Click this icon to hear The Vicar Of Bray if it does not automatically play.
This song is a very old song. Through the 1700s it, like other well known and popular tunes, was used to introduce ballad-operas.
In good King Charlesís golden days, When loyalty no harm meant,
A zealous high churchman was I, And so I got preferment.
Chorus: And this is law that Iíll maintain Until my dying day, Sir,
That whatsoever King shall reign, Still Iíll be the Vicar of Bray, sir.
To teach my flock I never missíd Kings were by God appointed,
And lost are those that dare resist Or touch the Lordís annointed,
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.
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.
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 From such prevarication.
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.
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.
Note: The midi file that is linked to this page was sequenced by Barry Taylor, whose website is located at: http://www.contemplator.com/tunebook/index.htm