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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



... thunder-bolts of retribution have been long since launched by other hands; and yet still it happens that at times I do—I must—I shall perhaps to the hour of death, rise in maniac fury, and seek, in the very impotence of vindictive madness, groping as it were in blindness of heart, for that tiger from hell-gates that tore away my darling from my heart. Let me pause, and interrupt this painful strain, to say a word or two upon what she was—and ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... order every one on the place, his niece included, to do just what pleased him. Never had an autocratic potentate been more completely nonplussed; but his sister's words, combined with events, brought him face to face with his impotence so inexorably that for a time he had nothing ...
— Miss Lou • E. P. Roe

... hundred yards—when I saw him rear upward, wheel round upon his hind-feet as on a pivot, and then bound off in determined flight. His shrill scream pealing back upon the breeze, fell upon my ears like the taunt of some deadly foe. It seemed the utterance of mockery and revenge: mockery at the impotence of my pursuit; revenge that I had once ...
— The War Trail - The Hunt of the Wild Horse • Mayne Reid

... 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

... sharpened. If the stags from Haeckeberga had continued another instant, a wild struggle would have arisen on the knolls, for all had been gripped with a burning desire to show that they too were full of life because the winter's impotence was over and ...
— The Wonderful Adventures of Nils • Selma Lagerlof

... octoroons!" and she sighed as she thought of them, "the intellect of their white fathers, and the bar of their mothers' blood against the development of it—poor soul, poor soul—she actually looks like a soul in prison. Oh!"—and she flung out her hands in sudden passion of impotence. "What can one woman do against such a multitude? One look into that woman's hopeless face has taken all the courage from me. Ah, ...
— The Bondwoman • Marah Ellis Ryan

... that he knew we had been telegraphing him since our arrest and my impotence made me speechless with rage. Douglas took advantage of my condition ...
— Trapped in 'Black Russia' - Letters June-November 1915 • Ruth Pierce

... where many of them were discovered and taken by Christino detachments sent to hunt them down. "Truly," says Zaratiegui, "it was a lamentable sight to behold these unfortunate men, who were unable to move hand or foot, thus persecuted. But even in this state of impotence and peril, not one of them chose to avail himself of the pardon which the Christino generals at that time freely offered to those who should renounce Don Carlos. Doubtless a great proof of how noble and ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, Number 358, August 1845 • Various

... when Mr. Voorhes became school principal. Grinding factories, wretched homes, parental ignorance, social neglect, educational impotence—few men could enter such a field of battle with a light ...
— The New Education - A Review of Progressive Educational Movements of the Day (1915) • Scott Nearing

... 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 could ...
— The Wonders of Instinct • J. H. Fabre

... the chevalier felt his strength revive; all the other guests were overpowered, excited by the changes of wines, he triumphed over their impotence, and drank their health again and again. Every time he drank their health, he took ...
— The Physiology of Taste • Brillat Savarin

... understood and provided for or else antagonized. The greater the enterprise, the more truly does it exist by sufferance; it depends on the support of those who profit by it, and if that support be withdrawn, it collapses into absolute impotence. The ancient Cynics were right in thinking that the only man who can afford to be indifferent to the interests of his fellows is the man who renounces ambition and ...
— The Moral Economy • Ralph Barton Perry

... great leveller, had brought their unapproachable neighbour nearer to them; they were not afraid of her now. It was strange to think that she was really less than one of themselves in the cold isolation and the pathetic impotence of the grave. They could hardly picture her yet as a powerless thing—the keen, narrowing eyes closed, the sharp-edged poniard of her ...
— Peter and Jane - or The Missing Heir • S. (Sarah) Macnaughtan

... did not suit me. Let me call it unwillingness; then you may speak of the impotence, and perhaps, even so, we are both saying the same thing. I honor and admire the great singers, but I myself have always felt a barrier when I wished to metamorphose my personal and intimate emotions into separate entities and into public property. I felt as though ...
— The Bride of Dreams • Frederik van Eeden

