Raymond Ayoub quoted Legendre in his paper on the early history of elliptic functions(The Lemniscate and Fagnano's Contributions to Elliptic Integrals,1984):

...lucky events which do not arise except to those who know how to give them birth.

G. N. Watson also referred to a similar text in his paper "The Marquis and the Land-agent; a Tale of the Eighteenth Century":

...as Legendre once remarked in another connection, occur only to those who know how to produce them.

Question: What is Legendre's original text of these quotations?


Euler par une combinaison qu'on peut regarder comme fort heureuse, quoique ces hazards n'arrivent qu'à ceux qui savent les faire naître, trouva cette integrale...

Adrien Marie Legendre, Traité des fonctions elliptiques et des intégrales eulériennes: (1825) Théorie des fonctions elliptiques et son application à différens problèmes de géométrie et de mécanique, Imprimerie de Huzard-Courcier, page 2 (easily found in google books)

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  • $\begingroup$ Wonderful answer. I really appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – zy_ Oct 24 '17 at 15:15

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