Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers,
And heavily in clouds brings on the day,
The great, the important day, big with the fate
Of Cato, and of Rome.
Addison—Cato. Act I. Sc. 1.

The bow is bent, the arrow flies,
The wingéd shaft of fate.
Ira Aldridge—On William Tell. St. 12.

Yet who shall shut out Fate?
Edwin Arnold—Light of Asia. Bk. III. L. 336.

The heart is its own Fate.
Bailey—Festus. Sc. Wood and Water. Sunset.

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—The Minstrel. Bk. I.

Many things happen between the cup and the lip.
Burton—Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. II. Sec. II. Memb. 3.

Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be; why then should we desire to be deceived?
Bishop Butler—Sermon VII. On the Character of Balaam. Last Paragraph.

Success, the mark no mortal wit,
Or surest hand, can always hit:
For whatsoe’er we perpetrate,
We do but row, we’re steer’d by Fate,
Which in success oft disinherits,
For spurious causes, noblest merits.
Butler—Hudibras. Pt. I. Canto I. L. 879.

Here’s a sigh to those who love me,
And a smile to those who hate;
And whatever sky’s above me,
Here’s a heart for every fate.
Byron—To Thomas Moore. St. 2.

To bear is to conquer our fate.
Campbell—On Visiting a Scene in Argyleshire.

Le vin est versé, il faut le boire.
The wine is poured, you should drink it.
Attributed to M. de Charost. Spoken to Louis XIV, at the siege of Douai, as the king attempted to retire from the firing line.

Tolluntur in altum
Ut lapsu graviore ruant.
They are raised on high that they may be dashed to pieces with a greater fall.
Claudian—In Rufinum. Bk. I. 22.

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 Fable. Moral.

He has gone to the demnition bow-wows.
Dickens—Nicholas Nickleby. Ch. 64.

All human things are subject to decay,
And when fate summons, monarchs must obey.
Dryden—Mac Flecknoe. L. 1.

’Tis Fate that flings the dice,
And as she flings
Of kings makes peasants,
And of peasants kings.
Dryden—Works. Vol. XV. P. 103. Ed. 1821.

Fate has carried me
’Mid the thick arrows: I will keep my stand—
Not shrink and let the shaft pass by my breast
To pierce another.
George Eliot—The Spanish Gypsy. Bk. III.

Stern fate and time
Will have their victims; and the best die first,
Leaving the bad still strong, though past their prime,
To curse the hopeless world they ever curs’d,
Vaunting vile deeds, and vainest of the worst.
Ebenezer Elliott—The Village Patriarch. Bk. IV. Pt. IV.

On est, quand on veut, maître de son sort.
We are, when we will it, masters of our own fate.

One common fate we both must prove;
You die with envy, I with love.
Gay—Fable. The Poet and Rose. L. 29.

Du musst (herrschen und gewinnen,
Oder dienen und verlieren,
Leiden oder triumphiren),
Amboss oder Hammer sein.
Thou must (in commanding and winning, or serving and losing, suffering or triumphing) be either anvil or hammer.
Goethe—Grosscophta. II.

Der Mensch erfährt, er sei auch wer er mag,
Ein letztes Glück und einen letzten Tag.
Man, be he who he may, experiences a last piece of good fortune and a last day.
Goethe—Sprüche in Reimen. III.

Each curs’d his fate that thus their project cross’d;
How hard their lot who neither won nor lost.
Graves—An Incident in High Life.

Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
Gray—On a Distant Prospect of Eton College.

Though men determine, the gods doo dispose: and oft times many things fall out betweene the cup and the lip.
Greene—Perimedes the Blacksmith.

Why doth IT so and so, and ever so,
This viewless, voiceless Turner of the Wheel?
Thomas Hardy—The Dynasts. Fore Scene. Spirit of the Pities.

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

Toil is the lot of all, and bitter woe
The fate of many.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XXI. L. 646. Bryant’s trans.

Jove lifts the golden balances that show
The fates of mortal men, and things below.
Homer—Iliad. Bk. XXII. L. 271. Pope’s trans.

And not a man appears to tell their fate.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. X. L. 308. Pope’s trans.

With equal pace, impartial Fate
Knocks at the palace, as the cottage gate.
Horace—Carmina. I. 4. 17. Francis’ trans.

Sæpius ventis agitatur ingens
Pinus, et celsæ graviore casu
Decidunt terres feriuntque summos
Fulgura montes.
The lofty pine is oftenest shaken by the winds; high towers fall with a heavier crash; and the lightning strikes the highest mountain.
Horace—Carmina. II. 10. 9. (Taken from Lucullus.)

East, to the dawn, or west or south or north!
Loose rein upon the neck of—and forth!
Richard Hovey—Faith and Fate.