... run that risk, and is not caught. Try not to become impatient with me! Anger is impotence! Explanations that do not explain are part and parcel of all religions and most sciences; therefore why lose your temper? Your friend is free to come and go, but must take his chance of being caught. ...
— Caves of Terror • Talbot Mundy

... new martyr was provided, and new hostility was raised against the Convention, for whose success Government was notoriously anxious. On the other hand, Ulster Unionist opinion was violently offended; they were scandalized by the disregard for law and the impotence of constitutional authority. This attitude, however open to comments based on their own recent history, did not render them any easier to deal with. Above all, the Ashe incident emphasized the presence in Ireland of a great force over which Redmond had no control and which had no representative ...
— John Redmond's Last Years • Stephen Gwynn

... solid foundation. It is a study of Satanism, a dexterous interweaving of the history of Gilles de Retz (the traditional Bluebeard) with the contemporary manifestations of the Black Art. 'The execration of impotence, the hate of the mediocre—that is perhaps one of the most indulgent definitions of Diabolism,' says Huysmans, somewhere in the book, and it is on this side that one finds the link of connection with the ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... 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 ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume I • John Lord

... quite in the right so far;—but the penal laws, the temporal inflictions—would he have called for the repeal of these? Milton saw this subject with a mastering eye,—saw that the awful power of excommunication was degraded and weakened even to impotence by any the least connection with the ...
— Coleridge's Literary Remains, Volume 4. • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... on TOMMY'S fearless Tracts, A strong and generous food, He'll take his fill of meaty facts Not to be lightly chewed:— Corruption in the highest seats; Impotence in the Opposition; The Ship of State, with flapping sheets, Moving to ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, February 11, 1914 • Various

... 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 ...
— Essays in Rebellion • Henry W. Nevinson

... mourning, and if calamity 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 ...
— The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume II • Anonymous

... slimy falsehoods could be constructed from ordinary words. The ingenuity with which the real and apparent meaning can be tortured out of language, is simply amazing. The average religious editor is intolerant and insolent; he knows nothing of affairs; he has the envy of failure, the malice of impotence, and always accounts for the brave and generous actions of unbelievers, by low, base ...
— The Ghosts - And Other Lectures • Robert G. Ingersoll

... anger grew, and he was powerless. And the impotence of an angry man may lead him into gruesome paths. Smouldering fires burst out at times into devastating flames, and maddened bulls put down their heads and charge regardless ...
— A Maid of the Silver Sea • John Oxenham

... the feeling of absolute insignificance growing on one as the ship drove on, the creaking of the ship and the hissing rush of the waters hardly audible for the shrieking of the gale through the rigging. In all my life I have never so understood the utter impotence and triviality of humanity as I ...
— The Autobiography of a Journalist, Volume I • Stillman, William James

... that the British government had refused the offer of mediation. The immediate effect was to take Gallatin out of the Treasury, and he was followed by Secretary Campbell, to whose incompetence the financial impotence of the war is partly due. Toward the end of 1813 an offer of direct negotiation was made by the British government, and John Quincy Adams, Jonathan Russell, and Henry Clay were added to the negotiators. The absence of Clay, who had exercised ...
— Formation of the Union • Albert Bushnell Hart

... question in mind continually: "Why do the lamps go out?" Now, like Hjalmar in "Princess Malenia," he feels every moment like exclaiming: Someone is weeping here near us! He had moments in which such nervous impotence attacked him that he did not feel capable of stirring a finger, or moving an eyelid. Accompanying this condition was a perfect understanding that all sentimental family-tenderness is a painted pot. It is known, of course, that in the world a multitude of maidens are ...
— The Argonauts • Eliza Orzeszko (AKA Orzeszkowa)

... the Laureate was once addicted to glitter for glitter's sake; and with him to keep them in countenance there is a thousand minor poets whose 'little life' is merely a giving way to the necessities of what is after all a condition of intellectual impotence but poorly redeemed by a habit of artistic swagger. The singer of Dorothy and Beau Brocade is of another race. He is 'the co-mate and brother in exile' of Matthew Arnold and the poet of The Unknown Eros. Alone among modern English bards they stand upon ...
— Views and Reviews - Essays in appreciation • William Ernest Henley

