THE VICAR OF BRAY - Amy Levy Poems

 
 

Poems » amy levy » the vicar of bray

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!