The Once and Future King
The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.Thomas Carlyle
The Sword in the Stone (1938)
- Whoso pulleth Out This Sword of This Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of All England.
- Inscription on the Sword in the Stone
- 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.
- Ch. 3
- EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY
- Sign above an ant colony. Ch. 13
- Why can't you harness Might so that it works for Right? I know it sounds nonsense, but, I mean, you can't just say there is no such thing. The Might is there, in the bad half of people, and you can't neglect it. You can't cut it out but you might be able to direct it, if you see what I mean, so that it was useful instead of bad.
- Ch. 6
- "By the way. You remember that argument we were having about aggression? Well, I have thought of a good reason for starting a war."
"I would like to hear it."
"A good reason for starting a war is simply to have a good reason! For instance, there might be a king who had discovered a new way of life for human beings — you know, something which would be good for them. It might even be the only way from saving them from destruction. Well, if the human beings were too wicked or too stupid to accept his way, he might have to force it on them, in their own interests by the sword."
The magician clenched his fists, twisted his gown into screws, and began to shake all over.
"Very interesting," he said in a trembling voice. "Very interesting. 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 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 storm 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."
- Ch. 8 Conversation between Sir Kay and Merlin
The Ill-Made Knight (1940)
- "You must come and stay with me," said the King. "That is in the stones also. Show you the holy dish some day, and all that. Teach you arithmetic. Nice weather. Don't have daughters unboiled every day. I think dinner will be ready."
- King Pelles
- Don't ever let anybody teach you to think, Lance: it is the curse of the world.
- When people reach perfection they vanish, you know.
The Candle in the Wind (1958)
- I would do anything for King Arthur.
- Sir Thomas of Warwick
- 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.