ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bonfire Night 5th November the Full Guy Fawkes Story and Poem

Updated on July 10, 2020
molometer profile image

Common sense becomes common sense once it is pointed out. Thanks for dropping in.

Remember remember the 5th of November

Celebrating the capture and subsequent hanging of one of the people involved in the plot to blow up UK Parliament may seem like an odd thing to do.

Using words like terrorist, bomb and explosion are frowned upon these days and will get you a lot of unwanted attention.

But every 5 th November in the UK and in many other countries around the world we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night or as it is known globally. Bonfire Night.

So what are we celebrating exactly? That he got caught, or that he tried to blow up the British government.

In recent years, the hacker group, Anonymous, have adopted the Guido mask as they see themselves as the modern day equivalent of Mr Fawkes and his merry men. Mr Fawkes picked up the nickname Guido, when working as a mercenary in Spain.

The world famous rhyme. Remember, remember the 5 th of November rhyme is chanted by millions. But do you know what it actually means?

Every year on this day, we collectively spend more money on fireworks, than third world nations spend on healthcare.

In some cases we 'are' financing these nations, as this is where most fireworks are now made. Health and safety laws in developed countries, being what they are.

The Gunpowder Plotters

The conspirators.
The conspirators. | Source


Have you seen this man. He cuts a dashing figure
Have you seen this man. He cuts a dashing figure | Source

Guy Fawkes Poem Poll

Did you know the full Guy Fawkes Poem?

See results

The Guy Fawkes Poems

It appears that we enjoy freezing ourselves to death, in the cold and usually wet British November weather.

Waiting to see if someone is going to blow themselves to kingdom come and burning Guy Fawkes.(1570 – 1606) in effigy has been a national pastime for 100's of years.

Many a child in England would be encouraged to go begging for a penny, with a Guy Fawkes effigy made from old pajamas and anything they could lay their hands.

This form of begging was completly acceptable and no one seemed to consider it odd that children would be encouraged to spend so much time making something to earn money and then throw it on the bonfire.


Many children in the UK and around the world know the opening few lines of this dark nursery rhyme without knowing exactly what they are singing about.

In the time before mass literacy, these rhymes formed a part of the oral history of the people. It was also a way of indoctrinating people into believing a particular viewpoint.

Most of the peasantry learned by these oral tradition. This learning took the form of songs, stories and rhymes.

Rhymes are often used in this way, to assist the illiterate to remember the details of the story.

The ease of learning a song or rhyme, helps to reinforce the details of the events.

In a world of non-readers, this oral method of passing on knowledge worked well, and still does in some countries, where illiteracy is still common.

The Full Guy Fawkes Poem has evolved over time as we can see from these two examples below.

This is one of the drawbacks of an oral tradition. People tend to embellish and develop the story in new directions. This of course also happens in written works.

Don't you Remember,
The Fifth of November,
'Twas Gunpowder Treason Day,
I let off my gun,
And made'em all run.
And Stole all their Bonfire away. (1742)

Cited by Ronald Hutton in The Stations of the Sun

The verses below are probably the best known version of the rhyme but how many people know the whole rhyme?

Remember remember the 5 th of November

gunpowder treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes

'Twas his intent

To blow up the King and Parliament

Three score barrels of powder below

Poor old England to overthrow

By God's providence he was catch'd

With a mark lantern and burning match

Holler boys holler boys, let the bells ring

Holler boys holler boys God save the King

This full version of the rhyme gives a lot more detail of the plotters and whose side the rhyme makers were on.

The 'Gunpowder Plot' conspirators were

Guy Fawkes, Thomas Bates, Christopher Wright, John Wright,

Thomas Percy, Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour and Robert Wintour

Biggest firework ever

Story of Guy Fawkes

But what exactly were they up to and why should we remember them?

Guy Fawkes nickname 'Guido' was picked up whilst fighting for the Spanish (Catholics) in the 80 years’ war against the Dutch Republic (Protestants). He wasn't in the war for the whole time obviously,

The Protestant King James 1st of England was not to keen on Catholics. You know what’s coming don’t you.

King James 1st had stated that he did not want the Catholic religion, gaining a firmer foothold in England.

Those Catholics that already existed should not be molested. It was a time of persecution for Catholics.

James 1st' comments were interpreted by many, as an invitation to abuse the Catholics.

Guy Fawkes and his buddies decided that they had a right to protect themselves, and plotted to blow up the House of Lords, at Westminster Palace.

An Act of Treason. Well they got pretty close to achieving their aims. They had deposited the gunpowder in the basement (or under-croft), of the House of Lords. When they were about to light the blue touch paper and retire, on the 5 th of November 1605 AD.

The plotters were discovered and captured. Treachery was as common back then as now.

Someone had sent an anonymous note to the authorities, about the treason plotters. Fawkes was found with the stockpile of gunpowder and was arrested, tortured, found guilty and summarily tried, yes in that order.

I don’t think they water boarded him, but who knows?

Before the authorities had the opportunity to hang him however. He leapt from the scaffold and broke his own neck, so at least he wasn't alive for the drawing and quartering.

The drawing part is where they carefully hang you by the neck until you are almost dead.

Then they take you down to recover and maybe hang you some more. Then they cut open your guts and show you your own intestines.

Finally they chop you into four pieces and send your bits, to the four corners of the kingdom.

The reason for this practice was to send a message to the whole country. That this is what happens to you, if you plot treason. A bit like community service today for young offenders.

A deterrent if you like. So for generations the 5 th of November is still remembered.

Many people today, are unaware of the gruesome acts that inspired this annual celebration. Hopefully it all makes sense to you now.

King James 1st

This seasons bodkins are simply fab
This seasons bodkins are simply fab | Source

The Root Cause of the Treason and Plot

England had been going back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism even since Henry the VIII (1491 - 1547) invented Protestantism.

Henry had wanted to divorce any wife, that failed to produce a male heir to the throne.

The Pope wouldn't allow divorce in those days, so Henry VIII decided to make up his own religion.

He set about robbing all the Catholic churches.

This act was known as the dissolution of the monasteries,(1536 & 1541) and would eventually lead to the English Civil War, and the dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell.

So the scene is set. England had been in religious turmoil for quite some time, and had all sorts of plagues and great fires of London to content with.

What they don't need is a bomb under parliament.

Fireworks today are Big Business

Combined global sales figures for fireworks are in excess of $350 million a year. The US’s 4 th of July celebrations account for huge sales annually.

The bulk of these fireworks are manufactured in China and India.

I wonder who our descendants will be burning in effigy in the future. I can guess at a few candidates.

Will we still be burning Guy Fawkes to celebrate his failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, or some other modern terrorist, who knows?

There are so many to choose from these days.

House of Lords. London Site of the Plot!

westinister palace, London UK:
Palace of Westminster, Westminster, City of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

get directions

Who Was Guy Fawkes?

Have You Ever Heard Of Guy Fawles?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)