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Impotence   /ˈɪmpətəns/   Listen
Impotence

noun
1.
The quality of lacking strength or power; being weak and feeble.  Synonyms: impotency, powerlessness.
2.
An inability (usually of the male animal) to copulate.  Synonym: impotency.



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"Impotence" Quotes from Famous Books



... was forgotten. The French again became the objects of the admiration and sympathy of the radical party in Germany, and the spirit of opposition, here and there demonstrated in the German chambers, gave rise, notwithstanding its impotence, to precautionary measures on the part of the federative governments. In the winter of 1819, a German federative congress, of which Prince Metternich was the grand motor, assembled at Vienna for the purpose, after the utter annihilation of the patriots, of finally checking the future ...
— Germany from the Earliest Period Vol. 4 • Wolfgang Menzel, Trans. Mrs. George Horrocks

... education, which the examination system tends to intensify, one of the greatest is that of starving the child's activities, of making him helpless, apathetic, and inert. Original sin finds its equivalent, in the sphere of mental action, in original impotence and stupidity. It is not in the child to direct his steps, and the teacher must therefore direct them for him, and, if necessary, support him with both hands while he makes them. Even if the outward results which are the goal of the teacher's ambition were to be produced ...
— What Is and What Might Be - A Study of Education in General and Elementary Education in Particular • Edmond Holmes

... radical heresy; this time the victory appears to me more certain, since my opponents and my former companions in arms again call into use against it the same artifices of reactionary opposition, whose impotence I had already established on a narrower battle-field, but one where the conflict was neither less keen ...
— Socialism and Modern Science (Darwin, Spencer, Marx) • Enrico Ferri

... that the executioner might twist his limbs and tear out his vitals! He was to walk into a court of his own accord that he might be torn by the practised skill of a professional tormentor, that he might be forced to give up the very secrets of his soul in his impotence;—or else to live amidst the obloquy of all men. He asked himself whether he had deserved it, and in that moment of time he assured himself that he had not deserved such punishment as this. If not altogether innocent, if not white as snow, ...
— Cousin Henry • Anthony Trollope

... is occasioned by so general a Folly, that it is wonderful one could so long overlook it. But this false Gallantry proceeds from an Impotence of Mind, which makes those who are guilty of it incapable of pursuing what they themselves approve. Many a Man wishes a Woman his Wife whom he dares not take for such. Tho no one has Power over his Inclinations or Fortunes, ...
— The Spectator, Volume 2. • Addison and Steele

... condemned other and more recent heresies than its own. But often its catholicos engaged in the dynastic politics of the Persian dynasties, and Christianity, regarded as one among many religions, and tainted with the same materialism as the rest, sank into impotence and was torn by schism. Meanwhile, in the neighbourhood of the ...
— The Church and the Barbarians - Being an Outline of the History of the Church from A.D. 461 to A.D. 1003 • William Holden Hutton

... in the mortification he had awakened, and as his eye glanced insolently from head to foot along his enemy, its expression told how much he laughed at the impotence of his anger. Suddenly, however, a change passed over his features. The mocassin of the officer had evidently attracted his attention, and he now demanded, in a ...
— Wacousta: A Tale of the Pontiac Conspiracy (Complete) • John Richardson

... The impotence of the study of literature as practised in the schools and colleges of the present day turns largely on the fact that the principle of creative joy—of knowing through creative joy—is overlooked. The field of vision is the book and not the world. In the average course in literature ...
— The Lost Art of Reading • Gerald Stanley Lee

... his Chinese satellite and walked leisurely to the door. Incoherent with rage, shaking in every limb with a weak man's sense of his own impotence, Lyne watched him until the door was half-closed, then, springing forward with a strangled cry, he wrenched the door open and leapt at ...
— The Daffodil Mystery • Edgar Wallace

... forever lost and eternally damned. This looks like the religion of my youth under another guise, but I must find imperishable harmony somewhere. The apathy of the mass oppresses me into a hopeless helplessness which may account for my stagnation, my ineffectiveness, my impotence, my stupidity, my crudeness, and my despair. I have always felt lop-sided, physically, especially in youth. My awkwardness became, too, a state of mind at the mercy of any spark of suggestion. My subjectively ...
— An Anarchist Woman • Hutchins Hapgood

... have since endeavoured all the Arts and Ways I can to cuckold him; 'tis now two months since the Wedding, and I hear he keeps her as close as a Relict, jealous as Age and Impotence can make him. She hitherto has been absent at Sevil, but Expectation of her Daughter-in-law's Wedding with you has brought 'em hither,—and, I ask your Pardon, Antonio, for raillying your Father-in-law that shall ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. III • Aphra Behn

... into declamation, perhaps impertinent and presuming, when I ought to confine myself to the scheme I submit to your consideration. It is, sir, in the first place, to disarm all the manifestly disaffected, as well of the lower as the higher class, not on the principle of putting them in a state of impotence (for this I observed before will not be the case) but to supply our troops with arms of which they stand in too great need. Secondly, to appraise their estates and oblige them to deposite at least the value ...
— The Life of George Washington, Vol. 2 (of 5) • John Marshall

... Archimandrite in his mind he began to be suspicious. What price, monetary or political, might not the Free Churchmen be paying for their bishoprics, what secret bargain of which it was no one's duty to inform him? He lashed at his own impotence, for the ignominy of his position increased with his growing consciousness. Here was the Prime Minister respectful but compulsive, able to threaten, to browbeat, to dictate terms; but he himself had no counter means to extract from that minister on what terms he was ...
— King John of Jingalo - The Story of a Monarch in Difficulties • Laurence Housman

... The tabernacle was only a temporary parable; Christ acts as High Priest in the holy of holies, the actual presence of God typified by the tabernacle; He has consecrated the new covenant between man and God by His own blood (ix.). The repetition of the Levitical sacrifices proves their impotence. But that of Christ is adequate. It is an offering of inherent value, being the offering of the will of Christ, instead of the offering of unconscious beasts. And we need no other atonement, for His unique offering has a perpetual value ...
— The Books of the New Testament • Leighton Pullan

