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, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Hulloa boys, Hulloa boys, let the bells ring.
Hulloa boys, hulloa boys, God save the King!
–Traditional English nursery rhyme
November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day, the day that the English remember one of their most notorious villains or one of their most celebrated heroes, depending on their mood.
On this day in 1605 Fawkes, a disgruntled English Catholic rebel, attempted to take down the entire English government—king, ministers, parliament and all—by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.
Fawkes was discovered and promptly executed, but he is remembered—in typically dry English humor—as the last man to enter parliament with honest intentions.
As we approach a U.S. presidential election with two very unappealing candidates, pour yourself a drink and offer a toast across the Atlantic.