The Story Behind Morning Has Broken
The hymn originally appeared in the second edition of Songs of Praise (published in 1931), to the tune "Bunessan," composed in the Scottish Islands. In Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor, Percy Dearmer, explains that as there was a need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children's author Eleanor Farjeon had been "asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune." A slight variation on the original hymn, also written by Eleanor Farjeon, can be found in the form of a poem contributed to the anthology Children's Bells, under Farjeon's new title, "A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)," published by Oxford University Press in 1957. The song is noted in 9/4 time but with a 3/4 feel.
"Bunessan" had been found in L. McBean's Songs and Hymns of the Gael, published in 1900. Before Farjeon's words, the tune was used as a Christmas carol, which began "Child in the manger, Infant of Mary," translated from the Scottish Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the James Quinn hymns, "Christ Be Beside Me" and "This Day God Gives Me," both of which were adapted from the traditional Irish hymn St. Patrick's Breastplate. Another Christian hymn, "Baptized In Water," borrows the tune.
Popular Hymn Lyrics with Story and Meaning
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Jesus Loves Me
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Nearer My God to Thee
Abide with Me
His Eye is On the Sparrow
Be Thou My Vision
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty