The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Boy's Dream

Versions:
 Last Night As I Lay Sleeping

Last Night I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Last Night I Lay A-sleeping

The Angels Song (Version 2 of Last Night As I Lay Sleeping)
 The Boy's Dream ("Last night as I was laid and slept")

See also: When At Night I Go To Sleep
Guardian Angels

Words: Traditional

Music: W. H. Monk
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer /
PDF

Source: Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., ca 1878), Carol# 67.

1. Last night as I was laid and slept,
When all my prayers were said;
While still my guardian Angels kept
His watch above my head;
I heard his sweet voice caroling,
Full softly in my ear,
A song for Christian boys to sing,
For Christian men to hear.

2. "Thy body be at rest, dear boy,
Thy soul be free from sin;
I'll shield thee from the world's annoy,
And breathe pure words within,
The holy Christmas-tide is nigh,
The season of Christ's Birth:
All glory be to God on high,
And peace to men on earth.

3. "Myself and all the heavenly host
Were keeping watch of old,
And saw the shepherds at their post,
And all the sheep in fold.
Then told we with a joyful cry,
The tidings of Christ's Birth:
Gave glory unto God on high,
And peace to men on earth.

4. "He bowed to all His Father's will,
And meek was He and lowly;
And year by year His thoughts were still
Most innocent and holy.
He did not come to strive or cry,
But ever from His Birth
Gave glory unto God on high,
And peace to men on earth."

5. "Like Him be true, like Him be pure,
Like Him be full in love;
Seek not thine own, and so secure
Thine own which is above:
And still when Christmas-tide draws nigh,
Sing thou of Jesus' Birth;
All glory be to God on high,
And peace to men on earth."

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Sheet Music from Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., ca 1878).

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Boys_Dream_67b.gif (288322 bytes)

Sheet Music from Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, 1894), Carol #36

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Sylvester's Note to Last Night As I Lay Sleeping:

The old religious belief that a guardian angel was appointed to watch over each bed, and that he occasionally held intercourse with the occupant, here forms the machinery of a carol. The composition probably dates back several generations. It is now immediately taken from an old carol-sheet, never before having been included in a collection.

Note that Hugh Keyte, an editor of The New Oxford Book of Carols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992) believes that "Joshua Sylvester" is a pseudonym for a collaboration between William Sandys (1792-1874) and William Henry Husk (1814-1887). See Appendix 4.

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