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

Hen­ry Bar­ra­clough, 1915 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Henry Barraclough (1891–1983)

[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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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

Refrain