Despair

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There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope. ~ George Eliot

Quotes regarding despair.

Quotes[edit]

Alphabetized by author
Let despair be known
as my ebb-tide; but let prayer
have its springs, too, brimming,
disarming him; discovering somewhere
among his fissures deposits of mercy
where trust may take root and grow. ~ R. S. Thomas
Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair. ~ Elie Wiesel
  • Because thou must not dream, thou needst not then despair!
  • The very knowledge that he lived in vain,
    That all was over on this side the tomb,
    Had made Despair a smilingness assume.
  • There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
  • Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.
    • Graham Greene, in The Heart of the Matter (1948), Book I, Part 1, Chapter 2.
  • Bid me despair, and I’ll despair,
    Under that cypress tree:
    Or bid me die, and I will dare
    E’en Death, to die for thee.

    Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
    The very eyes of me:
    And hast command of every part,
    To live and die for thee.

  • My love is of a birth as rare
    As ’tis for object strange and high:
    It was begotten by Despair
    Upon Impossibility.

    Magnanimous Despair alone
    Could show me so divine a thing,
    Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown
    But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.

  • Me miserable! which way shall I fly
    Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
    Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
    And in the lowest deep a lower deep
    Still threatening to devour me opens wide,
    To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
  • IT'S BETTER TO DIE IN THE FLESH OF HOPE
    THAN TO LIVE IN THE SLIMNESS OF DESPAIR.
    • Grace Nichols, in The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984), "The Fat Black Woman's Motto on Her Bedroom Door".
  • Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn't matter,
    Ours is not a caravan of despair.

    Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
    Come, come again, come.
    • Rumi. as quoted in Sunbeams : A Book of Quotations (1990) by Sy Safransky, p. 67
    • Variant translations:
      Come, come, whoever you are.
      Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
      Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
      • As quoted in Muslim Narratives and the Discourse of English (2004) by Amin Malak, p. 151
    • Come, come, whoever you are.
      Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter
      Ours is not a caravan of despair.

      Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
      Come, yet again, come, come.
      • As quoted in Rumi and His Sufi Path of Love (2007) by M Fatih Citlak and Huseyin Bingul, p. 81.
  • Only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built.
  • If either the absence or the presence of novelty is equally annoying, it would hardly seem that either could be the true cause of despair.
  • Human life begins on the far side of despair.
  • I shall despair. There is no creature loves me;
    And if I die, no soul will pity me:
    Nay, wherefore should they, since that I myself
    Find in myself no pity to myself?
  • Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.
    • Percy Bysshe Shelley, in "Fragments of Adonais" in Relics of Shelley (1862) edited by Richard Garnett.
  • Let despair be known
    as my ebb-tide; but let prayer
    have its springs, too, brimming,
    disarming him; discovering somewhere
    among his fissures deposits of mercy
    where trust may take root and grow.
    • R. S. Thomas, in "Tidal" in Mass for Hard Times (1992), p. 43.
  • I can endure my own despair,
    But not another’s hope.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 189-90.
  • I will indulge my sorrows, and give way
    To all the pangs and fury of despair.
  • Despair of ever being saved, "except thou be born again," or of seeing God "without holiness," or of having part in Christ except thou "love him above father, mother, or thy own life." This kind of despair is one of the first steps to heaven.
  • The world goes whispering to its own,
    "This anguish pierces to the bone;"
    And tender friends go sighing round,
    "What love can ever cure this wound?"
    My days go on, my days go on.
  • The name of the Slough was Despond.
    • John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Part I, Chapter II.
  • Darkness our guide, Despair our leader was.
  • Night was our friend, our leader was Despair.
    • John Dryden, translation of Virgil's Æneid (29-19 BC), Book II. 487.
  • Nil desperandum Teucro duce et auspice Teucro.
    • Never despair while under the guidance and auspices of Teucer.
    • Horace, Carmina, I, 7, 27.
  • Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
    That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.
  • Desperatio magnum ad honeste moriendum incitamentum.
  • O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
    Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
  • They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly.
    But, bear-like, I must fight the course.
  • Oh, break, my heart! poor bankrupt, break at once!
    To prison, eyes, ne'er look on liberty!
    Vile earth, to earth resign; end motion here;
    And thou and Romeo press one heavy bier!
  • No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
  • * * * then black despair,
    The shadow of a starless night, was thrown
    Over the world in which I moved alone.
  • Alas for him who never sees
    The stars shine through his cypress-trees
    Who, hopeless, lays his dead away,
    Nor looks to see the breaking day
    Across the mournful marbles play!

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
  • Mr. Fearing had, I think, a slough of despond in his mind, a slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never have been as he was.
  • Despair is the damp of hell; rejoicing is the serenity of heaven.
  • Disordered nerves are the origin of much religious despair, when the individual does not suspect it; and then the body and mind have a reciprocal influence upon each other, and it is difficult to tell which influences the other most. The physician is often blamed, when the fault lies with the minister. Depression never benefits body or soul. We are saved by hope.
  • It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.

External links[edit]

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