"Better to light a/one candle than to curse the darkness" (1940)

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Sat May 22 06:34:18 UTC 2004

OT: "WAR IS HELL"--Gregory Titelman says this was used in Shakespeare.  The 
sentiment is not new.  Maybe it's from Greece and Troy?
LIGHT A CANDLE + CURSE THE DARKNESS--14,800 Google hits, 5,410 Google Groups 
LIGHT ONE CANDLE + CURSE THE DARKNESS--2,300 Google hits, 3,590 Google Groups 
   This is often given as a "Chinese Proverb," but it suddenly shows up in 
the United States only around WWII.  I haven't checked ProQuest Historical 
Newspapers yet.
   This is one of my favorite phrases.
448. Christopher Society. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of ...
... of which is an old Chinese proverb.—Bergen Evans, Dictionary of 
Quotations, p.
87, no. ... She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her 
www.bartleby.com/73/448.html - 18k - Cached - Similar pages 
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations.  1989. 
NUMBER: 448 
AUTHOR: Christopher Society 
QUOTATION:  It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.   
ATTRIBUTION:    Christopher Society, motto, the sentiment of which is an old 
Chinese proverb.—Bergen Evans, Dictionary of Quotations, p. 87, no. 7 (1968).

  “I have lost more than a beloved friend. I have lost an inspiration. She 
would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the 
world.”—Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tribute 
to Eleanor Roosevelt after her death on November 7, 1962, as reported by The 
New York Times, November 8, 1962, p. 34.   

 Frederick Post - 7/8/1940  
...trip up THE and THE Potomac. Away from THE gnats, THE heat and THE dust, 
THE.....THE city on THE 9th, reconnoitering on THE 10th, and THE attack on THE 
Frederick, Maryland Monday, July 08, 1940  868 k    
Pg. 4, col. 7:
_Strength For Today_
By Earl L. Douglass, D. D.
   China has been suffering a great deal the past few years as the scourge of 
war has stamped the life of its people into the earth.  What many do not 
realize is that Chinese leadership, driven from the seaboard, has led a great trek 
into the interior and has there set up a new and better empire.
   One of the leaders of new China said to a friend of mine recently, "I had 
rather light a candle in the darkness than to curse the darkness."  There he 
is, far from the surroundings amid which he was born and reared, and he prides 
himself that his daily task is to hold aloft one lightened candle that men may 
find their way through the darkness.
   Many people curse the darkness.  They say it is unjust.  They accuse God 
of being either weak or heedless in a world where evil often prevails over 
good.  But there are others who light a candle and hold it nigh above their heads. 
 They are not able to do much, perhaps, but at the midnight hour they can 
keep their faith, they can be cheerful, they can be courageous; and this helps to 
light others along the pathway and save them from the precipice.
   Cursing never does any good.  If darkness is round about you, light 
whatever candle you have and hold it as high as you can.  The higher you hold it, 
the wider will be the radius of its light.
(Copyright  Babson Newspaper Synd.)
Sheboygan Press - 10/3/1941     
...THEy believe it is better to LIGHT A cAndle thAn to CURSE THE dA
rkness.....THE congress of THE United StAtes to THE AcceptAnce of THE principle of THE..
Sheboygan, Wisconsin Friday, October 03, 1941  950 k   
Pg. 6, col. 5: 
    Some very good Americans cannot sit still and do nothing, even though 
they suspect that single individuals cannot do much.  They believe it is better 
to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
("THE BUSINESS AT HAND" by Elizabeth Henderson, Pittsburgh newspaper woman 
and author of "War's End," poems, short stories and other writings--ed.)   
Bismarck Tribune - 11/8/1941    
...Worship o'clock. "Better to LIGHT A CAndle ThAn to CURSE THE DA
rkness.....Byington plAys THE comicAl Bridget, THE rolA THE creAted on THE New York..
Bismarck, North Dakota   Saturday, November 08, 1941  824 k     
Pg. 8, col. 1:
   Second and Thayer
   "Better to Light a Candle Than to Curse the Darkness"--Armistice Day 
Coshocton Tribune - 3/30/1943   
...proverb "It is better to LIGHT A cAndle thAn to CURSE THE dArkness." 
Miss.....bound by THE "no-strike" Agreement on THE ground thAt THE wAr lAbor boArd 
Coshocton, Ohio Tuesday, March 30, 1943  814 k      
Pg. 8, col. 3:
   Miss Green chose as her subject an old Chinese proverb--"It is better to 
light a candle than to curse the darkness."
(Rotary meeting speech--ed.)
Bradford Era - 5/12/1945    
...Sam in uniform, not Friends, "than to CURSE THE DARKNESS." That i ir 
overalls.....T, Sgt. William bless THEm that CURSE you. do good put against which 
Bradford, Pennsylvania Saturday, May 12, 1945  644 k    
Pg. 6, col. 1:
   "It is better to light a candle," says the Service Committee of the 
American Friends, "than to curse the darkness."  That is what the San Francisco 
conference is trying to do.
Times Recorder - 11/3/1945  
...club. THE meeting THEme wAs to LIGHT A CAndle ThAn CURSE THE DArkness. wAs 
THE.....Frizzell home wAs -.'-'y converted for THE evening THE Home with 
entering THE..
Zanesville, Ohio Saturday, November 03, 1945  874 k     
Pg. 3, col. 6:
   Mrs. Paul Morrison was hostess Wednesday to members of the Maysville 
Country club.  The meeting theme was "Better to Light a Candle Than Curse the 

(O.T.:  O.K.  "Candle in the wind."  I'll burn the Chicago Tribune!--ed.)

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