“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
“Man never is, but always to be blessed.”

Alexander Pope wrote this in An Essay on Man.  It is rarely quoted in full.

To travel hopefully is better than to arrive.
This is a popular quotation, which is somewhat puzzling.  I’ve always understood it to be more about life than about a journey between two places.  It is expressed differently by Robert Louis Stevenson in Virginibus puerisque (El Dorado)
“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”

Robert Louis Stevenson
We may have to travel one step at a time.

Taking steps to…
…get something sorted out, perhaps.

Point me in the right direction.
I need a little bit of guidance.

The point of no return
is when you have gone so far down a path that there is no possibility of going back.

You were miles away.
Although present, your attention was somewhere else.  Another expression I have come across more recently is away with the fairies.

Over the hills and far away is used in The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay. It is a line from a Nursery Rhyme.

“Tom, he was a piper’s son,
He learned to play when he was young,
But the only tune that he could play,
Was, ‘Over the hills and far away.’”

Going downhill can be more difficult than climbing uphill.  You have to make sure that you don’t go too fast and if you are very high up, you may suffer from vertigo.  So much for the literal meaning; figuratively, it means getting worse, for example, morally or in health.

A faint hope doesn’t sound very promising, whereas a glimmer of hope does.

Where there’s life, there’s hope takes us back to The Beggar’s Opera:

“’While there is life, there’s hope,’ he cried;
‘Then why such haste?’ so groaned and died.”


John Gay

Hope for the best (and prepare for the worst) is a saying or proverb.

The writer to the Hebrews links faith with hope.  Chapter 11 verses 1-2 (NIV) Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.  Click here to continue reading.

The main reference book used for this post was The Penguin Dictionary of Quotations.  Photo credits Wikipedia. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robert_Louis_Stevenson_Knox_Series.jpg

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Gay_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13790.jpg

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