What are piteous?

Famous quotes containing the word piteous:

    And then the man whom Sorrow named his friend
    Cried out, Dim sea, hear my most piteous story!
    The sea swept on and cried her old cry still,
    Rolling along in dreams from hill to hill.
    He fled the persecution of her glory....
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)

    This is only a most piteous pretense of sleep!
    Charlotte Mew (1870–1928)

    He raised a sigh so piteous and profound
    That it did seem to shatter all his bulk
    And end his being.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)