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[ Also see Adversity Defeat Delight Despair Despondency Discontent Dissatisfaction Failure Loss Regret Sorrow Unhappiness ]

We mount to heaven mostly on the ruins of our cherished schemes, finding our failures were successes.
      - Amos Bronson Alcott

A thousand yeasr a poor man watched
  Before the gate of Paradise:
    But while one little nap he snatched,
      It oped and shut. Ah! was he wise?
      - William R. Alger,
        Oriental Poetry--Swift Opportunity

It is sometimes of God's mercy that men in the eager pursuit of worldly aggrandizement are baffled; for they are very like a train going down an inclined plane,--putting on the brake is not pleasant, but it keeps the car on the track.
      - Henry Ward Beecher

But evil fortune has decreed,
  (The foe of mice as well as men)
    The royal mouse at last should bleed,
      Should fall--ne'er to arise again.
      - Michael Bruce, Musiad

Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men,
  Gang aft a-gley,
    And leave us nought but grief and pain,
      For promised joy.
      - Robert Burns, To a Mouse (st. 7)

It never yet happened to any man since the beginning of the world, nor ever will, to have all things according to his desire, or to whom fortune was never opposite and adverse.
      - Robert Burton

His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
  And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

Thus ever fade my fairy dreams of bliss.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron)

Like to the apples on the Dead Sea's shore,
  All ashes to the taste.
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Childe Harold (canto III, st. 34)

The darling schemes and fondest hopes of man are frequently frustrated by time. While sagacity contrives, patience matures, and labor industriously executes, disappointment laughs at the curious fabric, formed by so many efforts, and gay with so many brilliant colors, and, while the artists imagine the work arrived at the moment of completion, brushes away the beautiful web, and leaves nothing behind.
      - Timothy Dwight

In the light of eternity we shall see that what we desired would have been fatal to us, and that what we would have avoided was essential to our well-being.
      - Francois de Salignac Fenelon

As distant prospects please us, but when near
  We find but desert rocks and fleeting air.
      - Sir Samuel Garth, The Dispensary
         (canto III, l. 27)

An old man once said, "When I was young I was poor; when old I became rich; but in each condition I found disappointment. When the faculties of enjoyment were, I had not the means; when the means came, the faculties were gone."
      - Madame Gasparin

It is generally known that he who expects much will be often disappointed; yet disappointment seldom cures us of expectation, or has any other effect than that of producing a moral sentence or peevish exclamation.
      - Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) ("The Great Cham of Literature")

How disappointment tracks the steps of hope.
      - Letitia Elizabeth Landon (Mrs. George MacLean)

Lightly I sped when hope was high
  And youth beguiled the chase,--
    I follow, follow still: But I
      Shall never see her face.
      - Frederick Locker-Lampson,
        The Unrealized Ideal

It is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar. There are faces I can never look upon without emotion, there are names I can never hear spoken without almost starting.
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Welcome, Disappointment! Thy hand is cold and hard, but it is the hand of a friend. Thy voice is stern and harsh, but it is the voice of a friend. Oh, there is something sublime in calm endurance, something sublime in the resolute, fixed purpose of suffering without complaining, which makes disappointment oftentimes better than success!
      - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's.
      - William Matthews

But O! as to embrace me she inclin'd
  I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.
      - John Milton, On His Deceased Wife

O! ever thus from childhood's hour,
  I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
    I never loved a tree or flower,
      But 'twas the first to fade away!
      - Thomas Moore

O world, how many hopes thou dost engulf!
      - Louis Charles Alfred de Musset

Disappointment is often the salt of life.
      - Theodore Parker

It is a bitter disappointment when you have sown benefits, to reap injuries.
  [Lat., Sed ut acerbum est, pro benefactis quom malis messem metas!]
      - Plautus (Titus Maccius Plautus), Epidicus
         (V, 2, 52)

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