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George Herbert


The Twenty-third Psalm

The God of love my shepherd is,

And he that doth me feed:

While he is mine, and I am his,

What can I want or need?

He leads me to the tender grass,

Where I both feed and rest;

Then to the streams that gently pass:

In both I have the best.

Or if I stray, he doth convert

And bring my mind in frame:

And all this not for my desert,

But for his holy name.

Yea, in death's shady black abode

Well may I walk, not fear:

For thou art with me; and thy rod

To guide, thy staff to bear.

Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,

Even in my enemies' sight:

My head with oil, my cup with wine

Runs over day and night.

Surely thy sweet and wondrous love

Shall measure all my days;

And as it never shall remove,

So neither shall my praise.

-From The Poets' Book of Psalms: The Complete Psalter as Rendered by Twenty-five Poets from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, edited by Laurance Wieder (HarperSanFrancisco, 311 pp.; $25). The volume includes an introduction by Wieder-who also supplies 16 of the psalms, in free versions in the manner of Robert Lowell's Imitations-and, for reference and comparison, the complete text of the Psalms in the King James Version.

Copyright (c) 1995 Christianity Today, Inc./BOOKS & CULTURE Review

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