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Select quotes by Bernard Cornwell on winning, conscience, internet, writing and other things.

97 Select Quotes By Bernard Cornwell, The Author Of The Last Kingdom

Quick Facts

Famous As: Author of Historical Novels

Born On: February 23, 1944

Bernard Cornwell is a British historical novelist and broadcaster, who lives in the United States and is regarded as one of the better known personalities in the world of historical literature. Cornwell grew up in Great Britain and after completing his education, he started his professional life as a teacher but then joined the BBC as a broadcaster. However, his career as a historical novelist really took off when he settled in the United States and wrote the first of the Sharpe Stories in 1981, depicting the Napoleonic Wars from the point of view of a soldier named Richard Sharpe. It remains his most famous work and comprises 24 distinct stories. His other famous works include ‘The Starbuck Chronicles’, ‘The Saxon Stories’, ‘The Warlord Chronicles’, ‘The Grail Quest Continues’ and plenty of other novels. He has also written a well-known non-fiction book titled ‘Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles. There is no doubt that Cornwell is a man of rare gift, intelligence and knowledge and his books have been read far and wide, across several nations. Here are some of the select quotes by Bernard Cornwell.

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Destiny is all, Ravn liked to tell me, destiny is everything. He would even say it in English, “Wyrd bi ful rd.

Bernard Cornwell

Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.

Bernard Cornwell

We all suffer from dreams.

Bernard Cornwell

The bards sing of love, they celebrate slaughter, they extol kings and flatter queens, but were I a poet I would write in praise of friendship.

Bernard Cornwell

He tolerated his fellow Englishmen, but the Welsh were cabbage-farting dwarves, the Scots were scabby arse-suckers, and the French were shriveled turds.

Bernard Cornwell

The preachers tell us that pride is a great sin, but the preachers are wrong. Pride makes a man, it drives him, it is the shield wall around his reputation... Men die, they said, but reputation does not die.

Bernard Cornwell

Fate is inexorable.

Bernard Cornwell

Life is simple," I said. "Ale, women, sword, and reputation. Nothing else matters.

Bernard Cornwell

A leader leads,” Ragnar said, “and you can’t ask men to risk death if you’re not willing to risk it yourself.

Bernard Cornwell

Madness ends sometimes. The Gods decree it, not man.

Bernard Cornwell

Why do we fight?" he asked. "Because we were born.

Bernard Cornwell

Wyrd bi ful rd,” I said. Fate is fate. It cannot be changed or cheated.

Bernard Cornwell

And you look bloody young to be a sergeant" "I was born late, sir

Bernard Cornwell

All those separate people were a part of my life, strings strung on the frame of Uhtred, and though they were separate they affected one another and together they would make the music of my life.

Bernard Cornwell

Doubtless there were insanely frenzied warriors, but there is no evidence that lunatic nudists made regular appearances on the battlefield.

Bernard Cornwell

There is such joy in chaos. Stow all the world's evils behind a door and tell men that they must never, ever, open the door, and it will be opened because there is pure joy in destruction.

Bernard Cornwell

Latin! The language of God! Or perhaps He speaks Hebrew? I suppose that’s more likely and it will make things rather awkward in heaven, won’t it? Will we all have to learn Hebrew?

Bernard Cornwell

Wyrd bi ful ārd. Fate is inexorable.

Bernard Cornwell

I wondered why the gods no longer came to earth. It would make belief so much easier.

Bernard Cornwell

Robin Hood’s Lament”?’ Every archer knew that tune.

Bernard Cornwell

It was funny, Richard Sharpe thought, that there were no vultures in England.

Bernard Cornwell

Who do you serve?” Lanferelle asked. “Sir John Cornerwailled,” Hook said proudly. Lanferelle was pleased. “Sir John! Ah, there's a man. His mother must have slept with a Frenchman.

Bernard Cornwell

We are all lonely and all seek a hand to hold in the darkness. It is not the harp, but the hand that plays it.

Bernard Cornwell

And, in her fury, she slapped the king with a skinned eel.

Bernard Cornwell

Wyrd bi ful ārd. Fate is inexorable. We are given power and we lose it.

