fortune

Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgment. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and a vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion.

No one is ever satisfied with his fortune or dissatisfied with his understanding.

Envy comes from focusing on the few moments of good fortune in the life of another person, while ignoring his years of misfortune.

In general, one cannot judge the true extent of a person’s fortune by outward appearances. The little a righteous man has may be far better than the noisy abundance in which many lawless delight. The modest possessions of a righteous man make him much happier than the great fortunes of many evildoers about which so much ado is made in the world.

What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth - the goods of the mind to those of fortune - that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool.

Men in excess of happiness or misery are equally inclined to severity. Witness conquerors and monks! It is mediocrity alone, and a mixture of prosperous and adverse fortune that inspire us with lenity and pity.

Every man's fortune is moulded by his character.

If fortune smiles, beware of being exalted; if fortune thunders, beware of being overwhelmed.

Life is what our character makes it. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell. A man can say: "I never made a fortune because it is not in my character to be rich."

It was the saying of a great man that if we could trace our descents, we should find all slaves to come from princes, and all princes from slaves; and fortune has turned all things topsy-turvy in a long series of revolutions; beside, for a man to spend his life in pursuit of a title, that serves only when he dies to furnish out an epitaph, is below a wise man’s business.

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace like the ticking of a clock during a thunderstorm.

To be rich in admiration and free from envy; to rejoice greatly in the good of others; to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence; these are the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy and without which money can buy nothing. He who has such a treasury of riches, being happy and valiant himself, in his own nature, will enjoy the universe as if it were his own estate; and help the man to whom he lends a hand to enjoy it with him.

In democratic countries, however opulent a man is supposed to be, he is almost always discontented with his fortune because he finds that he is less rich than his father was, and he fears that his sons will be less rich than himself. Most rich men in democracies are therefore constantly haunted by the desire of obtaining wealth, and they naturally turn their attention to trade and manufactures, which appear to offer the readiest and most efficient means of success. In this respect they share the instincts of the poor without feeling the same necessities; say, rather, they feel the most imperious of all necessities, that of not sinking in the world.

There seem to be some persons, the favorites of fortune and darlings of nature, who are born cheerful. “A star danced” at their birth. It is no superficial visibility, but a bountiful and beneficent soul that sparkles in their eyes and smiles on their lips. Their inborn geniality amounts to genius, the rare and difficult genius which creates sweet and wholesome character, and radiates cheer.

Wisdom to gold prefer; for 'tis much less to make our fortune than our happiness.

This world is run with far too tight a rein for luck to interfere. Fortune sells her wares; she never gives them. In some form or another, we pay for her favors; or we go away empty.

Keep the middle path of strength and virtue, lest you be overwhelmed by misfortune or corrupted by pleasant fortune. All that falls short or goes too far ahead, has contempt for happiness, and gains not the reward for labor done. It rests in your own hands what shall be the nature of the fortune which you choose to form for yourself. For all fortune which seems difficult, either exercises virtue, or corrects or punishes vice.

The use we make of our fortune determines as to its sufficiency. A little is enough if used wisely, and too much if expended foolishly.

The use we make of our fortune determines as to its sufficiency. A little is enough if used wisely, and too much if expended foolishly.

As full ears load and lay down corn, so does too much fortune bend and break the mind. It deserves to be considered, too, as another disadvantage, that affliction moves pity, and reconciles our very enemies, but prosperity provokes envy, and loses us our very friends.