Horatio Hornblower
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Quotes for
Horatio Hornblower (Character)
from Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)

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Horatio Hornblower: The Duel (1998) (TV)
[Hornblower and Styles bring Davey into the surgery, with his lower leg shot away. The doctor is treating Lt. Chadd]
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: This man needs help!
Dr. Hepplewhite: I'll attend to him presently.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Lt. Chadd, may I inquire as to the nature of your injury, sir?
Lt. Chadd: Splinter.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Sir, this man is from my division...
Dr. Hepplewhite: He'll take his turn like all the rest!
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [shouting] Well, damn it, if he's not seen to now, he'll bleed to death!
Lt. Chadd: Mr. Hornblower...!
[a scream from Davey cuts him off]
Lt. Chadd: ...He's right, Hepplewhite. I can wait.
Dr. Hepplewhite: Very well.

Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [Running out across the mast, under fire and too high for comfort] Damn, damn, damn!

Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [after he and Clayton settle Archie after his first fit] What ails him?
Midshipman Clayton: [Glances at Simpson] What ails us all.

Midshipman Clayton: [Handing Horatio a flask] There's a drop of Grog in it to warm you through.
[No response]
Midshipman Clayton: Horatio?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Death.
Midshipman Clayton: What?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: I was thinking on death.
Midshipman Clayton: Whose?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Mine.

Midshipman Jack Simpson: [after Horatio interrupts his attack on Archie] We were just catching up on old times, Mr. Hornblower.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: These are new times, Mr. Simpson. You have no hold over us here.

Midshipman Jack Simpson: Now, the point of this inquisition is for me to get to know you better. See, I know these dogs. I know what gnaws at the souls at night, things they're rather no one knew. Now... what's your dirty little secret? A fancier of other boys, perhaps? Or is it... that you mother makes a living on her back?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: You filthy-
[headbutt]

Capt. Forget: [Holding a pistol on Hornblower] The chart and the compass - if you please!
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [after giving him the chart, Hornblower slowly and deliberately drops the compass overboard] Fish for it!

Capt. Forget: That was a foolish thing to do, boy. I might have killed you.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: And forgo the pleasure of crowing at my discomfort? I think not.

Capt. Keene: I am very touched by your loyalty even I won't live to appreciate it.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: But...
Capt. Keene: No! Please don't interrupt! Youth and quick wits belong where they will be rewarded, not on a Channel groper with a dying captain.

Lt. Eccleston: [Lying bleeding under a fallen mast] Where's Mr. Chad?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: I regret that Lt. Chad is dead , sir.
Lt. Eccleston: [sighing] The ship is yours, Mr. Hornblower.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [Incredulously] Sir?
Lt. Eccleston: Take command. Get us back to the Indy...
[Whispering with difficulty]
Lt. Eccleston: ... safely.

Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: I maintain the charge against Mr. Simpson, Sir! However, since I cannot prove it other than with my body, I have no choice but to accept his challenge!

Midshipman Archie Kennedy: A duel? Are you mad?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Tomorrow see's an end to it, Archie. One way or another I shall be rid of him... I have an even chance.
Midshipman Archie Kennedy: [looks to Clayton and then Horatio] An even chance? Simpson's reckoned one of the best shots in the Navy, he'll kill you certain shot!
Midshipman Clayton: [Horatio looks to Clayton]
[a beat]
Midshipman Clayton: I'll act as your second, of course but... Have you ever fought a duel before?

Midshipman Cleveland: [upon seeing Horatio] What's this then, Archie?
Midshipman Archie Kennedy: Another mess mate, gentlemen.
Midshipman Hether: And whose pretty arse did you neglect kissing to find yourself amongst the fleet's forgotten?
[Horatio is quiet]
Midshipman Hether: Well speak, apparition!
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: My name's Hornblower.
Midshipman Cleveland: What an infernal piece of bad luck for you.
Midshipman Clayton: How old are you, Mr.Hornblower?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Seventeen, sir.
Midshipman Hether: Seventeen, sir! You hear that, Cleveland?
Midshipman Cleveland: If you wanted to be a seaman, boy, you should've started at twelve.

Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [on the French schooner] Matthews?
Matthews: Aye, sir?
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: You've the longest service, I believe.
Matthews: Aye, sir. Eighteen years, sir.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Very well, I'll rate you Petty Officer.
Matthews: [surprised] Aye-aye, sir. Uh...
[salutes]
Matthews: Thank you, sir.

