legendary British wizard

Merlin is a wizard featured prominently in Arthurian legends. Depictions of the character began with Merlin Ambrosius in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136), based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures, such as the North Brythonic prophet Myrddin Wyllt, and the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus.

The war between Sorcerers was fought in the shadows of history, and the fate of mankind rested with the just and powerful Merlin. ~ The Sorcerer's Apprentice
For the 1998 film, see Merlin (1998 film)
For the TV series, see Merlin (TV Series)


Remember, there's always something cleverer than yourself. ~ Merlin in Excalibur
When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. ~ Merlin in Excalibur
Statements of Merlin as portrayed in various works
I am Merlin Who follow The Gleam. ~ Merlin in "Merlin and the Gleam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Behold! The Sword of Power! Excalibur! Forged when the world was young, and bird and beast and flower were one with man, and death was but a dream!
  • You will be the land, and the land will be you. If you fail, the land will perish; as you thrive, the land will blossom.
  • Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha.
    • "The Charm of Making", an incantation repeatedly uttered by both Merlin and Morgana, is in an Old Gaelic dialect which translates to: "Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making."
  • Look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then... this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, "I was there that night, with Arthur, the King!" For it is the doom of men that they forget.
  • The days of our kind are numberèd. The one God comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It's the way of things. Yes... it's a time for men, and their ways.
  • Remember, there's always something cleverer than yourself.
  • I know whom thou seekest, for thou seekest Merlin; therefore seek no farther, for I am he.
  • I've never studied magic or been taught. … I was born like this.
  • Do you know how it feels, to be a monster? To be afraid of who you are?
  • You that are watching
    The gray Magician
    With eyes of wonder,
    I am Merlin,
    And I am dying,
    I am Merlin
    Who follow The Gleam.
  • "The best thing for being sad … is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake in the middle of the night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."
  • There was just such a man when I was young — an Austrian who invented a new way of life and convinced himself that he was the chap to make it work. He tried to impose his reformation by the sword, and plunged the civilized world into misery and chaos. But the thing which this fellow had overlooked, my friend, was that he had had a predecessor in the reformation business, called Jesus Christ. Perhaps we may assume that Jesus knew as much as the Austrian did about saving people. But the odd thing is that Jesus did not turn the disciples into storm troopers, burn down the Temple at Jerusalem, and fix the blame on Pontius Pilate. On the contrary, he made it clear that the business of the philosopher was to make ideas available, and not to impose them on people.

Quotes about Merlin

None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it. ~ The Great Dragon in Merlin
Statements about Merlin sorted alphabetically by author or source
Merlin in our time hath spoken also, not in jest, and sworn though men may wound him that he will not die, but pass, again to come... ~ Tennyson
Merlin called it "The Siege perilous,"
Perilous for good and ill; "for there," he said,
"No man could sit but he should lose himself..." ~ Tennyson
  • He appears to have been contemporary with the period of the Saxon invasion of Britain, in the latter part of the fifth century; but proably the earliest mention of his name by any writer that has come down to us is not previous to the eleventh.
  • You are a question that has never been posed before, Merlin.
  • No young man, no matter how great, can know his destiny. He cannot glimpse his part in the great story that is about to unfold. Like everyone, he must live and learn. And so it shall be for the young warlock arriving at the gates of Camelot. A boy that will in time father a legend. His name... Merlin.
  • None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it.
  • This is the Merlin Circle. It focuses your energy. Helps you master new spells. It is where you will learn the Art. Step inside, you leave everything else behind. Once you enter, there is no going back.
  • Where have you been these many years... are you just a dream Merlin?
  • Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
    Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
    And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
    Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame
    And down the wave and in the flame was borne
    A naked babe, and rode to Merlin's feet,
    Who stoopt and caught the babe, and cried "The King!
    Here is an heir for Uther!"
  • Merlin in our time
    Hath spoken also, not in jest, and sworn
    Though men may wound him that he will not die,
    But pass, again to come; and then or now
    Utterly smite the heathen underfoot,
    Till these and all men hail him for their king.
  • In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
    Fashioned by Merlin ere he past away,
    And carven with strange figures
    ; and in and out
    The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
    Of letters in a tongue no man could read.
    And Merlin called it "The Siege perilous,"
    Perilous for good and ill; "for there," he said,
    "No man could sit but he should lose himself..."
  • I have been Merlin wandering in the woods
    Of a far country, where the winds waken
    Unnatural voices, my mind broken
    By a sudden acquaintance with man’s rage.
    • R. S. Thomas, in "Taliesin 1952" in Song at the Year's Turning : Poems, 1942-1954 (1955)