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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