Adam's Complaint

The Lord My Maker, forming me of clay

Author: Theophanes, the Confessor; Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Published in 2 hymnals

Representative Text

“The LORD My Maker, forming me of clay,
By His own Breath, the breath of life conveyed:
O’er all the bright new world He gave me sway,
A little lower than the Angels made.
But Satan, using for his guile
The crafty serpent’s cruel wile,
Deceived me by the Tree;
And severed me from GOD and grace,
And wrought me death, and all my race,
As long as time shall be.
O Lover of the sons of men!
Forgive, and call me back again!

“In that same hour I lost the glorious stole
Of innocence, that GOD’s own Hands had made;
And now, the tempter poisoning all my soul,
I sit, in fig leaves and in skins arrayed:
I sit condemned, distressed, forsaken;
Must till the ground whence I was taken
By labour’s daily sweat.
But Thou, That shalt hereafter come,
The Offspring of a Virgin-womb,
Have pity on me yet!
O turn on me those gracious eyes,
And call me back to Paradise!

“O glorious Paradise! O lovely clime!
O GOD-built mansion! joy of every Saint!
Happy remembrance to all coming time!
Whisper, with all thy leaves, in cadence faint,
One prayer to Him Who made them all,
One prayer for Adam in his fall!—
That He, Who formed thy gates of yore,
Would bid those gates unfold once more
That I had closed by sin:
And let me taste that holy Tree
That giveth immortality
To them that dwell therein:
Or have I fallen so far from grace
That mercy hath for me no place?”

Adam sat right against the Eastern gate,
By many a storm of sad remembrance tossed;
“O me! so ruined by the serpent’s hate!
O me! so glorious once, and now so lost!
So mad that bitter lot to choose!
Beguiled of all I had to lose!
Must I then, gladness of my eyes,—
Must I then leave thee, Paradise,
And as an exile go?
And must I never cease to grieve
How once my GOD, at cool of eve,
Came down to walk below?
O Merciful! on Thee I call:
O Pitiful! forgive my fall!”

Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866

Author: Theophanes, the Confessor

Theophanes, St. The third in rank among the Greek ecclesiastical poets called Melodists, circa 800-850. He was a son of pious parents, and a native of Jerusalem. He may have been educated, as his elder brother Theodore was, in the Laura of St. Sabas, and thence have imbibed his taste for the composition of hymns. He was sent, with his brother, by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to Constantinople, to remonstrate with the Emperor Leo the Armenian (reg. 813-820), against iconoclasm. They were scourged and banished from Constantinople. After the murder of Leo they were allowed to return, but were again banished. In the reign of Theophilus (reg. 829-842) they were again at Constantinople, and were then branded on their faces with some opprobrious… Go to person page >

Translator: John Mason Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The Lord My Maker, forming me of clay
Title: Adam's Complaint
Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Author: Theophanes, the Confessor
Meter: Irregular

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