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CIRCUMSTANCE
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[ Also see Accident Character Destiny Environment Events Facts Fate Fortune Life Opportunity Position Results ]

What the discordant harmony of circumstances would and could effect.
  [Lat., Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus),
        Epistles (I, 12, 19)

How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances!
      - Washington Irving

When the Gauls laid waste Rome, they found the senators clothed in their robes, and seated in stern tranquillity in their curule chairs; in this manner they suffered death without resistance or supplication. Such conduct was in them applauded as noble and magnanimous; in the hapless Indians it was reviled as both obstinate and sullen. How truly are we the dupes of show and circumstances! How different is virtue, clothed in purple and enthroned in state, from virtue, naked and destitute, and perishing obscurely in a wilderness.
      - Washington Irving

For these attacks do not contribute to make us frail but rather show us to be what we are.
      - Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ,
        (Dibdin's translation)

Instead of saying that man is the creature of circumstances, it would be nearer the mark to say that man is the architect of circumstance. It is character which builds an existence out of circumstance. Our strength is measured by our plastic power. From the same material one man builds palaces, another hovels; one warehouses, another villas.
      - George Henry Lewes,
        also attributed to Thomas Carlyle

Men's plans should be regulated by the circumstances, not circumstances by the plans.
  [Lat., Consilia res magis dant hominibus quam homines rebus.]
      - Titus Livy, Annales (XXII, 39)

Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; they are but the instruments of the wise.
      - Samuel Lover

Superiority to circumstances is one of the most prominent characteristics of great men.
      - Horace Mann

Circumstances! I make circumstances.
      - Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I)

Man is the creature of circumstances.
      - Robert Owen, The Philanthropist

Accidental and fortuitous concourse of atoms.
      - 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Henry John Temple,
        on the combination of parties led by Disraeli and Gladstone

Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
  Bliss is the same in subject or in king.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Man
         (ep. IV, l. 57)

The happy combination of fortuitous circumstances.
      - C.P. Scott,
        Answer of the Author of Waverly to the Letter of Captain Clutterbuck,
        The Monastery

To give and to lose is nothing; but to lose and to give still is the part of a great mind.
      - Seneca (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

Sir, my circumstances,
  Being so near the truth as I will make them,
    Must first induce you to believe; whose strength
      I will confirm with oath, which I doubt not
        You'll give me leave to spare when you shall find
          You need it not.
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Iachimo at II, iv)

To leave frivolous circumstances, I pray you tell Signior Lucentio that his father is come from Pisa and is here at the door to speak with him.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Taming of the Shrew
         (Petruchio at V, i)

How comes it to pass, if they be only moved by chance and accident, that such regular mutations and generations should be begotten by a fortuitous concourse of atoms.
      - John Smith (2) ("John Smith of Cambridge"),
        Select Discourses (vol. III, p. 48)

A prudent man should neglect no circumstances.
      - Sophocles

The circumstances of others seem good to us, while ours seem good to others.
  [Lat., Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent.]
      - Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

The changeful change of circumstances.
  [Lat., Varia sors rerum.]
      - Tacitus (Caius Cornelius Tacitus),
        Historioe (bk. II, 70)

Change a virtue in its circumstances find it becomes a vice; change a vice in its circumstances, and it becomes a virtue. Regard the same quality from two sides; on one it is a fault, on the other a merit. The essential of a man is found concealed far below these moral badges.
      - Henri Taine (Hyppolyte Adolpe Taine)

So runs the round of life from hour to hour.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson, Circumstance

And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
  And breasts the blows of circumstance.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam
         (pt. LXIII, st. 2)

Sure, occasion is the father of most that is good in us.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray

When Fate wills that something should come to pass, she sends forth a million of little circumstances to clear and prepare the way.
      - William Makepeace Thackeray


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