Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night

Image by Photobucket

The 5th of November is a holiday that never did catch on in the USA, at least not since Colonial times. It is said that George Washington forbade the celebration of the holiday by his troops, for he saw it as anti-Catholic and pro-British. It is the 4th of July that we Americans celebrate with fireworks.

Most Americans that I know have never heard of Guy Fawkes until the movie "V for Vendetta" came out in 2005, exactly 400 years after November 5, 1605. I myself have not heard of Guy Fawkes until I met a friend of Debbie's who had contributed photos to this website and blog. This person told me all about it.

There's a poem that I've heard referred to as a nursery rhyme, but the actual title to it (I have learned recently) is "The Bonfire Prayer." This, I am told, is recited at the lighting of the bonfire on November 5th. Since those of us here who know it at all know only the first few lines, I present it here in it's entirety.

Remember, remember the fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
to blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
to prove Old England's overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd
with a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing of cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to wash it down
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

Whether you perceive Guy Fawkes as a hero or a villain may depend on whether you are a Catholic or a Protestant, or how you may feel about the political climate of Old England at the time.

Whether or not you choose to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, let us always try to remember the lessons that history has to teach us.


john allore said...

Oh god, you posted the whole poem!

Bill Widman said...

Like I said, John, most of my American friends don't know the whole poem. That's who this post is for.

This is the first time I got a comment from you in my blog. Now I'm really glad I did it, if that's what it took!