Literary Quotations
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BLOOD MERIDIAN

by: Cormac McCarthy


When God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it.

--Chapter II

Do you know what happens with people who cannot govern themselves? That's right. Others come in to govern for them.

--Chapter III

The wrath of God lies sleeping. It was hid a million years before men were and only men have power to wake it. Hell ain't half full.

--Chapter III

There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto.

--Chapter III

God don't lie.... And these are his words.... He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.

--Chapter IX

The voice of the Almighty speaks most profoundly in such things as lives in silence themselves.

--Chapter X

The way of the world is to bloom and to flower and die but in the affairs of men there is no waning and the noon of his expression signals the onset of night. His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day.

--Chapter XI

Notions of chance and fate are the preoccupations of men engaged in rash undertakings.

--Chapter XII

The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.

--Chapter XIV

The truth about the world ... is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it all from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning.

--Chapter XVII

The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other part. Even in this world more things exist without our knowledge than with it and the order in creation which you see is that which you have put there, like a string in a maze, so that you shall not lose your way. For existence has its own order and that no man's mind can compass, the mind itself being but a fact among others.

--Chapter XVII

It makes no difference what men think of war.... War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.

--Chapter XVII

Suppose two men at cards with nothing to wager save their lives. Who has not heard such a tale? A turn of the card. The whole universe for such a player has labored clanking to this moment which will tell if he is to die at that man's hand or that man at his. What more certain validation of a man's worth could there be? This enhancement of the game to its ultimate state admits no argument concerning the notion of fate. The selection of one man over another is a preference absolute and irrevocable and it is a dull man indeed who could reckon so profound a decision without agency or significance either one.

--Chapter XVII

What joins men together ... is not the sharing of bread but the sharing of enemies.

--Chapter XXII

Men's memories are uncertain and the past that was differs little from the past that was not.

--Chapter XXIII