Midshipman Jack Simpson: I'm senior here. The ship is mine.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Lieutenant Eccleston instructed me to take command. You heard him, Mr. Bowles.
Master Bowles: Mr. Simpson is senior, Mr. Hornblower.
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: Styles, Matthews, confine Mr. Simpson below.
Master Bowles: Mr. Hornblower...
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: You heard me! Mr. Simpson is under close arrest.
Midshipman Jack Simpson: Who do you think you are! I have command here! The ship is mine! And any man, ANY MAN stands against me... he will regret it. Now get to work shoring up this damage.
[Nobody moves]
Midshipman Jack Simpson: Get back to work, do you hear? I have command!
Midshipman Horatio Hornblower: [calmly] Mr. Bowles. You will carry out my orders. If Mr. Simpson resists, you have my permission to shoot him.
[Bowles cocks his gun and aims it at Simpson]


Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951)
Midshipman Longley: That was wonderful swordsmanship, sir.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Mr. Longley, when I was a midshipman I was bottom of the class in swordsmanship.

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: You know why I'm having Hummill flogged, Mr. Gerard?
2nd Lt. Gerard: I reported him for fighting, sir.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: I am not having him flogged for fighting, Mr. Gerard. I'm having him flogged because you said in front of the men that you'd flog him. This is a ship of war - as it's captain, I must uphold my lieutenants' authority.
2nd Lt. Gerard: I understand, sir.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Flogging only makes a bad man worse, Mr. Gerard... but it can break a good man's spirit. Is Hummill a bad man?
2nd Lt. Gerard: Aside from his temper, sir, he's a good sailor.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: A good sailor, ill-fed and thirsty. Watch the cat as it cuts his back to pieces, Mr. Gerard... and in the future, perhaps you'll think twice before you threaten anyone with a flogging.

Surgeon Gundarson: You'll lose more than Hazlett if you don't put ashore for fresh food and water!
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Perhaps you'll dig into your medical kit and get me a breath of fresh wind.

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Gentlemen, we will raise our objective within two days. It will be identified by a fortress on a hill overlooking a large bay.
[Hornblower leaves the quarterdeck]
Lt. Crystal: A fortress... and a wind before morning. Huh! Heat's gone to his head.
Lt. William Bush: Well, I think he knows more than he's saying.
Lt. Crystal: Perhaps you'd care to take a wager on it, Mr. Bush?
Lt. William Bush: How much can you afford?
Lt. Crystal: Five shillings that says no wind and ten shillings that we don't sight any fortress.
Lt. William Bush: Done!

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: This ship is getting slack, Mr. Gerard. It's taking you longer every day to clear for action.
2nd Lt. Gerard: The hands are weak, sir, and...
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: And what?
2nd Lt. Gerard: Restless, sir. After all, sir, seven months without sighting land.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: No excuse. You ought to control them...
Lookout: Land ho! Off the starboard bow!
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: ...An officer who cannot control his men is not reliable.
2nd Lt. Gerard: Yes, sir. Excuse me, sir, that was "Land ho."
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: I have ears, Mr. Gerard.
2nd Lt. Gerard: I thought you might be interested, sir.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: It took you eleven minutes and twenty seconds to clear for action the other day. I want it done in ten. Now!
2nd Lt. Gerard: Now, sir?
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: You seem to have your mind on something else - I said, "Now!"

Hernandez: Captain Hornblower?
[Hornblower nods]
Hernandez: I am Don Jose Hernandez, Admiral in the service of El Supremo.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: El Supremo? That means The Almighty.
Hernandez: El Supremo was formerly known to men as Don Julian Alvarado.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Ha-hmm. Where is this Don Julian Alvarado?
Hernandez: El Supremo is in his fortress.

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Mr. Bush, here are the keys to my dispatch box containing the Admiralty's orders. If I'm not back aboard by midnight, you will assume command.
Lt. William Bush: Not back on board, sir? But you said they were on our side!
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: War breeds strange allies, Mr. Bush

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Captain Horatio Hornblower at your service. King George of England charges me with messages of his friendship...
El Supremo: I am not interested in the words of a mere king!
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Ha-hmm.