... had clasped my trembling weakness in his great arms and was soothing me, and I weeping for my very impotence, when the door opened ...
— Peregrine's Progress • Jeffery Farnol

... too, was silent for a long time. "They say that French cleverness..." he babbled suddenly, as though in a fever... "that's false, it always has been. Why libel French cleverness? It's simply Russian indolence, our degrading impotence to produce ideas, our revolting parasitism in the rank of nations. Ils sont tout simplement des paresseux, and not French cleverness. Oh, the Russians ought to be extirpated for the good of humanity, like noxious parasites! We've been striving for something utterly, utterly different. ...
— The Possessed - or, The Devils • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... long to make plain its impotence, providing the desires are in the realm of affection. With her one hundred and fifty in hand, Carrie could think of nothing particularly to do. In itself, as a tangible, apparent thing which she could touch and look upon, it was a diverting thing for ...
— Sister Carrie • Theodore Dreiser

... system was writhing with the feeling of impotence. Mechanically, unresisting now, he followed his enemy down the main staircase of the chateau and out through the wide open gates. He could not bring himself to believe that he had been so completely foiled, ...
— The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel • Baroness Orczy

... smite it, affliction betideth him. If a man gain wealth, his heart is peradventure diverted thereby from the remembrance of his Lord, and if poverty afflict him, his heart is distracted by care, or if disquietude waste his heart, weakness reduces him to impotence. So, in any case, there is nothing will profit him but that he be mindful of God and occupy himself with gaining his living and securing his place in Paradise." It was asked of a certain wise man, "Who is the most ill-conditioned of men?" "He," replied the sage, "whose lusts master his manhood ...
— The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume II • Anonymous

... peculiar character Ibn Khallikan remarks (ii. 43), "There were four poets whose works clearly contraried their character. Abu al-Atahiyah wrote pious poems himself being an atheist; Abu Hukayma's verses proved his impotence, yet he was more salacious than a he-goat, Mohammed ibn Hazim praised contentment, yet he was greedier than a dog, and Abu Nowas hymned the joys of sodomy, yet he was more passionate for women ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 • Richard F. Burton

... speaking plain the noble white words, I called S—— to me and set her talking; and having pointed out to Molly how very imperfect her mode of pronouncing many words was, convinced the worthy old negress that want of training, and not any absolute original impotence, was the reason why she disfigured the white words, for which she had such a profound respect. In this matter, as in every other, the slaves pay back to their masters the evil of their own dealings with ...
— Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation - 1838-1839 • Frances Anne Kemble

... for what was passing on the verandah outside. Tommy had said that Peter was bitten, but there were three people to look after him, whereas Tessa—poor brave mite—had only himself. He chafed her icy cheeks and hands with a desperate sense of impotence. ...
— The Lamp in the Desert • Ethel M. Dell

... worked the boot free. That was not all. Uncle Bill had slipped over until he could reach a billet of wood beside his bunk. He struck at Bull's head with it, but the stick was brushed out of his palsied fingers with a single gesture, and, while Uncle Bill groaned with fury and impotence, Bull continued the task of preparing him for bed. He straightened the old body of the terrible Campbell; he heated water in the tub and washed away stains and dirt; he took off the stained bandages and replaced them ...
— Bull Hunter • Max Brand

... Nature no longer betrayed her secrets, the earth remained unexplored and the past inscrutable. Every branch of knowledge was forgotten. The world cursed with sterility, could but repeat itself; it had the poignant appreciation of its own decay and impotence. Tired of fruitless researches, the mind surrendered to the necessity of believing. Since the intellect was unable to formulate a consistent rule of life faith alone could supply it, and the multitudes gravitated toward the temples, where the truths taught to man in earlier ...
— The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism • Franz Cumont

... the way of his election, but we know that at last he was not elected. Early in the year Clodius was killed, and then, at the suggestion of Bibulus—whom the reader will remember as the colleague of Caesar in the Consulship when Caesar reduced his colleague to ridiculous impotence by his violence—Pompey was elected as sole Consul, an honor which befell no other Roman.[55] The condition of Rome must have been very low when such a one as Bibulus thought that no order was possible except by putting absolute power into ...
— The Life of Cicero - Volume II. • Anthony Trollope

... with an angry gesture that was vaguely significant of future requital and present impotence, the vindictive creature swept aside the curtains and re-entered the room leading to the apartment occupied ...
— The Flaw in the Sapphire • Charles M. Snyder

... was no longer strong than when he could touch the ground. It cannot be observed without wonder, that a mind so vigorous and fertile in dramatick compositions should, on any other occasion, discover nothing but impotence and poverty. He has, in these little pieces, neither elevation of fancy, selection of language, nor skill in versification: yet, if I were required to select from the whole mass of English poetry the most poetical paragraph, I know not what I could prefer ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. in Nine Volumes - Volume the Eighth: The Lives of the Poets, Volume II • Samuel Johnson

... Europe!" But all satire apart, the principle of Parliament is obedience to leaders. Change your leader if you will, take another if you will, but obey No. 1 while you serve No. 1, and obey No. 2 when you have gone over to No. 2. The penalty of not doing so, is the penalty of impotence. It is not that you will not be able to do any good, but you will not be able to do anything at all. If everybody does what he thinks right, there will be 657 amendments to every motion, and none of them will be carried or the ...
— The English Constitution • Walter Bagehot

... then looked up with a pale face. "Cupples, I am cured. I will never touch a crime-mystery again. The Manderson affair shall be Philip Trent's last case. His high-blown pride at length breaks under him." Trent's smile suddenly returned. "I could have borne everything but that last revelation of the impotence of human reason. Cupples, I have absolutely nothing left to say, except this: you have beaten me. I drink your health in a spirit of self-abasement. And you shall ...
— The Woman in Black • Edmund Clerihew Bentley

