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33—IN COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD.
DE PROFUNDIS. The One Hundred and Thirtieth Psalm, used by the Roman Catholics on going and returning from funerals, is declared by Jeremy Taylor to be the Psalm of Psalms for the sick. It was the last psalm of Mary Queen of Scots, and was quoted at the last by the judicious Richard Hooker. It was the peculiar delight of Luther, whose version Aus tiefer noth schrei ich zu Dir was only less popular than his “Ein' feste Burg." It was sung at his funeral, and many a time it rallied him and his followers in the midst of despair. It was the singing of this psalm at St. Paul's that paved the way for the conversion of John Wesley. Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O
Lord, hear my voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand ?
But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all His iniquities.
E profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, U exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit ? * Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinuite, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia : et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israel, ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
V. Requiem æternam dona eis Domine.
DIES IRAE. This most famous and awful of all the hymns of the Church is supposed to have been written in the thirteenth century by Thomas of Celano, the friend and biographer of St. Francis of Assisi. Originally used as an advent hymn, it is now used as the sequence in the mass for the dead. Goethe uses it in “Faust." Sir Walter Scott, who muttered it on his death-bed, translated part of it in “The Lay of the Last Minstrel." There are said to be one hundred and sixty translations into English and ninety into German. Archbishop Trench says: “It holds a foremost place among the masterpieces of sacred song." I quote Sir Walter Scott's translation, of which Mr. Gladstone says: “I know nothing so sublime in any portion of the sacred poetry of modern times.”
THAT day of wrath, that dreadful day,
1 When heaven and earth shall pass away, What power shall be the sinner's stay? How shall he meet that dreadful day?
When, shriveling like a parched scroll,
Though heaven and earth shall pass away!
Dr. Irons' translation was prompted by the effect produced by the singing of “ Dies Iræ,” when the heart of the Archbishop of Paris, who had been killed on the barricades in 1848, was displayed in the choir of Notre Dame.
AY of wrath ! O day of mourning !
Thence shall judgment be awarded.
What shall I, frail man, be pleading,
Low I kneel, with heart submission: See, like ashes, my contrition; Help me in my last condition. Ah, that day of tears and mourning! From the dust of earth returning, Man for judgment must prepare him; Spare, O God, in mercy spare him! Lord all-pitying, Jesus blest, Grant them Thine eternal rest!
N IES iræ, dies illa
Solvet sæclum in favilla ;