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Last Words of Real People
Narvaez to Pompadour
Narvaez, Ramon Maria (1800-1868)

"I do not have to forgive my enemies.  I have had them all shot."

Ramon Narvaez was a Spanish politician and general who served repeated terms as prime minister during the mid-18th century.

Nazi War Criminals (various-16 October 1946)

01:11 a.m. Joachim von Ribbentrop - "My last wish is that Germany realize its entity and that an understanding be reached between East and West.  I wish peace to the world."

01:?? a.m. Field Marshal Keitel - "I call on God Almighty to have mercy on the German people.  More than two million German soldiers went to their death for the fatherland before me.  I follow now my sons--all for Germany."

01:36 a.m. Ernest Kaltenbrunner - "I have loved my German people and my fatherland with a warm heart.  I have done my duty by the laws of my people and I am sorry this time my people were lead by men who were not soldiers and that crimes were committed of which I had no knowledge.  Germany, good luck."

01:47 a.m. Alfred Rosenberg - "No." (when asked if he had any last words)

01:?? a.m. Hans Frank - "I am thankful for the kind treatment during my captivity and I ask God to accept me with mercy."

02:05 a.m. Wilhelm Frick - "Long live eternal Germany."

02:12 a.m. Julius Streicher - "Heil Hitler!" ("Ask the man his name.")  "You know my name well.  Julius Streicher! . . . Now it goes with God. . . . Purim Fest 1946! . . . The Bolsheviks will hang you one day! . . .  I am with God.  Adele, my dear wife."

02:20 a.m. Fritz Sauckel - "I am dying innocent.  The sentence is wrong.  God protect Germany and make Germany great again.  Long live Germany!  God protect my family!"

02:?? a.m. Alfred Jodl - "My greetings to you, my Germany."

02:38 a.m. Artur Seyss-Inquart - "I hope that this execution is the last act of tragedy of the Second World War and that the lesson taken from this world war will be that peace and understanding should exist between peoples.  I believe in Germany."

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Nelson, Horatio, Vice Admiral the Viscount (1758-1805)

"God bless you, Hardy."

Horatio Nelson is the most famous of all British admirals.  He was appointed as commander of the Mediterranean forces at the beginning of the Napoleonic wars and lost an eye at Calvi and and arm at Tenerife.  After destroying the French fleet at the Nile, he rested in Naples were he began a scandalous affair with the wife of a British envoy, Lady Emma Hamilton.  He was victorious once more at the battle of Copenhagen, and when a revitalized French fleet broke through a blockade at Toulon, he crushed them again at Trafalgar.  During the battle, Nelson was mortally wounded, but not before sending his famous last signal to the fleet, "England expects every man will do his duty."  Taken below deck, Nelson lingered in pain for several hours.  He summoned the Captain of his flagship, Thomas Hardy, and ordered "Don't throw me overboard. . . .Take care of my dear Lady Hamilton, Hardy; take care of poor Lady Hamilton.  Kiss me, Hardy."  Hardy knelt down and kissed Nelson's cheek.  "Now I am satisfied," said Nelson, "Thank God, I have done my duty."  Hardy knelt once more and kissed Nelson's forehead.  Nelson looked up, blessed Hardy, and died.

The surgeon who treated Nelson for his wounds recorded his last words as: "And take care of my dear Lady Hamilton, Hardy.  Take care of poor Lady Hamilton.  Kiss me, Hardy. . . .  Remember that I leave lady Hamilton and my daughter, Horatia, as a legacy to my country--and never forget Horatia."

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Nostradamus (Michel de Notre Dame) 1503-1566

"Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here."

Nostradamus was a cryptic prophet whose verse has been credited by some as foretelling  future events despite its vague language and lack of any chronological reference.  His predictions achieved local recognition after he claimed to have discovered a cure for the plague.  Word of one of his prophesies eventually reached Catherine de Medici, the superstitious wife of Henry II, who believed it was about her husband:  "The young lion will surpass the old one in national field by a single duel.  He will pierce his eyes in a golden cage two blows at once, to die a grievous death."  After Henry was killed in 1559 during a tournament when a lance, yielded by a younger opponent, pierced his eye, Nostradamus achieved true fame.

