Saturday, November 05, 2016

The fifth of November

Most people know the first six lines of the poem which celebrates the defeat of the attempted coup in Britain which was frustrated four hundred and eleven years ago today.

As sometimes has to be pointed out, we do not celebrate Guido Fawkes; we celebrate the fact that he was caught. (No offence to Paul Staines.)

I'm quoting below the whole thing, but not in celebration.

In quoting one version of the whole poem -  there are various surviving versions - I am not for one moment endorsing the sentiments in the rather horrifying latter part of the poem.

I quote it to illustrate that violence begets violence and hate begets hate: the conspirators wanted a better deal for those of the Roman Catholic faith but their attempt to obtain this by murder and treason only intensified and prolonged hatred and discrimination against those of that religion.

Sometimes the higher the ideals a person has the worse the crimes they are willing to commit for those ideals. It rarely ends well/

The Fifth of November

    "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!"

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