Birds in Hymns – Speed Away – Fanny Crosby

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

Words: Fan­ny Cros­by, 1890. Some hymn­als show the au­thor as Jul­ia Ster­ling, one of Fan­ny’s pseu­do­nyms.

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

Music: Isaac B. Wood­bu­ry, 1848
Isaac B. Woodbury (1819-1858)

“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

Speed Away

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.

Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator) by W Kwong

Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator) by W Kwong

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.

(A bird not really mentioned but only alluded to a bird.)

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal

See ~ Wordless Birds

More ~ Birds in Hymns


2 thoughts on “Birds in Hymns – Speed Away – Fanny Crosby

  1. Hello,

    I was doing some bird study comparison for an article I am trying to write and I came across this photo by W. Kwong taken I believe in New Zealand based on the caption of a Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) and I believe this is actually a Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator). The Northern Gannet does not have black in the trailing edges of an adult nor black in the tail but the latter does. The former is also an North Atlantic species and would be most likely an accidental whereas the other would be more likely found in New Zealand. Hope I don’t offend anyone but just saw this and thought I would share that information.

    Chad Leedy


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