Famous Quotes & Sayings

T.H. White Quotes & Sayings

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Famous Quotes By T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 773983

Wars are never fought for one reason," he said. "They are fought for dozens of reasons, in a muddle. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 801506

It is only people who are lacking, or bad, or inferior, who have to be good at things. You have always been full and perfect, so you had nothing to make up for. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1968189

But his heart had been made as a match for Elaine's, and now it was unable to bear the burden which hers had been forced to lay down. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1314994

One more try,' he asked, 'We are not quite done.' 'What is the use of trying?' 'It is a thing which people do. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1167409

[Kay] was not at all an unpleasant person really, but clever, quick, proud, passionate and ambitious. He was one of those people who would be neither a follower nor a leader, but
only an aspiring heart, impatient in the failing body which imprisoned it. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1859145

He was feeling a new heresy coming over him, possibly as a result of the spirits, and it had something to do about the celibacy of the clergy. He had one already about the shape of his tonsure and the usual one about the date of Easter, as well as his of Pelagian business-but the latest was beginning to make him feel as if the presence of children was unnecessary. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2206691

The miracle was that he had been allowed to do a miracle. And ever, says Mallory, Sir Lancelot wept, as he had been a child that had been beaten. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 483876

I suppose one has to be desperate, to be a successful writer. One has to reach a rock-bottom at which one can afford to let everything go hang. One has got to damn the public, chance one's living, say what one thinks, and be oneself. Then something may come out. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 247912

My boy, you shall be everything in the world, animal, vegetable, mineral, protista, or virus, for all I care-before I have done with you-but you will have to trust my superior backsight. The time is not yet ripe for you to be a hawk ... so you may as well sit down for the moment and learn to be a human being. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1161848

The increasingly cynical court thought Arthur, hypocritical, as all decent men must be if you assume decency cannot exist. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2134281

You think education is something to be done when all else fails? — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1555768

It seems, in tragedy, that innocence is not enough. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 349350

It is the bad people who need to have principles to restrain them. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1741067

All endeavours which are directed to a purely worldly end ... contain within themselves the germs of their own corruption. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 636905

He may even have felt that God needed him more than Guenever did. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1691515

But there was a time when each of us stood naked before the world, confronting life as a serious problem with which we were intimately and passionately concerned ... There was a time when Free Love versus Catholic Morality was a question of as much importance to our hot bodies as if a pistol had been clapped to our heads.
Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls, what the world was, what love was, what we were ourselves. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1797068

The fate of this man or that man was less than a drop, although it was a sparkling one, in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2194250

I am an anarchist, like any other sensible person.
~ Merlyn — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 292009

The eyes, circled by this sad and beautiful darkness, were so sorrowful, lonely, gentle and nobly tragic, that they killed all other emotion except love. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1401660

Thank God for the aged And for age itself, and illness and the grave. When we are old and ill, and particularly in the coffin, It is no trouble to behave. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1178753

Those who lived by the sword were forced to die by it. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 373196

In the castle of Benwick, the French boy was looking at his face in the polished surface of a kettle-hat. It flashed in the sunlight with the stubborn gleam of metal. It was practically the same as the steel helmet which soldiers still wear, and it did not make a good mirror, but it was the best he could get. He turned the hat in various directions, hoping to get an average idea of his face from the different distoritons which the bulges made. He was trying to find out what he was, and he was afraid of what he would find.
The boy thought that there was something wrong with him. All through his life
even when he was a great man with the world at his feet
he was to feel this gap: something at the bototm of his heart of which he was aware, and ashamed, but which he did not understand. There is no need for us to try to understand it. We do not have to dabble in a place which he preferred to keep secret. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 330038

At the same time so distant that unutterable thoughts of space and eternity would baffle themselves in his sighing breast, and he would imagine to himself how he was falling upward higher and higher among them, never reaching, never ending, leaving and losing everything in the tranquil speed of space. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1473723

Wart draggled off to the tower room, where Merlyn was busy knitting himself a woollen night-cap for the winter. "I cast off two together at every other line," said the magician, "but for some reason it seems to end too sharply. Like an onion. It is the turning of the heel that does one, every time. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1051464

I will tell you something else, King, which may be a surprise for you. It will not happen for hundreds of years, but both of us are to come back. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2088011

