Home  »  Respectfully Quoted  »  Nathan Hale (1755–76)

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1304
AUTHOR: Nathan Hale (1755–76)
QUOTATION: I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.
ATTRIBUTION: NATHAN HALE, last words before being hanged by the British as a spy, September 22, 1776. Possibly inspired by Joseph Addison’s celebrated tragedy, Cato (act IV, scene iv), in which Cato says, when the body of his son is brought before him: “How beautiful is death when earned by virtue. Who would not be that youth? What pity is it that we can die but once to serve our country!”—George Dudley Seymour, Captain Nathan Hale, Major John Palsgrave Wyllys, A Digressive History, p. 39 (1933).

See note at No. 1561.
SUBJECTS: Patriotism