Compline was the hour for nightly prayer, marking the end of the day for monks of the Middle Ages. Normally involving meditation on death, it initiated the hours of dark and silence—a perilous time. As monks, priests and bishops drifted to sleep, their authoritative prayers faded and spiritual protections weakened. And so, on their knees in darkened bedrooms, people intoned an ancient hymn, begging for divine protection: “From evil dreams defend our sight, / From fears and terrors of the night; / Tread underfoot our deadly foe/ That we no sinful thought may know.” Continuing the bedtime litany, they recited yet more fearful prayers, urging themselves to “be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking for someone to devour.” Hardly This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 38 Very Superstitious Why even the most logical minds yield to magical thinking. Arts & Culture Issue 30 At Work With: Adrien Gloaguen Meet the Parisian hotelier who spends sleepless nights ensuring that his guests have the opposite. Arts & Culture Issue 28 The Joy of Nightwalking While the city sleeps, our senses come to life. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Samuel Ross Art, fashion, lifestyle: Samuel Ross has seen the future and it’s got his name all over it. Arts & Culture Food Issue 46 At Work With: Deb Perelman The little blog that could: An interview with Smitten Kitchen’s unflappable founder. Arts & Culture Issue 46 Word: Wintering When to withdraw from the world.