Sunday, April 27, 2014

"He who would valiant be | 'gainst all disaster,..."

John Bunyan,
by Thomas Sadler (1684).
National Portrait Gallery no. 1311.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Dearmer's bowdlerization is more explicitly theological, but BUNYAN'S ORIGINAL SOUNDS MORE LIKE SOMETHING A HOBBIT WOULD SING, and especially as sung by Maddy Prior with the Carnival Band on Sing lustily and with good courage (also on Spotify):

   Who would true Valour 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 avow’d Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

   Who so beset him round,
With dismal Storys,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is,
No Lyon can him fright,
He’l with a Gyant 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’l fear not what men say,
He’l labour Night and Day, 
To be a Pilgrim.

     Pilgrim's progress, pt. II (1684), as reproduced in The pilgrim's progress from this world to that which is to come, by John Bunyan, ed. James Blanton Wharey, 2nd ed., ed. Roger Sharrock (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1960), 295.  Cf. Pilgrim's progress as originally published by John Bunyan, being a fac-simile reproduction of the first edition (London:  Elliott Stock, 1875), 181.  A modernized version follows:

1 Who would true valour 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 avow'd intent
to be a pilgrim.

2 Whoso 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.

3 Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
can daunt his spirit;
he knows he at the end
shall life inherit.
Then fancies fly away;
he'll not fear what men say;
he'll labour night and day
to be a pilgrim.

     The latter (set to MONK'S GATE) is the version that appears in the Liturgy of the hours (Morning prayer, Common of holy men, vol. 3 (1975), p. 1817; Christian prayer no. 183), except that "Hobgoblin nor foul fiend" is replaced by "No power of evil fiend", thus distinguishing it from the original (above) as well as the Dearmer bowdlerization ("He who would valiant be").
     Bunyan, an Independent, fought under Cromwell and penned Antichrist and his ruin (1692) "against the Church of Rome, whose influence in England under James II he much feared" (ODCC3rev). Yet today "Who would true valour see" could (in the English, not Liturgia horarum) celebratefor exampleIgnatius of Loyola.
     That Bunyan is pleased I wouldn't venture. But I am.

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