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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Dies Iræ

By Abraham Coles (1813–1891)

DAY of wrath, that day of burning,

Seer and Sibyl speak concerning,

All the world to ashes turning.

Oh, what fear shall it engender,

When the Judge shall come in splendor,

Strict to mark and just to render!

Trumpet, scattering sounds of wonder,

Rending sepulchres asunder,

Shall resistless summons thunder.

All aghast then Death shall shiver,

And great Nature’s frame shall quiver,

When the graves their dead deliver.

Volume, from which nothing’s blotted,

Evil done nor evil plotted,

Shall be brought and dooms allotted.

When shall sit the Judge unerring,

He’ll unfold all here occurring,

Vengeance then no more deferring.

What shall I say, that time pending?

Ask what advocate’s befriending,

When the just man needs defending?

Dreadful King, all power possessing,

Saving freely those confessing,

Save thou me, O Fount of Blessing!

Think, O Jesus, for what reason

Thou didst bear earth’s spite and treason,

Nor me lose in that dread season!

Seeking me Thy worn feet hasted,

On the cross Thy soul death tasted:

Let such travail not be wasted!

Righteous Judge of retribution!

Make me gift of absolution

Ere that day of execution!

Culprit-like, I plead, heart-broken,

On my cheek shame’s crimson token:

Let the pardoning word be spoken!

Thou, who Mary gav’st remission,

Heard’st the dying Thief’s petition,

Cheer’st with hope my lost condition.

Though my prayers be void of merit,

What is needful, Thou confer it,

Lest I endless fire inherit.

Be there, Lord, my place decided

With Thy sheep, from goats divided,

Kindly to Thy right hand guided!

When th’ accursed away are driven,

To eternal burnings given,

Call me with the blessed to heaven!

I beseech Thee, prostrate lying,

Heart as ashes, contrite, sighing,

Care for me when I am dying!

Day of tears and late repentance,

Man shall rise to hear his sentence:

Him, the child of guilt and error,

Spare, Lord, in that hour of terror!