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: If I am not back aboard the Lydia within one hour, she'll train her guns upon your fort and reduce it to rubble.
El Supremo: With you in it, Captain?
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: That is my order.

El Supremo: Make known your needs to Admiral Hernandez.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Aside from water, I shall need 200 bullocks, 500 pigs, 100 quintals of salt, 40 tons of flour, ten tons of sugar, five tons of tobacco, one ton of coffee, the juice of 40,000 limes and, um, are there any wines to be had here?
Hernandez: We drink a spirit distilled from molasses which you probably do not know. We call it rum. Will that do?
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Ha-hmm. Well, if there's nothing better that will have to do. One hundred barrels.

Lt. Crystal: Signal from the lookout, sir. Natividad's gone about - one more tack and she'll be at the harbor mouth.
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Very good, Mr. Crystal. Well, gentlemen, that leaves time for a rubber of whist.

Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: You may retain your sword, Captain. Mr. Bush, will you remove these officers to the Lydia and put them in irons?
Spanish captain: B-but we have surrendered! There are rules of war!
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: Believe me, Captain, if Don Julian so much as sees you during the next day, he'll have you all killed. Those are his rules of war.

Lt. William Bush: It is the captain's wish, Your Ladyship, that from now on you and your maid remain below.
Lady Barbara Wellesley: [to Hornblower] Can two women really be so distracting, Captain?
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: May I remind you that my men have been continously at sea for eight months?
Lady Barbara Wellesley: [as Hornblower begins to walk away] Oh, Captain!
[He stops and turns to her]
Lady Barbara Wellesley: And how long have you been at sea?
Capt. Horatio Hornblower, R.N: [Hornblower turns to walk away, stops, and clears his throat] Ha-Hmmm!
[He continues to walk away]


Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil (1999) (TV)
[Knowing that his ship has only four guns]
Hornblower: How many guns does the "Oriental" have, Mr. Hunter.
M'Man Hunter: Forty-eight, sir.
Hornblower: Well, we'll certainly give them a run for their money, won't we Mr. Styles?
Styles: Certainly will sir. Take them at least a minute to sink us.

[Horatio stopped Hunter from shooting the French]
Hunter: We're here to fight them aren't we?
Hornblower: No, Mr. Hunter, we're here to defeat them.

Hornblower: [smiling] He wants to give us his assistance. God damn him to hell!

M'Man Hunter: Main dish'll probably be monkey.
Hornblower: Monkey?
M'Man Hunter: Mmm. Um, rock ape. And monkey you mince with a sort of a... chopping motion.
Hornblower: Monkey; mince, chopping motion.

Hornblower: Don't froth at the mouth, Styles. You've seen a woman before, man.
Styles: Not in six bloody months I haven't.

Spanish Lieutenant: You have my sword. I will not attempt to escape. I have already lost my ship. I will not compound my shame by breaking my word.
Hornblower: [Retutning the Captain's sword] Today the luck was with me, sir.

Duchess of Wharfedale: It is lucky for you that last night I had another card to play. At least it bought his silence.
Hornblower: But how could you?
Duchess of Wharfedale: What is it to you? Are you jealous?
[sighs]
Duchess of Wharfedale: You completely misunderstand me. If I resisted de Vergesse, he would announce my secret, which would lead to my arrest as a spy and the discovery of your precious dispatches. So I sacrificed some small insignificant things such as my pride and my self-respect.

Hornblower: What will you do, Ma'am? You cannot continue this in London.
Duchess of Wharfedale: I have friends in high places and low. Friends who value me enough to forgive the manner of my return.
Hornblower: In that case I can only wish you good luck, Ma'am.
Duchess of Wharfedale: [as Hornblower is going over the side into the rowboat] Horatio... I will always count you, as I hope you will count me, among those friends.
Hornblower: In high places or low, Ma'am?
Duchess of Wharfedale: The highest, Mr. Haitch!

