Scripture Verse

All Your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes You glad. Psalm 45:8


Words & Mu­sic: Hen­ry Bar­ra­clough, 1915 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Henry Barraclough (1891–1983)

Origin of the Hymn

[This song] was writ­ten ve­ry near to my home in the mount­ains of North Ca­ro­li­na. In the sum­mer of 1915 the fa­mous ev­an­gel­ist Dr. J. Wil­bur Chap­man was preach­ing at the Pres­by­ter­ian con­fer­ence grounds at Mon­treat.

With him were the song lea­der Charles M. Al­ex­an­der, so­lo­ist Al­bert Brown, and their pi­an­ist Hen­ry Bar­ra­clough.

Barraclough, the au­thor of this hymn, was a twen­ty-four-year-old Brit­ish­er; he had met Chap­man the pre­vi­ous year dur­ing a preach­ing mis­sion in Eng­land.

During the con­fer­ence, the ev­an­gel­ist spoke one ev­en­ing on the forty-fifth Psalm [in 1893, Chap­man had writ­ten a book called Iv­ory Pal­ac­es of the King].

He be­lieved, as I do, that this is a pro­phe­tic, Mes­si­an­ic psalm which speaks of the re­la­tion­ship of Christ, the bride­groom, to his bride, the church…

After the ev­en­ing service, Char­lie Al­ex­an­der and He­nry Bar­ra­clough drove some friends to the Blue Ridge YMCA Hos­tel a few miles aw­ay.

Sitting in the front seat of the car, young Bar­ra­clough thought about the mes­sage and the four short phras­es of the re­frain be­gan to take shape in his mind.

When they stopped at a li­ttle vi­llage store, he quick­ly wrote them down on a vis­it­ing card—the on­ly pa­per that was avail­able.

Returning to the con­fer­ence ho­tel, he worked out the first three stan­zas, us­ing the out­line of Chap­man’s mes­sage.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing Mrs. Al­ex­an­der and Mr. Brown sang the new hymn in the Mon­treat con­fer­ence ses­sion.

Billy Gra­ham, in Bar­rows, p. 25


My Lord has gar­ments so won­drous fine,
And myrrh their tex­ture fills;
Its frag­rance reached to this heart of mine
With joy my be­ing thrills.


Out of the iv­ory pa­laces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eter­nal love
Made my Sav­ior go.

His life had al­so its sor­rows sore,
For al­oes had a part;
And when I think of the cross He bore,
My eyes with tear­drops start.


His gar­ments too were in cas­sia dipped,
With heal­ing in a touch;
Each time my feet in some sin have slipped,
He took me from its clutch.


In gar­ments glo­ri­ous He will come,
To op­en wide the door;
And I shall en­ter my heav’n­ly home,
To dwell for­ev­er­more.