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Even more disappointing were the final stanzas of legendary wordsmiths the likes of Lord Byron and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Byron couldn’t be bothered to work up a decent rhyme. „Now I shall go to sleep. Good night.“ While Goethe’s last words were so dull biographers have been obliged to edit creatively. „Open the second shutter so that more light may come in“ became the more sublime, „More light!“ (There is, as with many last words, some debate whether Goethe’s last words were not in fact, „Come my little one, and give me your paw.“ For the editors of Columbia World of Quotations, at least, the choice was obvious.) And one is almost loath to mention that after a lifetime of setting down le mot juste, Walt Whitman ’s last barbaric yawp was „Hold me up; I want to shit.“ / The Vocabula Review 3/2002

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