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T.H. White T.H. White > Quotes


T.H. White quotes (showing 31-60 of 261)

“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, The Once and Future King
“You run a grave risk, my boy," said the magician, "of being turned into a piece of bread, and toasted.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
tags: war
“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, The Once and Future King
“[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, The Once and Future King
“I am an anarchist, like any other sensible person.
~ Merlyn”
T.H. White, The Book of Merlyn
“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, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
“Mordred and Agravaine thought Arthur hypocritical—as all decent men must be, if you assume that decency can’t exist.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“Love is a trick played on us by the forces of evolution. Pleasure is the bait laid down by the same. There is only power. Power is of the individual mind but the mind's power is not enough. Power of the body decides everything in the end and only might is right.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“He caught a glimpse of that extraordinary faculty in man, that strange, altruistic, rare, and obstinate decency which will make writers or scientists maintain their truths at the risk of death. Eppur si muove, Galileo was to say; it moves all the same. They were to be in a position to burn him if he would go on with it, with his preposterous nonsense about the earth moving round the sun, but he was to continue with the sublime assertion because there was something which he valued more than himself. The Truth. To recognize and to acknowledge What Is. That was the thing which man could do, which his English could do, his beloved, his sleeping, his now defenceless English. They might be stupid, ferocious, unpolitical, almost hopeless. But here and there, oh so seldome, oh so rare, oh so glorious, there were those all the same who would face the rack, the executioner, and even utter extinction, in the cause of something greater than themselves. Truth, that strange thing, the jest of Pilate's. Many stupid young men had thought they were dying for it, and many would continue to die for it, perhaps for a thousand years. They did not have to be right about their truth, as Galileo was to be. It was enough that they, the few and martyred, should establish a greatness, a thing above the sum of all they ignorantly had.”
T.H. White, The Book of Merlyn: The Unpublished Conclusion to The Once & Future King
“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 it was of vital interest to us to find out whether there was a God or not. Obviously the existence or otherwise of a future life must be of the very first importance to somebody who is going to live her present one, because her manner of living it must hinge on the problem. 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, The Once and Future King
“It is the bad people who need to have principles to restrain them.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
“And do you know another thing, Arthur? Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Sword in the Stone
“Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“He, unfortunately for himself, had been beautifully brought up. His teacher had educated him as the child is educated in the womb, where it lives the history of man from fish to mammal--and, like the child in the womb, he had been protected with love meanwhile. The effect of such an education was that he had grown up without any of the useful accomplishments for living--without malice, vanity, suspicion, cruelty, and the commoner forms of selfishness. Jealousy seemed to him the most ignoble of vices. He was sadly unfitted for hating his best friend or torturing his wife. He had been given too much love and trust to be good at these things.”
T.H. White
“People commit suicide through weakness, not through strength.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“It was well for him, with his chivalry and mysticism, to make the grand renunciation. But it takes two to make love, or to make a quarrel. She was not an insensate piece of property to be taken up or laid down at his convenience. 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 you own: it was not at your disposal; you had a duty towards it.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“Arthur, you mustn’t feel that I am rude when I say this. You must remember that I have been away in strange and desert places, sometimes quite alone, sometimes in a boat with nobody but God and the whistling sea. Do you know, since I have been back with people, I have felt I was going mad? Not from the sea, but from the people. All my gains are slipping away, with the people round me. A lot of the things which you and Jenny say, even, seem to me to be needless: strange noises: empty. You know what I mean, ‘How are you?’ — ‘Do sit down.’— ‘What nice weather we are having!’ What does it matter? People talk far too much. Where I have been, and where Galahad is, it is a waste of time to have ‘manners.’ Manners are only needed between people, to keep their empty affairs in working order. Manners makyth man, you know, not God. So you can understand how Galahad may have seemed inhuman, and mannerless, and so on, to the people who were buzzing and clacking about him. He was far away in his spirit, living on desert islands, in silence, with eternity.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“He felt in his heart cruelty and cowardice, the things which made him brave and kind.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“A lot of brainless unicorns swaggering about and calling themselves educated just because they can push each other off a horse with a bit of a stick! It makes me tired. ”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“They had a year of joy, twelve months of the strange heaven which the salmon know on beds of river shingle, under the gin-clear water. For twenty-four years they were guilty, but this first year was the only one which seemed like happiness. Looking back on it, when they were old, they did not remember that in this year it had ever rained or frozen. The four seasons were coloured like the edge of a rose petal for them.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Book of Merlyn
“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, The Sword in the Stone
“Unfortunately we have tried to establish Right by Might, and you just can't do that”
T.H. White
“I think I ought to have some eddication,"said the Wart, "I can't think of anything to do.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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
“If God is supposed to be merciful,' [Arthur] retorted, 'I don't see why He shouldn't allow people to stumble into heaven, just as well as climb there”
T.H. White


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