For over four centuries, fires have burned and fireworks have exploded in remembrance of the failed gunpowder plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his fellow Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the House of Lords using gunpowder, in an effort to assassinate King James I of England and VI of Scotland, and install a Catholic head of state. Guy Fawkes was hung drawn and quartered for treason.
Needless to say this really doesn’t mean much to me, I find the whole ‘burning-of-the-effigy’ a bit sad and hateful. Nevertheless, it’s an event to be celebrated…
It’s freezing faces and red hands being warmed by the spitting, crackling bonfire; it’s a “penny for the guy”; it’s wellies stuck in the mud; it’s wee hands in Magic gloves writing names with sparklers; it’s communities building bonfires and burning effigy’s; and it’s traditional rhymes:
Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t’was his intent
To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below
To prove old England’s overthrow.
By god’s mercy he was catch’d
With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him?