Ambrose Bierce

(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

The Day Of Wrath / Dies Iræ


Day of Satan's painful duty! Dies iræ! dies illa!
Earth shall vanish, hot and sooty; Solvet sæclum in favilla
So says Virtue, so says Beauty. Teste David cum Sibylla.
Ah! what terror shall be shaping Quantus tremor est futurus,
When the Judge the truth's undraping- Quando Judex est venturus.
Cats from every bag escaping! Cuncta stricte discussurus.
Now the trumpet's invocation Tuba mirum spargens sonum
Calls the dead to condemnation; Per sepulchra regionem,
All receive an invitation. Coget omnes ante thronum
Death and Nature now are quaking, Mors stupebit, et Natura,
And the late lamented, waking, Quum resurget creatura
In their breezy shrouds are shaking. Judicanti responsura.
Lo! the Ledger's leaves are stirring, Liber scriptus proferetur,
And the Clerk, to them referring, In quo totum continetur,
Makes it awkward for the erring. Unde mundus judicetur.
When the Judge appears in session, Judex ergo quum sedebit,
We shall all attend confession, Quicquid latet apparebit,
Loudly preaching non-suppression. Nil inultum remanebit.
How shall I then make romances Quid sum miser tunc dicturus,
Mitigating circumstances? Quem patronem rogaturus,
Even the just must take their chances. Quum vix justus sit securus?
King whose majesty amazes, Rex tremendæ majestatis,
Save thou him who sings thy praises; Qui salvandos salvas gratis;
Fountain, quench my private blazes. Salva me, Fons pietatis.
Pray remember, sacred Saviour, Recordare, Jesu pie,
Mine the playful hand that gave your Quod sum causa tuæ viæ;
Death-blow. Pardon such behavior. Ne me perdas illa die.
Seeking me, fatigue assailed thee, Quærens me sedisti lassus
Calvary's outlook naught availed thee; Redemisti crucem passus,
Now 'twere cruel if I failed thee. Tantus labor non sit cassus.
Righteous judge and learnèd brother, Juste Judex ultionis,
Pray thy prejudices smother Donum fac remissionis
Ere we meet to try each other. Ante diem rationis.
Sighs of guilt my conscience gushes, Ingemisco tanquam reus,
And my face vermilion flushes; Culpa rubet vultus meus;
Spare me for my pretty blushes. Supplicanti parce, Deus.
Thief and harlot, when repenting, Qui Mariam absolvisti,
Thou forgavest-complimenting Et latronem exaudisti,
Me with sign of like relenting. Mihi quoque spem dedisti.
If too bold is my petition Preces meæ non sunt dignæ,
I'll receive with due submission Sed to bonus fac benigne
My dismissal-from perdition. Ne perenni cremer igne.
When thy sheep thou hast selected Inter oves locum præsta.
From the goats, may I, respected, Et ab hædis me sequestra,
Stand amongst them undetected. Statuens in parte dextra.
When offenders are indited, Confutatis maledictis,
And with trial-flames ignited, Flammis acribus addictis,
Elsewhere I'll attend if cited. Voca me cum benedictis.
Ashen-hearted, prone and prayerful, Oro supplex et acclinis,
When of death I see the air full, Cor contritum quasi cinis;
Lest I perish too be careful. Gere curam mei finis.
On that day of lamentation, Lacrymosa dies illa
When, to enjoy the conflagration, Qua resurget et favilla,
Men come forth, O be not cruel: Judicandus homo reus,
Spare me, Lord-make them thy fuel. Huic ergo parce, Deus!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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