English Folk Verse (c.1870)
The Fifth of November
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England’s overthrow.
But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
A stick and a stake
For King James’s sake!
If you won’t give me one,
I’ll take two,
The better for me,
And the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!
I first discovered this poem Watching the movie V for Vendetta which takes place in a kind of post apocalyptic world where masked freedom fighter V plans to take on a corrupt government asking the people to rise up on November 5th and fight for their freedom. It stars Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving both whom do a fantastic job, I highly recommend seeing it. Our controversial hero “V” takes his inspiration from the story of Guy Fawkes (yes the one featured in the poem) who as in the poem was caught trying to blow up Parliament in 1605 the 5th of November. It wasn’t til the 1800’s this night was officially commemorated as Guy Fawkes Night and all through out Britain they celebrate the capture of this villain by burning an “effigy” of him on a bonfire (what a way to be remembered huh?). In every corner of history we can find stories of people fighting for their beliefs, but I think we need to remember that history is written by the mostly winners and not hardly the losers. (Not saying its a good thing to blow up a parliament and kill hundreds of people, that is obviously very, very, bad). But my challenge tonight is rather then burn a dummy of an already dead man lets rebel a little, whether its breaking a diet with a night in ice cream heaven, or staying out ten minutes to late, or even telling your boss to take a hike, lets remember the 5th of November as a time to indulge ourselves a bit and maybe stand up for ourselves a little too…