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 recreation of the new day
The daughter of popular novelist Benjamin Farjeon and Maggie
(Jefferson) Farjeon, Eleanor came from a literary family, her two
younger brothers, Joseph and Herbert Farjeon being writers while the
eldest, Harry Farjeon, was a composer.
Eleanor, known to the family as "Nellie", was a small timid child who
was often sick and had poor eyesight. She was educated at home,
spending much of her time in the attic, surrounded by books. Her
father encouraged her writing from the age of five.
Although she lived much of her life among the literary and theatrical
circles of London, much of Eleanor's inspiration came from her
childhood and from family holidays. A holiday in France in 1907 was to
inspire her to create a story of a troubadour, later refashioned as
the wandering minstrel of her most famous book, "Martin Pippin in the
Apple Orchard". During World War I, the family moved to Sussex where
the landscape, villages and local traditions were to have a profound
effect upon her later writing. It was in Sussex that the Martin Pippin
stories were eventually to be located.
At eighteen Eleanor, whose maternal grandfather was the American actor
Joseph Jefferson, wrote the libretto for an operetta, Floretta, to
music by her older brother Harry, who later became a composer and
teacher of music. She also collaborated with her youngest brother,
Herbert, Shakespearian scholar and dramatic critic. Their productions
include Kings and Queens (1932), The Two Bouquets (1938), An Elephant
in Arcady (1939), The Glass Slipper (1944).
Eleanor had a wide range of friends with great literary talent
including D. H. Lawrence, Walter de la Mare and Robert Frost. For
several years she had a close friendship with the poet Edward Thomas
and his wife. After Thomas' death in April 1917 during the Battle of
Arras, she remained close to his wife, Helen. She later published much
of their correspondence, and gave a definitive account of their
relationship in Edward Thomas: The Last Four Years (1958).
After World War I Eleanor earned a living as a poet, journalist and
broadcaster.Often published under a pseudonym, Eleanor's poems
appeared in The Herald (Tomfool), Punch, Time and Tide (Chimaera), The
New Leader (Merry Andrew), Reynolds News (Tomfool), and a number of
other periodicals. Her topical work for The Herald, Reynolds News and
New Leader was the perhaps the most accomplished of any socialist poet
of the 1920s and 30s.
Eleanor never married, but had a thirty-year friendship with George
Earle, an English teacher. After his death in 1949, she had a long
friendship with the actor Denys Blakelock, who wrote of it in the book
Portrait of a Farjeon (1966).
During the 1950s she was awarded three major literary prizes: The
Carnegie Medal of the Library Association, The Hans Christian Andersen
Award and the Regina Medal of the American Catholic Library
The Children's Book Circle, a society of publishers, present the
Eleanor Farjeon Award annually in her memory.
Her work is cited as an influence by famous Japanese animator Hayao
- 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the
earth was without form and empty. And darkness was on the face of the
deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. And God
said, Let there be light. And there was light. And God saw the light
that it was good. And God divided between the light and the darkness.
And God called the light, Day. And He called the darkness, Night. And
the evening and the morning were the first day.
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