On November 5, 1605, Catholic revolution
ary Guy Fawkes was arrest
ed while trying to bomb
the Houses of Parliament in London, England. Guy Fawkes Day celebrate
s the failure of this “Gunpowder Plot” to overthrow the government
of King James I.
Two hundred years later, folk
rhymes about Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot described the events.
The fifth of November,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions
All up alive.
Threescore barrels, laid below,
To prove old England's overthrow.
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!
Although Guy Fawkes Day began as passionate
ly anti-Catholic, today it is celebrated as a civic
holiday. Fireworks and parties are common, as are bonfire
s where effigies of “the Guy” are burned. The reputation
of Guy Fawkes himself has also been somewhat restore
s of his face have become popular symbol
s of dissent
around the world, most famously as masks worn by members of the hacktivist group Anonymous.