Words: , 1833 (verses 1-3); , Hymn­al Com­pan­ion (verse 4).

Music: Lux Be­nig­na, , 1865. Al­ter­nate tune:

  • Sandon, , 1857

While tra­vel­ing in Ita­ly as a young priest, John New­man fell ill and stayed at Castle Gi­o­van­ni al­most three weeks. Fi­nal­ly, he was well enough con­tin­ue his jour­ney to Pa­ler­mo:

Before start­ing from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bit­ter­ly. My ser­vant, who had act­ed as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only an­swer, “I have a work to do in En­gland.” I was ach­ing to get home, yet for want of a ves­sel I was kept at Pa­ler­mo for three weeks. I began to vis­it the church­es, and they calmed my im­pa­tience, though I did not at­tend any ser­vices. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Mar­seilles. We were be­calmed for whole week in the Straits of Bon­i­fa­cio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, “Lead, Kind­ly Light,” which have since be­come so well known.

Lead, kindly Light, amid 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.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.