Dies Irae

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On that great, that awful day,This vain world shall pass away.Thus the sibyl sang of old,Thus hath Holy David told.There shall be a deadly fearWhen the Avenger shall appear,And unveiled before his eyeAll the works of man shall lie.Hark! to the great trumpet's tonesPealing o'er the place of bones:Hark! it waketh from their bedAll the nations of the dead, --In a countless throng to meet,At the eternal judgment seat.Nature sickens with dismay,Death may not retain his prey;And before the Maker standAll the creatures of his hand.The great book shall be unfurled,Whereby God shall judge the world:What was distant shall be near,What was hidden shall be clear.To what shelter shall I fly?To what guardian shall I cry7Oh, in that destroying hour,Source of goodness, Source of power,Show thou, of thine own free grace,Help unto a helpless race.Though I plead not at thy throneAught that I for thee have done,Do not thou unmindful be,Of what thou hast borne for me:Of the wandering, of the scorn,Of the scourge, and of the thorn.Jesus, hast thou borne the pain,And hath all been borne in vain?Shall thy vengeance smite the headFor whose ransom thou hast bled?Thou, whose dying blessing gaveGlory to a guilty slave:Thou, who from the crew uncleanDidst release the Magdalene:Shall not mercy vast and free,Evermore be found in thee?Father, turn on me thine eyes,See my blushes, hear my cries;Faint though be the cries I make,Save me, for thy mercy's sake,From the worm, and from the fire,From the torments of thine ire.Fold me with the sheep that standPure and safe at thy right hand.Hear thy guilty child implore thee,Rolling in the dust before thee.Oh the horrors of that day!When this frame of sinful clay,Starting from its burial place,Must behold thee face to face.Hear and pity, hear and aid,Spare the creatures thou hast made.Mercy, mercy, save, forgive,Oh, who shall took on thee and live?

© Macaulay Thomas Babington