Order of Contents
. 1500’s 16+
. 1600’s 42+
. 1700’s 14
. 1800’s 45+
. 1900’s 4
. 2000’s 1
Sing the KJV 1
Psalters for Chanting 14
Psalters in Latin 8
. Histories of Psalters 12+
. Histories of Composers 2
. History of Psalm Tunes 7
Please peruse the many online psalter versions that God has graced us with through history.
If you need a place to start for singing the Psalms, start with the 1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter: The Psalms of David in Meter Buy It is akin to the King James Version in its literalness, language and widespread use and influence throughout history.
For a faithful psalter, with more updated language, try the Free Church of Scotland’s, Sing Psalms (2003).
Coverdale, Myles – Ghostly Psalms & Spiritual Songs (1538) in Remains (Parker Society, 1846) ToC Includes Psalms 12, 2, 46, 124, 137, 128, 51, 130, 25, 67, 14, 147, 133.
Coverdale (1488–1569) was an English ecclesiastical reformer chiefly known as a Bible translator, preacher, Bishop of Exeter, proto-puritan and exile.
Calvin, John – The Strasbourg Psalter 1539
The was the first Reformation psalter ever.
Wyatt, Thomas & Harington, John – Certain Psalms Chosen out of the Psalter of David, commonly called the Seven Penitential Psalms, drawn into English meter by Sir Thomas Wyat Knight, whereunto is added a prolage of the author before every Psalm, very pleasant and profitable to the godly reader London, published posthumously in 1549, which means that this English psalter is older than that of Crowley and Sternhold & Hopkins.
‘During the period of the English Reformation, many other poets besides Sternhold and Hopkins wrote metrical versions of some of the psalms. The first was Sir Thomas Wyatt, who in around 1540 made verse versions of the six penitential Psalms.’ – Wiki
Wyatt was known as both ‘the Father of English poetry and English metrical Psalmody.’ (Patricia Thomson)
Wyatt’s “rendering of Psalm 32 includes the phrase ‘Surprised by joy,’ which later became the title of a poem by William Wordsworth and a work by C.S. Lewis. He was likely a suitor or lover of Queen Anne Boleyn. His son, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger was executed in the Tower of London by Bloody Mary for leading a Protestant revolt known as Wyatt’s Rebellion on behalf of Lady Jane Grey’s claim to the throne.” – Andrew Myers
Crowley, Robert – The Psalter of David newly translated into English meter in such sort that it may the more decently, and with more delight of the mind, be read and sung of all men. Whereunto is added a note of four parts, with other things, as shall appear in the epistle to the reader (London, 1549)
This was the first complete English metrical psalter and the first to include musical notation.
‘The music provided in Crowley’s psalter is similar to the Gregorian tones of the Latin Sarum Rite psalter, and it can be found in Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians. A single note is given for each syllable in each verse, in keeping with Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s mandate for the reformed Edwardian liturgy. The goal was to emphasize simplicity and to encourage attentiveness to what was being sung by omitting complex vocal ornamentation.’ – Wiki
Sternhold & Hopkins
Sternhold, Thomas & Hopkins, John – All such Psalms of David as T. Sternehold did in his life time draw into English Meter 1551, London. Sternhold died in 1549. Here is a 1533 edition
1562 Sternhold, Thomas, & Hopkins, John – The whole book of Psalms collected into English meter by T. Starnhold, I. Hopkins, and others, conferred with the Hebrew, with apt notes to synge them with all; faithfully perused and allowed according to the order appointed in the Queen’s Majesty’s injunctions ; very meet to be used of all sorts of people privately for their solace & comfort, laying apart all ungodly songs and ballades, which tend only to the nourishing of vice, and corrupting of youth 1562 London
Sternhold, Thomas, Hopkins, John & Whittingham, William – The Whole Book of Psalms collected into English meter by Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, W. Whittingham and others, conferred with the Hebrew with apt notes to sing them withal; set forth and allowed to be sung in all churches, of all the people together before and after morning and evening prayer, as also before and after sermons, and moreover in private houses for their godly solace and comfort, laying apart all ungodly songs and ballads, which tend only to the nourishing of vice, and corrupting of youth 1578 London
Alison, Richard, Sternhold, Thomas, Hopkins, John – The Psalms of David in meter the plain song being the common tune to be sung and played upon the lute, orpharyon, citterne or base viol, severally or altogether, the singing part to be either tenor or treble to the instrument, according to the nature of the voice, or for four voices: with ten short tunes in the end, to which for the most part all the Psalms may be usually sung, for the use of such as are of mean skill, and whose leisure least serves to practice 1599 London
Hunnis, William – Certain Psalms Chosen out of the Psalter of David & Drawn forth into English Meter (London, 1550)
The Genevan Psalter Music 1542-62 The Genevan psalter was compiled mainly under the supervision of John Calvin (d. 1564). The English translation here linked by the Canadian-American Reformed Churches (1984) is not a translation of the French psalms, but its own independent English translation. See also the New Genevan Psalter Buy by George van Popta, 2015. See also the Genevan Psalter website which also has English renderings that fit the Genevan tunes also (though, again, it is not a translation of the French). See also the various versifications of psalms set to the Genevan tunes by contemporary authors.
