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The Vicar of Bray
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Barry Taylor


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The Vicar of Bray (a small village in Berkshire) is a ballad describing how a vicar managed to hold his position from the days of Charles II until the accession of George I of the House of Hanover. In good King Charles's golden time
When loyalty no harm meant
A zealous high churchman was I
And so I gained preferment
To teach my flock I never missed
Kings are by God appointed
And damned are those who dare resist
Or touch the Lord's annointed.
And this is law that I'll maintain
Until my dying day, Sir.
That whatsoever king may reign
Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!


When Royal James possessed the crown
And popery came in fashion
The Penal Laws I hooted down
And read the Declaration
The Church of Rome I found did fit
Full well my constitution
And I had been a Jesuit
But for the Revolution.
And this is law that I'll maintain
Until my dying day, Sir.
That whatsoever king may reign
Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!


When William was our King declared
To ease the nation's grievance
With this new wind about I steered
And swore to him allegiance
Old principles i did revoke
Set conscience at a distance
Passive obedience was a joke
A jest was non-resistance.
And this is law that I'll maintain
Until my dying day, Sir.
That whatsoever king may reign
Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!


When Royal Anne became our Queen
Then Church of England's Glory
Another face of things was seen
And I became a Tory
Occasional conformists base
I blamed their moderation
And thought the Church in danger was
By such prevarication.
And this is law that I'll maintain
Until my dying day, Sir.
That whatsoever king may reign
Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!


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 new faith's defender.
And almost every day abjured
The Pope and the Pretender.
And this is law that I'll maintain
Until my dying day, Sir.
That whatsoever king may reign
Still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!


The illustrious house of Hanover
And Protestant succession
To these I do allegiance swear
While they can keep possession
For in my faith and loyalty
I never more will falter
And George my lawful king shall be
Until the times do alter.
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