More Famous Last Words

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In my first article Famous Last Words I wrote about last words of people as they were dying.  Here are some more that I thought were interesting.

George Washington worried about being buried alive that was so extreme it was phobic.  It worried him so much that his last words were “Have me decently buried, but do not let my body be put into a vault in less than two days after I am dead….Tis well.”

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who is to this day revered for his wisdom.  He died of hemlock poisoning.  As paralysis from the drug swept through him his last words were “I owe a cock to Ascelepius; will you repay him?”

Christopher Columbus is of course famous for his discovery of North America.  Unfortunately, he suffered from ill health that left him so weak that he had to be carried off his ship at the end of his last voyage.  At the moment of his death he uttered “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”

Giovanni Casanova is known to be a great womanizer who eventually died due to the complications of venereal disease in 1798 at the age of 73.  His last words were ironically, “Bear witness that I have lived as a philosopher and die as a Christian.”

Jane Austen suffered from Addison’s disease which also afflicted John F. Kennedy.  She was in a lot of pain before she died in 1897 at the age of 41.  When asked what might relieve her suffering she said “I want nothing but death.”  These were the last words she uttered before dying.

Lord Byron died of Malaria in 1824 at the age of 36.  His last words were “The damned doctors have drenched me so that I can scarcely stand.  I want to sleep now.”

Ludwig Van Beethoven died of Cirrhosis of Liver in 1827 at the age of 57.  He had asked for a glass of wine, but when it still had not arrived at his moment of death he uttered “Pity, pity – too late!”

Walt Whitman died at the age of 73 in 1892.  He was Known for his fiery temper and remained a bachelor all his life.  Turn of the century biographers pointed out that he “bathed in eau-de-cologne”, and hinted to his feminine characteristics.  He boasted on this deathbed “Garrulous to the very last.”

Guy de Maupassant was a celebrated 19th century French writer who knew for quite sometime that he was dying.  He said of his impending death, “I don’t want to survive myself.”

Edgar Allan Poe died at the age of 40 in 1849.  He suffered from Diabetes and was and alcoholic.  Morbid to the end, his last words were “Lord, help my poor soul.”  On his gravestone, he instructed them to engrave “Quoteth The Raven, Nevermore”, referring to his famous and frightening poem The Raven.

Charles Darwin was known for his controversial Theory of Evolution.  His life was plagued by chronic illnesses.  He died in 1882 at the age of 73 from a heart attack.  His last words were  “I am not the least afraid to die.”

Oscar Wilde was as flamboyant in real life as his writing.  Laying in his deathbed penniless and sipping champagne, he quipped “I am dying as I’ve lived; beyond my means.”  Then he glanced around the room and said his very last words – “This wallpaper is killing me.  One of us has got to go.”

Rudolph Valentino was a screen idol and “great lover” in the 1920’s.  His death in 1926 at the age of 31 was most unexpected and sudden.  As he lay dying from a perforated gastric ulcer and peritonitis for a ruptured appendix, died immediately after saying “Don’t pull down the blinds!  I want the sun to greet me.”

Thomas Edison was the inventor of the light bulb and died in 1931 at the age of 84. After laying in a coma for two days, he awoke and promptly died after saying “It is very beautiful over there.”


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