The King of Love My Shepherd Is

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"The King of Love My Shepherd Is" is an 1868 hymn with lyrics written by Henry Baker, based on the Welsh version of Psalm 23 and the work of Edmund Prys. Obvious from its title, this hymn plays upon the metaphor of Jesus as a shepherd leading his followers from evil and despair towards salvation. Find the lyrics and story of this wonderful hymn below!

1 The King of love my shepherd is, 
whose goodness faileth never. 
I nothing lack if I am his, 
and he is mine forever.

2 Where streams of living water flow, 
my ransomed soul he leadeth; 
and where the verdant pastures grow, 
with food celestial feedeth.

3 Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, 
but yet in love he sought me; 
and on his shoulder gently laid, 
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

4 In death's dark vale I fear no ill, 
with thee, dear Lord, beside me; 
thy rod and staff my comfort still, 
thy cross before to guide me.

5 Thou spreadst a table in my sight; 
thy unction grace bestoweth; 
and oh, what transport of delight 
from thy pure chalice floweth!

6 And so through all the length of days, 
thy goodness faileth never; 
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise 
within thy house forever.

Songwriters Henry Baker Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind The King of Love My Shepherd Is

Sir Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877), the author of this hymn, was the son of a vice-admiral.  He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and ordained in 1844 as a priest in the Church of England.

A big passion of his life was the creation of the innovative Hymns Ancient & Modern, an impressive achievement in the history of English hymnody and a collection of the various glorious gospels of its time.  An important feature of this hymnal was the printing of text and tune for each hymn on the same page, so any singer could see and sing the unique pairings.

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is,” a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 23, was written by Baker for the Second Edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1868, and included in the appendix. His friend John Bacchus Dykes, a musical editor on the committee, wrote the tune specifically for it, which is the title of Psalm 23 in the Latin translation.

 


 

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