Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Bray
The Vicar of Bray
Anonymous
 
IN good King Charles’s golden days,
  When loyalty no harm meant,
A zealous high-churchman was I,
  And so I got preferment.
To teach my flock I never missed:        5
  Kings were by God appointed.
And lost are those who dare resist
  Or touch the Lord’s anointed.
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain
        Until my dying day, sir,        10
      That whatsoever king shall reign,
        Still I ’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
 
When royal James possessed the crown,
  And popery grew in fashion,
The penal laws I hooted down,        15
  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.        20
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain, etc.
 
When William was our king declared,
  To ease the nation’s grievance;
With this new wind about I steered,
  And swore to him allegiance;        25
Old principles I did revoke,
  Set conscience at a distance;
Passive obedience a joke,
  A jest was non-resistance.
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain, etc.        30
 
When royal Anne became our queen,
  The Church of England’s glory,
Another face of things was seen,
  And I became a Tory;
Occasional conformists base,        35
  I blamed their moderation,
And thought the church in danger was,
  By such prevarication.
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain, etc.
 
When George in pudding-time came o’er,        40
  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;        45
And almost every day abjured
  The Pope and the Pretender.
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain, etc.
 
The illustrious house of Hanover,
  And Protestant succession,        50
To these I do allegiance swear,
  While they can keep possession:
For in my faith and loyalty,
  I nevermore will falter;
And George my lawful king shall be,        55
  Until the times do alter.
      And this is the law that I ’ll maintain, etc.
 
 
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