A young man before he leaves the shelter of his father's house, and the guard of a tutor, should be fortify'd with resolution, and made acquainted with men, to secure his virtues, lest he should be led into some ruinous course, or fatal precipice, before he is sufficiently acquainted with the dangers of conversation, and his steadiness enough not to yield to every temptation.
Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or bicycle.Alain de Botton
A young man before he leaves the shelter of his father's house, and the guard of a tutor, should be fortify'd with resolution, and made acquainted with men, to secure his virtues, lest he should be led into some ruinous course, or fatal precipice, before he is sufficiently acquainted with the dangers of conversation, and his steadiness enough not to yield to every temptation.john locke
Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame.Hugh Blair, p. 242. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))
When trade is at stake, it is your last entrenchment; you must defend it, or perish...Sir, Spain knows the consequence of a war in America; whoever gains, it must prove fatal to her...is this any longer a nation? Is this any longer an English Parliament, if with more ships in your harbours than in all the navies of Europe; with above two millions of people in your American colonies, you will bear to hear of the expediency of receiving from Spain an insecure, unsatisfactory, dishonourable Convention?Denouncing the Spanish Convention of Prado in the House of Commons (6 March, 1739).William Pitt, The Speeches of the Right Honourable the Earl of Chatham in the Houses of Lords and Commons: With a Biographical Memoir and Introductions and Explanatory Notes to the Speeches (London: Aylott & Jones, 1848), pp. 6-7.
Ought a man to be confident that he deserves his good fortune, and think much of himself when he has overcome a nation, or city, or empire; or does fortune give this as an example to the victor also of the uncertainty of human affairs, which never continue in one stay? For what time can there be for us mortals to feel confident, when our victories over others especially compel us to dread fortune, and while we are exulting, the reflection that the fatal day comes now to one, now to another, in regular succession, dashes our joy.Plutarch
All victories breed hate, and that over your superior is foolish or fatal.Baltasar Gracián, in The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647), Maxim 7 : Avoid victories over your superiors; as translated by Joseph Jacobs (1892)
* * as that dishonest victory At Chæronea, fatal to liberty, Killed with report that old man eloquent, [Isocrates, the celebrated orator of Greece.]John Milton, Sonnet X. (Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations)
The well-being of the British people and the health of our economy are far more important than any government's commitment to a particular strategy, but to change course now would be fatal to the whole counter-inflation strategy.Geoffrey Howe In: "Chancellor determined not to change course in the fight against inflation", The Times, 11 March 1981, p. 6.
Words are transient, and vanish in the air as soon as spoken, and there can be no tenor of them . . . but when a thing is written, though every omission of a letter may not make a variance, yet, if such omission makes a word of another signification, it is fatal.Holt, C.J., Queen v. Drake (1706), 3 Salkeld, 225.
The Court will always incline to lean against niceties in matters of variance. But where it is in the description of a statute or record, it is fatal.Lord Mansfield, Rann v. Green (1776), 2 Cowp. 476.
The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan Under my battlements. Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe, top-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature's mischief!Lady Macbeth, Scene V
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