16 Manly Last Words

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 19, 2012 · 239 comments

in A Man's Life

We’ve always been intrigued by the last words of others. What did a person use his final mortal breaths to utter? What were they thinking about? Were they scared as they glimpsed the great beyond? Or did they brace up and stoically give up the ghost?

The following 16 men looked death in the eye and embraced whatever came next.

The 80-year-old Corey was accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem trials, but he refused to enter a plea to the court. As punishment, he was laid naked in a pit in a field, and slowly pressed to death over two days. Heavy rocks were gradually placed upon his chest–but he refused to cry out in pain, or enter a plea, and each time he was asked to do so, he simply replied: “More weight.”

During the War of 1812, Lawrence’s ship, the USS Chesapeake engaged in battle with the Royal Navy’s HMS Shannon. The captain was mortally wounded with small arms fire, but encouraged his men to keep up the fight. His orders became a popular Naval battle cry.

These were Childers’ last words to his firing squad before he was executed in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.

Thomas More was tried and executed for treason in 1535 because he wouldn’t support King Henry VIII’s marriage annulment and denied that the king was the head of the Church. Before being beheaded, he said his last words in reference to his beard. He positioned his beard on the executioner’s block so that it wouldn’t be harmed while he was beheaded.

On the 800-mile return trip of Robert Falcon Scott’s unsuccessful attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole, his team desperately slogged through freezing temperatures and blizzards, trying to stay on schedule and reach the supply depots along the way. Oates’ feet were badly frostbitten, and he was slowing down the rest of the men. He volunteered to be left behind, but his comrades refused to leave him. So finally he simply walked outside his tent and into a blizzard, telling the others, “I am just going outside. I may be some time.”

Hartley and his fellow band members continued to play as the Titanic sunk, in order to keep the passengers and crew calm. When the last lifeboats had been loaded, the musicians grabbed the railing on top the Grand Staircase’s deckhouse, and Hartley said this farewell to them just before a wave hit and washed him overboard.

Patton died in 1945, right before leaving Europe. He was in a car accident en route to a hunting excursion that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He lingered in a hospital in spinal traction for 12 days; twas not the kind of glorious death the lifetime soldier had imagined for himself.

Passionate about the idea of manned flight, Otto Lilienthal was known as the “Glider King” and made over 2,000 flights in glider models he designed himself. In 1896, his glider stalled, and he fell 56 ft, critically fracturing his spine. These were his last words to his brother before he succumbed to the injury.


{ 239 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Native Son March 22, 2012 at 9:46 am

“Strike that tent!” – R.E.Lee

102 Tyler March 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

“And here I am, dying in my bed, like cattle die. May the eyes of cowards never sleep.” Last words of Khalid ibn al-Waleed

103 maaatt March 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm

“Either those curtains go or I do.”

104 Iain March 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I would add three more:
Hugh Latimer to Nicholas Ridley, executed under the reign of ‘bloody’ Mary. Because Ridley’s fire was slow in catching, making his death that much more painful, Latimer encouraged him with these words “Play the man Master Ridley. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England as I trust shall never be put out.”
Likewise Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer who had been forced into signing a recantation of his beliefs (which he later recanted) while the flames rose up held his right hand over the flames and said “This hand hath offended,” while he let it be burned off first.
Finally Poncho Villa’s final words: “Don’t let it end this way, tell them I said something witty.”

105 Charles March 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

“More light” -Tomas Goethe-

106 Charles March 22, 2012 at 5:36 pm

That´s really true…

“Doctor let´s do it, everything has an end unless the sausages that have two”
-My father-

He died after a heart surgery.

107 jorge March 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm

” hmmm, this is taking longer than I expected”

my Dad

108 J-oz March 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Two from Aussie icons before execution. Breaker Moraint: “Aim straight ya bastards”
Ned Kelly: “Such is life”

109 Tyler March 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

“it is finished” are not Jesus’ last words, just the ones he said before he died. 2 timothy 3:16 ” All Scripture is God-breathed…” means that the whole bible are his last words to us. But technically “Yes, I’m coming soon” would be his last recorded spoken words(Rev.22)

110 adithya March 23, 2012 at 1:21 am

this is just the beginning:— BHAGAT SINGH.. indian revolutionary executed by the british

111 yasitha March 23, 2012 at 2:56 am
112 yasitha March 23, 2012 at 2:57 am
113 Clarke March 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

After discovering he had TB, Holliday lead a life of debauchery and violence, always hoping he would be killed before the disease took him, or as he put it, die ‘with his boots on’. Years later in the hospital, just before passing, he took a look at his feet and saw his boots had been removed.

