I Watch the Sunrise

This is folk-style hymn about God's presence throughout life's seasons.

It was written by English poet, hymn-writer and at-the-time Roman Catholic seminarian / priest John Glynn (b 1948) in 1970.   It was first published in 20th Century Folk Hymnal vol 2 in 1975 under the original title "Close to You".

The song became extremely popular for both weddings and funerals, and has also been used at various memorial ceremonies (eg for the Hillsborough disaster and the Manchester bombing) and also in TV shows, soundtracks etc.   It has been recorded by a number of artists, including Daniel O'Donnell who is sometimes - incorrectly - listed as the writer.

The chorus is unusual, because a short phrase in it is different each time:  But you ...  /   For you  ...  /May I  ...     Some people find this difficult, and sing it the same way after each verse.

The song is set to an unnamed tune, written by Glynn's friend and fellow student / seminarian Colin Murphy (d 2018). This has a 4/4 time signature. In the key of C, the first few notes are G G GG G_ FGA G_ with accompanying chords C / F / C.

Sheet music can be purchased Sheet Music Plus (link below) - although this does not attribute either the author or composer.   The song is also in a number of hymnals including Hymns Old and New and Singing the Faith Plus.

Sunrise in the background, cathedral in the foreground.


Downloads

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Examples

Singer with guitar accompaniment:


Soloist with gentle backing band:


Solo singer, guitar accompaniment, demo recording:


Instrumental - organ:


Lyrics

The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:
1 I watch the sunrise lighting the sky,
... I feel those shadows near me.

Chorus:
[But] you are always close to me
Following all my ways.
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord.

2 I watch the sunlight shine through the clouds ...

For you are always close to me ...

3 I watch the sunset fading away,

For you are always close to me ...

4 I watch the moonlight guarding the sky,

Yes, you are always close to me ...

See more ...

KEEP IN CASE ORIGINAL IS REMOVED, BUT DO NOT DISPLAY
I watch the sunrise lighting the sky, casting its shadows near. And on this morning bright though it be, I feel those shadows near me. * But you are always close to me following all my ways. May I be always close to you Following all your ways, Lord. 2 I watch the sunlight shine through the clouds, Warming the earth below. And at the mid-day, life seems to say: I feel your brightness near me. * For you are always close to me Following all my ways. May I be always close to you Following all your ways, Lord. 3 I watch the sunset fading away, Lighting the clouds with sleep. And as the evening closes its eyes, I feel your presence near me. * For you are always close to me Following all my ways. May I be always close to you Following all your ways, Lord. 4 I watch the moonlight guarding the sky, Waiting till morning comes. The air is silent, earth is at rest only your peace is near me. * Yes, you are always close to me Following all my ways. May I be always close to you Following all your ways, Lord.

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Sheet Music Anywhere at Musicnotes.com