Quotations about   plan

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Come, weave us a scheme so I can pay them back!
Stand beside me, Athena, fire me with daring, fierce
as the day we ripped Troy’s glittering crown of towers down.
Stand by me — furious now as then, my bright-eyed one —
and I would fight three hundred men, great goddess,
with you to brace me, comrade-in-arms in battle!

[ἀλλ᾽ ἄγε μῆτιν ὕφηνον, ὅπως ἀποτίσομαι αὐτούς:
πὰρ δέ μοι αὐτὴ στῆθι, μένος πολυθαρσὲς ἐνεῖσα,
οἷον ὅτε Τροίης λύομεν λιπαρὰ κρήδεμνα.
αἴ κέ μοι ὣς μεμαυῖα παρασταίης, γλαυκῶπι,
καί κε τριηκοσίοισιν ἐγὼν ἄνδρεσσι μαχοίμην
σὺν σοί, πότνα θεά, ὅτε μοι πρόφρασσ᾽ ἐπαρήγοις]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 13, l. 386ff [Odysseus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Fagles (1996)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Advise then means to the reveng’d events
We both resolve on. Be thyself so kind
To stand close to me, and but such a mind
Breathe in my bosom, as when th’ Ilion tow’rs
We tore in cinders. O if equal pow’rs
Thou wouldst enflame amidst my nerves as then,
I could encounter with three hundred men,
Thy only self, great Goddess, had to friend,
In those brave ardors thou wert wont t’ extend!
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

But now, O Pallas, find out some device,
How of the suitors best I may be rid,
And by me stand, inspiring courage stout,
As when we pull’d Troy’s head-gear off her head.
For then to master them I should not doubt,
Three hundred though they were.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 347ff]

Vouchsafe the means of vengeance to debate,
And plan with all thy arts the scene of fate.
Then, then be present, and my soul inspire,
As when we wrapp'd Troy's heaven-built walls in fire.
Though leagued against me hundred heroes stand.
Hundreds shall fall, if Pallas aid my hand.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Come then -- Devise the means; teach me, thyself,
The way to vengeance, and my soul inspire
With daring fortitude, as when we loos’d
Her radiant frontlet from the brows of Troy.
Would’st thou with equal zeal, O Pallas! aid
Thy servant here, I would encounter thrice
An hundred enemies, let me but perceive
Thy dread divinity my prompt ally.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 466]

Come, weave me counsel neither void nor vain,
That red vengeance reap till not a man remain!
But stand thou near, and such bold strength inspire
As when we loosed the shining tiars of Troy.
If thou stand near me to inbreathe like fire,
Then with three hundred could I fight with joy!
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 49-50]

Come! weave some plan for my revenge upon them!
Stand by me fast, and inspire with daring courage,
As when from Troy we loosed her glittering tire.
If thou, Eyebright! thus breathing fire stand by me,
I fain would fight 'gainst e'en three hundred men --
With thee, dread goddess, close at hand to aid me!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Now let thy mind
The plot contrive which on that hateful crew
May all my vengeance wreak -- and then do thou
Thyself beside me stand, and in my soul
Such dauntless valor rouse as in me wrought
When we the crested pride of Ilion's tow'rs
Cast down in overthrow. If, in that hour,
O, azure-eyed! thou would'st but at my side
Thy presence grant, I, with three hundred men,
By thy prompt succor champion'd to the fight,
Would thou stood'st by, in conflict would engage.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 614ff]

Come then, weave some counsel whereby I may requite them; and thyself stand by me, and put great boldness of spirit within me, even as in the day when we loosed the shining coronal of Troy. If but thou wouldest stand by me with such eagerness, thou grey-eyed goddess, I would war even with three hundred men, with thee my lady and goddess, if thou of thy grace didst succour me the while.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

But I prithee weave and devise it how of these avenged I may be;
And stand by me thyself and set in me that heart for the battle-joy
As wherewith we loosed aforetime the shining coif of Troy.
If thou stand beside me, O Grey-eyed, as battle-glad as then,
Forsooth would I hold the battle 'gainst thrice an hundred men,
With thee, O worshipped Goddess, so kind to bear me aid.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Come then, and frame a plot for me to win revenge. And do you stand beside me, inspiring hardy courage, even so as when we tore the shining crown from Troy. If you would stand as stoutly by me, clear-eyed one, then I would face three hundred men, mat4ed with you, dread goddess, with you for my strong aid.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

