PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.
–Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Thus far with rough and all-unable pen
Our bending author hath pursued the story,
In little room confining mighty men,
Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.
Small time, but in that time most greatly lived
This star of England. Fortune made his sword,
By which the world’s best garden he achieved.
And of it left his son imperial lord.
Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crowned king
Of France and England did this king succeed,
Whose state so many had the managing
That they lost France and made his England bleed,
Which oft our stage hath shown — and, for their sake,
In your fair minds let this acceptance take.
–William Shakespeare, Henry V
“It is ever so with the things that men begin: there is a frost in Spring or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.”
“Yet seldom do they fail of their seed,” said Legolas. “And that will lie in times and places unlooked for. The deeds of Men will outlast us, Gimli.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King