- Ill fortune seldom comes alone.
- John Dryden, Cymon and Iphigenia (1700), line 592.
- Fortune, that with malicious joy
Does man her slave oppress,
Proud of her office to destroy,
Is seldom pleas'd to bless.
- John Dryden, Imitation of Horace (1685), Book III, Ode 29, stanza 9.
- Fortune, now see, now proudly
Pluck off thy veil, and view thy triumph; look,
Look what thou hast brought this land to!—
- John Fletcher, The Tragedy of Bonduca (1611–14; published 1647), Act V, scene 5.
- Men's fortunes are on a wheel, which in its turning suffers not the same man to prosper for ever.
- Herodotus, in A. D. Godley, translator, Herodotus (1931), vol. 1, book 1, section 207, p. 261.
- O Fortune, cruellest of heavenly powers,
Why make such game of this poor life of ours?
- Fortune comes well to all that comes not late.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Spanish Student (1843), Act III, scene 5, line 281.
- Coniunx est mihi, sunt nati; dedimus tot pignora fatis.
- I have a wife, I have sons; all these hostages have I given to fortune.
- Lucan, Pharsalia, J. D. Duff, translation (1928), book 7, line 662, p. 418–19.
- Fortune in men has some small diff'rence made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade;
The cobbler apron'd, and the parson gown'd,
The friar hooded, and the monarch crown'd.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle IV, line 195.
- Fortune turns all things to the advantage of those on whom she smiles.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims (1678), Maxim No. 60.
- Fortune knows,
We scorn her most, when most she offers blows.
- And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms.
- Fortune brings in some boats, that are not steer'd.
- That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please.
- The great man down, you mark his favorite flies,
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.
- Will Fortune never come with both hands full,
But write her fair words still in foulest letters?
She either gives a stomach, and no food;
Such are the poor, in health: or else a feast,
And takes away the stomach; such are the rich,
That have abundance, and enjoy it not.
- Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us anything.
- When Fortune means to men most good,
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
- A good man's fortune may grow out at heels.
- Fortune, that arrant whore,
Ne'er turns the key to the poor.
- O fortune, fortune! all men call thee fickle.
- I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star; whose influence
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes
Will ever after droop.
- William Shakespeare, The Tempest (c. 1610-1612), Act I, scene 2, line 181.
- How some men creep in skittish Fortune's hall,
While others play the idiots in her eyes!
- Fortis fortuna adiuvat
Fortune favours the brave.
- Terence in Phormio, 203; variant translation: Fortune favors the bold.
- The lovely young Lavinia once had friends;
And fortune smil'd, deceitful, on her birth.
- James Thomson, The Seasons, Autumn (1730).
- Adspirat primo Fortuna labori.
- Vixi, et, quem dederat cursum Fortuna, peregi.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 289-93.
- To be fortunate is God, and more than God to mortals.
- Æschylus, Choëphoræ, 60.
- Si fortuna juvat, caveto tolli;
Si fortuna tonat, caveto mergi.
- If fortune favors you do not be elated; if she frowns do not despond.
- Ausonius, Septem Sapientium Sententiæ Septenis Versibus Explicatæ, IV. 6.
- That conceit, elegantly expressed by the Emperor Charles V., in his instructions to the King, his son, "that fortune hath somewhat the nature of a woman, that if she be too much wooed she is the farther off."
- Francis Bacon, Advanced Learning, Book II.
- Therefore if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune: for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Fortune.
- Just for a handful of silver he left us,
Just for a ribbon to stick in his coat;
Found the one gift of which Fortune bereft us,
Lost all the others she lets us devote.
- Robert Browning, The Lost Leader. Referring to Wordsworth when he turned Tory.
- Cæsarem vehis, Cæsarisque fortunam.
- You carry Cæsar and Cæsar's fortune.
- Cæsar's remark to a pilot in a storm. Sometimes given: Cæsarem portas et fortunam ejus. See Bacon, Essays, Of Fortune.
- Fortune, the great commandress of the world,
Hath divers ways to advance her followers:
To some she gives honor without deserving;
To other some, deserving without honor;
Some wit, some wealth,—and some, wit without wealth;
Some wealth without wit; some nor wit nor wealth.
