Scripture Verse

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

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

Music: Is­aac B. Wood­bu­ry, 1848 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Isaac B. Woodbury

Origin of the Hymn

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


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 a 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.