... upon the use of keen instruments by the unscrupulous. Euthydemus and his brother Dionysodorus are two sophists by trade to whom words mean nothing at all; truth and falsehood are identical, contradiction being an impossibility. As language is meaningless, Socrates himself is quickly reduced to impotence, recovering with difficulty. Plato was no doubt satirising the misuse of the new philosophy which was becoming so popular with young men. When nothing means anything, laughter is the only human language left. The Cratylus is a similarly conceived diversion. Most of it is occupied with ...
— Authors of Greece • T. W. Lumb

... legislation. Whence have originated, not only tangible and obvious hardships, but those feelings of degradation, as of beings excluded from privileges owing to some inferiority supposed inherent—those feelings of subjection, impotence, and degradation which, more even than actual hardships, kindle the spirit to the ...
— Essays in Rebellion • Henry W. Nevinson

... gratifies a faithful dog! As for enlightening Florent with regard to Lincoln's character, she had vainly tried to do so by those fine and perfidious insinuations in which women excel. She only recognized her impotence, and myriads of hateful impressions were thus accumulated in her heart, to be summed up in one of those frenzies of taciturn rancor which bursts on the first opportunity with terrifying energy. Crime itself has its laws of development. Between the pretty little girl who wept ...
— Cosmopolis, Complete • Paul Bourget

... angelic Frater a very hazardous performance,—a Crucifixion. The heads here are full of feeling and feebleness, except those of Mary Mother and Mary Magdalen, which are both very touching and tender. There is, however, an absolute impotence to reproduce the actual, to deal with groups of humanity upon a liberal scale. There is his usual want of discrimination, too, in physiognomy; for if the seraphic and intellectual head of the penitent thief were transferred to ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 1, Issue 2, December, 1857 • Various

... but that it has risen from circumstances over which he had no influence; circumstances which, with the power they conferred, have stimulated passions whose natural food hath been and is ignorance; from the barbarian impotence and insolence of a mind—originally of ordinary constitution—lagging, in moral sentiment and knowledge, three hundred years behind the age in which it acts. In such manner did the power originate; and, ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... joy, are forced to avail themselves of the stimulant of fermented liquors, and sleepless nights; in the days of ennui and of idleness, he feels more keenly than other men the disparity between his impotence and his temptations, and, in order to resist the latter, pride must come to his aid and make him believe that he disdains them. It is thus he spits on all the feasts and pleasures of his life, and that between an ardent thirst and a profound satiety ...
— The Confession of a Child of The Century • Alfred de Musset

... inquire into the origin of this facility in transforming fantasy into reality, for this omnipotence of the mere word or thought, we find it in the totally unreasonable overcompensation of these individuals for their feeling of impotence and weakness. This feeling of weakness and helplessness naturally becomes more acute under especially stressful situations of life, and hence it is that the criminal, especially the habitual criminal, who always uses deceit and simulation in his vain attempts at meeting ...
— Studies in Forensic Psychiatry • Bernard Glueck

... promise; strictly she kept her word. It was all the more easy, for Hugh Lucy met her, and told her, in one great burst of love, of his passionate attachment, his vehement struggles with his father, his impotence at present, his hope and resolves for the future. And, intermingled with all this, came such outrageous threats and expressions of uncontrolled vehemence, that Lois felt that in Barford she must not linger to be a cause of desperate quarrel between father and son, while her absence ...
— Curious, if True - Strange Tales • Elizabeth Gaskell

... of menaces, to trust in God, his Helper hitherto, and he found in the latest signs of the times still more convincing proof of the End, which seemed to be at hand. In the miserable oppression of the Germano-Roman Empire by the Turks he saw a sign of its approaching downfall, as also in the impotence displayed by the Imperial Government even in small matters of administration. There was no longer any justice, any government; it was an Empire without an Empire; and he rejoiced to believe that with the end of this Empire the last day—the day of ...
— Life of Luther • Julius Koestlin

... non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!" I ought to have been taught by it three lessons:—1. Of implicit reliance upon Providence. 2. Of humility and humiliation; the thorough conviction of my own impotence to accomplish anything. 3. Of resignation; and not to set my heart upon anything which can be ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1 • Charles Dudley Warner

... writes, 'from nine to ten I attend the law class; from ten to eleven study at home, and from one to two attend a class on Roman Antiquities; the afternoon and evening I always spend in study. I never walk except on Saturdays.' A full allowance, surely, all this for one who regrets his sad impotence in study, and writes the letters to Lord Hailes ...
— James Boswell - Famous Scots Series • William Keith Leask

... rest, all through the pain and impotence and vague mental wanderings of the days that followed, I had a restful, comforting consciousness that a kind, loving face, like the lamp of my salvation, was hanging ever over me—always it was Grandma Keeler's face, though it seemed to have grown ...
— Cape Cod Folks • Sarah P. McLean Greene

... urethra giving vent to the excretions. Tulpius mentions a case of deficient urethra. In the Ephemerides there is an account of a man who had a constant flow of semen from an abnormal opening in the abdomen. La Peyroma describes a case of impotence due to ejaculation of the spermatic ducts into the bladder instead of into the urethra, but remarks that there was a cicatrix of a wound of the neighboring parts. There are a number of instances in which the urethra has terminated ...
— Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine • George M. Gould

... masturbation are moral not physical. Loss of will-power, self-reliance, presence of mind, reasoning power, memory, courage, idealism, and self-control; mental and physical debility, laziness, a diseased fondness for the opposite sex, and in later years, some degree of impotence or ...
— Epilepsy, Hysteria, and Neurasthenia • Isaac G. Briggs

... is light, the old women open their doors, and see no relish there, and they know what has happened, and so they go wilily to work. For they persuade the husband to consult the diviner that he may discover how to cure his impotence; and while he is closeted with the wizard, they fetch another man, who finishes the ceremony with the young wife, in order that the relish may be given out and that people may rub their feet with it. But if it happens that when a girl comes to maturity she is not yet betrothed ...
— Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I. • Sir James George Frazer

