Above the world the deepening pall
Of gloomy night begins to fall;
And every heart that languisheth,
May gain new life from seeming death.
This soft oblivion, soothing sleep,
As in a tomb our cares shall keep;
Sweet peace shall reign in every breast,
And wearied minds revive with rest.
Dear Christ, our life, our truth, our light,
Let not the shadowy hours of night
Oppress with fears the wandering will,
Or lead the mind to thoughts of ill.
Be with us through the lingering night,
Protect us by thy holy might,
Let no vain dreams our sleep disturb,
But all the powers of darkness curb.
Drive far away the dangerous foe,
That to the unwary worketh woe,
Still seeking whom he may devour,
With cruel fangs, from hour to hour.
Refine our souls with chastity,
Let all our thoughts be still with thee,
Let lively faith adorn each breast,
And in thy love be sweet our rest.
Magnus Felix Ennodius (474 - 521) France
Translated by Daniel Joseph Donahoe
Source: Early Christian hymns, Series II: translations of the verses of the early and middle ages