Fiction > Harvard Classics > John Bunyan > The Pilgrim’s Progress
John Bunyan (1628–1688).  The Pilgrim’s Progress.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
The Author’s Apology

Wherein is set forth
the manner of the setting out of Christian’s
Wife and Children, their Dangerous Journey, and
Safe Arrival at the Desired Country
I have used Similitudes. Hos. 12. 10.


Go now my little Book, to every place
Where my first Pilgrim has but shewn his Face:
Call at their door; If any say, Who’s there?
Then answer thou, Christiana is here.
If they bid thee Come in, then enter thou,        5
With all thy Boys; and then, as thou know’st how,
Tell who they are, also from whence they came;
Perhaps they’ll know them by their looks, or name.
But if they should not, ask them yet again
If formerly they did not entertain        10
One Christian a Pilgrim? If they say
They did, and was delighted in his Way;
Then let them know that those related were
Unto him, yea, his Wife and Children are.
  Tell them that they have left their House and Home,        15
Are turned Pilgrims, seek a World to come;
That they have met with Hardships in the way:
That they do meet with Troubles night and day;
That they have trod on Serpents, fought with Devils,
Have also overcame a many evils.        20
Yea, tell them also of the next, who have
Of love to Pilgrimage been stout and brave
Defenders of that Way, and how they still
Refuse this World, to do their Father’s will.
  Go tell them also of those dainty things,        25
That Pilgrimage unto the Pilgrim brings.
Let them acquainted be too, how they are
Beloved of their King, under his care;
What goodly Mansions for them he provides,
Tho’ they meet with rough Winds and swelling Tides,        30
How brave a Calm they will enjoy at last,
Who to their Lord, and by his ways hold fast.
  Perhaps with heart and hand they will embrace
Thee, as they did my Firstling, and will grace
Thee, and thy fellows, with such cheer and fare,        35
As shew will they of Pilgrims lovers are.

But how if they will not believe of me
That I am truly thine, ’cause some there be
That counterfeit the Pilgrim and his name,
Seek by disguise to seem the very same,        40
And by that means have wrought themselves into
The hands and houses of I know not who?

  ’Tis true, some have of late, to counterfeit
My Pilgrim, to their own my Title set;
Yea others half my Name and Title too        45
Have stitched to their Book, to make them do;
But yet they by their Features do declare
Themselves not mine to be, whose ere they are.
  If such thou meetst with, then thine only way
Before them all is to say out thy say,        50
In thine own native language, which no man
Now useth, nor with ease dissemble can.
If after all they still of you shall doubt,
Thinking that you like Gipsies go about
In naughty wise the Country to defile,        55
Or that you seek good people to beguile
With things unwarrantable; send for me,
And I will testifie you Pilgrims be;
Yea, I will testifie that only you
My Pilgrims are; and that alone will do.        60

  But yet perhaps I may inquire for him,
Of those that wish him damned life and limb.
What shall I do, when I at such a door
For Pilgrims ask, and they shall rage the more?

  Fright not thyself my Book, for such Bugbears
Are nothing else but ground for groundless fears:
My Pilgrim’s Book has travell’d sea and land,
Yet could I never come to understand
That it was slighted, or turn’d out of door
By any Kingdom, were they rich or poor.        70
  In France and Flanders, where men kill each other,
My Pilgrim is esteem’d a Friend, a Brother.
  In Holland too ’tis said, as I am told,
My Pilgrim is with some worth more than Gold.
  Highlanders and Wild Irish can agree        75
My Pilgrim should familiar with them be.
  ’Tis in New England under such advance,
Receives there so much loving contenance,
As to be trimm’d, new cloth’d, and deck’t with Gems,
That it may shew its features and its limbs,        80
Yet more, so comely doth my Pilgrim walk,
That of him thousands daily sing and talk.
  If you draw nearer home, it will appear
My Pilgrim knows no ground of shame or fear;
City and Country will him entertain        85
With Welcome Pilgrim; yea, they can’t refrain
From smiling, if my Pilgrim be but by,
Or shews his head in any Company.
  Brave Galants do my Pilgrim hug and love,
Esteem it much, yea, value it above        90
Things of a greater bulk: yea, with delight,
Say my Lark’s leg is better than a Kite.
  Young Ladies, and young Gentle-women too,
Do no small kindness to my Pilgrim shew;
Their Cabinets, their Bosoms, and their Hearts        95
My Pilgrim has, ’cause he to them imparts
His pretty riddles in such wholesome strains,
As yield them profit double to their pains
Of reading. Yea, I think I may be bold
To say some prize him far above their Gold.        100
  The very Children that do walk the street,
If they do but my holy Pilgrim meet,
Salute him will, will wish him well, and say,
He is the only Stripling of the Day.
  They that have never seen him, yet admire        105
What they have heard of him, and much desire
To have his company, and hear him tell
Those Pilgrim stories which he knows so well.
  Yea, some who did not love him at the first,
But call’d him Fool and Noddy, say they must        110
Now they have seen and heard him, him commend;
And to those whom they love they do him send.
  Wherefore my Second Part, thou need’st not be
Afraid to shew thy Head; none can hurt thee,
That wish but well to him that went before,        115
’Cause thou com’st after with a second store
Of things as good, as rich, as profitable,
For Young, for Old, for Stagg’ring, and for Stable.