... perhaps, some justification for arrogance, since the revolt in France fell to its lowest depth of impotence between the meeting at Pilnitz in August, 1791, and the reorganization of the Committee of Public Safety in July, 1793. Until August, 1792, the executive authority remained with the King, but the court of Louis was the focus of resistance to the Revolution, and even though a quasi-prisoner ...
— The Theory of Social Revolutions • Brooks Adams

... inarticulate by reason of this commercialisation of Art. At the best of times the average lyric author has a difficult and somewhat heart-breaking task to dispose of his wares, and we need not further harrow his artistic soul by suggestions of literary impotence. ...
— Spirit and Music • H. Ernest Hunt

... me much longer," muttered Guerchard; and his bloodshot, haggard eyes scanned the Duke's face in an agony, an anguish of doubting impotence. ...
— Arsene Lupin • Edgar Jepson

... entrapped by my cunning into so doing, or thereby gratifying thy vanity and conceit, I leave thee and return to my favourite place and position in the siras-tree, but when thou shalt remain silent, confused, and at a loss to reply, either through humility or thereby confessing thine ignorance, and impotence, and want of comprehension, then will I allow thee, of mine own free will, to place me before thine employer. Perhaps I should not say so; it may sound like bribing thee, but—take my counsel, and mortify thy pride, and assumption, and ...
— Vikram and the Vampire • Sir Richard F. Burton

... They would laugh at him, would they? They would point at him, would they, as the man whose son had run away with an innkeeper's daughter? Well, let them point. They would plot to take the power from his hands, to reduce him to impotence, to make him of no account in the place where he had ruled for years. He had no doubt, now that he saw farther into it, that they had persuaded Falk to run away with that girl. It was the sort of weapon that they would be likely to use, the sort of ...
— The Cathedral • Hugh Walpole

... him at every turn, suddenly beckon him up the street and into his cabin just as Chatwourth and his gang came down? And why, if he was innocent of any share in the plot, did Diffenderfer refuse to testify to the facts? Denver ground his teeth at the thought of his own impotence, shut up there like a dog in the pound. He was helpless, and his lawyer would ...
— Silver and Gold - A Story of Luck and Love in a Western Mining Camp • Dane Coolidge

... there are twenty, thirty, fifty in an hour, clamoring, stamping, yells and personal abuse. After countless useless entreaties, after repeated calls to order, "received with hooting," after a dozen "regulations that are made, revised, countermanded and posted up" as if better to prove the impotence of the law, of the authorities and of the Assembly itself, the usurpations of these intruders keep on increasing. They have shouted for ten months "Down with the civil list! Down with the ministerials! Down with those curs! Silence, ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 3 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 2 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... table as his habit was, and carefully selected a large piece of chalk. It was a joke among his students that he could not lecture without that piece of chalk to fumble in his fingers, and once he had been stricken to impotence by their hiding his supply. He came and looked under his grey eyebrows at the rising tiers of young fresh faces, and spoke with his accustomed studied commonness of phrasing. "Circumstances have arisen—circumstances ...
— Tales of Space and Time • Herbert George Wells

... impose. This party however, powerful though it maybe through wealth, is weak in numbers. The people are opposed to them, and go enthusiastically with the Queen, and do not scruple to exult in the distresses of the merchants. Their present impotence is but a just retribution upon them for their criminal apathy during the early stages of the difficulty. Then had they taken a part as they ought to have done in the public deliberations, the rupture which has ensued might, it is quite likely, have been prevented. ...
— Zenobia - or, The Fall of Palmyra • William Ware

... bitter impotence assailed her. There was nothing she could do but wait—wait helplessly until either his return, or endless hours of solitude, told her whether he had won or lost the fight against that grey, hungry waste of water. A strangled sob ...
— The Hermit of Far End • Margaret Pedler

... Roseen sat still at her open casement, pondering mournfully on the misfortunes which had overwhelmed those she loved, and bewailing her impotence to help them. Soon all was absolutely still; the house was wrapt in slumber, and at last, rising, chilled and weary, the girl prepared to go to rest. As she closed the window her eye was caught by a curious appearance in the sky, immediately above the long line of the ...
— North, South and Over the Sea • M.E. Francis (Mrs. Francis Blundell)

... philosophy, and those of revealed truth.... For this philosophy is professedly a scientific demonstration of the impossibility of that 'wisdom in high matters' which the Apostle prohibits us even to attempt; and it proposes, from the limitation of the human powers, from our impotence to comprehend what, however, we must admit, to show articulately why the 'secret things of God,' cannot but be to man 'past finding out.'"[O] Faith in the inconceivable must thus become the ultimate refuge, even of the pantheist and the atheist, no less than of the Christian; ...
— The Philosophy of the Conditioned • H. L. Mansel

... into the monster's power. Then you will have, as I had, a frenzied awakening, with impotence sitting by your pillow. Are you an old soldier? Phthisis attacks you. A diplomatist? An aneurism hangs death in your heart by a thread. It will perhaps be consumption that will cry out to me, 'Let us be going!' as to Raphael ...
— The Magic Skin • Honore de Balzac

... blow, of rights and property which they had long possessed, and fairly acquired. It was impossible for Adrian not to look with the liveliest displeasure at such wholesale spoliation on the part of his imperial son; whose victims formally submitted to their fate out of sheer terror and impotence of resistance. ...
— Pope Adrian IV - An Historical Sketch • Richard Raby

... and those girls with their rude past, their false and distorted perspective, their sordid and hungry selfishness, and their faith in the omnipotence of their father's wealth wounded by their experience of its present social impotence. At the bottom of his heart he sympathized with them rather than with her; he was ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... their sockets. It was the grip of a gorilla, and it was accompanied by a spate of curses and the grin of a devil incarnate. All my dreams of equal combat had not prepared me for superhuman power on his part, such utter impotence on mine. I tried to wrench myself from his murderous clasp, and was nearly felled by the top of the bunk. I hurled myself out sideways, and out he came after me, tearing down the peg to which his handcuffs were tethered; that ...
— Mr. Justice Raffles • E. W. Hornung

