Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gunpowder Treason

My wife reminded me that today was November the 5th; Guy Fawkes Day in the majority of all places United Kingdom. I remember hearing of the Gunpowder Plot in school but I truly took notice with Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta” and the subsequent film of the same name that he has, as with all of his work that has been excreted into film, disavowed.

So what is the difference between an anarchist and a revolutionary? Where is the line between terrorist and freedom fighter drawn? You got me; the victors write the history books. In Guy Fawkes case the victors caught him attempting to blow up the King and the Parliament Building. Guy was catholic and the King and those in power were protestant. Guy was tortured into revealing the names of his conspirators, hung and drawn & quartered. Ouch.

Today as it states in Wikipedia, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated, “in the United Kingdom take place in towns and villages across the country, involve fireworks displays and the building of bonfires, on which "guys", or dummies, representing Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the conspirators, are traditionally burnt. Before the fifth, children use the "guys" to beg for money with the chant "Penny for the guy".

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Now, without further ado, here is the traditional rhyme, which I pulled from Wikipedia, my favorite second brain…

The night is closely associated with the popular rhyme:

Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.

The full rhyme, rarely used, continues:

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

The following verses, though originally part of the rhyme, are usually left out of modern day recitations for the inflammatory anti-Catholic remarks:

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse 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!

So there you have it, don’t blow off any fingers or start any revolutions that you are not prepared to finish. Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

1 comment:

E. Chicken said...

Note for those of you playing at home, It is now November 5th, 2013 and I'm about to re-post this to Twitter. I just had to point out that the last sentence in paragraph one sounds a little harsh towards all film adaptations of Alan Moore's work. That's not the original intent of this particular blog. "The Watchmen", "V for Vendetta", and, "From Hell" are all, for my money, good films. My passive aggressive venom remains towards, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", which took an amazing story and squandered it wholesale. It was a unique and magical opportunity to take the keys to the kingdom and fling the doors wide open but instead the studio broke the key off in the lock. ...I'm gonna need a moment. Oh well. Happy Guy Fawkes Day!