16.1.09

My pilgrimage

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As soon as I saw the prompt ‘Pilgrimage’ on Sunday Scribblings my mind went back to my schooldays. I remembered the hymn that was our school song, To Be a Pilgrim.

I just looked up the words because it occurred to me that when I was a kid I had no idea what the song was about. It was all written in Olde English with heaps of words that meant nothing to me. Even now I’m struggling a bit!

I can remember that we all found the name of the writer a bit funny. Well, when you are ten you are bound to find someone named after a swollen toe somewhat amusing. Who on earth could be called John Bunion even if it is spelt Bunyon!!

Actually I’ve quite surprised myself. I remember that it was written in sixteen forty-something, about the same time as Keith’s fave pub The Five Ashes Inn was built.

I also recall that 'Billy' Bunion wrote it in prison as part of his book Pilgrims Progress though I can’t remember why he was there.

I also know that someone altered the words, and someone else, Vaughn Williams I think it was, changed the tune!

That reminds me of the character Trig in that TV sit-com who was a road sweeper and said that he’d had the same broom for twenty years and it had only needed six new heads and four new handles!

Looking at the words again I realise that the second line says Let him in constancy, not Let him incontinently! I also thought there was something about fancy flees in the last verse, but now I see it’s when fancies flee away.

I also thought that the third line of the second verse was about no foes staying the night. Wrong!

My journey through school was a pilgrimage. It was a journey beset (I like that word) with angst and acne. They say that the journey is more important than reaching your destination, but in my case the getting to my destination was one of my life’s greatest moments. I made it – I left school!
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He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
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Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound - his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.
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Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labour night and day to be a pilgrim.

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12 comments:

murat11 said...

Rosey: A nice meditation on the prompt, and nice to visit a writer (Bunyan) who I have tended to dismiss. Pilgrimage is a word whose stock is rising, as the word pilgrim's seems to be plummeting. Still, there's a wonderful constancy in Bunyan's faith, a constancy - whoever our gods may be - worth attaining: thanks for the post.

dormouse74 said...

fabulous post :) you remind me of all the carols i sing to the wrong words, you know, those classics like... while shepherds washed their socks and we three kings of orient are, ne in a taxi and one ina car...

b said...

I could only think that education is SO-O-O-O wasted on the young. :) Strangely enough we remember more than we intend to.

You make me smile Rosey. That my friend in a very good thing.

b

Rinkly Rimes said...

That was my father's favourite hymn and it was sung at my mother's funeral. It's a lovely jolly song and friends of mine who were choir members sang it with gusto! My mother would have loved it!

Granny Smith said...

Reminds me of when I had to read something out loud and said, "It was now here to be found." The word, of course, was "nowhere." I just divided it wrongly. But then I never was good at division. Besides, I think there is a certain profundity in the way I read it. Optimism, at any rate.

brunettekoala said...

Fantastic post. I love the anecdote, and can relate to it. I don't know who said 'schooldays are the best days of your life' but I'm sure my best schoolday was the day I left and never had to come back!!

Tumblewords: said...

Getting out of school is often the best part of those years. An engaging post, to be sure!

Ann said...

I remember having to read Pilgrim's Progress my first year of college. I seem to recall wondering if my professor was in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Fun post, and a good reminder that a lot of those authors and writings we dismissed as young 'uns are worth another look, if only to see where we misunderstood.

Tanya Gwen Minnick said...

Ah, I like your idea that school itself is a pilgrimage, oh so true-I liked this post very much.
Be well

Lucy said...

school sure was a pilgrimage for me too Rosey girl! I just LoVE the way u tell a story!

linda may said...

G'Day Rosey,
There is a lot of you in me. :)

jadey said...

LOL this made me laugh as usual Rosey great post.