Quotations about   misfortune

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Life is thickly sown with thorns. I know no other remedy than to pass rapidly over them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater their power to harm us.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In The Lady's Magazine, "Anecdotes of Voltaire" (Jul 1786).
Added on 17-Oct-17 | Last updated 17-Oct-17
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It is the trifles of life that are its bores, after all. Most men can meet ruin calmly, for instance, or laugh when they lie in a ditch with their own knee-joint and their hunter’s spine broken over the double post and rails: it is the mud that has choked up your horn just when you wanted to rally the pack; it’s the whip who carries you off to a division just when you’ve sat down to your turbot; it’s the ten seconds by which you miss the train; it’s the dust that gets in your eyes as you go down to Epsom; it’s the pretty little rose note that went by accident to your house instead of your club, and raised a storm from madame; it’s the dog that always will run wild into the birds; it’s the cook who always will season the white soup wrong — it is these that are the bores of life, and that try the temper of your philosophy.

Ouida (1839-1908) English novelist [pseud. of Maria Louise Ramé]
Under Two Flags, ch. 1 (1867)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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“The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on” — and only then do you find out if it goosed you in passing.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Farnham’s Freehold, ch. 21 (1964)
    (Source)

See Omar Khayyám.
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 7-Aug-17
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Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“The Rainy Day,” st. 3 (1842)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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Convinced that character is all and circumstances nothing, [the Puritan] sees in the poverty of those who fall by the way, not a misfortune to be pitied and relieved, but a moral failing to be condemned, and in riches, not an object of suspicion but the blessing which rewards the triumph of energy and will.

R. H. Tawney (1880-1962) English writer, economist, historian, social critic [Richard Henry Tawney]
Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926)
Added on 15-Dec-16 | Last updated 15-Dec-16
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If you can’t joke about the most horrendous things in the world, what’s the point of jokes? What’s the point in having humor? Humor is to get us over terrible things. That’s all it’s for. That’s why you should laugh at funerals. Of course it’s the wrong thing to say. That’s why it’s funny.

Gervais - humor terrible things - wist_info quote

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Interview with Chris Heath, GQ (15 May 2013)
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Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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It is a good thing to learn caution by the misfortunes of others.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
(Attributed)

Cited by Sir Richard Steele, The Guardian, #147 (29 Aug 1713).
Added on 21-Jun-16 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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MRS. HARDCASTLE: See me, how calm I am.

MISS NEVILLE: Ay, people are generally calm at the misfortunes of others.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
She Stoops to Conquer, Act 3, sc. 1 (1773)
Added on 19-Apr-16 | Last updated 19-Apr-16
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Times of general calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.

Colton - brightest thunderbolt - wist_info quote

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, # 28 (1821 ed.)
Added on 10-Mar-16 | Last updated 10-Mar-16
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Calamities are of two kinds: misfortune to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
Added on 3-Mar-16 | Last updated 3-Mar-16
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The man who laughs has simply not yet had the terrible news.

[Wer jetzt noch lacht, hat die neuesten Nachrichten noch nicht gehört.]

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) German poet, playwright, director, dramaturgist
“To Those Born Later,” Svendborg Poems (1939)

Alt. trans.: "He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news."
Added on 17-Dec-15 | Last updated 17-Dec-15
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The power of fortune is confessed only by the miserable; for the happy impute all their success to prudence or merit.
Jonathan Swift - fortune - wist_info

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Oct-15 | Last updated 15-Oct-15
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There are two insults which no human being will endure: The assertion that he hasn’t a sense of humor, and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Main Street (1920)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 13-Oct-15
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The pat on the back, the arm around the shoulder, the praise for what was done right, and the sympathetic nod for what wasn’t, are as much a part of golf as life itself.

Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) US President, (1974-77) [b. Leslie Lynch King, Jr.]
Speech, Dedication of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Pinehurst, North Carolina (12 Sep 1974)
Added on 28-Aug-15 | Last updated 28-Aug-15
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The Stream of Life sometimes glides smoothly on, through flowry meadows and enamell’d planes. At other times it draggs a winding reluctant Course through offensive Boggs and dismal gloomy Swamps. The same road now leads us thro’ a spacious Country fraught with evry delightful object, Then plunges us at once, into miry Sloughs, or stops our passage with craggy and inaccessible mountains. The free roving Songster of the forest, now rambles unconfin’d, and hopps from Spray to Spray but the next hour perhaps he alights to pick the scattered Grain and is entangled in the Snare. The Ship, which, wafted by a favourable gale, sails prosperously upon the peaceful Surface, by a sudden Change of weather may be tossed by the Tempest, and driven by furious, opposite winds, upon rocks or quicksands. In short nothing in this world enjoys a constant Series of Joy and prosperity.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Journal (27 Mar 1756)
Added on 12-Aug-15 | Last updated 12-Aug-15
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If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Dec-14 | Last updated 18-Dec-14
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Pain is a byproduct of life. That’s the truth. Life sometimes sucks. That’s true for everyone. But if you don’t face the pain and the suck, you don’t ever get the other things either. Laughter. Joy. Love. Pain passes, but those things are worth fighting for. Worth dying for.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
(Attributed)

Often cited to the short story "Vignette" (also known as "Publicity and Advertising"), but not found there.
Added on 9-Dec-14 | Last updated 9-Dec-14
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If Afflictions refine some, they consume others.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2666 (1732)
Added on 18-Nov-14 | Last updated 18-Nov-14
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There are but two ways of rising in the world: either by your own industry or by the folly of others.

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
“Of the Gifts of Fortune” (52). The Characters [Les Caractères] (1688) [tr van Laun (1929)]
Added on 4-Nov-14 | Last updated 14-Jan-16
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For after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Tales of a Wayside Inn, “The Poet’s Tale; The Birds of Killingworth” (1863)
Added on 3-Nov-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-14
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The misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continually repeated.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Lives of the English Poets, “Pope” (1781)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Aug-14 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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CLAUDIUS: When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Hamlet, Act 4, sc. 5, l. 78 (1600)
Added on 15-Apr-14 | Last updated 15-Apr-14
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There are bad things in the world. There’s no getting away from that. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be done about them. You can’t abandon life just because it’s scary, and just because sometimes you get hurt.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
Added on 8-Apr-14 | Last updated 8-Apr-14
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Remember too on every occasion which leads thee to vexation to apply this principle: not that this is a misfortune, but that to bear it nobly is good fortune.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 4, #49 [tr. Long]
    (Source)

Alt. trans. [Staniforth (1964)]: "Here is a rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not, 'This is a misfortune,' but 'To bear this worthily is good fortune.'"
Added on 7-Feb-12 | Last updated 26-May-15
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They do say that when a man starts down hill everybody is ready to help him with a kick, and I suppose it is so.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letter, San Francisco Alta California (15 Mar 1867)
Added on 26-Jul-11 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The real existence of an enemy upon whom one can foist off everything evil is an enormous relief to one’s conscience. You can then at least say, without hesitation, who the devil is; you are quite certain that the cause of your misfortune is outside, and not your own attitude.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
“General Aspects of Dream Psychology” (1916) [tr. R. Hull (1960)]
Added on 10-Dec-09 | Last updated 19-Jan-16
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There are many scapegoats for our blunders, but the most popular one is Providence.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook 4 Jul 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 28-Jan-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Never find your delight in another’s misfortune.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 467
Added on 7-Aug-08 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 39, epigraph (1897)
Added on 27-May-08 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Fellowship in woe doth woe assuage.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
“The Rape of Lucrece,” l. 790 (1594)
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 26-May-16
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If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
(Spurious)

Also sometimes given as "If you're going through hell, don't stop."Not found in any of Churchill's written works or directly attributed to him in any reliable source. See here for more information.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-14
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O, how full of briers is this working-day world!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
As You Like It, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 11 (1599)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-May-16
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