1 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?
2 He leads me to the tender grass,
where I both feed and rest;
then to the streams that gently pass:
in both I have the best.
3 Or ifI stray, he doth convert,
and bring my mind in frame,
and all this not for my desert,
but for his holy name.
4 Yea, in death's shady black abode
well may I walk, not fear;
for thou art with me, and thy rod
to guide, thy staff to bear.
5 Surely thy sweet and wondrous love
shall measure all my days;
and, as it never shall remove,
so neither shall my praise.
Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #792
"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?"2. George Rawson's rendering in the Leeds Hymn Book, 1853, No. 26, is based upon the above by Herbert, and the first stanza is:—
"The God of love my Shepherd is, To watch me and to feed; Since He is mine and I am His, What can I ever need?”This text was slightly altered by Mr. Rawson for the Baptist Psalms & Hymns 1858, and again for his Hymns, Verses and Chants, 1876. 3. G. Rawson has a second version of Ps. 23 in his Hymns, &c, 1876, the opening stanza of which is:—
"My Shepherd is the Living Lord, So I can never need; In pastures green Still streams between I lay me down to feed."4. G. Rawson's third version in his Hymns, &c, 1876, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, begins:—
“The God of love my Shepherd is, My gracious constant Guide; I shall not want, for I am His: In all supplied."This was given in Thring's Collection, 1882, with a new verse by Prebendary Thring in the place of Mr. Rawson's stanzas v. The latter reads:—
"Thy grace astounds my demon foes; True oil of joy is mine; My cup of mercy overflows With care divine."Prebendary Thring's substitute is:—
"Thou spread'st my table 'mid my foes, The oil of grace is mine, My cup with mercy overflows And love divine."5. Mr. Rawson, not content with his original version, supplied us with the following in manuscript:—
"God is my host, His welcome glows; The festal oil is mine; My board is spread, my cup o'erflows, By care divine."To our mind Prebendary Thring's version is the most acceptable of the three renderings of the fifth stanza. -- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)