The plain of Bedegraine was a forest of pavilions. They looked like old-fashioned bathing tents, and were every colour of the rainbow ... There were heraldic devices worked or stamped on the sides ... Then there were pennons floating from the tops of the tents, and sheaves of spears leaning against them. The more sporting barons had shields or huge copper basins outside their front doors, and all you had to do was to give a thump on one of these with the butt-end of your spear, for the baron to come out like an angry bee and have a fight with you, almost before the resounding boom had died away. Sir Dinadain, who was a cheerful man, had hung a chamber-pot outside his. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 877360

Thy sorrow will come from thine own mouth. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1357515

Perhaps man was neither good nor bad, was only a machine in an insensate universe
his courage no more than a reflex to danger, like the automatic jump at the pin-prick. Perhaps there were no virtues, unless jumping at pin-pricks was a virtue, and humanity only a mechanical donkey led on by the iron carrot of love, through the pointless treadmill of reproduction. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1248635

I am writing a treatise just now" said the badger, coughing diffidently to show that he was absolutely set on explaining it, "which is to point out why Man has become the master of the animals. Perhaps you would like to hear it? It's for my doctor's degree you know," he added hastily, before Wart could protest. He got few chances of reading his treatise to anybody, so he could not bear to let the opportunity slip by. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 221325

If people reach perfection they vanish, you know. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 893080

He did not like the grown-ups who talked down to him, but the ones who went on talking in their usual way, leaving him to leap along in their wake, jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawned. He had the glee of the porpoise then, pouring and leaping through strange seas. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 982518

War is like a fire. One man may start it, but it will spread all over. It is not about one thing in particular. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1766690

Unfortunately we have tried to establish Right by Might, and you just can't do that — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1489528

I would recommend a solo flight to all prospective suicides. It tends to make clear the issue of whether one enjoys being alive or not. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2162315

As for you, Man, you will be a naked tool all your life, though a user of tools. You will look like an embryo till they bury you, but all the others will be embryos before your might. Eternally undeveloped, you will always remain potential in Our image, able to see some of Our sorrows and to feel some of Our joys. We are partly sorry for you, Man, but partly hopeful. Run along then, and do your best. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1582971

The best thing for disturbances of the spirit is to learn. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love and lose your moneys to a monster, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then
to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the poor mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1556341

There would be a day - there must be a day - when he would come back to Gramarye with a new Round Table which had no corners, just as the world had none - a table without boundaries between the nations who would sit to feast there. The hope of making it would lie in culture. If people could be persuaded to read and write, not just to eat and make love, there was still a chance that they might come to reason. BUT — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2170197

All forms of collectivism are mistaken, according to the human skull. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1492644

When Other blood spurts from the knife, Then everything is fine. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2060524

Leave well alone. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1488319

He saw her as the passionate spirit of innocent youth, now beleaguered by the trick which is played on youth - the trick of treachery in the body, which turns flesh into green bones. Her stupid finery was not vulgar to him, but touching. The girl was still there, still appealing from behind the breaking barricade of rouge. She had made the brave protest: I will not be vanquished. Under the clumsy coquetry, the undignified clothes, there was the human cry for help. The young eyes were puzzled, saying: It is I, inside here - what have they done to me? I will not submit. Some part of her spirit knew that the powder was making a guy of her, and hated it, and tried to hold her lover with the eyes alone. They said: Don't look at all this. Look at me. I am still here, in the eyes. Look at me, here in the prison, and help me out. Another part said: I am not old, it is illusion. I am beautifully made-up. See, I will perform the movements of youth. I will defy the enormous army of age. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2203404

I can see that you spoke in ignorance, and I bitterly regret that I should have been so petty as to take offence where none was intended. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1435449

I see what you think you mean," said the magician, "but you are wrong. There is no excuse for war, none whatever, and whatever wrong which your nation might be doing to mine-short of war-my nation would be in the wrong if I started a war so as to redress it. A murderer, for instance, is not allowed to plead that his victim was rich and oppresing hhim, so why should a nation be allowed to? Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not force. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1410042

It is so fatally easy to make young children believe that they are horrible. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 182592

So we may well believe that the King's men were shriven on the night before they fought. Something of the young man's vision had penetrated to his captains and his soldiers. Something of the new ideal of the Round Table which was to be born in pain, something about doing a hateful and dangerous action for the sake of decency
for they knew that the fight was to be fought in blood and death without reward. They would get nothing but the unmarketable conscience of having done what they ought to do in spite of fear
something which wicked people have often debased by calling it glory with too much sentiment, but which is glory all the same. This idea was in the hearts of the young men who knelt before the God-distributing bishops
knowing that the odds were three to one, and that their own warm bodies might be cold at sunset. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2266062