... please, and that no woman could see him with impunity: in consequence of which idea, he had lavished great sums on such wretches as could gain upon themselves to pretend love to his person, whilst to those who had not art or patience to dissemble the horror it inspired, he behaved even brutally. Impotence, more than necessity, made him seek in variety, the provocative that was wanting to raise him to the pitch of enjoyment, which he too often saw himself baulked of, by the failure of his powers: and this always threw him into a fit of rage, which ...
— Memoirs Of Fanny Hill - A New and Genuine Edition from the Original Text (London, 1749) • John Cleland

... I 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 ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. III • Aphra Behn

... saved both civilization and Christianity, has been treated with a bitterness which nothing can explain except the desire of greed of those surrounding her, and the fact that the weaker people, seeing the stronger overcome, wish and insist that she shall be reduced to impotence. Nothing, in fact, can justify the measures of violence and the depredations committed in Magyar territory. What was the Rumanian occupation of Hungary: a systematic rapine and the systematic destruction for a long time hidden, and the stern reproach which Lloyd ...
— Peaceless Europe • Francesco Saverio Nitti

... fiction table was the product of writers in England. "I live in England myself," he said, very simply, "and I am curious to know this." He expressed a little impatience at the measureless flood of mediocre fiction, making a fluttering gesture conveying a sense of impotence to give it attention. He barely glanced at the pile of his own book, and did not mention it. He did not seem at first (though we believe later he changed this opinion) to think highly of Arnold Bennett (this was at the first bloom of Mr. Bennett's vogue ...
— Walking-Stick Papers • Robert Cortes Holliday

... 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 beyond my control," ...
— Tales of Space and Time • Herbert George Wells

... his head to dream of the brilliant future opening before him. If a single coincidence may lead a person of sanguine disposition to believe that he has mastered a disease which had baffled all who were before his time, and on which his contemporaries looked in hopeless impotence, what must be the effect of a series of such coincidences even on a mind of calmer temper! Such series of coincidences will happen, and they may well deceive the very elect. Think of Dr. Rush,—you know what a famous man he was, the very head and front ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... thing for the race, Hilton had thought at first perception of the things, that the Stretts had bred out of themselves every iota of the finer, higher attributes of life. If they had not done so, the impotence of sheer disgust would have supervened so long since that the race would have been extinct ...
— Masters of Space • Edward Elmer Smith

... tossed and sighed all night, wondering what stability there was in her mind and what worth he might set upon her promises. Some deterioration, some loss of fine simplicity, some decrease in his healthy optimism, was already visible in his look and bearing; he in his turn was discovering the impotence of Nature to heal, sooth, or direct, and it might have been said of him that he began to go in and out without noting the objects so suggestive and inspiring—the sky, the thundering flood, the noble wood, the ...
— Ringfield - A Novel • Susie Frances Harrison

... it is more than the body that smarts. It is shame we feel—shame so bitter that if a look could lay you dead at my feet, though it cost us all, though it left us beggared, I would look it joyfully—were I alone! But you, cowardly interloper, a schemer living on our impotence, walk on and ...
— The Wild Geese • Stanley John Weyman

... me, there's far more damned chastity in the world, than anything else. Even in this town.—Call it chastity, if you like. I see nothing in it but sterility. It takes a rat to praise long tails. Impotence set up the praise of chastity—believe me or not—but that's the bottom of it. The virtue is made out of the necessity.—Ha-ha-ha!—Like them! Like them! Ha-ha! Saving their souls! Why they'd save the waste matter of their bodies if they could. Grieves ...
— Aaron's Rod • D. H. Lawrence

