Quotes by Olive Schreiner

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Power! Did you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls should have power or not? It is born in them. You may dam up the fountain of water, and make it a stagnant marsh, or you may let it run free and do its work; but you cannot say whether it shall be there; it is there. And it will act, if not openly for good, then covertly for evil; but it will act. more...

My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those who are sad. more...

Slavery may, perhaps, be best compared to the infantile disease of measles; a complaint which so commonly attacks the young of humanity in their infancy, and when gone through at that period leaves behind it so few fatal marks; but which when it normally attacks the fully developed adult becomes one of the most virulent and toxic of diseases, often permanently poisoning the constitution where it does not end in death. more...

Marriage for love is the most beautiful external symbol of the union of souls; marriage without it is the least clean traffic that defiles the world. more...

We all enter the world little plastic beings, with so much natural force, perhaps, but for the rest-blank; and the world tells uswhat we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says-Work; and to us it says-Seem! To you it says-As you approximate to man's highest ideal of God, as your arm is strong and your knowledge great, and the power to labour is with you, so you shall gain all that human heart desires. To us it says-Strength shall not help you, nor knowledge, nor labour. You shall gain what men gain, but by other means. And so the world makes men and women. more...

[Finishing schools] are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, "Into how little space a human being can be crushed?" I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move . . . more...

To us, from the beginning, Nature has been but a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or that, as man happens to please his deity or not; to go to church or not; to say his prayers right or not; to travel on a Sunday or not.Was it possible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is-the flowing vestment of an unchanging reality? more...

They are called finishing-schools and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything. more...

If Nature here wishes to make a mountain, she runs a range for five hundred miles; if a plain, she levels eighty; if a rock, she tilts five thousand feet of strata on end; our skies are higher and more intensely blue; our waves larger than others; our rivers fiercer. There is nothing measured, small nor petty in South Africa. more...

The secret of success is concentration ... Taste everything a little, look at everything a little; but live for one thing. more...

The full African moon poured down its light from the blue sky into the wide, lonely plain. more...

No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted. more...

Our fathers had their dreams; we have ours; the generation that follows will have its own. Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist. more...

There was never a great man who had not a great mother. more...

Perhaps the old monks were right when they tried to root love out; perhaps the poets are right when they try to water it. It is a blood-red flower, with the color of sin; but there is always the scent of a god about it. more...

How hard it is to make your thoughts look anything but imbecile fools when you paint them with ink on paper. more...

It is finer to bring one noble human being into the world and rear it well... than to kill ten thousand. more...

Everything has two sides - the outside that is ridiculous, and the inside that is solemn. more...

Power! Did you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls should have power or not? It is born in them. more...

We were equals once when we lay new-born babes on our nurse's knees. We will be equal again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep. more...

Men are like the earth and we are the moon; we turn always one side to them, and they think there is no other, because they don't see it - but there is. more...

A child sees everything, looks straight at it, examines it, without any preconceived idea; most people, after they are about eleven or twelve, quite lose this power, they see everything through a few preconceived ideas which hang like a veil between them and the outer world. more...

Ones real deathless wealth is all the beautiful souls one has seen and spiritually touched. more...

When the curtain falls no one is ready more...

No woman has the right to marry a man if she has to bend herself out of shape for him. She might wish to, but she could never be to him with all her passionate endeavor what the other woman could be to him without trying. Character will dominate over all and will come out at last. more...

We have been so blinded by thinking and feeling that we have never seen the World. more...

Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can't bring down. more...

There are some of us who in after years say to Fate, 'Now deal us your hardest blow, give us what you will; but let us never again suffer as we suffered when we were children.' The barb in the arrow of childhood's suffering is this: its intense loneliness, its intense ignorance. more...

If the bird does like its cage, and does like its sugar and will not leave it, why keep the door so very carefully shut? more...

Soul, what have I to do with you? more...

Now we have no God. We have had two: the old God that our fathers handed down to us, that we hated, and never liked; the new one that we made for ourselves, that we loved; but now he has flitted away from us, and we see what he was made of - the shadow of our highest ideal, crowned and throned. Now we have no God. more...

The surest sign of fitness is success. more...

There are only two things that are absolute realities, love and knowledge, and you can't escape them. more...

There's something beautiful about finding one's innermost thoughts in another. more...

The troubles of the young are soon over; they leave no external mark. If you wound the tree in its youth the bark will quickly cover the gash; but when the tree is very old, peeling the bark off, and looking carefully, you will see the scar there still. All that is buried is not dead. more...

