Shobha, look, beautiful it is! Yeah Sulekha! There’s a sense of homecoming and peace that’s almost visible! Don’t forget the light! It sort of draws attention with its brilliance! Of course! Reminds me of two things. What two things? Newman’s words that became a favorite comforting hymn. Guess it? Of course. Lead Kindly Light! Yes and the other is Portia’s speech in Merchant of Venice. The quality of mercy discourse? Nope, the one about a candle when she returns home. Hmmm , I remember it! She compares the light of candle and that of the moon! Right. I never forgot it!
*In 1833, the young theologian and Anglican vicar John Henry Newman (1801-90) was traveling in the Mediterranean when he was struck down by a fever that nearly killed him. ‘My servant thought I was dying and begged for my last directions,’ he recalled in his autobiography. ‘I gave them as he wished, but I said, “I shall not die, for I have not sinned against light.”‘ Newman recovered slowly, but felt desperately homesick. On the way back to England, he took an orange boat from Palermo to Marseilles which was becalmed in the Straits of Bonifacio. Thus stranded, in an exhausted and emotional state, Newman was impelled to write this verse as a meditative poem called ‘The Pillar of the Cloud’, expressive of his longing for consoling Christian certainties in an age of mounting doubt.
*PORTIA: That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
NERISSA: When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
PORTIA: So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark! (MERCHANT OF VENICE ACT 5 SCENE 1)