... Cyrus was perfectly natural in a military man who could appreciate all the means of attack and obstruction which the enemy had it in their power to employ. Nothing is so unaccountable in this expedition as the manner in which such means were thrown away—the spectacle of Persian impotence. First, the whole line of upward march, including the passage of the Euphrates, left undefended; next, the long trench dug across the frontier of Babylonia, with only a passage of twenty feet wide left near the Euphrates, abandoned without a guard; ...
— The Two Great Retreats of History • George Grote

... until he has tasted the sorrow at the heart of it. The tears that are the pledge of harvest are not called to the eyes by ridicule or opposition. They are not the tears of disappointment, vexation, or impotence. They are tears that dim the eyes of them that see visions, and gather in the heart of them that dream dreams. To see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and the blindness of the world's heart to that glory; to ...
— The Threshold Grace • Percy C. Ainsworth

... all these things and thought of them with raging impotence; but the even tenor of our life went on. We continued to do our obscure and undistinguished work for the country. It became a habit, part of the day's routine. We almost forgot why we were doing it. The war seemed to make little ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... was, indeed, but never were its opportunities for public usefulness more limited. It was as though the greatness of the days of the second Frederick lay like a paralyzing weight upon this generation. And this oppressing sense of impotence was followed, after the Napoleonic Wars, by the bitterness of disappointment, all the more keenly felt by reason of this first reawakening of the national consciousness. Great had been the expectations, enormous the sacrifice; exceedingly ...
— Types of Weltschmerz in German Poetry • Wilhelm Alfred Braun

... 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 ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various

... old possessions apart from any intrinsic value; one more object of exotic virtu, an Oriental potiche, a magot chinois conceived by a childish and extravagant imagination, but allowed to stand in stolid impotence in the ...
— Notes on Life and Letters • Joseph Conrad

... the fact that cases were fairly frequent at the Winchester manors in the fourteenth century where a widow or next of kin refused to take up land on account of poverty or impotence;[59] and three villains of Forncett gave up their holdings before 1350 ...
— The Enclosures in England - An Economic Reconstruction • Harriett Bradley

... of super-dreadnoughts, and cruisers with the speed of express trains. She was too far away to be concerned in European turmoils. To-day science is annihilating distance. America, leaving out of account altogether her military impotence, would need a fleet three times her present strength to enforce the Monroe Doctrine for the remainder—not of this ...
— Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... of impotence seized Ronald, in nightmare grip. Indignant and furious, he yet felt absolutely unable to contradict or ...
— The Upas Tree - A Christmas Story for all the Year • Florence L. Barclay

... liable for the damage he does. Almost any opinion we have could be stated in terms that would not cause offense. Hard words are caused by our consciousness of the weakness of our position. They are symptoms of impotence. They arise from the feeling that a single statement of our case is not sufficient, and that the only way to make an impression is by insult or abuse. A man who is satisfied with the justice of his position is content to state it in simple ...
— More Toasts • Marion Dix Mosher

... height, from whose summit she descended 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

... that must have felt the impotence of his sacrifice before he died, and that condoned everything," ...
— A Phyllis of the Sierras • Bret Harte

... how I got through the night, which I shudder even to remember; but when morning came, I was within a very little of being mad. And burning with fever, hot and cold by turns, for sheer impotence I got up and went out, and wandered up and down the streets, till at last for weariness I was obliged to return, though the thought of my deserted house was almost more horrible than death. And all at once, I looked up, and ...
— The Substance of a Dream • F. W. Bain

... him that suspense was unbearable. He wanted to shriek aloud, to call on this man-killer to end the agony. It was the same impulse, magnified a hundred times, that leads a man to bite on an ulcerated tooth in a weak impotence of pain. ...
— The Sheriff's Son • William MacLeod Raine

... the Jesuits show the impotence of their system for the civilisation of the wild man. The territory where they carried on their chief labours exists on the eastern bank of the Parana, to the north of Uruguay and Corrientes, bordering on the Brazilian territory. After three hundred ...
— The Western World - Picturesque Sketches of Nature and Natural History in North - and South America • W.H.G. Kingston

