Here are some of my favorite Hymnals:

Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook: http://amzn.to/2zSRdpL

Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DEOl1H 

Broadman 1940 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2C1WuwK

Methodist 1939 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2CfJ1Wq

Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DDvbJC

Now Sings My Soul, New Songs for the Lord by: Linda Bonney Olin:  http://amzn.to/2DQ6gUy

Choice Hymns of the Faith 1945 http://amzn.to/2Dx97nA

Book of Psalms for Singing https://amzn.to/2ygM00b    (1912 Psalter is unavailable)

Here are my new projects:

Hymns Ancient and Modern https://amzn.to/3dfaHIY

J S Bach Riemenschneider 371 Harmonized Chorales  http://amzn.to/2DSy5f9

References:

Dictionary of Hymnology:  http://amzn.to/2BxPabk

American Hymns Old and New https://amzn.to/3fqkkVU

The Lord’s My Shepherd

Text: Scottish Psalter 1650 by: Francis Rous 1579-1659

Tunes:
Belmont http://youtu.be/JoR3rw09UUY
Brother James Air http://youtu.be/lUlt3Iauxu0
Evan http://youtu.be/NniulOVabaQ
Crimond http://youtu.be/SWr0DrDewGM
Ballerma https://youtu.be/kigh9ix4VvA
Martyrdom https://youtu.be/LDP1fSl3xxY
Beatitudo https://youtu.be/VuNh2JoRRz8
Wiltshire https://youtu.be/Hp3ez5K8LZo

1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

2. My soul he doth restore again;
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
Even for his own name’s sake.

3. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear no ill;
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff my comfort still.

4. My table thou hast furnishèd
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.

5. Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God’s house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.

A Little History

Today we are going to look at the history of the metrical setting of the 23rd Psalm found in nearly all English language hymnals. This hymn was first used in the 1650 Scottish Psalter. It was written by Francis Rous who had written a complete metrical setting of the all 150 Psalms. He submitted it to the committee charged with publishing the “new” 1650 Scottish Psalter which was replacing the original 1564 Psalter; which itself was based upon the very first Genevan Psalter commissioned by John Calvin. In the end, the committee used Rous’s settings for about 10% of their Psalter.

This hymn is written in what is called Common Meter. This refers to the number of syllables in each stanza. In this case 8 syllables in the first phrase, 6 in the second, 8 in the third, and 6 in the fourth. Or 8. 6. 8. 6. In many more traditional and older hymnals you will often see numbers like these or a series of letters like CM (Common Meter), LM (Long Meter), SM (Short Meter), and my favorite PM for peculiar meter.
Knowing the meter of a poem can tell you which tunes it might fit, or what meter you will have to use in your new hymn tune to fit a particular poem.

If you look at very old hymnals, most will have nothing but the texts of the hymns, the music only being printed in the organist’s copy. In time you would get a tune followed by several texts which could be sung to it. As the years have gone by, various traditions came to view particular texts and tunes to be, you could say, married together. My recordings often get the reaction: “Well, that is the wrong music for that hymn!” And all I did is play one of the many tunes which have at one time been used by someone for that text, just not the one you are used to using.

This text was written sometime before 1650, yet its most famous tune wasn’t composed until about 1871, over 200 years later. The tune Crimond is the most popular tune used. It is named after the Crimond Church in the Aberdeenshire town of Crimond. It was composed by Jessie Irvine, who was the daughter of the pastor. David Grant later re-harmonized it for her.
Grant served on a committee which was charged with assembling a new hymnal of metrical psalms and hymns. It was published in 1872 and was very successful with sales exceeding 70,000 copies. It was known as the Northern Psalter. Miss Irvine’s setting was included with Grant’s harmonization. And the rest, as they say…

Just because Crimond appears in the most hymnals, doesn’t mean it is the only good setting. Listed at the top of this post are the 8 tunes I have found so far. As you can see, many are very familiar to most of you, and probably one of them is the one you most associate with this text.

A Comparison of Other Settings of the 23rd Psalm

James Montgomery also wrote a version of this text which closely resembles Rous’s

Francis Rous
1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want.
he makes me down to lie
in pastures green; he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

2. My soul he doth restore again;
and me to walk doth make
within the paths of righteousness,
Even for his own name’s sake.

3. Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
yet will I fear no ill;
for thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff my comfort still.

4. My table thou hast furnishèd
in presence of my foes;
my head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.

5. Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me;
and in God’s house forevermore
my dwelling place shall be.

James Montgomery

1. The Lord is my Shepherd, no want shall I know;
I feed in green pastures, safe folded I rest;
He leadeth my soul where the still waters flow,
Restores me when wand’ring, redeems when oppressed.

2. Through valley and shadow of death though I stray,
Since Thou art my Guardian, no evil I fear;
Thy rod shall defend me, Thy staff be my stay;
No harm can befall, with my Comforter near.

3. In midst of affliction my table is spread;
With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth o’er;
With perfume and oil Thou anointest my head;
O what shall I ask of Thy providence more?

4. Let goodness and mercy, my bountiful God,
Still follow my steps till I meet Thee above;
I seek, by the path which my forefathers trod,
Through land of their sojourn, thy kingdom of love.

And for the record here is Isaac Watts’ setting of this hymn. Watts is considered by many, including the author, to be the father of modern English hymnody.

Isaac Watts

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 me all my days;
O may Thy house be my 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.

Advertisements