Softly and Tenderly


Intermediate LevelSoftly and Tenderly is a hymn written by Will L. Thompson, who was a composer of gospel, secular, and patriotic songs.


Listen to the intermediate piano arrangement of Softly and Tenderly.

Softly and Tenderly, is a classic invitation hymn from the 19th century. It was written by Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909) who was a composer of gospel, secular, and patriotic songs.

Due to his earlier songs being rejected, Thompson formed his own music publishing company and Softly and Tenderly was first published in a collection titled Sparkling Gems, Nos. 1 and 2. It quickly became a popular hymn and was incorporated into many church hymnals.

Thompson was inspired to devote himself to writing while attending a meeting by popular evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899). When Moody was dying in the hospital 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.”

Softly and Tenderly has been recorded by artists such as Amy Grant, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Kelly Clarkson, Johnny Cash, and Alan Jackson. The hymn was also used during the memorial service for Martin Luther King Jr. on April 8, 1968.