Destiny refers to circumstances that are conceived of as inherent in the patterns of Reality, or a course of events which are often considered to be pre-determined or unalterable within passages of Time or Eternity. Some ideas about destiny include complex concepts of widely diverging alternative patterns of fate which are ultimately dependent upon very minor events, activities or decisions of those involved with them.
- Alphabetized by author or source
- My death and life,
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act V, scene 1.
- Often the steps we take to avoid destiny lead us to it.
- Che l'uomo il suo destin fugge di raro.
- For rarely man escapes his destiny.
- Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1516), XVIII. 58.
- Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.
- William Jennings Bryan, in "America's Mission" a speech delivered by the leader of the Democratic Party at the Washington Day banquet given by the Virginia Democratic Association at Washington, D.C (22 February 1899), in Modern Eloquence Part One edited by Thomas B. Reed, p. 95).
- There are certain events which to each man's life are as comets to the earth, seemingly strange and erratic portents; distinct from the ordinary lights which guide our course and mark our seasons, yet true to their own laws, potent in their own influences.
- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, What Will He Do With It? (1858), Book II, Chapter XIV.
- For I am a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail,
Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail.
- The trick in chasing destiny is to feel it as a rider, a rider on a spinning ball waiting for a rare chance in time. Those few moments of balance between darkness and light where the infinite is in motion and the motion is felt as a dance, as a solution that dissolves the question.
- Steve Cash "The Meq" (2005), p. 112.
- [Ivan:] "Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."
"No, I wouldn't consent," said Alyosha softly.
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1945), part 2, book 5, chapter 4, p. 291.
- Nature—pitiless in a pitiless universe—is certainly not concerned with the survival of Americans or, for that matter, of any of the two billion people now inhabiting this earth. Hence, our destiny, with the aid of God, remains in our own hands.
- James William Fulbright, remarks in the Senate, reported in Congressional Record (February 2, 1954), vol. 100, p. 1106.
- Our destiny is frequently met in the very paths we take to avoid it.
- Jean de La Fontaine, in Fables Book VIII (1678–1679), Fable 16, The Horoscope
- Variant translation: A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
- Sometimes a man can still meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
- We can't run from who we are. Our destiny chooses us.
- Destiny is the bridge you build to the one you love.
- We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.
- Representative John Lewis, on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (March 2010), quoted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her closing remarks, published in It's Been Real: Scenes from the Capitol in the final showdown over health care reform. by Christopher Beam, in Slate (22 March 2010), also in 'Time Has Chosen Us, Julia Scatliff O'Grady
- We are what we must
And not what we would be. I know that one hour
Assures not another. The will and the power
- Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Lucile (1860), Part I, Canto III, Stanza 19.
- Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
- "Frank Outlaw" in Farmer's Digest, Vol. 42 (1978), p. 20; also in A Treasury of Days : 365 Thoughts on the Art of Living (1983) by Dee Danner Barwick, p. 23.
- A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
- Imperious Cæsar, dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!
- Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew and dog will have his day.
- We shall be winnow'd with so rough a wind
That even our corn shall seem as light as chaff,
And good from bad find no partition.
- Here burns my candle out; ay, here it dies,
Which, whiles it lasted, gave King Henry light.
- Think you I bear the shears of destiny?
Have I commandment on the pulse of life?
- For it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.
- What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?
- Things at the worst will cease or else climb upward
To what they were before.
- If he had been as you and you as he,
You would have slipt like him.
- A man whom both the waters and the wind,
In that vast tennis-court, hath made the ball
For them to play upon.
- They that stand high have many blasts to shake them;
And if they fall, they dash themselves to pieces.
- What is done cannot be now amended.
- But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail!
- And all the bustle of departure—sometimes sad, sometimes intoxicating—just as fear or hope may be inspired by the new chances of coming destiny.
- Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, Corinne (1807), Book X, Chapter VI.
- And from his ashes may be made
The violet of his native land.
- We create our own destiny by the way we do things. We have to take advantage of opportunities and be responsible for our choices.
- Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. (p. 63)
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 190-92.
- Life treads on life, and heart on heart;
We press too close in church and mart
To keep a dream or grave apart.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, A Vision of Poets, conclusion.
- Art and power will go on as they have done,—will make day out of night, time out of space, and space out of time.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, Work and Days.
- Character is fate. (Destiny).
- Heraclitus. In Mullach's Fragmenta Philosophorum Græcorum.
- No living man can send me to the shades
Before my time; no man of woman born,
Coward or brave, can shun his destiny.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 623. Bryant's translation.
- All, soon or late, are doom'd that path to tread.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book XII, line 31. Pope's translation.
- The future works out great men's destinies:
The present is enough for common souls,
Who, never looking forward, are indeed
Mere clay wherein the footprints of their age
Are petrified forever.
- James Russell Lowell, Act for Truth.
- We are but as the instrument of Heaven.
Our work is not design, but destiny.
- Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Clytemnestra, Part XIX.
- Unseen hands delay
The coming of what oft seems close in ken,
And, contrary, the moment, when we say
"'Twill never come!" comes on us even then.
- Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Thomas Muntzer to Martin Luther, line 382.
- They only fall, that strive to move,
Or lose, that care to keep.
- Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Wanderer, Book III. Futility, Stanza 6.
- The irrevocable Hand
That opes the year's fair gate, doth ope and shut
The portals of our earthly destinies;
We walk through blindfold, and the noiseless doors
Close after us, forever.
- Dinah Craik, April.
- Every man meets his Waterloo at last.
- Wendell Phillips, speech (Nov. 1, 1859).
- Ich fühl 's das ich der Mann des Schicksals bin.
- I feel that I am a man of destiny.
- Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Tod, III, XV. 171.
- Truly some men there be
That live always in great horrour,
And say it goeth by destiny
To hang or wed: both hath one hour;
And whether it be, I am well sure,
Hanging is better of the twain;
Sooner done, and shorter pain.
- The School-house (pub. about 1542).
- The seed ye sow, another reaps;
The wealth ye find, another keeps;
The robes ye weave, another wears;
The arms ye forge, another bears.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Song, To Men of England.
- Thou cam'st not to thy place by accident,
It is the very place God meant for thee;
And should'st thou there small room for action see,
Do not for this give room for discontent.
- Richard Chenevix Trench, Sonnet.
- Tes destins sont d'un homme, et tes vœux sont d'un dieu.
- Your destiny is that of a man, and your vows those of a god.
- Voltaire, La Liberté.
- Pluck one thread, and the web ye mar;
Break but one
Of a thousand keys, and the paining jar
Through all will run.
- John Greenleaf Whittier, My Soul and I, Stanza 38.
- To be a Prodigal's favourite,—then worse truth,
A Miser's Pensioner,—behold our lot!
- William Wordsworth, The Small Celandine.
- Don't you know that what happens to you once always happens again? You always react in the same way to the same thing. It's no accident when you make a mess. Then you do it again. It's called destiny.
- Cesare Pavese, The devil in the hills.
- When one has made a mistake, one says. "Another time I shall know what to do," when one should say is: "I already know what I shall really do another time."
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1938-04-25
- Life is not a search for experience, but for ourselves. Having discovered our own fundamental level we realize that it conforms to our own destiny and we find peace.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1940-08-08
- A decision, an action, are infallible omens of what we shall do another time, not for any vague, mystic, astrological reason but because they result from an automatic reaction that will repeat itself.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1941-04-04
- The problem is not the harshness of Fate, for anything we want strongly enough we get. The trouble is rather that when we have it we grow sick of it, and then we should never blame Fate, only our own desire.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1943-02-03