The Turn-Coat

Melody - "London is a fine town"

Cavalier Ballad; Samuel Butler, 1661

I loved no King since forty-one,
When Prelacy went down;
A cloak and band I then put on
And preach'd against the crown.
A turn-coat is a cunning man
That cants to admiration,
And prays for any king to gain
The people's approbation.

2. I show'd the paths to heaven untrod,
From Popery to refine 'em,
And taught the people to serve God,
As if the Devil were in 'em.

3. When Charles return'd into our land,
The English Church supporter,
I shifted off my cloak and band,
And so became a courtier.

4. The King's religion I profest,
And found there was no harm in 't;
I cogg'd and flatter'd like the rest,
Till I had got preferment.

5. I taught my conscience how to cope
With honesty or evil;
And when I rail'd against the Pope
I sided with the Devil.

Several lines in this song were incorporated in the better-known ballad of the Vicar of Bray, said by Nichols in his Select Poems to have been written by a soldier in Colonel Fuller's troop of dragoons, in the reign of George I. Butler's ballad, though unpublished, must therefore have been known at the time.

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