Adam Lay Ybounden

This year, I joined the choir at my church. As a child I always wanted to join the choir, but I was too shy and timid to actually sing in front of people.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve done a 180º so to speak, in that I am totally confident speaking, and evening singing, in front of people. In the few short months I’ve been in the choir, we’ve sung some wonderful hymns and pieces that range from the middle ages up to the modern age. This past Sunday, on the first Sunday of Lent, we sang Adam Lay Ybounden, a piece written in England in the fifteenth century (the words are in Middle English). The tune of the hymn is one of the most difficult ones I’ve performed in the choir this year.

Though I wasn’t able to record us singing it, I found this piece from the Choir of King’s College in Cambridge, and it sounds very close to the version we sang. I hope you enjoy this piece!


Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter thought he not too long.

And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As clerkes finden written in their book.

Ne had the apple taken been, the apple taken been,
Ne had never our lady abeen heavené queen.

Blessed be the time that apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen Deo Gracias!

–From the album A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.


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Filed under Hebrew Bible, Hymns

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