Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

“'Give' Said the Little Stream" Author Wrote Over 8,000 Hymns

Despite becoming blind at six weeks of age, due to a medical malpractice, Fanny Crosby went on to write over 8,000 hymns and was one of the most prolific hymnists in history. Born, Frances Jane Van Alstyne Crosby, in 1820, she was also known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers,” and the “Mother of Modern Congregation Singing in America.” She wrote so many hymns that she had to use over 200 different pseudonyms in her career because publishers were reluctant to have too many hymns by one person in their hymnbooks.

Regarding her blindness she said, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."

Besides writing hymns she was also known for public speaking, secular poetry, and political and patriotic songwriting. While enrolled at the New York Institution for the Blind she learned to play the piano, organ, guitar and harp. Despite her musical training she only wrote the lyrics to most of her songs. The composer of the music for “”Give” Said the Little Stream" was William Bradbury with whom she collaborated with on other occasions as well.

As a favorite of Primary children for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded, “”Give” Said the Little Stream" for the album Teach me To Walk in the Light & Other Children’s Favorites. This video shows the beauty of selfless service and features Choir members in their everyday lives.