Bernard Cornwell

Religion makes strange bedfellows.

Bernard Cornwell

If a man can’t remember the laws,” Ragnar said, “then he’s got too many of them.

Bernard Cornwell

She was as faithful as a morning mist, as hard as a sword-bayonet, and that, he thought, made her a suitable reward for a soldier.

Bernard Cornwell

Shun epic verse.

Bernard Cornwell

It was an unsettling thought, that somehow we were sliding back into the smoky dark and that never again would man make something so perfect as this small building.

Bernard Cornwell

...victory does not come to men who listen to their fears.

Bernard Cornwell

Someone wise, I forget who, said we must leave our children to fate.

Bernard Cornwell

The gods are capricious, and I was about to amuse them. And Alfred was right. I was a fool.

Bernard Cornwell

Love's madness, swinging from ecstasy to despair in one wild second.

Bernard Cornwell

You're not a Christian, are you?" "No." "You should consider it. We may not offer too many earthly delights, but our lives after death are certainly worth having.

Bernard Cornwell

To ask another man’s blessing is simply to avoid taking the responsibility.

Bernard Cornwell

It takes a weak man to prove his strength by striking a woman.

Bernard Cornwell

Obadiah Hakeswill had never been concerned by such enmity. Power did not lie in being liked, but in being feared.

Bernard Cornwell

The Immortals were about to engage the Impregnable. The unbeaten would fight the unbeatable.

Bernard Cornwell

Laughter in battle. That was what Ragnar had taught me, to take joy from the fight.

Bernard Cornwell

I shook my head. ‘Killing isn’t woman’s work,’ I said. ‘Why not?’ she asked. ‘We give life, can’t we take it too?

Bernard Cornwell

I liked those tales. They were better than my stepmother’s stories of Cuthbert’s miracles. Christians, it seemed to me, were forever weeping and I did not think Woden’s worshippers cried much.

Bernard Cornwell

I had learned to hide my soul, or perhaps I was confused. Northumbrian or Dane? Which was I? What did I want to be?

Bernard Cornwell

I could imagine Cnut sitting there and thinking that I must join him soon, and we would raise a horn of ale together. There is no pain in Valhalla, no sadness, no tears, no broken oaths.

Bernard Cornwell

I have a path to follow," I said, "and it goes north. North back to Bebbanburg.

Bernard Cornwell

The Lord Uhtred sought to annoy you, bishop," the king said, "and it is best not to give him the satisfaction of showing that he has succeeded.

Bernard Cornwell

Start your killers young, before their consciences are grown. Start them young and they will be lethal.

Bernard Cornwell

In madness lies change, in change is opportunity, and in opportunity are riches.

Bernard Cornwell

How does a lawyer lie?” “With passion, Mr. Starbuck, and with a self-inflicted belief, albeit temporary, that the facts he is reciting are the very stuff of God’s own truth.

Bernard Cornwell

I sometimes think,' Merlin said when no more suggestions were offered, 'that I am doomed to live among idiots.

Bernard Cornwell

Thomas, I can pull down you're pants and point you downwind, but even with the Lord's help I can't pee for you.

Bernard Cornwell

Words are like breath," she said, "you say them and they're gone. But writing traps them.

Bernard Cornwell

I was just twenty-one and my name was known wherever men sharpened swords. I was a warrior. A sword warrior, and I was proud of it.

Bernard Cornwell

Always fight the horse, not the rider.

Bernard Cornwell

You know what circumcision is, Private?

Bernard Cornwell

He was watching my eyes. A man who uses a sword with lethal skill always matches his opponent's eyes.

Bernard Cornwell

My son smiled. “You taught me well, Father.” “What did I teach you?” “That a spear-point in a prisoner’s liver is a very persuasive thing.

Bernard Cornwell

You’re the son of a king,’ I told him, ‘and one day you might be a king yourself. Life and death will be your gifts, so learn how to give them, boy.

Bernard Cornwell

Only the gods tell him what to do, and you should beware of men who take their orders from the gods.

Bernard Cornwell

I had the arrogant confidence of a man born to battle. I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred, son of another Uhtred, and we had not held Bebbanburg and its lands by whimpering at altars. We are warriors.

