The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

What Is This Horror? The Sky Is Rended

Hymn for the Second Advent, For the Ascension, at Midnight.

Words: Sensus quis horror percutit? Latin Hymn by Jean Baptiste de Santeüil (1630-1697), Cluniac Breviary, 1686, with notes
Translation by Isaac Williams
Originally appeared in the British Magazine (1834) as What Horror Profound! The Skies Are Rended

Source: Isaac Williams, Hymns Translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1839), pp. 143-144.

When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy Angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations.—Matt. xxv.

    What is this horror?
    The sky is rended,
    Christ sits,—and all o'er
Angels are hurrying,—all is ended!

    The trump hath sounded,—
    Death's warrant is past,—
    The dead, surrounded,
Hasten to judgment: 'tis come at last.

    At His own right hand
    He hath set His own,
    Alas, that dark band,—
The Shepherd too well His sheep hath known.

    By the Judge's side
    They are set on high,
    Who did poor abide,
And fled to Him here in His poverty.

    The Cross shines to view,
    In the opening skies,
    To Gentile and Jew,
Dreadful or glad to all gazing eyes.

    Trembling and sighing
    They see Him they wounded,
    There is now no dying,
For them whom His look hath aye confounded.

    Before that dread day,
    When all is over,
    While yet we may,
Lord, to ourselves our sins discover.

    To Thee, who shalt come
    At the end of days
    With our endless doom,
To God, Three and One, be endless praise.

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