Destiny has a constant passion for the incongruous.
—Booth Tarkington (1869–1946) American Novelist, Dramatist
When it rains, it pours.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow’d.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Lies but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
—William Ernest Henley (1849–1903) English Poet, Critic, Editor
The men and woman who make the best boon companions seem to have given up hope of doing something else…some defect of talent or opportunity has cut them off from their pet ambition and has thus left them with leisure to take an interest in their lives of others. Your ambition may be, it makes him keep his thoughts at home. But the heartbroken people — if I may use the word in a mild, benevolent sense — the people whose wills are subdued to fate, give us consolation, recognition, and welcome.
—John Jay Chapman (1862–1933) American Biographer, Poet, Essayist, Writer
Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.
—Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) (b.1970) American Novelist
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 (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet
What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.
—Donald Trump (b.1946) American Businessperson, Head of State
A strict belief in fate is the worst kind of slavery; on the other hand there is comfort in the thought that God will be moved by our prayers.
—Epicurus (c.341–270 BCE) Greek Philosopher
Public opinion is a weak tyrant, compared with our private opinion – what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
I have a wife, I have sons: all of them hostages given to fate.
—Lucian (c.120–c.200 CE) Greek Satirist, Rhetorician, Writer
Statesman only talk of fate when they have blundered.
—Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) Italian Head of State, Politician
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.
—William Cowper (1731–1800) English Anglican Poet, Hymn writer
It is the fate of the coconut husk to float, of the stone to sink.
There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.
—Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919) American Poet, Journalist
Fate! there is no fate. — Between the thought and the success God is the only agent.
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton (1803–73) British Novelist, Poet, Politician
How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.
—Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835) German Philosopher, Linguist, Statesman
Unconscious of your story, you are in its grasp; but with consciousness, an alchemical process begins: The solidity of the complex dissolves and you can open up to the arrival of a new archetype, the birth of a new cycle of life. In the shadow, then, lies our myth and our fate.
—Connie Zweig (b.1949) American Minister, Columnist, Psychotherapist
Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
I see it only that thyself is here, and art and nature, hope and fate, friends, angels and the supreme being shall not be absent from the chamber where thou sittest.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
There’s much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.
—Diana Trilling (1905–96) American Literary Critic, Author
The experiences of camp life show that a man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even in the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to life.
—Viktor Frankl (1905–97) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist
Fate is the endless chain of causation, whereby things are; the reason or formula by which the world goes on.
—Zeno of Citium (c.334–c.265 BCE) Greek Philosopher
A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
Fate keeps on happening.
—Anita Loos (1888–1981) American Actor, Novelist, Screenwriter
If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.
—Amy Tan (b.1952) Chinese-American Novelist
Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.
—E. M. Forster (1879–1970) English Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist
No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune.
—Plutarch (c.46–c.120 CE) Greek Biographer, Philosopher
Our fate, whatever it is to be, will be overcome by patience under it.
—Virgil (70–19 BCE) Roman Poet
Throw a lucky man into the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth.