The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want

The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want. Scottish Psalter (1650).

This paraphrase of Psalm 23 is the most famous of Scottish metrical psalms, although its fame outside Scotland is comparatively recent. The text is that of the Scottish Psalter* of 1650, sometimes printed with the slight emendation of ‘no ill’ for the original ‘none ill’ (verse 3 line 2).

Psalm 23 is a psalm that is greatly loved for its beauty and its power to comfort, and it is not surprising that this version is now frequently used at funerals. However, its late 20th-century fame is almost entirely owing to the tune CRIMOND, which has only recently become associated with these words (the Scottish Psalter of 1929 recommended WILTSHIRE and MARTYRDOM). CRIMOND was sung to this text by a remarkable choir, the Glasgow Orpheus Choir, under Sir Hugh Roberton, in the early years of broadcasting on what was then called ‘the wireless’. It was chosen for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth in 1947 and for the Silver Wedding of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1948, and became widely known and loved from that time on. In many books the tune has been credited to Jessie Seymour Irvine*, but more recent research has suggested that it was almost certainly by an Aberdeen composer, David Grant (see Ronald Johnson, ‘How far is it to Crimond?’, Bulletin of the Hymn Society, 176, July 1988, pp. 38-42).

JRW

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