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Brian Holmes Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon (born Feb. 13, 1881, London; died June 5, 1965, Hampstead, London) was an English poet, author, and playwright. Her magical and unsentimental tales for children, often mocking the behaviour of adults, earned her a revered place in many British households. Her father, Benjamin Leopold Farjeon, was a successful writer and novelist. Her mother, Maggie Jefferson Farjeon, was the daughter of a well-known American actor. Small, quiet and shy, Eleanor grew up in the Bohemian literary and dramatic circles of late-nineteenth-century London. She attended opera and theater at four, began writing on her father's typewriter at seven, and at seventeen, came to public attention as the librettist of an opera with music composed by her brother Harry, which was produced by the Royal Academy of Music.

Her later success with Nursery Rhymes of London Town (1916), simple tunes originally for adults but adapted and sung in junior schools throughout England, encouraged her to continue writing. In addition to such favorites as Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard (1921) and The Little Bookroom (1955), which won the Carnegie Medal and the first Hans Christian Anderson Award, Farjeon's prolific writings include children's educational books, among them Kings and Queens (1932; with her brother Herbert Farjeon), adult books, and memoirs—notably A Nursery in the Nineties (1935). Eleanor Farjeon’s most familiar poem, “Morning has broken,” appears in many church hymnals and was popularized by the American singer Cat Stevens.

Return to choral music
with words by Farjeon and music by Brian Holmes:
The Brown Birds,
A Christmas Lullaby, and
The Shepherd & the King


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