I do not know beneath what sky
Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
I only know it shall be high,
I only know it shall be great.
Richard Hovey—Unmanifest Destiny.

Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate,
Roll darkling down the torrent of his fate?
Samuel Johnson—Vanity of Human Wishes. L. 345.

Blue! Gentle cousin of the forest-green,
Married to green in all the sweetest flowers—
Forget-me-not,—the blue bell,—and, that queen
Of secrecy, the violet: what strange powers
Hast thou, as a mere shadow! But how great,
When in an Eye thou art alive with fate!
Keats—Answer to a Sonnet by J. H. Reynolds.

Fate holds the strings, and Men like children move
But as they’re led: Success is from above.
Lord Lansdowne—Heroic Love. Act V. Sc. 1.

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Longfellow—Builders. St. 1.

No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate,
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own.
Longfellow—Endymion. St. 8.

A millstone and the human heart are driven ever round,
If they have nothing else to grind, they must themselves be ground.
Longfellow. Trans. of Friedrich von Logau—Sinnegedichte. Same idea in Luther—Table Talk. Hazlitt’s trans. (1848).

Kabira wept when he beheld the millstone roll,
Of that which passes ’twixt the stones, nought goes forth whole.
Prof. Eastwick’s trans. of the Bag-o-Behar. (Garden and the Spring.)

In se magna ruunt: lætis hunc numina rebus
Crescendi posuere modum.
Mighty things haste to destruction: this limit have the gods assigned to human prosperity.
Lucan—Pharsalia. I. 81.

Sed quo fata trahunt, virtus secura sequetur.
Whither the fates lead virtue will follow without fear.
Lucan—Pharsalia. II. 287.

Nulla vis humana vel virtus meruisse unquam potuit, ut, quod præscripsit fatalis ordo, non fiat.
No power or virtue of man could ever have deserved that what has been fated should not have taken place.
Ammianus Marcellinus—Historia. XXIII. 5.

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is over-rul’d by fate.
Marlowe—Hero and Leander. First Sestiad. L. 167.

Earth loves to gibber o’er her dross,
Her golden souls, to waste;
The cup she fills for her god-men
Is a bitter cup to taste.
Don Marquis—Wages.

For him who fain would teach the world
The world holds hate in fee—
For Socrates, the hemlock cup;
For Christ, Gethsemane.
Don Marquis—Wages.

He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch
To gain or lose it all.
Marquis of Montrose—My Dear and only Love.

“That puts it not unto the touch
To win or lose it all.”
Version in Napier’s Memorials of Montrose.

Nullo fata loco possis excludere.
From no place can you exclude the fates.
Martial—Epigrams. IV. 60. 5.

All the great things of life are swiftly done,
Creation, death, and love the double gate.
However much we dawdle in the sun
We have to hurry at the touch of Fate.
Masefield—Widow in the Bye Street. Pt. II.

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.

Fixed, fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. II. L. 560.

Necessity and chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. VII. L. 72.

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
Omar Khayyam—Rubaiyat. 71. Fitzgerald’s trans. (“Thy piety” in first ed.)

Big with the fate of Rome.
Thos. Otway—Youth Preserved. Act III. Sc. 1.

Geminos, horoscope, varo Producis genio.
O natal star, thou producest twins of widely different character.
Persius—Satires. VI. 18.

“Thou shalt see me at Philippi,” was the remark of the spectre which appeared to Brutus in his tent at Abydos [B.C. 42]. Brutus answered boldly: “I will meet thee there.” At Philippi the spectre reappeared, and Brutus, after being defeated, died upon his own sword.
Plutarch—Life of Cæsar. Life of Marcus Brutus.

But blind to former as to future fate,
What mortal knows his pre-existent state?
Pope—Dunciad. Bk. III. L. 47.

Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate.
Pope—Essay on Man. Ep. I. L. 77.

A brave man struggling in the storms of fate.
Pope—Prologue to Addison’s Cato.

As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
Proverbs. XXVI. 2.

He putteth down one and setteth up another.
Psalms. LXXV. 7.

Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns;
And as the portals open to receive me,
Her voice, in sullen echoes, through the courts,
Tells of a nameless deed.
Ann Radcliffe—The Motto to “The Mysteries of Udolpho.”

Sæpe calamitas solatium est nosse sortem suam.
It is often a comfort in misfortune to know our own fate.
Quintus Curtius Rufus—De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni. IV. 10. 27.

Der Zug des Herzens ist des Schicksals Stimme.
The heart’s impulse is the voice of fate.
Schiller—Piccolomini. III. 8. 82.

Mach deine Rechnung mit dem Himmel, Vogt!
Fort musst du, deine Uhr ist abgelaufen.
Make thine account with Heaven, governor,
Thou must away, thy sand is run.
Schiller—Wilhelm Tell. IV. 3. 7.

