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


We have seen better days.


The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.


Misfortunes should always be expected.


Our greatest misfortunes come to us from ourselves.


Misfortunes have their dignity and their redeeming power.

George S. Hillard.

  • A soul exasperated in ills, falls out
  • With everything, its friend, itself.
  • Addison.

    Sick in the world’s regard, wretched and low.


    Our bravest lessons are not learned through success, but misadventure.


    Oh, give me thy hand, one writ with me in sour misfortune’s book.


    If misfortune comes, she brings along the bravest virtues.


    Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it.

    Washington Irving.

  • Who hath not known ill-fortune, never knew
  • Himself, or his own virtue.
  • Mallet.

    We have all of us sufficient fortitude to bear the misfortunes of others.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Misery and misfortune is all one; and of misfortune fortune hath only the gift.

    Sir P. Sidney.

    Many men, seemingly impelled by fortune, hasten forward to meet misfortune half way.


    It is good to see in the misfortunes of others what we should avoid.


  • When one is past, another care we have;
  • Thus woe succeeds a woe, as wave a wave.
  • Herrick.

    Sick in the world’s regard, wretched and low.


    Heaven sends us misfortunes as a moral tonic.

    Lady Blessington.

    After all, our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation.


    The less we parade our misfortunes the more sympathy we command.

    Orville Dewey.

    Most of our misfortunes are more supportable than the comments of our friends upon them.


    I believe, indeed, that it is more laudable to suffer great misfortunes than to do great things.


    Misfortune makes of certain souls a vast desert through which rings the voice of God.


    Men do not go out to meet misfortune as we do. They learn it; and we—we divine it.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    The greatest misfortune of all is not to be able to bear misfortunes.


    How true it is that, sooner or later, the most rebellious must bow beneath the yoke of misfortune!

    De Staël.

    The quivering flesh, though torture-torn, may live, but souls, once deeply wounded, heal no more.

    Ebenezer Elliott.

    Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.


    There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!


    When I was happy I thought I knew men, but it was fated that I should know them in misfortune only.


    Some souls are ennobled and elevated by seeming misfortunes, which then become blessings in disguise.


    When any calamity has been suffered, the first thing to be remembered is, how much has been escaped.


    We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never either so wretched or so happy as we say we are.


    Men are prostrated by misfortune; women bend, but do not break, and martyr-like live on.

    Anna Cora Mowatt.

    Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel’s face.

    St. Jerome.

    The good man, even though overwhelmed by misfortune, loses never his inborn greatness of soul. Camphor-wood burnt in the fire becomes all the more fragrant.


    There is a chill air surrounding those who are down in the world; and people are glad to get away from them, as from a cold room.

    George Eliot.

    I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.


    I do not myself believe there is any misfortune. What men call such is merely the shadowside of a good.

    George MacDonald.

    We should learn, by reflecting on the misfortunes which have attended others, that there is nothing singular in those which befall ourselves.


    It is seldom that God sends such calamities upon man as men bring upon themselves and suffer willingly.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    The diamond of character is revealed by the concussion of misfortune, as the splendor of the precious jewel of the mine is developed by the blows of the lapidary.

    F. A. Durivage.

    Misfortunes are, in morals, what bitters are in medicine: each is at first disagreeable; but as the bitters act as corroborants to the stomach, so adversity chastens and ameliorates the disposition.

    From the French.

  • Misfortune, like a creditor severe,
  • But rises in demand for her delay;
  • She makes a scourge of past prosperity
  • To sting thee more and double thy distress.
  • Young.

    It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one; a great deal may arouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure.

    Lord Greville.

    When misfortunes happen to such as dissent from us in matters of religion, we call them judgments; when to those of our own sect, we call them trials; when to persons neither way distinguished, we are content to attribute them to the settled course of things.


    In misfortune we often mistake dejection for constancy; we bear it without daring to look on it; like cowards, who suffer themselves to be murdered without resistance.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    If all men would bring their misfortunes together in one place, most would be glad to take his own home again, rather than to take a proportion out of the common stock.


    Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. Beauteous soul! when a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.


    What man’s life is not overtaken by one or more of those tornadoes that send us out of the course, and fling us on rocks to shelter as best we may?


    Then was I as a tree whose boughs did bend with fruit; but in one night, a storm or robbery, call it what you will, shook down my mellow hangings, nay, my leaves, and left me bare to weather.


    I may grieve with the smart of an evil as soon as I feel it, but I will not smart with the grief of an evil as soon as I hear of it. My evil, when it cometh, may make my grief too great; why, then, should my grief, before it comes, make my evil greater?

    Arthur Warwick.

    My May of life is fallen into the sear, the yellow leaf; and that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but in their stead, curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.


  • But strong of limb
  • And swift of foot misfortune is, and, far
  • Outstripping all, comes first to every land,
  • And there wreaks evil on mankind, which prayers
  • Do afterwards redress.
  • Homer.

  • Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
  • Fallen from his high estate,
  • And welt’ring in his blood;
  • Deserted at his utmost need,
  • But those his former bounty fed;
  • On the bare earth expos’d he lies,
  • With not a friend to close his eyes.
  • Dryden.

    There is a Russian proverb which says that misfortune is next door to stupidity; and it will generally be found that men who are constantly lamenting their ill luck are only reaping the consequences of their own neglect, mismanagement, improvidence, or want of application.

    Samuel Smiles.