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Quotations about chance.


  • Your will cannot always choose the path; very often the route is determined by chance or by the will of others.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2013 p. 11.
  • Nothing in this world happens by chance.
  • Men have fashioned an image of Chance as an excuse for their own stupidity. For Chance rarely conflicts with intelligence, and most things in life can be set in order by an intelligent sharpsightedness.
  • I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
  • Le hasard, c'est peut-être le pseudonyme de Dieu quand il ne veut pas signer.
    • Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.
    • Théophile Gautier, La croix de Berny (Paris: Librairie Nouvelle, 1855), p. 28.
  • Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
  • In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.
    • Louis Pasteur, in a lecture, University of Lille (7 December 1854); reported in Houston Peterson, A Treasury of the World's Great Speeches (1954), p. 473.
    • Variant translation: Chance favors the prepared mind.
  • Times go by turns, and chances change by course,
    From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 92-93.
  • How slight a chance may raise or sink a soul!
  • Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
    Perhaps turn out a sermon.
  • Le hasard c'est peut-être le pseudonyme de Dieu, quand il ne veut pas signer.
    • Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when He did not want to sign.
    • Anatole France, Le Jardin d'Epicure, p. 132. Quoted "Le hasard, en definitive, c'est Dieu".
  • I shot an arrow into the air
    It fell to earth I knew not where;
    For so swiftly it flew, the sight
    Could not follow it in its flight.
  • Or that power
    Which erring men call chance.
  • Chance is blind and is the sole author of creation.
  • Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
    Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade.
    • Walter Scott, Hail to the Chief, Lady of the Lake (1810), Canto II. Quoted by Senator Vest in nominating Bland in Chicago.
  • Chance will not do the work—Chance sends the breeze;
    But if the pilot slumber at the helm,
    The very wind that wafts us towards the port
    May dash us on the shelves.—The steersman's part is vigilance,
    Blow it or rough or smooth.
  • But as the unthought-on accident is guilty
    To what we wildly do, so we profess
    Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
    Of every wind that blows.
  • Quam sæpe forte temere eveniunt, quæ non audeas optare!
    • How often things occur by mere chance, which we dared not even to hope for.
    • Terence, Phormio, V. 1. 31.
  • A lucky chance, that oft decides the fate
    Of mighty monarchs.
  • Er spricht Unsinn; für den Vernünftigen
    Menschen giebt es gar keinen Zufall.
    • He talks nonsense; to a sensible man there is no such thing as chance.
    • Ludwig Tieck, Fortunat.
  • Chance is a word void of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.

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