Reference > Quotations > Hoyt & Roberts, comps. > Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations
Hoyt & Roberts, comps.  Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations.  1922.
A thousand years a poor man watched
  Before the gate of Paradise:
But while one little nap he snatched,
  It oped and shut. Ah! was he wise?
        Wm. R. Alger—Oriental Poetry. Swift Opportunity.
There is an hour in each man’s life appointed
To make his happiness, if then he seize it.
        Beaumont and Fletcher—Custom of the Country. Act II. Sc. 3. L. 85.
This could but have happened once,
And we missed it, lost it forever.
        Robert Browning—Youth and Art. XVII.
He that will not when he may,
When he will he shall have nay.
        Burton—Quoted in Anatomy of Melancholy. Pt. III. Sec. 2. Memb. 5. Subsec. 5.
There is a nick in Fortune’s restless wheel
For each man’s good.
        Chapman—Bussy d’Ambois.
Holding occasion by the hand,
  Not over nice ’twixt weed and flower,
Waiving what none can understand,
  I take mine hour.
        John Vance Cheney—This My Life.
Who lets slip fortune, her shall never find:
Occasion once past by, is bald behind.
        Cowley—Pyramus and Thisbe. XV.
Rem tibi quam nosces aptam dimittere noli;
Fronte capillata, post est occasio calva.
  Let nothing pass which will advantage you;
  Hairy in front, Occasion’s bald behind.
        Dionysius Cato—Disticha de Moribus. II. 26.
Observe the opportunity.
        Ecclesiasticus. IV. 20.
Seek not for fresher founts afar,
Just drop your bucket where you are;
And while the ship right onward leaps,
Uplift it from exhaustless deeps.
Parch not your life with dry despair;
The stream of hope flows everywhere—
So under every sky and star,
Just drop your bucket where you are!
        Sam Walter Foss—Opportunity.
“Oh, ship ahoy!” rang out the cry;
“Oh, give us water or we die!”
A voice came o’er the waters far,
“Just drop your bucket where you are.”
And then they dipped and drank their fill
Of water fresh from mead and hill;
And then they knew they sailed upon
The broad mouth of the Amazon.
        Sam Walter Foss—Opportunity. “Let down your buckets where you are,” quoted by Booker T. Washington. Address at Atlanta Exposition. See his Life, Up From Slavery.
Der den Augenblick ergreift,
Das ist der rechte Mann.
  Yet he who grasps the moment’s gift,
  He is the proper man.
        Goethe—Faust. I. 4. 494.
Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
        John Hamilton (Lord Belhaven). In the Scottish Parliament, Nov. 2, 1706, protesting against the Union of England and Scotland. Also found in John Flavel’s Faithful and Ancient Account of Some Late and Wonderful Sea Deliverances. Pub. before 1691.
  I beseech you not to blame me if I be desirous to strike while the iron is hot.
        Sir Edward Hoby—To Cecil. Oct. 14, 1587.
      Rapiamus, amici,
Occasionem de die.
  Let us seize, friends, our opportunity from the day as it passes.
        Horace—Epodon. XIII. 3.
  The actual fact is that in this day Opportunity not only knocks at your door but is playing an anvil chorus on every man’s door, and then lays for the owner around the corner with a club. The world is in sore need of men who can do things. Indeed, cases can easily be recalled by every one where Opportunity actually smashed in the door and collared her candidate and dragged him forth to success. These cases are exceptional, usually you have to meet Opportunity half-way. But the only place where you can get away from Opportunity is to lie down and die. Opportunity does not trouble dead men, or dead ones who flatter themselves that they are alive.
        Elbert Hubbard. In The Philistine.
  I knock unbidden once at every gate—
If sleeping, wake—if feasting, rise before
  I turn away—it is the hour of fate,
  And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire, and conquer every foe
  Save death, but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury and woe,
  Seek me in vain and uselessly implore,
  I answer not, and I return no more.
        John J. Ingalls—Opportunity.
They do me wrong who say I come no more,
  When once I knock and fail to find you in;
For every day I stand outside your door
  And bid you wait, and rise to fight and win.