  But some there be that say he laughs too loud;
  And some do say his Head is in a Cloud.        120
  Some say his Words and Stories are so dark,
  They know not how by them to find his mark.

  One may (I think) say, Both his laughs and cries
May well be guess’d at by his watery eyes.
Some things are of that nature as to make        125
One’s Fancie chuckle, while his Heart doth ake,
When Jacob saw his Rachel with the sheep,
He did at the same time both kiss and weep.
  Whereas some say, A Cloud is in his Head,
That doth but shew how Wisdom’s covered        130
With its own mantles, and to stir the mind
To a search after what it fain would find:
Things that seem to be hid in words obscure,
Do but the Godly mind the more allure;
To study what those sayings should contain        135
That speak to us in such a Cloudy strain.
  I also know a dark Similitude
Will on the Fancie more itself intrude,
And will stick faster in the Heart and Head,
Than things from Similies not borrowed.        140
  Wherefore my Book, let no discouragement
Hinder thy travels. Behold, thou art sent
To Friends, not foes: to Friends that will give place
To thee, thy Pilgrims and thy words embrace.
  Besides, what my first Pilgrim left conceal’d,        145
Thou my brave Second Pilgrim hast reveal’d;
What Christian left lock’t up, and went his way,
Sweet Christiana opens with her Key.

  But some love not the method of your first,
  Romance they count it, throw’t away as dust.        150
  If I should meet with such, what should I say?
  Must I slight them as they slight me, or nay?

  My Christiana, if with such thou meet,
By all means in all loving wise them greet;
Render them not reviling for revile;        155
But if they frown, I prithee on them smile;
Perhaps ’tis Nature, or some ill report,
Has made them thus despise, or thus retort.
  Some love no Cheese, some love no Fish, and some
Love not their Friends, nor their own House or Home;        160
Some start at Pig, slight Chicken, love not Fowl,
More than they love a Cuckow or an Owl;
Leave such, my Christiana, to their choice,
And seek those who to find thee will rejoice;
By no means strive, but in all humble wise        165
Present thee to them in thy Pilgrim’s guise.
  Go then my little Book, and shew to all
That entertain, and bid thee welcome shall,
What thou shalt keep close, shut up from the rest,
And wish what thou shalt shew them may be blest        170
To them for good, may make them chuse to be
  Pilgrims better by far than thee or me.
  Go then, I say, tell all men who thou art,
Say, I am Christiana, and my part
Is now, with my four Sons, to tell you what        175
It is for men to take a Pilgrim’s lot:
  Go also tell them who and what they be,
That now do go on Pilgrimage with thee;
Say, Here’s my Neighbor Mercy, she is one
That has long time with me a Pilgrim gone.        180
Come see her in her Virgin Face, and learn
’Twixt Idle ones and Pilgrims to discern.
Yea, let young Damsels learn of her to prize
The World which is to come, in any wise.
When little tripping Maidens follow God,        185
And leave old doting Sinners to his Rod;
’Tis like those days wherein the young ones cried
  Hosanah, to whom old ones did deride.
  Next tell them of old Honest, who you found
With his white hairs treading the Pilgrim’s ground.        190
Yea, tell them how plain-hearted this man was,
How after his good Lord he bare his Cross;
Perhaps with some grey Head this may prevail
With Christ to fall in Love, and Sin bewail.
  Tell them also how Master Fearing went        195
On Pilgrimage, and how the time he spent
In Solitariness, with Fears and Cries,
And how at last he won the joyful Prize.
He was a good man, though much down in Spirit,
He is a good man, and doth Life inherit.        200
  Tell them of Master Feeble-mind also,
Who not before, but still behind would go;
Shew them also how he had like been slain,
And how one Great-heart did his life regain.
This man was true of Heart, tho’ weak in Grace,        205
One might true Godliness read in his Face.
Then tell them of Master Ready-to-halt,
A man with Crutches, but much without fault;
Tell them how Master Feeble-mind and he
Did love, and in opinions much agree.        210
And let all know, tho’ weakness was their chance,
Yet sometimes one could sing, the other dance.
  Forget not Master Valiant-for-the-truth,
That Man of courage, though a very Youth.
Tell every one his Spirit was so stout,        215
No man could ever make him face about,
And how Great-heart and he could not forbear,
But put-down Doubting Castle, slay Despair.
  Overlook not Master Despondancie,
Nor Much-afraid, his daughter, tho’ they lie        220
Under such Mantles as may make them look
(With some) as if their God had them forsook.
They softly went, but sure, and at the end
Found that the Lord of Pilgrims was their Friend.
When thou hast told the world of all these things,        225
Then turn about, my Book, and touch these strings,
Which if but touched, will such Musick make,
They’ll make a Cripple-dance, a Giant quake.
  These Riddles that lie couch’t within thy breast,
Freely propound, expound; and for the rest        230
Of thy mysterious lines, let them remain
For those whose nimble Fancies shall them gain.
  Now may this little Book a blessing be
To those who love this little Book and me,
And may its Buyer have no cause to say,        235
His Money is but lost or thrown away;
Yea, may this Second Pilgrim yield that fruit,
As may with each good Pilgrim’s Fancie suit;
And may it persuade some that go astray,
To turn their Feet and Heart to the right way:
        Is the Hearty Prayer
                of the Author


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