Dies irae

Set by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), "Dies irae", op. 66 no. 2, published 1961 [ soprano, tenor, baritone, satb chorus, boys' chorus, orchestra, chamber orchestra, organ ], from War Requiem, no. 2  [sung text not yet checked]

Note: this setting is made up of several separate texts.


Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulcra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.

Researcher for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]


Bugles sang, saddening the evening air;
And bugles answered, sorrowful to hear.
Voices of boys were by the river-side.
Sleep mothered them; and left the twilight sad.
The shadow of the morrow weighed on men.
Voices of old despondency resigned,
Bowed by the shadow of the morrow, slept.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Voix", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]


[ ... ]

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet apparebit:
nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatis,
qui salvandos salvas gratis,
salva me fons pietatis.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.

Researcher for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]


Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death:
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland, --
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath, --
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorused when he sang aloft;
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
He wars on Death, for Life; not men, for flags.

Authorship

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "La prochaine guerre", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]


[ ... ]

Recordare, Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuae viae:
ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
redemisti Crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.

[ ... ]

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
et latronem exaudisti,
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

[ ... ]

Inter oves locum praesta,
et ab haedis me sequestra,
statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis:
voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis:
gere curam mei finis.

[ ... ]

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.

Researcher for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]


Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse.
Spend our resentment, cannon,-yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, the spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: Britten uses lines 1-2,5-6,13-14 only.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

[ ... ]

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla
judicandus homo reus.

[Huic ergo parce, Deus:]1
[pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. Amen.]2

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.

Researcher for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]


Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields [unsown]1.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning, and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know. 

Think how it wakes the seed -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved - still warm - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break [earth's]2 sleep at all?

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Futilité", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Nation, 1918
1 in some editions, "half-sown"
2 Rands: "the earth's"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]


[ ... ]

[Huic ergo parce, Deus:]1
[pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. Amen.]2

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: this line is omitted after the line "To break earth's sleep at all?"
2 Britten: these lines are omitted before the lines "Move him, Move him into the sun", but appear at the last line of this movement.

Researcher for this text: Lau Kanen [Guest Editor]