History is that impossible thing: the attempt to give an account, with incomplete knowledge, of actions themselves undertaken with incomplete knowledge.
(Waterland – Graham Swift)
History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.
(The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes)
The days gone by
come back upon me from the dawn almost
Of life: the hiding places of my power
Seem open: I approach and then they close.
I see by glimpses now; when age comes on,
May scarcely see at all.
(Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth)