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He Who Would Valiant Be

This is the only hymn in popular use today by John Bunyan (1628-1688). He was born in Elstow and was a Baptist minister at Bedford. Bunyan wrote the original Valiant's song in The Pilgrim's Progress (part II, 1684) with the words "Who would true valour see". It is spoken by Mr Valiant-for-truth, relating the story of his pilgrimage to Mr Greatheart. The original words are found in The BBC Hymn Book ('Hobgoblin nor foul fiend') and Hymns Ancient and Modern (all editions, with a minor change to 'No goblin nor foul fiend'). The English Hymnal (both editions) and the Anglican Hymn Book all use the extensive revision by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936), who begins "He who would valiant be". Dearmer changes lines 1-4 of verse 1, lines 5-8 of verse 2, and parts of the third verse. Despite Dearmer claiming Bunyan would never have approved the use of the original poem as a hymn, and that 'to include the hobgoblins would have been to ensure disaster', many regard the original words as superior to the modern version.
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