James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
The morning dawns upon the place. J. Montgomery. [Passiontide.] Published in his Greenland and Other Poems, 1819, p. 181, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines and headed "Christ's Passion." In Cotterill's Selection 1819, No. 223, it is headed "For Good Friday." In his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 492, Montgomery gave it in a revised form in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, the omitted lines being stanza iv. 1ines 1-4.
“He dies:—the veil is rent in twain:
Darkness o'er all the land is spread:
High without tempest rolls the main:
Earth quakes: the graves give up their dead."
The 1825 text was repeated with slight variations in Montgomery's Original Hymns, 1853, No. 61, and is that usually given in the hymn-hooks both in Great Britain and America. Sometimes the text is abbreviated.