Quotes about despair

A collection of quotes on the topic of despair.

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Alexis Karpouzos photo
Otto von Bismarck photo

„Hit the Poles so hard that they despair of their life; I have full sympathy with their condition, but if we want to survive, we can only exterminate them; the wolf, too, cannot help having been created by God as he is, but people shoot him for it if they can.“

—  Otto von Bismarck German statesman, Chancellor of Germany 1815 - 1898

Haut doch die Polen, daß sie am Leben verzagen; ich habe alles Mitgefühl für ihre Lage, aber wir können, wenn wir bestehn wollen, nichts andres tun, als sie ausrotten; der Wolf kann auch nicht dafür, daß er von Gott geschaffen ist, wie er ist, und man schießt ihn doch dafür totd, wenn man kann.
Letter to his sister Malwine (26/14 March 1861), published in Bismarck-Briefe (Second edition Göttingen 1955), edited by Hans Rothfels, p. 276 http://books.google.de/books?id=oIkkkcUIfqMC&pg=PA276; as quoted in Hajo Holborn: A History of Modern Germany 1840-1945 (1969), p. 165 http://books.google.de/books?id=rUgOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA165
1860s

Sören Kierkegaard photo

„Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard Danish philosopher and theologian, founder of Existentialism 1813 - 1855

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.

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

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Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran photo
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

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