... for a moment jaded,—when, as was said of Euripides, he resembles a lion, who excites his own fury by lashing himself with his tail. What happened to Shakspeare from the occasional suspension of his powers happened to Dryden from constant impotence. He, like his confederate Lee, had judgment enough to appreciate the great poets of the preceding age, but not judgment enough to shun competition with them. He felt and admired their wild and daring sublimity. ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 2 (of 4) - Contributions To The Edinburgh Review • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... feeling hath burnt there... burnt out, and burnt up Health and hope. So you feel when you gaze down the cup Of extinguish'd volcanoes: you judge of the fire Once there, by the ravage you see;—the desire, By the apathy left in its wake, and that sense Of a moral, immovable, mute impotence. ...
— Lucile • Owen Meredith

... something of that impotence now. I cursed the Isvostchick, but wherever he went this slow endless stream seemed to impede our way. Poor Nina! Such a baby! What was it that had driven her to this? She did not love the man, and she knew quite well that she did not. No, it was an act of defiance. But defiance to whom—to ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... the hesitation with which he had accosted the cardinal a quarter of an hour before, there might be read in the eyes of the young king that will against which a struggle might be maintained, and which might be crushed by its own impotence, but which, at least, would preserve, like a wound in the depth of the heart, the remembrance of ...
— Ten Years Later - Chapters 1-104 • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... cried Jack, and jerked at the reins with a childish impotence of anger. "I beat you for the first quarter of a mile and then this fool of a horse—I'm going ...
— Riders of the Silences • John Frederick

... and we seem on the verge of another and perhaps larger solution than was actually worked out by the logic of succeeding events. But though the book has been called Christless, prayerless, hopeless, no mature person ever reads it without a deepened sense of the impotence of all mechanistic theories of sin, and a new vision of the intense reality of spiritual things. "The law we broke," in Dimmesdale's ghostly words, was a more subtle law than can be graven on tables of stone and ...
— The American Spirit in Literature, - A Chronicle of Great Interpreters, Volume 34 in The - Chronicles Of America Series • Bliss Perry

... against the winter's cold, Garners the nuts and grain within his cell, While man goes groping, without sense to tell Where to seek refuge against growing old. We seek it in the smoking mouth of Hell. With the poor beast our impotence compare! See him protect his life with utmost care, While us nor wit nor courage can compel To save our souls, so foolish mad we are. The Devil doth in snares our life enfold; Four hooks has he with torments baited well; And first ...
— Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres • Henry Adams

... the garden, that feeling grew in human hearts like palms rising in the desert. But these palms were tragic and aspired towards the blood-red moon. Suddenly she was seized with a fear of feeling, of the growth of an intense sensation within her, and realised, with an almost feverish vividness, the impotence of a soul caught in the grip of a great passion, swayed hither and thither, led into strange paths, along the edges, perhaps into depths of immeasurable abysses. She had said to Androvsky that she would rather be the centre of a world tragedy ...
— The Garden Of Allah • Robert Hichens

... couple of hours hence he would be addressing a vast audience, the centre of the hopes of thousands of his fellow countrymen. The thought beat upon his brain. He had had the common nightmare of standing with conductor's baton in front of a mighty orchestra and being paralyzed by sense of impotence. No less a nightmare was his present position. A couple of hours ago he was athrill with confidence and joy of battle. But then he was a different man. The morning stars, the stars of his destiny, sang together in the ever-deepening glamour ...
— The Fortunate Youth • William J. Locke

... not failed to delight the husbands, neither were his charms unsuccessful in affording satisfaction to their wives. To the one he railed against the impotence of the king's ministers, to the other he declaimed upon the wickedness of his majesty's mistresses; and to both his denunciations were equally sincere and acceptable. But his bitterest words were reserved for such courtiers as Rochester, ...
— Royalty Restored - or, London under Charles II. • J. Fitzgerald Molloy

... jealously unsatisfied and of utter impotence still oppressed him, and he returned home in deep dejection. Flinging himself on his bed, he buried his face in the pillows and lay thus almost the whole day long, bitterly conscious that he could ...
— Sanine • Michael Artzibashef

... infest those," said the Prince, "who have no rivals? We are in a place where impotence precludes malice, and where all envy is repressed by community ...
— Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia • Samuel Johnson

... by countermarches that, to men in their circumstances, were almost worse than death. It will not be surprising that the irritation of such a systematic persecution, superadded to a previous, 20 and hereditary hatred, and accompanied by the stinging consciousness of utter impotence as regarded all effectual vengeance, should gradually have inflamed the Kalmuck animosity into the wildest expression of downright madness and frenzy. Indeed, long before the 25 frontiers of China were ...
— De Quincey's Revolt of the Tartars • Thomas De Quincey

... poet turns the imperfect intellect and delusive knowledge of man to a moral use. Ordinarily, the intellectual impotence of man is regarded as carrying with it moral incapacity as well, and the delusiveness of knowledge is one of the strongest arguments for pessimism. To persons pledged to the support of no theory, and to those who have the naivete, so hard to maintain side by ...
— Browning as a Philosophical and Religious Teacher • Henry Jones

... dumb viciousness had, like an invisible sculptor's chisel, carved sudden deep lines in her face as fitting accompaniments to the deepening malice of her thoughts, they all rose from the luncheon table and went their several ways in their several moods of disconcerted confusion, impotence and vexation, in search of fresh means to gain new and unexpected ends. Roxmouth, reluctantly yielding to the earnest persuasions of Longford, walked with him into the village of St. Rest, and made enquiries at the post-office as to whether Miss Vancourt's ...
— God's Good Man • Marie Corelli

... through this inferno I do not know. Buffeted and blinded, stumbling and scrambling to my feet again, turning this way or that way to avoid the thickest centres of the strife, oppressed and paralyzed by a feeling of impotence that put an iron band around my heart, driven always by the intense longing to reach my wife and child, somehow I had a sense of struggling on. Then I came into a quieter quarter of the town, and ran until I reached the lodging where ...
— The Valley of Vision • Henry Van Dyke

