Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Louise Ramé, preferred to be called Marie Louise de la Ramée
You cannot secure love by vigilance, by environment, by captivity. What use is it to keep the person of a man beside you if his soul be truant from you?
Who has passed by the gates of disillusion has died twice.
When Fame stands by us all alone, she is an angel clad in light and strength; but when Love touches her she drops her sword, and fades away, ghostlike and ashamed.
What we love once, we love forever. Shall there be joy in heaven over those who repent, yet no forgiveness for them upon earth?
What is failure except feebleness? And what is it to miss one’s mark except to aim widely and weakly?
We only see clearly when we have reached the depths of woe.
Verily, virtue must be her own reward, as in the Socratic creed; for she will bring no other dower than peace of conscience in her gift to whosoever weds her. “I have loved justice, and fled from iniquity; wherefore here I die in exile,” said Hildebrand upon his death-bed.
To suffer woes which hope thinks infinite. To forgive wrongs darker than death or night. To defy power which seems omnipotent. To love and live to hope till hope creates from its own wreck the thing it contemplates. Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent.
This had been the higher, diviner way which she had missed, this obligation from the passion of the past which she had left unfulfilled, unaccepted.
There is no more terrible woe upon earth than the woe of the stricken brain, which remembers the days of its strength, the living light of its reasons, the sunrise of its proud intelligence, and knows that these have passed away like a tale that is told.
There is no knife that cuts so sharply and with such poisoned blade as treachery.
There is more courage needed oftentimes to accept the onward flow of existence, bitter as the waters of Marah, black and narrow as the channel of Jordan, than there is ever needed to bow down the neck to the sweep of the death-angel’s sword.
There are wrongs for which religion makes no provision, and of which it has no comprehension.
There are many moments in friendship, as in love, when silence is beyond words. The faults of our friend may be clear to us, but it is well to seem to shut our eyes to them. Friendship is usually treated by the majority of mankind as a tough and everlasting thing which will survive all manner of bad treatment. But this is an exceedingly great and foolish error; it may die in an hour of a single unwise word; its conditions of existence are that it should be dealt with delicately and tenderly, being as it is a sensitive plant and not a roadside thistle. We must not expect our friend to be above humanity.
The song that we hear with our ears is only the song that is sung in our hearts.
The loss of our illusions is the only loss from which we never recover.
The joy of a strong nature is as cloudless as its suffering is desolate.
The greatness of a race is a thing far higher than mere pride. Its instincts are noble and supreme. Its obligations are no less than its privileges; it is a great light which streams backward through the darkness of the ages, and if by that light you guide not your footsteps, then are you thrice accursed, holding as you do that lamp of honor in your hands.
The fire of true enthusiasm is like the fires of Baku, which no water can ever quench, and which burn steadily on from night to day, and year to year, because their well-spring is eternal.
The bread of bitterness is the food on which men grow to their fullest stature; the waters of bitterness are the debatable ford through which they reach the shores of wisdom; the ashes boldly grasped and eaten without faltering are the price that must be paid for the golden fruit of knowledge.