The Once and Future King Quotes

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The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King, #1-4) The Once and Future King by T.H. White
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The Once and Future King Quotes (showing 1-30 of 90)
“The bravest people are the ones who don’t mind looking like cowards.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's 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, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour 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 mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“She hardly ever thought of him. He had worn a place for himself in some corner of her heart, as a sea shell, always boring against the rock, might do. The making of the place had been her pain. But now the shell was safely in the rock. It was lodged, and ground no longer.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“We cannot build the future by avenging the past.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“If people reach perfection they vanish, you know.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
“Only fools want to be great.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“In war, our elders may give the orders...but it is the young who have to fight.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
tags: age, war, youth
“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, The Once and Future King
“Might does not make right! Right makes right!”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
“Those who lived by the sword were forced to die by it.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, 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
“There is one fairly good reason for fighting - and that is, if the other man starts it. You see, wars are a great wickedness, perhaps the greatest wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that they must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man started them, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop them. ”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“There was just such a man when I was young—an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into strom troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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, The Once and Future King
“If I were to be made a knight," said the Wart, staring dreamily into the fire, "I should insist on doing my vigil by myself, as Hob does with his hawks, and I should pray to God to let me encounter all the evil in the world in my own person, so that if I conquered there would be none left, and, if I were defeated, I would be the one to suffer for it."

"That would be extremely presumptuous of you," said Merlyn, "and you would be conquered, and you would suffer for it."

"I shouldn't mind."

"Wouldn't you? Wait till it happens and see."

"Why do people not think, when they are grown up, as I do when I am young?"

"Oh dear," said Merlyn. '"You are making me feel confused. Suppose you wait till you are grown up and know the reason?"

"I don't think that is an answer at all," replied the Wart, justly.

Merlyn wrung his hands.

"Well, anyway," he said, "suppose they did not let you stand against all the evil in the world?"

"I could ask," said the Wart.

"You could ask," repeated Merlyn.

He thrust the end of his beard into his mouth, stared tragically into the fire, and began to munch it fiercely.”
T.H. White, The Once and 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 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
“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
“It is so fatally easy to make young children believe that they are horrible.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“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
“[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
“Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. 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, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour 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 mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”
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
“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
“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
“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

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