A willing heart adds feather to the heel,
And makes the clown a winged Mercury.
Joanna Baillie, De Montfort (1798), Act III, scene 2; in A Series of Plays.
He that will not when he may,
When he will he shall have nay.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Also in The Loyal Garland. Song 28. "The fool that will not when he may, / He shall not when he wold." Blow the Winds, Heigho! Northumbrian ballad.
He that complies against his will,
Is of his own opinion still,
Which he may adhere to, yet disown,
For reasons to himself best known.
Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part III (1678), Canto III, line 547. . Sometimes misreported as "is convinced" instead of "complies", according to Paul F. Boller, Jr., and John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions (1989), p. 11.
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.
There is in Shaw, as in Gurdjieff and Nietzsche, a recognition of the immense effort of Will that is necessary to express even a little freedom, that places them beside Pascal and St. Augustine as religious thinkers. Their view is saved from pessimism only by its mystical recognition of the possibilities of pure Will, freed from the entanglements of automatism.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
We lay it down as a first principle — from which we can no more depart than from the consciousness of existence — that man is free; and therefore stand ready to embrace whatever is fairly included in the definition of freedom.
Do not let the loud utterances of your own wills anticipate, nor drown, the still, small voice in which God speaks. Bridle impatience till He does. If you cannot hear His whisper, wait till you do. Take care of running before you are sent. Keep your wills in equipoise till God's hand gives the impulse and direction.
What men want is not talent, it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but the will to labor. I believe that labor judiciously and continuously applied becomes genius. You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ, that must come as His gift; but you can choose to study His life, and to imitate it.