T.E. Lawrence quotes

Born
August 16, 1888, Tremadog, Caernarvonshire, Wales, United Kingdom

Died
May 19, 1935.

Occupation
Author, archaeologist, military officer, diplomat.

Thomas Edward Lawrence  was a British author, archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat. He was renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

To me an unnecessary action, or shot, or casualty, was not only waste but sin.
– T.E. Lawrence
I’ve been & am absurdly over-estimated. There are no supermen & I’m quite ordinary, & will say so whatever the artistic results. In that point I’m one of the few people who tell the truth about myself.
– T.E. Lawrence
Always my soul hungered for less than it had.
– T.E. Lawrence
He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed…
– T.E. Lawrence
This creed of the desert seemed inexpressible in words, and indeed in thought.
– T.E. Lawrence
Bedouin ways were hard even for those brought up to them, and for strangers, terrible: a death in life.
– T.E. Lawrence
The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.
– T.E. Lawrence
Isn’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.
– T.E. Lawrence
By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars.
– T.E. Lawrence
My will had gone and I feared to be alone, lest the winds of circumstance, or power, or lust, blow my empty soul away.
– T.E. Lawrence
Many men would take the death-sentence without a whimper, to escape the life-sentence which fate carries in her other hand.
– T.E. Lawrence
Nine-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
Author says he suffered from both “a craving to be famous” and “a horror of being known to like being known.
– T.E. Lawrence
When I am angry, I pray God to swing our globe into the fiery sun and prevent the sorrows of the not-yet-born: but when I am content, I want to lie forever in the shade, till I become a shade myself.
– T.E. Lawrence
We had been hopelessly labouring to plough waste lands; to make nationality grow in a place full of the certainty of God… Among the tribes our creed could be only like the desert grass – a beautiful swift seeming of spring; which, after a day’s heat, fell dusty.
– T.E. Lawrence
We lived always in the stretch or sag of nerves, either on the crest or in the trough of waves of feeling.
– T.E. Lawrence
He 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
I loved you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands/and wrote my will across the sky in stars.
– T.E. Lawrence
The Beduin could not look for God within him: he was too sure that he was within God.
– T.E. Lawrence
I wrote my will across the sky, in stars
– T.E. Lawrence
To have news value is to have a tin can tied to one’s tail.
– T.E. Lawrence
Mankind has had ten-thousand years of experience at fighting and if we must fight, we have no excuse for not fighting well.
– T.E. Lawrence
The fringes of their deserts were strewn with broken faiths.
– T.E. Lawrence
Some 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.
– T.E. Lawrence
The common base of all the Semitic creeds, winners or losers, was the ever present idea of world-worthlessness. Their profound reaction from matter led them to preach bareness, renunciation, poverty; and the atmosphere of this invention stifled the minds of the desert pitilessly.
– T.E. Lawrence
All men dream, but nor 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 their dream with open eyes to make it possible. This I did.
– T.E. Lawrence
Immorality, I know. Immortality, I cannot judge.
– T.E. Lawrence
If I could talk it like Dahoum, you would never be tired of listening to me.
– T.E. Lawrence
Men 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
A first difficulty of the Arab movement was to say who the Arabs were. Being a manufactured people, their name had been changing in sense slowly year by year. Once it meant an Arabian. There was a country called Arabia; but this was nothing to the point.
– T.E. Lawrence
All 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
All 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
A man who gives himself to be a possession of aliens leads a Yahoo life, having bartered his soul to a brute-master. He is not of them. He may stand against them, persuade himself of a mission, batter and twist them into something which they, of their own accord, would not have been.
– T.E. Lawrence
The desert Arab found no joy like the joy of voluntarily holding back. He found luxury in abnegation, renunciation, self restraint. He made nakedness of the mind as sensuous as nakedness of the body. He saved his own soul, perhaps, and without danger, but in a hard selfishness.
– T.E. Lawrence
It 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.
– T.E. Lawrence
Arab civilizations had been of an abstract nature, moral and intellectual rather than applied; and their lack of public spirit made their excellent private qualities futile. They were fortunate in their epoch: Europe had fallen barbarous; and the memory of Greek and Latin learning was fading from men’s minds.
– T.E. Lawrence
All 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
The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor.
– T.E. Lawrence
I 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.
– T.E. Lawrence