Famous Last Words
Sir Thomas More
July 6, 1535
“Pluck up thy spirits, man, and be not afraid to do thine office, my neck is very short. Take heed therefore thou shoot not awry for saving thine honesty.”
More had been against King Henry VIII‘s separation from the Church of Rome and opposed the King’s annulment to Catherine of Aragon. Because he went against the Royal decisions, he was tried for and convicted of treason. Though his original sentence to be hanged, drawn, and quartered — which was the standard sentence of the time — his sentence was commuted by King Henry to just decapitation. Sir Thomas More’s final words were to his executioner, requesting the axe strike its target accurately.