“I’ll be damned”

-Doc Holliday

114 Cary March 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm


“Will you tell General Hancock that General Armistead sends his regrets. Will you tell him, how very sorry I am.”

115 Jordan March 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm

“There’s no way they can hit us from way over th-”
-Reputed last words of a Mordian Infantryman facing Traitor Guard

116 lenny-t March 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm

My favotrite: General William Tecumseh Sherman on his deathbed.

Minister: “General, the angels in heaven are waiting.”


117 Saintkev March 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

You son of a bitch! You stole my newspaper!
Horace Greeley

118 Raano March 25, 2012 at 12:10 am

“Such is life” – Ned Kelly

119 The Original Arkansas Dave March 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

“Why, the Spanish haven’t made a bullet that can . . . ” Captain Bucky O’Neill of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders

120 Tecumseh March 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

When I was a boy, a member of our small Lutheran church was diagnosed with an aggressive form of throat cancer.  The doctors informed him that in order to survive he must have surgery to remove his cancerous larynx; rendering him without the ability to speak for the rest of his life.

Just minutes before being wheeled into surgery, the man purposely spoke his very last words witnessed by his family, doctor and pastor: “Praise God!”

That simple act of faith made such a powerful impression on me that I still remember it vividly 38 years later.

121 Warren March 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go, Oscar Wilde

122 Nick March 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Very cool post and the visuals make it much more entertaining. “More weight” is seriously badass…I can’t even fathom having the courage to say that after two days of being crushed to death. And at 80 years old….all I can say is wow.

123 Todd March 26, 2012 at 1:07 am

I had heard Sir Thomas More’s last words were, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” (which I find more inspirational than the beard reference).

124 Chris March 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

“Thomas Jefferson survives.” – John Adams

125 Man Wall March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

“Tell your grandma…she always uses too much mayonnaise in the food.”
-My grandpa

126 James March 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Let’s call it a life time.

My Grandpa

127 Patrick March 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

“This is funny”

-Doc Holliday

128 Ailín Mac Conbhuí March 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

“Last words are for fool’s who have not said enough”
–Karl Marx

129 Lyle March 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

“I didn’t know we had ever quarrelled” – Henry David Thoreau
In response to his aunt asking if he had made his peace with God.

130 CJ March 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

“Hold my beer and watch this!”
- Many.

131 Simon kimm-stolen March 29, 2012 at 8:14 am

my FACS are said by a fictional character at the end of thier comic Jack knight Starman the final words of the book are ” I don’t look back for I’ve more to see on the road ahead”

132 Brian Gallagher March 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

St. Lawrence as he was being martyred for the faith by means of being burned to death on a grill, when being asked if he was ready to renounce God, said “turn me over I’m done on this side”

133 AK March 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm

”The play is over, applause”
-Augustus, The first emperor of Rome on his deathbed, and his last words: “Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble.”

134 Rob March 30, 2012 at 7:49 am

Spike Milligan, genius English comedian has a headstone inscribed:
“I told you I was ill”

135 YS March 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm

” It was nice knowing ya… Bitches!”

136 Jon Cline March 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

May the stay in hell be as fun as the way there.

137 D. Macdonald March 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm

“Be British”

Last words of Captain Edward Smith, captain of the RMS Titanic.

138 Brandon March 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

“Get the priest out of here. He’s ready to send me off too soon.”


139 LoFro April 1, 2012 at 12:23 am

Respawning in three…two….one….

140 richard April 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

” Hurry up you Hoosier Bastard ,I could hang a dozen men while your screwing around ” Carl Panzram while standing on the scaffolding to be hung for being a serial killer

141 Carl M April 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm

“God****it, I’ve had enough of this s**t!”
My father, at the end of his first and last hospital stay.

