The Vicar of Bow

Michael Peet, Palm Sunday, Bow Church
Michael Peet, Palm Sunday, Bow Church

This parody of the original satirical 18th-century song, The Vicar of Bray, was written by the Revd Michael Peet, Rector of Bow. It traces the history of Bow through the eyes of a vicar who was always on the right side of the government.

The photograph was taken by Fiona Haughey and shows Michael Peet with members of the congregation on Palm Sunday 2009. The song was performed by Simon Herbert at the concert to mark the 700th anniversary of Bow Church in October 2011.

In good King Henry’s early days when Popery no harm meant,
A furious catholic I was and so I got preferment.
Unto my flock I daily preached ‘Popes are by God appointed’.
In Latin I the service read; with oil the sick anointed.
And this is law I will maintain –
This I’ll have you know, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign
That whatsoever king shall reign
I’ll be the Vicar of Bow, sir!

But when the Reformation came with Protestants in fashion,
The ancient ways I hooted down, was ‘Low Church’ with a passion!
The church in Bow I tried to make as plain as I was able.
Out went the mass, the bells and smells; in came the English Bible.
And this is law I will maintain….

When Catholic Mary rode through Bow to claim her crown and kingdom,
I donned my chasuble again and swore to be her liegeman.
From Luther did I quickly turn; set conscience at a distance
And when the fires began to burn, I spurned all vain resistance.
And this is law I will maintain….

When glorious Bess became our Queen, the Church of England’s glory,
Another face of things was seen – again I changed my story.
The Common Prayer Book now I read and Mattins sing with pleasure.
In Bow the Church I’ll always lead – our nation’s greatest treasure!
And this is law I will maintain…
This I’ll have you know, sir,
That whatsoever king shall reign
I’ll still be vicar of Bow, Sir!

From the 1937 film of The Vicar of Bray, starring music hall legend Stanley Holloway:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs6SIvnurl0

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone