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LXII. DE DIE JUDICII.
PPAREBIT repentina dies magna Domini,
Brevis totus tunc parebit prisci luxus sæculi,
Totum simul cum clarebit præterisse sæculum.
LXII. Thomasius, Hymnarium, Opp., V.2, p. 433 ; Rambach, Anthol. Christl. Gesänge, p. 126 ; Daniel, Thes. Hymnol., v. 1, p. 194.-This hymn, as will at once be observed, is alphabetic—the distiches beginning with the successive letters of the alphabet. Latin hymns which have submitted themselves to this restraint are not very numerous; and, judging from one point of view, there is something artificial in an arrangement, which, while it is a restraint and difficulty, confers few compensating benefits, and, when all is done, is rather for the eye than for the ear. In the sacred Hebrew poetry from which they are derived, they belong to a later period, and not to the first and more unconscious burst, of inspired song. The chief examples in the kind are the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and some Psalıns probably among the latest in the whole collection. The Latin hymn before us is certainly as old as, if not a good deal older than, the seventh century; for Bede, who belongs to the end of this and the beginning of the eighth, alludes to it in his work De Metris. It was then almost or altogether lost sight of, till Cassander published it for the first time in his Hymni Ecclesiastici. Although it is too merely a working up of Scripture passages which relate to the last judgment in a narrative form, and wants the high lyrical feeling which gives to the Dies Iræ its peculiar charm, yet it is of a very noble simplicity; and Daniel says of it well: Juvat carmen ferè totum è Scripturâ sacrâ depromptum comparare cum celebratissimo illo extremi judicii præ. conio, Dies iræ, dies illa, quo majestate et terroribus, non sanctâ simplicitate et fide, superatur.
Clangor tubæ per quaternas terræ plagas concinens, 5
Vivos unà mortuosque Christo ciet obviam. De cælesti Judex arce, majestate fulgidus,
Claris angelorum choris comitatus aderit. Erubescet orbis lunæ, sol vel obscurabitur,
Stellæ cadent pallescentes, mundi tremet ambitus : Flamma ignis anteibit justi vultum Judicis,
11 Cælum, terras, et profundi fluctus ponti devorans. Gloriosus in sublimi Rex sedebit solio,
Angelorum tremebunda circumstabunt agmina. Hujus omnes ad electi colligentur dexteram,
15 Pravi pavent à sinistris, hædi velut foetidi : Ite, dicet Rex ad dextros, regnum cæli sumite,
Pater vobis quod paravit ante omne sæculum.
Caritatis nunc mercedem reportate divites.
Te, Rex magne, vel egentem miserati juvimus?
Panem, domum, vestem dantes, me juvistis humiles. Nec tardabit et sinistris loqui justus arbiter:
25 In gehennæ, maledicti, flammas hinc discedite: Obsecrantem me audire despexistis mendicum,
Nudo vestem non dedistis, neglexistis languidum. Peccatores dicent: Christe, quando te vel pauperem, Te, Rex magne, vel infirmem contemplantes sprevimus ?
30 Quibus contra Judex altus: Mendicanti quamdiu
Opem ferre despexistis, me sprevistis improbi.
12. devorans] So Cassander, Thomasius, and Rambach. Daniel has decorans, but probably as a misprint.
Retro ruent tum injusti ignes in perpetuos,
Fletus ubi mugitusque, strident omnes dentibus.
Choros inter angelorum regni petent gaudia :
Vera lucis atque pacis in quâ fulget visio, 40
Ubi celsa beatorum contemplantur agmina.
Aurum temne, fuge luxus, si vis astra petere :
In occursum magni Regis fer ardentes lampadas.
43. Ydri] for Hydri. The Latin language possessing originally no y, and every Greek word beginning with v which had been naturalized in the language, being necessarily aspirated, it was only by such an irregularity as this that the alphabetic arrangement of the poem could have been preserved throughout. Hydrus = còpos, a sea-serpent; but here the opis dpxaios of Gen. iii. ; Rev. xii. 9.
THOMAS OF CELANO.
THOMAS, named of Celano, from a small town near
the lake Fucino in the further Abruzzo, and so called to distinguish him from another of the same name and order, was a friend and scholar of St Francis of Assisi one indeed of the earliest members of the new order of Minorites, which in 1208 was founded by him. He appears to have lived in near familiarity with his master, and, from the great matters in which he was trusted by him, to have enjoyed his highest confidence. After the death of St Francis, which took place in 1226, he was the first who composed a brief account of his life, which he afterwards greatly enlarged, and which even now is the most authentic record of his life which we possess. The year of his own death is not known. His connexion with the founder of that influential order might have just preserved his name from utter forgetfulness; but it is the Dies Iræ which has given him a much wider fame—an hymn of such rare merit, that one can learn only with a deep regret, that two other hymns were composed by the same author, which have now perished, or, if they still exist, lie hidden somewhere, altogether out of sight of men. It is Wadding, the Irish Franciscan, the learned and laborious historiographer of his order, (b. 1580, d. 1657,) who makes mention of them: Sequentiam illam olim celebrem quæ nunc excidit: Sanctitatis nova signa, cecinit frater Thomas de Celano, cujus et illa solemnis mortuorum: Dies iræ, dies illa, opus est. And again : [Scripsit] sequentias tres, quarum