editorial, folklore
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Remember remember the fifth of November

V for Vendetta made both Guy Fawkes and the poem world renowned. The iconic Warner Brother’s mask has been adopted not only by protesters worldwide but it has also become to represent a symbol of freedom. Perhaps the most notorious adoption the Guy Fawkes mask is by hacker group Anonymous. Which lends a more haunting air to their terrorist like activities. It is for that and many reasons that We shall never forget the fifth of November.

The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

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 hoorah!

On November 5th, 1605 Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby, Robert Wintour, Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Christopher and John Wright, Francis Tresham, Everard Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, Thomas Bates, Robert Keyes, Hugh Owen, and John Grant attempted to execute a plan ,known as the Gunpowder Plot, to assassinate King James I and his family. Were it not for the guards performing a final check of the basement, the Gunpowder plot would have been a success.

If anything can be said, overtime things become forgotten, and as the cliche goes “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” So what was the motivation for these men to commit such an elaborate crime? To learn this one must go back to before King James became indoctrinated as ruler of England. One must look at his predecessor Queen Elizabeth the First. Queen Elizabeth, at the end of her rule was fast making enemies. England was fighting Spain, it faced rebellion in Ireland and Queen Elizabeth’s tendency to grant royal monopolies all made her exceedingly unpopular. It was upon her death that King James IV of Scotland silently supplanted Elizabeth, and took rule has King James I of England.

At first the people of England were hopeful he would bring about a new beginning. This was apparently not the case. The Catholics of England were anticipating a more tolerant era. However, shortly after James took the throne he ordered all Catholic priests to leave England. This, combined with the current political strife was enough for Robert Catesby to instigate a plan to blow up Parliament.

One year prior to the fifth of November these conspirators took control of a building across the way. It was here they started their plan to dig a tunnel to Parliament. However, when the fifth of November arrived, Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellar guarding many barrels of Gun Powder. Fawkes and the others were tortured, forced to confession, and executed. This day has forever been immortalized in England as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night, Cracker Night or Plot Night. A holiday still celebrated today , however much like most contemporary holidays its origins have been forgotten and distorted. Were it not for these events though we may never have gotten the King James version of the Bible.

More Information:
* Guy Fawkes
* The Gunpowder plot: Parliament and Treason
* What if the Gunpowder Plot succeeded?
* Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night
* Gunpowder plot
* Explosive event remembers Guy Fawkes

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