One evening, in 1566, Nostradamus's assistant found him writing at his bench and bid him good night saying "Tomorrow, master?"  After Nostradamus replied, the assistant left the room.  When he returned the next day, he found Nostradamus dead and a note on the desk: "Upon the return of the Embassy, the King's gift put in place, Nothing more will be done.  He will have gone to God's nearest relatives, friends, blood brothers, Found quite dead near bed and bench."

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Oates, Lawrence Edward Grace, Captain (?-1912)

"I am just going outside and may be some time."

Captain Oates was a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole in 1911-12.  Despite broken equipment and severe weather, Scott and his party reached the South Pole on 18 January only to find that Roald Amundsen had reached it a month sooner.  Severe weather and lack of food and water threatened the return trip to the base camp.  Oates will always be remembered as the man who left the party  and walked willingly to his death in order that his comrades might have a better chance to live.  No member of Scott's expedition survived.

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O'Neill, Eugene (1888-1953)

"Born in a hotel room--and God damn it--died in a hotel room."

Eugene O'Neill, thought by many critics to have been the most important American dramatist, earned one Nobel and four Pulitzer Prizes during his lifetime.  He was born in a New York City Broadway hotel room, the son of an Irish-American actor.  For much of his life he suffered from a debilitating Parkinson's-like disease.  When he died in 1953, it was--much to his chagrin--also in a hotel room. 

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O'Neill, William "Buckey" (?-1998)

"Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me." (See John Sedgwick)

Buckey O'Neill was a Arizona lawyer, miner, cowboy, gambler, newspaperman, sheriff, and congressman.  He was also one of the most important members of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, having recruited many of the volunteers and supervised their training while in San Antonio waiting to be deployed. 

Just prior to the famous charge up Kettle (not San Juan) Hill, O'Neill was standing up, smoking a cigarette, and joking with his troops while under withering fire from the ridge.  One of his sergeants shouted to him above the noise, "Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you!" to which O'Neill shouted back his reply.  O'Neill then calmly turned to another officer.  As he started to speak, a bullet struck him in the mouth.  Private Tuttle, who was standing nearby, later recalled, "I heard the bullet. You usually can if you're close enough, you know.  It makes a sort of 'spat.'  He was dead before he hit the ground."

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Oswald, Lee Harvey

"I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney if the attorney thinnks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you."

On 22 November 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy from a window of the Texas Book Depository in Dallas.  Later that afternoon, he shot Officer Trippit of the Dallas Police and was shortly thereafter apprehended inside the Texas Theater.  Two days later, he addressed his last words to Inspector Thomas Kelly of the U.S. Secret Service just before he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby.

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Perugino, Pietro (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (1446-1523)

"I am curious to see what happens in the next world to one who dies unshriven."

Perugino was one of the Italian master painters who was hired to paint the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.  His most famous pupil was Raphael.  On his deathbed, Perugino refused to send for a priest to administer the last rites.

Picasso, Pablo (1881-1973)

"Drink to me!"

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramist, who developed Cubism, one of the most influential modern painting styles.

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Pitt, William (1759-1806)

"Oh, my country! how I leave my country!"

William Pitt was a British Prime Minister, and faced repeated crises in India and Ireland.  He lead the diplomatic offensive against revolutionary France and Napoleon.  He died in office, primarily as a result of overwork, desperately aware of  England's perilous situation following Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz.

Pitt's last words were also recorded as "Oh, my country, how I love my country," and "I think I could eat one of Bellamy's veal pies."  Bellamy was, I believe, a House of Commons courier.

Poe, Edgar Allan (1809-1849)

"Lord help my poor soul."

Edgar Allan Poe was a famous American poet and author.  He achieved national fame after publishing The Raven in 1845 and wrote many excellent and macabre short stories.  His chronically poor health was compounded by alcohol abuse, and he suffered what some considered to be a nervous breakdown after the death of his wife in 1847. 

Poe's last word has also been recorded as "Nevermore" in answer to a deathbed question, "Would you like to see your friends?" 

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Pompadour, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise d'Etoiles (1721-1764)

"Wait a second."

Madame de Pompadour was a lady of the French court and mistress to Louis XV.  She was a major influence on French politics of the mid-18th century.  As she died, Madame de Pompadour called on God to "Wait a second."  When He did, she quickly applied rouge to her cheeks.

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