Saturday, 28 March 2015

"I think, when I read that sweet story of old" - Jemima Luke, 1813-1906

JEMIMA THOMPSON, who afterward married the Rev. Samuel Luke, wrote this hymn in 1841. Like many hymns, it was partly inspired by a tune in this case a Greek melody the pathos of which stirred the author s fancy as she read it at the Normal Infant School at Gray s Inn Road. She once wrote: "I went one day on some missionary business to the little town of Wellington, five miles from Faunton, in a stagecoach. It was a beautiful spring morning; it was an hour's ride and there was no other inside passenger. On the back of an old envelope I wrote in pencil the first two of the verses now so well known. . . . The third verse was added afterward to make it a missionary hymn." 

One day a newsboy in New York entered a bank with a bundle of papers under his arm and asked two gentlemen sitting before a fire: "Papers, sirs? Three more banks down !" "No," replied one of them, "we don t want any. But stop! If you will sing us a song we will buy one." The boy agreed; and, expecting to hear a jovial song, they placed the little ten-year-old on a table. But he surprised them by singing, "I think, when I read that sweet story of old." Soon they were both in tears. They bought his papers and took his name and address; and the song of the Sunday school lad turned their thoughts to the olden story, "When Jesus was here among men." 

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