Bernard Cornwell

So I woke, I listened, and I heard the small sounds of a wood at night, the things moving, the claws in the dead leaves, the wind’s soft sighs.

Bernard Cornwell

The rules were simple: trust no one, be ever watchful and if trouble came hit first and hit hard. It had worked for him so far.

Bernard Cornwell

Arrows of insight have to be winged by the feathers of speculation.

Bernard Cornwell

Only a fool takes pride in pretending that a skill he doesn’t possess is worthless.

Bernard Cornwell

You bastard!' he shouted. He was quick. No warrior stays alive by being slow.

Bernard Cornwell

Violence may not be good, my friend, but it has a certain efficiency in the resolution of otherwise insoluble problems.

Bernard Cornwell

That is why battles of the shield wall are slow to start. Men have to nerve themselves for the horror.

Bernard Cornwell

That dawn is seared on my memory, burnt there by the flames of a hall-burning. There was nothing we could do except watch.

Bernard Cornwell

He needed to know it, see it, smell it, and survive it. I was training the boy not just to be a warrior, but to be a king.

Bernard Cornwell

We live in a world where the strongest win, and the strongest must expect to be disliked.

Bernard Cornwell

I was angry. I wanted blood in the dawn.

Bernard Cornwell

It was madness. And, as Finan had said, sometimes madness works.

Bernard Cornwell

Hengall the Warrior hated war. The business of life, he liked to say, is to plant grain, not blades.

Bernard Cornwell

We don't build,' I said to my son, 'we just destroy.

Bernard Cornwell

Everyone looks old to the young,” Ravn said.

Bernard Cornwell

And Eoferwic, I thought, was where my story had all begun. Where my father had died. Where I had become the Lord of Bebbanburg. Where I had met Ragnar and learned of the ancient gods.

Bernard Cornwell

We had to fight, because to decline battle was a defeat.

Bernard Cornwell

I was doing everything wrong. I was confused. Confusion is inevitable in battle, but indecision is unforgivable, and I had hesitated to make any decision and then made all the wrong ones.

Bernard Cornwell

Lord Derfel, you do insult a man so very easily. What was it to be? My head in a pit dunged by slaves? What a paltry imagination you do have. Mine, I fear, sometimes seems excessive, even to me.

Bernard Cornwell

They smile and sing their psalms and preach that their creed is all about love, but tell them you believe in a different god and suddenly it's all spittle and spite.

Bernard Cornwell

There’s war between the gods, Uhtred, war between the Christian god and our gods, and when there is war in Asgard the gods make us fight for them on earth.

Bernard Cornwell

She is a woman, and what women want, they get, and if the world and all it holds must be broken in the getting, then so be it.

Bernard Cornwell

Cnut Longsword had near killed me with his blade Ice-Spite and it was small consolation that Serpent-Breath had sliced his throat in the same heartbeat that his sword had broken a rib and pierced my lung.

Bernard Cornwell

An army, I learned in time, needs a head. It needs one man to lead it, but give an army two leaders and you halve its strength.

Bernard Cornwell

Well damn him. I was not dead yet, and so long as I lived I would fight for thelflaed.

Bernard Cornwell

How can a god disapprove of a good hump?

Bernard Cornwell

Play with the devil," Finan said, "and you get burned.

Bernard Cornwell

Haesten. If this world ever contained one worthless, treacherous slime-coated piece of human dung then it was Haesten.

Bernard Cornwell

A bastard son must fight his own way in the world. Osferth knew that.

Bernard Cornwell

Instinct is everything.

Bernard Cornwell

There’s a time for caution,’ I said, ‘and a time to just kill the bastards.

Bernard Cornwell

Thousands!" Appah Rao’s tone mocked the claim. "You may have thousands, Colonel, but the Tippoo has tigers.

Bernard Cornwell

His charms worked, for though the bullets flicked close none hit him. He was the tiger of Mysore, he could not die, only kill.

Bernard Cornwell

He was a startlingly handsome young man, and that, too, distracted him for girls were attracted to him like priests to gold.

Bernard Cornwell