Sing the Genevan jigs! There are many histories of this hugely significant psalter online. Here is Wiki.
‘…from the French-Genevan Psalter (1551), we have four tunes — Old 134th (or St. Michael), Old 100th, Geneva and Old 124th. The name associated with all four tunes is Louis Bourgeois, a very fine musician of his time.’ – Isobel Scott
Whittingham, William et. al. – Psalms of David in English Meter (Edinburgh, 1565) in the Works of John Knox, vol. 6
Only includes Ps. 23, 24, 57, 100, 124, 145.
Parker, Matthew – The Whole Psalter translated into English Metre… (London, John Daye, 1560) 540 pp. The front title page speaks of only the first 50 psalms, but the volume contains all 150 Psalms.
“This is Archbishop [Matthew] Parker’s celebrated version, of which only about eight other copies are known … it has been supposed that the Archbishop did not design it for sale, but for present only.” – from Dealer’s catalog description
Day, John – The Whole Book of Psalms 1562
This contained sixty-five psalm tunes.
Wode, Thomas – The St. Andrew’s Psalter 1560’s Scotland
‘These harmonisations of 106 metrical psalms from the Anglo-Genevan Psalm Book and other songs created the ‘gold standard’ for post-Reformation devotion and worship in Scotland.’ – The Wode Psalter at the Univ. of Edinburgh
See also David Laing’s Account of the Scottish Psalter.
Samuel, William – An Abridgement of all the canonical books of the Old Testament written in Sternhold’s meter 1569 London
T.R. – The Catechism in meter for the easier learning, and better remembering of those principles of our faith, which we ought most familiarly to be acquainted withal, for the proof of those things, which I have not quoted, I refer you to the usual catechism; only in the margin I have quoted those things which I have added for plainness; the verse will agree with most of the tunes of the Psalms of David, and it is divided into parts, that each part may be song by itself 1583 London
Sidney, Philip – The Sidney Psalter (d. 1586)
‘Sir Philip Sidney made verse versions of the first 43 psalms. After he died in 1586, his sister, Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, completed the translation of the final two-thirds of the psalter. Together they used a dazzling array of stanza forms and rhyme schemes—as many as 145 different forms for the 150 psalms. ‘The Sidney Psalter’ was not published in its complete form until the twentieth century, but it was widely read in manuscript, and influenced such later poets as John Donne and George Herbert.’ – Wiki
Este, Thomas – The Whole Booke of Psalms 1592 Also known as: The Whole Book of Psalms, with their wonted tunes, harmonized in four parts by the principal musicians of the reign of Elizabeth; and first published by Thomas Este, A.D. 1592 Here is the 2nd edition of 1604
‘From it we have the tunes Cheshire and Winchester. Thomas Este was one of the greatest music publishers, publishing much of the Elizabethan music of the time as well as Metrical Psalm tunes.’ – Isobel Scott
Dod, Henry – Certain Psalms of David, heretofore much out of use because of their difficult tunes. The number whereof are contained in the page following. Reduced into English meter better fitting the common tunes 1603 Edinburgh
Ainsworth, Henry – The Book of Psalms, Englished both in prose and meter with annotations, opening the words and sentences, by conference with other Scriptures first published in 1612, later in 1644, Amsterdam
See Alice Earle’s review, ‘The Psalm Book of the Pilgrims’, 1892.
Church of Scotland – The 150 Psalms of David in Scottish Meter, after the form that they are used to be sung in the Kirk of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1615)
‘The 1615 edition contained some of the best known Common tunes — among them Dunfermline, French and Martyrs. These Common tunes were written for those who could not read, and they would learn the tunes by ear.’ – Isobel Scott
Sandys, Edwin & Robert Tailour – Sacred Hymns. Consisting of Fifty select psalms of David and others, paraphrastically turned into English verse. And by Robert Tailour, set to be sung in five parts, as also to the viol, and lute or orph-arion. Published for the use of such as delight in the exercise of music in her original honor 1615 London
Ravenscroft, Thomas – The Whole Book of Psalms: with The Hymns Evangelical and Songs Spiritual 1621
Church of Scotland – Psalter 1625
Bacon, Francis – The Translation of Certain Psalms into English Verse by the Right Honorable, Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban 1625 London
This work is not a translation so much as a paraphrase.
The King James Psalter, 1631
See an introduction to this psalter and King James’ later 1636 psalter by Andrew Myers, The King James Psalter (2009, 6 paragraphs). William McMillan also wrote two articles on these psalters: ‘The Metrical Psalter of King James VI and its Connection with the One Presently in Use’, Part 1, Part 2.
The 150 Psalms of David, in Scots’ Meter, after the Form that they are Used to be Sung in the Kirk of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1632)
Wither, George – The Psalms of David translated into Lyric-verse, according to the scope, of the original. And illustrated, with a short argument, and a brief prayer, or meditation; before, and after, every Psalm 1632 Amsterdam(?)
See also Wither’s A Preparation to the Psalter 1619 180 pp. which gives background on the psalms and singing the psalms.