        Judge Walter Malone—Opportunity.
Not by appointment do we meet delight
Or joy; they heed not our expectancy;
But round some corner of the streets of life
They of a sudden greet us with a smile.
        Gerald Massey—Bridegroom of Beauty.
Danger will wink on opportunity.
        MiltonComus. L. 401.
          Zeal and duty are not slow
But on occasion’s forelock watchful wait.
        MiltonParadise Regained. Bk. III. L. 172.
  Nostra sine auxilio fugiunt bona. Carpite florem.
  Our advantages fly away without aid. Pluck the flower.
        Ovid—Ars Amatoria. III. 79.
Casus ubique valet; semper tibi pendeat hamus.
Quo minime credas gurgite, piscis erit.
  Opportunity is ever worth expecting; let your hook be ever hanging ready. The fish will be in the pool where you least imagine it to be.
        Ovid—Ars Amatoria. Bk. III. 425.
Oh! Who art thou so fast proceeding,
  Ne’er glancing back thine eyes of flame?
Mark’d but by few, through earth I’m speeding,
  And Opportunity’s my name.
What form is that which scowls beside thee?
Repentance is the form you see:
Learn then, the fate may yet betide thee.
  She seizes them who seize not me.
        Thomas Love Peacock—Love and Opportunity, in Headlong Hall. Imitated from Machiavelli’s Capitolo dell’ Occasione.
He that would not when he might,
He shall not when he wolda.
        Thos. Percy—Reliques. The Baffled Knight.
Occasio prima sui parte comosa, posteriore calva
Quam si occupasis, teneas elapsum
Non isse possit Jupiter reprehendre.
  Opportunity has hair on her forehead, but is bald behind. If you meet her seize her, for once let slip, Jove himself cannot catch her again.
        Phædrus. Bk. V. Fable 8. Same idea in Lucan—Pharsalia. Bk. I. L. 513. Also in Rabelais—Gargantua. Bk. I. Ch. 37.
Why hast thou hair upon thy brow?
  To seize me by, when met.
Why is thy head then bald behind?
  Because men wish in vain,
When I have run past on wingèd feet
  To catch me e’er again.
        Posidippus—Epigram 13. In Brunck’s ed. of Anthologia. Vol. II. P. 49. Imitated by Ausonius—Epigram 12.
There’s place and means for every man alive.
        All’s Well That Ends Well. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 375.
Who seeks, and will not take when once ’tis offer’d,
Shall never find it more.
        Antony and Cleopatra. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 89.
A staff is quickly found to beat a dog.
        Henry VI. Pt. II. Act III. Sc. 1. L. 471.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
        Julius Cæsar. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 218.
        Urge them while their souls
Are capable of this ambition,
Lest zeal, now melted by the windy breath
Of soft petitions, pity and remorse,
Cool and congeal again to what it was.
        King John. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 475.
O opportunity, thy guilt is great!
’Tis thou that executest the traitor’s treason;
Thou set’st the wolf where he the lamb may get;
Whoever plots the sin, thou ’point’st the season;
’Tis thou that spurn’st at right, at law, at reason.
        The Rape of Lucrece. L. 876.
Occasio ægre offertur, facile amittitur.
  A good opportunity is seldom presented, and is easily lost.
Deliberando sæpe perit occasio.
  The opportunity is often lost by deliberating.
Crespe hà le chiome e d’oro,
E in quella guisa appunto,
Che Fortuna si pinge
Ha lunghi e folti in sulla fronte i crini;
Ma nuda hà poi la testa
Agli opposti confini.
        Tasso—Amore Fuggitivo. (See also Phædrus for translation).
  An opportunity well taken is the only weapon of advantage.
        John Udale—To the Earl of Essex. May 15, 1598.
  L’occasion de faire du mal se trouve cent fois par jour, et celle de faire du bien une fois dans l’année.
  The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day, and of doing good once in a year.
Turning for them who pass, the common dust
Of servile opportunity to gold.
        WordsworthDesultory Stanzas.

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