This poem, ‘Lead, Kindly Light!’ which is often used as a hymn, belongs to Newman’s early years. In it he asks God for inspiration and guidance (symbolized by ‘light’) for his future course of life (‘path’). It was one of the favorite poems of Mahatma Gandhi and was often recited at his prayers meetings. Newman prays for the kindly light to lead him amidst the encircling gloom; also night and dark: symbolizes Newman’s ignorance. To lead him on for the night is dark and he is far from home; also a distant scene: symbolizes ‘correct way of life’: also ‘heaven’. Guide his feet to walk in the path of truth and holiness for one improvement in understanding.
The second stanza refers to the time when Newman was proud of his intelligence, which he no longer trusts. In the olden days he chose to tread his own path in life and never desired for God to take control over his life. His younger days were ruled by pride and loved the garish moments; bright but lacking deep meaning; yet tormented by unknown fears. He no longer wishes to remember those past years.
It only till this present day that Newman experience the power of God which has blessed him abundantly and will still lead him on. Through the moor, fen, crag and torrent; symbolize spiritual dangers; till the night is gone; ignorance and suffering: also power of evil. When the morning comes, he would see the faces of the angels smiling; something that he lost in his younger years yet discovered them after a patient longing at the post repentance period.