The thing that is so fascinating about a person’s final words is, of course, that the person rarely knows those utterances will be his or her last.
One of my favorite poems is W.S. Merwin‘s “For the Anniversary of My Death”:
Every year without knowing it I have passed the dayWhen the last fires will wave to meAnd the silence will set outTireless travelerLike the beam of a lightless starThen I will no longerFind myself in life as in a strange garmentSurprised at the earthAnd the love of one womanAnd the shamelessness of menAs today writing after three days of rainHearing the wren sing and the falling ceaseAnd bowing not knowing to what.
Here are ten of those now-famous, or at least, interesting, last words:
“Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.” – after she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine.
“I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”
“Bugger Bognor.”” – to his physician, who had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.