A little weeping, a little wheedling, a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then some man will say .Come, be my wife! With good looks and youth marriage is easy to attain. There are men enough; but a woman who has sold herself, even for a ring and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street. They both earn their bread in one way. Marriage for love is the most beautiful external symbol of the union of souls; marriage without it is the least clean traffic that defiles the world. more...

I think if I were dying and I heard of an act of injustice, it would start me up to a moment's life again. more...

I know there will be spring, as surely as the birds know it when they see above the snow two tiny, quivering green leaves. Spring cannot fail us. more...

For those of us who have a ground of knowledge which we cannot transmit to outsiders, it is perhaps more profitable to act fearlessly than to argue. more...

genius has no limit of sex or race. more...

One has no right to form ideals of people, and then, because they don't justify them, become bitter. more...

The nations which have received and in any way dealt fairly and mercifully with the Jew have prospered, and the nations that have tortured and oppressed him have written out their own curse. more...

I am always thirsting for beautiful, beautiful, beautiful music. I wish I could make it. Perhaps there isn't any music on earth like what I picture to myself. more...

It is the swimmer who first leaps into the frozen stream who is cut sharpest by the ice; those who follow him find it broken, and the last find it gone. It is the men or women who first tread down the path which the bulk of humanity will ultimately follow, who must find themselves at last in solitudes where the silence is deadly. more...

God said, 'When one man and one woman shine together, it makes the most perfect light. more...

the brain works better if the hand works too. more...

Men's bodies are our women's works of art. Given to us power of control, we will never carelessly throw them in to fill up the gaps in human relationships made by international ambitions and greeds ... War will pass when intellectual culture and activity have made possible to the female an equal share in the governance of modern national life; it will probably not pass away much sooner; its extinction will not be delayed much longer. more...

We have always borne part of the weight of war, and the major part ... Men have made boomerangs, bows, swords, or guns with which to destroy one another; we have made the men who destroyed and were destroyed! ... We pay the first cost on all human life. more...

No woman who is a woman says of a human body, 'it is nothing' ... On this one point, and on this point alone, the knowledge of woman, simply as woman, is superior to that of man; she knows the history of human flesh; she knows its cost; he does not. more...

A word may become so defiled by bad use that it will take a century before it can be purifed, and brought into use again. more...

There is no door at which the hand of woman has knocked for admission into a new field of toil but there have been found on the other side the hands of strong and generous men eager to turn it for her, almost before she knocks. more...

We are a race of women that of old knew no fear and feared no death, and lived great lives and hoped great hopes; and if today some of us have fallen on evil and degenerate times, there moves in us yet the throb of the old blood. more...

Love, smoke and a cough cannot long be hid! more...

Love that has been given to you is too sacred a thing to be talked of to anyone ... except just to the person who is like part of you and who will feel it as you do. more...

... marriage has been a very rich and beautiful development of my life. Month by month as we live together we seem to come nearer to each other; and to feel a more complete fellowship. I do not feel that it in any way fetters or narrows my world: - it seems rather to enlarge it ... more...

Without dreams and phantoms man cannot exist. more...

There's something so beautiful in coming on one's very inmost thoughts in another. In one way it is one of the greatest pleasures one has. more...

A child sees everything, looks straight at it, examines it, without any preconceived idea.... more...

We bear the world and we make it... There was never a great man who had not a great mother - it is hardly an exaggeration. more...

A little weeping, a little wheedling, a little self-degradation, a little careful use of our advantages, and then some man will say Come, be my wife! With good looks and youth marriage is easy to attain. There are men enough; but a woman who has sold herself, even for a ring and a new name, need hold her skirt aside for no creature in the street. They both earn their bread in one way. Marriage for love is the beautifullest external symbol of the union of souls; marriage without it is the uncleanliest traffic that defiles the world. more...

Of all cursed places under the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge, a girl's boarding-school is the worst. They are called finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything but imbecility and weakness, and that they cultivate. They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, Into how little space a human being can be crushed? I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move there-wide room. more...

I have no conscience, none, but I would not like to bring a soul into this world. When it sinned and when it suffered something like a dead hand would fall on me, You did it, you, for your own pleasure you created this thing! See your work! If it lived to be eighty it would always hang like a millstone round my neck, have the right to demand good from me, and curse me for its sorrow. A parent is only like to God: if his work turns out bad so much the worse for him; he dare not wash his hands of it. Time and years can never bring the day when you can say to your child, Soul, what have I to do with you? more...

[Finishing schools] are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, Into how little space a human being can be crushed? I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move... more...

We all enter the world little plastic beings, with so much natural force, perhaps, but for the rest -blank; and the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. more...

The troubles of the young are soon over; they leave no external mark. If you wound the tree in its youth the bark will quickly cover the gash; but when the tree is very old, peeling the bark off... you will see the scar there still. more...


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