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


A first failure is often a blessing.

A. L. Brown.

It is the empiric who never fails.


Half the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping.

Thomas Hood.

But screw your courage to the sticking place and we’ll not fail.


Failure is more frequently from want of energy than want of capital.

Daniel Webster.

There is not a fiercer hell than failure in a great object.


A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough.


  • Now a’ is done that men can do
  • And a’ is done in vain.
  • Burns.

    To fail at all is to fail utterly.


    He only is exempt from failures who makes no efforts.


    What is failure except feebleness? And what is it to miss one’s mark except to aim widely and weakly?


    Wherever there is failure, there is some giddiness, some superstition about luck, some step omitted, which Nature never pardons.


    Failures always overtake those who have the power to do, without the will to act, and who need that essential quality in life, energy.

    James Ellis.

  • In the lexicon of youth, which fate reserves
  • For a bright manhood, there is no such word
  • As—fail.
  • Lytton.

    Although strength should fail, the effort will deserve praise. In great enterprises the attempt is enough.


    Many men and women spend their lives in unsuccessful attempts to spin the flax God sends them upon a wheel they can never use.

    J. G. Holland.

    Complaints are vain; we will try to do better another time. To-morrow and to-morrow. A few designs and a few failures, and the time of designing is past.


    He who bears failure with patience is as much of a philosopher as he who succeeds; for to put up with the world needs as much wisdom as to control it.


    Every failure is a step to success; every detection of what is false directs us toward what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so, but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure; scarcely any theory, the result of steady thought, is altogether false; no tempting form of error is without some latent charm derived from truth.


    Albeit failure in any cause produces a correspondent misery in the soul, yet it is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterward carefully eschew.


    What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth—the goods of the mind to those of fortune—that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool.

    Wm. Matthews.