... it. She had never, before knowing him, felt the least hunger to express anything that did not lie within the small circle of her little vocabulary. But her mind was waking, stretching itself toward another mind, and suffering from its own impotence. ...
— Old Crow • Alice Brown

... fitting artists in Seymour and H. K. Browne. Mr. Thackeray seems to have been well aware of the limitations of his own power as a draughtsman. In one of his "Roundabout Papers" he described the method—the secret so to say—of Rubens; and then goes on to lament the impotence of his own hand, the "pitiful niggling," that cannot reproduce the bold sweep ...
— Lost Leaders • Andrew Lang

... curious couple go down the drive, he sighed again, perhaps with relief, perhaps at the impotence of the world ...
— The Wonder • J. D. Beresford

... perfect observance of every propriety for so long before. They afterward in fact could have dated it, their full clutch of their freedom and the bliss of their having so little henceforth to consider save their impotence, their poverty, their ruin; dated it from the hour of his recital to her of the—at the first blush—quite appalling upshot of his second and conclusive "scene of violence" with the mistress of his fortune, when the dire terms of his release had had to be formally, and oh! so abjectly, ...
— The Finer Grain • Henry James

... thread must enter into the lives of all who today, in this busy work-a-day world of ours, would exchange impotence for power, weakness and suffering for abounding health and strength, pain and unrest for perfect peace, poverty of whatever nature for ...
— In Tune with the Infinite - or, Fullness of Peace, Power, and Plenty • Ralph Waldo Trine

... the fact that her generosity made his impotence the more pitiable. That he should stand tongue-tied and helpless before the woman whom he had allowed to think that she could count on him was galling not only to his manhood, but to all those primary instincts that sent him to the aid of weakness. There was a minute ...
— The Side Of The Angels - A Novel • Basil King

... need tempering; the former that it may not encroach on the field of legislation, the latter that it may not invade the ground of feeling. But this tempering and moderating the sensuous impulsion ought not to be the effect of physical impotence or of a blunting of sensations, which is always a matter for contempt. It must be a free act, an activity of the person, which by its moral intensity moderates the sensuous intensity, and by the sway of impressions takes from them ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... maturity) may also come to mind as the verbal connecting link for the association. In general the examination dreams may be the expression of an anxiety about not doing well or not being able to do well; in particular they are an expression of a fear of impotence. It should be noted here that not only in the former but in the latter case the fear has predominantly the force ...
— Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts • Herbert Silberer

... not, out of fear Of that Hereafter, worse, they say, than here, Plunged headlong in, but, till dismissal waited, To wipe at last all sorrow from men's eyes, And make this heavy dispensation clear. Thus have I borne till now, and still endure, Crouching in sullen impotence day by day, Till some such out-burst of the elements Like this rouses the sleeping fire within; And standing thus upon the threshold of Another night about to close the door Upon one wretched day to open it ...
— Life Is A Dream • Pedro Calderon de la Barca

... after Death: He is tormented with Desires which it is impossible for him to gratify, solicited by a Passion that has neither Objects nor Organs adapted to it: He lives in a State of invincible Desire and Impotence, and always burns in the Pursuit of what he always despairs to possess. It is for this Reason (says Plato) that the Souls of the Dead appear frequently in Coemiteries, and hover about the Places where their Bodies are buried, as still hankering after their old brutal Pleasures, and desiring ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... in this position. It was characteristic of decadent scholasticism, it squared with Luther's exaggerations about the impotence of reason in fallen man, and Pascal had given his own highly personal twist to it. Bayle has been hailed as a forerunner of Voltairean scepticism. It would be truer to say that a Voltairean sceptic could read Bayle's discussions ...
— Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil • G. W. Leibniz

... songs that to thy glory tend Should weary grow or take an end, Our impotence must bear the blame, And not thine ...
— Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works • Kaalidaasa

... someone else, Frank: change is the essence of passion: the reason you talk of is merely another name for impotence." ...
— Oscar Wilde, Volume 2 (of 2) - His Life and Confessions • Frank Harris

