Scripture Verse

I shall not want. Psalm 23:1


Charles F. Deems (1820–1893)

Words: Charles F. Deems, 1872.

Music: Clo­la­ta W. St. Clair Pal­mer, 1893 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of St. Clair Pal­mer (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Origin of the Hymn

[This hymn] was wri­tten in 1872 while the au­thor was pas­tor of the Church of the Stran­gers in New York Ci­ty. One night af­ter go­ing to bed he found that the cares of the young Church fol­lowed him and de­pressed him. It seemed to make de­mands which he could not meet.

To com­fort him­self, he be­gan to re­peat con­sol­ing pas­sages of Scrip­ture. Then oc­curred to him the twen­ty-third Psalm. He re­peat­ed ov­er and ov­er: I shall not want. It be­gan to run in­to stan­zas, and he feel asleep up­on fin­ish­ing the fourth. Next morn­ing it was so vi­vid that he wrote it out.

Nutter, p. 229


I shall not want: in de­serts wild
Thou spread’st Thy ta­ble for Thy child;
While grace in streams for thirst­ing souls,
Thro’ earth and Hea­ven for­ev­er rolls.

I shall not want: my dark­est night
Thy lov­ing smile shall fill with light;
While pro­mis­es around me bloom,
And cheer me with di­vine per­fume.

I shall not want: Thy right­eous­ness
My soul shall clothe with glo­ri­ous dress;
My blood-washed robe shall be more fair
Than gar­ments kings or an­gels wear.

I shall not want: whate’er is good,
Of dai­ly bread or an­gels’ food,
Shall to my Fa­ther’s child be sure,
So long as earth and Hea­ven en­dure.