The King shall come when morning dawns

Representative Text

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 O brighter than the rising morn
when He, victorious, rose
and left the lonesome place of death,
despite the rage of foes.

4 O brighter than that glorious morn
shall this fair morning be,
when Christ, our King, in beauty comes,
and we His face shall see.

5 The King shall come when morning dawns
and earth's dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
the day that aye shall last.

6 And let the endless bliss begin,
by weary saints foretold,
when right shall triumph over wrong,
and truth shall be extolled.

7 The King shall come when morning dawns,
and light and beauty brings;
"Hail, Christ the Lord!" Thy people pray,
come quickly, King of kings!

Source: Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #221

Author: John Brownlie

Brownlie, John, was born at Glasgow, Aug. 6, 1857, and was educated at Glasgow University, and at the Free Church College in the same city. In 1884 he was licensed by the Presbytery of Glasgow; in 1885 he became Assistant Minister of the Free Church, Portpatrick, and on the death of the Senior Minister in 1890 he entered upon the full charge of the Church there. He has interested himself in educational matters, became a Member of the local School Board in 1888, a governor of Stranraer High School in 1897, and Chairman of the governors in 1901. His hymnological works are:— 1. The Hymns and Hymnwriters of the [Scottish] Church Hymnary, 1899. This is a biographical, historical, and critical companion to that hymnal, and is well done and… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The King shall come when morning dawns
Author: John Brownlie (1907)
Source: Greek
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


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



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 referen…

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