05 November 2012

By the Light of the Bonfire

The folks in Great Britain now celebrate Hallowe'en in the manner of the United States, with costumes and trick-or-treating children. However, the older autumn celebration for the British has been Guy Fawkes Day. Fawkes, a member of a group which wished to restore a Catholic king to the throne of England by means of violence, was captured and convicted of treason. November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, commemmorates this thwarting of "The Gunpowder Plot."

The classic rhyme which accompanies this holiday is as follows:

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 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!

A Brief History of Guy Fawkes Day

Guy Fawkes: A Biography

Those who read about the history of Christmas in the United States will know that Guy Fawkes Day was also celebrated in the British colonies, where it was known as Popes Day. As in England, effigies were paraded in the street, but these were effigies of the Pope, not of Guy Fawkes.

Today the British still celebrate "Bonfire Night" with fireworks and bonfires.

No comments: