The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Day of Wrath, The Heart Dismaying

For Advent

Words: Dies iræ, dies illa, Thomas of Celano, Order of Friars Minor, Thirteenth Century.

Translation:  F. J. P., 1860

Source: Orby Shipley, Annus Sanctus: Hymns of the Church for the Ecclesiastical Year. Vol. 1. (London and New York: Burns and Oates, 1884), pp. 11-12.

Day of wrath, the heart dismaying — 
Hear the king and Sibyl saying — 
Earth shall melt in flames decaying. 

Oh, what fear and bitter crying 
Shall there be when, all things trying, 
Comes the judge, the All-descrying. 

Through the tombs of nations swelling 
Thrills the trump, of judgment telling, 
All before the throne compelling. 

Death and time in consternation 
Then shall stand, while ail creation 
Rises at that dread citation. 

Lo, the open book is giving 
Witness sure to dead and living, 
And the world its doom receiving. 

Then the judge shall sit, revealing 
Every hidden thought and feeling, 
Unto each requital dealing. 

Who will aid me, interceding, 
For a wretched sinner pleading, 
When the just thy grace are needing ? 

Heavenly king of dreadful splendour, 
Fount of love and pity tender, 
Be my Saviour and defender. 

Thou didst bear for my salvation 
Toil and anguish and privation ; 
Leave me not to condemnation. 

Weary didst thou seek me straying, 
On the cross my ransom paying ; 
By thy passion hear my praying. 

God of justice, my petition 
Hear, and grant me full remission, 
Ere that awful day's decision. 

Shame and grief my soul oppressing, 
I bewail my life's transgressing ; 
Spare me, Lord, my sins confessing. 

Thou didst spare the sinner grieving, 
Thou didst save the thief believing, 
Me, too, hope of pardon leaving. 

Worthless are my prayers and mourning, 
Yet, good Lord, in pity yearning, 
Save me from the endless burning. 

With the sheep assign my station 
On thy right-hand of salvation, 
At that fearful separation. 

When the sentence dread is given, 
And the lost to hell are driven, 
Call me with the blest to heaven. 

Conscious guilt my spirit lading, 
Hear, O God, my self-upbraiding ; 
Come, in death thy suppliant aiding. 

Oh, that day of tears and trembling — 
From the wreck of worlds assembling, 
Guilty sinners stand before thee ; 

Spare them, God, we here implore thee : 
Lord of mercy, Jesu blest, 
Grant them everlasting rest. 

Note from Shipley:

11. Dies irse, dies ilia. Sequence in Mass for the Dead, from the Missal. By Thomas of Celano, Order of Friars Minor, Thirteenth Century. Day of wrath, the heart dismaying. F. J. P., 1860. 

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