British Author, Archaeologist, Military Officer and Diplomat
T. E. Lawrence, fully Thomas Edward Lawrence
British Author, Archaeologist, Military Officer and Diplomat
It seems to me that the conquest of the air is the only major task for our generation.
that? When I am angry I pray God to swing our globe into the fiery sun, and prevent the sorrows of the not-yet-born: but when I am content, I want to lie forever in the shade, till I become a shade myself.
The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander.
To me an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only waste but sin.
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed.
It was a natural phenomenon, this periodic rise at intervals of little more than a century, of ascetic creeds in Central Arabia. Always the votaries found their neighbours' beliefs cluttered with inessential things, which became impious in the hot imagination of their preachers. Again and again they had arisen, had taken possession, soul and body, of the tribes, and had dashed themselves to pieces on the urban Semites, merchants and concupiscent men of the world. About their comfortable possessions the new creeds ebbed and flowed like the tides or the changing seasons, each movement with the seeds of early death in its excess of Tightness. Doubtless they must recur so long as the causes ? sun, moon, wind, acting in the emptiness of open spaces, weigh without check on the unhurried and uncumbered minds of the desert-dwellers.
The Arab was by nature continent; and the use of universal marriage had nearly abolished irregular courses in his tribes. The public women of the rare settlements we encountered in our months of wandering would have been nothing to our numbers, even had their raddled meat been palatable to a man of healthy parts. In horror of such sordid commerce our youths began indifferently to slake one another's few needs in their own clean bodies ? a cold convenience that, by comparison, seemed sexless and even pure. Later, some began to justify this sterile process, and swore that friends quivering together in the yielding sand with intimate hot limbs in supreme embrace, found there hidden in the darkness a sensual co-efficient of the mental passion which was welding our souls and spirits in one flaming effort. Several, thirsting to punish appetites they could not wholly prevent, took a savage pride in degrading the body, and offered themselves fiercely in any habit which promised physical pain or filth.
The Semitic mind was strange and dark full of depressions and exaltations, lacking in rule, but with more of ardor and more fertile in belief than any other in the world. They were people of starts, for whom the abstract was the strongest motive, the process of infinite courage and variety, and the end nothing. They were unstable as water, and like water would perhaps finally prevail.
All the revision in the world will not save a bad first draft: for the architecture of the thing comes, or fails to come, in the first conception, and revision only affects the detail and ornament, alas!
I had dropped one form and not taken on the other, and was become like Mohammed's coffin in our legend, with a resultant feeling of intense loneliness in life, and a contempt, not for other men, but for all they do.
I've been and am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen and I'm quite ordinary, and will say so whatever the artistic results. In that point I'm one of the few people who tell the truth about myself.
The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God. He could not conceive anything which was or was not God, Who alone was great; yet there was a homeliness, an everyday-ness of this climatic Arab God, who was their eating and their fighting and their lusting, the commonest of their thoughts, their familiar resource and companion, in a way impossible to those whose God is so wistfully veiled from them by despair of their carnal unworthiness of Him and by the decorum of formal worship. Arabs felt no incongruity in bringing God into the weaknesses and appetites of their least creditable causes. He was the most familiar of their words; and indeed we lost much eloquence when making Him the shortest and ugliest of our monosyllables.
The sword also means clean-ness and death.
Always my soul hungered for less than it had.
I haven't got a heart: only the former site of one, with a monument there to say that it has been removed and the area it occupied turned into a public garden, in pursuance of the slum-clearance scheme.
Learn all you can... Get to know their families, clans and tribes, friends and enemies, wells, hills and roads. Do all this by listening and by indirect inquiry... Get to speak their dialect... not yours. Until you can understand their allusions, avoid getting deep into conversation or you will drop bricks.
The Beduin of the desert, born and grown up in it, had embraced with all his sour this nakedness too harsh for volunteers, for the reason, felt but inarticulate, that there he found himself indubitably free.
The sword was odd. The Arab Movement was one: Feisal another (his name means a flashing sword): then there is the excluded notion, Garden of Eden touch: and the division meaning, like the sword in the bed of mixed sleeping, from the Morte d'Arthur. I don't know which was in your mind, but they all came to me ? and the sword also means clean-ness, and death.
An opinion can be argued with; a conviction is best shot. The logical end of a war of creeds is the final destruction of one.
I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky and stars to earn you freedom, the seven pillared worthy house, that your eyes might be shining for me when we came. Death seemed my servant on the road, 'til we were near and saw you waiting: when you smiled and in sorrowful envy he outran me and took you apart: into his quietness love, the way-weary, groped to your body, our brief wage ours for the moment before earth's soft hand explored your shape and the blind worms grew fat upon your substance. Men prayed me that I set our work, the inviolate house, as a memory of you but for fit monument i shattered it, unfinished: and now the little things creep out to patch themselves hovels in the marred shadow of your gift.
Mankind has had ten-thousand years of experience at fighting and if we must fight, we have no excuse for not fighting well.
The beginning and ending of the secret of handling Arabs is unremitting study of them.
The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.
As long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous and cruel.