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


Man must be prepared for every event of life, for there is nothing that is durable.


The uncertainty of events disturbs the purest enjoyments.

De Lévis.

All our life goeth like Penelope’s web,—what one hour effects the next destroys.

St. Augustine.

Look at the fate of summer flowers, which blow at daybreak, droop ere even-song.


In human life there is a constant change of fortune; and it is unreasonable to expect an exemption from the common fate. Life itself decays, and all things are daily changing.


The blessings of health and fortune, as they have a beginning, so they must also have an end. Everything rises but to fall, and increases but to decay.


Time, whose millioned accidents creep in betwixt vows, and change decrees of kings, tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharpest intents, divert strong minds to the course of altering things.


Nothing maintains its bloom forever; age succeeds to age.


Can we wonder that men perish and are forgotten, when their noblest and most enduring works decay? Death comes even to monumental structures, and oblivion rests on the most illustrious names.


When Anaxagoras was told of the death of his son, he only said, “I knew he was mortal.” So we in all casualties of life should say “I knew my riches were uncertain, that my friend was but a man.” Such considerations would soon pacify us, because all our troubles proceed from their being unexpected.


  • All things that we ordained festival,
  • Turn from their office to black funeral;
  • Our instruments, to melancholy bells;
  • Our wedding cheer, to sad burial feast;
  • Our solemn hymns, to sullen dirges change;
  • Our bridal flowers serve for a buried corse,
  • And all things change them to the contrary.
  • Shakespeare.

    Mutability is the badge of infirmity. It is seldom that a man continues to wish and design the same thing two days alike. Now he is for marrying; and now a mistress is preferred to a wife. Now he is ambitious and aspiring; presently the meanest servant is not more humble than he. This hour he squanders his money away; the next he turns miser. Sometimes he is frugal and serious; at other times profuse, airy, and gay.