Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Morning Has Broken, a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: July 21, 2013

morning has broken
Morning Has Broken

Music from Traditional Hymn, “Bunessan”
Poem by Eleanor Farjeon
Illustrated by Tim Ladwig


I’ve searched around for instrumental tracks, but so far they are all either bad keys for singing, too close to the Cat Stevens version, too slow…just for one reason or another, I don’t like them.  I do so LOVE the Cat Stevens recording, but if I’m going to sing the song for children, I’m not really interested in singing someone else’s brilliant version.

Right now it looks like I’ll have music made for it since this song is so beautiful, it deserves the best treatment.


Sing-along with Emily:


Morning Has Broken wiki:

Poem’s page on, inlcudes some interesting commentary:

Some info about illustrator Tim Ladwig, here:


A video of the recording by Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens sings live:

I absolutely LOVE this a capella recording by Lydia Gray:


Hymn by Eleanor Farjeon
Music from Traditional Hymn, “Bunessan”

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 dew fall
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.


One of my favorite pictures in the book has a boy running into a garden and toward a fountain that I immediately recognized.  I’d come upon this “secret” garden inside Central Park one day and still remember the glow of the garden in the sun and my delight in looking upon this exuberant fountain sculpture.  When living in NYC, I loved exploring Central Park and was always deeply enchanted by the treasures that I found, including the Conservatory Gardens and the Untermyer Fountain of the Three Dancing Ladies (1910 by Walter Schott, placed in The Park in 1947). The Untermyer Fountain is located in the Conservatory Garden of Central Park (near around 103/106th streets along 5th Avenue side of Central Park).

untermyer fountain three dancing ladies
Three Dancing Ladies (1910 by Walter Schott, 1947), Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC

Official Website of Central Park page for Conservatory Garden with a grand picture of the Untermyer Fountain (plus a description and historical information),

Central Park website with a little blurb about Untermyer Fountain:

I found a gorgeous picture of the fountain here:

Thoughts from Emily, 8/31/2013

This is one of those songs about which my cup runneth over.  Cat Steven’s Greatest Hits Album is so woven into my college experience that hearing just a few bars any song brings me back to my college dorm and I’m 20 years old again.  Cat Steven’s MORNING HAS BROKEN was the only version that I knew of and I was surprised to learn that it was usually sung as a hymn, words written as poetry and set the tune of an even older hymn.  Learning the history of a song is a great joy for me in crafting it for performance.

I also love to study the words and find parallels with other songs.  Reading the words for MORNING HAS BROKEN frequently brings me to think about the jubilant words of, an even OLDER song, THE FLOWER CAROL also called “Tempus adest floridum” .  The tune of FLOWER CAROL will likely sound familiar to the listener as GOOD KING WENCESLAS, but it was originally (or used first) for THE FLOWER CAROL, the words for which are celebratory and full of praise and thanks to the Creator for the rebirth of a new day and the beauty of the earth.

Addendum, 7/13/2017

I’m always interested in the origins of a song.  Eleanor Farjeon wrote MORNING HAS BROKEN as a children’s hymn, setting her own text to the original Scottish tune called “Bunessan,” in 1931.  Psalm 118:24 serves as the poem’s inspiration.

At some point in my religious education, I’d been advised to repeat “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” a slightly altered version of Psalm 118:24, as a great way to start a day with joy and gratitude.

I thought whenever the opportunity arose to sing this song, I’d make a nice poster of this good advice to share with the children before singing the book.

To accompany the song MORNING HAS BROKEN
Psalm 118-24 Rejoice in It (Morning Has Broken)
Psalm 118:24 (for the song Morning Has Broken)
Page Coordinated by ELEG for SBWE
To view or print this page, click here:
Psalm 118-24 Rejoice in It (Morning Has Broken)

Related Posts




Celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty, being green, and environmental stewardship with this lovely list of Singable Picture Books:


Singable Picture Books related to some of my favorite places on earth!


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