Advise me how I shall best avenge myself. Stand by my side and put your courage into my heart as on the day when we loosed Troy's fair diadem from her brow. Help me now as you did then, and I will fight three hundred men, if you, goddess, will be with me.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

But come, weave some plan by which I may requite them; and stand thyself by my side, and endue me with dauntless courage, even as when we loosed the bright diadem of Troy. Wouldest thou but stand by my side, thou flashing-eyed one, as eager as thou wast then, I would fight even against three hundred men, with thee, mighty goddess, if with a ready heart thou wouldest give me aid.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Wherefore extend your bounty and disclose how I may avenge myself upon these suitors. Stand by me, Mistress, fanning my valorous rage as on the day we despoiled shining Troy of its pride of towers. With your countenance, august One, I would fight three hundred men together: only buoy me up with your judicious aid, O wise-eyed Goddess.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

I beseech you to think of some way by which I could pay these miscreants out. And take your stand at my side, filling me with the spirit that dares all, as you did on the day when we pulled down Troy’s shining diadem of towers. Ah, Lady of the bright eyes, if only you would aid me with such vehemence as you did then, I could fight against three hundred, with you beside me, sovran goddess, and with your whole-hearted help to count on!
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

Weave me a way to pay them back! And you, too,
take your place with me, breathe valor in me
the way you did that night when we Akhaians
unbound the bright veil from the brow of Troy!
O grey-eyed one, fire my heart and brace me!
I'll take on fighting men three hundred strong
if you fight at my back, immortal lady!
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Come then, weave the design, the way I shall take my vengeance
upon them; stand beside me, inspire me with strength and courage,
as when together we brought down Troy's shining coronal.
For if in your fury, O gray-eyed goddess, you stood beside me,
I would fight, lady and goddess, with your help against three hundred v men if you, freely and in full heart, would help me.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Come, goddess, weave some plan
that lets me punish them. Stand at my side;
give me the gift of courage, as you did
when we tore loose Troy's gleaming diadem.
Were you, just as impetuous as then,
to stand beside me, gray-eyed goddess, I
could face even three hundred enemies:
I need your ready heart; I need your help.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

Weave a plan so I can pay them back!
And stand by me yourself, give me the spirit I had
When we ripped down Troy's shining towers!
With you at my side, you reyes glinting
And your mind focused on battle -- I would take on
Three hundred men if your power were with me.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 401ff]

But come, devise some ingenious scheme to punish these miscreants. And take your stand at my side, filling me with the spirit that dares all, as you did on the day when we pulled down Troy's shining diadem of towers. Ah, Lady of the Bright Eyes, if only you would waid me with such eagerness as you did then, I could fight against three hundred, with you beside me, gracious goddess, with your whole-hearted support to count on.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

So come now, weave me a scheme of revenge upon these men, and yourself stand by my side, fill me with strength and daring, as when we undid the bright diadem of Troy! Were you, grey-eyed goddess, beside me, hot to fight, I'd take on, with you, three hundred warriors, O my sovereign goddess, given your free and ready support.
[tr. Green (2018)]

Come, weave a plan so I can pay them back.
Stand in person by my side, and fill me
with indomitable courage, as you did
when we loosed the bright diadem of Troy.
I pray, goddess with the glittering eyes,
that you are with me now as eagerly
as you were then. If so, then I would fight
three hundred men, if you, mighty goddess,
in your heart are willing to assist me.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 473ff]

Added on 13-Oct-21 | Last updated 13-Oct-21
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“We canna just rush in, ye ken.”

A big bearded Feegle raised his hand. “Point ‘o order, Big Man. Ye can just rush in. We always just rush in.”

“Aye, Big Yan, point well made. But ye gotta know where ye’re just gonna rush in. Ye cannae just rush in anywhere. It looks bad, havin’ to rush oout again straight awa’.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Wee Free Men, ch. 5 (2003)
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Added on 7-Feb-20 | Last updated 7-Feb-20
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God only knows, God makes his plan,
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man.
We’re working our jobs, collect our pay,
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away.

