The line “Remember, remember the fifth of November” might be best associated with the 2005 James McTeigue-directed film “V For Vendetta,” but the poem it comes from has been around for centuries. There are various versions of the poem, but either way, it’s all in the name of Guy Fawkes.
Fawkes was a member of a local group of Roman Catholic activists led by Robert Catesby who planned to blow up the Protestant-controlled House of Parliament in London in the 1600s. When Protestant King James I took the throne, there was tension in England for Catholics who wanted to practice their religion without persecution.
Conspirators wanted to assassinate the king on Nov. 5, 1605. Fawkes and his accomplices sneaked 36 barrels of gunpowder into the basement of the House of Lords, according to the Telegraph. It would have been enough to destroy the entire building.
Their plot, however, was foiled when an anonymous letter was sent to William Parker, the fourth Baron Monteagle, and warned him not to go near the House of Lords.
Guards eventually found their way into the cellar. Fawkes, who was there alone to light the fuse, was captured and taken to the Tower of London. He was tortured until he snitched on his fellow conspirators.
Given that Saturday is Guy Fawkes day, below is the “Fifth of November” poem as it appears on Potw.org:
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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