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The Vicar Of Bray

In good King Charles's golden days,
  When loyalty no harm meant;
  A furious High-Church man I was,
  And so I gain'd preferment.
  Unto my flock I daily preach'd,
  Kings are by God appointed,
  And damn'd are those who dare resist,
  Or touch the Lord's anointed.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoever king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

  When Royal James possess'd the crown,
  And popery grew in fashion;
  The penal law I houted down,
  And read the declaration:
  The Church of Rome, I found would fit,
  Full well my constitution,
  And I had been a Jesuit,
  But for the Revolution.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoer king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

  When William our deliverer came,
  To heal the nation's grievance,
  I turned the cat in pan again,
  And swore to him allegiance:
  Old principles I did revoke,
  Set conscience at a distance,
  Passive obedience is a joke,
  A jest is non-resistance.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoer king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

  When glorious Anne became our queen
  The Church of England's glory,
  Another face of things was seen,
  And I became a Tory:
  Occasional conformists base,
  I damn'd, and moderation,
  And thought the Church in danger was,
  From such prevarication.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoer king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

  When George in pudding time came o'er,
  And moderate men looked big, sir,
  My principles I chang'd once more,
  And so became a Whig, sir:
  And thus preferment I procur'd,
  From our faith's great defender,
  And almost every day abjur'd
  The Pope, and the Pretender.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoer king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

  The illustrious House of Hanover,
  And Protestant succession,
  To these I lustily will swear,
  Whilst they can keep possession:
  For in my faith, and loyalty,
  I never once will falter,
  George, my lawful king shall be,
  Except the times should alter.
  And this is law, I will maintain
  Unto my dying day, sir,
  That whatsoer king shall reign,
  I will be Vicar of Bray, sir!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:04 min read
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