The title of the song comes directly from the letter Alexander Hamilton wrote a week before his duel with Aaron Burr to be delivered to Eliza in the event of his death. It reads in part:
This letter, my very dear Eliza, will not be delivered to you, unless I shall first have terminated my earthly career; to begin, as I humbly hope from redeeming grace and divine mercy, a happy immortality.
If it had been possible for me to have avoided the interview, my love for you and my precious children would have been alone a decisive motive. But it was not possible, without sacrifices which would have rendered me unworthy of your esteem. I need not tell you of the pangs I feel, from the idea of quitting you and exposing you to the anguish which I know you would feel….With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world.
Adieu best of wives and best of Women. Embrace all my darling Children for me.
I love this song but for a long time was bothered by the abrupt ending. Hamilton perfectly delivers the line, “This meeting’s at dawn,” like he’s landing a triple lutz at the winter Olympics. But right after he brings the song to a screeching halt by awkwardly saying “Hey….best of wives and best of women.”
But after awhile I realized — or at least convinced myself — that abrupt ending is the whole point. We get to experience a mini version of what Eliza did, with Hamilton exiting the song out of the blue leaving us with only the words “best of wives and best of women” on the way out.
Listen and let me know what you think.