... don't complain; but I do say that those who love should not be ready to reproach; they should put a generous construction. You might have known, and you ought to have known, that I was struggling to find you, and torn with anguish at my impotence." ...
— The Woman-Hater • Charles Reade

... supremacy man is not always master of his fate. Circumstance, heredity, the despicable trifle, the inexpert finger, which a certain type of human is so zealous to thrust into an alien life, compass him about with a cloud of witnesses to his own impotence. ...
— The Great Amulet • Maud Diver

... without any reason whatever for obtaining that fatal honor, found himself suddenly at the head of a powerful party of youth, energy and vengeance, standing between the passions of the day, which led to all, and the impotence of the law, which ...
— The Companions of Jehu • Alexandre Dumas

... Archbishop Hubert, who was then chief justiciary, summoned him before the council to answer for his conduct; but he came so well attended, that no one durst accuse him, or give evidence against him; and the primate, finding the impotence of law, contented himself with exacting from the citizens hostages for their good behaviour. He kept, however, a watchful eye on Fitz-Osbert; and seizing a favourable opportunity, attempted to commit him to custody; but ...
— The History of England, Volume I • David Hume

... 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, though unable ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... torment. There was other not so purgatorial—damned torment. That was when the sudden thought of her possession by another man, of his own robbery, his own impotence to regain, came upon him in a surging flood and made his neck swell with the rage of a beast. And no crouching to spring, no flash through the air, no snatching here. Here was no Gilles de Gurdun to deal with. Only the beast's resource was his, who had the beast's ...
— The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay • Maurice Hewlett

... unknowable; and he ever more clearly perceives it to be the unknowable. He learns at once the greatness and the littleness of human intellect—its power in dealing with all that comes within the range of experience; its impotence in dealing with all that transcends experience. He feels, with a vividness which no others can, the utter incomprehensibleness of the simplest fact, considered in itself. He alone truly sees that absolute knowledge is impossible. He alone ...
— Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects - Everyman's Library • Herbert Spencer

... we have thwarted a greater evil than those which still afflict us, the relativity of the result fades out, the absoluteness of the present evil overcomes our spirit, and we feel that we are helpless because we have not been irresistible. Between omnipotence and impotence the pendulum swings. ...
— Public Opinion • Walter Lippmann

... the idea of legitimacy is firmly impressed on the national mind; and that is, that no subject, or confederacy of subjects, however powerful, stand much chance in resisting the claims or the will of a legitimate prince. A nod or a word, from such a king, can consign the greatest noble to hopeless impotence. And he can do this from the mighty and mysterious force of ideas alone. Neither king nor parliament can ever resist the omnipotence of popular ideas. When ideas establish despots on their thrones, they are safe. When ideas demand their dethronement, no forces can long sustain them. The age of ...
— A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon - For the Use of Schools and Colleges • John Lord

... fourth day from their leaving Epinal, Major Tempe told his men that he had learned, at Epinal, that the line was no longer so closely guarded as before—the Germans being confident, now, of the impotence of the French to harm them—and that they were now in the forest of Moudan, within three miles of the railway between Luneville and Rechicourt, on the line to Strasburg. His intention was to reconnoiter that day and—if success should be found possible—to attempt, ...
— The Young Franc Tireurs - And Their Adventures in the Franco-Prussian War • G. A. Henty

... petulance. The King of England is spoken of always, it is curious to note, as if he had been a great, severe ruler like his father, never as the child he really was. But Jeanne in her helplessness and impotence was impatient even with her saints. Day by day the news came in from Compiegne, all that was favourable to the Burgundians received with joy and thanksgiving by the ladies of Luxembourg, while the captive consumed her heart with vain indignation. At last Jeanne would seem to have wrought ...
— Jeanne d'Arc - Her Life And Death • Mrs.(Margaret) Oliphant

