. Said on his deathbed, when asked by a priest if he forgave his enemies.
"No, it is better not. She will only ask me to take a message to Albert."    — Buy at Amazon.comBenjamin Disraeli (1804-81), British statesman. On his deathbed, declining an offer of a visit from Queen Victoria.
"I think you're right, Wyatt. I can't see a God damn thing. "    — Buy at Amazon.comMorgan Earp (1851-1882), accepting his brother's belief that there is no life after Death.
"I am a Queen, but I have not the power to move my arms."    — Louise of Russia.
"...bituminous coal."    — William Barton Rogers (1804-1882), founder of MIT, while delivering a commencement address..
"Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven't said enough."    — Buy at Amazon.comKarl Marx (1818-83) to his Housekeeper.
"Hurrah for anarchy! This is the happiest moment of my life."    — George Engel (1836-1887), hung for the 1886 Chicago bombing.
"Well I'll Be Damned. This is funny."    — Doc Holliday (1851—1887), wild west gunfighter, remarking that no one ever expected him to die in bed.
"I haven't got time to be tired."    — Wilhelm I (1797—1888), King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany. Said during his last illness.
"How were the receipts today in Madison Square Garden ?"    — Phineas Taylor Buy at Amazon.comBarnum (1810-91), US showman.
"My God, don't shoot !"    — Soapy Smith (1860-1898), American conman.
"Either that wallpaper goes, or I do."    — Buy at Amazon.comOscar Wilde (1854—1900), Irish-born British dramatist. As he lay dying in a drab Paris bedroom.
"I expect I shall have to die beyond my means."    — Oscar Wilde (1854—1900), Irish-born British dramatist. On accepting a glass of champagne on his deathbed.

20th century


"On the contrary !"    — Buy at Amazon.comHenrik Ibsen (1828—1906), Norwegian dramatist. His nurse had just remarked that he was feeling a little better.
"Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six."    — Buy at Amazon.comLeo Tolstoy (1828—1910), Russian writer. Refusing to reconcile himself with the Russian Orthodox Church as he lay dying.
"Turn up the lights, I don't want to go home in the dark."    — O. Henry (Buy at Amazon.comWilliam Sidney Porter; 1862-1910), US short-story writer.
"I am just going outside and may be some time."    — Captain Lawrence Oates (1880—1912), British soldier and explorer. Before leaving the tent and vanishing into the blizzard on the ill-fated Antarctic expedition (1910-12). Oates was afraid that his lameness would slow down the others.
"We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint."    — Buy at Amazon.comScott (1868—1912), found in his diary after his party froze in Antarctica.
"People should be aware of the dangers of killing themselves."    — Read in the 'letters to the editor' column of TIME in response to an article on teen suicide.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comScott (1868—1912), Message to the Public.

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Last words skull
"Why fear death ? It is the most beautiful adventure in life."    — Buy at Amazon.comCharles Frohman (1860—1915), US theater producer. Said before going down with the liner Lusitania, alluding to 'To die will be an awfully big adventure' from Barrie's Peter Pan, which Frohman had produced.
"Kaputt..."    — Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), the Red Baron, german fighter pilot, after landing his plane with a gunshot wound.
"Take a step forward, lads. It will be easier that way."    — Buy at Amazon.comErskine Childers (1870—1922), British-born author and Irish patriot. Last words before being executed by firing squad, 24 Nov 1922.
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something..."    — Buy at Amazon.comPancho Villa (1877—1923) clutching a comrade after being shot.
"Goodbye, my friend, goodbye. My dear, you are in my heart. Predestined separation promises a future meeting."    — Buy at Amazon.comSergei Esenin (1895-1925), Russian poet, suicide note.
"Ah, the cows...."    — Erik Satie (1866-1925), french composer.
"Well, we fooled 'em for a long time, didn't we ?"    — Zip the pinhead (1842-1926), freak show performer.
"Well, doctor, and do I now act like a 'pink powder puff' ?"    — Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926), american actor.
"Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel."    — George Appel, executed by electric chair in New York, 1928.
"They tried to get me — I got them first !"    — Buy at Amazon.comVachel Lindsay (1879-1931), poet, suicide note.
"Oh my, it's very beautiful over there."    — Buy at Amazon.comThomas Edison (1847—1931).
"My work is done. Why wait ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comGeorge Eastman (1854—1932), US inventor and industrialist, suicide note.
"Goodbye, everybody !"    — Buy at Amazon.comHart Crane (1899-1932), american poet, suicide note.
"If this is dying, I don't think much of it."    — Buy at Amazon.comLytton Strachey (1880—1932), British writer.
