Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Bonfire Night 2011

It was on 5 November 1605 that a conspiracy led by Robert Catesby planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England's Parliament. Fortunately for Parliament, English authorities learned of the plan and at midnight on 4 November 1605 Guy Fawkes was found guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath Parliament. It was in January 1606 that Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act 1605. As a result the tradition of Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night was instituted. It has been remembered with bonfires and fireworks ever since.

Besides bonfires and fireworks, the Gunpowder Plot has come to be remembered with various rhymes. The most popular may well be the one below, which was repeated in both the graphic novel and the motion picture V For Vendetta:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

Below is a clip from the film V For Vendetta, which quotes the first few verses of the rhyme:

Happy Bonfire Night, everyone!

1 comment:

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