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In Response to RE: What About Making the First Move, Ladies? by nancyKdatingexpert
"Man's reach should extend his grasp or what's a heaven for"
The words in bold above are Robert Browning's and the full quote is "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"
It's from a long poem, a "dramatic monologue," and the title is "Andrea del Sarto."
It's a little amusing when brought up here on Single & Mingle. Browning's subject is an older Italian painter who has a faithless wife. He is lamenting his life's mistakes & misdeeds and wonders why he never found success like his comtemporaries, Raphael & Michaelangelo, since he, del Sarto, is more technically proficient. He's reached the point where he is pondering a life painting in Heaven and at this point, no longer flinches when his young wife wants to go out with her "cousin"...(her lover.)
I think the other quote from your father is an idiom generally accepted as folk wisdom...my father used it all the time as well.