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


The die is cast.—The exclamation of Cæsar as he crossed the Rubicon.


Fate is unpenetrated causes.


Fate hath no voice but the heart’s impulse.


No one becomes guilty by fate.


The heart is its own fate.


To bear is to conquer our fate.


From no place can you exclude the fates.


Yet who shall shut out fate?

Edwin Arnold.

The compulsion of fate is bitter.


He must needs go that the devil drives.

George Peele.

We bear each one our own destiny.


For rarely man escapes his destiny.


Fulfil thy fate! Be—do—bear—and thank God.


Fair or foul the lot apportioned life on earth, we bear alike.

Robert Browning.

Fate is character.

William Winter.

We can only obey our own polarity.


This day we fashion destiny, our web of fate we spin.


Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate.


When fate summons, monarchs must obey.


Wherever the fates lead us let us follow.


Man blindly works the will of fate.


  • Things are where things are, and, as fate has willed,
  • So shall they be fulfilled.
  • Robert Browning.

    A man’s power is hooped in by a necessity, which, by many experiments, he touches on every side until he learns its arc.


  • And out of darkness came the hands
  • That reach thro’ nature, moulding men.
  • Tennyson.

  • What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
  • It boots not to resist both wind and tide.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Those whom God to ruin has design’d,
  • He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.
  • Dryden.

  • With equal pace, impartial fate,
  • Knocks at the palace and the cottage gate.
  • Horace.

  • But, O vain boast!
  • Who can control his fate?
  • Shakespeare.

  • Necessity and chance
  • Approach not me, and what I will is fate.
  • Milton.

  • Fate holds the strings, and men like children, move
  • But as they’re led; success is from above.
  • Lord Lansdowne.

  • Jove lifts the golden balances that show
  • The fates of mortal men, and things below.
  • Homer.

    All things are in fate, yet all things are not decreed by fate.


  • One common fate we both must prove;
  • You die with envy, I with love.
  • Gay.

  • ’Tis writ on Paradise’s gate,
  • “Woe to the dupe that yields to Fate!”
  • Hafiz.

  • Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
  • Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
  • Sam’l Johnson.

  • But blind to former as to future fate,
  • What mortal knows his pre-existent state?
  • Pope.

    Whither the fates lead virtue will follow without fear.


    Many have reached their fate while dreading fate.


    The fates glide with linked hands over life.


    They only fall that strive to move, or lose that care to keep.

    Owen Meredith.

    We are led on, like little children, by a way we know not.

    George Eliot.

    We make our fortunes, and we call them fate.


    There is no good in arguing with the inevitable.


    There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.


    Fate and the dooming gods are deaf to tears.


    If you believe in fate to your harm, believe it, at least, for your good.


    The slippery tops of human state, the gilded pinnacles of fate.


    Men are the sport of circumstances, when circumstances seem the sport of men.


    The fates lead the willing, and drag the unwilling.


    It is often a comfort in misfortune to know our own fate.

    Quintus Curtius Rufus.

    Man, be he who he may, experiences a last piece of good fortune and a last day.


    Every soul has a landscape that changes with the wind that sweeps the sky, with the clouds that return after its rain.

    George MacDonald.

    Struggle against it as thou wilt, yet heaven’s ways are heaven’s ways.


  • What should be spoken here, where our fate,
  • Hid within an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us?
  • Shakespeare.

  • Alas, by what rude fate
  • Our lives, like ships at sea, an instant meet,
  • Then part forever on their courses fleet.
  • E. C. Stedman.

  • And sing to those that hold the vital shears;
  • And turn the adamantine spindle round,
  • On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
  • Milton.

    “Whosoever quarrels with his fate, does not understand it,” says Bettine; and among all her inspired sayings, she spoke none wiser.

    Mrs. L. M. Child.

    Fate whirls on the bark, and the rough gale sweeps from the rising tide the lazy calm of thought.


    God overrules all mutinous accidents, brings them under His laws of fate, and makes them all serviceable to His purpose.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    Fate is the friend of the good, the guide of the wise, the tyrant of the foolish, the enemy of the bad.

    W. R. Alger.

    Fate with impartial hand turns out the doom of high and low; her capacious urn is constantly shaking the names of all mankind.


    Who is it needs such flawless shafts as fate? What archer of his arrows is so choice, or hits the white so surely?


    Fates! we will know your pleasures: that we shall die, we know; ’tis but the time, and drawing days out, that men stand upon.


