C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


He that has no cross deserves no crown.


Adversity is the first path to truth.


Remember to be calm in adversity.


Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy.


There is healing in the bitter cup.


There is no education like adversity.


Adversity reminds men of religion.


Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth.


The fire of my adversity has purged the mass of my acquaintance.


Afflictions are but conductors to immortal life and glory.


Brave men ought not to be cast down by adversity.

Silius Italicus.

Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.

Victor Hugo.

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.


Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from our impatience.

Bishop Horne.

In adversity and difficulties arm yourself with firmness and fortitude.

From the Latin.

Great men rejoice in adversity just as brave soldiers triumph in war.


God’s corrections are our instructions; His lashes our lessons, and His scourges our schoolmasters.


As adversity leads us to think properly of our state, it is most beneficial to us.


It is not affliction itself, but affliction rightly borne, that does us good.


God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.


God strikes not as an enemy, to destroy; but as a father, to correct.


He that has never known adversity is but half acquainted with others or himself.


In the adversity of our best friends we often find something which does not displease us.

La Rochefoucauld.

Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.

Washington Irving.

Adversity, which makes us indulgent to others, renders them severe towards us.

J. Petit-Senn.

  • The Good are better made by Ill,
  • As odors crushed are sweeter still.
  • Sam’l Rogers.

  • Then know, that I have little wealth to lose;
  • A man I am cross’d with adversity.
  • Shakespeare.

  • ’Tis good for men to love their present pains
  • Upon example; so the spirit is eased.
  • Shakespeare.

  • In this wild world the fondest and the best
  • Are the most tried, most troubled and distress’d.
  • Crabbe.

    In all cases of heart-ache, the application of another man’s disappointment draws out the pain and allays the irritation.


    Heaven oft in mercy smites, even when the blow severest is.

    Joanna Baillie.

    Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong.


    Much dearer be the things which come through hard distress.


    Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.


    Through danger safety comes—through trouble rest.

    John Marston.

    In the wounds our sufferings plough, immortal love sows sovereign seed.


    Half the ills we hoard within our hearts are ills because we hoard them.

    Barry Cornwall.

    A noble heart, like the sun, showeth its greatest countenance in its lowest estate.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Let me embrace these sour adversities, for wise men say it is the wisest course.


    He that has never known adversity is but half acquainted with others, or with himself.


    Clouds are the veil behind which the face of day coquettishly hides itself, to enhance its beauty.


    Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.


    The winter’s frost must rend the burr of the nut before the fruit is seen. So adversity tempers the human heart, to discover its real worth.


    The most affluent may be stripped of all, and find his worldly comforts, like so many withered leaves, dropping from him.


    Those who have suffered much are like those who know many languages; they have learned to understand and be understood by all.

    Madame Swetchine.

    Adversity is the trial of principle. Without it a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.


    Mr. Bettenham said that virtuous men were like some herbs and spices, that give not out their sweet smell till they be broken or crushed.


  • On every thorn delightful wisdom grows;
  • In every rill a sweet instruction flows.
  • Dr. Young.

  • Heaven is not always angry when he strikes,
  • But most chastises those whom most he likes.
  • Pomfret.

    In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity only one.

    Horatius Bonar.

    Constant success shows us but one side of the world; adversity brings out the reverse of the picture.


    Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.


    It is easy in adversity to despise death; he has real fortitude who dares to live and be wretched.


    When reduced by adversity, a man forgets the lofty tone and supercilious language of prosperity.


    It is noble and so regarded both among nations and individuals to keep faith in adversity.

    Silius Italicus.

    Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.


    As every mercy is a drop obtained from the ocean of God’s goodness, so every affliction is a drachm weighed out in the wisdom of God’s providence.


    Adversity tries men, and virtue strives for glory through adverse circumstances, undeterred by hard obstacles.

    Silius Italicus.

    The brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried and smelted and polished and glorified through the furnace of tribulation.


    As the ant does not wend her way to empty barns, so few friends will be found to haunt the place of departed wealth.

    Unknown Author.

  • Adversity, sage useful guest,
  • Severe instructor, but the best,
  • It is from thee alone we know
  • Justly to value things below.
  • Somerville.

  • Sweet are the uses of adversity;
  • Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
  • Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
  • Shakespeare.

  • His overthrow heap’d happiness upon him;
  • For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
  • And found the blessedness of being little.
  • Shakespeare.

    The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity, as iron is most strongly welded by the fiercest fire.

    Unknown Author.

  • Thou tamer of the human breast,
  • Whose iron scourge and tort’ring hour
  • The bad affright, afflict the best!
  • Gray.

  • Love is maintain’d by wealth: when all is spent,
  • Adversity then breeds the discontent.
  • Herrick.

    Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.


    By adversity are wrought the greatest works of admiration, and all the fair examples of renown, out of distress and misery are grown.


    Affliction is the wholesome soil of virtue, where patience, honor, sweet humanity, calm fortitude, take root and strongly flourish.


    In adversity be spirited and firm, and with equal prudence lessen your sail when filled with a too fortunate gale of prosperity.


    Affliction is the good man’s shining scene; prosperity conceals his brightest rays; as night to stars, woe lustre gives to man.


