I Love to Tell the Story
DESCRIPTION: "I love to tell the story Of unseen things above, Of Jesus and his glory, Of Jesus and his love.... I love to tell the story, 'Twill be my theme in glory." The singer says repeatedly how it is "pleasant to repeat" the inspiration supplied by Jesus
AUTHOR: Words: [Arabella] Katherine Hankey (1834-1911) / Music: William Gustavus Fisher (1835-1912)
EARLIEST DATE: 1869 (source: Johnson)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
ADDITIONAL: Charles Johnson, One Hundred and One Famous Hymns (Hallberg, 1982), pp, 186-187, "I Love to Tell the Story" (1 text, 1 tune)
Robert J. Morgan, _Then Sings My Soul, Book 2: 150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories_, Nelson, 2004, pp. 108-109, "I Love to Tell the Story" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [260 words]: According to Morgan, Arabella Katherine Hankey's family came from the "Clapham Sect" that formed around anti-slavery agitator William Wilberforce. Marilyn Kay Stulken, Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship, Fortress Press, 1981, p. 430, describes her as an evangelical who at age 18 started a Bible school for girls; later, she would go on a trip to South Africa to carry an invalid brother home; in the process, she became involved in mission work.
Hankey suffered a prolonged illness in 1865-1866, and wrote a long poem, "The Old, Old Story," during her recovery. Several portions of this were later set to music; this part, with music published in 1869 by William G. Fischer, became the best known.
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892; second edition 1907 (I use the 1957 Dover edition in two volumes), p. 483, says that Hankey is responsible for four significant hymns, "Advent tells us, Christ is near"; -"I love to tell the story, Of things unseen above"; "I saw Him leave His Father's throne," and "Tell me the old, old story." It appears that the second and fourth are both part of the long poem "The Old, Old Story," with #4 having been somewhat adapted for Ira Sankey's Sacred Songs and Solos, and has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, and perhaps other languages by now.
William Reynolds, Companion to Baptist Hymnal, Broadman Press, 1976, pp. 104, 309, says that William G. Fischer (1835-1912), a bookbinder and later a music teacher, published the tune "Hankey" in Joyful Songs in 1869. - RBW
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