His writings included both religious and secular themes and, though at least one critic commented that he only received attention because of his name, some of his poems were held in high regard. In fact, a young Adams was even commissioned to write poetry for public occassions. Though his writing was published in periodicals and anthologies, an edition of his verse was not published until shortly his death in 1848. Critics, both those who disliked Adams's poetry and those who praised it, admitted that his writings were not treated fairly because of his family name.
His poem "The Hour-Glass":
Alas! how swift the moments fly!
How flash the years along!
Scarce here, yet gone already by,
The burden of a song.
See childhood, youth, and manhood pass,
And age, with furrowed brow;
Time was—Time shall be—drain the glass—
But where in Time is now?
Time is the measure but of change;
No present hour is found;
The past, the future, fill the range
Of Time's unceasing round.
Where, then, is now? In realms above,
With God's atoning Lamb,
In regions of eternal love,
Where sits enthroned I AM.
Then, pilgrim, let thy joys and tears
On Time no longer lean;
But henceforth all thy hopes and fears
From earth's affections wean:
To God let votive accents rise;
With truth, with virtue, live;
So all the bliss that Time denies
Eternity shall give.