Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen

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: Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen
Author: Thomas Aquinas
Source: The Hymnal 1940 (tr. sts. 1-3); Hymnal 1982 (tr. st. 4)
Publication Date: 1982
Copyright: This text may still be under copyright because it was published in 1982.


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 St. 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:—
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.

--Excerpt from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #314
Small Church Music #2537Audio
Include 5 pre-1979 instances