Stomion Polon Adaon
Stomion Polon Adaon (Στόμιον πώλων ἀδαῶν) is the beginning of a hymn attributed to Clement of Alexandria, and is found at the close of his Pedagogue. It is the oldest Christian hymn extant, and is a sublime but somewhat turgid song of praise to the Logos, as the divine educator and leader of the "human race." The title of the hymn is ςΥμνος τοῦ Σωτῆρος Χριστοῦ, i.e. "Hymn of the Savior Christ," aid it addresses Christ as the leader of the youth, that he himself may gather them to praise him (ver. 1-8); then as the shepherd and king of the saints, that he may guide his sheep and rule over them; (ver. 9- 22); and, finally, as the Eternal Word, whose footsteps lead to heaven (ver. 23-53). The first part runs thus in the original Greek:
Στόμιον πώλων ἀδαῶν Πτερὸν ὀρνίθων ἀπλανῶν Οἴαξ νηῶν ἀτρεκής Ποιμὴν ἀρνῶν βασιλικῶν· Τοὺς σοὺς ἀφελεῖς παῖδας ἄγειρον, Αἰνεῖν ἁγίως, ὑμνεῖν ἀδολως Α᾿κάκοις στόμασιν Παίδων ἡγήτορα Χριστόν There are three English translations of this hymn: one by W. Wilson, in the Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol. 4; Clement of Alexandria, 1, 343 sq.:
"Bridle of colts untamed, Over our wills presiding, Wing of unwandering birds, Our flight securely guiding.
Rudder of youth unbending, Firm against adverse shock; Shepherd with wisdom tending Lambs of the royal flock;"
a second by Mrs. Charles, in the Christian Life in Song, p. 44 sq.:
"Mouth of babes who cannot speak, Wing of nestlings a sho cannot fly," etc.
and a third by Saville, found in the Lyra Sacra (Lond. 18605) p. 5 and adopted by Schaff in Christ in Song p. 675:
"Shepherd of tender youth, Guiding in love and truth," etc.
For the German translations, as well as for the literature on this hymn, see the very learned article on the contents and structure of this hymn by Prof. Piper, in his Evangel. Kalender for 1868, p. 17-39. (B.P.)