... twenty, is a much more formidable person than her mother. She is the incarnation of haughty highmindedness, raging with the impatience of an impetuous, dominative character paralyzed by the impotence of her youth, and unwillingly disciplined by the constant danger of ridicule from her lighter-handed juniors. Unlike her mother, she is all passion; and the conflict of her passion with her obstinate pride and intense fastidiousness results in a freezing coldness of manner. In an ugly woman all ...
— You Never Can Tell • [George] Bernard Shaw

... across his eyes with a long breath. How was he to get through it, this task of his, with this swollen, aching brain and these trembling limbs? Louie must let him speak; he bitterly felt his physical impotence to ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... memory of the horrors which he had perpetrated. Infatuated wretch that I was! To set myself up as a model by which to judge of my heroic brother! My reason taught me that his conclusions were right; but conscious of the impotence of reason over my own conduct; conscious of my cowardly rashness and my criminal despair, I doubted whether any one ...
— Wieland; or The Transformation - An American Tale • Charles Brockden Brown

... the despairing gesture of one who realizes the impotence of words, dashed off for his favorite walk up stage. Wally took out ...
— The Little Warrior - (U.K. Title: Jill the Reckless) • P. G. Wodehouse

... activity permitted to him, this sole means of contact with his old profession. The doctor spent his summer between the horns of a dilemma: his disapproval of Reed's overworking, his greater disapproval of the need for thrusting Reed back into his former impotence. And, to all seeming, there was no middle ground. It would have taxed the strength even of a full-bodied man to have held together a reputation, under such handicaps as those beneath which Reed was working. The doctor grumbled in his throat at Ramsdell; but ...
— The Brentons • Anna Chapin Ray

... behind him. He had never divined before that strange things hid themselves from men under pretence of being snow-clad mounds or swaying trees; but now they came slipping out from their harmless covers to follow him, and mock at his impotence to make a kindred Thing resolve to truer form. He knew the air behind him was thronged; he heard the hum of innumerable murmurings together; but his eyes could never catch them, they were too swift and nimble. Yet he knew they were there, because, on a backward glance, ...
— The Were-Wolf • Clemence Housman

... Walpole, this time in a letter, the latter replied: "Whatever contradictions these gentlemen may have observed in my character; there is one which I'll venture to assure you, you will never discover, which is my ever being alarmed at an opposition from one in the impotence of disgrace, who could never terrify me in the zenith of his prosperity." "An Answer to ...
— The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, Vol. X. • Jonathan Swift

... feel, who had but too much reason to think himself betrayed, as well as disappointed. He hastened to Bath, where he found a still more furious lover, Mr. Mathews, inquiring at the house every particular of the affair, and almost avowing, in the impotence of his rage, the unprincipled design which this summary step had frustrated. In the course of their conversation, Charles Sheridan let fall some unguarded expressions of anger against his brother, which this gentleman, who seems to have been eminently qualified ...
— Memoirs of the Life of the Rt. Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan V1 • Thomas Moore

... powers. One would say that scientists systematically shut themselves out of three-fourths of their minds, and the English have been insane on Induction these two hundred years. This unholy divorce has, as it always must do, brought poverty and impotence into the sciences, many of which stand apart, stand haggard and hostile, accumulations ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 30, April, 1860 • Various

... with the velocity of lightning, as if she were going to bury herself in the remorseless deep. By this rapid movement she was precipitated beyond the reach of the breakers, which now rolled behind her stern, and burst in impotence, as if incensed at the loss of their destined prey. "We are safe!" exclaimed Captain Dundas; "jump, men, from the yards, and make sail." This they did with tumultuous joy, which Mr Gordon checked, and said to them, "Whilst you are working silently, thank God for your miraculous preservation." ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland Volume 17 • Alexander Leighton

... economists,—sanctioned and amended, from time to time, by the greatest ministers, from Walpole to Peel,—it has had, from its position, its power, and the talent at its command, every opportunity for doing the best things that a bank could do; and yet behold this record of periodical impotence! Its periodical mischiefs we leave out ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various

... now, but a pause from pure physical impotence, pending a doubtful struggle against ...
— A Breath of Prairie and other stories • Will Lillibridge

... You never saw that red flood bearing the mangled breasts of women and the spattered brains of babes and sucklings. Oh! [He covers his eyes with his hands. The BARON turns away in gloomy impotence. At last DAVID begins to speak quietly, almost dreamily.] It was your Easter, and the air was full of holy bells and the streets of holy processions—priests in black and girls in white and waving palms and crucifixes, and everybody exchanging Easter eggs and kissing one another ...
— The Melting-Pot • Israel Zangwill

... work called Candide, ou l'Optimisme. I shall give you a detail of it. But what is all this to my book, say you? My dear Mr. Smith, have patience; compose yourself to tranquillity. Show yourself a philosopher in practice as well as profession. Think on the impotence and rashness and futility of the common judgments of men, how little they are regulated by reason on any subject, much more on philosophical subjects, which so far exceed the ...
— Life of Adam Smith • John Rae

... or earnest, even with boys shorter than himself, the timidity natural to childhood increased upon him to an extent that I am afraid amounted to cowardice. This rendered him even less capable than he might otherwise have been, for as confidence increases power, so want of confidence increases impotence. After he had had the breath knocked out of him and been well shinned half a dozen times in scrimmages at football—scrimmages in which he had become involved sorely against his will—he ceased to see any further fun in ...
— The Way of All Flesh • Samuel Butler

... sofa facing her, the world forgotten. And, as I listened to her singing and to the sweet music of the harp, the spell, it seemed, of some ancient beauty stole upon my spirit. The sound of her soft voice reduced my resistance to utter impotence. An aggressive passion took its place. The desire for contact, physical contact, became a vehement aching that I scarcely could restrain, and my arms were hungry for her. Shame and repugnance touched me ...
— The Garden of Survival • Algernon Blackwood

