Words: , 1866.

Music: , Joy­ful Songs, Nos. 1 to 3 (Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia: Meth­od­ist Epis­co­pal Book Room, 1869).

This is from a long po­em on the life of Je­sus that was writ­ten in 1866. It is in two parts. The first part is a po­em of fif­ty stan­zas, and is ti­tled, “The Sto­ry Want­ed,” be­ing dat­ed Jan­u­a­ry 29, 1866. The se­cond part is ti­tled “The Sto­ry Told,” and is dat­ed No­vem­ber 18, 1866. It is said that the au­thor had a ser­i­ous spell of sick­ness just be­fore this po­em was com­posed, and that she oc­cu­pied the long days of con­va­les­cence in writ­ing the po­em. Cer­tain vers­es were tak­en fro Part I. by Dr. W. H. Doane in 1867 to make the pop­u­lar and fa­mil­iar hymn be­gin­ning, “Tell me the old, old story,” for which he com­posed the fa­mil­iar tune to which those words are com­mon­ly sung. From Part II. cer­tain vers­es have been se­lect­ed to make the above hymn, “I Love to Tell the Sto­ry,” the tune to which was com­posed by W. G. Fischer. This is one of the most pop­u­lar of all mo­dern hymns, and has been trans­lat­ed in­to sev­er­al dif­fer­ent lang­uag­es. These and other hymns by the au­thor have been pub­lished from time to time in dif­fer­ent forms, some­times ac­com­pa­nied by tunes com­posed by her­self. Ma­ny of her hymns are found in a lit­tle vol­ume which she pub­lished in 1870, ti­tled Heart to Heart. Very few hymns writ­ten in the last fif­ty years have so taken hold of the hearts of the peo­ple, both the young and the old, as has this sim­ple lit­tle song.

“Last winter a young man ap­peared here from Bri­tish Co­lum­bia,” says a let­ter from Sur­rey, Eng­land. “He was in the Roy­al Ma­rines. He was a to­tal ab­stain­er and was do­ing all he could to pro­mote temp­er­ance among his com­rades. While here he went to church, and the cur­ate, who had a con­ver­sa­tion with him, was much pleased with his man­ly be­hav­ior and re­so­lute de­sire to do right. He wore a me­dal and had good con­duct marks on his clothes. This man was the lit­tle boy whom Miss T. had picked up in Bat­ter­sea Park ma­ny years be­fore, and who had learned of the gos­pel of sal­va­tion en­tire­ly by list­en­ing to the maid­ser­vants sing­ing sac­red songs while scrub­bing the door­steps and clean­ing win­dows. The hymn that, as a child, he seemed to make en­tire­ly his own was, ‘I love to tell the sto­ry,’ though he knew sev­er­al others when he was picked up in the park. As he had ne­ver been to church or ch­apel, the hymns were the on­ly chan­nel through which di­vine truth had been con­veyed to him, and by which the first seed was sown in his heart that made him a man of char­ac­ter and use­ful­ness.”

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 can do.


I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

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.


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.


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.


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