If there is one thing I can't stand, it is stupidity. I always say that stupidity is the Sin against the Holy Ghost. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 2066679

My trouble is that my intelligence is materialistic, agnostic, pessimistic and solitary, while my heart is incurably tender, romantic, loving and gregarious. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1584047

Neither force, nor argument, nor opinion," said Merlyn with the deepest sincerity, "are thinking. Argument is only a display of mental force, a sort of fencing with points in order to gain a victory, not for truth. Opinions are the blind alleys of lazy or of stupid men, who are unable to think. If ever a true politician really thinks a subject out dispassionately, even Homo stultus will be compelled to accept his findings in the end. Opinion can never stand beside truth. At present, however, Homo impoliticus is content either to argue with opinions or to fight with his fists, instead of waiting for the truth in his head. It will take a million years, before the mass of men can be called political animals. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1585183

Kay was older and bigger than the Wart, so that he was bound to win in the end, but he was more nervous and imaginative. He could imagine the effect of each blow that was aimed at him, and this weakened his defense. Wart was only an infuriated hurricane. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1590290

made of stone. It had no windows and only one door, through which you had to crawl. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1970770

It is a pity that there are no big creatures to prey on humanity. If there were enough dragons and rocs, perhaps mankind would turn its might against them. Unfortunately man is preyed upon by microbes, which are too small to be appreciated. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1592808

He felt in his heart cruelty and cowardice, the things which made him brave and kind. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1613599

Who said that?" asked Sir Grummore.
"But the sword said it, like I tell you."
"Talkative weapon," remarked Sir Grummore skeptically. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1629978

An ordinary fellow, who did not spend half his life torturing himself by trying to discover what was right so as to conquer his inclination towards what was wrong, might have cut the knot which brought their ruin. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1967975

Perhaps we all give the best of our hearts uncritically
to those who hardly think about us in return. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1712285

It was a grey September day, with the blue and copper butterflies flitting in the after-grass, the partridges calling like crickets, the blackberries colouring, and the hazel nuts still nursing their tasteless little kernels in the cradles of cotton wool. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1953985

We have had a good time while we were young, but it is in the nature of Time to fly. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1805937

They made me see that the world was beautiful if you were beautiful, and that you couldn't get unless you gave. And you had to give without wanting to get. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1788425

The author says people are guilty of wrecking the present because the future was bound to be a wreck. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1749468

There is a thing called knowledge of the world, which people do not have until they are middle-aged. It is something which cannot be taught to younger people, because it is not logical and does not obey laws which are constant. It has no rules. Only, in the long years which bring women to the middle of life, a sense of balance develops ... when she is beginning to hate her used body, she suddenly finds that she can do it. She can go on living ...
T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 509893

If it takes a million years for a fish to become a reptile, has Man, in our few hundred, altered out of recognition? — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 773259

The Victorians had not been anxious to go away for the weekend. The Edwardians, on the contrary, were nomadic. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 751919

Cavall came simply and gave his heart and soul. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 750007

The word "feral" has a kind of magic potency which allied itself to two other words, "ferocious" and "free." To revert to a feral state! — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 721386

The destiny of all species is extinction as such, fortunately for them. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 721127

The Destiny of Man is to unite, not to divide. If you keep on dividing you end up as a collection of monkeys throwing nuts at each other out of separate trees. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 714682

No, I'm not." "Yes, you are." "No, I'm not." "Yes, you are." "I said Pax Non." "You said Pax." "No, I didn't." "Yes, you did." "No, I didn't." "Yes, you did. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 703044

You could not give up a human heart as you could give up drinking. The drink was yours, and you could give it up: but your lover's soul was not your own: it was not at your disposal; you had a duty towards it. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 673263

But they woke him with words, their cruel bright weapons. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 547680

I suppose the best way to tell the story is simply to narrate it, without an effort to carry belief. The thing did not require belief. It was not a feeling of horror in one's bones, or a misty outline, or anything that needed to be given actuality by an act of faith. It was as solid as a wardrobe. You don't have to believe in wardrobes. They are there, with corners. (The Troll) — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 796943

Now, in their love, which was stronger, there were the seeds of hatred and fear and confusion growing at the same time: for love can exist with hatred, each preying on the other, and this is what gives it its greatest fury. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 506275

