Chants and Rhymes

The chants and rhymes which accompany the celebration of Guy Fawkes Night are as integral to the custom as the burning of the Guy and the lighting of fireworks. Many such ditties have been composed over the years...examples of the important aspects of freedom of expression and the right of an individual to his or her own personal beliefs. What follows is merely a small sampling of what might be heard on the evening of November 5th.

Rumour, rumour, pump and derry,
Prick his heart and burn his body,
And send his soul to Purgatory.

(Usually sung by children around the
burning bonfire with the guy on top)

There's a plot to beguile
An obstinate isle.
Great Britain, that heretic nation.
Why so slyly behav'd
In the hope to be saved
By the help of the curs'd reformation.

There's power enough
And combustile stuff
In thirty and odd trusty barrels,
We'll send them together
The Lord can tell whither
And decide at one blow all their quarrels.

When the King and his son
And the Parliament's gone
And the people are left in the lurch,
Things will take their old station
In the curs'd nation...
And I'll be the head of the Church,

(Author Unknown, but possibly a Jesuit priest)

Hurrah for our bonfire,
Oh, pile it up high,
For tonight...yes tonight...
When it blazes up bright
A traitor must die!
How he'll crackle and burn,
Our jolly old Guy!
In the middle we'll throw him,
No mercy we'll show him,
The traitor must die!
Go, old Ragamuffin,
Don't stop to ask why,
You know that the reason
Was Gunpowder Treason!
So, burn till you die!

("Old Guy Fawkes" from a 19th Century Calendar)

Remember, remember the fifth 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 the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catched
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys,
God save the King!
Hip hip hooray!
Hip hip hooray!
A penny loaf to feed ol' Pope.
A farthing 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 hooray!
Hip hip hooray!

NOTE: There are many variations of the above chant.
To see a more comprehensive listing, please click on
the "Flowering Bomb" below.

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