I Love to Tell the Story

Representative Text

1 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,
because I know 'tis true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else could do.

I love to tell the story;
'twill be my theme in glory
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

2 I love to tell the story;
more wonderful it seems
than all the golden fancies
of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story,
it did so much for me;
and that is just the reason
I tell it now to thee. [Refrain]

3 I love to tell the story;
'tis pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it,
more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story,
for some have never heard
the message of salvation
from God's own holy Word. [Refrain]

4 I love to tell the story;
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new, new song,
'twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long. [Refrain]

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #438

Author: Kate Hankey

[Arabella Katherine Hankey] Hankey, Katharine, has published several hymns of great beauty and simplicity which are included in her:— (1) The Old, Old Story, 1866; (2) The Old, Old Story, and other Verses, 1879; (3) Heart to Heart, 1870, enlarged in 1873 and 1876. In 1878 it was republished with music by the author. Miss Hankey's hymns which have come into common use are:— 1. Advent tells us, Christ is near. The Christian Seasons. Written for the Sunday School of St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London, and printed on a card with music by the author. 2. I love to tell the story Of unseen things above. The love of Jesus. This is a cento from No. 3, and is given in Bliss's Gospel Songs, Cincinnati, 1874, and other American col… Go to person page >

Author (refrain): William G. Fischer

William Gustavus Fischer (1835-1912) Born: Oc­to­ber 14, 1835, Bal­ti­more, Mary­land. Died: Au­gust 13, 1912, Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia. Son of a German im­mi­grant, Fischer showed mu­sic­al abil­i­ty at an ear­ly age. When he was eight years old, he be­gan sing­ing in a Ger­man church in Bal­t­imore. He learned to read mu­sic in a church sing­ing class, and af­ter­wards stu­died pi­ano and or­gan. He learned book­bind­ing at J. B. Lip­pin­cott’s in Phil­a­delphia, Penn­syl­van­ia, but spent his even­ings stu­dy­ing and prac­tic­ing mu­sic. He was an ex­per­i­enced train­er and lead­er of large bo­dies of sing­ers of all ages, and was much sought af­ter to lead choirs an… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: I love to tell the story Of unseen things above
Title: I Love to Tell the Story
Author: Kate Hankey (1866)
Author (refrain): William G. Fischer (1869)
Meter: D with refrain
Language: English
Refrain First Line: I love to tell the story
Copyright: Public Domain
Article: Article -"I Love to Tell the Story!" by Mary Kay Beall (from The Hymn)


Scripture References: all st. = Ps. 66: 16, John 15:27 "I Love to Tell the Story" is one of two hymn texts derived from a long poem on the life of Christ written by A. (Annabelle) Catherine Hankey (b. Clapham, England, 1834; d. Westminster, London, England, 1911) in 1866. Hankey wrote the poem during a long period of convalescence following a serious illness. The first part of the poem, 'The Story Wanted," is the source of the children's gospel song "Tell Me the Old, Old Story," while the second part, "The Story Told," contains this text. Beginning in 1866 different versions of the full poem were printed in various publications. This hymn text, with the tune HANKEY and a refrain written by William G. Fischer, were published in Joyful Songs (1869). Apart from the context of the larger poem, some of the couplets of this text appear rather shallow or repetitious; thus the Psalter Hymnal includes only the original stanzas 1, 3, and 4. But the entire original poem provides a fine autobiographical testimony to Hankey's evangelical fervor, which she expressed in her writings and in her support of foreign and home missions (she taught church school classes to the rich and poor of London). The text simply affirms the Christian's zeal to "tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love" to the unsaved as well as to the saved, here on earth and in glory. Hankey was the daughter of a wealthy banker and was associated with the Clapham sect of William Wilberforce, a group of prominent evangelical Anglicans from the Clapham area. This group helped to establish the British and Foreign Bible Society, promoted the … abolition of slavery, and was involved in improving the lot of England's working classes. Hankey taught Bible classes for shop girls in London, visited the sick in local hospitals, and used the proceeds of her writings to support various mission causes. Her publications include Heart to Heart (1870) and The Old, Old Story and Other Verses (1879). Liturgical Use: Worship that expresses missionary fervor; children's church school classes. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook


[I love to tell the story] (Fischer)

HANKEY has many characteristics of a gospel song: stepwise melodic motion, verse refrain form, and simple harmony. After hearing both hymn texts from Hankey's poems quoted by one of the speakers at an 1867 YMCA convention in Montreal, Quebec, gospel hymn writer William H. Doane (PHH 473) was inspire…

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