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Liber scriptus proferetur
In quo totem continetur
Unde mondus judicetur
Judex ergo cum censebit
Quidquid latet, apparebit
Nil inultum remanebit
Lacrimosa dies illa
Qua resurgit ex favilla
Judicandus homo reus
Huic ergo parce, Deus?
The written book will be brought forth,
in which all is contained,
from which the world shall be judged.
When therefore the judge will sit,
whatever hides will appear:
nothing will remain unpunished.
That tearful day,
by which from the ashes resurrects
the guilty man who is to be judged.
Spare him therefore, God.
–Tommaso da Celano, In commemoratione omnium animarum (excerpt) (ca. 1240)
Tommaso da Celano’s famous lines about the Judgment Day were later, though likely in a changed form, incorporated into the liturgy as Dies Irae. They are a reflection on judgment and self-judgment, an activity that all should undertake as one year ends and the next begins, whether inspired by religion or simple self-reflection.
Listen to the Dies Irae in a traditional Gregorian chant, and then to the setting of the Verdi Requiem in a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan:
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:
A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”
A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”