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THOMAS A CELANO
Little is known of the life of Thomas of Celano, his birth and death. But it is enough to know that he is the author of the "Dies Irae," the greatest Christian hymn, with the possible exception of the "Te Deum Laudamus." A thirteenth century monk of the order of St. Francis of Assisi, he wrote a biography of that saint, and brought to the work the qualifications both of intimate friendship and close sympathy. There are a few other poetical works ascribed to him, but with little internal evidence to sustain the claim. There have been as many as one hundred and fifty English versions or translations of the "Dies Irae" and more than one hundred in German.
Two considerations alone permit one more translation to be offered here; that arising from the desire for completeness, and that of nearer approach to literalness than many other translators have attempted.
THOMAS A CELANO
Dies irae, dies illa
Quantus tremor est futurus,
Tuba, mirum spargens sonum
Per sepulcra regionum,
Coget omnes ante thronum.
Mors stupebit, et natura,
Liber scriptus proferetur,
THOMAS OF CELANO
DAY OF WRATH
Day of wrath, that day predicted!
O how great shall be the quaking,
Loud the trumpet's sound is swelling, 'Mid earth's graves its sunimons telling, All before the throne compelling.
Death and nature shall be quaking,
Then the book shall be unsealed,
Whence shall be earth's doom revealed.
Iudex ergo quum sedebit,
Quid sum miser tunc dicturus, Quem patronum rogaturus, Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Rex tremendae maiestatis,
Recordare, Iesu pie,
Quod sum causa tuae viae;
Quaerens me sedisti lassus, Redemisti crucem passus: Tantus labor non sit cassus!
Iuste iudex ultionis,
Therefore when the Judge is reigning, Hidden things the light attaining, Naught unjudged shall be remaining.
What shall wretched I be crying,
King of majesty supremest,
Saving whom Thou worthy deemest,
Save me, Thou who mercy streamest!
Holy Jesus, then recalling
How I caused Thy way appalling,
Sitting weary, me Thou soughtest, Cross enduring, me Thou boughtest, Not in vain such labor wroughtest!
O Thou Judge of retribution,