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My Last Cigar

A Tobacco Poem

My Last Cigar tells the story of a man who, while looking upon the blue seas of the Canary Islands, discovers that the cigar he is smoking is actually his last. He laments his predicament, and grieves his last cigar “as though a dying friend.”

The poem was originally written by Joseph Warren Fabens (1821-1875), an American miscellaneous writer. It became a popular tobacco poem in the 19th century, eventually finding its way into American college songbooks. It was originally set to the music of J. M. Hubbard, but this tune is said to be from Charles Wesley.

My Last Cigar is here interpreted by the Huelgas Ensemble. Note – only verses 1, 3, and 4 are sung in the recording, but we have included all the verses here for our readers.

Listen to My Last Cigar


1. 'Twas off the blue Canary Isles,
A glorious Summer day,
I sat upon the quarter deck,
And whiffed my cares away.
And as the volumed smoke arose,
Like incense in the air,
I breathed a sigh to think in sooth.
It was my last cigar.

2. I leaned upon the quarter rail,
And looked down in the sea,
E'en there the purple wreath of smoke
Was curling gracefully.
Oh, what had I at such a time
To do with wasting care?
Alas! the trembling tear proclaimed,
It was my last cigar.

3. I watched the ashes as it came
Fast drawing toward the end,
I watched it as a friend would watch
Beside a dying friend;
But still the flame swept slowly on,
It vanished into air;
I threw it from me – spare the tale;
It was my last cigar.

4. I've seen the land of all I love
Fade in the distance dim,
I've watched above the blighted heart,
Where once proud hope hath been;
But I’ve never known a sorrow,
That could with that compare,
When off the blue Canaries
I smoked my last cigar.

lyrics and music My Last Cigar

For a larger PDF version, click here.

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