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


Circumstances alter cases.


Circumstances! I make circumstances.

Napoleon I.

Cause and effect are the chancellors of God.


Circumstances over which I have no control.

Wellington (Duke of).

The happy combination of fortuitous circumstances.


It is circumstances (difficulties) which show what men are.


We are surrounded, ambushed, by the robber troops of circumstances.


How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances!

Washington Irving.

The education of circumstances is superior to that of tuition.


The same wind that carries one vessel into port may blow another off shore.


  • Man is not the creature of circumstances,
  • Circumstances are the creatures of men.
  • Benj. Disraeli.

    It is our relation to circumstances that determines their influence upon us.


    Superiority to circumstances is one of the most prominent characteristics of great men.

    Horace Mann.

    Who does the best his circumstance allows, does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.


    A prudent man should neglect no circumstances.


    Sure, occasion is the father of most that is good in us.


    Thus neither the praise nor the blame is our own.


  • And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
  • And breasts the blows of circumstance.
  • Tennyson.

    Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise.

    Samuel Lover.

  • Men are the sport of circumstance, when
  • The circumstances seem the sport of men.
  • Byron.

    To give and to lose is nothing; but to lose and to give still is the part of a great mind.


    For these attacks do not contribute to make us frail but rather show us to be what we are.

    Thomas à Kempis.

  • I am the very slave of circumstance
  • And impulse—borne away with every breath.
  • Byron.

    What saves the virtue of many a woman is that protecting god, the impossible.


    Circumstance, that unspiritual god and miscreator, makes and helps along our coming evils.


    He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances.


    A man is not little when he finds it difficult to cope with circumstances, but when circumstances overmaster him.


    When Fate wills that something should come to pass, she sends forth a million of little circumstances to clear and prepare the way.


    To what fortuitous occurrence do we not owe every pleasure and convenience of our lives.


    Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.


    Change a virtue in its circumstances and it becomes a vice; change a vice in its circumstances and it becomes a virtue. Regard the same quality from two sides; on one it is a fault, on the other a merit. The essential of a man is found concealed far below these moral badges.


    Thus we see, too, in the world that some persons assimilate only what is ugly and evil from the same moral circumstances which supply good and beautiful results the fragrance of celestial flowers to the daily life of others.

    Nath. Hawthorne.

    When the Gauls laid waste Rome, they found the senators clothed in their robes, and seated in stern tranquillity in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered death without resistance or supplication. Such conduct was in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indians it was reviled as both obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances! How different is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, from virtue, naked and destitute, and perishing obscurely in a wilderness.

    Washington Irving.

    Instead of saying that man is the creature of circumstances, it would be nearer the mark to say that man is the architect of circumstance. It is character which builds an existence out of circumstance. Our strength is measured by our plastic power. From the same material one man builds palaces, another hovels; one warehouses, another villas.

    G. H. Lewes.