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Like Bunyan’s pilgrim, keep soldiering on against the foul fiends and hobgoblins


WHEN I was a child, we often sang John Bunyan’s hymn Who Would True Valour See. I have to say that although I quite liked the tune – Monk’s Gate by Ralph Vaughan Williams – the words meant very little to me. What was ‘true valour’ and who on earth wanted to be a pilgrim anyway?

Along with many youngsters of the day I was given Pilgrim’s Progress as a Christmas or birthday present and was terrified by George Cruickshank’s illustrations of the monster Apollyon, Faithful burning at the stake and Christian with his burden on his back sinking into the Slough of Despond, climbing the Hill Difficulty and descending into the Valley of Humiliation.

But since the Covid, climate change and now Post Office debacles, the force of Bunyan’s hymn, published in 1687, has finally come home to me. 

Let’s have a look at the words. I am using Bunyan’s original version written in 1684 rather than that amended in the early 20th century by Percy Dearmer, who reckoned that hobgoblins and foul fiends were not suitable for Christian hymns.

Here is the first verse:

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 avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

Those of us who have seen true valour and as a result come hither are the growing numbers who have seen through the lies, misinformation and sheer wickedness peddled by the mainstream media, drug companies and the many doctors and scientists who have adhered to the official narrative and pulled a great deal of wool over our eyes. We have braved far more than mere discouragement for telling the truth yet, like Bunyan’s pilgrim, we have soldiered on. We have become the present-day pilgrims, going on marches and attending rallies and events where we can hear the truth from those brave enough to speak out, and who have risked being ostracised and often lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result.

Here is the second verse:

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 the right
to be a pilgrim.

We know only too well who has beset us round with dismal stories – the World Economic Forum, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the government, the media, the drug companies and the climate change activists.  And yes, they do themselves confound as, with every pronouncement the mainstream makes, we grow stronger. True, we are fighting with giants, with rich and mighty organisations, but who won the fight between David and Goliath in the end? The dismal stories that have surfaced recently warn of a new and even more dangerous covid strain now going round but we, the pilgrims, know to take no notice.

Here is the third and final verse:

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

The hobgoblins and foul fiends of our time are the politicians, health secretaries, chief medical officers, pharmaceutical giants, university modellers and so on, who have done their level best to scare us into compliance. They have done their utmost to daunt our spirits but they have not succeeded.  We have feared not what men say, although sometimes it has been very hard to withstand the abuse, name-calling and accusations of being covid and climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists, and we still have a fight on our hands. Only last week Alice Thomson was writing in the Times that our best defences against the new variant are the boosters and flu jabs.This is in face of overwhelming evidence that the mRNA jabs are not only completely ineffective against the virus but have caused untold damage and even death to many people.

In the Daily Mail on Thursday, former Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray wrote that she had been taken to hospital on New Year’s Eve with double pneumonia and needed oxygen. She added: ‘For goodness sake, I was jabbed beyond reason. I’d had the Covid vaccine, the flu jab and a pneumonia jab that I thought would protect me.’ The other day, my next-door neighbour told me that another neighbour had gone down with Covid. When I said, ‘With all the jabs she’s had, I’m not surprised,’ he gave an exasperated sigh and said, ‘There you go again.’  Such stories remind us that we pilgrims still have a long way to go before the penny finally drops – that the jabs CAUSE illness, not prevent it.  All too many people are still not listening.

Yes, we do have to labour night and day, never letting up, but my hope is that even if we don’t inherit life ourselves, or the life that we would like, that at least we are trying to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren by being brave enough to stand fearlessly for the right, whatever the cost.

So thank you, John Bunyan, for composing that hymn all those years ago.  We should remind ourselves he wrote it in prison while serving a 12-year sentence for preaching without a licence. His captivity gave him the strength and courage to write a book and a hymn that are read and sung to this day. Perhaps we should take heed of his words as never before.

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Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson
Liz Hodgkinson is an author and journalist.

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