Morning Has Broken

From the book "Lead, Kindly Light"  (Reproduced with kind permission of ‘This England’ magazine)

Eleanor Farjeon (1881 – 1965), or “Nellie” as she was known in her family, was the only daughter in an extremely talented and artistic family. She spent much of her childhood in a fantasy world. Her father’s library held over 8,000 books and when she wasn’t reading, she and her eldest brother Harry played an imaginative game they had invented. It was not until Eleanor was in her late twenties that Harry, no doubt realizing the harm the game had done, refused to play it any more and released his sister into the real world. This escape from fantasy had the effect of making Eleanor painfully shy outside the immediate family circle and she became very self-conscious about her own appearance.

Eleanor had started writing at the age of five and was encouraged by her father who, despite the pressures of his own work, always seemed to find time to guide his children with their prodigious talents. He gave each of them a book in which they could write poems, plays and stories and when he felt that something they had written was particularly good they had the honor of copying it out into a large volume that he kept on his desk. Eleanor loved and admired her father and had his same passionate interest in theatre, music and literature.

Although, at home, Eleanor was a witty and lively conversationalist, she had no real confidence in herself. She was nearly thirty before she “gave life a chance to grab her”. One of her brothers introduced her to some of his friends and gradually she began to emerge from her cocoon of shyness.

In later life she was a respected and popular writer surrounded by friends and family and her much-loved cats. Eleanor took great joy in life. She had so many friends because she had the great gift of making people feel they were special. Although there were some so-called friends who took advantage of her kindness, she never minded, and her love of people and all God’s creatures was never spoiled by swans who turned out to be geese.

Although Eleanor had been brought up in a God-fearing household, she was never instructed in any particular religious beliefs. Her writing often had spiritual themes and it was only in her later life that she felt she started to understand her own beliefs. Although she personally always yearned to be a “serious” poet, Eleanor will always be best known for her children’s books and poems, and the hymn “Morning has Broken”. All her life she remained a child at heart believing that “childhood is one of the states of eternity”. (See Matthew 18:2-4).


Morning Has Broken

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.


Sweet the rain’s new fall,

Sunlit from heaven

Like the first dewfall

On the first grass.

Praise for the sweetness

Of the wet garden,

Sprung in completeness

Where His feet pass.


Mine is the sunlight!

Mine is the morning,

Born of the one light

Eden saw play!

Praise with elation,

Praise every morning

God’s re-creation

Of the new day!