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All human things are subject to decay,
And, when fate summons, monarchs must obey.

JOHN DRYDEN, Mac Flecknoe

Nothing is quite as splendidly uplifting to the heart as the defeat of a human being who battles against the invincible superiority of fate. This is always the most grandiose of all tragedies, one sometimes created by a dramatist but created thousands of times by life.

STEFAN ZWEIG, Stellar Moments in Human History

And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it,
neither brave man nor coward, I tell you--
it's born with us the day that we are born.

HOMER, The Iliad

Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.

GLEN COOK, The Black Company

So long as it fated, fate didn't care what it fated.


Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones.

HARUKI MURAKAMI, Kafka on the Shore

Fate laughs at probabilities.


No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others.

RAINER MARIA RILKE, letter, Apr. 23, 1903, Letters to a Young Poet

There are those who hold that there is a pattern to all that is said and done in this world, that no thing happens without reason nor out of time. As to that, I cannot speak, for I have seen too many threads cut short to believe it, but of a surety, I have seen too the weft of my fate shuttled on the loom. If there is a pattern, I do not think there is anyone among us who can stand at a great enough distance to discern it; yet I will not say that it is not so.


Fate often allows a future to take shape with no regard for our expectation, plan, or readiness. Fate's skillful editing of our life choices is like the careful grooming of lads on their first day of school: combed, polished, scrubbed, newly dressed, and glowing too. This is how we become ready for our life lessons.

DAVID RICHO, The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know

I think sometimes fate cuts you a break. Like it says, okay, you've had enough of that crap, so it's time you fell into something nice. See what you make out of it.

J. D. ROBB, Interlude in Death

Every one is more or less master of his own fate.

AESOP, "The Traveller and Fortune" Aesop's Fables

I stand upon the downs of life,
And watch two barks of Fate sail in;
The waves and winds are all at strife,
I sadly wonder who will win.


And now it goes as it goes
and where it ends is Fate.
And neither by singeing flesh
nor tipping cups of wine
nor shedding burning tears can you
enchant away the rigid Fury.

AESCHYLUS, Agamemnon

Fate loves the fearless.

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, "The Voyage to Vinland"

Those whom fate has dealt hard knocks remain vulnerable for ever afterwards.

STEFAN ZWEIG, Beware of Pity

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