"When I am dead, and over me bright April Shakes out her rain drenched hair, Tho you should lean above me broken hearted, I shall not care. For I shall have peace. As leafey trees are peaceful When rain bends down the bough. And I shall be more silent and cold hearted than you are now."    — Buy at Amazon.comSara Teasdale (1884-1933), American poet, suicide note.
"I'm glad it was me and not you, Mr. President."    — Anton Cermak (1873-1933) after being shot in place of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
"You can play jacks, and girls do that with a soft ball and do tricks with it. Oh, Oh, dog Biscuit, and when he is happy he doesn't get snappy."    — Dutch Schultz (1902-1935), american gangster, hallucinating after being shot.
"When all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one."    — Buy at Amazon.comCharlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), writer, suicide note.
"Ich kann nicht mehr (I can do no more)."    — Toni Kurz (1913-1936), while within touching distance of the rescue team, north face of Eiger.
"All fled — all done, so lift me on the pyre; The feast is over, and the lamps expire."    — Buy at Amazon.comRobert E. Howard (1906-1936), writer, suicide note.
"I've never felt better."    — Buy at Amazon.comDouglas Fairbanks (1883-1939), american actor and director.
"Now it is nothing but torture."    — Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
"I have a feeling I shall go mad. I cannot go on longer in these terrible times. I shan't recover this time. I hear voices and cannot concentrate on my work. I have fought against it but cannot fight any longer."    — Buy at Amazon.comVirginia Woolf (1882-1941), British author, suicide note.
"Die ? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him."    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn Barrymore (1882—1942), US actor.
"Shoot me in the chest !"    — Buy at Amazon.comBenito Mussolini (1883-1944).
"To Harald, may God forgive you and forgive me too but I prefer to take my life away and our baby's before I bring him with shame or killing him, Lupe."    — Buy at Amazon.comLupe Velez (1908-1944), mexican actress, suicide note.
"Shakespeare, I come !"    — Buy at Amazon.comTheodore Dreiser (1871—1945), US novelist. His intended last words.
"Go away... I'm alright."    — Buy at Amazon.comH. G. Wells (1866—1946).
"I have spent a lot of time searching through the Bible for loopholes."    — Buy at Amazon.comW. C. Fields (1880—1946), US comedian. Said during his last illness.
"You might make that a double."    — Neville Heath (1917-46), British murderer. Comment made when offered a drink before his execution.
"What is the answer ?... In that case, what is the question ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comGertrude Stein (1874—1946), US writer.
"You can keep the things of bronze and stone and give me one man to remember me just once a year."    — Buy at Amazon.comDamon Runyon (1884—1946), US writer.
"Go away. I'm all right."    — H. G. Wells (1866—1946).
"Good-bye... why am I hemorrhaging ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comBoris Pasternak (1890—1950).
"Seventeen whiskeys. A record, I think."    — Buy at Amazon.comDylan Thomas (1914-53), Welsh poet.
"I hope it won't take long."    — Enrico Fermi (1901—1954), Italian physicist, 10 days before dying of cancer.
"It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly."    — Albert Einstein (1879—1955), as he lay dying of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
"Too late for fruit, too soon for flowers."    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter De La Mare (1873—1956), British poet. On being asked, as he lay seriously ill, whether he would like some fruit or flowers.
"I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis."    — Buy at Amazon.comHumphrey Bogart (1899—1957).
"The future is just old age and illness and pain... I must have peace and this is the only way."    — Buy at Amazon.comJames Whale (1893-1957), movie director, suicide note.
"I should have had the pickle."    — Preston Sturges (1898-1959), film director.
"It is. But not as hard as farce."    — Edmund Gwenn (1875—1959), British actor. On his deathbed, in reply to the comment 'It must be very hard'.
"Beautifully done."    — Buy at Amazon.comStanley Spencer (1891—1959), British artist. Said to the nurse who had injected him, just before he died.
"Why yes — a bulletproof vest."    — James Rodgers (1910-1960), murderer, on his final request before the firing squad.
"God bless... God damn."    — Buy at Amazon.comJames Thurber (1894—1961), US humorist.
"An olive, with a pit..."    — Victor Feguer (1935-1963), convicted of a kidnap-murder. Request for his last meal, reportedly saying he hoped the tree that symbolizes peace would sprout from his grave.
"Try LSD, 100mg intramuscular... I thought so."    — Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).
"Jakie, is it my birthday or am I dying ?"    — Viscountess Buy at Amazon.comNancy Astor (1879—1964), American-born British politician. To her son on her death bed. He replied: 'A bit of both, Mum'.
"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. My advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it."    — Somerset Maugham (1874—1965), english writer.
"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."    — Buy at Amazon.comWinston Churchill (1874—1965).
"I'm so bored with it all."    — Buy at Amazon.comWinston Churchill (1874—1965).
