Dies Illa

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

How shall it be with them that day
When God demands of Earth His pay?
With them who make a god of clay
And gold and put all truth away.

Shall not they see the lightning-ray
Of wrath? and hear the trumpet-bray
Of black destruction? while dismay
O'erwhelms them and God's hosts delay?

Shall not they, clothed in rich array,
Pray God for mercy? and, a-sway,
Heap on their hearts the ashes gray
Of old repentance? Nay! oh, nay!

They shall not know till He shall lay
An earthquake hand upon their way;
And Doomsday, clad in Death's decay,
Sweep down, and they've no time to pray.

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