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


Alas! we are the sport of destiny.


Destiny is always dark.

George Herbert.

Destiny is our will, and our will is nature.


How circumscribed is woman’s destiny!


We are but as the instrument of heaven.

Owen Meredith.

Marriage is ever made by destiny.


Men must work, and women must weep.

Charles Kingsley.

Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.


Every man meets his Waterloo at last.

Wendell Phillips.

If we cannot shape our destiny there is no such thing as witchcraft.


What a glorious thing human life is,***and how glorious man’s destiny!


  • For some must watch, while some must sleep;
  • So runs the world away.
  • Shakespeare.

  • All, soon or late, are doom’d that path to tread.
  • Homer.

    That which God writes on thy forehead thou wilt come to.


  • When I shun Scylla, your father, I fall into Charybdis, your mother.
  • Shakespeare.

    Vast, colossal destiny, which raises man to fame, though it may also grind him to powder!


    What unknown power governs men! On what feeble causes do their destinies hinge!


    Resist as much as thou wilt; heaven’s ways are heaven’s ways.


    Woman is born for love, and it is impossible to turn her from seeking it.

    Margaret Fuller Ossoli.

    Destiny bears us to our lot, and destiny is perhaps our own will.


    What fates impose, that men must needs abide.


    Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.

    George Eliot.

    We are all sure of two things, at least; we shall suffer, and we shall all die.


    Na man of woman born, coward or brave, can shun his destiny.


    ’Tis man himself makes his own god and his own hell.


    Everything is done by immutable laws, and our destiny is already recorded.


    Each thing, both in small and in great, fulfilleth the task which destiny hath set down.


    Maids must be wives and mothers to fulfill the entire and holiest end of woman’s being.

    Frances Anne Kemble.

    If the course of human affairs be considered, it will be seen that many things arise against which heaven does not allow us to guard.


    There are but two future verbs which man may appropriate confidently and without pride: “I shall suffer,” and “I shall die.”

    Madame Swetchine.

    Our minds are as different as our faces; we are all traveling to one destination—happiness; but few are going by the same road.


    That which is not allotted the hand cannot reach, and what is allotted will find you wherever you may be.


    Stern is the onlook of necessity. Not without a shudder may the hand of man grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.


  • Life treads on life, and heart on heart;
  • We press too close in church and mart
  • To keep a dream or grave apart.
  • E. B. Browning.

    Man supposes that he directs his life and governs his actions, when his existence is irretrievably under the control of destiny.


  • No living man can send me to the shades
  • Before my time; no man of woman born,
  • Coward or brave, can shun his destiny.
  • Homer.

    That each thing, both in small and in great, fulfilleth the task which destiny hath set down.


    Death and life have their determined appointments; riches and honor depend upon heaven.


    Would the face of nature be so serene and beautiful if man’s destiny were not equally so.


    Can man or woman choose duties? No more than they can choose their birthplace, or their father and mother.

    George Eliot.

    The heart of silver falls ever into the hands of brass. The sensitive herb is eaten as grass by the swine.


  • That old miracle—Love-at-first-sight—
  • Needs no explanations. The heart reads aright
  • Its destiny sometimes.
  • Owen Meredith.

    They who talk much of destiny, their birth-star, etc., are in a lower dangerous plane, and invite the evil they fear.


    Art and power will go on as they have done—will make day out of night, time out of space, and space out of time.


    He whom the gods love dies young, while he is in health, has his senses and his judgment sound.


  • To be a Prodigal’s favourite,—then, worse truth,
  • A Miser’s Pensioner,—behold our lot!
  • Wordsworth.

  • Unseen hands delay
  • The coming of what oft seems close in ken,
  • And, contrary, the moment, when we say
  • “’Twill never come!” comes on us even then.
  • Lord Lytton.

  • Alas! how easily things go wrong!
  • A sigh too deep, or a kiss too long,
  • Ant then comes a mist and a weeping rain,
  • And life is never the same again.
  • George MacDonald.

  • Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
  • That each may fill the circle mark’d by heav’n;
  • Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
  • A hero perish, or a sparrow fall.
  • Pope.

    And all the bustle of departure—sometimes sad, sometimes intoxicating—just as fear or hope may be inspired by the new chances of coming destiny.

    Madame De Staël.

  • Alas! what stay is there in human state,
  • Or who can shun inevitable fate?
  • The doom was written, the decree was past,
  • Ere the foundations of the world were cast.
  • Dryden.

  • We met, hand to hand,
  • We clasped hands close and fast,
  • As close as oak and ivy stand;
  • But it is past:
  • Come day, come night, day comes at last.
  • Christina G. Rossetti.

  • All has its date below; the fatal hour
  • Was register’d in Heav’n ere time began.
  • We turn to dust, and all our mightiest works
  • Die too.
  • Cowper.

  • For I am a weed,
  • Flung from the rock, on Ocean’s foam, to sail,
  • Where’er the surge may sweep, the tempest’s breath prevail.
  • Byron.

    The scapegoat which we make responsible for all our crimes and follies; a necessity which we set down for invincible, when we have no wish to strive against it.

    Mrs. Balfour.

  • The seed ye sow, another reaps;
  • The wealth ye find, another keeps;
  • The robes ye weave, another wears;
  • The arms ye forge, another bears.
  • Shelley.

    I know that nothing comes to pass but what God appoints; our fate is decreed, and things do not happen by chance, but every man’s portion of joy and sorrow is predetermined.


  • Seek not to know what must not be reveal’d;
  • Joys only flow where Fate is most conceal’d;
  • Too busie man wou’d find his Sorrows more,
  • If future Fortunes he shou’d know before;
  • For by that knowledge of his Destiny
  • He would not live at all, but always die.
  • Dryden.

    Men are what their mothers made them. You may as well ask a loom which weaves huckabuck why it does not make cashmere as to expect poetry from this engineer or a chemical discovery from that jobber.


    Philosophers never stood in need of Homer or the Pharisees, to be convinced that everything is done by immutable laws, that everything is settled, that everything is a necessary effect of some previous cause.


    “It is destiny!”—phrase of the weak human heart; dark apology for every error. The strong and the virtuous admit no destiny. On earth, guides conscience; in heaven, watches God. And destiny is but the phantom we invoke to silence the one, to dethrone the other.


    And this is woman’s fate: all her affections are called into life by winning flatteries, and then thrown back upon themselves to perish; and her heart, her trusting heart, filled with weak tenderness, is left to bleed or break!

    L. E. Landon.

    There are certain events which to each man’s life are as comets to the earth, seemingly strange and erratic portents; distinct from the ordinary lights which guide our course and mark our seasons, yet true to their own laws, potent in their own influences.


  • Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
  • Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness:
  • So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
  • Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
  • Longfellow.

  • The irrevocable Hand
  • That opes the year’s fair gate, doth ope and shut
  • The portals of our earthly destinies;
  • We walk through blindfold, and the noiseless doors
  • Close after us forever.
  • D. M. Mulock.

  • Like warp and woof all destinies
  • Are woven fast,
  • Linked in sympathy like the keys
  • Of an organ vast.
  • Pluck one thread, and the web ye mar;
  • Break but one
  • Of a thousand keys, and the paining jar
  • Through all will run.
  • Whittier.

    Take life too seriously, and what is it worth? If the morning wake us to no new joys, if the evening bring us not the hope of new pleasures, is it worth while to dress and undress? Does the sun shine on me to-day that I may reflect on yesterday? That I may endeavor to foresee and to control what can neither be foreseen nor controlled—the destiny of to-morrow?


  • Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
  • This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
  • The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms,
  • And bears his blushing honours thick upon him:
  • The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
  • And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
  • His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
  • And then he falls, as I do.
  • Shakespeare.

    The wheels of nature are not to roll backward; everything presses on toward Eternity; from the birth: of Time an impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men toward that interminable ocean. Meanwhile heaven is attracting to itself whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom, whatever is pure, permanent and divine.

    Robert Hall.