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


Anticipation and Hope are born twins.


The anticipation of evil courts evil.

Mme. Deluzy.

Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.

George Eliot.

Troubles forereckoned are doubly suffered.


It is worse to apprehend than to suffer.

La Bruyère.

Experience finds few of the scenes that lively hope designs.


Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.


We expect everything, and are prepared for nothing.

Madame Swetchine.

Thou tremblest before anticipated ills, and still bemoanest what thou never losest.


He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.


All things that are, are with more spirit chased than enjoyed.


It is a great obstacle to happiness to expect too much.


Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.


The craving for a delicate fruit is pleasanter than the fruit itself.


Suffering itself does less afflict the senses than the apprehension of suffering.


What need a man forestall his date of grief, and run to meet what he would most avoid?


I know that we often tremble at an empty terror; yet the false fancy brings a real misery.


Nothing is so great an adversary to those who make it their business to please as expectation.


All earthly delights are sweeter in expectation than enjoyment; but all spiritual pleasures more in fruition than expectation.


We can but ill endure, among so many sad realities, to rob anticipation of its pleasant visions.

Henry Giles.

It is expectation makes a blessing dear; heaven were not heaven if we knew what it were.

John Suckling.

There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness is it in expecting evil before it arrives?


I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives.


  • I am giddy; expectation whirls me ’round.
  • The imaginary relish is so sweet
  • That it enchants my sense.
  • Shakespeare.

    We part more easily with what we possess, than with our expectations of what we wish for; because expectation always goes beyond enjoyment.

    Henry Home.

    Whatever advantage we snatch beyond a certain portion allotted us by nature, is like money spent before it is due, which, at the time of regular payment, will be missed and regretted.


    To despond is to be ungrateful beforehand. Be not looking for evil. Often thou drainest the gall of fear while evil is passing by thy dwelling.


    With every one, the expectation of a misfortune constitutes a dreadful punishment. Suffering then assumes the proportions of the unknown, which is the soul’s infinite.


    The events we most desire do not happen; or, if they do, it is neither in the time nor in the circumstances when they would have given us extreme pleasure.

    La Bruyère.

    The problem is, whether a man constantly and strongly believing that such a thing shall be, it don’t help anything to the effecting of the thing.


    There are many things that are thorns to our hopes until we have attained them, and envenomed arrows to our hearts when we have.


    There would be few enterprises of great labor or hazard undertaken, if we had not the power of magnifying the advantages which we persuade ourselves to expect from them.


    Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts as harbingers to heaven, and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness through the chinks of her sickness-broken body.

    Thomas Fuller.

    Things temporal are sweeter in the expectation, things eternal are sweeter in the fruition; the first shames thy hope, the second crowns it; it is a vain journey, whose end affords less pleasure than the way.


    A man’s desires always disappoint him; for though he meets with something that gives him satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers his expectation.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    All fear is in itself painful, and when it conduces not to safety, is painful without use. Every consideration, therefore, by which groundless terrors may be removed adds something to human happiness.

    Dr. Johnson.

    The hours we pass with happy prospects in view are more pleasing than those crowned with fruition. In the first instance, we cook the dish to our own appetite; in the latter, Nature cooks it for us.


    Such is the uncertainty of human affairs, that security and despair are equal follies; and as it is presumption and arrogant to anticipate triumphs, it is weakness and cowardice to prognosticate miscarriages.

    Dr. Johnson.

    It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when to-morrow’s burden is added to the burden of to-day that the weight is more than a man can bear.

    George Macdonald.

    Men spend their lives in anticipations, in determining to be vastly happy at some period or other, when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other, it is our own.


    The pilot who is always dreading a rock or a tempest must not complain if he remain a poor fisherman. We must at times trust something to fortune, for fortune has often some share in what happens.


    In all worldly things that a man pursues with the greatest eagerness and intention of mind imaginable, he finds not half the pleasure in the actual possession of them, as he proposed to himself in the expectation.


    By anticipation we suffer misery and enjoy happiness before they are in being. We can set the sun and stars forward, or lose sight of them by wandering into those retired parts of eternity when the heavens and earth shall be no more.


    In proportion as our cares are employed upon the future, they are abstracted from the present, from the only time which we can call our own, and of which, if we neglect the apparent duties to make provision against visionary attacks, we shall certainly counteract our own purpose.

    Dr. Johnson.

    We are apt to rely upon future prospects, and become really expensive while we are only rich in possibility. We live up to our expectations, not to our possessions, and make a figure proportionable to what we may be, not what we are.


    Whichever way we look the prospect is disagreeable. Behind, we have left pleasures we shall never enjoy, and therefore regret; and before, we see pleasures which we languish to possess, and are consequently uneasy till we possess them.