I’ve always loved that story about Oscar Wilde lying on his deathbed in a seedy hotel, taking one look at the interiors and saying, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” Turns out that they weren’t actually his last words; they were spoken some weeks before he died. Even so, what wit.
Leaving the Rest Unsaid
Finis, apparent on an earlier page,
With fallen obelisk for colophon,
Must this be here repeated?
Death has been ruefully announced
And to die once is death enough,
Be sure, for any life—time.
Must the book end, as you would end it,
With testamentary appendices
And graveyard indices?
But no, I will not lay me down
To let your tearful music mar
The decent mystery of my progress.
So now, my solemn ones, leaving the rest unsaid,
Rising in air as on a gander’s wing
At a careless comma,