T. H. White, fully Terence Hanbury White

T. H.
White, fully Terence Hanbury White
1906
1964

English Author best known for Arthurian novels including "The Once and Future King"

Author Quotes

He did not look back as he rode away from Bliant Castle—and Elaine, standing on the barbican tower, did not wave. She watched him going with a still-struck concentration, like somebody who, shipwrecked, gets as much fresh water into the little boat as possible. She had a few seconds left, to make her store of Lancelot that must last her through the years.

A king can only work with his best tools.

Don’t ever let anybody teach you to think, Lance: it is the curse of the world.

He did not think it was wrong for strength to have its way, but only that it was intensely wrong for anything to succeed against his own clan. He was neither clever nor sensitive, but he was loyal—stubbornly sometimes, and even annoyingly and stupidly so in later life. For him it was then as it was always to be: Up Orkney, Right or Wrong.

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.

Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.

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.

All endeavors which are directed to a purely worldly end...contain within themselves the germs of their own corruption.

Elaine had done the ungraceful thing as usual. Guenever, in similar circumstances, would have been sure to grow pale and interesting—but Elaine had only grown plump.

He thought himself awake when he was already asleep. He saw the stars above his face, whirling on their silent and sleepless axis, and the leaves of the trees rustling against them, and he heard small changes in the grass. These little noises of footsteps and soft-fringed wing-beats and stealthy bellies drawn over the grass blades or rattling against the bracken at first frightened or interested him, so that he moved to see what they were (but never saw), then soothed him, so that he no longer cared to see what they were but trusted them to be themselves, and finally left him altogether as he swam down deeper and deeper, nuzzling into the scented turf, into the warm ground, into the unending waters under the earth.

All the barons can slice the poor people about as much as they want, and it is a day’s work to hurt each other, and the result is that the country is devastated. Might is Right, that’s the motto.

Everything not forbidden is compulsory

All these problems and feelings fade away when we get the seventh sense. Middle-aged people can balance between believing in God and breaking all the commandments, without difficulty.

For I am inclined to believe that my beloved Arthur of the future is sitting at this very moment among his learned friends, in the Combination Room of the College of Life, and that they are thinking away in there for all they are worth, about the best means to help our curious species: and I for one hope that someday, when not only England but the World has need of them, and when it is ready to listen to reason, if it ever is, they will issue forth from their wrath in joy and power: and then perhaps, they will give us happiness in the world once more and chivalry, and the old medieval blessing of certain simple people - who tried, at any rate, in their own small way, to still the ancient brutal dream of Attila the Hun.

And do you know another thing, Arthur? Life is too bitter already, without territories and wars and noble feuds.

For in those days love was ruled by a different convention to ours. In those days it was chivalrous, adult, long, religious, almost platonic. It was not a matter about which you could make accusations lightly. It was not, as we take it to be nowadays, begun and ended in a long week-end.

Anyone would think that you enjoyed watching people being burned.

Funny, said Lancelot, how the people who can’t pray say that prayers are not answered, however much the people who can pray say they are.

Aviators live by hours, not by days.

Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls what the world was, what love was, what we were ourselves.

Be kind, Helen, I am so tired of thinking;
There are so many difficult corridors of thought,
With equal iron banisters leading back again:
So many stone stairs, Helen, up which I sought
To rediscover the windy sky, and stand, blinking,
In the lost sunlight: as bright as pain,
Helen. I would give almost anything now
Even for pain.

Little child
Who was me once,
My pity on you—
And reverence.

If we could meet
Where I once strayed,
The betrayer
And the betrayed.

If we could win back
In Time's defiance,
Would you be afeared of me,
Ten-year-old Terence?

No, you would not fear.
You would love, trust,
Cherish, admire
This tedious dust.

For oh! we were all brimming once
With the sun-sparkled dew.
One heart could have loved this hulk—
The ignorant heart of you.

The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails.

Author Picture
First Name
T. H.
Last Name
White, fully Terence Hanbury White
Birth Date
1906
Death Date
1964
Bio

English Author best known for Arthurian novels including "The Once and Future King"