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Medieval Latin Hymn

Dies Irae

Dies Irae, translated as the Day of Wrath, is a medieval Latin hymn reflecting with holy fear on the day of the Final Judgment. On that day each of us will stand before the judgment seat of God to answer for the deeds of his life. The strictest account will be demanded from each of us. Before this Judge not even the smallest sin can be hidden. Every act and thought will be revealed, and the souls of all mankind will be sifted like wheat. While the saved will enter into Heaven, the damned will be cast into the eternal fires with Satan and his demons.

Let us always be mindful of the account we shall have to render to the Divine Judge. What answer shall we give for our lives when on that day even the saints will fret to give a full account of their deeds? With a reverential fear let us prepare ourselves for the judgment upon which our eternity depends. Let us always rely on our chief intercessor, the Blessed Mother of God.

Dies Irae is believed to have originated as late as the 13thcentury, but its authorship has been variously attributed to Friar Thomas of Celano, Cardinal Latino Malabranca Orsini, St. Gregory the Great, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Bonaventure.

It is here sung by the Alfred Deller Consort



Listen to the Dies Irae


Latin Lyrics:

Dies irae, dies illa,
Solvet saeclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla.

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

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

Mors stupebit et natura,
Cum resurget creatura,
Iudicanti responsura.

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

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
Quidquid latet apparebit:
Nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc 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 me, sedisti lassus:
Redemisti crucem passus:
Tantus labor non sit cassus.

Iuste Iudex ultionis,
Donum fac remissionis,
Ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
Culpa rubet vultus meus:
Supplicanti parce Deus.

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

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.

Judicandus homo reus:
Huic ergo parce Deus.

Pie Iesu Domine,
Dona eis requiem. Amen.


English Translation:


Day of wrath, that day,
As the world dissolves in cinders,
Testified by David and the Sibyl.

Oh, how great shall be the quaking,
When the Judge will descend,
Investigating all things strictly.

The trumpet, emitting a wondrous sound,
Through the sepulchres of all regions,
To summon all before the throne.

Death and nature will marvel,
When these creatures are resurgent,
To the Judge responding.

The written book will be brought forth,
In which all is contained,
From which the world shall be judged.

The Judge, therefore, will sit,
Revealing all that is hidden:
Nothing unavenged will remain.

What shall I, a wretch, then say?
Which patron will I entreat,
When even the just are not secure?

King of tremendous majesty,
Who freely gives salvation to the saved,
Save me, Oh, font of mercy.

Remember, pious Jesus,
That I am the cause of Thy way:
Do not lose me on that day.

Seeking me, Thou sank down wearily:
Redeeming me by suffering the Cross,
Such a great labor should not be lost.

Just Judge of vengeance,
Make a gift of remission,
Before the day of the accounts.

I sigh, like the guilty one:
My face reddens in guilt:
Spare the supplicating one, Oh, God.

Thou, who absolved Mary,
And heard the robber,
Give hope to me too.

My prayers are not worthy:
But Thou who art good, graciously grant,
That I not be burned in everlasting fire.

Among the sheep grant me a place,
And away from the goats separate me,
Setting me to stand at Thy right hand.

Once the cursed have been silenced,
Sentenced to acrid flames,
Call me with the blessed.

Praying humbly and kneeling,
My contrite heart like ashes:
Take care of my final end.

Tearful will that day be,
Whereby rising out of the dust.

The guilty man will be judged:
Spare them, Oh, God.

Pious Lord Jesus,
Grant them rest. Amen.



  
 
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The Last Judgment by Hans Memling
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