Olive Schreiner Quotes

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Love, smoke and a cough cannot long be hid!

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


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.

genius has no limit of sex or race.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.