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


That touchstone Opportunity.

Charles Reade.

Alas, for the treachery of opportunity!

Ninon de Lenclos.

The cleverest of all the devils is Opportunity.


Danger will wink on opportunity.


The May of life only blooms once.


O opportunity, thy guilt is great!


There’s place and means for every man alive.


To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.


A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.


Thou strong seducer, opportunity.


Strike while the iron is hot.

Sir Walter Scott.

Take all the swift advantage of the hour.


Myself and the lucky moment.

Charles V.

Every man has his appointed day.


Little opportunities should be improved.


Opportunity is the great bawd.


There’s a time for all things.


Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

Benjamin Franklin.

Our great social and political advantage is opportunity.

George William Curtis.

  • Yet he who grasps the moment’s gift,
  • He is the proper man.
  • Goethe.

    Opportunity is more powerful even than conquerors and prophets.

    Earl of Beaconsfield.

    We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.


    The sure way to miss success is to miss the opportunity.

    Philarète Chasles.

    Opportunity, sooner or later, comes to all who work and wish.

    Lord Stanley.

    You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.

    Charles Buxton.

    Heaven, on occasion, half opens its arms to us; and that is the great moment.

    Victor Hugo.

    Every one has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases.

    Jeremy Collier.

    Present opportunities are not to be neglected; they rarely visit us twice.


    Opportunity is rare, and a wise man will never let it go by him.

    Bayard Taylor.

    Nothing is too late till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.


    The true scholar grudges every opportunity of action passed by, as a loss of power.


    Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good actions; try to use ordinary situations.


    Occasions are rare; and those who know how to seize upon them are rarer.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Improve time in the present; for opportunity is precious, and time is a sword.


    The devil tempts us not; ’tis we tempt him, beckoning his skill with opportunity.

    George Eliot.

    When the time comes in which one could, the time has passed in which one can.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    A word spoken in season, at the right moment, is the mother of ages.


    There is no greater wisdom than well to time the beginning and outsets of things.


    Nothing is so often irrevocably neglected as an opportunity of daily occurrence.

    Marie Ebner-Eschenbach.

    Thou strong seducer, opportunity! of womankind, half are undone by thee.


    Great men should think of opportunity and not of time. That is the excuse of feeble and puzzled spirits.

    Earl of Beaconsfield.

    Do not suppose opportunity will knock twice at your door.


    Who makes quick use of the moment is a genius of prudence.


    Miss not the occasion; by the forelock take that subtle power, the never-halting time.


    The public man needs but one patron, namely, the lucky moment.


    When a thief has no opportunity for stealing, he considers himself an honest man.


    There is an hour in each man’s life appointed to make his happiness, if then he seize it.

    Beaumont and Fletcher.

    Zeal and duty … on occasion’s forelock watchful wait.


    Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.


    To be a great man it is necessary to turn to account all opportunities.

    La Rochefoucauld.

    Next to knowing when to seize an opportunity, the most important thing in life is to know when to forego an advantage.


    The opportunity to do mischief is found a hundred times a day, and that of doing good once a year.


    A philosopher being asked what was the first thing necessary to win the love of a woman, answered, Opportunity!


    Give me a chance, says Stupid, and I will show you. Ten to one he has had his chance already, and neglected it.


    Opportunity, to statesmen, is as the just degree of heat to chemists; it perfects all the work.


    Opportunity has hair in front; behind she is bald. If you seize her by the forelock, you may hold her; but if suffered to escape, not Jupiter himself can catch her again.


    Presence of mind, penetration, fine observation, are the sciences of women; ability to avail themselves of these is their talent.


    What is opportunity to the man who can’t use it? An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.

    George Eliot.

    It often requires more strength and judgment to resist than to embrace an opportunity. It is better to do nothing than to do other than well.

    Sydney Dobell.

    The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.

    George Eliot.

    There is no man whom Fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door and flies out at the window.

    Cardinal Imperiali.

    Many do with opportunities as children do at the seashore; they fill their little hands with sand, and then let the grains fall through, one by one, till all are gone.

    Rev. T. Jones.

    The best men are not those who have waited for chances, but who have taken them,—besieged the chance, conquered the chance, and made the chance their servitor.


  • Gather roses while they bloom,
  • To-morrow is yet far away.
  • Moments lost have no room
  • In to-morrow or to-day.
  • Gleim.

    The means that heaven yields must be embraced, and not neglected; else, if heaven would, and we will not heaven’s offer, we refuse the proffered means of succor and redress.


    The great moments of life are but moments like others. Your doom is spoken in a word or two. A single look from the eyes, a mere pressure of the hand, may decide it; or of the lips, though they cannot speak.


    The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.


  • There is a tide in the affairs of men,
  • Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
  • Omitted, all the voyage of their life
  • Is bound in shallows, and in miseries:
  • And we must take the current when it serves,
  • Or lose our ventures.
  • Shakespeare.

    That policy that can strike only while the iron is hot will be overcome by that perseverance which, like Cromwell’s, can make the iron hot by striking; and he that can only rule the storm must yield to him who can both raise and rule it.


    Opportunities do not come with their values stamped upon them. Everyone must be challenged. A day dawns, quite like other days; in it a single hour comes, quite like other hours; but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us. To face every opportunity of life thoughtfully and ask its meaning bravely and earnestly, is the only way to meet the supreme opportunities when they come, whether open-faced or disguised.

    Maltbie Babcock.