Church of Scotland – The Scottish Metrical Psalter 1634
Church of Scotland – The Scottish Metrical Psalter 1635
‘There then followed a number of editions of the Scottish Psalter… There were editions in 1625 and 1634, but it was the 1635 edition that is most notable. From this excellent Psalm Book we get the tunes Glenluce, London New, Wigtown and Duries 124th. In this Psalter there are tunes of three categories. (1) Proper Tunes: which were tunes specifically intended for individual psalms as the Reformers wanted each psalm to have its own tune. Hence we have Old 100th and Old 124th; (2) Common Tunes — these were as the 1615 edition; and Tunes in reports — These were more challenging to sing as there was some imitation between the parts. (3) Tunes in reports include Aberfeldy and Bon Accord. This edition seemed to represent the peak of psalmody. In fact the first Psalm Book to be published with any music had only twelve tunes!’ – Isobel Scott
King James VI – The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments; and other parts of Divine Service for the use of the Church of Scotland. With a Paraphrase of the Psalms in Meter by King James VI, Edinburgh 1712, from the copy in Edinburgh in 1637 (1636)
See an introduction to this psalter and King James’ earlier 1631 psalter by Andrew Myers, The King James Psalter (2009, 6 paragraphs). William McMillan also wrote two articles on these psalters: ‘The Metrical Psalter of King James VI and its Connection with the One Presently in Use’, Part 1, Part 2.
Sandys, George – A Paraphrase upon the Divine Poems 1638 All 150 psalms in meter
New England Puritans – The Bay Psalm Book Evans 1640
This was the first book printed in the Americas and was the product of a group of 30 translators including Richard Mather, John Eliot and Thomas Mayhew.
Rous, Francis – The Psalms of David set forth in English Meter (London, 1643)
Barton, William – The Book of Psalms in Meter Close and Proper to the Hebrew, Smooth and pleasant for the meter, plain and easy for the tunes: with musical notes, arguments, annotations, and index: fitted for the ready use and understanding of all good Christians 1644 London
Vaughan, Robert – The Psalter of David with Titles and Collects According to the Matter of Each Psalm (Oxford: Leonard Lichfield, 1644)
Boyd, Zacharie – The Psalms of David in Meter 1646 See also this 1648 edition
Boyd was a Scot.
Taylor, Jeremy – The Psalter of David with Titles and Collects according to the matter of each Psalm: whereunto is added Devotions for the help and assistance of all Christian people, in all occasions and necessities 1647
Church of Scotland – The Psalms of David in Meter 1650 Here is an original edition
This is the classic psalter from this period; it is something of the King James Version of psalters. This production was the completed form of the psalter that was commissioned to be produced and worked on by the Westminster Assembly. The Church of Scotland took over the work and completed it. It only has the 150 Psalms, no other Bible songs or hymns.
Dunster, Henry & Richard Lyon – The Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs of the Old and New Testament, faithfully translated into English metre, for the use, edification, and comfort, of the saints, in public and private, especially in New-England 1651 Here is a 1695 printing. The ninth edition in 1698 has some differences.
King, Henry – The Psalms of David: from the new translation of the Bible turned into meter: to be sung after the old tunes used in the churches 1651 London
King, Henry – The Psalms of David from the new translation of the Bible turned into meter to be sung after the old tunes used in the churches: unto which are newly added the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Ten commandments, with some other ancient hymns 1654 London
White, John – David’s Psalms in Meter: Agreeable to the Hebrew, to be sung in usual tunes. To the benefit of the churches of Christ 1655 London
Woodford, Samuel – A Paraphrase upon the Psalms of David 1667
Smyth, Miles – The Psalms of King David Paraphrased, and Turned into English Verse according to the Common Metre as they are Usually Sung in Parish Churches 1668 390 pp.
Roberts, Francis – The Key of the Bible, unlocking the richest treasury of the Holy Scriptures… whereunto are added the metrical version of the whole book of Hymns or Praises, viz. the Book of Psalms, p. 137 ff. 1675 The metrical version of each psalm is laced in with his commentary on each psalm.
Patrick, John – A Century of Select Psalms & Portions of the Psalms of David especially those of praise turned into meter, and fitted to the usual tunes in parish churches, for the use of the Charter-House, London (London, 1679)
Coleraine, Hugh Hare, Baron & Loredano, Giovanni Francesco – La Scala Santa, or, A Scale of devotions musical and gradual being descants on the fifteen Psalms of Degrees, in metre: with contemplations and collects upon them, in prose, 1670 Ref 1681 London
Goodridge, Richard – The Psalter, or, Psalms of David paraphrased in verse set to new tunes and so designed that by two tunes only the whole number of psalms (four only excepted) may be sung, one of which tunes is already known (being the usual tune of the 100th psalm): the other tunes only are new, but anyone of them being learned, all the other psalms may be sung by that one only tune: as on the contrary any one psalm may be sung by all the new tunes, so that a greater facility for those who are less able to sing, or a greater variety for those who are more able, cannot reasonably be desired or afforded (Oxford, 1684)
Ford, Simon – A New Version of the Psalms of David: together with all the church-hymns, into meter, smooth, plain and easy to the most ordinary capacities: and yet as close to the original languages, and the last and best English translation, as the nature of such a work will well permit (London, 1688)
Baxter, Richard – Mr. Richard Baxter’s Paraphrase on the Psalms of David in metre with other hymns d. 1691, 1692
Patrick, John – The Psalms of David in Meter fitted to the Tunes used in Parish-Churches (London, 1694)
Playford, John – The Whole Book of Psalms with the Usual Hymns and Spiritual Songs together with all the Ancient and Proper Tunes sung in Churches, with Some of Later use, Composed in Three Parts: Cantus, Medius and Bassus… 1695 300 pp.