... The waves flung themselves upon the shore with the sullen wrath of impotence. A seagull screamed now and again, an exclamation-point in the silence above the waters. Suddenly De la Vega shook from head to foot, and snatched the knife from his belt. A faint creaking echoed through the hollow church. He strained his ears, holding his breath until ...
— The Splendid Idle Forties - Stories of Old California • Gertrude Atherton

... 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 ...
— Pope Adrian IV - An Historical Sketch • Richard Raby

... least possible danger of unmerited destitution. And although large economic organizations will continue, as they are bound to do, there will be a diffusion of power which will take away the sense of individual impotence from which men and ...
— Political Ideals • Bertrand Russell

... genito-urinary diseases is introduced by a long chapter entitled "De approximeron," a formidable Latin word defined by Gilbert as sexual impotence. An elaborate discussion of the physiology of generation and the phenomena of impotence is followed by a collection of remedies for the condition, of which the best that can be said is that they are probably no less effective than most of the modern drugs recommended ...
— Gilbertus Anglicus - Medicine of the Thirteenth Century • Henry Ebenezer Handerson

... leading Manuel by the ear; Manuel with his hands tied behind him with Jerry's red bandanna; Manuel with his lips drawn away from his teeth in the desire to kill, and his eyes sullen with the impotence of that desire. ...
— The Gringos • B. M. Bower

... the hill into the town with an air of finality, for he had determined to go back to England. He could not have analysed his impressions; he could not have accounted for his sense of impotence and defeat, but so it was. He had come across the personality of Madame Danterre, and he thereupon left her in possession of the field. But at the same time, before leaving Florence, he gave largely of the sinews of war to that able spy, the ...
— Great Possessions • Mrs. Wilfrid Ward

... Importance graveco. Important grava. Importunate trudema. Importune trudi, trudigxi. Impose (put on) trudi. Impose on trompi. Impossible neebla. Impost imposto. Impostor trompanto. Impotence neebleco. Impoverish malricxigi. Impracticable nefarebla. Impregnable fortika. Impress impresi. Impress (print) presi. Impression (printing) presajxo. Impression impreso. Impressionable impresebla. Impressive ...
— English-Esperanto Dictionary • John Charles O'Connor and Charles Frederic Hayes

... room. As she opened the door the fumes of chloroform assailed her, and there on the bed lay the unfortunate maid, just beginning to moan herself back to consciousness from beneath the chloroformed handkerchief that had reduced her to impotence. ...
— Eleanor • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... sound historical philosophy of society. We can hardly wonder at it. What is interesting, and what we do not notice earlier in the century, is that in the System of Nature the revolt against the impotence of society, and the revolt against the omnipotence of God, made a firm coalition. That coalition came to a bloody end for the time, four-and-twenty years after Holbach's book proclaimed it, when the Committee of Public Safety ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists - Volume II. • John Morley

... harden hypocrites (p. 262). 35. Those ministers do nothing less than promote the design of Christianity, that are never in their element, but when they are talking of the irrespectiveness of God's decrees, the absolute [ness of his] promises, the utter disability, and perfect impotence of natural men, to do any thing towards their own conversion (p. 262). 36. He is the only child of Abraham, who in the purity of his heart obeyeth those substantial laws, that are by God imposed upon him (p. 283). 37. There is NO duty more affectionately commanded in ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... this way," 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 to ...
— Riders of the Silences • John Frederick

... thee for thy influence, Heart-honey, without impotence; He who would reach thy virgin blush, Like warrior bold, ...
— Atlantic Monthly,Volume 14, No. 82, August, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... the inartistic temperaments of the day busied themselves also in matters of literature and art, for the accusations of plagiarism were endless, and such accusations proceed either from the thin colourless lips of impotence, or from the grotesque mouths of those who, possessing nothing of their own, fancy that they can gain a reputation for wealth by crying out that they have been robbed. And I assure you, my dear Ernest, that the Greeks chattered about painters quite as much as people do ...
— Intentions • Oscar Wilde