    Genuine morality is preserved only in the school of adversity, and a state of continuous prosperity may easily prove a quicksand to virtue.


    Adversity has ever been considered as the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, particularly being free from flatterers.


    Prosperity is too apt to prevent us from examining our conduct, but as adversity leads us to think properly of our state, it is most beneficial to us.


    It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one than a little; a great deal may rouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure.


    Our dependence upon God ought to be so entire and absolute that we should never think it necessary, in any kind of distress, to have recourse to human consolations.

    Thomas à Kempis.

    God kills thy comforts from no other design but to kill thy corruptions; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted to destroy ambition.

    John Flavel.

    There is strength deep-bedded in our hearts, of which we reck but little till the shafts of heaven have pierced its fragile dwelling. Must not earth be rent before her gems are found?

    Mrs. Hemans.

    He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the latter.


    The truly great and good, in affliction, bear a countenance more princely than they are wont; for it is the temper of the highest hearts, like the palm-tree, to strive most upwards when it is most burdened.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Men think God is destroying them because he is tuning them. The violinist screws up the key till the tense cord sounds the concert pitch; but it is not to break it, but to use it tunefully, that he stretches the string upon the musical rack.


    Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God’s favor.


  • Such a house broke!
  • So noble a master fallen! All gone and not
  • One friend to take his fortune by the arm
  • And go along with him.
  • Shakespeare.

    Adversity, if for no other reason, is of benefit, since it is sure to bring a season of sober reflection. Men see clearer at such time. Storms purify the atmosphere.


  • Aromatic plants bestow
  • No spicy fragrance while they grow;
  • But crush’d or trodden to the ground,
  • Diffuse their balmy sweets around.
  • Goldsmith.

  • When Providence, for secret ends
  • Corroding cares, or sharp affliction, sends:
  • We must conclude it best it should be so,
  • And not desponding or impatient grow.
  • Pomfret.

  • A wretched soul, bruis’d with adversity,
  • We bid be quiet when we hear it cry;
  • But were we burden’d with like weight of pain,
  • As much, or more, we should ourselves complain.
  • Shakespeare.

    All is well as long as the sun shines and the fair breath of heaven gently wafts us to our own purpose; but if you will try the excellency and feel the work of faith, place the man in a persecution.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Bold adversity,
  • Cries out for noble York and Somerset,
  • To beat assailing death from his weak legions:
  • And whiles the honorable captain there
  • Drops bloody sweat from his war-wearied limbs.
  • Shakespeare.

    If adversity hath killed his thousands, prosperity hath killed his ten thousands; therefore adversity is to be preferred. The one deceives, the other instructs; the one miserably happy, the other happily miserable.


    Times of great calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.


    As the flint contains the spark, unknown to itself, which the steel alone can awaken to life, so adversity often reveals to us hidden gems, which prosperity or negligence would forever have hidden.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Adversity is a medicine which people are rather fond of recommending indiscriminately as a panacea for their neighbors. Like other medicines, it only agrees with certain constitutions. There are nerves which it braces, and nerves which it utterly shatters.

    Justin McCarthy.

    The gods in bounty work up storms about us, that give mankind occasion to exert their hidden strength, and throw out into practice virtues that shun the day, and lie concealed in the smooth seasons and the calms of life.


    One month in the school of affliction will teach thee more than the great precepts of Aristotle in seven years; for thou canst never judge rightly of human affairs, unless thou hast first felt the blows, and found out the deceits of fortune.


    The willow which bends to the tempest often escapes better than the oak, which resists it; and so, in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.

    Walter Scott.

    There are minerals called hydrophanous, which are not transparent till they are immersed in water, when they become so; as the hydrophane, a variety of opal. So it is with many a Christian. Till the floods of adversity have been poured over him, his character appears marred and clouded by selfishness and worldly influences. But trials clear away the obscurity, and give distinctness and beauty to his piety.

    Professor Hitchcock.

    The lessons of adversity are often the most benignant when they seem the most severe. The depression of vanity sometimes ennobles the feeling. The mind which does not wholly sink under misfortune rises above it more lofty than before, and is strengthened by affliction.


  • And these vicissitudes come best in youth;
  • For when they happen at a riper age,
  • People are apt to blame the Fates, forsooth.
  • And wonder Providence is not more sage.
  • Adversity is the first path to truth:
  • He who hath proved war, storm or woman’s rage,
  • Whether his winters be eighteen or eighty,
  • Has won the experience which is deem’d so weighty.
  • Byron.

    The wisdom of God appears in afflictions. By these He separates the sin which He hates, from the son whom He loves. By these thorns He keeps him from breaking over into Satan’s pleasant pastures, which would fatten him indeed, but only to the slaughter.


    Present suffering is not enjoyable, but life would be worth little without it. The difference between iron and steel is fire, but steel is worth all it costs. Iron ore may think itself senselessly tortured in the furnace, but when the watch-spring looks back, it knows better. David enjoyed pain and trouble no more than we do, but the time came when he admitted that they had been good for him. Though the aspect of suffering is hard, the prospect is hopeful, and the retrospect will start a song, if we are “the called according to his purpose,” in suffering.

    Maltbie Babcock.