Words: Thomas of Ce­la­no, 13th Cen­tu­ry (Di­es Ir­ae); trans­lat­ed to from La­tin to Eng­lish by , 1848. For ano­ther ver­sion of this hymn, see That Day of Wrath.

Music: Di­es Ir­ae (Dykes), , in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1861.

It ap­pears that Mr. Ir­ons was in the French ca­pi­tal dur­ing the Re­vo­lu­tion of 1848 when, among other atro­ci­ties com­mit­ted, the Arch­bi­shop of Par­is was mur­dered. Ow­ing to the re­vo­lu­tion­ary spir­it of the peo­ple it was ma­ny days be­fore the fu­ner­al could take place with any de­gree of safe­ty to the mourn­ers. About a fort­night lat­er a Me­mor­i­al Ser­vice was held in Notre Dame, at which Mr. Irons was pre­sent. The Arch­bi­shop’s heart, which had been se­vered from his bo­dy, was placed in a glass cas­ket and rev­er­ent­ly laid on a raised da­ïs in the choir so that all who de­sired to do so might gaze up­on it. As the pro­cess­ion of mourn­ers filed by, cast­ing looks of min­gled ter­ror and af­fect­ion on the faith­ful heart, which had so re­cent­ly beat in their in­ter­ests, the en­tire con­gre­ga­tion sang in muf­fled tones the Di­es Ir­ae. As may well be be­lieved the so­lem­ni­ty of the ser­vice made a deep im­press­ion on the mind of the Eng­lish cler­gy­man pre­sent, and when the con­gre­ga­tion had dis­persed he re­turned to his ho­tel and im­me­di­ate­ly made his now cel­e­brat­ed trans­la­tion of the great La­tin hymn.

Day of wrath, O day of mourning!
See fulfilled the prophet’s warning,
Heaven and earth in ashes burning.
Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth
When from Heav’n the Judge descendeth
On Whose sentence all dependeth!

Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
Through earth’s sepulchers it ringeth,
All before the throne it bringeth.
Death is struck and nature quaking;
All creation is awaking,
To its Judge an answer making.

Lo, the book, exactly worded,
Wherein all hath been recorded;
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
When the Judge His seat attaineth
And each hidden deed arraigneth,
Nothing unavenged remaineth.

What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding
When the just are mercy needing?
King of majesty tremendous,
Who dost free salvation send us,
Fount of pity, then befriend us.

Think, good Jesus, my salvation
Caused Thy wondrous incarnation;
Leave me not to reprobation!
Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
On the cross of suffering bought me;
Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution
Grant Thy gift of absolution
Ere that day of retribution!
Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
All my shame with anguish owning:
Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!

From that sinful woman shriven,
From the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.
Worthless are my prayers and sighing;
Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
Rescue me from fires undying.

With Thy favored sheep, oh, place me!
Nor among the goats abase me,
But to Thy right hand upraise me.
While the wicked are confounded,
Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
Call me, with Thy saints surrounded.

Low I kneel with heart submission,
See, like ashes, my contrition;
Help me in my last condition!
Day of sorrow, day of weeping,
When, in dust no longer sleeping,
Man awakes in Thy dread keeping!

This additional verse may be used with tunes of a different meter:

To the rest Thou didst prepare me
On Thy cross; O Christ, upbear me!
Spare, O God, in mercy spare me!