Adoro te devote, latens Deitas

Author: Thomas Aquinas

Thomas of Aquino, confessor and doctor, commonly called The Angelical Doctor, “on account of," says Dom Gueranger, "the extraordinary gift of understanding wherewith God had blessed him," was born of noble parents, his father being Landulph, Count of Aquino, and his mother a rich Neapolitan lady, named Theodora. The exact date of his birth is not known, but most trustworthy authorities give it as 1227. At the age of five he was sent to the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino to receive his first training, which in the hands of a large-hearted and God-fearing man, resulted in so filling his mind with knowledge and his soul with God, that it is said the monks themselves would often approach by stealth to hear the words of piety and wisdo… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Adoro te devote, latens Deitas
Author: Thomas Aquinas
Language: Latin
Refrain First Line: Ave Jesu Pastor fidelium


Adoro Te devote, latens Deitas. St. Thomas of Aquino. [Holy Communion]. Of the actual date of the composition of this hymn we have no record. As in 1259 the author was engaged in Paris in writing on the Eucharist, and in 1263, in drawing up the existing office for the festival of Corpus Christi, at the request of Pope Urban IV., and for which he wrote the well-known hymns, Pange lingua gloriosi Corporis mysterium; Lauda Sion; Sacris solemniis; and Verbum supernum (q. v.), we may fix the date, somewhat indefinitely, as c. 1260. Although never incorporated in the public services of the Church, it was added at an early date to various Missals for private devotion.
In 1841 Daniel included it in vol. i. No. 242 with a short note…. Dr. Neale's note, Mediaeval Hymns, 1851 and 1867, &c, is:—

"The following hymn of S. Thomas Aquinas to the Holy Eucharist was never in public use in the Mediaeval Church; but it has been appended, as a private devotion, to most Missals. It is worthy of notice how the Angelic Doctor, as if afraid to employ any pomp of words on approaching so tremendous a Mystery, has used the very simplest expressions throughout."

Translations in common use:—
1. 0 Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee. By E. Caswall, first published in his Lyra Catholica, 1849, p. 247, in 7 stanzas, and with the refrain as in The Domin. Hymn Book. This was repeated in his Hymns and Poems, 1873, p. 161, with alterations.
2. Humbly I adore Thee, hidden Deity. By J. M. Neale, first published in his Mediaeval Hymns, 1851 and 1867, &c, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines.
3. Thee we adore, 0 hidden Saviour, Thee. By Bishop J. R. Woodford, written in 1850, and first published in hisHymns arranged for the Sundays, &c, of the Church of England, 1852, 2nd ed. 1855.
4. Prostrate I adore Thee, Deity unseen.
5. I adore Thee truly, hidden Deity. By W. J.
Irons, in his Psalms & Hymns for the Church, 1875.

Translations not in common use:—
1. Prostrate I adore Thee. Dr. Pusey. Par. of the Christian Soul, 1847.
2. Devoutly I adore Thee, unseen Deity. J. D. Chambers, 1857.
3. Devoutly I adore Thee, God in figures veil'd. J. W. Hewett, 1859.
4. 0 Dreadful unapproached Deity. Isaac Williams.
5. I adore Thee devoutly, 0 Godhead concealed. John Wallace, 1874, Hymns of the Church, pp. 239-40.
6. Suppliant 1 adore Thee, latent Deity. W. Palmer. 1845. From the Paris Breviary.
7. I adore the truth concealed . C. H. Hoole, in his Poems and Translations, 1875.

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Adoro Te Devote, p. 23, ii.
Additional translations are:—
1. With all the power [powers] my poor heart hath. By R. Crashaw in his Steps to the Temple, 2nd edition, 1648, p. 74. Repeated in J. Austin's Devotions, 1668, and in the Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Book, 1868, No. 338,
2. Devoutly we adore Thee, Deity unseen. This in the Altar Hymnal, 1884, is Neale's translation, slightly altered.
3. O loving Pelican, O Jesu, my sweet Lord. Anon, in the R. C. Parochial Hymn Book, 1880.
4. Hoole's translation noted on p. 23, ii, 7, should read "Thee I adore, the Truth concealed."
5. O blest memorial of our dying Lord. This in Laudes Domini, N. Y., 1884, begins with stanza ii. of Bp. Woodford's translation.
6. Lord, in thankful love adoring. One stanza only from the "Adoro te," with an original doxology in the Savoy Hymnary, n. d.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)



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