Whence shall my tears begin?
What first-fruits shall I bear
Of earnest sorrow for my sin?
Or how my woes declare?
O Thou! the Merciful and Gracious One
Forgive the foul transgressions I have done.
With Adam I have vied,
Yea, passed him, in my fall;
And I am naked now, by pride
And lust made bare of all;
Of Thee, O GOD, and that Celestial Band,
And all the glory of the Promised Land.
No earthly Eve beguiled
My body into sin:
A spiritual temptress smiled,
Unbridled Passion grasped the unhallowed sweet:
Most bitter—ever bitter—was the meat.
If Adam’s righteous doom,
Because he dared transgress
Thy one decree, lost Eden’s bloom
And Eden’s loveliness:
What recompence, O LORD, must I expect,
Who all my life Thy quickening laws neglect?
By mine own act, like Cain,
A murderer was I made:
By mine own act my soul was slain,
When Thou wast disobeyed:
And lusts each day are quickened, warring still
Against Thy grace with many a deed of ill.
Thou formed’st me of clay,
O Heav’nly Potter! Thou
In fleshly vesture didst array,
With life and breath endow.
Thou Who didst make, didst ransom, and dost know
To Thy repentant creature pity show!
My guilt for vengeance cries;
But yet Thou pardonest all,
And whom Thou lov’st Thou dost chastise,
And mourn’st for them that fall:
Thou, as a Father, mark’st our tears and pain,
And welcomest the prodigal again.
I lie before Thy door,
O turn me not away!
Nor in mine old age give me o’er
To Satan for a prey!
But ere the end of life and term of grace,
Thou Merciful! my many sins efface!
The Priest beheld, and passed
The way he had to go:
A careless glance the Levite cast,
And left me to my woe:
But Thou, O JESU, Mary’s Son, console,
Draw nigh, and succour me, and make me whole!
Thou Spotless Lamb divine,
Who takest sins away,
Remove, remove, the load that mine
Upon my conscience lay:
And, of Thy tender mercy, grant Thou me
To find remission of iniquity
Andrew, St., of Jerusalem, Archbishop of Crete (660-732). born at Damascus; he embraced the monastic life at Jerusalem, whence his name, as above. He was deputed by Theodore, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to attend the 6th General Council at Constantinople (680). He was there ordained deacon, and became Warden of the Orphanage. "During the reign of Philippus Bardesanes (711-714) he was raised by that usurper to the Archiepiscopate of Crete; and shortly afterward was one of the Pseudo-Synod of Constantinople, held under that Emperor's auspices in 712, which condemned the Sixth (Ecumenical Council and restored the Monothelite heresy. At a later period, however, he returned to the faith of the Church and refuted the error into which be had fallen."… Go to person page >
Translator: J. M. Neale
John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly temperament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >
Display Title: Whence shall my tears begin?First Line: Whence shall my tears begin?Tune Title: COVENANTAuthor: Andrew of Crete; John M. NealeMeter: 126.96.36.199Source: Tr.: Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1862