Dies Irae

Original Text: 
The Miscellaneous Writings, Speeches and Poems of Lord Macaulay (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1880): 348-49. PR 4963 A1 1880a Robarts Library.
2This vain world shall pass away.
3Thus the sibyl sang of old,
4Thus hath Holy David told.
5There shall be a deadly fear
6When the Avenger shall appear,
7And unveiled before his eye
8All the works of man shall lie.
9Hark! to the great trumpet's tones
10Pealing o'er the place of bones:
11Hark! it waketh from their bed
12All the nations of the dead, --
13In a countless throng to meet,
14At the eternal judgment seat.
15Nature sickens with dismay,
16Death may not retain his prey;
17And before the Maker stand
18All the creatures of his hand.
19The great book shall be unfurled,
20Whereby God shall judge the world:
21What was distant shall be near,
22What was hidden shall be clear.
23To what shelter shall I fly?
24To what guardian shall I cry7
25Oh, in that destroying hour,
26Source of goodness, Source of power,
27Show thou, of thine own free grace,
28Help unto a helpless race.
29Though I plead not at thy throne
30Aught that I for thee have done,
31Do not thou unmindful be,
32Of what thou hast borne for me:
33Of the wandering, of the scorn,
34Of the scourge, and of the thorn.
35Jesus, hast thou borne the pain,
36And hath all been borne in vain?
37Shall thy vengeance smite the head
38For whose ransom thou hast bled?
39Thou, whose dying blessing gave
40Glory to a guilty slave:
41Thou, who from the crew unclean
42Didst release the Magdalene:
43Shall not mercy vast and free,
44Evermore be found in thee?
45Father, turn on me thine eyes,
46See my blushes, hear my cries;
47Faint though be the cries I make,
48Save me, for thy mercy's sake,
49From the worm, and from the fire,
50From the torments of thine ire.
51Fold me with the sheep that stand
52Pure and safe at thy right hand.
53Hear thy guilty child implore thee,
54Rolling in the dust before thee.
55Oh the horrors of that day!
56When this frame of sinful clay,
57Starting from its burial place,
58Must behold thee face to face.
59Hear and pity, hear and aid,
60Spare the creatures thou hast made.
61Mercy, mercy, save, forgive,
62Oh, who shall took on thee and live?

Notes

1] A translation of the greatest of all medieval Latin hymns, written likely in the 12th-century by Thomas of Celano. Here is the text from A Primer of Medieval Latin: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry, ed. Charles H. Beeson (Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 1953): 362-63.
Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibilla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
Quando iudex est venturus,
Cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba, mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulchra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurgit creatura
Iudicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
In quo totum continetur
Unde mundus iudicetur.

Iudex ergo cum sedebit,
Quicquid latet, apparent;
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tune dicturus,
Quem patronum rogaturus,
Cum vix iustus sit securus?

Rex tremendae maiestatis,
Qui salvandos salvas gratis,
Salva me, fons pietatis.

Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae;
Ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens rne sedisti lassus,
Redemisti crucem passus;
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Iuste iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tamquain reus,
Culpa rubet vultus meus;
Supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Et latronem exaudisti,
Mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae,
Sed tu bonus fac benigne
Ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
Et ab haedis me sequestra,
Statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,"
Cor contritum quasi cinis,
Gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus;

Huic ergo parce, Deus.
Pie Iesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem.

Amen.

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Publication Start Year: 
1826
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1999.
Form: