The Vicar of Bray

Anonymous  (1730s ?)

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 Preached,
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 may reign,
I shall be Vicar of Bray, Sir!

When Royal James possessed the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I hooted 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, &c.

When William our Deliverer came,Cat in Pan
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, &c.

When Royal Ann became our Queen,
Then 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, &c.

 When George in Pudding time came o’er,
And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I changed once more,
And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procured,
From our Faith’s great Defender,
And almost every day abjur’d
The Pope, and the Pretender.

  And this is Law, &c.

 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,
But George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the Times should alter.

  And this is Law, &c.

5 comments on “The Vicar of Bray

  1. Somehow, I’m not surprised to find this poem on your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pete Herrmann (aka 'The Fiscal Cliff' ) says:

    Seems like it could have been written recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant poetry. I haven’t read this one before. I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

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