Don Massaredo: The First Minister has informed me that in recognition of your courage in saving life at the peril of your own, you and your ship's crew are to be set at liberty.
Hornblower: We are free to go?
Don Massaredo: That is what I usually understand "liberty" to mean.
Hornblower: [sighs] Thank you, sir. I am honored by their excellencies' consideration.
Don Massaredo: Mmm... I wonder if their excellencies realize they're setting free a man who will doubtless be a thorn in their side for many years to come.
Hornblower: I shall endeavor not to disappoint them. sir.
Don Massaredo: Hmmm.
[He leaves]

Hornblower: How are you, Archie?
Kennedy: Hungry.
Hornblower: Great, I will have the innkeeper send you some food. Ham and eggs, possibly. Some trout...
Kennedy: Horatio, there is something I have to tell you...
Hornblower: Oh, don't you worry about anything. Let's just get you back your feet, eh?
Kennedy: The duchess isn't a duchess. Cleopatra laying at Mark Antony's feet, maybe. Cleopatra, Macbeth, Gertrude. But she is no duchess.
Hornblower: Archie, what are you talking about?
Kennedy: She is an actress. Her name is Catherine Cobham.
Hornblower: You're mistaken.
Kennedy: No, I'm not. Drury Lane was once my home, and I had saw her performed. Mark my words, Horatio. She is an actress.

Kennedy: [upon seeing a storm outside]
[faintly]
Kennedy: No walk for you today, Horatio. A pity, you walk with such lovely company.
Hornblower: Do you have a sweetheart in England, Archie?
[no response]
Hornblower: Archie?
[no repsonse]
Hornblower: [more worried] Archie?
[he runs over to Archie and pats his face]
Hornblower: [caling out] Archie!
[runs to the door and bangs on it]
Hornblower: Guard! Guard! Hunter, call for help.
M'Man Hunter: Why?
Hornblower: [races back over to Kennedy, and tries to wake him] Archie? What's happening to him?
M'Man Hunter: Starvation.
Hornblower: We gave him the same rations as ours.
M'Man Hunter: He didn't eat them.
Hornblower: But why?
[pause]
Hornblower: Why didn't you tell me this before?
Don Massaredo: [a few moments later]
[upon seeing Horatio standing in the rain and carrying Archie]
Don Massaredo: What is the meaing of this?
Hornblower: He's dying!
[carries Archie inside and places him in bed]
Hornblower: Archie, why did you do this?
Duchess of Wharfedale: [enters the room] What's happened to him?
Hornblower: [upset] He's been starving himself! And I haven't noticed- I didn't notice because I was carrying on conversations on clifftops.
Kennedy: [seemingly concious, to the Duchess] The crow o' earth doth melt. My lord! O, wither'd is the garland of the war...
Hornblower: Archie, what are you saying?
Duchess of Wharfedale: Sssh... just rest.
Kennedy: Are level now with men; the odds is gone, and there is nothing left remarkable beneath the visting moon.
Hornblower: What is he saying?
Duchess of Wharfedale: He's delirious.
Hornblower: No, it wasn't like that. It was from something.

Hornblower: Archie, I would do the exact same. If I were in this position...
Kennedy: But you're not, and you never would be.

Kennedy: [observing the men] They're planning something, Horatio.
Hornblower: Archie, do you know Spanish?
Kennedy: A little.
[Horatio hands Archie a book written in Spanish and walks off]


Horatio Hornblower 3 (2003) (TV)
Lieutenant Bush: [Mr. Bush has noticed that there is no mention of Horatio's smothering the fuse of a cannon ball] Sir, I hope you will not fail to mention the incident.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: It has been recorded in the log.
Lieutenant Bush: [reading] A five inch shot, fired from shore, landed on deck and failed to explode. Sir, that is not what happened.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Was not a five inch shot fired from shore?
Lieutenant Bush: Yes, sir.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Did it not land on deck?
Lieutenant Bush: Well, yes sir but...
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Did it perhaps explode without my noticing?
Lieutenant Bush: No, sir.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Then my report is accurate.

Commander Horatio Hornblower: For a long time now no one ashore cared much whether I lived or died.
Maria Mason: I care, Horatio. My heart leaps when I hear your footsteps on the stairs and when I hear your voice.

Commander Horatio Hornblower: Don't judge a ship by the number of its guns, major, but by the skill of its crew.

Commander Horatio Hornblower: [Speaking of the loyalty of Irish sailors to the British Crown] It is better to earn loyalty than to demand it.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Sir?
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: Hmmm. You know, Hornbloer, it is very hard for a father to see his children grow up.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: I'm not sure I understand you, sir.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: I dare say, you will.

