Quotes about despair

A collection of quotes on the topic of despair.

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Jules Verne photo

„To describe my despair would be impossible. No words could tell it. I was buried alive, with the prospect before me of dying of hunger and thirst.“

—  Jules Verne, book A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Je ne puis peindre mon désespoir; nul mot de la langue humaine ne rendrait mes sentiments. J’étais enterré vif, avec la perspective de mourir dans les tortures de la faim et de la soif.
Source: Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Ch. XXVII: Lost in the bowels of the earth

Honoré de Balzac photo

„Man dies in despair while the Spirit dies in ecstasy.“

—  Honoré de Balzac, book Séraphîta

Source: Seraphita (1835), Ch. 3: Seraphita - Seraphitus.

Alexis Karpouzos photo
Seneca the Younger photo

„If you are wise, mingle these two elements: do not hope without despair, or despair without hope.“

—  Seneca the Younger Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist -4 - 65 BC

Alternate translation: Hope not without despair, despair not without hope. (translated by Zachariah Rush).
Original: (la) Si sapis, alterum alteri misce: nec speraveris sine desperatione nec desperaveris sine spe.
Source: Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius), Letter CIV: On Care of Health and Peace of Mind, Line 12

Sylvia Plath photo
Sylvia Plath photo
Dmitri Shostakovich photo
Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran photo

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Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran photo

„Lucidity's task: to attain a correct despair, an Olympian ferocity.“

—  Emil M. Cioran Romanian philosopher and essayist 1911 - 1995

All Gall Is Divided (1952)

Francis of Assisi photo

„Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.“

—  Francis of Assisi Catholic saint and founder of the Franciscan Order 1182 - 1226

Widely known as The Prayer of St. Francis, it is not found in Esser's authoritative collection of Francis's writings.
[Fr. Kajetan, Esser, OFM, ed., Opuscula Sancti Patris Francisci Assisiensis, Rome, Grottaferrata, 1978]. Additionally there is no record of this prayer before the twentieth century.
[Fr. Regis J., Armstrong, OFM, Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, New York, Paulist Press, 1982, 10, 0-8091-2446-7]. Dr. Christian Renoux of the University of Orleans in France traces the origin of the prayer to an anonymous 1912 contributor to La Clochette, a publication of the Holy Mass League in Paris. It was not until 1927 that it was attributed to St. Francis.
The Origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, 2013-06-28, Renoux, Christian http://www.franciscan-archive.org/franciscana/peace.html,.
[Christian, Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François: une énigme à résoudre, Paris, Editions franciscaines, 2001, 2-85020-096-4].
Misattributed

Benjamin W. Lee photo
Andrea Dworkin photo
George Carlin photo
Alexandros Panagoulis photo

„The teardrops which you will see
flowing from our eyes
you should never believe
signs of despair.
They are only promise
promise for Fight.“

—  Alexandros Panagoulis Greek politician and poet 1939 - 1976

Promise, written in Military Prisons of Bogiati February 1972.
Poetry, Vi scrivo da un carcere in Grecia (I write you from a prison in Greece) (1974)

Karen Blixen photo
Agatha Christie photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“