experience of negative events due to chance
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Misfortune is bad luck, often in the form of an undesirable event such as an accident.


  • Calamity is man's true touch-stone.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher, Four Plays in One, The Triumph of Honour (c. 1608–13; published 1647), scene 1, line 67.
  • MISFORTUNE, n. The kind of fortune that never misses.
  • He went like one that hath been stunn'd,
    And is of sense forlorn:
    A sadder and a wiser man,
    He rose the morrow morn.
  • I was a stricken deer that left the herd
    Long since.
  • Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
    Fallen from his high estate,
    And welt'ring in his blood;
    Deserted at his utmost need,
    By those his former bounty fed;
    On the bare earth expos'd he lies,
    With not a friend to close his eyes.
  • A man may be reputed an able man this year, and yet be a beggar the next; it is a misfortune that happens to many men, and his former reputation will signify nothing.
  • Misfortunes cannot suffice to make a fool into an intelligent man.
  • Such a house broke!
    So noble a master fallen! All gone! and not
    One friend to take his fortune by the arm,
    And go along with him.
  • Misfortune had conquered her, how true it is, that sooner or later the most rebellious must bow beneath the same yoke.
  • None think the great unhappy, but the great.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 518-19.
  • It is the nature of mortals to kick a fallen man.
  • Conscientia rectæ voluntatis maxima consolatio est rerum incommodarum.
    • The consciousness of good intention is the greatest solace of misfortunes.
    • Cicero, Epistles, V. 4.
  • Most of our misfortunes are more supportable than the comments of our friends upon them.
  • A raconter ses maux souvent on les soulage.
    • By speaking of our misfortunes we often relieve them.
    • Pierre Corneille, Polyeucte, I. 3.
  • Quando la mala ventura se duerme, nadie la despierte.
    • When Misfortune is asleep, let no one wake her.
    • Quoted by Fuller, Gnomologia. (French proverb has "sorrow" for "Misfortune.").
  • But strong of limb
    And swift of foot misfortune is, and, far
    Outstripping all, comes first to every land,
    And there wreaks evil on mankind, which prayers
    Do afterwards redress.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book IX, line 625. Bryant's translation.
  • Take her up tenderly,
    Lift her with care;
    Fashioned so slenderly,
    Young and so fair!
  • One more unfortunate
    Weary of breath,
    Rashly importunate,
    Gone to her death.
  • Let us be of good cheer, however, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.
  • Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis
    E terra magnum alterius spectare laborum.
    • It is pleasant, when the sea runs high, to view from land the great distress of another.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, II. 1.
  • Quicumque amisit dignitatem pristinam
    Ignavis etiam jocus est in casu gravi.
    • Whoever has fallen from his former high estate is in his calamity the scorn even of the base.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, I. 21. 1.
  • Paucis temeritas est bono, multis malo.
    • Rashness brings success to few, misfortune to many.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, V. 4. 12.
  • I never knew any man in my life, who could not bear another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian.
  • As if Misfortune made the Throne her Seat,
    And none could be unhappy but the Great.
  • Nihil infelicius eo, cui nihil unquam evenit adversi, non licuit enim illi se experiri.
    • There is no one more unfortunate than the man who has never been unfortunate, for it has never been in his power to try himself.
    • Seneca the Younger, De Providentia, III.
  • Calamitas virtutis occasio est.
  • Nil est nec miserius nec stultius quam prætimere. Quæ ista dementia est, malum suum antecedere!
    • There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, XCVIII.
  • Quemcumque miserum videris, hominem scias.
    • When you see a man in distress, recognize him as a fellow man.
    • Seneca the Younger, Hercules Furens, 463.
  • From good to bad, and from bad to worse,
    From worse unto that is worst of all,
    And then return to his former fall.
  • Bonum est fugienda adspicere in alieno malo.
    • It is good to see in the misfortunes of others what we should avoid.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • I shall not let a sorrow die
    Until I find the heart of it,
    Nor let a wordless joy go by
    Until it talks to me a bit;
    And the ache my body knows
    Shall teach me more than to another,
    I shall look deep at mire and rose
    Until each one becomes my brother.
  • Hoccin est credibile, aut memorabile,
    Tanta vecordia innata cuiquam ut siet,
    Ut malis gaudeant alienis, atque ex incommodis
    Alterius, sua ut comparent commoda?
    • It is to be believed or told that there is such malice in men as to rejoice in misfortunes, and from another's woes to draw delight.
    • Terence, Andria, IV. 1. 1.
  • Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
    • Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VI. 95.
  • So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
    Which once he wore;
    The glory from his gray hairs gone
    For evermore!

See also