Brady, Nicholas & Tate, Nahum – A New Version of the Psalms of David 1696/8, 1733
Wormington, Charles – Some select psalms of David turned a-new into meter, and suited to the common tunes sung in parish churches: with a divine Pindarique ode on the redemption of man 1697 Dublin
A Divine in the Church of England – An essay towards the rendering the first thirty Psalms of David in meter (of the old version of Thomas Sternhold, and John Hopkins and others) Less obnoxious to exceptions than it has been, by moderate alterations and amendments. And published, as a specimen of the whole book done after the same manner, now in the hands of the author 1697 London
Mather, Cotton – The Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs of the Old & New Testament Faithfully Translated Into English Meter 1698
Phillips, John – Daveidos: or, a specimen of some of David’s Psalms in English Meter, with remarks upon the late translators, by Mr. John Phillips 1698 London
Barton, William & Smith, Thomas – The Psalms of David in Meter. Newly translated with amendments. By William Barton, M.A. And set to the best Psalm-tunes, in two parts, viz. treble and bass; with brief instructions for the understanding of the same; together with a table of the Psalms, and names of the tunes to each Psalm. By Thomas Smith. The basses, with the table, are placed at the latter end of the book 1698 Dublin
Milbourne, Luke – The Psalms of David in English meter translated from the original and suited to all the tunes now sung in churches, with the additions of several new by Luke Milbourne 1698 London
Hunt, Henry – A Collection of Some Verses out of the Psalms of David suited to several occasions. Composed in two parts, cantus and bassus: being [the] common tunes to the Psalms in Metre, now used in parish-churches. To which is added, some instructions for singing of them. Collected for Mr. Henry Hunt, for the use of his scholars, and such as delight in psalmody 1698 London
Darby, Charles – The Book of Psalms in English Metre 1704
Bruce, Thomas – [Psalter of an unknown title] 1712
‘…in the Church, the twelve tunes mentioned in the last article seem to have been the complete repertoire. One step forward was that they were harmonized. Attempts were made to try and improve general musical standards in church singing. In a publication of 1726, a schoolmaster, Thomas Bruce, included explanatory notes along with the twelve tunes. He also included eight tunes which had not been published before. They did not gain acceptance!’ – Isobel Scott
Henry, Matthew – Family Hymns Gathered Mostly out of the Translations of David’s Psalms d. 1714
For an introduction to this, see Andrew Myers’ Matthew Henry’s Family Psalter (6 paragraphs).
Mather, Cotton – Psalterium Americanum. The Book of Psalms, in a translation exactly conformed unto the original; but all in blank verse: Fitted unto the tunes commonly used in our churches. Which pure offering is accompanied with illustrations, digging for hidden treasures in it; and rules to employ it upon the glorious and various intentions of it: Whereunto are added, some other portions of the sacred Scripture, to enrich the cantional 1718
Pike, Samuel – The Book of Psalms in Meter, fitted to the various Tunes in Common Use, wherein Closeness to the Text and Smoothness of the Verse are preferred to Rhyme 1751 London
Barnard, John – A New Version of the Psalms of David; fitted to the Tunes used in the Churches: with several hymns, out of the Old, and New, Testament 1752
Wheatland & Silvester – The Psalms of David Translated into Heroic Verse in as Literal a Manner as Rhyme and Metre will Allow, with Notes 1754 390 pp.
Cradock, Thomas – A Poetical Translation of the Psalms of David from Buchanan’s Latin into English Verse 1754 200 pp.
George Buchanan (1506–1582) was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar. He was also one of the greatest Latin writers ever. He composed the Psalter into Latin verse; here is a translation.
Moore, Thomas – [Work of an Unknown Title] 1755
‘…in 1755, the [town] Corporation of Glasgow [Scotland] engaged a Thomas Moore to [help reform church singing]… He was a well-known teacher of Psalmody in Manchester [England]. He also compiled books of Psalm tunes. From one of his books comes the tune Glasgow which you will find in your Psalmody. Moore became precentor in Blackfriars Church in Glasgow.’ – Isobel Scott
The Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs of the Old and New Testament faithfully translated into English Metre, being the New England Psalm Book Revised and Improved by an Endeavor after yet a Nearer Approach to the Inspired Original and the Rules of Poetry… Boston 1758 370 pp.
Merrick, James – The Psalms Translated or Paraphrased in English Verse 1766 362 pp.
Maxwell, James – A New Version of the Whole Book of Psalms in Metre… All Fitted to the Common Psalm Tunes and Adapted to the Present State of the Christian Church 1773 430 pp.
Boswell, Robert – The Book of Psalms in Metre from the Original, compared with many versions in different languages 1784 370 pp.
Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA – The Whole Book of Psalms in Metre with Hymns suited to… Public Worship 1793 210 pp.
