16th Century Paintingfrom The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶    The 23 Psalme.

THe God of love my shepherd is,
             And he that doth me feed:
While he is mine, and I am his,
             What can I want or need?

He leads me to the tender grasse,
             Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently passe:
             In both I have the best.

Or if I stray, he doth convert
             And bring my minde in frame:
And all this not for my desert,1
             But for his holy name.

Yea, in deaths shadie black abode
             Well may I walk, not fear:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
             To guide, thy staff to bear.

Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,
             Ev’n in my enemies sight:
My head with oyl, my cup with wine
             Runnes over day and night.

Surely thy sweet and wondrous love
             Shall measure all my dayes;
And as it never shall remove,
             So neither shall my praise.

Modern version

1 desert. Dessert; what one deserves. [Return]

For commentary, Geneva Notes, sermons, hymns and several translations of Psalm 23 at World Wide Study Bible.

Musical Interpretations:

  • Background music is "Crimond"  arranged for George Herbert’s "The 23 Psalme." by Red Dragon   To open music in another window.
  • A composition "University," possibly written by John Randall (1715-99), uses Herbert's translation of Psalm 23.  To open music in another window. 

    Sir Francis Bacon dedicated his Translation of Certaine Psalmes into English Verse (1625) to "my very good friend, Mr.George Herbert." [Hutchinson, F. E. The Works of George Herbert. p. xl.]

         The paines, which pleased you to take, about some of my Writings, I cannot forget: which did put mee in minde, to dedicate to you, this poore Exercise of my sicknesse. Besides, it being my manner for Dedications, to choose those that I hold most fit for the Argument, I thought, that in respect of Diuinitie, and Poesie, met (whereof the one is the Matter, the other the Stile of this little Writing) I could not make better choice. So, with signification of my Loue and Acknowledgment, I euer rest
    Your affectionate Frend,
    Fr: St. Alban. [Francis: Duke of St. Alban]
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