Scripture Verse

Let me tell you what He has done for me. Psalm 66:16

Introduction

portrait
William G. Fischer
(1835–1912)

Words: A. Ka­ther­ine Han­key, 1866. The stan­zas be­low come from her po­em The Sto­ry Told, which had 42 vers­es, com­pris­ing the se­cond half of her 50-verse poem of which Tell Me the Old, Old Sto­ry is the first part.

Music: Will­iam G. Fisch­er, Joy­ful Songs, Nos. 1 to 3 (Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia: Me­thod­ist Epis­co­pal Book Room, 1869) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Origin of the Hymn

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 from 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.

Nutter, p. 286


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.

Sankey, pp. 164–65

Lyrics

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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

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