Lord Aston – Select Psalms in Verse with Critical Remarks by Bishop Lowth and Others 1811 320 pp.
This work is a collection of psalm renditions by numerous previous, worthy composers. Near the beginning there are ‘Biographical Notices of Those who have Translated the Whole Book of Psalms’.
Goode, William – An Entire New Version of the Book of Psalms, in which an attempt is made to accommodate them to the Worship of the Christian Church in a variety of measures now in general use 1816 500 pp.
Anonymous – The Book of Psalms in Verse… taken from the words of Different Writers on the Psalms, but Chiefly from Bishop Horne’s Commentary 1820 London
Mant, Richard – The Book of Psalms in an English Metrical Version, founded on the basis of the Authorized Bible Translation and Compared with the Original Hebrew 1824
*** – “A bold version, with important notes. In this instance we confess that there may be real poetry in a metrical version, and though the flame does not in each composition burn with equal brilliance, yet in some verses it is the true poetic fire. Mant is no mean writer.” – Spurgeon
Pa, Margaret – The Christian Psalter, a New Version of the Psalms of David, Calculated for all Denominations of Christians 1828 370 pp.
A fair amount of liberty is used in embellishing the text.
Marsh, Edward G. – The Book of Psalms translated into English Verse, and Illustrated with Practical and Explanatory Comments 1832 540 pp.
“Contains nothing [in the comments] of any consequence to an expositor, though the verse is considerably above the average of such productions.” – Spurgeon
Eadie, John – Translation of Buchanan’s Latin Psalms into English Verse 1836 Glasgow
This John Eadie (1810-1876) was the well-known Scottish presbyterian Bible commentator.
George Buchanan (1506–1582) was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar. He was also one of the greatest Latin writers ever. He composed the Psalter into Latin verse; here is a translation.
Drake, Nathan – The Harp of Judah, or, Songs of Sion: being a metrical translation of the Psalms constructed from the most beautiful parts of the best English versions 1837
Rusling, J. – Portions of the Psalms of David, and other Part of Scripture in Verse, Designed as a Companion for the Christian Philadelphia 1838 268 pp.
Keble, John – The Psalter or Psalms of David in English Verse… Adapted for the most part to Tunes in Common Use Oxford 1839 425 pp.
Scott, Robert Allan – Metrical Paraphrases of Selected Portions of the Book of Psalms, generally adapted to the Purposes of Public Worship or Private Devotion 1839 180 pp.
Hare, Julius Charles – Portions of the Psalms in English Verse: Selected for Public Worship 1839 280 pp.
Burgess, George – The Book of Psalms Translated into English Verse 1840 290 pp.
Mainzer, Joseph – The Standard Psalmody of Scotland 1842-7
‘Joseph Mainzer taught sight singing as well as other musical skills in Paris and then throughout Britain — he even got as far as Strathpeffer! He lived in Edinburgh [Scotland] from 1842 to 1847 and lectured and taught enthusiastically. While there he published the ‘Standard Psalmody of Scotland’ and reintroduced many old tunes from the 1564 Psalter. We have his tune Mainzer in our Psalm Book [‘The Scottish Psalmody’ of the Free Church of Scotland].’ – Isobel Scott
Montagu, M. – The Seven Penitential Psalms in Verse, being Specimens of a New Version of the Psalter Fitted to the Tunes Used in Churches 1844 150 pp.
Anonymous – A Metrical Version of the Hebrew Psalter with Explanatory Notes 1845 280 pp.
ed. Hately, T.L. – The Psalmody of the Free Church of Scotland 1845
‘T.L. Hately was born in Greenlaw, Berwickshire and was one of the few precentors who came out with the Free Church at the Disruption in 1843. He was precentor at the Free High Church, Edinburgh and also to the Assembly. Hately wanted to teach, not choirs, but congregations and he attracted huge classes — as many as 900 people in Greenock! He not only taught people how to sing but provided them with historical and critical information as well. Glencairn, Huntingtower and Leuchars were composed by him as was the melody of Cunningham. Hately… edited and published standard Psalters which helped to raise the standard of congregational singing. Their success was helped by the general and cultural interest of the time.’ – Isobel Scott
Latham, Henry – Anthologia Davidica, or a Metrical Translation of the Whole Book of Psalms, Selected from our Published Versions with Alterations London 1846 580 pp.
Anonymous – Psalms for the Congregation, selected chiefly from the Authorized and other Approved Metrical Versions, freely altered and combined with a view to a closer rendering of the mind of the Psalmist, in Easy English Verse, and in portions adapted to Church Singing 1846 390 pp.
Cole, Benjamin – The Psalms of David: a New Metrical Version 1847
Churton, Edward – The Book of Psalms in English Verse and in Measures Suited for Sacred Music 1854 500 pp.
Wesley, Charles – The Wesleyan Psalter: a Poetical Version of Nearly the Whole Book of Psalms 1855 340 pp. with an Introductory Essay by Henry Fish
Turner, Thomas – A Metrical Version of the Book of Psalms 1859
Jones, Abner – The Psalter, defined and explained in its musical bearings, and Divided according to its Musical Measures and Cadences, Vindicating the Psalms of David… 1860 300 pp. The first part of the work contains the music, the second contains the versified psalter.
