- Alphabetized by author
- Because thou must not dream, thou needst not then despair!
- Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna (1852), Act I, scene ii.
- The very knowledge that he lived in vain,
That all was over on this side the tomb,
Had made Despair a smilingness assume.
- Despair is like forward children, who, when you take away one of their playthings, throw the rest into the fire for madness. It grows angry with itself, turns its own executioner, and revenges its misfortunes on its own head.
- Despair is the conclusion of fools.
- Benjamin Disraeli, The Wondrous Tale of Alroy, Part 10, Chapter 17.
- 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, Adam Bede (1859).
- Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.
- Graham Greene, 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.
- Robert Herrick, To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything.
My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by Despair
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown
But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.
- Andrew Marvell, The Definition of Love (1681).
- 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, 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.
- Bertrand Russell, A Free Man's Worship (1903).
- 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.
- Jean-Paul Sartre, Les Mouches (1943), Act III.
- 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.
- I believe in evil. It is the property of all those who are certain of truth. Despair and fanaticism are only differing manifestations of evil.
- Edward Teller, as quoted in The Martians of Science : Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century (2006) by Istvan Hargittai, p. 251.
- 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.
- William Walsh, Song: Of All the Torments.
- Waking among the dead, one wondered if one was still alive. And yet real despair only seized us later. Afterwards. As we emerged from the nightmare and began to search for meaning.
- Elie Wiesel, on his experiences during the Nazi Holocaust, in "Hope, Despair, and Memory" his Nobel lecture (11 December 1986).
- Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair. I remember the killers, I remember the victims, even as I struggle to invent a thousand and one reasons to hope.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- 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.
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act IV, scene 3.
- 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.
- Richard Baxter, Saint's Rest, Chapter VI.
- 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.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, De Profundis, Stanza 5.
- The name of the Slough was Despond.
- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Part I, Chapter II.
- The nympholepsy of some fond despair.
- Darkness our guide, Despair our leader was.
- John Denham, Essay on Vergil's Æneid.
- 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.
- Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair.
- Desperatio magnum ad honeste moriendum incitamentum.
- Despair is a great incentive to honorable death.
- Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, IX, 5, 6.
- 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.
- For nothing canst thou to damnation add
Greater than that.
- Discomfort guides my tongue
And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
- 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!
- Thou tyrant!
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
Than all thy woes can stir: therefore, betake thee
To nothing but despair.
- No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1820), Act I, line 24.
- * * * then black despair,
The shadow of a starless night, was thrown
Over the world in which I moved alone.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Revolt of Islam, Dedication, Stanza 6.
- 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!
- John Greenleaf Whittier, Snow-Bound, line 204.
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
- 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.
- John Bunyan, p. 191.
- Despair is the damp of hell; rejoicing is the serenity of heaven.
- John Donne, p. 191.
- 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.
- Ichabod Spencer, p. 191.
- It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.
- Jeremy Taylor, p. 191.
- Every man who has rotted here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy... So simple... And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope.
- Bane, The Dark Knight Rises (2012)