Posted by ESC on March 14, 2003
In Reply to: Torch song posted by Miri Barak on March 14, 2003
: I would like the origin of this expression. I know it's
an unrequited love, but why is it called in that name?
: Thank you
It probably comes from this expression:
TO CARRY THE TORCH FOR ONE - "It is the torch of love that is understood in this modern American term, though sometimes no more than the torch of loyalty, for the 'torchbearer' is one who is loud in his praise of a friend. But the torch has long been an emblem of enlightenment and of burning devotion, and, in 1775, Richard Sheridan used the expression, 'The torch of love,' in his epilog to 'The Rivals.'" From "A Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funk (1948, Harper & Row, New York).
I am guessing that the expression comes from the time when people actually did carry torches at night.