Commander Horatio Hornblower: Enjoy your meal, Wolfe. Once Admiral Pellew is done, you won't be dining on Breton lobster.
Wolfe: When we're done, Breton lobster will be dining on Admiral Pellew.

[after Horatio blows up the French batterie and takes a leaping dive to the ground to avoid the ball of fire]
Styles: You all right, Sir?
Commander Horatio Hornblower: I'm a bit singed, Styles.
Styles: Oh no, Sir. You're done to a turn.
[Pats him on the stomach]
Styles: Trust me, I'm a cook.


Horatio Hornblower: Retribution (2001) (TV)
4th Lt. Archie Kennedy: I remember when you used to be scared of heights, Mr. Hornblower.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: [Looking at the height he must descend from] Nothing's changed, Mr. Kennedy.
2nd Lt. Bush: They say one must always do what one dislikes.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: [Nervously] Oh, yes?
2nd Lt. Bush: When I was a boy, I had to eat turnips.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Eat them now, do you?
2nd Lt. Bush: [after Hornblower begins his descent] Never touch 'em.
[Smiles]

3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: I'm sorry that his last command was taken away from him. He was a leader of men, and he died in battle.
Gunner Hobbs: It's all over now, sir. All over.

[last lines]
Cmmdre. Sir Edward Pellew: I wish you... a safe voyage.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Thank you, sir.

3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: [Upon Kennedy and Bush arriving at the fort Hornblower is blowing up:] Are you out of your mind?
4th Lt. Archie Kennedy: Very possibly, but we thought you could use the company.

2nd Lt. Bush: I know what happens when metal overheats. My uncle was a blacksmith.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: I believe they call it the co-efficient expansion, sir.
2nd Lt. Bush: Oh. I call it bloody dangerous.


Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship (1998) (TV)
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Where's Mr. Tapling?
Matthews: He refuses to rise from his bunk, sir.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Does he indeed?
[Below decks]
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Good morrow, Mr. Tapling! When shall you grace us with your presence above decks?
Tapling: Never. There is no point.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: The Moors have come to fetch their gold.
Tapling: The Moors? Don't let them aboard, set sail at once.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: The gold is theirs by right.
Tapling: I will not see them, send one of the men.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: I need my men, Mr. Tapling!
Tapling: I have pains in my body, I cannot move. The hand of Death is upon me.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: In that case, you shall have no need for rations.
[Takes away his food]
Tapling: You would withold rations from a dying man?
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: I would consider it my duty to help speed your release from this world, sir.
Tapling: [gets up] The Admiral will hear of this!

Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: [referring to Captain Foster] He's truly a great man, sir. To be half the man that he is would see my life fulfilled.
Lt. Bracegirdle: Careful, Mr. Hornblower, such greatness always has its price.

Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Each of us has a maggot in our past which will happily devour our future.

Lt. Bracegirdle: [Observing Hornblower as he stares out to sea] Something disturbs your thoughts, I fancy.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Just thinking of the distances we travel and yet how far we've still to sail as men.

[on the quarantine voyage]
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: And slaughter a bullock for the men.
Matthews: A bullock, sir?
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Every meal may be our last. Let's make sure it's a feast.
Matthews: [laughs] Aye, aye, sir!


Hornblower: Duty (2003) (TV)
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: You see things, sir, that others do not. One thing you do not question is your loyalty to your King. One day, Hornblower, you'll fight for more than England.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: What is there more than England?
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: [He pointedly does not answer]

Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: Bonaparte's nothing to offer Ireland but misery and bloodshed. Ha! That's why England has a right to demand Irish loyalty!
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Yes Sir, although...
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: Huh?
Commander Horatio Hornblower: It is perhaps better to earn loyalty than to demand it.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man I put away childish things.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: Sir?
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: You know Hornblower, it's very hard for a father to see his children grow up.
Commander Horatio Hornblower: I'm not sure I understand you sir.
Admiral Sir Edward Pellew: I daresay you will.


Hornblower: Mutiny (2001) (TV)
[last lines]
Cmmdre. Sir Edward Pellew: So you believe the Captain's behaviour was due to him falling down the hold.
3rd Lt. Horatio Hornblower: That's what seemed to push him over the edge.
Cmmdre. Sir Edward Pellew: That's an interesting choice of words, Mr. Hornblower.
[walks towards Hornblower]
Cmmdre. Sir Edward Pellew: How did the Captain come to fall?