142 David Kronk April 3, 2012 at 2:30 am

Some of these quotes are quite intriguing, and others actually give me a new level of respect for the ones who said it. For example, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote makes me respect him for his true love for his family. I can always admire a man who even to the end care more about their family then they do their own lives.I truly hope when I’m on my death bed I can be strong enough to say something meanigful like he did

143 Mike April 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm

“I’m 50, for Christ’s sake!” Stieg Larsson

144 Andrew April 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

Two of my favorite:

I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.
- Che Guevara

Applaud, my friends, the comedy is finished.
- Beethoven

145 Simon April 6, 2012 at 1:36 am

my two favs come from fiction
the tenth incarnation of the doctor in dr who as played bydavid tennant whose final words were I don’t want to go
and jack knight the comic character fr James robinsons critically acclaed seeks Starman
who says at the end of the final book”I don’t look back for I’ve more to see on the road ahead

146 David j April 6, 2012 at 2:10 am

Et tu brute? Then fall Caesar!
-Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

147 John T April 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

“uh oh”
- last recorded words from Mike Smith, commander of the ill-fated Challenger shuttle mission.

148 Ronald Clay April 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

“Oh Lord, My God.” – Joseph Smith

149 Chris April 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm


150 Paris April 9, 2012 at 3:12 am

I would like to submit Jamie MacPherson and Macpherson’s rant which can be learned of here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Macpherson

151 abe April 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm


152 Craig Lyons April 10, 2012 at 1:14 am

In my opinion one of the most respectable sentiments expressed by a sovereign upon his death: “Tell my people I tried.” ~ King David Kalakaua of Hawaii

And, of course, “Thank God I have done my duty.” ~ Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson

153 Dreads April 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

“I see that you have made three spelling mistakes.”
Thomas de Mahay Favras after reading his death sentence.

154 Rob April 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm

“Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”
~Stonewall Jackson~

155 Petar April 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

“I’m not crazy, I’m just dying.”
- an old woman in the hospital after being asked by her grandson if she remembered him.

156 RJ April 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm

“Don’t worry honey; I’m too mean to die.” – Jack Dempsey

157 Ben April 12, 2012 at 12:12 am

last words are for fools who haven’t said enough’ k. Marx

158 Peter Waring April 18, 2012 at 1:52 am

Love the site. Another manly example of last words come from a famous Australian Horseman and Poet (truly a man’s man), Harry Breaker Morant. “Breaker” comes from his reputation as the best horse breaker in Australia. He was tried and found guilty of murdering prisoners during the Boar War (although his conviction is still controversial). Before the firing squad he announced:
“Shot straight you bastards, don’t make a mess of it”
See movie “The Breaker”

159 Tim September 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

In my life I had not but a single regret!


160 Kevin September 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm

“Let’s Roll”

-Todd Beamer

161 jason November 1, 2012 at 3:32 am

“Don’t spend your life trying to make too much money”

My grandfather

162 aaron November 4, 2012 at 7:35 am

why wait?
-george eastman’s suicide note

163 Joaco November 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

“viva Cristo Rey”
Bl. Miguel Pro, Mexican Martyr, at his execution. He died with his arms making the sign of the Cross

164 Andrew November 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I always wondered if people thought of their last words before hand, or if it was spur of the moment.

165 Steven November 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Being a paramedic I have heard many last words. Just the other day I had a female patient when I asked how she was doing she said “I’m fine just fine” she passed several minutes later.

166 Joe November 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Worth mentioning either of the famous quotes by Lord Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar on his deathbed (who had, to his everlasting credit, announced his plan to his subordinates prior to the battle so they would not be crippled in the event of his death)

-”Thank God I have done my duty.”

-”Kiss me, Hardy”

The first demonstrates his impeccable sense of responsibility, the second reveals his more personal side of his life and his brotherly – not romantic – love for his flag captain Sir Thomas Hardy, whose life he famously saved in the build up to the Battle of St Vincent.

167 Barry Weatersby November 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist…”
Union officer evaluating confederate snipers at Manassas.

168 Jerry November 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Coming from the great U.S. Marine Chesty Puller himself when his forces were surrounded by chinese communists. He said to his Marines, “Those poor bastards. They’ve got us just where we want them. We can shoot in every direction now.”.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are.

169 Gerald December 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

My father’s last words suited his lifelong ability with words. “I’m soul tired.”

170 Tyler Durden December 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

“Life is so beautiful.”
Vito Andolini

171 Marcus December 23, 2012 at 11:07 am

“I’ll try anything once”

172 bob December 24, 2012 at 7:47 am

don’t smoke! – yul bryner

173 Tanner December 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Do it! You are only going to kill a man!
-Che Guevara

174 James December 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

Excellent article! (well, as are ALL the articles in this excellent site… keep it up!)

