Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.@Matthew 28:19–20
Fanny Crosby (1820–1915)

Fanny Crosby, in Winnowed Songs for Sunday Schools, edited by Ira D. Sankey (New York: Biglow & Main, 1890), number 181. Some hymnals show the author as Julia Sterling, one of Fanny’s pseudonyms. Also see Heralds of Light.

Speed Away, Speed Away, on your Mission of Light was written after hearing the beautiful Indian melody which Mr. Sankey arranged for my words. The original Indian poem told the story of a young maiden who died leaving her father to mourn her untimely loss, and how he was comforted by a message brought him by a bird she had sent from the Happy Hunting Grounds. This melody seemed so beautiful that we thought it ought to have hymn-words and Speed Away was the outcome of this feeling. I wrote it hoping that it might inspire someone to go into the mission fields across the sea.

Crosby, p. 642

This inspiring song of farewell to departing missionaries was written in 1890 to Woodbury’s appropriate popular melody by Fanny J. Crosby, at the request of Ira D. Sankey. The key-word and refrain are adapted from the original song by Woodbury (1848), but in substance and language the three hymn-stanzas are the new and independent work of this later writer.

Brown, p. 184

Isaac B. Woodbury, 1848 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Isaac B. Woodbury (1819–1858)

Speed away, speed away, on your mission of light,
To the lands that are lying in darkness and night;
’Tis the Master’s command; go ye forth in His name,
The wonderful Gospel of Jesus proclaim;
Take your lives in your hand, to the work while ’tis day,
Speed away, speed away, speed away.

Speed away, speed away with the life giving Word;
To the nations that know not the voice of the Lord;
Take the wings of the morning and fly o’er the wave,
In the strength of your Master the lost ones to save;
He is calling once more, not at moment’s delay,
Speed away, speed away, speed away.

Speed away, speed away with the message of rest,
To the souls by the tempter in bondage oppressed;
For the Savior has purchased their ransom from sin,
And the banquet is ready, O gather them in;
To the rescue make haste, there’s no time for delay,
Speed away, speed away, speed away.