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quotations about fate

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, never to be undone.

It lies not in our power to love, or hate,
For will in us is over-rul'd by fate.


I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.

RONALD REAGAN, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, never to be undone.

WILLIAM JAMES, The Principles of Psychology

A man's character is his fate.


Whoever yields properly to Fate, is deemed
Wise among men, and knows the laws of heaven.


Yet they, believe me, who await
No gifts from Chance, have conquer'd Fate.


Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.

GROUCHO MARX, Woman's Day Magazine, May 8, 2007

O God! that one might read the book of fate.


Fate's sentence written on the brow no hand can e'er efface.

BHARTRHARI, "The Praise of Destiny"

Maybe Fate isn't the pond you swim in but the fisherman floating on top of it, letting you run the line wild until you are weary enough to be reeled back in.

JODI PICOULT, Vanishing Acts

Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.

ELIZABETH BOWEN, The House in Paris

Man may his fate foresee, but not prevent ...
'Tis better to be fortunate than wise.

JOHN WEBSTER, The White Devil

The best of men cannot suspend their fate:
The good die early, and the bad die late.

DANIEL DEFOE, Character of the late Dr. S. Annesley

The bitterest tragic element in life to be derived from an intellectual source is the belief in a brute Fate or Destiny.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Natural History of Intellect

For man is man and master of his fate.

ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON, Idylls of the King

When you think to take determination of your fate into your own hands, that is the moment you can be crushed. Be cautious.

FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

There is no armour against fate.

JAMES SHIRLEY, The Contention of Ajax and Ulysses

All things bend to help the man
Who seeks to harmonize
His own free will with nature's plan,
And prove himself most wise.


We seal our fate with the choices we make.


I would not fear nor wish my fate,
But boldly say each night,
To-morrow let my sun his beams display,
Or in clouds hide them; I have lived to-day.


The powerless worship Luck and Fate.

MASON COOLEY, City Aphorisms

Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great.


A bald man felt the sun's fierce rays
Scorch his defenseless head,
In haste to shun the noontide blaze
Beneath a palm he fled:
Prone as he lay, a heavy fruit
Crashed through his drowsy brain:
Whom fate has sworn to persecute
Finds every refuge vain.

BHARTRHARI, "The Praise of Destiny"

Yet though a man gets many wounds in breast,
He dieth not, unless the appointed time,
The limit of his life's span, coincide;
Nor does the man who by the hearth at home
Sits still, escape the doom that Fate decrees.


Fate quote

Fate knows all about you, it knows your fears and your weaknesses and your confidences and strengths, and it can be ready for all of them when it decides that the time is right. It can move you like a pawn in a terrible game of chess, sacrifice you for the good of others, drop you from a building you should never have been inside, give you a disease that no one has ever heard of. Luck and chance are impartial. Fate is active. It picks on people. Almost as if it thinks about things too much ...


Those who have been indulged by fortune and have always thought of calamity as what happens to others, feel a blind incredulous rage at the reversal of their lot, and half believe that their wild cries will alter the course of the storm.

GEORGE ELIOT, Daniel Deronda

He alone is great Who by a life heroic conquers fate.


Whatever be thy fate today,
Remember, this will pass away!

JOHN GODFREY SAXE, "The Old Man's Motto"

The coward fears the prick of Fate, not he who dares all, becoming himself the dreaded one.


The ragman is fate, but you bring him to pass.
There's never a rag, but you make it, alas!


Dumb Fate whispers in no man's ear his coming doom;
Each thinks--"not I--not I."

DINAH CRAIK, "Looking Death in the Face"

It may well be that a man is at times horribly threshed by misfortunes, public and private: but the reckless flail of Fate, when it beats the rich sheaves, crushes only the straw; and the corn feels nothing of it and dances merrily on the floor, careless whether its way is to the mill or the furrow.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

The Fates but only spin the coarser clue;
The finest of the wool is left for you.

JOHN DRYDEN, Palamon and Arcite

Heav'n from all creatures hides the book of fate,
All but the page prescribed, their present state:
From brutes what men, from men what spirits know:
Or who could suffer being here below?


Fate throws fortune, but not everyone catches.


Fate slew him, but he did not drop;
She felled—he did not fall—
Impaled him on her fiercest stakes—
He neutralized them all.
She stung him, sapped his firm advance,
But, when her worst was done,
And he, unmoved, regarded her,
Acknowledged him a man.

EMILY DICKINSON, "Fate slew Him, but He did not drop"

Fate is the promise that life is not a random string of tragedy and comedy without meaning. Fate proclaims that our lives are in fact so meaningful, so necessary, that our stories are written by the gods and goddesses, by the heavens themselves. We may only glimpse our fate, hinted by the stars or the creases of our hands; but even this glimpse is evidence of our contract with the universe, that we are players in the great wheel of life and death and rebirth.

SY MONTGOMERY, Spell of the Tiger

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

G. K. CHESTERTON, Illustrated London News, Apr. 29, 1922

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Read Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay on Fate

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