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Archive-Softly And Tenderly


Softly and Tenderly

Words & Music: Will Lamartine Thompson
Born: November 7, 1847, East Liverpool, Ohio.
Died: September 20, 1909, New York, New York.
Buried: Riverview Cemetery, East Liverpool, Ohio.

Thompson’s chief ambition was to write music for the people. He had a very successful career writing secular songs and became wealthy before turning to hymns. He was unable to sell his songs to a publisher so he started his own publishing house. It later expanded into a store selling pianos, organs, and sheet music earning him a very good income. He wrote the music and the lyrics for his songs.

He was a personal friend of the evangelist D. L. Moody. This hymn was one of Moody’s favorites and it is said that that when Moody was on his death­bed, he told Thompson: “Will, I would rather have written “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.”

Thompson became ill during a tour of Europe and had to cut his trip short and return to the USA with his family. He died a few weeks later.

This hymn was used in the 1985 Academy Award winning movie, “The Trip to Bountiful” starring Geraldine Page and John Heard. Geraldine Page was awarded the Oscar for “Best Actress” for her performance in this movie.

The Rest of the Lyrics:


Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,

Pleading for you and for me?

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,

Mercies for you and for me?


Come home, come home,

Ye who are weary, come home;

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,

Calling, “O sinner, come home!”


Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,

Passing from you and from me;

Shadows are gathering, death beds are coming,

Coming for you and for me.


O for the wonderful love He has promised,

Promised for you and for me;

Though we have sinned He has mercy and pardon,

Pardon for you and for me.


Other hymns written by Will. L. Thompson:

1. Lead Me Gently Home, Father – 1879
2. I Wonder If There’s Room For Me – 1886
3. There’s A Great Day Coming
4. Jesus Is All The World To Me - 1904


Mountain Dulcimer tablature arrangement by J Sackenheim

TablEdit by John Sackenheim

There one page in various formats (some are larger for those that have DSL or Broadband).

Arr:  John Sackenheim © 2004

 Originally Published: 1880

This tablature is available in the following formats:


TablEdit:  "Softly And Tenderly" - .TEF


Adobe .PDF

Printable Webpage


.JPG Format


Midi File:  Produced from TablEdit

  Click to go to the TablEdit website and download their free demo version

If you do not have the Tabledit program, please click on the TablEdit banner to download a free .tef reader program.  It includes the ability to play this song at a slower speed (great for learning). TablEdit is a program for creating, editing, printing and listening to tablature and sheet music (standard notation) for fretted, stringed instruments.

  Click here to download a free version of Adobe Reader

Adobe® Reader® is a free software for viewing and printing Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files.


At this time we will be using the .MIDI music files produced by TablEdit..




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