It’s not hard to judge a man based on the last words he utters before slipping from life into that unknown void named Death.
Of course, it’s also not hard to judge a man based on his shoes or based on the way he smacks his lips when eating a sandwich. Or you could judge him based on a series of Triple Lutzes and Double Axels, provided he is in fact a processional figure skater and partaking in a competition.
But today, let’s focus on those last words, and see if we can’t actually get a sense of character from a few final quotes. There are countless compilations of “famous last words” out there in the world, but we’re not concerned with wit, irony, or even profundity. Not today, anyway. No, today we’re here to talk about some of the goddamned manliest things a man ever said right before he kicked off.
“Do with me what you like, I am not going! Come on, come on! Take action! Let’s go!”
Chief Sitting Bull, who decided against being taken into custody by the Indian Affairs police, and instead went out in a blaze of gunfire and glory. He was 59 years young and incredibly pissed off.
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
OG patriot Nathan Hale spake these good goddamned American words just before being hung by British soldiers on September 22nd, 1776. He was 21 going on Immortal.
“Shoot straight, you bastards!”
Harry “Breaker” Morant commanding his own firing squad to kill the hell out of him properly. To be fair to his executioners, Morant had (likely) summarily and illegally executed several Boer prisoners of war in his charge, so his own death sentence wasn’t exactly unfair.
“Tis well. I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.”
General President Mr. American Himself George Washington, showing us how it’s done. Now, for the record, his last words might also have just been “Tis well,” but let’s… let’s go with the whole thing. Yeah.
“The bastards tried to come over me last night. I guess they didn’t know I was a Marine.”
Pvt. Edward Ahrens, USMC, whispered as he succumbed to wounds suffered during his single-handed prevention of a breach in American lines on Guadalcanal, August 8th, 1942. Beside him lay the bodies of multiple enemy soldiers. Pvt. Ahrens was holding a sword.
“One last drink, please.”
Jack Daniel. No further annotation required.
“I am not the least afraid to die.”
Sir Charles Darwin said this, then died, unafraid. Also thanks for helping change the very nature of how we think about nature, by the way. Also your beard was beautiful, too beautiful for this world.