I felt despair. The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture — a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death. It’s maybe close to what people call dread or angst. But it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I’m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die. It’s wanting to jump overboard.
Now hollow fires burn out to black, And lights are fluttering low: Square your shoulders, lift your pack And leave your friends and go. O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread, Look not left nor right: In all the endless road you tread There’s nothing but the night.
If. If. If this all happened! I, F, - he had to hang on to those two little letters, just one tiny two letter word. If. So much hope and dread hung in the balance on those two little blips in the alphabet! A chasm in fact!
I can live a life anticipating beginnings or survive a life dreading endings. So maybe I should begin ending the dreading.
Shadows fell on them like predators as the light went out.
Love comes and goes, pitching its mansion. And on the circular track of days, it appears that Dread is gaining on Devotion every second.
There exists indeed an opposition to it [building of UVA, Jefferson's secular college] by the friends of William and Mary, which is not strong. The most restive is that of the priests of the different religious sects, who dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of day-light; and scowl on it the fatal harbinger announcing the subversion of the duperies on which they live. In this the Presbyterian clergy take the lead. The tocsin is sounded in all their pulpits, and the first alarm denounced is against the particular creed of Doctr. Cooper; and as impudently denounced as if they really knew what it is. [Letter to José Francesco Corrê a Da Serra - Monticello, April 11, 1820]
As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.
The advance of science spares us from irrational dread.