Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
 
The Vicar of Bray
Anonymous (Time of George I)
 
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 that dare resist
  Or touch the Lord’s anointed.
    And this is 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 law that I’ll maintain
      Until my dying day, sir,
    That whatsoever king shall reign,
      Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
 
When William was our king declared,        25
  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;        30
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 shall reign,        35
      Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
 
When royal Anne became our queen,
  The Church of England’s glory,
Another face of things was seen,
  And I became a Tory.        40
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        45
      Until my dying day, sir,
    That whatsoever king shall reign,
      Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
 
When George in pudding-time came o’er,
  And moderate men looked big, sir,        50
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        55
  The Pope and the Pretender.
    And this is law that I’ll maintain
      Until my dying day, sir,
    That whatsoever king shall reign,
      Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.        60
 
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        65
  I never more will falter,
And George my lawful king shall be—
  Until the times do alter.
    And this is law that I’ll maintain
      Until my dying day, sir,        70
    That whatsoever king shall reign,
      Still I’ll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
 
 
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