He that is down needs fear no fall

He that is down needs fear no fall. John Bunyan* (1628-1688). This song is from Part II of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1684). It is sung by the shepherd boy in the Valley of Humiliation, ‘the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all those parts’. He sings to the pilgrims from his own experience. Mr Greatheart, the guide of the pilgrims, draws attention to the shepherd boy’s contentment in a simple life: Then said their guide, do you hear him? I will dare to say, that this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of that herb called Hearts-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet. The song began to be used as a hymn in the 19th century, in what JJ described as ‘a limited...

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