Careful Words

circumstance (n.)

Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed:

Who does the best his circumstance allows

Does well, acts nobly; angels could no more.

Edward Young (1684-1765): Night thoughts. Night ii. Line 90.

And grasps the skirts of happy chance,

And breasts the blows of circumstance.

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892): In Memoriam. lxiv. Stanza 2.

  Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men.

Benjamin Disraeli (Earl Beaconsfield) (1805-1881): Vivian Grey. Book vi. Chap. vii.

  The Retort Courteous; . . . the Quip Modest; . . . the Reply Churlish; . . . the Reproof Valiant; . . . the Countercheck Quarrelsome; . . . the Lie with Circumstance; . . . the Lie Direct.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): As You Like It. Act v. Sc. 4.

O, now, for ever

Farewell the tranquil mind! farewell content!

Farewell the plumed troop and the big wars

That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!

Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,

The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,

The royal banner, and all quality,

Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!

And, O you mortal engines, whose rude throats

The immortal Jove's dread clamours counterfeit,

Farewell! Othello's occupation's gone!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Othello. Act iii. Sc. 3.

I am the very slave of circumstance

And impulse,—borne away with every breath!

Lord Byron 1788-1824: Sardanapalus. Act iv. Sc. 1.