Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (I)
DESCRIPTION: A child's prayer, asking the apostles for a blessing: "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John / Bless the bed that I lie on / Four bright angels at my bed / Two at the bottom and two at the head / Two to hear me as I pray / And two to bear my soul away"
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (Baring-Gould); original probably from 1656 (Ady, according to Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious
FOUND IN: US(Ap,NE,SE)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, p. 33, "White Paternoster (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) (1 short text)
Chase-AmericanFolkTalesAndSongs, p. 209, "The Bedtime Prayer" (1 text)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore5, p. 544, "A Parody" (1 partial text, 1 tune, listed as a parody of this piece, but the only test is that found in the proper song)
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 346, "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" (4 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #548, p. 221, "(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)"
Dolby-OrangesAndLemons, p. 177, "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Tony Deane and Tony Shaw _The Folklore of Cornwall_, B. T. Batsford, 1975, p. 49, "(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)" (1 short text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #457, "Before Sleeping" (1 composite text, of a number of children's prayers; it may have inspired some later uses of the text.)
ST FO033 (Full)
cf. "Go And Dig My Grave" (lyrics)
cf. "The Little Beggar Boy" (floating verses)
cf. "Old Lead (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John II)" (lyrics)
NOTES [142 words]: The first two lines of this piece can be dated to Thomas Ady in 1656 -- but could easily have been used in another context. Similar pieces are common e.g. Montgomerie/Montgomerie-ScottishNurseryRhymes 95 runs "Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Hold the horse till I leap on; Hold it succar, hold it sure, Till I win o'er the misty moor". Peter and Iona Opie, I Saw Esau: Traditional Rhymes of Youth, # 84, is similar: "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Hold the horse till I leap on; When I leapt on I could not ride; I fell off and broke my side" (also in Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes #347, p. 305); they suspect this is a hobby horse rhyme.
I'm not really convinced, e.g., the Chase-AmericanFolkTalesAndSongs and Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland texts are the same -- but how do you separate two pieces with the same words and no tune? - RBW
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