Cayley, C.B. – The Psalms in Metre 1860
Anonymous – The Book of Psalms Translated into English Verse 1862, London
Keys, William Wallace – The Psalms of David, With a Selection of Standard Music, Appropriately Arranged According to the Sentiment of Each Psalm or Portion of Psalm (Philadelphia, 1864) See also the editions of 1863 & 1865.
This was the first revised edition of the 1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter produced by the RPCNA. At least 15 editions were published by 1874. Further psalter editions were approved by the RPCNA in 1889 (a split-leaf edition), 1911, 1919, 1929, 1950, 1973 and 2009.
For more info on Keys and his psalter, see Andrew Myers, ‘The Keys Psalter’ (2020).
Anonymous – The American Metrical Psalter New York 1864 300 pp.
The psalter is dedicated to the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Hapstone, Dalman – The Ancient Psalms in Appropriate Meters; a Strictly literal Translation from the Hebrew, with Explanatory Notes 1867
Keith, J. – The Book of Psalms Rendered into Common Metre Verse, from the Authorised English Version 1868 490 pp.
Keble, John – The Psalter, or Psalms of David in English Verse, Adapted to Tunes in Common Use 1869
Henderson, Andrew – The New Scottish Psalter being the Book of Psalms marked for expressive singing with tunes contained in ‘Church Melodies’ 1869 310 pp. Split-Leaf
Birks, Thomas Rawson – The Companion Psalter: or Four Hundred and Fifty Versions of the Psalms, Selected and Original, for Public or Private Worship 1874 350 pp.
Trower, W.J. – A New Metrical Psalter, first published in 1831, now Revised and Republished 1875 310 pp.
Kennedy, Benjamin Hall – The Psalter or Psalms of David in English Verse 1876 295 pp.
Marquis of Lorne – The Book of Psalms Literally Rendered in Verse 1877 580 pp.
Presbyterian Church in Ireland – The Psalter, a Revised Edition of the Scottish Metrical Version of the Psalms with Additional Psalm-Versions with Accompanying tunes, the harmonies revised by Robert Stewart 1880 190 pp. Split-Leaf Here is a words-only version.
Williams, Benjamin – The Book of Psalms, as Translated, Paraphrased or Imitated by some of the most Eminent Poets, viz.: Addison, Blacklock, Brady, Carter, Daniel, Denham, Doddridge, Merrick, Milton, Roscommon, Rowe, Sowden, Steele, Tate, Tollet, Watts, and several others; and Adapted to Christian Worship… to which is prefixed A Dissertation of Scripture Imprecations, with the View of Vindicating the Sacred Writers in General, and the Psalmists in Particular, against the… charge of indulging and countenancing a malevolent spirit Buy 1881
Seymour, William Digby – The Hebrew Psalter, or ‘Book of Praises’, commonly called the Psalms of David: a New Metrical Translation 1882 430 pp.
Wrangham, Digby – Lyra Regis: the Book of Psalms rendered literally into English Meter 1885
The Psalter of the United Presbyterian Church of North America with Music 1887 520 pp.
Coles, Abraham – A New Rendering of the Hebrew Psalms into English Verse, with Notes… 1888 400 pp.
Gibson, Thomas – Selections from the Book of Psalms with Appropriate Tunes, suitable for Sabbath Schools, Prayer Meeting, etc. 1890 125 pp.
Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America Synod – The Psalter; or Book of Psalms. A Revision of the Metrical Version of the Bible Psalms, with Additional Versions New York 1893 350 pp.
Anonymous – All the French Psalm Tunes with English Words, being a Collection of Psalms, According to the Verses and Tunes Generally used in the Reformed Churches of France and Germany n.d. London
Anonymous – A Critical Translation of the Psalms in Metre n.d.
“The author has labored hard to arrive at the correct meaning of the Hebrew, and to versify it. The work is very carefully done, but few preachers can afford to spend their money on a book of this kind.” – Spurgeon
Anonymous – The Whole Psalter Translated into English Meter, which contains an Hundred and Fifty Psalms. The First Quinquagene n.d. London
United Presbyterian Board of Publication – The Psalter with Music 1900 515 pp.
Collier, Edward – Lyrics from the Psalter: a Metrical Rendering of Selections from the Psalms 1907 140 pp. United Presbyterian Board of Publication These selected metrical renderings are different that The Psalter with Music of 1900.
Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America – The Psalter, or Book of Psalms, a Revision of the Metrical Version of the Bible Psalms, with Additional Versions Pittsburgh 1907
United Presbyterian Board of Publication – Psalter Hymns for use in Families, Sabbath Schools and Bible Classes, Young People’s Societies, Prayer Meetings and Union Services 1911 90 pp.
Free Church of Scotland – Sing Psalms 2003
This was published by the Residual side of the Free Church of Scotland, as distinguished from the (Continuing) side from the division in 2000.
The Psalter sometimes uses gender inclusive language (where the Hebrew is masculine): Psalm 1 reads “Blessed is the *one* who…”. See also Ps. 41:1, etc. Psalm 112:1, however, still reads “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD.” Nonetheless, the Psalter presents a clear and intelligible translation with two or even three alternative meters offered for most of the Psalms. See more information about the psalter here.
