Words by: A. Catherine Hankey (1834-1911) in 1866
Music by: William H. Doane (1832-1915) in 1867
This simple but beautiful song was written by an English woman, Miss Katherine Hankey, the daughter of a banker in London.
Miss Katherine Hankey was recovering from a serious illness when she wrote “Tell me the old, old story,” and the line, “For I am weak and weary,” was only a picture of her condition at the time.
The poem was begun in January, but it was not finished ’til November of that year.
Here is the way the song was set to music:
Dr. Doane, the well-known composer, attended in 1867, an international convention of the Young Men’s Christian Associations, held in Montreal. In the audience was Major-General Russell, in charge of British troops quelling the riots over the question of Ireland.
General Russell rose, and read Miss Hankey’s beautiful poem, as tears streamed down his cheeks. Dr. Doane was also much impressed by the hymn, and obtained a copy of the words.
Afterward, in a stage-coach in the White Mountains, with the grand scenery all around him, he wrote the music.
Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1969.
William H. Doane (1832-1915) A. Catherine Hankey (1834-1911)
LYRICS: Tell Me the Old Old Story
1. Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.
Tell me the old, old story, tell me the old, old story,
Tell me the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.
2. Tell me the story slowly, that I may take it in,
That wonderful redemption, God's remedy for sin.
Tell me the story often, for I forget so soon;
The early dew of morning has passed away at noon.
3. Tell me the story softly, with earnest tones and grave;
Remember I'm the sinner whom Jesus came to save.
Tell me the story always, if you would really be,
In any time of trouble, a comforter to me.
4. Tell me the same old story when you have cause to fear
That this world's empty glory is costing me too dear.
Yes, and when that world's glory is dawning on my soul,
Tell me the old, old story: "Christ Jesus makes thee whole."