... machinery; not, as a century before, an intrusive body acting spasmodically and hampering instead of regulating the executive power of the Crown. The last Stuart kings had still fancied that it might be reduced to impotence, and the illusion had been fostered by the loyalty which meant at least a fair unequivocal desire to hold to the old monarchical traditions. But, in fact, parliamentary control had been silently developing; the House ...
— English Literature and Society in the Eighteenth Century • Leslie Stephen

... 158. Impotence.— N. impotence; inability, disability; disablement, impuissance, imbecility; incapacity, incapability; inaptitude, ineptitude, incompetence, unproductivity[obs3]; indocility[obs3]; invalidity, disqualification; inefficiency, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... canst not end in this. It would reduce All human creatures to disloyalty Against the nobleness of their own nature. 'Twill justify the vulgar misbelief, Which holdeth nothing noble in free will, And trusts itself to impotence alone, Made powerful ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... fling into the conflict; but they had not strengthened her character, and she could not stand the strain of prolonged argument. Sooner or later she would abandon everything, exhausted, and beaten into impotence. She could bear more, endure more, than Jenny; she could bear much, so that the story of her life might be read as one long scene of endurance of things which Jenny would have struggled madly to overcome or to escape. But having borne for so long, she could fight only ...
— Nocturne • Frank Swinnerton

... willing enough to go to his help, but I could do nothing, and the feeling of impotence began to rob me of such little ...
— To The West • George Manville Fenn

... usually drove off at this time of the day; it brought home to him too keenly the many times when he himself had ridden back by the side of Lew Hervey from a day of galloping in the wind; it crushed him with a sense of the impotence into which his life had fallen. Indeed, unless some vital change came, her father must soon mourn himself into a grave. For the first time Marianne clearly perceived this. Oliver Jordan was wasting for grief over his lost freedom just as some youthful lover might decline because of the ...
— Alcatraz • Max Brand

... constant companions, and though at issue, never at enmity. I had impeached him, and my grievances had been forwarded to the Rajah with a demand for his punishment, but he never seemed to owe me a grudge for that, knowing the Rajah's impotence as compared with the power of the Dewan whom he served; and, in common with all his party, presuming on the unwillingness of the ...
— Himalayan Journals (Complete) • J. D. Hooker

... him of all certainty. It not infrequently left decision floundering. The mountains leapt at him with a rush from every side, confusing direction and reducing even instinct to something like impotence. With familiarity, however, his trained mind adapted itself. Then the rush went on with the old ...
— The Heart of Unaga • Ridgwell Cullum

... which you asked of me. I am happy, in thus dedicating it, to offer you a proof of the respectful affection you allow me to bear you. If I am reproached for impotence in this attempt to draw from the depths of mysticism a book which seeks to give, in the lucid transparency of our beautiful language, the luminous poesy of the Orient, to you the blame! Did you not command this struggle (resembling ...
— Seraphita • Honore de Balzac

... In Rome, Maecenas,[20] somewhere wrote:— "Make me the poorest wretch that begs, Sore, hungry, crippled, clothed in rags, In hopeless impotence of arms and legs; Provided, after all, you give The one sweet liberty to live: I'll ask of Death no greater favour Than just ...
— The Fables of La Fontaine - A New Edition, With Notes • Jean de La Fontaine

... warning and get that key back from him. If Leo tells father, father will half kill me, and already Leo has threatened to strangle me if he finds me on the high road on my way to the castle. My lord suspects nothing, of course . . ." she added, while tears of impotence and of terror choked the words in her throat. "He'll come here presently, and as like as not Leopold will do ...
— A Bride of the Plains • Baroness Emmuska Orczy

... aspect—wandering princes are we, sons of the Great King. In foreign lands outcast and forlorn, groveling with the very swine in the mire, and pining for the husks that the swine do eat; envying, defying, hating, forgetting—but never hated nor forgot; in the depths of our rage, and impotence, and sin—in the darkest moment of our moral death, when we would crucify the very image of that Parent who pities us—there is one voice deeper and sweeter than all music, the voice of our elder brother pleading with that common Father—"Forgive them, forgive ...
— Trumps • George William Curtis

... in two and falling on his knees like a disjointed doll. Under the action of the chloroform, the fearsome brute sank into impotence, ...
— The Crystal Stopper • Maurice LeBlanc

... places, seen him skulking on her trail through the winter snows, listened to his voice in the wind's wail. She didn't know the fear of which the coyotes sang from this hill, the blind and groping dread of an immutable destiny, the ghastly realization of impotence against a cruel and omnipotent fate. She hadn't ever learned about it. Living a protected life she didn't know that it existed. Food and shelter and warmth and safety had always seemed her birthright; about her house marched the officers of the law protecting her from evildoers; ...
— The Snowshoe Trail • Edison Marshall

... smiles to me. The World smiles to me. Everything. Man. Woman. Children. Presidential Candidates. Trolley Cars. Everything smiles to me." (The Complete Whitmanite) (2) "From the frowning tower of Babel on which the insectile impotence of man dared to contend with the awful wrath of the Almighty, through the granite bulk of the beetling Pyramids lifting their audacious crests to the star-meshed skies that bend down to kiss the blue waters of Father Nile and the gracious nymphs laving their blithesome limbs ...
— The Patient Observer - And His Friends • Simeon Strunsky

... times arrive. We shall not attempt to prophesy what the political constitution will be. Every existing form of government is bad; and our democracy can hardly survive the two diseases which generally kill democracies—reckless plunder of the national wealth, and the impotence of the central government in face of revolutionary and ...
— Outspoken Essays • William Ralph Inge

... her determination, and as Bud White sat down, she forced herself to rise. A deep hush spread through the court-room. She stood trembling, swallowing, voiceless, a statue of stage-fright, wildly hating herself for her impotence. For a dizzy, agonizing moment she saw herself a miserable failure—saw the crowd laughing at her ...
— Counsel for the Defense • Leroy Scott

