"You must remember I am the King of England. When you are a king you can’t go executing people as the fancy takes you. A king is the head of his people, and he must stand as an example to them, and do as they wish." He forgave the startled expression in Lancelot’s face, and took his hand once more. "You will find," he explained, "that when the kings are bullies who believe in force, the people are bullies too. If I don’t stand for law, I won’t have law among my people. And naturally I want my people to have the new law, because then they are more prosperous, and I am more prosperous in consequence." They watched him, wondering what he meant to convey. He held the look, trying to speak with their eyes. "You see, Lance, I have to be absolutely just. I can’t afford to have any more things like those babies on my conscience. The only way I can keep clear of force is by justice. Far from being willing to execute his enemies, a real king must be willing to execute his friends."

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Show Comments