Lead, kindly Light

In 1833, a young English man named John Henry Newman was sick while in Italy and was unable to travel back to England for almost three weeks. One day, he somehow began to sob bitterly and when asked what ails him, could only answer “I I have a work to do in England”. At last he got off in a boat, but were becalmed for whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio, and it was there that he wrote the poem which have since become a well known hymn ‘Lead, Kindly Light’. To make long story short, Newman did come back to England and did his job. Splendidly, I dare say.

The first part of the poem:

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,

lead Thou me on!

The night is dark, and I am far from home,

lead Thou me on!

Keep Thou my feet;

I do not ask to see The distant scene;

one step enough for me.

The Indonesian version, as found in Kidung Jemaat 411:

Ya Cahya kasih, jalanku kelam,

o bimbinglah!

Rumahku jauh, gelap pun mencekam,

o bimbinglah!

Tak usah nampak jalanku,

Cukup selangkah saja bagiku.

Here is a version of the hymn, sung by the Wells Cathedral Choir.

There is also a more popular version, as found in KJ 411. But I prefer the former, as it has a rather sad feeling in it, which suits the words ‘encircling gloom’ well.

 * the sentence ‘one step enough for me’ rather reminds me of the random walk / Markov chain. It was Chris who first pointed out this relation.


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