- George Chapman, All Fools, Act V, scene 1.
- Vitam regit fortuna, non sapientia.
- It is fortune, not wisdom, that rules man's life.
- Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, LIX.
- Fors juvat audentes.
- Eheu! quam brevibus pereunt ingentia fatis.
- Alas! by what slight means are great affairs brought to destruction.
- Claudianus, In Rufinum, II, 49.
- If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display.
And let thy strength be seen:
But O, if Fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,
Take half thy canvas in.
- William Cowper, Translation of Horace, Book II. Ode 10.
- Let fortune empty her whole quiver on me.
I have a soul that, like an ample shield,
Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
- John Dryden, Don Sebastian, Act I, scene 1.
- Neuer thinke you fortune can beare the sway,
Where Virtue's force, can cause her to obay.
- Fortune truly helps those who are of good judgment.
- Euripides, Pirithous.
- Multa intersunt calicem et labrum summum.
- Many things happen between the cup and the upper lip.
- Aulus Gellius, Translation of Greek Proverb, Book XIII. 17. 3.
- Vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works, which buries empires and cities in a common grave.
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter LXXI.
- Das Glück erhebe billig der Beglückte.
- It is the fortunate who should extol fortune.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso, II. 3. 115.
- Ein Tag der Gunst ist wie ein Tag der Ernte,
Man muss geschäftig sein sobald sie reift.
- The day of fortune is like a harvest day,
We must be busy when the corn is ripe.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso, IV. 4. 62.
- The day of fortune is like a harvest day,
- Too poor for a bribe, and too proud to importune;
He had not the method of making a fortune.
- Thomas Gray, On his own Character.
- Fortune, men say, doth give too much to many,
But yet she never gave enough to any.
- Sir John Harrington, Epigram. Of Fortune.
- The bitter dregs of Fortune's cup to drain.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book XX, line 85. Pope's translation.
- Laudo manentem; si celeres quatit
Pennas, resigno quæ dedit, et mea
Virtute me involvo, probamque
Pauperiem sine dote quære.
- I praise her (Fortune) while she lasts; if she shakes her quick wings, I resign what she has given, and take refuge in my own virtue, and seek honest undowered Poverty.
- Horace, Carmina, III. 29.
- Curtæ nescio quid semper abest rei.
- Something is always wanting to incomplete fortune.
- Horace, Carmina, III. 24. 64.
- Cui non conveniet sua res, ut calceus olim,
Si pede major erit subvertet; si minor, uret.
- If a man's fortune does not fit him, it is like the shoe in the story; if too large it trips him up, if too small it pinches him.
- Horace, Epistles, I. 10. 42.
Momento cita mors venit aut victoria læta.
- In a moment comes either death or joyful victory.
- Horace, Satires, I. 1. 7.
- Fortune, that favours fools.
- Ben Jonson, Alchemist, Prologue. Every Man Out of His Humour, I. 1. Googe, Eglogs. (Quoted as a saying).
- Fortune aveugle suit aveugle hardiesse.
- Blind fortune pursues inconsiderate rashness.
- Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, X, 14.
- Il lit au front de ceux qu'un vain luxe environne,
Que la fortune vend ce qu'on croit qu'elle donne.
- We read on the forehead of those who are surrounded by a foolish luxury, that Fortune sells what she is thought to give.
- Jean de La Fontaine, Philémon et Baucis.
- La fortune ne paraît jamais si aveugle qu' a ceux à qui elle ne fait pas de bien.
- Fortune never seems so blind as to those upon whom she confers no favors.
- François de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims. 391.
- Barbaris ex fortuna pendet fides.
- The fidelity of barbarians depends on fortune.
- Livy, Annales, XXVIII. 17.
- Non semper temeritas est felix.
- Rashness is not always fortunate.
- Livy, Annales, XXVIII. 42.
- Non temere incerta casuum reputat, quem fortuna numquam decepit.
- He whom fortune has never deceived, rarely considers the uncertainty of human events.
- Livy, Annales, XXX. 30.
- Raro simul hominibus bonam fortunam bonamque mentem dari.
- Men are seldom blessed with good fortune and good sense at the same time.
- Livy, Annales, XXX. 42.
- Posteraque in dubio est fortunam quam vehat ætas.
