>>Remember, Remember, the Eighth of November

Remember, Remember, the Eighth of November

guy_fawkes_v_for_vendettaUntil today, Election Day 2016, I thought of Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) as an English eccentricity, one of those quirky and rather charming mysteries, like the fact that one cannot eat marmalade at teatime. But as we go to the polls in the United States, I found myself thinking that this day (November 8th) will also be a day to remember, and for similar reasons.

Of all the tumultuous events that took place during the Jacobean era of English and Scottish history, November 5, 1605 remains the most notorious. On that date Guy Fawkes led a group of radical Catholics in the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to rid England of its Protestant king and aristocracy by blowing up the Parliament at Westminster.

The plot was unsuccessful, but its annual celebration is so lively that for years after I moved back to the United States I would try to be in England for the bonfire party at Lettsom Gardens in Camberwell, my London neighborhood.

During the preceding days, little boys were stationed outside the supermarket with a floppy scarecrow. “Penny for the Guy?” they’d ask, collecting money to buy firecrackers. Adults prepared by taking scrap wood and old furniture to bonfire piles in parks and open ground all over the country. On Bonfire Night, everyone gathered, the piles were lit, and the children would throw their Guys into the flames while we ate sausages and roast potatoes and gingerbread.

Today, we have an election that enables us, the American people, to avert disaster and choose a better path, to follow what Abraham Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The world is watching. (If you need a distraction, keep busy by writing your own “The Eighth of November” lyrics, based on the English folk song “The Fifth of November.” Anyone who submits a 2016 version will get a free copy of your chosen book from the This World of Ours series. I’ve included the original, anti-Catholic lyrics, which you may know from the movie V, below.)

Now, time to change into a pantsuit.


Karen Christensen
Karen CHRISTENSEN, CEO & PublisherThe Fifth of November
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 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!From http://www.potw.org/archive/potw405.html
By | 2016-11-08T16:43:27+00:00 November 8th, 2016|Berkshire Blog|5 Comments

About the Author:

Karen Christensen is the CEO of Berkshire Publishing.


  1. Jay Pasachoff 8 November 2016 at 11:51

    November, November,
    The eighth of November,
    The election of 2016.

    The historic nature
    Of Hillary’s venture
    For hundreds of years will be seen

    As a triumph for reason
    So good for all seasons
    We long will remember this year.

    We’ll triumph and glory
    In her personal story
    And overcome merchants of fear.

    They’ve tried to divide us,
    Inventing a big fuss
    On a trivial e-mailing matter.

    They’ve taken the airways
    To excessive “he says”
    Distracting us with their chatter.

    But the first-quarter moon coats
    The landscape with Clinton votes
    As we finish our time at the polls.

    As the Democrats win seats
    (Republicans are beat)
    The bell for the defeated tolls.

    Rejoice men and women! Let TV’s declaim;
    Rejoice men and women! Let newspapers reign;
    Hallelulah, we’ve overcome fear for the day.
    Dear Hillary: victor! So, hip, hip, hoor-r-r-ray.

  2. Bill Duffy 8 November 2016 at 11:53

    Remember Peter Viereck’s aphorism? “Anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the intellectuals”? Well, I guess it’s still true. Today you print a rabidly anti-Catholic song — it calls for hanging, choking and burning the Pope — and despite our politically correct mindset these days, no one seems to object. Well, I do. Why is it acceptable to defame this one religious group with impunity? Would you print something calling for the killing of an imam or a rabbi – even if it were couched as a cheery traditional holiday song? Trump is rightly criticized for his sweeping negative comments about all sorts of people and groups, yet no one says a peep when it’s the RCs who are insulted. Many object to printing cartoons that mock Muslim leaders and Yale University published a scholarly book discussing the Jyllands-Posten cartoons — but didn’t include pictures of the cartoons for fear of offending people. Anti-Catholicism is, indeed, the last acceptable prejudice.


  3. Karen Christensen 8 November 2016 at 13:51

    I was shocked by those lines, but it is the song as written and known, and I decided that to censor one section would be misleading. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Karen Christensen 8 November 2016 at 14:01

    This is marvelous! Occasional verse writing is alive. Thanks, Jay, and you can choose a book for us to send you. I’ll be in touch by email.

  5. Karen Christensen 9 November 2016 at 11:11

    I was just asked for comment by a local newspaper and am pasting it here, because this is as much as I feel able to write about the election today. I’m glad not to be a journalist who can’t miss a beat (while waiting to see how Trump will fulfill his promises to go after the press). Here’s what I said to the Berkshire Record, a weekly newspaper published in Great Barrington:

    I have special sympathy for Trump’s rural supporters. I am myself a Democrat and a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s, but I see how worried the voters in many rural areas are about their future. They feel left behind, and that no one in Washington understands or cares. This makes the work of the Train Campaign, which aims to bridge the rural-urban divide, all the more important. In fact, we are making rural economic issues central to the work of the Barrington Institute, as you’ll see at the new website: http://www.barringtoninstitute.org.

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