Singing the King James Version
Psalters for Chanting
King James Version
Oakeley, Herbert – The Bible Psalter: being the Authorized Version of the Psalms pointed for chanting, and with chants adapted thereto, or specially composed for this work 1850 160 pp. The Preface teaches one how to chant.
ed. Hopkins & Smyth – The Choral Psalter, containing the Authorized Version of the Psalms, and other Portions of Scripture pointed for chanting with a selection of chants 1890 270 pp.
Brown, Arthur Henry — The Gregorian Psalter; the Psalms Newly Adapted to the Old Church Tones, with the Occasional Introduction of Choral Harmony 1875 380 pp.
ed. Archer & Reed – The Psalter and Canticles Pointed for Chanting to the Gregorian Psalm Tones, with a Plain Song Setting… for the use of Evangelical Congregations 1897 480 pp.
Briggs & Frere – A Manual of Plainsong for Divine Service containing the Canticles Noted, the Psalter Noted to Gregorian Tones…
Redhead, Richard – The Psalter and Proper Psalms from the Book of Common Prayer, Pointed and Set to the Ancient Church Tones 1850 280 pp.
The Prayer book translation of the Psalms was done from the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, which is not as accurate as the inspired and preserved Hebrew.
Church of England – The Cathedral Psalter, containing the Psalms of David together with the Canticles and Proper Psalms Pointed for Chanting and Set to Appropriate Chants 18?? 170 pp.
Helmore, Thomas – The Psalter Noted New York 1856 260 pp.
Muhlenberg, William Augustus – The People’s Psalter being the Psalms of David arranged for Chanting, with an Appendix 1866 340 pp. This psalter was associated with the American Episcopal Church.
Brown, Arthur Henry – The Anglican Psalter and Canticles; the Psalms and Canticles Newly Adapted to Anglican Chants of Ecclesiastical Character 1878 264 pp.
McLaren, Donald Campbell – The Book of Psalms Versified and Annotated New York 1878
ed. Ravenshaw & Rockstro – The Ferial Psalter together with the Canticles adapted to Antient Ecclesiastical Tones 1887 300 pp.
Messiter, A.H. – The Psalter Pointed for Singing and Set to Music, according to the use of Trinity Parish, New York 1889 360 pp.
ed. Douglas – The Psalms of David from the St. Dunstan Psalter 1917 210 pp.
Psalters in Latin
The Stuttgarter Psalter 820-830 AD
ed. Rosier – The Vitellius Psalter from the British Museum 1962
This is one of the six, extant, glossed, Gallican psalters written in England between 975-1075 AD.
ed. Gilson – The Mozarabic Psalter in the British Museum 1905
Anglo-Saxon and Early English Psalter: Now First Printed from Manuscripts in the British Museum, vol. 1, 2 1843
ed. Harsley – Eadwine’s Canterbury Psalter from Cambridge
Buchanan, George & Theodore Beza – A Twofold Poetic Paraphrase of the Sacred Psalms of David in 5 Books… (Morgiis: 1581)
Buchanan, George – A Poetic Paraphrase of the Psalms of David… Arguments & Melodies Explicated & Illustrated ed. Nathan Chytraeus Buy (Herborn, 1637)
These are classical Latin meter paraphrases by George Buchanan, set to music by a German school teacher with help from a composer. Rather loose paraphrases.
It includes 4-part harmony.
Evaluations of Psalters
Beveridge, Henry – A Defence of the Book of Psalms collected into English Metre by Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins and Others with Critical Observations on the Late New Version compared with the Old 1710 136 pp.
Todd, Henry John – Observations upon the Metrical Versions of the Psalms made by Sternhold, Hopkins and others.. 1822
In Chapter 3, pp. 50-85, Todd comments on the psalters of: (1) Archbishop Parker, (2) Henry Dod, (3) George Wither, (4) King James’ first version, (5) George Sandy, (6) William Barton, (7) Tate and Brady, (8) Richard Blackmore
ed. Lang, David – Notices Regarding the Metrical Versions of the Psalms received by the Church of Scotland from the appendix of vol. 3 of Robert Baillie’s Letters, 1842
Commented on are: (1) the Old Version of 1565, (2) the King James’ Version of 1631, (3) Francis Rous’ Version of 1643, (4) the versions of Sir. W. Mure and Zachary Boyd, (5) Rous’ revised version of 1646, (6) The Present Version (the Scottish Metrical Psalter) of 1650, (7) Scriptural Songs and Paraphrases.
Earle, Alice – ‘The Psalm Book of the Pilgrims’, ‘The Bay Psalm Book’, ‘Sternhold and Hopkins’ Version of the Psalms’, ‘Other Old Psalm Books’, being chapters 11-14 of The Sabbath in Puritan New England 1891
Earle was a lay historian of early American culture. Her reviews of the psalm books brings out intriguing details coupled with humor. The Psalm Book of the Pilgrims was Henry Ainsworth’s 1644 psalter.
Histories of Psalters
Glass, Henry – The Story of the Psalters: A History of the Metrical Versions of Great Britain and America, from 1549-1885 1888
Young, Thomas – The Metrical Psalms and Paraphrases: a Short Sketch of their History with biographical notes of their authors 1909 224 pp.
