|The massive gates of circumstance|
Are turned upon the smallest hinge,
And thus some seeming pettiest chance
Oft gives our life its after-tinge.
The trifles of our daily lives,
The common things, scarce worth recall,
Whereof no visible trace survives,
These are the mainsprings after all.
Anon. In Harpers Weekly, May 30, 1863.
| Epicureans, that ascribed the origin and frame of the world not to the power of God, but to the fortuitous concourse of atoms.|
BentleySermons. II. Preached in 1692. See also Review of Sir Robert Peels Address. Attributed later to Sir John Russell. See CrokerPapers. Vol. II. P. 56.
|And circumstance, that unspiritual god,|
And miscreator, makes and helps along
Our coming evils, with a critch-like rod,
Whose touch turns hope to dustthe dust we all have trod.
ByronChilde Harold. Canto IV. St. 125.
|Men are the sport of circumstances, when|
The circumstances seem the sport of men.
ByronDon Juan. Canto V. St. 17.
|I am the very slave of circumstance|
And impulseborne away with every breath.
ByronSardanapalus. Act IV. Sc. 1.
|Odd instances of strange coincidence.|
Queen Carolines Advocate in the House of Lords, referring to her association with Bergami.
|The long arm of coincidence.|
Haddon ChambersCaptain Swift.
| Nulla cogente natura, sed concursu quodam fortuito.|
CiceroDe Nat. Deorum. Bk. I. 24. Adapted by him to: Fortuito quodam concursu atomorum. (By some fortuitous concourse of atoms.) Same in Quintilian. 7. 2. 2.
|Thus neither the praise nor the blame is our own.|
CowperLetter to Mr. Newton.
|Circumstances beyond my individual control.|
DickensDavid Copperfield. Ch. 20.
|Man is not the creature of circumstances,|
Circumstances are the creatures of men.
Benj. DisraeliVivian Grey. Vol. II. Bk. VI. Ch. 7.
| It is circumstances (difficulties) which show what men are.|
Epictetus. Ch. XXIV. Quoted from OvidTristia. IV. 3. 79. Sc. 1. Longs trans.
| To what fortuitous occurrence do we not owe every pleasure and convenience of our lives.|
GoldsmithVicar of Wakefield. Ch. XXI.
|Circumstances alter cases.|
HaliburtonThe Old Judge. Ch. XV.
| Man, without religion, is the creature of circumstances.|
Thos. HardyGuesses at Truth. Vol. I.
| Thus we see, too, in the world that some persons assimilate only what is ugly and evil from the same moral circumstances which supply good and beautiful resultsthe fragrance of celestial flowersto the daily life of others.|
HawthorneMosses from an Old Manse. The Old Manse.
|Et mihi res, non me rebus, subjungere conor.|
And I endeavour to subdue circumstances to myself, and not myself to circumstances.
HoraceEpistles. I. 1. 191.
|Quid velit et possit rerum concordia discors.|
What the discordant harmony of circumstances would and could effect.
HoraceEpistles. I. 12. 19.
| For these attacks do not contribute to make us frail but rather show us to be what we are.|
Thos. à KempisImitation of Christ. Dibdins trans. Bk. I. Ch. XVI.
| Consilia res magis dant hominibus quam homines rebus.|
Mens plans should be regulated by the circumstances, not circumstances by the plans.
LivyAnnales. XXII. 39.
|Man is the creature of circumstances.|
Robert OwenThe Philanthropist.
|Accidental and fortuitous concourse of atoms.|
Lord Palmerston. Of the combination of Parties led by Disraeli and Gladstone, March 5, 1857.
|Condition, circumstance is not the thing.|
PopeEssay on Man. Ep. IV. L. 57.
| The happy combination of fortuitous circumstances.|
ScottAnswer of the Author of Waverly to the Letter of Captain Clutterbuck. The Monastery.
|The Lie with Circumstance.|
As You Like It. Act V. Sc. 4. L. 100.
| My circumstances|
Being so near the truth as I will make them,
Must first induce you to believe.
Cymbeline. Act II. Sc. 4. L. 62.
|Leave frivolous circumstances.|
Taming of the Shrew. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 27.
| 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.|
J. SmithSelect Discourses. III. P. 48. (Ed. 1660). Same phrase found in Marcus-Minucius Felix his Octavius. Preface. (Pub. 1695).
|In all distresses of our friends|
We first consult our private ends;
While Nature, kindly bent to ease us,
Points out some circumstance to please us.
SwiftParaphrase of Rochefoucaulds Maxim.
|Aliena nobis, nostra plus aliis placent.|
The circumstances of others seem good to us, while ours seem good to others.
|Varia sors rerum.|
The changeful chance of circumstances.
TacitusHistoriæ. Bk. II. 70.
|So runs the round of life from hour to hour.|
|And grasps the skirts of happy chance,|
And breasts the blows of circumstance.
TennysonIn Memoriam. Pt. LXIII. St. 2.
|This fearful concatenation of circumstances.|
Daniel WebsterArgument. The Murder of Captain Joseph White. (1830). Vol. VI. P. 88.
| F. M. the Duke of Wellington presents his compliments to Mr. and declines to interfere in circumstances over which he has no control.|
Wellington. See G. A. SalaEchoes of the Week in London Illustrated News, Aug. 23, 1884. See Capt. MarryattSettlers in Canada. P. 177. GrenvilleMemoirs. Ch. II. (1823), gives early use of phrase.
|Who does the best that circumstance allows,|
Does well, acts nobly, angels could no more.
YoungNight Thoughts. Night II. L. 90. (Compare Habakkuk. II. 2.)