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Quotations about Fate

That's life — whichever way you turn, fate sticks out its foot to trip you. ~Martin Goldsmith & Martin Mooney, Detour, 1945, spoken by the character Al Roberts

Fate's a fiddler, Life's a dance. ~William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), "Double Ballade of Life and Fate"

On a windswept hill
by a billowing sea,
my destiny sits
and waits for me.
~Robert Brault, fate had stepped across the borderland towards me. ~F. W. Robinson, "The Young Lady in Grey," Women Are Strange, and Other Stories, 1883

Fortune comes to a man; he cannot go to it. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

It is not what life brings us, but the manner in which we receive it, that shapes our destiny. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost that we may find the right person to ask directions of. ~Robert Brault,

Fate laughs at probabilities! ~Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton

Don't be always quarreling with Fate. We too often heap our faults on Fate's shoulders. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

A door that seems to stand open must be a man's size, or it is not the door that Providence means for him. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Last I heard from my destiny, it wanted me to go one-quarter mile and make a legal U‑Turn. ~Robert Brault,

Fate can be changed... except for when it can't. ~Eli Stone, "Two Ministers," 2008, written by Dahvi Waller and Wendy Mericle [S2, E9, Dr Frank Chen —tg]

O Fate! Have you no other gift
Than voices in a muffled room?
Why do you live behind your door,
And hide yourself in angry gloom?
~Harold Monro, "Fate," c.1921

He is God-like who pulls hard against the swift stream of Fate, though he may go over the terrible Niagara of circumstances. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

The pulse of destiny still shook the foundations of the world. The will that had willed this thing to happen had now another will to deal with—nor should the stream of Fate swallow up his heart without a cry. ~Frederic Jesup Stimson, In Cure of Her Soul, 1906  [a little altered —tg]

The light goes out on purpose sometimes so we can get lost and then realize we weren't even on the right path to begin with. ~Michelle Christine, @MichelleC3333, December 2009 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

In short, there ought to be no such thing as Fate. As long as we use this word, it is a sign of our impotence and that we are not yet ourselves. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1842

It is sad when two people turn from the paths they're traveling, and their paths go on to cross without them. ~Robert Brault,

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant, filled with odd waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like. ~Lemony Snicket

I'm not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare — or, if not, some equally brainy bird — who says that it's always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping. ~P.G. Wodehouse  [It actually was not. Or if it was, I'm not sure which work he's referring to. —tg]

Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing glove. ~P.G. Wodehouse

Whose madness was a challenge hurled at fate... ~Edgar Fawcett, "At a Window," Songs of Doubt and Dream, 1891

Fate comes unswerving like a frightened horse
Sky-maddened on a white mid-afternoon.
Fate comes unseeing, and the blinded hooves
Drum a shrill thunder to a noteless tune
That dies into the forest, where an owl
Returns it to the midnight and the moon...
~Mark Van Doren, "Fate Comes Unswerving," 1933

Fate loves the fearless... ~James Russell Lowell

      We cannot shape our course to the wind that bloweth where it listeth and arrive anywhere at the end of the voyage... The winds blow adverse to the course of the mariner, and though his tack may be wide, it is always in the direction of his voyage. The human ships must always have a fair wind square in the stern or they throw the rudder to the dogs and write Fate on the log. Fate is only another name for ignorance, incompetence and cowardice...
      There was never any other Destiny in the career of Napoleon, but the Destiny of each moment lived to the full and each opportunity grasped at the hilt. There was no Fate in Grant's career but the fate of dogged persistence. The successes of the world, as they stand out in bold relief against the skyline of history, can all be resolved to the one ultimate analysis: The man did his best all the time... A man may do and be what he will in the strong mastery of that complex factor of humanity, himself. That is Fate. ~William Ellis, 1904

There is no ultimate fate but the indomitable will. ~William Ellis, 1904

CATHERINE:  Do you believe in fate? Destiny?
VELEMENTOV:  When you're young, you have hope and call it destiny. When you're old, it becomes fate.
~The Great, "Meatballs at the Dacha," 2020, written by Tony McNamara, Vanessa Alexander, and Gretel Vella, based on the 2008 play by Tony McNamara  [S1, E8, Hulu]

And meanwhile Fate, with that humorous malice that so often distinguishes her, was steering me and Dolores through the world until we came together. ~H. G. Wells, Apropos of Dolores, 1938

If you do not do what you are supposed to do in life, the universe will do it for you. ~Kim Russo, "The Haunting Of… Meat Loaf" (original airdate 2015 October 22nd, season 4, episode 20)

Our destiny hides among our free choices, disguised as the free-est of all. ~Robert Brault,

And yet—and yet—ah, who understands?
We men and women are complex things!
A hundred tunes Fate's inexorable hands
May play on the sensitive soul-strings.
~Amy Levy, "In a Minor Key (An Echo from a Larger Lyre)," c.1884

Stardust sails endless distances through silent ages until, white-hot, it strikes a ready heart. ~Terri Guillemets, "Love at first sight," 2007

I had a strange feeling that Fate had in store for me exquisite joys and exquisite sorrows. ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

I have no opinion of my own wisdom, and little of any body's else; but I have an odd system, that what is called chance is the instrument of Providence and the secret agent that counteracts what men call wisdom, and preserves order and regularity, and continuation in the whole, for you must know, madam, that I firmly believe, notwithstanding all our complaints, that almost every person upon earth tastes upon the totality more happiness than misery; and therefore if we correct the world to our fancies, and with the best intentions imaginable, probably we should only produce more misery and confusion. ~Horace Walpole, 1777, letter to Anne Liddell FitzPatrick

Someone said that Providence was the baptismal name of Chance, some devout soul may say that Chance is a nickname for Providence. ~Sébastien-Roch Nicolas Chamfort (c.1740–1794)

...Chance (which is a literary synonym of Providence)... ~Thomas Clark Henley, A Handful of Paper Shavings, 1861

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God, when he does not want to sign. ~Théophile Gautier, lettre III, Edgard de Meilhan à Roger de Monbert, La Croix de Berny, 1845

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. ~Charlotte Clemensen Taylor, 1986

Coincidences are little hellos from heaven. ~Theresa Caputo, Long Island Medium, 2016  [S7, E5]

You know that saying, that when God closes a door he opens a window, well, sometimes out of nowhere he'll do you one better and he'll kick a whole wall down. ~Glee, "Furt," 2010, written by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan  [S2, E8, Burt Hummel]

Destiny = our free will + God’s free will  ~Terri Guillemets

The place you are right now
God circled on a map for you.

But I was always coming here. I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen. ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love, 2006

Fortune has more power over a man than his own forethought. ~Publilius Syrus, 1st century BCE, from the Latin by D. Lyman, 1856

Alas, by the time Fate caught up with my life, Chance had it all planned. ~Robert Brault,

Clemens held that there was no such thing as an accident: that it was all forewritten in the day of the beginning; that every event, however slight, was embryonic in that first instant of created life, and immutably timed to its appearance in the web of destiny... invested in life's primal atom. ~Albert Bigelow Paine

You are fate's shadow or fate's sun, depending on which way you turn. ~Terri Guillemets

O, I am fortune's fool! ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, c.1594  [III, 1, Romeo]

Sometimes fate brings two people together by causing one to misinterpret a smile. ~Robert Brault,

Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. ~A. Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902

Some torture Fate beyond recognition rather than let him have his way. ~Terri Guillemets

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