615. The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns

1 The King shall come when morning dawns
and light triumphant breaks,
when beauty gilds the eastern hills
and life to joy awakes

2 not, as of old, a little child,
to bear and fight and die,
but crowned with glory like the sun
that lights the morning sky.

3 Oh, brighter than the rising morn
when Christ, victorious, rose
and left the lonesome place of death,
despite the rage of foes

4 oh, brighter than that glorious morn
shall dawn upon our race
the day when Christ in splendor comes
and we shall see his face.

5 The King shall come when morning dawns
and light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray:
come quickly, King of kings.

Text Information
First Line: The king shall come when morning dawns
Title: The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns
Translator: John Brownlie (1907, alt.)
Meter: CM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ;
Topic: King, God/Christ as; Return of Christ; The New Creation (3 more...)
Source: Greek
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Jack Grotenhuis (1983)
Meter: CM
Key: f minor
Source: J. Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813
Copyright: Harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Luke 21:25-28, 2 Pet. 1:19
st. 5 = Rev. 22:20

Infused with the imagery of morning light typical of early Greek hymnody, this Advent text stirs hope in the hearts of all who look forward to the return of Christ. “The King Shall Come” is a confession of faith in the sure return of our Lord; his coming again will occur in a blaze of glory, which will far surpass his earthly death and resurrection. The text concludes with a paraphrase of the ancient prayer of the church--"Maranatha," or "Lord, come quickly" (Rev. 22:20).

The text was included in Hymns from the East (1907), a collection by John Brownlie (b. Glasgow, Scotland, 1859; d. Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, 1925) of translations and what he called "suggestions" of devotional material from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Because no Greek original has ever been found, scholars now assume that the text is not a translation but a "suggestion": an original text by Brownlie that reflects his wide knowledge of Greek hymnody. The Psalter Hymnal includes the original stanzas 1, 4 and 7.

A Presbyterian pastor in the Free Church of Scotland, Brownlie was educated at Glasgow University and at the Free Church College. He served for many years as pastor of the Free Church of Portpatrick, Wigtownshire. Brownlie's contribution to church music was significant: he published three volumes of original hymn texts, including Pilgrim Songs (1892); he wrote a handbook (1899) to the 1898 edition of the Scottish Presbyterian hymnal, The Church Hymnary; and he published several volumes of English translations of Greek and Latin hymns, including Hymns from East and West (1898) and Hymns from the East (1907).

Liturgical Use:
An eschatological text suitable as a morning hymn anytime in the church year, but especially for services (during Advent) that focus on Christ's return.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

MORNING SONG is a folk tune that has some resemblance to the traditional English tune for "Old King Cole." The tune appeared anonymously in Part II of John Wyeth's (PHH 486) Repository of Sacred Music (1813). In 1816 it was credited to "Mr. Dean," which some scholars believe was a misprinted reference to Elkanah K. Dare, a composer who contributed more than a dozen tunes to Wyeth's Repository. In the original harmonization the melody was in the tenor. The tune is also known as CONSOLATION (and KENTUCKY HARMONY), its title in Ananias Davisson's Kentucky Harmony (1816), where it was set to Isaac Watts' morning song, "Once More, My Soul, the Rising Day."

Jack Grotenhuis (PHH 17) composed the harmonization in Tempe, Arizona, in late November 1983 (a few weeks before his death). The Episcopal Hymnal 1982 provides two additional settings. The music is suitable for either unison singing (especially on st. 1, 5) or part singing (especially on st. 2-4). The tune requires a sense of two long phrases rather than four short ones.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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