... Lupin, struggling. "And then? What does this prove? Suppose one of us reduces the other to impotence: what will he have gained? You will not know what to do with me nor I with you. We shall stay here like a ...
— The Blonde Lady - Being a Record of the Duel of Wits between Arsne Lupin and the English Detective • Maurice Leblanc

... terrier rose also and got shakily upon his legs. The effort set him coughing again, poor fellow, and he had to submit to the paroxysm before he could wag his tail. How stiffly this moved, his mistress, whose eyes were full of tears, did not remark. Nor did she notice the suggestion of impotence about his hindquarters. With her practised eye, the fair-haired girl noticed both symptoms and ...
— Anthony Lyveden • Dornford Yates

... of trade, the creation of a revenue, the establishment of an independent national character, and the founding of a wise policy for the government—presented themselves in stern array to the mind of Washington, and almost overwhelmed him, by the magnitude of their proportions, with a sense of his impotence in giving general direction to the vast labors to be performed. He had few precedents as an executive officer to guide him, and no experience as the chief of civil affairs. "I walk, as it were, upon untrodden ground," ...
— Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. • Benson J. Lossing

... affirm that our idea of the Infinite First Cause is grounded on an intuitional or subjective faith, necessitated by an "impotence of thought"—that is, by a mental inability to conceive an absolute limitation or an infinite illimitation, an absolute commencement or an infinite non-commencement. Both contradictory opposites are equally incomprehensible and inconceivable to us; and yet, ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... for some reasons vaguely defined, she was heavy-hearted. The city's endless drama of squalor and pain was all about her; she could not understand, she could not help, she could not even lift her own little problem out of the great total of failures! All day long the sense of impotence assailed her. ...
— Martie the Unconquered • Kathleen Norris

... collarless, his greasy coat hung loosely over his dingy flannel shirt. He was unshaven, and his face was at once grim and sardonic, bitter and raging. It was the face of an impotent revolutionist, who cursed his impotence, his lack of weapons, his wrong environments for his fierce spirit. He belonged in a country at war. He had the misfortune to be in a country at peace. He belonged in a field of labor wherein weapons and armed men, sown by the need of justice, sprang from the soil. He was in a bucolic pasture, with ...
— The Debtor - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... same sense of 'passion' and feebleness going together, of the first as the outcome of the second, lies, I may remark by the way, in the twofold use of 'impotens' in the Latin, which meaning first weak, means then violent, and then weak and violent together. For a long time 'impotent' and 'impotence' in English embodied ...
— On the Study of Words • Richard C Trench

... sun, She longed to look her last upon, beside The sea, which somehow tempts the life in us To come trip over its white waste of waves, And try escape from earth, and fleet as free. Behind the body I suppose there bends Old Pheres in his hoary impotence; And women-wailers, in a corner crouch —Four, beautiful as you four,—yes, indeed! Close, each to other, agonizing all, As fastened, in fear's rhythmic sympathy, To two contending opposite. There strains The might o' the hero 'gainst his more than match, —Death, dreadful ...
— Frederic Lord Leighton - An Illustrated Record of His Life and Work • Ernest Rhys

... yet it was divested of all spiritual aspirations, and had but little effect on personal struggles for truth or holiness. It was human and worldly, not lofty nor even reverential, except among the few who had deep religious wants. One of its characteristic features was the acknowledged impotence of the gods to secure future happiness. In fact, the future was generally ignored, and even immortality was but a dream of philosophers. Men lived not in view of future rewards and punishments, or future existence at all, but for the enjoyment of the present; and the gods themselves set ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume I • John Lord

... succeed. There is enough common sense among our people to mitigate against any such misfortune, and we have only to recall the general election of 1905-6, when every morning paper in London, except the Daily News, was against us, to realise the impotence ...
— My Impresssions of America • Margot Asquith

... such a manner as shall best exhibit his own authority and his contempt for their persons individually. While he upholds the Government he does all he can to bring each member of it into contempt, and there they are, helpless and confused, writhing under his lash and their own impotence, and only intent upon staving off a division which would show the world how feeble they are. Neither the late nor any other Government ever cut so poor a figure as this does. Palmerston does nothing, Grant does worse, Graham does no good, Althorp ...
— The Greville Memoirs - A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William IV, Vol. II • Charles C. F. Greville

... trousers, or seeing those two statuesque lifeguardsmen, in their frowning bearskins, pipe-clayed buckskins, on their coal-black, sleek, fiery quadrupeds, riding sentry at the Horse-Guards—it strikes one with a kind of mournful interest, how, in such universal down-rushing and wrecked impotence of almost all old institutions, this oldest fighting institution is still so young! Fresh complexioned, firm-limbed, six feet by the standard, this fighting man has verily been got up, and can fight. While so much has not yet got into being, while ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine—Vol. 54, No. 333, July 1843 • Various

... whose tenacious rootlets form an inextricable network below the surface. To dig in the interstices is possible, but to drag the dead animal through them is another matter: the meshes of the net are too close to give it passage. Will the grave-digger find himself reduced to impotence by such an impediment, which must be an extremely common one? That ...
— The Wonders of Instinct • J. H. Fabre

... all there is nothing more cruel than the impotence of genius to hold and keep those commonest joys and mere natural affections which dullards and worse than dullards rejoice in at their pleasure; the common human things, whose loss makes the great possessions of its imperial powers all valueless and vain as harps unstrung, ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... might be a matter of minutes, perhaps of seconds, and yet it seemed as if he could do nothing. Never had he gazed upon a peaceful village street with feelings of such tumultuous woe. Helplessness and impotence are intolerable at any time, but they are the cruellest torture when a dear human life ...
— Too Old for Dolls - A Novel • Anthony Mario Ludovici

... or from some more mysterious and undefinable cause, my whole frame shuddered from limb to limb. I saw nothing—I heard nothing; but I felt, as it were, within me some awful and ghostly presence, which had power to curdle my blood into ice, and cramp my sinews into impotence; it was as if some preternatural and shadowy object darkened across the mirror of my soul—as if, without the medium of the corporeal senses, a spirit spake to, and was ...
— Pelham, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton



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