Lead, Kindly Light

Words by John H. Newman Music by John B. Dykes

"Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on.”




Dr. Newman wrote this hymn in 1833, just before he entered upon the tractarian movement in the Established Church. He had been at Rome, and stopping at Sicily on his homeward way, he there became dangerously ill of fever. Upon recovery, he took passage on an orange boat for Marseilles, being under the impression that he must return to England and begin a movement for the reformation of the Church in accord with his peculiar views. The sailing vessel was becalmed for a week in the Straits of Bonifacio, between Corsica and Sardinia. It was on this vessel and under such circumstances, his body sweltering in the heat and his mind racked with conflicting views as to his duty in the contemplated mission to the Established Church, that he penned the lines of this now cherished hymn. Its original title was ”The Pillar of the Cloud, ”the hymn appearing first in ”The British Magazine."