T. E. Lawrence Quotes | Quotes by T. E. Lawrence

1Your success will be proportioned to the amount of mental effort you devote to it.

2I'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.

3There is an ideal standard somewhere and only that matters and I cannot find it. Hence the aimlessness.

4Suppose we were (as we might be) an influence, an idea, a thing intangible, invulnerable, without front or back, drifting about like a gas? Armies were like plants, immobile, firm-rooted, nourished through long stems to the head. We might be a vapour, blowing where we listed Ours should be a war of detachment. We were to contain the enemy by the silent threat of a vast, unknown desert

5Misery, anger, indignation, discomfort-those conditions produce literature. Contentment-never. So there you are.

6It seems to me that the conquest of the air is the only major task for our generation.

7We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God鈥?Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass 鈥?a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day鈥檚 heat, fell dusty.

8Cling tight to your sense of humour. You will need it every day.

9Half a calamity is better than a whole one.

10Nine-tenths of tactics are certain, and taught in books: but the irrational tenth is like the kingfisher flashing across the pool, and that is the test of generals.

T. E. Lawrence Quotes

11He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed.

12I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands/and wrote my will across the sky in stars

13Club Secretary: I say, Lawrence. You are a clown! Lawrence: We can't all be lion tamers.

14Yet when we achieved, and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to remake it in the likeness of the former world they knew. Youth could win, but had not learned to keep: and was pitiably weak against age. We stammered that we had worked for a new heaven and a new earth, and they thanked us kindly and made their peace.

15Mankind has had ten-thousand years of experience at fighting and if we must fight, we have no excuse for not fighting well.

16An opinion can be argued with; a conviction is best shot. The logical end of a war of creeds is the final destruction of one, and Salammbo is the classical text-book instance.

17A thick headcloth forms a good protection against the sun, and if you wear a hat your best Arab friends will be ashamed of you in public.

18Do not try and do too much with your own hands. Better the Arabs do it tolerably than you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not win it for them.

19If you wear Arab things, wear the best. Clothes are significant among the tribes, and you must wear the appropriate, and appear at ease in them. Dress like a Sherif, if they agree to it.

20I 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.

T. E. Lawrence Quotes

21The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God.

22I prefer lies to truth, especially when the lies are about me.

23Immorality, I know. Immortality, I cannot judge.

24All 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.

25I wrote my will across the sky, in stars

26This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought.

27It seemed that rebellion must have an unassailable base, something guarded not merely from attack, but from the fear of it: such a base as we had in the Red Sea Parts, the desert, or in the minds of the men we converted to our creed.

28To have news value is to have a tin can tied to one's tail.

29I 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.

30They taught me that no man could be their leader except he ate the ranks' food, wore their clothes, lived level with them, and yet appeared better in himself.

T. E. Lawrence Quotes

31The dreamers of the day are dangerous... for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

32Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven.

33To me an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only waste but sin.

34If I could talk it like Dahoum, you would never be tired of listening to me.

35The beginning and ending of the secret of handling Arabs is unremitting study of them.

36A skittish motorbike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocation, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness.

37As long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous and cruel.

38Isn't it true that the fault of birth rests somewhat on the child? I believe it's we who led our parents on to bear us, and it's our unborn children who make our flesh itch.

39I could write for hours on the lustfulness of moving Swiftly.

40All 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!

T. E. Lawrence Quotes

41He feared his maturity as it grew upon him with its ripe thought, its skill, its finished art; yet which lacked the poetry of boyhood to make living a full end of life.

42Men have looked upon the desert as barren land, the free holding of whoever chose; but in fact each hill and valley in it had a man who was its acknowledged owner and would quickly assert the right of his family or clan to it, against aggression.

43The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor.

44It is difficult to keep quiet when everything is being done wrong, but the less you lose your temper the greater your advantage. Also then you will not go mad yourself.

45The desert was held in a crazed communism by which Nature and the elements were for the free use of every known friendly person for his own purposes and no more.

46The greatest commander is he whose intuitions most nearly happen.

47The literature of disease is more interesting to me than all the healthy books.

48The desert is an ocean in which no oar is dipped.

49You wonder what I am doing? Well, so do I, in truth. Days seem to dawn, suns to shine, evenings to follow, and then I sleep. What I have done, what I am doing, what I am going to do, puzzle and bewilder me. Have you ever been a leaf and fallen from your tree in autumn and been really puzzled about it? That鈥檚 the feeling.

50To make war upon rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.

T. E. Lawrence Quotes

51The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.

52In peace-armies discipline meant the hunt, not of an average but of an absolute; the hundred per cent standard in which the ninety-nine were played down to the level of the weakest man on parade.... The deeper the discipline, the lower was the individual excellence; also the more sure the performance.

53Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come true.

54Many men would take the death-sentence without a whimper, to escape the life-sentence which fate carries in her other hand.

55We lived always in the stretch or sag of nerves, either on the crest or in the trough of waves of feeling.

56The 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.