... week, or must risk suspicion by staying. Dollmann was away (according to von Brning), 'would probably be back soon'; but how soon? Beyond Norderney lay Memmert. How to probe its secret? The ardour it had roused in me was giving way to a mortifying sense of impotence. The sight of the Kormoran, with her crew preparing for sea, was a pointed comment on my diplomacy, and most of all on my ridiculous survey of the dykes. When all was said and done we were protgs of ...
— Riddle of the Sands • Erskine Childers

... leap over three months, to the termination of the career of the pope who has been so far our companion. Not any more was the distracted Clement to twist his handkerchief, or weep, or flatter, or wildly wave his arms in angry impotence; he was to lie down in his long rest, and vex the world no more. He had lived to set England free—an exploit which, in the face of so persevering an anxiety to escape a separation, required a rare genius and a combination ...
— The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) • James Anthony Froude

... existed. The jays, quarrelsome and noisy as are their relatives of the temperate zone, occasionally saw the spotted hunter as she passed where the undergrowth was more open, and sent up a loud chatter that apprised all the other wild things of her whereabouts. And while realizing her impotence to deal with them, Suma could never quite check the growl that swelled in her throat nor stay the lips that drew back until the gleaming, white fangs were exposed to view. Then, with a sheepish look as if heartily ashamed of having noticed the pests at all, she hastened to thicker cover ...
— The Black Phantom • Leo Edward Miller

... 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

... conscious of danger from the mental activity of their subjects to be desirous of repressing it, the position itself is a repression. Endeavour is even more effectually restrained by the certainty of its impotence than by any positive discouragement. Between subjection to the will of others and the virtues of self-help and self-government there is a natural incompatibility. This is more or less complete according as the bondage is strained or relaxed. Rulers ...
— Considerations on Representative Government • John Stuart Mill

... was aware of a bloomless nobility, an ungracious abnegation of the man's self in the man's office. At every word, this sense of the greatness of Lord Hermiston's spirit struck more home; and along with it that of his own impotence, who had struck - and perhaps basely struck - at his own father, and not reached so far as to ...
— Weir of Hermiston • Robert Louis Stevenson

... impatience, was grim with the fever of haste, and the fear of death. The eyes burned under the pale brow, the moustache bristled, the teeth showed through the beard; I could fancy the man crying 'Faster! Faster!' and gnawing his nails in the impotence of passion; and I shrank back as if I had been struck. The next moment the outriders splashed me, the coach was a hundred paces ahead, and I was left chilled and wondering, foreseeing the worst, and no longer in any mood ...
— Under the Red Robe • Stanley Weyman

... was a luxury of sensation that could not endure; I became fatigued with excess of bodily exertion and sank on the damp grass in the sick impotence of despair. There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No; from that moment I declared everlasting war against the species, and more than all, against him ...
— Frankenstein - or The Modern Prometheus • Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley

... resentfulness of an idealist whose ancestry was steeped in liberty of action rose to a fury at this unwarrantable interference of war with the lives of men—a fury maddened by his feeling of utter impotence. Was it possible, he argued, that a group of men drunk with pomp and lust of conquest could wreck the whole fabric of civilisation? What of science and education? Had they risen only to be the playthings of madmen? What kind of a world was it ...
— The Parts Men Play • Arthur Beverley Baxter

... that Eubank and his men had seized Fayle in the act of entering the house; and enraged, yet bitterly aware of his impotence, he huddled on some clothes, and in a twinkling was out of his room. But in the kitchen, of which the outer door stood wide open to the night, was only Eubank; who, without his wig, and with a pistol poised in his uncertain ...
— In Kings' Byways • Stanley J. Weyman

... privilege and ascendancy of the group over the individual conscience. Already the exploiting class, as it neared the term of its depleted life, was but a mass of purulence. Society was rotten, the state a pious criminal, the old truths tawdry lies. Everywhere the impotence of senility—except in young America. We faced the imminence of a vast breaking-up. The subtlest oligarchy of modern times was about to crumble. The revolution ...
— The Wrong Twin • Harry Leon Wilson



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