"Let's cool it brothers..."    — Buy at Amazon.comMalcolm X (1925-1966), Black leader, spoken to his assassins, 3 men who shot him 16 times.
"How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper ? French fries."    — James French, executed in electric chair in Oklahoma, 1966.
"To leave this life, to me, is a sweet prospect. When you read this I will be quite dead and no answer will be possible. All I can say is that I offered you love, and the best I could. All I got in return in the end was a kick in the teeth. Thus I die alone and unloved. As you sowed, so shall you reap."    — David Ferrie (1918-1967), pilot, suicide note.
"Oh, shit !"    — Jim Madsen ( -1968), when rappelling off the end of his rope on El Cap's Dihedral Wall.
"Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool — good luck."    — Buy at Amazon.comGeorge Sanders (1906-1972), actor, suicide note.
"Drink to me."    — Buy at Amazon.comPablo Picasso (1881—1973).
"kiss my ass."    — John Wayne Gacy (1942—1974), american serial killer.
"When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity ? And why turbulence ? I really believe he will have an answer for the first."    — Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), german physicist, on his deathbed.
"I must end it. There's no hope left. I'll be at peace. No one had anything to do with this. My decision totally."    — Buy at Amazon.comFreddie Prinze (1954-1977), comedian, suicide note.
"Let's do it !"    — Gary Gilmore (1940-1977), US murderer, in front of firing squad.
"Damn it... Don't you dare ask God to help me."    — Buy at Amazon.comJoan Crawford (1904-1977), actress, to her housekeeper who had begun to pray aloud.
"Don't worry it's not loaded."    — Terry Kath (1946-1978), American rock musician, while playing Russian Roulette.
"Do you really think the IRA would think me a worthwhile target ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comLord Mountbatten of Burma (1900-79), british admiral and colonial administrator.
"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it !"    — David Johnston, volcanologist, during the explosion of Mt St Helens (1980).
"Everybody has got to die, but I have always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comWilliam Saroyan (1908-81), US dramatist.
"Well, the Lord is going to get another one."    — John Eldon Smith, executed by electric chair, 1983.
"It's all been rather lovely."    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn Le Mesurier (1912-83), British actor.
"That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted."    — Buy at Amazon.comLou Costello (1906-1959), American actor.
"Can you believe this crap ?"    — Jon Erik Hexum (1957-1984), actor, shot himself with a blanks loaded gun.
"I'd rather be fishing."    — Jimmy Glass (1962-1987), executed in electric chair.
"What I cannot create, I do not understand."    — Written on Buy at Amazon.comRichard Feynman's blackboard at the time of his death.
"I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."    — Buy at Amazon.comRichard P. Feynman (1918-88).
"It's too late. We can't win, they've gotten too powerful."    — Buy at Amazon.comAbbie Hoffman (1936-1989), Activist/author, suicide note.
"I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass."    — Johnny Frank Garrett, executed by injection, 1992.
"You can be a king or a street sweeper, but everyone dances with the Grim Reaper."    — Robert Alton Harris, executed in California's gas chamber, 1992.
"Remember, the death penalty is murder."    — Robert Drew, executed on August 2, 1994.
"I had you all going, didn't I ?"    — Lt. Col. Buy at Amazon.comKenneth Wilson ( -1994), about his 1912 photograph of the Loch Ness monster.
"Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney, for Frances for her life will be so much happier without me. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU."    — Buy at Amazon.comKurt Cobain (1967-1994), singer, suicide note.
"I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."    — Thomas J. Grasso, executed 1995.
"And now, in keeping with Channel 40's policy of always bringing you the latest in blood and guts, in living color, you're about to see another first — an attempted suicide."    — Chris Chubbuck, newscaster who shot herself during broadcast.
"I wonder why he shot me ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comHuey P. Long, governor in Louisiana.
"Oh no, oh no... don't lift me, don't lift me."    — Buy at Amazon.comRobert "Bobby" Kennedy.
"I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time."    — Buy at Amazon.comWendy O. Williams (1949-1998), punk singer, suicide note.
"Don't mess with my money."    — Buy at Amazon.comLowell Fulson (1921-2000), bluesman.
"For almost nine years I have thought about the death penalty, whether it is right or wrong, and I don't have any answers. But I don't think the world will be a better or safer place without me. If you had wanted to punish me you would have killed me the day after, instead of killing me now. You are not hurting me now. I have had time to get ready, to tell my family goodbye, to get my life where it needed to be."    — Last statement of Jeffery Doughtie, executed in 2001.
"Hey guys, watch this !"    — Todd Poller (-2001), who tried to swallow a live perch.
"And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say: 'Kurt is up in heaven now'. That's my favorite joke."    — Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), science-fiction author.
"Tape Seinfeld for me."    — Harvey Korman (1927-2008), american actor.