The seven great hymns of the mediaeval church/Dies Iræ/Roscommon
THE day of wrath, that dreadful day,
Shall the whole world in ashes lay,
As David and the Sibyls say.
What horror will invade the mind
When the strict Judge, who would be kind,
Shall have few venial faults to find.
The last loud trumpet's wondrous sound
Shall through the rending tombs rebound,
And wake the nations under ground.
Nature and death shall with surprise
Behold the pale offender rise,
And view the Judge with conscious eyes.
Then shall, with universal dread,
The sacred, mystic book be read
To try the living and the dead.
The Judge ascends His awful throne;
He makes each secret sin be known,
And all with shame confess their own.
O then, what interest shall I make
To save my last important stake
When the most just have cause to quake!
Thou mighty, formidable King!
Thou mercy's unexhausted spring,
Some comfortable pity bring!
Forget not what my ransom cost;
Nor let my dear-bought soul be lost.
In storms of guilty terrors tost.
Thou who for me didst feel such pain,
Whose precious blood the cross did stain,
Let not these agonies be vain!
Thou whom avenging powers obey,
Cancel my debt, too great to pay,
Before the sad accounting day!
Surrounded with amazing fears,
Whose load my soul with anguish bears,
I sigh, I weep! accept my tears!
Thou who wert moved with Mary's grief,
And by absolving of the thief
Hast given me hope, now give relief!
Reject not my unworthy prayer;
Preserve me from the dangerous snare
Which death and gaping hell prepare.
Give my exalted soul a place
Among Thy chosen right-hand race,
The sons of God and heirs of grace.
From that insatiable abyss,
Where flames devour and serpents hiss,
Promote me to thy seat of bliss.
Prostrate my contrite heart I rend,
My God, my Father, and my Friend:
Do not forsake me in my end!
Well may they curse their second breath
Who rise to a reviving death:
Thou great Creator of mankind,
Let guilty man compassion find!