HOWEVER, it was lacking my personal favorite in last words. These were the last words of Saint Lawrence of Rome, a Deacon who was martyred during the persecution of Christians ordered by the Roman Emperor Valerian in 258 AD. He had been brought before a Roman judge, and professing to be a Christian and refusing to renounce his faith, had been ordered to execution by a particularly grisly means. He was ordered to be roasted alive, slowly, on a gridiron. After some time of agonizing pain on the gridiron, he turned to his tormenters, who assumed he was going to ask them for mercy; instead, he uttered the words:

“See, this side is well roasted; turn me on the other and eat.”

Lesson: this dude was a BAMF. He was able to joke about the fact he was being roasted alive, as he was being roasted alive. Definitely the manlyest last words ever.

175 Sym December 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

“What does this button do?”

176 Brian January 2, 2013 at 12:06 am

And the great last words of infamy and humor…

“Hey y’all, watch this!”

177 CRS January 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I wonder how many of these “famous last words” were invented by people who didn’t want their loved one’s last words to be remembered as “OWW” or “Oh, crap.”

178 CRS January 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I wonder how many of these last words were invented by family and friends who didn’t want their loved ones last words to be remembered as “OWWW!” or “Oh, crap.”

179 Steamer January 21, 2013 at 7:24 am

Who recorded this scene?

Hartley and his fellow band members continued to play as the Titanic sunk, in order to keep the passengers and crew calm. When the last lifeboats had been loaded, the musicians grabbed the railing on top the Grand Staircase’s deckhouse, and Hartley said this farewell to them just before a wave hit and washed him overboard.

180 F. Emir January 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm
181 Jay February 8, 2013 at 5:53 pm

“Surprise me.”
–Bob Hope, when asked on his deathbed where he wanted to be buried.

182 JWS March 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm

It was… fun. Oh, my…
–Capt. James T. Kirk

183 Anne Christine March 16, 2013 at 3:05 am

“It’s beautiful out there.”
-> Charles Darwin

184 JMBarrie March 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm

“To die would be an awfully big adventure.” -Peter Pan (I know those aren’t his last words, but they are good last words, don’t you think?)

185 TechMonkey March 19, 2013 at 9:29 am

St. Lawrence, martyred in AD258 by being roasted on a gridiron: “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.”

186 Culper March 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

“Tell the men I said something”

-Pancho Villa

187 Jim Cooke March 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

“This is the end of earth. I am composed.” – John Quincy Adams 1848
“I Still Live!” – Daniel Webster 1852

188 St.G March 19, 2013 at 9:41 am

“Because YOLO!”

189 BryanH March 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

Tom Horn legendary Range Detective’s last words were coolly directed at one of his executioners who showed anxiety — “Ain’t losing your nerve, are you, Joe?”

190 Nat March 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

“Degauss my harddrive.”
– Most of the recent generation

191 jc March 19, 2013 at 11:14 am

Japanese death poems have been an interest of mine. Zen masters and poets write them as they approach death.

This guy, Moriya Sen’an, must have been fun. His translates to:

Bury me when I die
beneath a wine barrel
in a tavern.
With luck
the cask will leak.

Another one, Kaikai, in 1868, 73 years old, wrote:

Round a flame
two tiger moths
race to die.

My favorite is by Onitsura, who died in 1739, 78 years old:

Give my dream back,
raven! The moon you woke me to
is misted over.
(Yume kaese/karasu no samasu/kiri no tsuki)

192 Luis March 19, 2013 at 11:17 am

It can’t end like this. Tell them I said something.

- Pancho Villa

193 Alberto March 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

“Let us cross the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.” – Stonewall Jackson

194 MorganGray March 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm

@Barry Weatersby


Right war, Right quote, wrong battle.

It was General John Sedgewick, at Spotsylvania Courthouse.

195 smoky March 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm

“Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.” -Stonewall Jackson

196 Drewsy March 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

“Shoot straight you bastards, and don’t make a mess of it” – Breaker Morant to his executioners.

197 Wild Bill March 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

“Hold my beer and watch this!” – Unknown

198 Regin March 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

“Let’s do it.”
-Gary Gilmore

199 Tom Abenis II March 20, 2013 at 1:17 am


-David Livingstone

200 JD March 20, 2013 at 6:34 am

“Flip me over I am done on this side.”
St. Lawrence as he was being burned on a grill in the public square.

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