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 Now I lay me down to sleep

And pray the Lord my soul to keep

And if I die before I wake

Pray the Lord my soul to take

A common Christian prayer said before bedtime, dating back at least to the 18th-century New England Primer. In media, this is always said by children and has two uses:

  • Showing how adorable or mischevious they are.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune, especially in religious horror.

In the first variation, expect some kind of mundane addition like "and also give me a pony".

Examples:


Film

 Chorus Children: Now I lay me down to sleep. The Master of Dreams my soul will keep. In the reflection by my side...

Alice Johnson: Evil will see itself, and it shall die!

  • Little Miss Marker (1934). Sorrowful Jones (Adolphe Menjou) teaches the rhyme to Marthy Jane (Shirley Temple) before she goes to bed.
  • Used in the trailer for My Soul To Take. It's also probably in the movie.

Literature

  • In On a Pale Horse, Death decides to read his mail against the advice of his household staff, and one of the letters is from a girl who is afraid that she'll die in her sleep because her mother makes her recite this prayer before going to bed.
  • Then there's the Selfish Kid's Prayer by Shel Silverstein:

 If I should die before I wake

Pray the Lord my toys to break

So no other kids can use 'em...

  • Discworld
    • In Hogfather, Susan mentions this as one of the reasons she hates the previous nanny of the kids she looks after.
    • Thud: After extremist dwarfs break into Vimes's house, he, Sybil and their baby son briefly move into the Watch house. Four troll officers volunteer to guard Young Sam. Vimes hopes the boy will be impressed when he's older, as the best most kids can hope for is angels.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Homecoming series, the first half of the fourth book (dealing with a crisis during an interstellar voyage with most of the characters in Suspended Animation) is titled If I Should Wake Before I Die.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the second verse of Marvin's lullaby starts with this line.

 Now I lay me down to sleep

Try to count electric sheep

Sweet dream wishes you can keep

How I hate the night

Live Action TV

  • Parodied by, of all people, Father Mulcahy in Mash:

 Now I lay me down to sleep,

A bag of peanuts at my feet.

If I die before I wake,

Give them to my brother Jake.

Music

  • The HIM song "Buried Alive By Love" plays with the second part of the prayer:

 If I should die before I wake, pray no one my soul to take

And if I wake before I die, rescue me with your smile.

  • Said word-for-word in Metallica's "Enter Sandman".
  • Pirates of the Mississipi, "Feed Jake"

 Now I lay me down to sleep

Pray the Lord my soul to keep

And if I die before I wake, Feed Jake

He's been a good dog, my best friend, right through it all

If I die before I wake, Feed Jake

  • "Midnight Girl/Sunset Town" by Sweethearts of the Rodeo:

 Now I lay me down to sleep

Pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before the world turns 'round

Lord, don't leave me in this one horse town

  • Kid Cudi uses the last two lines in the chorus of The Prayer:

 And if I die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take

But please don't cry

Just know that I am making songs for you

Newspaper Comics

 "Now I lay me down to sleep.

Mow da zeebas down like sheep.

Give dem to me nice and dead.

Me no happy 'til me fed."

Stand Up Comedy

 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 ...

*kiss* Sweet dreams! See you in the morning -- maybe! ... Oh, and don't let the bedbugs bite! Muahahahaha!

Western Animation

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