EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING –
“John Milton’s masque (dramatic entertainment) ‘Comus’ (1634)
gave rise to the current proverb with the lines,
‘Was I deceiv’d, or did a sable cloud/ Turn forth her silver lining on the night?’ Charles Dickens, in his novel ‘Bleak House’ (1852), recalled the lines with ‘I turn my silver lining outward like Milton’s cloud,’ and the American impresario Phineas T. Barnum first recorded the wording of the modern saying in ‘Struggles and Triumphs’ (1869) with ‘Every cloud,’ says the proverb, ‘has a silver lining.‘” From “Wise Words and Wives’ Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New” by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
Optimists see it that way. But we all know people who take the half-empty position, and they would remind us that every silver lining is surrounded by a big black cloud.
It means that a negative situation has produced something that is very positive. The very positive thing or situation is the “silver lining”. I think this comes from thunder clouds, which are often very dark and threatening but which often may have a silver gleam of sunlight along one edge – the ‘silver lining’ to the cloud. “Silver lining” comes from a proverb often heard, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” which refers literally to the storm clouds described just above and is extended to the situations described above that.
All text to this point: Phrases.org.uk.co
Tis so… Rii xx
© Photos: By Riihele. All rights reserved
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