"Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" is a song with music by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II from the 1928 operetta The New Moon. One of the best-known numbers from the show, it is a song of bitterness and yearning for a lost love, sung in the show by Philippe (tenor), the best friend of the hero, Robert Mission (baritone).
The original song was composed as a tango, and features a dance as accompaniment to the choral reprise, but many versions of the song have changed the tempo completely (there have been many jazz renditions). What some may consider the most ludicrous version is the one featured in the 1940 film version of the operetta, in which it is actually sung as a cheerful ditty by Nelson Eddy while he shines his shoes, despite the melancholy nature of the song's lyric.
The song is featured twice in the 1954 MGM biographical musical film about the life of operetta composer Sigmund Romberg Deep in My Heart when it is sung by Betty Wand (dubbing for Tamara Toumanova) and by Helen Traubel.