Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Famous last words
For sarcastic or humourous phrases characterised as "famous last words," not actual dying quotes, see the article Famous last words (sarcasm).
This article is a list of famous last words, actual phrases attributed to persons near death, sage enough, inspirational or in some way memorable in history. For many so-called "last words" other versions exist, though only the better-phrased have become "canonical".
List of famous last words
A – M
- John Adams, US president:
- "Thomas Jefferson still survives." (Jefferson had actually died earlier that day).
- 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."
- 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."
- Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, as she stepped on the toe of her executioner:
- "Pardonez-moi, monsieur."
- J. M. Barrie, writer:
- "I can't sleep."
- 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."
- Henry Ward Beecher, evangelist:
- "Now comes the mystery."
- Ludwig van Beethoven, 18th century German composer:
- "I shall hear in heaven."
- 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?"
- Julius Caesar, Roman dictator:
- "You too, Brutus?" (disputed)
- "I am still alive!"
- Charlie Chaplin, actor, after a priest said "May the Lord have mercy on your soul":
- "Why not? After all, it belongs to him."
- Auguste Comte, philosopher:
- "What an irreparable loss!"
- Leonardo da Vinci, artist, inventor:
- "I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have."
- Emily Dickinson, 19th century poet:
- "I must go in, the fog is rising."
- Thomas Edison, inventor:
- "It's very beautiful over there."
- Elizabeth I, Queen of England:
- "All my possessions for a moment of time."
- Leonhard Euler, mathematician:
- "I die."
- Richard Feynman, Physicist:
- "I'd hate to die twice. It's so boring."
- "The nourishment is palatable."
- 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."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th century poet, novelist, playwright, scientist and thinker:
- "Light! More light!"
- Joseph Henry Green , British surgeon, after checking his own pulse:
- Che Guevara, Marxist revolutionary and Cuban guerrilla leader:
- "Don't Shoot! I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!" or "Just shoot, you coward. You are only killing a man!"
- Nathan Hale, before being executed:
- "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."1
- A quote from Paramahansa Yogananda :"Everything can wait, but the search for God cannot wait." He then added, "and love one another."
- "I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark."
- Victor Hugo, French writer:
- "I see a black light."
- Henrik Ibsen, after his housekeeper told a guest he was feeling better:
- "On the contrary!"
- Thomas Jefferson, US president:
- "Is it the Fourth?"
- "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."
- "Strike the tent." (disputed)
- 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!"
- Louis B. Mayer, film producer:
- "Nothing matters. Nothing matters."
- Breaker Morant, on facing a firing squad:
- "Shoot straight, you bastards! Don't make a mess of it!"
- Benito Mussolini, before execution by Italian partisans:
- "Shoot me in the chest!"
N – Z
- "Kiss me, Hardy."2
- "Drink to me!"
- "Oh Liberty! Liberty! What crimes are committed in your name!"
- Babe Ruth, baseball player:
- "I'm going over the valley."
- Arthur Flegenheimer ("Dutch Schultz"):
- "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..."
- John Sedgwick, Union General shortly before being shot by a sharpshooter:
- "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist—"
- "Put me back on the bloody bike"!
- "Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?"
- Arthur Thistlewood, before his execution:
- "I shall soon know the grand secret."
- "La tristesse durera toujours." (Trans: "The Sadness Continues Forever")
- "Woe is me, I think I am becoming a god."
- "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something."
- "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."
- "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go"
- 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."
- Louis XIV, King of France:
- "Why do you weep? Did you think I was immortal?"
- Mishima Yukio, Japanese novelist and playwright:
- "Human life is limited; but I would like to live forever."
1These words are actually from Joseph Addison's Cato. While it is possible Hale decided to "go out" with a literary quotation, it is more probable that his actual last words were "It is the duty of every good officer to obey any orders given him by his commander-in-chief."
2These are the last words traditionally attributed to Nelson (or in an alternative version "Kismet, Hardy"). Historians now believe that his last words were "Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty. Drink, drink. Fan, fan. Rub, rub." See Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson#Last words.
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