quotations about fate
- It lies not in our power to love, or hate,
- For will in us is over-rul'd by fate.
CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE, Hero and Leander
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.
MATTHEW ARNOLD, Resignation
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.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Henry IV, Part II
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.
EDWIN LEIBFREED, "Destiny"
We seal our fate with the choices we make.
GLORIA ESTEFAN, Seal Our Fate
- 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.
ABRAHAM COWLEY, Of Myself
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.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Fate
- 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 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.
SARAH KNOWLES BOLTON, "The Inevitable"
- 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.
ELISE PUMPELLY CABOT, "Arizona"
- The ragman is fate, but you bring him to pass.
- There's never a rag, but you make it, alas!
EDWIN LEIBFREED, "The Ragman"
- 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?
ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Man
Fate throws fortune, but not everyone catches.
- Fate slew him, but he did not drop;
- She felledhe 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