Coles, Abraham – ‘II – Metrical Versions of the Psalms: French, English and Scotch’ 1888 8 pp. in A New Rendering of the Hebrew Psalms into English Verse, xiv-xxv
Brooke, William T. – Old English Psalmody, vol. 1 (1547-1660), 2 (1660-1800) Buy 1916
Quitslund, Beth – The Reformation in Rhyme: Sternhold, Hopkins and the English Metrical Psalter, 1547-1603 Pre
Pidoux, Pierre – History of the Genevan Psalter
The Orthodox Presbyterian – History of the Authorized Metrical Version of the Psalms 1831
Livingston, Neil – Dissertation II, ‘History of the Scottish Psalter’ in The Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1635, pp. 8-23 1864
Laing, David – Account of the Scottish Psalter of A.D. 1566, containing the Psalms, Canticles and Hymns set to Music in Four Parts in the Manuscripts of Thomas Wode or Wood 1871 42 pp.
MacMeeken, John West – History of the Scottish Metrical Psalms with an Account of the Paraphrases and Hymns, and of the Music of the Old Psalter 1872 292 pp.
Shiells, Robert – ‘The Scottish Psalter’ 1904 40 pp. in Wisconsin Presbyterian Review
Kerr, A.W. – The Opening Chapters to A Plea for Revision of the Scottish Authorized Version of the Psalms of David in Metre, with Paraphrases and Hymns Buy 1926
Patrick, Millar – Four Centuries of Scottish Psalmody 1949 286 pp.
Warwick, Alistair – Music Fyne: Scottish Church Music up to 1603
Sanderson, Margaret – ‘The Printing and Distribution of the Bible and Psalm Books in Sixteenth-Century Scotland: some additional documentation’ Scottish Church History Society 1999, 29, pp. 139-149
Faber, R. – ‘The First Psalters in the Dutch Reformed Churches’ in The Clarion, Feb. 28, 2003, pp. 113-116
Pratt, Waldo Selden – The Music of the Pilgrims: a Description of the Psalm-Book Brought to Plymouth in 1620 (1921) 74 pp.
Histories of Composers
Lord Aston – ‘Biographical Notices of Those who have Translated the Whole Book of Psalms’ (1810) 26 pp. in Select Psalms in Verse with Critical Remarks by Bishop Lowth and Others
Holland, John – The Psalmists of Britain: Records Biographical and Literary, of Upwards of One Hundred and Fifty Authors who have rendered the Whole or Parts of The Book of Psalms into English Verse, with Specimens of the Different Versions and a General Introduction, vol. 1, 2 (1843)
History of Psalm Tunes
See also Psalm Tune History Books.
Deddens, K. – The Origin of our [Genevan] Psalm Melodies (1987) 70 paragraphs
Havergal, W.H. – The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune, with Specimens (1854) 80 pp.
Myers, Andrew – The Covenanter ‘Canon’ (2014) 2 paragraphs
Moffatt, James & Millar Patrick – Handbook to the Church Hymnary, with Supplement Buy (1929)
This handbook, in addition to many other things, gives background info on all of the psalm tunes used in the Scottish Psalmody, the classic Scottish Psalter used by the Free Church of Scotland. The handbook was meant to attend the psalter and hymnbook produced in 1929 for the union of the United Free Church of Scotland with the Church of Scotland.
Scott, Isobel – The Scottish Psalmody (2011)
Mrs. Scott, wife of Rev. Bill Scott of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) gives a very readable and lively introduction to the psalter that the Free Church of Scotland uses, and in the process gives the history of several psalters before it and the history of many of its psalm tunes. This article is instructive for children and adults alike!
Gilchrist, A. G. – ‘Psalm-Versions & French Tunes in the Scottish Psalter of 1564’ Scottish Church History Society (1935)
Lists of Printed Psalters
Latham, Henry – ‘A List of Metrical Versions of the Entire Book of Psalms’ & ‘Partial Versions’ 1846 13 pp. in Anthologia Davidica, or a Metrical Translation of the Whole Book of Psalms, Selected from our Published Versions with Alterations
Cowan, William – ‘The Bibliography’ in A Bibliography of the Book of Common Order and Psalm Book of the Church of Scotland: 1566-1644 1913 46 pp.
ed. Bateson, F.W. – Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vol. 1 (600-1600) 1941
‘Old English Metrical Psalms’, p. 80
‘Versions of the Psalms’, pp. 677-9
Black, George F. – pp. 758-9 & 849-51 of A List of Works Relating to Scotland [in the New York Public Library] 1916
National Library of Scotland – pp. 637-8 of Catalogue of the Printed Books in the Advocates’ Library, vol. 5 1877
Duguid, Timothy C.
‘Printed Metrical Psalters by Short Title Catalogue Number’ 2011 28 pp. in the ‘Bibliography’ to Sing a New Song: English and Scottish Metrical Psalmody from 1549-1640, vol. 1, pp 319-347 a PhD thesis, Univ. of Edin.
Metrical Psalmody in Print and Practice: English ‘Singing Psalms’ and Scottish ‘Psalm Buiks’, c. 1547-1640 Pre Buy (Ashgate, 2014)
The Poetry of the Westminster Divines