To Be A Pilgrim

Album: The Pilgrim's Progress (1906)

Songfacts®:

  • Also known by its first line "He Who Would Valiant Be," this hymn is an adaptation by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958).

    The Pilgrim's Progress was published in 1678 by John Bunyan (1628-88); the poem "To Be A Pilgrim" is extracted from that work. Vaughan Williams collected a melody from a Mrs. Verral of the Sussex hamlet Monk's Gate, and also from a Mrs. Weobley of Herefordshire five years later. The instrumental is sometimes known as "Monk's Gate"; the words used in standard hymn books are also slightly different from the original by John Bunyan.
  • "He Who Would Valiant Be" was chosen by Margaret Thatcher to be sung at her funeral, which took place in April 2013. If nothing else, this was an improvement on "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead," which after a sustained campaign by anti-Thatcherites reached #2 in the UK chart at that time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

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