Paul Simon (b. 1941) American musician, singer-songwriter.
“Slip Slidin’ Away” (1977)
Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
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So I didn’t have a plan. I did, as I stood there, start to get seeds of what might, sometime, become a vague step generally in the direction of an intention. I may be stating that too strongly.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Issola (2001)
Added on 2-Sep-16 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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Let the Care of one’s business be committed but to one Person; for otherwise, besides Disagreement which may arise when Account is taken, everyone’s Answer is, That he thought others had done it.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #1073 (1725)
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Added on 21-Dec-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.

Earl Nightingale (1921-1989) American motivational speaker, writer, radio personality
(Attributed)
Added on 26-Aug-15 | Last updated 26-Aug-15
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Any damned fool can write a plan. It’s the execution that gets you all screwed up.

James F. "Jim" Hollingsworth (1918-2010) American military commander
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Harry G. Summers, Jr., On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, ch. 4 (1982).
Added on 21-Jul-15 | Last updated 21-Jul-15
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We haven’t got a plan, so nothing can go wrong!

Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
(Attributed)

Variants:
  • "We don't have a plan, so nothing can go wrong!"
  • "We haven't any plan, so nothing can go wrong!"
Added on 16-Jul-15 | Last updated 16-Jul-15
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Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible — adaptable to circumstances. Your plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success or failure.

B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970) English soldier, military historian (Basil Henry Liddell Hart)
Strategy, ch. 20 (1954)
Added on 14-Jul-15 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
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[The commander] must always think and plan two battles ahead — the one he is prepared to fight and the next one — so that the success gained in one battle can be used as a springboard for the next.

Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976) British military leader
The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery, ch. 6 (1958)
Added on 7-Jul-15 | Last updated 7-Jul-15
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What makes a plan capable of producing results is the commitment of key people to work on specific tasks.

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Austrian-American business consultant
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, ch. 8 (1977 ed.)
Added on 30-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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The man who sticks to his plan will become what he used to want to be.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten Second Essays, #349 (2001)
Added on 11-Jun-15 | Last updated 11-Jun-15
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Deliberate with caution, but act with decision; and yield with graciousness, or oppose with firmness.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #284 (1821 ed.)
Added on 4-May-15 | Last updated 4-May-15
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One thing that’s good about procrastination is that you always have something planned for tomorrow.

G. B. Stern (1890-1973) British writer [Gladys Bronwyn Stern]
(Attributed)
Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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In military operations what is done openly and by force is much less than what is done by stratagem and the use of opportunity.

Polybius (203?-120 BC) Greek historian
Histories, 9.12 [tr. Paton (1925)]
Added on 2-Oct-14 | Last updated 2-Oct-14
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The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb
Added on 9-Jul-14 | Last updated 9-Jul-14
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The world moves into the future as a result of decisions, not as a result of plans. Plans are significant only insofar as they affect decisions.

Kenneth Ewart Boulding (1910-1993) American economist, educator, poet, philosopher
Toward a General Social Science, ch. 1 (1974)
Added on 9-Dec-13 | Last updated 9-Dec-13
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The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfills Himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet
Idylls of the King, “The Passing of Arthur” (1859-1885)
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Added on 7-Oct-10 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
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I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, National Defense Executive Reserve Conference (14 Nov 1957)

Quoted in R. Nixon, Six Crises, "Krushchev" (1962) as "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Sometimes paraphrased as "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

Added on 3-Aug-10 | Last updated 25-Jun-15
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The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891) Prussian soldier
“On Strategy” (1871)

Translated in Daniel J. Hughes, Harry Bell, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (1993).

Paraphrases / variants:
  • "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
  • "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."
Added on 15-Jan-10 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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“I mean, maybe you just want to see how it all turns out. Maybe it’s all part of a great big ineffable plan. All of it. You, me, him, everything. Some great big test to see if what you’ve built all works properly, eh? You start thinking: it can’t be a great cosmic game of chess, it has to be just very complicated Solitaire. And don’t bother to answer. If we could understand, we wouldn’t be us. Because it’s all — all –”

INEFFABLE, said the figure feeding the ducks.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Jun-21
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