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I Love to
Tell the Story
Arabella Katherine Hankey
for “I Love to Tell the Story” were penned by Arabella
Katherine Hankey (1834-1911).
Daughter of banker’s Thomas Hankey, Katherine (known to her
friends as Kate) belonged to an evangelical group known as
the Clapham Sect, led by William Wilberforce; the group was
mainly known for its anti-slavery and pro-missionary
stances. While still a teenager, Hankey taught Sunday
school for girls. Later, she traveled to South Africa to be
a nurse, and to help her invalid brother.
her early 30’s, Hankey contracted a severe illness. During
her protracted recovery, she wrote a long poem about
Jesus. It is in two parts, with the first, 50 stanzas in
length, asking about Him, and the second answering the
question. I Love to Tell the Story and Tell Me the Old, Old
Story both come from this poem.
The music was written by
William Gustavus Fischer (1835-1912). 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.
William G. Fisher
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 and
choruses in sacred music in Philadelphia. He also taught
singing, piano and music theory. He was closely connected with
Welsh music festivals, and directed the combined Welsh
Societies at the bicentennial of the landing of William Penn
(founder of Pennsylvania).
1858-1868, Fischer was Professor of Music at Girard College. Before
leaving Girard College, he started in the piano business, where
he built up one of the most prosperous piano houses in the country.
He was partner with John E. Gould until Gould’s death in 1875. From
that time, Fischer was sole proprietor of the business for a
number of years, when he took his oldest son, Charles, into
partnership. He finally retired in 1898, and was succeeded by his
Lyrics by Katherine Hankey
I love to tell the story of unseen
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.
love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
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
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
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so