Who would true Valor see
Let him come hither;
One here will Constant be,
Come Wind, come Weather.
There’s no Discouragement,
Shall make him once Relent,
His first avowed Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

Who so beset him round,
With dismal Stories,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is.
No Lion can him fright,
He’ll with a Giant Fight,
But he will have a right,
To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul Fiend,
Can daunt his Spirit:
He knows, he at the end,
Shall Life Inherit.
Then Fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say,
He’ll labor Night and Day,
To be a Pilgrim.

 

John Bunyan was himself a persecuted English puritan who was imprisoned for twelve years. He is best known for his novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress.

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One Response

  1. Wilude Scabere

    Bunyan, the noted writer of prose, could also write fine verse. He gains a lot with his ingenious metre, a mixture of iambic trimeters (u / u / u /) mixed with iambic dimeters (u / u / u), the former in lines 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and the latter in lines 2, 4, 8. And though inversions are anathema to present poetasters, his are really quite good, as in, “Do but themselves confound/ His strength the more is” or “He knows, he at the end/ Shall Life inherit.” I also genuinely like the precision of his metre in this particular poem. In addition, I appreciate his repetition (“Come Wind, come Weather, etc.), his refrain, his archaisms, his rhymes, like “Stories/more is,” his assonance, like “No Lion can him fright. He’ll with a Giant fight. But he will have a right…” and the topic itself, undoubtedly lost on much of this generation. It is amazing to me what he achieves with such a simple diction. I find this poem of John Bunyan’s refreshing, especially compared to accumulating garbage of so many poets of the last few centuries.

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