Becoming a traveller

Daily Reading for August 29 • The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, and John Bunyan, Writer, 1688

This book will make a traveller of thee,

If by its counsels thou wilt ruled be;

It will direct thee to the Holy Land,

If thou wilt its directions understand:

Yea, it will make the slothful active be;

The blind also delightful things to see.

Art thou for something rare and profitable?

Wouldest thou see a truth within a fable?

Art thou forgetful? Wouldest thou remember

From New-year’s day to the last of December?

Then read my fancies: they will stick like burs.

And may be, to the helpless, comforters.

This book was writ in such a dialect,

As may the minds of listless men affect:

It seems a novelty, and yet contains

Nothing but sound and honest gospel strains.

Wouldst thou divert thyself from melancholy?

Wouldst thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?

Wouldst thou read riddles and their explanation?

Or else be drowned in thy contemplation?

Dost thou love picking meat? Or wouldst thou see

A man in the clouds, and hear him speak to thee?

Wouldst thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep?

Or wouldst thou in a moment laugh and weep?

Wouldest thou lose thyself and catch no harm,

And find thyself again without a charm?

Wouldst read thyself, and read thou knowest not what,

And yet know whether thou art blest or not,

By reading these same lines? Oh then come hither,

And lay my book, thy head, and heart together.

From the Author’s Apology to The Pilgrim’s Progress from this World to that which is to Come by John Bunyan (New York: Robert Carter, 1876).

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