The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Infamous Last Words
by Adam Powell

We can never select the time and manner of our end, so last words tend to be of an undignified nature. Just as well, as the pre-prepared are either sentimental or pompous. Take American Revolutionary Nathan Hale’s “I only regret that I have one life to lose for my country”. Eisenhower covered all the bases with, “I’ve always loved my wife, my children, and my grandchildren, and I’ve always loved my country. I want to go. God, take me.”  It sounded like he was accepting an Oscar not dying. The list below tells us far more about the human condition.

1. "Am I dying or is this my birthday?"

Lady Astor, British Politician.
She spoke her last words when, on her deathbed, she momentarily awoke to find herself surrounded by her entire family.

2. “Jefferson still survives.”
 John Adams, US President.

John Adams was a bitter old man. He’d been the only president not to have been re-elected. His political party, the Federalists, had collapsed. Worst of all his main political rival, Thomas Jefferson, had enjoyed a brilliantly successful career. Jefferson had beaten Adams in the 1800 Presidential elections and his party, the Democratic Republicans, now dominated the political landscape. Adams came to hate Jefferson with a passion. Even on his deathbed he thought Jefferson had triumphed once again and outlived him. Unfortunately, Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier, but with communications being so slow, Adam died in ignorance.

3. “Go away, I’m alright.”
HG Wells, British Science Fiction writer and Historian.

For a man famed for his ability to write about the future, science fiction novelist H.G. Wells was pretty inept at predicting his own fate.

4. "Waiting are they?~ Waiting are they?~ Well--let 'em wait."~
Ethan Allen U.S. General.
 Allen's last words were a deathbed response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, " General, I fear the angels are waiting for you."

5. “ God damn the whole world and everyone in it….”
W.C. Fields, US Comedian.

A wonderfully honest parting shot from misanthropic comedian. Fields was suffering from a stomach haemorrhage brought on by years of bad living.

6. “I am still alive.”
Caligula, Roman Emperor.

Uttered after assassins had just stabbed the Roman tyrant. He then died.

7. “I think I could eat one of Bellamy’s veal pies.”
William Pitt the Younger, British Prime Minister.

Sadly, Mr. Pitt didn’t have time to eat that particularly savoury - nor anything else for that matter.

8. “Nonsense, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
General John Sedgwick, American Military Commander.

General Sedgwick was standing on the parapet at the Battle of the Wilderness during the American Civil War. A subordinate suggested he might be in danger, but Sedgwick brushed aside any suggestion that he might be shot by the enemy. He was then shot by the enemy.

9. “Now I’m oiled, keep me from the rats.”
Pietro Aretino, Italian Satirist.
Renaissance satirist Aretino laughed so hard at a joke the Duke of Urbino had cracked he had a stroke. Aretino then revived to utter his last words.

10. “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
Karl Marx, German Communist writer.

 When asked if he had any last words, Marx gave this reply. Judging by the list, he was probably right.