The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Day of wrath! O day of mourning!

For Advent

Words: "Dies iræ, dies illa," Thomas of Celano, 13th Century
Trans. William J. Irons, 1849

Compare: Day Of Wrath! That Day Of Burning

Music: "Dies irae," John B. Dykes, 1823-1876
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: Irregular
Verses 1-14: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Verses 15-19: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML

1. Day of wrath! O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophets' warning,1
Heaven and earth in ashes burning!

2. Oh what fear man's bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.

3. Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth;
Through earth's sepulchers it ringeth;
All before the throne it bringeth.

4. Death is struck, and nature quaking,
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.

5. Lo! the book, exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded:
Thence shall judgment be awarded.

6. When the Judge his seat attaineth,
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.

7. What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
When the just are mercy needing?

8. King of Majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us!

9. Think, good Jesus2, my salvation
Cost3 thy wondrous Incarnation;
Leave me not to reprobation!

10. Faint and weary, thou hast sought me,
On the cross of suffering bought me.
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

11. Righteous Judge! for sin's pollution
Grant thy gift of absolution,
Ere the day of retribution.4

12. Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning;
Spare, O God, thy suppliant groaning!

13. Thou the sinful woman savedst;
Thou the dying thief forgavest;
And to me a hope vouchsafest.

14. Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying!

15. With thy favored sheep O place me;
Nor among the goats abase me;
But to thy right hand upraise me.

16. While the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded
Call me with thy saints surrounded.

17. Low I kneel, with heart submission,
See, like ashes, my contrition;
Help me in my last condition.

18. Ah! that day of tears and mourning!
From the dust of earth returning
Man for judgment must prepare him;

19. Spare, O God, in mercy spare him!
Lord, all pitying, Jesus5 blest,
Grant them6 thine eternal rest. Amen.


1. Or: See! once more the Cross returning, — Return

2. Or: Jesu. Return

3. Or: Caus'd. Return

4. Or:

11. Righteous Judge of retribution,
Grant Thy gift of absolution,
Ere that reckoning-day's conclusion! Return

5. Or: Jesu. Return

6. Or: us. Return

Sheet Music From Arthur Henry Brown, ed., The Altar Hymnal. London: Griffith, Farrar, Okeden & Welsh, 1885, # 103.

"Dies Iræ," First Tune, Ratisbon

"Dies Iræ," Second Tune, Arthur H. Brown

Sheet Music "The Original Melody, Harmonized by Charles Child Spencer" from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #40, pp. 57-63

Sheet Music by the Rev. Henry E. Havergal from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #43, pp. 68-9.

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