Dies Irae, dies illa


That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
Both David and the Sibyl say.

What terror then shall us befall,
When lo, the Judge’s steps appall,
About to sift the deeds of all.

The mighty trumpet’s marvellous tone
Shall pierce through each sepulchral stone
And summon all before the throne.

Now death and nature in amaze
Behold the Lord His creatures raise,
To meet the Judge’s awful gaze.

The books are opened, that the dead
May have their doom from what is read,
The record of our conscience dread.

The Lord of Judgment sits him down,
And every secret thing makes known,
No crime escapes His vengeful frown.

Ah, how shall I that day endure,
What patron’s friendly voice secure
When scarce the just themselves are sure?

O King, of dreadful majesty,
Who grantest grace and mercy free,
Grant mercy now and grace to me.

Good Lord, t’was for my sinful sake,
That Thou our suffering flesh did take,
Then do not now my soul forsake.

In weariness Thy sheep was sought;
Upon the Cross, his life was bought;
Alas, if all in vain were wrought.

Oh, just avenging Judge, I pray,
For pity take my sins away,
Before the great-accounting day.

I groan beneath the guilt, which Thou
Canst read upon my blushing brow;
But spare, O God, Thy suppliant now.

Thou who didst Magdalene’s sins unbind,
And mercy for the robber find,
Doth fill with hope my anxious mind.

My feeble prayers can make no claim,
Yet, gracious Lord, for Thy great Name,
Redeem me from that quenchless flame.

At Thy right Hand, give me a place,
Among Thy sheep, a child of grace,
Far from the goat’s accursed race.

Yea, when thy justly kindled ire,
Shall sinners hurl to endless fire,
O call me to Thy chosen choir.

In suppliant prayer I prostrate bend,
My contrite heart like ashes rend,
Regard O Lord, my latter end.

Oh, on that day, that tearful day,
When man to judgement wakes from clay,
Be Thou the trembling sinner’s stay,

And spare, O God, we humbly pray,
Yea, grant to all, O Saviour Blest,
Who die in Thee, the Saint’s sweet rest.


by Thomas of Celano (13th Century)

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