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a secondary classic--mother of four anthem languages of Western and Southern Europe. Its golden age was the 12th and 13th centuries. The new and more flexible school of speech and music in hymn and tune had perfected rhythmic beauty and brought in the winsome assonance of rhyme.
The "Dies Irae” was born, it is believed, about the year 1255. Its authorship has been debated, but competent testimony assures us that the original draft of the great poem was found in a box among the effects of Thomas di Celano after his death. Thomas-surnamed Thomas of Celano from his birthplace, the town of Celano in the province of Aquila, Southern Italy—was the pupil, friend and co-laborer of St. Francis of Assisi, and wrote his memoirs. He is supposed to have died near the end of the 13th century. That he wrote the sublime judgment song there is now practically no question.
The label on the discovered manuscript would suggest that the writer did not consider it either a hymn or a poem. Like the inspired prophets he had meditated—and while he was musing the fire burned. The only title he wrote over it was “Prosa de mortuis," Prosa (or prosa oratio)from prorsus, “straight forward”—appears here in the truly conventional sense it was beginning to bear, but not yet as the antipode of “poetry." The modest author, unconscious of the magnitude of his work, called it simply “Plain speech concerning the dead."'*
"Proses” were original passages introduced into ccclesiastical chants in the
The hymn is much too long to quote entire, but can be found in Daniel's Thesaurus in any large public library. As to the translations of it, they number hundreds in English and German alone, and Italy, Spain and Portugal have their vernacular versions—not to mention the Greek and Russian and even the Hebrew. A few stanzas follow, with their renderings into English (always imperfect) selected almost at random:
Quantus tremor est futurus
Tuba mirum spargens sonum
O the dread, the contrite kneeling
When the trumpet's awful tone
Summons all before the Throne! The solemn strength and vibration of these tremendous trilineals suffers no general injury by the variant readings—and there are a good many. As a sample, the first stanza was changed by some canonical redactor to get rid of the heathen word Sybilla, and the second line was made the third: Joth century. During and after the 11th century they were called "Sequences" (i. e. following the “Gospel" in the liturgy), and were in metrical form, having a prayerful tone. “Sequentia pro defunctis" was the later title of the “Dics
Dies Irae, dies illa
Day of wrath! that day foretold,
In some readings the original "in favilla” is changed to “cum favilla,” “with ashes" instead of “in ashes"; and “Teste Petro" is substituted for “Teste David.”
THE TUNE. The varieties of music set to the “Hymn of Judgment” in the different sections and languages of Christendom during seven hundred years are probably as numerous as the pictures of the Holy Family in Christian art. It is enough to say that one of the best at hand, or, at least, accessible, is the solemn minor melody of Dr. Dykes in William Henry Monk's Hymns Ancient and Modern. It was composed about the middle of the last century. Both the Evangelical and Methodist Hymnals have Dean Stanley's translation of the hymn, the former with thirteen stanzas (six-line) to a D minor of John Stainer, and the latter to a C major of Timothy Matthews. The Plymouth Hymnal has seventeen of the trilineal stanzas, by an unknown translator, to Ferdinand Hiller's tune in F minor, besides one verse to another F minor hymn and tune both nameless.
All the composers above named are musicians of fame. John Stainer, organist of St. Paul's Cathedral, was a Doctor of Music and Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and celebrated for his works in sacred music, to which he mainly devoted his time. He was born June 6, 1840. He died March 31, 1901.
Rev. Timothy Richard Matthews, born at Colm. worth, Eng., Nov. 20, 1826, is a clergyman of the Church of England, incumbent of a Lancaster charge to which he was appointed by Queen Alexandra.
Ferdinand Hiller, born 1811 at Frankfort-on-theMain, of Hebrew parentage, was one of Germany's most eminent musicians. For many years he was Chapel Master at Cologne, and organized the Cologne Conservatory. His compositions are mostly for instrumental performance, but he wrote cantatas, motets, male choruses, and two oratorios, one on the “Destruction of Jerusalem.” Died May 10, 1855.
The Very Rev. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster, was an author and scholar whom all sects of Christians delighted to honor. His writings on the New Testament and his published researches in Palestine, made him an authority in Biblical study, and his contributions to sacred literature were looked for and welcomed as eagerly as a new hymn by Bonar or a new poem by Tennyson. Dean Stanley was born in 1815, and died July 18th, 1881.