    Though fear should lend him pinions like the wind, yet swifter fate will seize him from behind.


    Stem fate and time will have their victims; and the best die first, leaving the bad still strong, though past their prime.

    Ebenezer Elliott.

    No power or virtue of man could ever have deserved that what has been fated should not have taken place.

    Ammianus Marcellinus.

  • Our wills and fates do so contrary run
  • That our devices still are overthrown;
  • Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
  • Shakespeare.

    When fate has allowed to any man more than one great gift, accident or necessity seems usually to contrive that one shall encumber and impede the other.


  • The glories of our blood and state
  • Are shadows, not substantial things;
  • There is no armour against fate;
  • Death lays his icy hand on kings.
  • Shirley.

    Lucky he who has been educated to bear his fate, whatsoever it may be, by an early example of uprightness, and a childish training in honor.


  • All are architects of Fate,
  • Working in these walls of Time;
  • Some with massive deeds and great,
  • Some with ornaments of rhyme.
  • Longfellow.

  • Fate steals along with silent tread,
  • Found oftenest in what least we dread;
  • Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
  • But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
  • Cowper.

    A strict belief in fate is the worst of slavery, imposing upon our necks an everlasting lord and tyrant, whom we are to stand in awe of night and day.


    Our life is determined for us; and it makes the mind very free when we give up wishing, and only think of bearing what is laid upon us and doing what is given us to do.

    George Eliot.

    A man’s fate is his own temper; and according to that will be his opinion as to the particular manner in which the course of events is regulated. A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance.


  • Man, tho’ limited
  • By fate, may vainly think his actions free,
  • While all he does, was at his hour of birth,
  • Or by his gods, or potent stars ordain’d.
  • Rowe.

  • 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.

  • A few seem favourites of fate,
  • In pleasure’s lap caress’d;
  • Yet, think not all the rich and great
  • Are likewise truly blest.
  • Burns.

  • 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 defy augury; there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.


  • Sometimes an hour of Fate’s serenest weather
  • Strikes through our changeful sky its coming beams;
  • Somewhere above us, in elusive ether,
  • Waits the fulfillment of our dearest dreams.
  • Bayard Taylor.

  • Let those deplore their doom,
  • Whose hope still grovels in this dark sojourn;
  • But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
  • Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn.
  • Beattie.

    Whatever may happen to thee, it was prepared for thee from all eternity; and the implication of causes was from eternity spinning the thread of thy being and of that which is incident to it.

    Marcus Antoninus.

    It is an awful thing to get a glimpse, as one sometimes does, when the time is past, of some little, little wheel which works the whole mighty machinery of fate, and see how our destinies turn on a minute’s delay or advance.


    As fate is inexorable, and not to be moved either with tears or reproaches, an excess of sorrow is as foolish as profuse laughter; while, on the other hand, not to mourn at all is insensibility.


    It was a smart reply that Augustus made to one that ministered this comfort of the fatality of things: this was so far from giving any ease to his mind, that it was the very thing that troubled him.


  • O beautiful, awful Summer day,
  • What hast thou given, what taken away?
  • Life and death, and love and hate,
  • Homes made happy or desolate,
  • Hearts made sad or gay.
  • Longfellow.

  • Ask me no more; thy fate and mine are seal’d;
  • I strove against the stream and all in vain:
  • Let the great river take me to the main:
  • No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield;
  • Ask me no more.
  • Tennyson.

    ’Tis the best use of fate to teach a fatal courage. Go face the fire at sea, or the cholera in your friend’s house, or the burglar in your own, or what danger lies in the way of duty, knowing you are guarded by the cherubim of destiny.


  • Success, the mark no mortal wit,
  • Or surest hand, can always hit;
  • For whatsoe’er we perpetrate,
  • We do but row—w’are steer’d by fate,
  • Which in success oft disinherits,
  • For spurious causes, noblest merits.
  • Butler.

    The Stoics held a fatality, and a fixed, unalterable course of events; but they held also that they fell out by a necessity emergent from and inherent in the things themselves, which God Himself could not alter.


    The wrath peculiar to ardent natures rudely awakened by the sudden annihilation of a hope—dream, if you will—in which the choicest happinesses were thought to be certainly in reach. In such cases nothing intermediate will carry off the passion,—the quarrel is with fate.***It were well in such quarrels if fate were something tangible, to be despatched with a look or a blow, or a speaking personage with whom high words were possible; then the unhappy mortal would not always end the affair by punishing himself.

    Lew Wallace.