Morning has Broken

This is a folk-style hymn of thankfulness, based around about God being revealed in the natural world/creation.   It was inspired by observations in the village of Alfriston in East Sussex in England. 

The words were written by English poet and children's author, Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965).   She was raised in a bohemian-oriented, Jewish-Christian household, but not an active member of any particular denomination until she became Roman Catholic in 1951 (ref).   However she was an established poet, and was commissioned to write this as a "hymn to give thanks for each day" by the editors in the 1931 edition of the English low-church/children's hymnal, Songs of Praise.

With meter D, the words were written for a traditional Scotts-Gaelic tune.  This was first used as a hymn for the original Scots-language version of Child in the Manger, and later named BUNESSAN when an English-language translation of that hymn was made in the 1880s.  The tune has also been used for other hymns including Christ be Beside Me and This Day God Gives Me.

These timings mean that while the tune is now in the public domain, the words are still copyright and will remain so until a certain time (currently 70 / 71 years in many countries) after 1966.

In 1971, British pop singer-songwriter Cat Stevens released a version of the song on the album Teaser and the Firecat. This reached number two and achieved gold record status within three weeks of its release in the United States, vastly increasing the exposure of both the song and tune - and causing many people to (incorrectly) believe that Stevens wrote both, and to regard it as primarily a folk/pop song, not a hymn.

Public domain image from Pickist


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Cat Steven's classic recording, with guitar-led band and words on screen:

Singer with gentle Celtic band:

Small choir with piano, recorded in a warehouse - words on screen one line at a time:

Worship band (1990s?), live recording

Large church choir with congregation and organ

Instrumental - guitar:

Instrumental - organ, with words on-screen:

Instrumental - piano:


The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:
1 Morning has broken like the first morning ...

2 Sweet the rain's new fall sunlit from heaven ...

3 Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning ...

See more ...

1 Morning has broken like the first morning,
blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!

2 Sweet the rain's new fall sunlit from heaven,
like the first dew-fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

3 Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise ev'ry morning,
God's re-creation of the new day!

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