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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.
Estimated number of calories a person consumes during Thanksgiving dinner:
The earth had become twice as dusty during the past century.
A man sued Pennsylvania state police who detained him for 29 days when they mistook his homemade soap for cocaine.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”