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


Disappointment is the nurse of wisdom.

Sir Bayle Roche.

Disappointment is often the salt of life.

Theodore Parker.

O world, how many hopes thou dost engulf!

Alfred de Musset.

Bearing a life-long hunger in his heart.


Thus ever fade my fairy dreams of bliss.


How Disappointment tracks the steps of Hope!

L. E. Landon.

Disappointments are to the soul what a thunder-storm is to the air.


  • Oh! that a dream so sweet, so long enjoy’d,
  • Should be so sadly, cruelly destroy’d!
  • Moore.

  • As distant prospects please us, but when near
  • We find but desert rocks and fleeting air.
  • Sir Sam’l Garth.

  • His early dreams of good outstripp’d the truth,
  • And troubled manhood follow’d baffled youth.
  • Byran.

    Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.


    Women suffer more from disappointment than men, because they have more of faith and are naturally more credulous.

    Marguerite de Valois.

    Of all the uses of adversity which are sweet, none are sweeter than those which grow out of disappointed love.

    Henry Taylor.

    Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.

    Eliza Tabor.

    Life often seems like a long shipwreck, of which the debris are friendship, glory, and love; the shores of existence are strewn with them.

    Mme. de Staël.

    Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.


    Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where it most promises; and oft it hits where hope is coldest, and despair most sits.


    We mount to heaven mostly on the ruins of our cherished schemes, finding our failures were successes.


    Mean spirits under disappointment, like small beer in a thunder-storm, always turn sour.


    When we meet with better fare than was expected, the disappointment is overlooked even by the scrupulous. When we meet with worse than was expected, philosophers alone know how to make it better.


  • Impell’d with steps unceasing to pursue
  • Some fleeting good, that mocks me with the view,
  • That, like the circle bounding earth and skies,
  • Allures from far, yet, as I follow, flies.
  • Goldsmith.

  • A thousand years a poor man watched
  • Before the gate of Paradise:
  • But while one little nap he snatched,
  • It oped and shut. Ah! was he wise?
  • Wm. R. Alger.

    It never yet happened to any man since the beginning of the world, nor ever will, to have all things according to his desire, or to whom fortune was never opposite and adverse.


    In the light of eternity we shall see what we desired would have been fatal to us, and that what we would have avoided was essential to our well-being.


  • The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men,
  • Gang aft a-gley,
  • And leave us nought but grief and pain,
  • For promised joy.
  • Burns.

  • O! ever thus from childhood’s hour,
  • I’ve seen my fondest hopes decay;
  • I never loved a tree or flower,
  • But ’twas the first to fade away!
  • Moore.

    Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man’s spirit, and embitter another’s.

    Wm. Matthews.

    It is generally known that he who expects much will be often disappointed; yet disappointment seldom cures us of expectation, or has any other effect than that of producing a moral sentence or peevish exclamation.


    He that will do no good offices after a disappointment must stand still, and do just nothing at all. The plough goes on after a barren year; and while the ashes are yet warm, we raise a new house upon the ruins of a former.


    It is sometimes of God’s mercy that men in the eager pursuit of worldly aggrandizement are baffled; for they are very like a train going down an inclined plane,—putting on the brake is not pleasant, but it keeps the car on the track.


    An old man once said, “When I was young I was poor; when old I became rich; but in each condition I found disappointment. When the faculties of enjoyment were, I had not the means; when the means came, the faculties were gone.”

    Madame de Gasparin.

    It is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar. There are faces I can never look upon without emotion, there are names I can never hear spoken without almost starting.


  • Full little knowest thou that hast not tried,
  • What hell it is in suing long to bide:
  • To loose good dayes, that might be better spent;
  • To waste long nights in pensive discontent;
  • To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow;
  • To feed on hope, to pine with feare and sorrow.
  • Spenser.

    Young ladies may have been crossed in love, and have had their sufferings, their frantic moments of grief and tears, their wakeful nights, and so forth; but it is only in very sentimental novels that people occupy themselves perpetually with that passion, and I believe what are called broken hearts are a very rare article indeed.


    The darling schemes and fondest hopes of man are frequently frustrated by time. While sagacity contrives, patience matures, and labor industriously executes, disappointment laughs at the curious fabric, formed by so many efforts, and gay with so many brilliant colors, and, while the artists imagine the work arrived at the moment of completion, brushes away the beautiful web, and leaves nothing behind.


    Welcome, Disappointment! Thy hand is cold and hard, but it is the hand of a friend. Thy voice is stern and harsh, but it is the voice of a friend. Oh, there is something sublime in calm endurance, something sublime in the resolute, fixed purpose of suffering without complaining, which makes disappointment oftentimes better than success!