Fata volemtem ducunt, nolentem trahunt.
The fates lead the willing, and drag the unwilling.
Seneca—Epistolæ Ad Lucilium. CVII.

Multi ad fatum
Venere suum dum fata timent.
Many have reached their fate while dreading fate.
Seneca—Œdipus. 993.

Nemo fit fato nocens.
No one becomes guilty by fate.
Seneca—Œdipus. 1,019.

Eat, speak, and move, under the influence of the most received star; and though the devil lead the measure such are to be followed.
All’s Well That Ends Well. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 56.

My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Numean lion’s nerve.
Hamlet. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 81.

Our wills and fates do so contrary run
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
Hamlet. Act III. Sc. 2. L. 221.

O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolutions of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea!
Henry IV. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 45.

What fates impose, that men must needs abide;
It boots not to resist both wind and tide.
Henry VI. Pt. III. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 59.

If thou read this, O Cæsar, thou mayst live;
If not, the Fates with traitors do contrive.
Julius Cæsar. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 15.

Fates, we will know your pleasures:
That we shall die we know; ’tis but the time
And drawing days out, that men stand upon.
Julius Cæsar. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 98.

What should be spoken here, where our fate,
Hid within an auger-hole, may rush, and seize us?
Macbeth. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 127.

But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live.
Macbeth. Act IV. Sc. 1. L. 83.

But, O vain boast!
Who can control his fate?
Othello. Act V. Sc. 2. L. 264.

You fools! I and my fellows
Are ministers of Fate; the elements
Of whom your swords are temper’d, may as well
Wound the loud winds, or with bemock’d-at stabs
Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
One dowle that’s in my plume.
Tempest. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 60.

Fate, show thy force; ourselves we do not owe;
What is decreed must be, and be this so.
Twelfth Night. Act I. Sc. 5. L. 329.

As the old hermit of Prague … said,… “That that is, is.”
Twelfth Night. Act IV. Sc. 2. (Referring to Jerome, called “The Hermit of Camaldoli,” in Tuscany.)

Yet what are they, the learned and the great?
Awhile of longer wonderment the theme!
Who shall presume to prophesy their date,
Where nought is certain save the uncertainty of fate?
Horace and James Smith—Rejected Addresses. By Lord Cui Bono.

Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart,
And speak in different tongues, and have no thought
Each of the other’s being; and have no heed;
And these, o’er unknown seas to unknown lands
Shall cross, escaping wreck, defying death;
And, all unconsciously, shape every act to this one end:
That one day out of darkness they shall meet
And read life’s meanings in each other’s eyes.
Susan M. Spaulding—Fate. In Wings of Icarus. (1802). Falsely claimed by G. E. Edmundson.

Jacta alea esto. (Jacta est alea.)
Let the die be cast.
Suetonius—Cæsar. 32. (Cæsar, on crossing the Rubicon.) Quoted as a proverb used by Cæsar in Plutarch—Apophthegms. Opp. Mor.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives forever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
Swinburne—Garden of Proserpine.

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

Ad restim mihi quidem res rediit planissume.
Nothing indeed remains for me but that I should hang myself.
Terence—Phormio. IV. 4. 5.

Dare fatis vela.
To give the sails to fate.
Vergil—Æneid. III. 9.

Quo fata trahunt retrahuntque sequamur.
Wherever the fates lead us let us follow.
Vergil—Æneid. V. 709.

Fata viam invenient.
Fate will find a way.
Vergil—Æneid. X. 113.

Perge; decet. Forsan miseros meliora sequentur.
Persevere: It is fitting, for a better fate awaits the afflicted.
Vergil—Æneid. XII. 153.

Fata vocant.
The fates call.
Vergil—Georgics. IV. 496.

I saw him even now going the way of all flesh.
John Webster—Westward Ho. Act II. Sc. 2.

“Ah me! what boots us all our boasted power,
Our golden treasure, and our purple state.
They cannot ward the inevitable hour,
Nor stay the fearful violence of fate.”
West—Monody on Queen Caroline.

This day we fashion Destiny, our web of Fate we spin.
Whittier—The Crisis. St. 10.

Blindlings that er blos den Willen des Geschickes.
Man blindly works the will of fate.
Wieland—Oberon. IV. 59.

Des Schiksals Zwang ist bjtter.
The compulsion of fate is bitter.
Wieland—Oberon. V. 60.

My fearful trust “en vogant la galère.” (Come what may.)
Sir Thomas Wyatt—The Lover Prayeth Venus. Vogue la galée. See Molière—Tartuffe. Act I. Sc. 1. Montaigne—Essays. Bk. I. Ch. XL. Rabelais—Gargantua. Bk. I. Ch. XX.