Merlyn always said that sportsmanship was the curse of the world, and so it is. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 486758

when a moral sense begins to rot it is worse than when you had none. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 482881

People will do the basest things on account of their so-called honor. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 472233

After several minutes [Wart] said, "Is one allowed to speak as a human being, or does the thing about being seen and not heard have to apply? — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 384841

Their mother is Athene, the goddess of wisdom, and, although they are often ready to play the buffoon to amuse you, such conduct is the prerogative of the truly wise. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 293429

Wherever they went and wherever they slept, the east wind whistled in the reeds, and the geese went over high in the starlight, honking at the stars. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 259502

a king can only work with his best tools. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 227945

Ought to be havin' a first-rate eddication, at their age. When I was their age I was doin' all this Latin and stuff — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 193675

Nobody can be too careful about their habits of speech. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1217986

He said, 'Good dog, Beaumont the valiant, sleep now, old friend Beaumont, good old dog.' Then Robin's falchion let Beaumont out of this world, to run free with Orion and roll among the stars. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1344877

Nobody can be saved from anything, unless they save themselves. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1318070

In war, our elders may give the orders ... but it is the young who have to fight. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1314092

Kings can only use their best tools. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1305927

A chaos of mind and body - a time for weeping at sunsets and at the glamour of moonlight - a confusion and profusion of beliefs and hopes, in God, in Truth, in Love, and in Eternity - an ability to be transported by the beauty of physical objects - a heart to ache or swell- a joy so joyful and a sorrow so sorrowful that oceans could lie between them ... — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1294984

It was called a tribute before a battle and a ransom afterwards. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1257824

It was Christmas night, the eve of the Boxing Day Meet. You must remember that this was in the old Merry England of Gramarye, when the rosy barons ate with their fingers, and had peacocks served before them with all their tail feathers streaming, or boars' heads with the tusks stuck in again - when there was no unemployment because there were too few people to be unemployed - when the forests rang with knights walloping each other on the helm, and the unicorns in the wintry moonlight stamped with their silver feet and snorted their noble breaths of blue upon the frozen air. Such marvels were great and comfortable ones. But in the Old England there was a greater marvel still. The weather behaved itself. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1257408

Dogs, like very small children, are quite mad. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1246231

Queen Morgause," said Gwenever thoughtfully, "must have been a strange person. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1225404

It has to be admitted that starving nations never seem to be quite so starving that they cannot afford to have far more expensive armaments than anybody else. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1364470

Aviators live by hours, not by days. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1110788

God save King Pendragon,
May his reign long drag on,
God save the King.
Send him most gorious,
Great and uproarious,
Horrible and hoarious,
God save our King. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1073260

At this the Wart's eyes grew rounder and rounder, until they were about as big as the owl's who was sitting on his shoulder, and his face got redder and redder, and a breath seemed to gather itself beneath his heart. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1060194

You run a grave risk, my boy," said the magician, "of being turned into a piece of bread, and toasted. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 1006938

The mustard - pot got up and walked over to his plate on thin silver legs that waddled like the owl's. Then it uncurled its handles and one handle lifted its lid with exaggerated courtesy while the other helped him to a generous spoonful. 'Oh, I love the mustard - pot!' cried the Wart. 'Wherever did you get it?' At this the pot beamed all over its face and began to strut a bit, but Merlyn rapped it on the head with a teaspoon, so that it sat down and shut up at once. 'It is not a bad pot,' he said grudgingly. 'Only it is inclined to give itself airs. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 970518

I don't think things ought to be done because you are able to do them. I think they should be done because you ought to do them. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 965611

Man must be ready to say: Yes, since Cain there has been injustice, but we can only set the misery right if we accept a status quo. Lands have been robbed, men slain, nations humiliated. Let us now start fresh without remembrance, rather than live forward and backward at the same time. We cannot build the future by avenging the past. Let us sit down as brothers, and accept the Peace of God. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 957751

Any one war seems rooted in its antecedents. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 901342

Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance. — T.H. White

T.H. White Quotes 857370

Don't kill me,' said the knight. 'I yield. I yield. You can't kill a man at mercy.'

Lancelot put up his sword and went back from the knight, as if he were going back from his own soul. He felt in his heart cruelty and cowardice, the things which made him brave and kind.

'Get up,' he said. 'I won't hurt you. Get up, go.'

The knight looked at him, on all fours like a dog, and stood up, crouching uncertainly.

Lancelot went away and was sick. — T.H. White