better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Often claimed to be an ancient Chinese proverb. Also often misattributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Earliest known usage is a 1907 sermon by English preacher William Lonsdale Watkinson.[1][2]

Proverb[edit]

better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness

  1. Even in the face of hopelessness and discontent, it is more worthwhile to do some good, however small, in response, than to complain about the situation.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Watkinson, William Lonsdale (1907), “Sermon XIV: The Invincible Strategy, (Romans: xii, 21)”, in The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America by W. L. Watkinson[1], F. H. Revell Company
  2. ^ O'Toole, Garson (19 March 2017), “Better to Light a Candle Than to Curse the Darkness”, in Quote Investigator[2], retrieved 16 September 2022