The following poetical rendering of the 23rd Psalm is by Henry Williams Baker. The son of Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, H. W. Baker was born in London, May 27, 1821. He served as the vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire from 1851 unto his death, on Monday, Feb. 12, 1877. Hymns Ancient & Modern includes 33 hymns, translations, etc. by Baker. The London Mission Hymn Book, contains three hymns that are not in Hymns Ancient & Modern. According to John Julian, the last words Baker spoke when dying were the third stanza of this hymn, “The King of Love, my Shepherd is.”
Written in 6 stanzas of 8s.7s. meter, this hymn often appears with the tunes Dominus Regit Me (by J. B. Dykes) and St. Columba, usually considered a traditional Irish tune.
1. The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.
2. Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth;
And where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.
3. Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me;
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.
4. In death’s dark vale I fear no ill,
With thee, dear Lord, beside me;
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.
5. Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
Thy unction grace bestoweth;
And oh, what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!
6. And so through all the length of days,
Thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house forever.
Another paraphrase based on Psalm 23 is by Isaac Watts. The following text he included in his 1719 collection, The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament. It appears in The Southern Harmony with the tune Resignation. (Adaptations of this tune in The Sacred Harp are Irwinton (1991 Denson, 229) and Joyful News (2012 Cooper, 244). Sidney Whitfield Denson used this text with his tune Sidney.
1. My Shepherd will supply my need;
Jehovah is his name;
In pastures fresh he makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back,
When I forsake his ways,
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.
2. When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.
3. The sure provisions of my God
Attend my all my days;
O may thy house be mine abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest,
(While others go and come,)
No more a stranger, nor a guest;
But like a child at home.