- It is doubtful what fortune to-morrow will bring.
- Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, III. 10. 98.
- Quivis beatus, versa rota fortunæ, ante vesperum potest esse miserrimus.
- Any one who is prosperous may by the turn of fortune's wheel become most wretched before evening.
- Ammianus Marcellinus, Historia, XXVI. 8.
- You are sad in the midst of every blessing. Take care that Fortune does not observe—or she will call you ungrateful.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book VI, Epigram 79.
- Fortuna multis dat nimis, satis nulli.
- Fortune gives too much to many, enough to none.
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), XII. 10. 2.
- Audentem forsque Venusque juvant.
- Fortune and Love befriend the bold.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, I. 608.
- Casus ubique valet: semper tibi pendeat hamus,
Quo minime credas gurgite, piscis erit.
- Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 425.
- Fortuna miserrima tute est:
Nam timor eventus deterioris abest.
- The most wretched fortune is safe; for there is no fear of anything worse.
- Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, I. 2. 113.
- Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos;
Tempora si fuerint nubila solus eris.
- As long as you are fortunate you will have many friends, but if the times become cloudy you will be alone.
- Ovid, Tristium, I. 9. 5.
- Intera fortunam quisque debet manere suam.
- Every man should stay within his own fortune.
- Ovid, Tristium, III. 4. 26.
- I wish thy lot, now bad, still worse, my friend,
For when at worst, they say, things always mend.
- Owen, To a Friend in Distress. Cowper's translation.
- C'est la fortune de France.
- It is the fortune of France.
- Philip VI of France (known as Philip VI the Fortunate).
- Fortuna humana fingit artatque ut lubet.
- Fortune moulds and circumscribes human affairs as she pleases.
- Plautus, Captivi, II. 2. 54.
- Nulli est homini perpetuum bonum.
- No man has perpetual good fortune.
- Plautus, Curculis, I. 3. 32.
- Actutum fortunæ solent mutarier; varia vita est.
- Man's fortune is usually changed at once; life is changeable.
- Plautus, Truculentus, II. 1. 9.
- Fortune had so favoured me in this war that I feared, the rather, that some tempest would follow so favourable a gale.
- Plutarch quoting Paulus Æmilius.
- The wheel goes round and round,
And some are up and some are on the down,
And still the wheel goes round.
- Josephine Pollard, Wheel of Fortune.
- Who thinks that fortune cannot change her mind,
Prepares a dreadful jest for all mankind.
And who stands safest? Tell me, is it he
That spreads and swells in puff'd prosperity,
Or bless'd with little, whose preventing care
In peace provides fit arms against a war?
- Alexander Pope, Second Book of Horace, Satire II, line 123.
- The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
- Psalms, XVI. 6.
- Præsente fortuna pejor est futuri metus.
- Fear of the future is worse than one's present fortune.
- Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, XII. 5.
- Nihil est periculosius in hominibus mutata subito fortuna.
- Nothing is more dangerous to men than a sudden change of fortune.
- Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, CCLX.
- Centre fortune, la diverse un chartier rompit nazardes son fouet.
- Against fortune the carter cracks his whip in vain.
- François Rabelais, Pantagruel (1532), Book II, Chapter XI.
- Chacun est artisan de sa bonne fortune.
- Every one is the architect of his own fortune.
- Regnier, Satire, XIII. Pseudo-Sallust, Epigram de Rep. Ordin., II. 1. Quoting Appius Claudius Cæcus, the Censor. Same idea in Plautus, Trinummus, II. 2. 84. Cervantes, Don Quixote. 1. 4. Schiller, Wallenstein's Death, XII. 8. 77. Metastasio, Morte d'Abele, II.
- Sed profecto Fortuna in omni re dominatur; ea res cunctas ex lubidine magis, quam ex vero, celebrat, obscuratque.
- But assuredly Fortune rules in all things; she raises to eminence or buries in oblivion everything from caprice rather than from well-regulated principle.
- Sallust, Catilina, VIII.
- Breves et mutabiles vices rerum sunt, et fortuna nunquam simpliciter indulget.
- The fashions of human affairs are brief and changeable, and fortune never remains long indulgent.
- Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, IV, 14, 20.
