The seven great hymns of the mediaeval church/Dies Iræ/Johnson

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Dies Irae (Thomas of Celano).
   
 

DR. JOHNSON.

1.

DAY of wrath, that day of burning!
Earth shall end, to ashes turning:
Thus sing Saint and Seer discerning.

2.

Ah, the dread beyond expression
When the Judge in awful session
Searcheth out the world's transgression!

3.

Then is heard a sound of wonder:
Mighty blasts of trumpet-thunder
Rend the sepulchers asunder.

4.

What can e'er that woe resemble
Where even Death and Nature tremble
As the rising throngs assemble!

5.

Vain, my soul, is all concealing;
For the Book is brought, revealing
Every deed and thought and feeling.

6.

On His throne the Judge is seated,
And our sins are loud repeated,
And to each is vengeance meted.

7.

Wretched me! How gain a hearing,
Where the righteous falter, fearing,
At the pomp of His appearing?

8.

King of majesty and splendor,
Fount of pity, true and tender,
Be, Thyself, my strong defender.

9.

From Thy woes my hope I borrow:
I did cause Thy way of sorrow:
Do not lose me on that morrow.

10.

Seeking me, Thou weary sankest,
Nor from scourge and cross Thou shrankest
Make not vain the cup Thou drankest.

11.

Thou wert righteous even in slaying;
Yet forgive my guilty straying,
Now, before that day dismaying.

12.

Though my sins with shame suffuse me,
Though my very moans accuse me,
Canst Thou, Loving One, refuse me?

13.

He by whom the Thief was shriven
And the Magdalen forgiven
Grants to me the hope of Heaven.

14.

Though unworthy my petition,
Grant me full and free remission,
And redeem me from perdition.

15.

Be my lot in love decreed me:
From the goats in safety lead me;
With Thy sheep forever feed me.

16.

When Thy foes are all confounded,
And with bitter flames surrounded,
Call me to Thy bliss unbounded.

17.

From the dust, I pray Thee, hear me:
When my end shall come, be near me;
Let Thy grace sustain and cheer me.

18.

Ah, that day, that day of weeping,
When, no more in ashes sleeping,
Man shall rise and stand before Thee!
Spare him, spare him, I implore Thee.