Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

World War I poster of the United States

Now I lay me down to sleep is a classic children's bedtime prayer from the 18th century.

Text[edit]

Perhaps the earliest version was written by Joseph Addison in an essay appearing in The Spectator on 8 March 1711. It says: [1]

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his Care;
when I awake, I give my self up to his Direction.

A later version printed in The New England Primer goes:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep,
If I should die before I 'wake,
I pray the Lord my Soul to take.[2]

Other versions[edit]

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray Thee Lord, my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray Thee Lord, my soul to take
If I should live for other days
I pray Thee Lord, to guide my ways
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
His Love to guard me through the night,
And wake me in the morning's light.[3]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
May the angels watch me through the night,
and keep me in their blessed sight.
Amen

Lord I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning's light.[3]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Angels watch me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen[4]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep.
If I shall die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take.
All the angels watching over me.
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Guide me safely through the night,
Wake me with the morning light.
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
When in the morning light I wake,
Show me the path of love to take.
Amen

(Additional third verse)
If I should live another day
I pray the Lord to guide my way.
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
For if I die before I wake,
that's one less test I have to take.

It is sometimes combined with the "Black Paternoster", one version of which goes:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch and one to pray
And two to bear my soul away.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

The Doors performed a part of this prayer live in New York in 1970 as an added verse to their song Soul Kitchen.

The prayer is best known for being used in the bridge of Metallica's hit "Enter Sandman" from their 1991 eponymous album.

Coincidentally, it was used in the opening lines of rival Megadeth's 1991 song "Go to Hell" from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.

American singer-songwriter, Halsey, used this prayer in the opening lines of her hit single, "Nightmare".[6]

Controversial rapper and songwriter XXXTentacion also appropriated the poem in his song "before I close my eyes", from his album "?".

The musical, Carrie (musical) had the poem featured in the middle of the song “Evening Prayers”, featuring the lyrics “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die, before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

In 'A nightmare of Elm Street 4: Dream Master' A rhyme based on this prayer was used to defeat Freddy

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Spectator Vol. I, 1729
  2. ^ The New England Primer, 1750 ed., p. 28.
  3. ^ a b Debbie Trafton O'Neal; Nancy Munger (1994), Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Action Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Bedtime, Augsburg Books, p. 6, ISBN 978-0-8066-2602-4
  4. ^ James Limburg (2006), Encountering Ecclesiastes: a book for our time, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 103, ISBN 978-0-8028-3047-0
  5. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), ISBN 0-19-860088-7, pp. 357–60.
  6. ^ Nightmare, retrieved 15 June 2019