Famous and highly regarded people have delivered famous last words on their deathbeds for ages, and we can only hope to be as eloquent as them when our time arrives. I like to think I'll be too busy concentrating on my laborious breaths to focus on whether I'm being eloquent or prophetic, but you never know.
These people have certainly made their marks on the history books.
Said by Giles Corey, an American farmer who was accused of witchcraft and crushed to death by giant stones to try to force him to plead guilty or not guilty.
"Soldiers, when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ... Soldiers, fire!"
- Michel Ney, one of Napolean's generals, after requesting and being given permission to command the firing squad that would execute him for treason. I always thought it was pretty badass.
"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have." L. DaVinci
Maybe not the greatest but certainly up there:
"Thomas Jefferson survives" - John Adams, July 4, 1826. Of course Adams did not know that Jefferson had died mere hours before, and both of them died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas de Mahy on his execution during the French revolution
"I see you made three spelling mistakes."
"Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Union Army General John Sedgwick before being hit by a confederate sharpshooter at 1,000 yards at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
When Voltaire was given his last rites he was asked if he renounced Satan. He responded with 'This is no time to be making enemies."
"Goodnight, my kitten"
Ernest Hemingway to his wife before committing suicide.
"Farewell my friends! I go to glory!" —Isadora Duncan. She was being taken for a drive in a Bugatti Type 35 (which was an open wheel sorts car) in Nice in September of 1927. She said these words then she tossed her long silk scarf over her shoulder, just as the driver was pulling away. The scarf got tangled in the spokes of the rear passenger side wheel and broke her neck. She died instantly.
It's a bit too late to get traction, but this one always amused me:
"I am about to–or I am going to–die; either expression is used."
– French grammarian Dominique Bouhours (1628-1702)
Are you guys ready? Let's roll.
- Todd Beamer, passenger on board flight 93, Sept 11, 2001
Technically probably not his last words but they are the last known words by anybody who survived him.
"Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could kill a dozen men while you're screwing around!" ~ Carl Panzram right before his execution. He murdered 21 people. He was an evil bastard.
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" --Leonard Nimoy
"What?! Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."
-General John Sedgwick (about 10 seconds before he was shot in the head and died.)
"Lord help my poor soul" Edgar Allan Poe who died of unknown cause under suspicious circumstances.
"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."
Hunter S. Thompson
Roald Dahl - "Ow, f*ck!"
His supposed to be last words were "You know, I'm not frightened. It's just that I will miss you all so much"
But, his nurse was injecting him with morphine.
"Mother, I'm going to get my things and get out of this house. Father hates me and I'm never coming back." --Marvin Gaye (shot and killed moments later by said father)
"I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man." - Che Guevara.
According to Frankly My Dear by Richard & Katherine Greene, one of the victims of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 was lying in a dirty pool of blood in a Chicago garage.
The police were spraying the dying man with questions about his attackers, desperate to get a little information before he expired.
His response was a true paradigm of the criminal's code: "Nobody shot me."