Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Once and Future King- T.H.White
I did enjoy the inclusion of other medieval stories such as that of Robin Hood (or rather Wood) and Tristram and Isolde.
This is a must-read for any fans of Arthurian literature. I should have read it long before now.
"the best thing for being sad 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."
"At a military tattoo perhaps, or at some old piece of showground pageantry, you may have seen a cavalry charge. If so, you know that "seen" is not the word. it is heard- the thunder, earth-shake, drum-fire, of the bright and battering sandals! Yes, and even then it is only a cavalry charge you are thinking of, not a chivalry one. Imagine it now, with the horses twice as heavy as the soft-mounted hunters of our own midnight pageants, with the men themselves twice heavier on account of arms and shield. Add the cymbal-music of the clashing armour to the jingle of the harness. Turn the uniforms into mirrors, blazing with the sun, the lances into spears of steel. Now the spears dip, and now they are coming. the earth quakes under feet. Behind, among the flying clods, there are hoof-prints stricken into the ground. It is not the men that are to be feared, not even the spears, but the hoofs of horses. It is the impetus of that shattering phalanx of iron- spread across the battlefront , inescapable, pulverising, louder than drums, beating the earth."
"There would be a day- there must be a day- when he would come back to Gramarye with a new Round Table which had no corners, just as the world had none- a table without boundaries between the nations who would sit to feast there. The hope of making it would lie in culture. If people could be persuaded to read and write, not just eat and make love, there was still a chance that they might come to reason."