- Præcipites regum casus
- Fortune turns on her wheel the fate of kings.
- Seneca, Agamemnon, LXXI.
- Quidquid in altum, fortuna tulit, ruitura levat.
- Whatever fortune has raised to a height, she has raised only to cast it down.
- Seneca, Agamemnon, C.
- Quid non dedit fortuna non eripit.
- Fortune cannot take away what she did not give.
- Seneca, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, LIX.
- Felix, quisquis novit famulum
Vultusque potest variare suos!
Rapuit vires pondusque malis,
Casus animo qui tulit æquo.
- Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.
- Seneca, Hercules Œtæus, 228.
- Aurea rumpunt tecta quietem,
Vigilesque trahit purpura noctes.
O si pateant pectora ditum,
Quantos intus sublimis agit
- Golden palaces break man's rest, and purple robes cause watchful nights.
- Oh, if the breasts of the rich could be seen into, what terrors high fortune places within!
- Seneca, Hercules Œtæus, 646.
- Iniqua raro maximis virtutibus
Fortuna parcit. Nemo se tuto diu
Periculis offerre tam crebris potest,
Quem sæpe transit casus, aliquando invenit.
- Adverse fortune seldom spares men of the noblest virtues. No one can with safety expose himself often to dangers. The man who has often escaped is at last caught.
- Seneca, Hercules Furens, 325.
- O Fortuna, viris invida fortibus,
Quam non æque bonis præmia dividis!
- O Fortune, that enviest the brave, what unequal rewards thou bestowest on the righteous!
- Seneca, Hercules Furens, 524.
- Minor in parvis Fortuna furit,
Leviusque ferit leviora deus.
- Fortune is gentle to the lowly, and heaven strikes the humble with a light hand.
- Seneca, Hippolytus, Act IV. 1,124.
- Volat ambiguis
Mobilis alis hora; nec ulli
Præstat velox Fortuna fidem.
- The shifting hour flies with doubtful wings; nor does swift Fortune keep faith with anyone.
- Seneca, Hippolytus, Act IV. 1,141.
- So is Hope
Changed for Despair—one laid upon the shelf,
We take the other. Under heaven's high cope
Fortune is god—all you endure and do
Depends on circumstance as much as you.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Epigrams, From the Greek.
- Fortune, my friend, I've often thought,
Is weak, if Art assist her not:
So equally all Arts are vain,
If Fortune help them not again.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Love Epistles of Aristænetus, Epistle XIII.
- In losing fortune, many a lucky elf
Has found himself.
- Horace Smith, Moral Alchemy, Stanza 12.
- Fortune is like a widow won,
And truckles to the bold alone.
- William Somerville, The Fortune-Hunter, Canto II.
- Fors æqua merentes<br.Respicit.
- A just fortune awaits the deserving.
- Statius, Thebais, I. 661.
- Fortuna nimium quem favet, stultum facit.
- When fortune favors a man too much, she makes him a fool.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- Fortuna vitrea est, tum cum splendet frangitur.
- Fortune is like glass; when she shines, she is broken.
- Syrus, Maxims. 283.
- Miserrima est fortuna quæ inimico caret.
- That is a very wretched fortune which has no enemy.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- Felicitate corrumpimur.
- We are corrupted by good fortune.
- Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), Book I, 15.
- Che sovente addivien che'l saggio è'l forte.
Fabre a se stesso è di beata sorte.
- They make their fortune who are stout and wise,
Wit rules the heavens, discretion guides the skies.
- Torquato Tasso, Gerusalemme, X, 20.
- They make their fortune who are stout and wise,
- By wondrous accident perchance one may
Grope out a needle in a load of hay;
And though a white crow be exceedingly rare,
A blind man may, by fortune, catch a hare.
- J. Taylor, A Kicksey Winsey, Part VII.
- Forever, Fortune, wilt thou prove
An unrelenting foe to love,
And, when we meet a mutual heart,
Come in between, and bid us part?
- James Thomson, Song, To Fortune.
- For fortune's wheel is on the turn,
And some go up and some go down.
- Mary F. Tucker, Going Up and Coming Down.
- Non equidem invideo: miror magis.
- Indeed, I do not envy your fortune; I rather am surprised at it.
- Virgil, Eclogæ, I. 11.