Hymn before going to bed

Christ, who art the light and day, You drive away the darkness of night, You are called the light of light, For you proclaim the blessed light. We beseech you, Holy Lord, Protect us this night. Let us take our rest in you; Grant us a tranquil night. Let our sleep be free from care; Let not the enemy snatch us away, Nor flesh conspire within him, And make us guilty in your sight. Though our eyes be filled with sleep, Keep our hearts forever awake to you. May your right hand protect Your willing servants. You who are our shield, behold; Restrain those that lie in wait. And guide your servants whom You have ransomed with your blood. Remember us, O Lord, Who bear the burden of this mortal form; You who are the defender of the soul, Be near us, O Lord. Glory be to God the Father, And to his only Son, With the Spirit, Comforter, Both now and evermore. Amen.

1. O Christ, who art the Light and Day,
Thou drivest darksome night away;
We know thee as the Light of light
Illuminating mortal sight.

2. All holy Lord, we pray to thee,
Keep us tonight from danger free;
Grant us, dear Lord, in thee to rest,
So be our sleep in quiet blessed.

3. Let not the tempter round us creep
With thoughts of evil while we sleep,
Nor with his wiles the flesh allure
And make us in thy sight impure.

4. And while the eyes soft slumber take,
Still be the heart to thee awake,
Be thy right hand upheld above
Thy servants resting in thy love.

5. Yea, our Defender, be thou nigh,
To bid the powers of darkness fly;
Keep us from sin, and guide for good
Thy servants purchased by thy blood.

6. Remember us, dear Lord, we pray,
While in this mortal flesh we stay:
'Tis thou who dost the soul defend
Be present with us to the end.

7. Blest Three in One and One in Three,
Almighty God, we pray to thee,
That thou wouldst now vouchsafe to bless
Our fast with fruits of righteousness.

Ne gravis somnus irruat,                   May the deep sleep (i.e. of death) not rush upon us;
Nec hostis nos subripiat,                    Nor let the enemy snatch us from below;
Nec caro illi consentiens                     Nor let the flesh consenting to him
Nos tibi reos statuat.                          Render us guilty in Thy sight.
Since we are weaker in our tiresome moments right before sleep, and the demons take advantage of this, we pray for God’s strength to withstand the temptations to sin. Even more importantly, we also ask for deliverance from a sudden and unforeseen death, lest our bodies fail at a time when the enemy has taken hold of our souls, which keep watch toward God even while our eyes are asleep, as the next verse proclaims.
A later verse points to the hymn’s Lenten character, looking to the passion and death of Jesus as the source of satisfaction for our sins and the salvation of our souls:
Defensor noster aspice,                      Look upon us, our Defender,
Insidiantes reprime,                           And fight off those who lie in wait;
Guberna tuos famulos,                       Guide us Thy servants,
Quos Sanguine mercatus es.             Whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy Blood.
Before ending with a standard doxology, the hymn makes one more call to God to protect us in the frailty of our flesh:

Memento nostri, Domine,                   Remember us, Lord,
In gravi isto corpore;                           In this heavy body of ours;
Qui es defensor animae,                      For you are the defender of our souls:
Adesto nobis, Domine.                        Be with us, Lord!

[No translation seems to me as evocative as that third one. The Enemy who lies in wait to snatch us from below...gives me shivers! My thanks to Dominicana for posting it. I wish they would translate the entirety.]

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