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O'er my crimes I guilty groan,
a renunciation of the Romish doctrine of the advocacy of saints. Like the • Imitation of Christ,' by Thomas à Kempis, it remains as a monument of the truth, that in ages of general declension, God had his own hidden ones, and that beneath the drifting and accumulating mass of heresies, and human inventions, and traditions, there was an under-current of simple faith in Christ, that kept alive and verdant some less noticed portions of the blighted vineyard of the church. If really the work of the historian of the stigmata of the fanatical Francis of Assisi, it affords another of the many examples that show how much excellence and how much error may exist together.
“A composition that has, with no effort at elaboration or poetic art, so long at. tracted the admiration of poets like Goethe and Scott, distinguished for their skill in the mere art ; and yet met also the wants and won the sympathies of men, who, disregarding poetry, looked mainly to piety of sentiment-a poem that has thus united the suffrages of religion and taste, deserves some study, as a model, in that walk of such difficulty and dignity, the walk of sacred poetry.
“The Latin original has, within a few years, become accessible to American readers in Edwards and Park's German selections, p. 185 ; in the Encyclopædia Americana, (art. Dies Ire ;) and in Isaac Williams'. Thoughts in Past Years,' Am. ed., p. 309. The readings of the first stanza at Rome and Paris differ. The former has as the second line, ' Crucis erpandens verilla,' in allusion to the old Romish tradition that the ‘Sign of the Son of Man,' to be seen in the heavens on his coming to judgment is the cross. The latter, omitting this line, has for its third line, • Teste David cum Sibylla,' a reference to the Sybilline oracles, whose genuineness as Christian prophecies seems never in the Mediæval times to have been questioned, and whose authority Bishop Horsley has sought to revive. (Journée du Chretien, Paris, 1810, pp. 82, 84.) This seems the more ancient, and to Protestants, is perhaps the less objectionable reading. The closing sentence, · Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem, Amen,' is a prayer for the dead; but not having the rhymes of the rest, we should suppose the words rather a part of the burial service into which the hymn is inlaid, than a portion originally of the hymn itself.
“ Since the first edition of this address was issued, the writer has received a copy of a work on the .Stabat Mater,' by a German Protestant clergyman, Dr. Frederick G. Lisco, preacher at the church of St. Gertrude, in Berlin, already advantageously known to British and American Christians, from his work on the · Parables of our Lord,'translated and issued in the Edinburgh Biblical Cabinet. Besides a history of the Hymn, the pamphlet contains fifty-three several versions, mostly German, of the Stabat Mater.'
From the appendix to this work the present writer discovered, of which he was before ignorant, that Lisco had in an earlier year issued a similar collection of the translations into German of the · Dies Irae. This the present writer has been unable to obtain. But in the appendix to the Stabat
With Thy sheep my place assign,
Mater,' Lisco subjoins seventeen additional versions of the • Judgment Hymn.' One of these is a translation of it into modern Greek, by the Rev. Mr. Hildner, a Missionary of the (English) Church Missionary Society at Syra, and was sent by its author to the Litt. Anzeiger of the distinguished Prof. Tholuck. As double rhymes in Greek may be a curiosity to some readers, we subjoin the verse already quoted, in the modern Greek garb given it by Mr. Hildner :
*Ησουν (ής) κεκοπιασμένος
Κόπος μη ματαιωμένος ! Lisco refers to one German, Lecke, who wrote and published twelve several versions of the Dies Iræ.'
“ The Franciscan order, in its earlier history, would seem to have cultivated sacred poetry. Francis, its founder, was the writer of some Italian verses, 'two of the earliest poetical flights in the language,' (Eustace, Classical Tour, II., 148 ;) to Thomas de Celano, the authorship of the · Dies Iræ’ is generally attributed ; and to another Franciscan, Jacopone, is ascribed by the chief authorities the composition of the Stabat Mater.'
** The closest of the English versions of the · Dies Iræ,' that have fallen under the eye of the present writer, is that of the Rev Richard C. Trench, a clergyman of the Established Church in England or Ireland. His rendering does not reach, however, the flowing freedom or full cadences of the original. It is subjoined.
DIES IRÆ. O that day, that day of ire,
When the Judge his place has ta'en, Told of Prophet, when in fire,
All things hid shall be made plain, Shall a world dissolved expire !
Nothing unavenged remain. O what terror shall be then,
What then, wretched ! shall I speak, When the Judge shall come again, Or what intercession seek, Strictly searching deeds of men :
When the just man's cause is weak? When a trump of awful tone,
Jesus, Lord, remember, pray, Thro' the caves sepulchral blown, I the cause was of thy way; Sunmons all before the throne.
Do not lose me on that day. What amazement shall o'ertake
King of awful majesty, Nature, when the dead shall wake, Who the saved dost freely free ; Answer to the Judge to make!
Fount of mercy, pity me! Open then the book shall lie
Tired thou satest, seeking meAll o'erwrit for every eye,
Crucified, to set me free; With a world's iniquity.
Let such pain not fruitless be.
Terrible Avenger, make
Though my prayer unworthy be,
Yet, О set me graciously
Mid thy sheep my place command, Blushing deep my faults I own;
From the goats far off to stand ; Grace be to a suppliant shown.
Set me, Lord, at thy right hand. Thou who Mary didst forgive,
And when them who scorned thee here And who bad'st the robber live,
Thou hast judged to doom severe,
Bid me with thy saved draw near.