Scripture Verse

I shall not want. Psalm 23:1


Charles F. Deems

Words: Charles F. Deems, 1872.

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

Alternate Tunes:

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

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.