CMP Review 2023-05-07

CMP Review 2023-05-07

Few of Charlotte Mason’s poems have shined more brightly in the hearts of her closest friends than “In the Light.” According to Essex Cholmondeley, the poem is among those contained in a notebook that “can probably be dated 1871.” It was first published on the front page of the December 1902 issue of The Parents’ Review. Then it found a home in The Saviour of the World, published in 1911.

In 1923, In Memoriam was published, containing essays remembering Charlotte Mason. Some were written by members of her inner circle, including Ellen Parish, whom Mason appointed as principal of the House of Education. Parish entitled her essay “Miss Mason’s Message,” and in it she explained “the source of Miss Mason’s teaching.” She included several stanzas of this poem, citing it as one of the foundational expressions of Mason’s thought.

In April 1930, Miss Parish wrote a new paper entitled “Education is the Handmaid of Religion.” It was published in the November issue of The Parents’ Review and closed with the complete text of this cherished poem by her beloved mentor.

The poem contains eight stanzas and captures a dialog between two souls. The first soul is outside the light; the second is “In the Light.” In the final stanza, the first soul expresses her desire to come join the second in the light. But she faces a serious barrier: she feels that she is too vile to enter in. The poem ends with an emotionally powerful and theologically rich response.

Written in 1871, the poem was still being published and read nearly 60 years later. But this poem continues to shine even today. A century and a half after its composition, we invite you to read or hear Miss Mason’s call to join her in the light.