Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Vicar of Bray

An old song, about a fellow who changed sides as the country did. Lyrics plucked brazenly from Wikipedia. Followed by an updated version, The Chameleon, by Flanders and Swan.

The Vicar of Bray

In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Zealous 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 may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

When Royal James possest the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I shouted 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, &c.

When William our Deliverer came,
To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd 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, &c.

When Royal Ann became our Queen,
Then 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, &c.

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, &c.

The Illustrious House of Hannover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear,
Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my Faith, and Loyalty,
I never once will faulter,
But George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the Times shou'd alter.

And this is Law, &c.

The Chameleon

Consider the Chameleon,
he colours himself and his opinions by the company he's in.

In Belfast, he's an Orangeman, the shade is quite ephemeral,

Directly he moves south, it fades, In Dublin, look: He's emerald.

In church on Sunday he turns gold, and sings the 'love thy neighbour' hymn.

Monday he's black and buys a stick, the better to belabour him.

He says; 'All men are equal' when in Trinidad or Malibar,

But in his green in Paddington, he shouts; 'We'll keep the colour bar'.

This parti-coloured fellow, you'll find that underneath, is yellow.

With Tories blue, with reds vermilion,
and chequered when he meets MacMillian.

That's the Chameleon. If that Chameleon were me, I'd be ashamed to sham.

Each night, all white between the sheets, I'd wonder who I am.

Yours, waxing lyrical on the spectre of Specter,

No comments: