Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Misfortune

"As it is in himself alone that man can find true and enduring happiness, so in himself alone can he find true and efficient consolation in misfortune." - Joseph Marius von Babo

"The greatest misfortune of all is not to be able to bear misfortune." - Bias NULL

"The lessons of adversity are often the most benignant when they seem the most severe. The depression of vanity sometimes ennobles the feeling. The mind which does not wholly sink under misfortune rises above it more lofty than before, and is strengthened by affliction." - Richard Chenevix, fully Richard Chenevix Trench, Archbishop of Dublin

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

"“Desiderata" Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." - Max Ehrmann

"There is no heart without remorse, no life without some misfortune, no one but what is something stained with sin." -

"Grief or misfortune seems to be indispensable to the development of intelligence, energy and virtue. The proofs to which the people are submitted, as with individuals, are necessary then to draw them from their lethargy, to disclose their character." - Fearon NULL

"[Suicide note] - Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or 'broken heart' is excuse for cutting off one's life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one." - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a.k.a. Charlotte Anna (nee Perkins), Charlotte Perkins Stetson

"For man's greatest actions are performed in minor struggles. Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment and poverty are battlefields which have their heroes - obscure heroes who are at times greater than illustrious heroes." - Victor Hugo

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it." - Washington Irving

"Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune." - William James

"Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel’s face." - Saint Jerome, aka Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymous, Hierom or Jerom NULL

"There are some people who think that all the world should share their misfortune, although they do not share in the sufferings of anybody else." - Achilles Poincelot

"The strong man does not always ride the wave of success. The strong man is the one who can turn the misfortune of life into character; the one who is committed to the essential and not the superficial. He faces and overcomes inner challenges and depends not on outer acclaim." - Ensworth Reisner

"One of man's greatest failings is that he looks almost always for an excuse, in the misfortune that befalls him through his own fault, before looking for a remedy - which means he often finds the remedy too late." - Cardinal de Retz, Jean Francois-Paul de Gondil

"The ambitious man desires nothing like glory, and on the other hand dreads nothing like shame. To the envious person, again, nothing is more pleasant than the misfortune of another, and nothing more disagreeable than the prosperity of another. And so each person according to his affect judges a thing to be good or evil, useful or useless." -

"Patience cannot remove, but it can always dignify and alleviate, misfortune." - Lawrence Sterne, alternatively Laurence Sterne

"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." - Robert Louis Stevenson, fully Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

"Nothing more unqualifies a man to act iwth prudence, than a misfortune that is attended with shame and guilt." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"Misfortune makes of certain souls a vast desert though which rings the voice of God." - Honoré de Balzac

"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." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Of all suffering from fortune, the unhappiest misfortune is to have known a happy fortune." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"We should not so much esteem our poverty as a misfortune, were it not that the world treats it so much as a crime." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"We should not so much esteem our poverty as a misfortune, were it not that the world treats it so." - John Christian Bovee

"It is a great misfortune neither to have enough wit to talk well nor enough judgment to be silent." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Despair is the offspring of fear; of laziness, and impatience; it argues a defect of spirit and resolution, and often of honesty too. I would not despair unless I saw my misfortune recorded in the book of fate; and signed and sealed by necessity." - Jeremy Collier

"It is harder to find a man who can bear good fortune well than one who can bear misfortune well." - Gobyrus NULL

"Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising by mental force to be the comforter and supporter of her husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blast of adversity." - Washington Irving

"To be mistaken is a misfortune to be pitied; but to know the truth and not to conform one's actions to it is a crime which Heaven and Earth condemn." - Guiseppe Mazzini

"The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected, if day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn't just a fiction, it's a part of our physical body, our soul exists in space inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can't be forever violated with impunity." - Bons (Leonidovich) Pasternak

"Make not another's misfortune your joy." - Publius Syrus

"Many men, seemingly impelled by fortune, hasten forward to meet misfortune half way." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"We do not know either unalloyed happiness or unmitigated misfortune. Everything in this world is a tangled yarn; we taste nothing in its purity; we do not remain two moments in the same state. Our affections as well as bodies, are in a perpetual flux." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The only thought in the world that is worth anything is free thought. To free thought we owe all past progress and all hope for the future. Since when has any one made it appear that shackled thought could get on better than that which is free? Brains are a great misfortune if one is never to use them." - Richard Savage

""Keep aloof from sadness," says an Icelandic writer, "for sadness is a sickness of the soul." Life has, indeed, many ills, but the mind that views every object in its most cheering aspect, and every doubtful dispensation as replete with latent good, bears within itself a powerful and perpetual antidote. The gloomy soul aggravates misfortune, while a cheerful smile often dispels those mists that portend a storm." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Life, not death, is man's misfortune. It is death which gives liberty to the soul and permits it to depart to its own pure abode, there to be free from all calamity." - Eleazar ben Ya'ir

"It is counterproductive to assume we have created every misfortune in our life, as if we had made a conscious intention to do so. That kind of thinking leads to guilt and despair. Nevertheless, a sincere willingness to acknowledge that we have certain beliefs that have created our situation will enrich our approach to working through obstacles." - Carol Adrienne

"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.”" -

"After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy, there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!" - Obafemi Awolowo, fully Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, commonly known as Awo

"Those who have had no share in the good fortune of the mighty often have a share in their misfortune." -

"Misfortune is a point of view. Successful people see things less in terms of good or bad, but as results. The result is the fact, not your emotional response to it. Your response is your choice." - Tom Butler-Bowdon

"The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man. The concepts and practices of applied entomology for the most part date from that Stone Age of science. It is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the most modem and terrible weapons, and that in turning them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth." - Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

"Happiness or misfortune are prescribed by law of Heaven, but their source comes from ourselves." - Nguyễn Du

"It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. There need be no unqualified evils. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson." - Emmet Fox

"Not to have faith is not a personal fault, it is a misfortune." - Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

"Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them." - Washington Irving

"The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just fiction, it’s a part of our fortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity." - Boris Pasternak, fully Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

"From fortune to misfortune is a small step, but from misfortune to fortune is a big step." - Yiddish Proverbs

"Let any preacher honestly probe into the great causes of human misfortune and misery, and nothing will keep people from his church." -

"Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune." - William James