T. H. White

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It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.
Evangeline Cory Booth
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Terence Hanbury White (1906-05-291964-01-17) was a British writer

See also: The Once and Future King


  • God is love, the parson whined.
    Yes, and is he also blind?
    • "Love Is Blind"
  • God is love, the bishops tell.
    Yes, I know, But love is hell.
    • "All For Love"
  • Helen whose face was fatal must have wept
    Many salt tears to keep her eyes so bright
    Many long nights alone: and every night
    Men died, she cried, and happy Paris kept
    Sweet Helen.
    • "PARIS"
  • 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.
    • "Lost"
  • 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.
    • "To My Self, Forty Years Ago"
  • The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch somebody else doing it wrong, without comment.
    • The Godstone and the Blackymor (1959) p. 161

England Have My Bones (1936)

  • The fisherman fishes as the urchin eats cream buns, from lust.
  • Dogs, like very small children, are quite mad.
  • Aviators live by hours, not by days.
  • 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.

The Queen of Air and Darkness (1939)

Originally titled The Witch in the Wood

  • Ther days may come,/Ther days may go,/But still the light of Mem'ry weaves/Those gentle dreams/Of long ago
  • Perhaps we all give the best of our hearts uncritically -- to those who hardly think about us in return.

The Book of Merlyn (1977)

A posthumous publication based upon White's notes of ideas for completing 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."
  • "Is there anything more terrible than perpetual motion, than doing and doing and doing, without a reason, without a consciousness, without a change, without an end?"
  • "Yes, that is the equality of man. Slaughter anybody who is better than you are, and then we shall be equal soon enough. All equally dead."

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