The comedian, Stephen Wright, quipped that he wished his ‘first word had been quote so that when I die my last word could be unquote’. Having given precious little thought to what we would first say when we came into the world, it’s perhaps understandable if some of us obsess about what we should say on the way out.

Like a tattoo, one’s epitaph isn’t the kind of decision you want to make in a rush and fortunately we have a lifetime to write one, if anybody knows how long a lifetime is. But it’s hard to think of anything that might come close to Stanley Laurel who outclassed everyone with

If anyone at my funeral has a long face, I’ll never speak to him again.’

English  humourist Oscar Wilde died with the kind of zen quip that made him of the most quotable wrters in history. Before passing away, he’s reported to have sat up in bed and cried:

Either the wallpaper goes or I do!

It’s not clear whether Woody Allen worries about his last words but no article about death quotes can miss out his ‘I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.’

But Beethoven probably surpasses everyone by overcoming the sadness of his life to say:

Friends applaud, the comedy is finished‘ before he departed.

More famous last words.

Some more good epitaphs from around the world.