Remember Remember the 5th of November

With Bonfire night coming up, I’ve been teaching my daughter the meaning of it all. In a nutshell: Guy Fawkes was a Catholic terrorist, who plotted to blow up Houses of Parliament and King James I, the Protestant King of England, on November 5th 1605.

They were caught when someone tipped off a Catholic Member of Parliament, Lord Monteagle (probably his brother in law, Francis Tresham) and the letter of warning was handed in. A search of Parliament discovered Guy Fawkes with 20 barrels of hidden gun powder.

The story became public knowledge and fell into folk law with the Guy Fawkes poem: Remember Remember, the fifth of November:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!

However there is a second verse, one that is totally unsuitable for this Politically Correct society in which we live. To understand it, you must consider the religious battle between Protestants and the Catholics which has been going on for centuries. Anyway, here it is, I’ll let you decide:

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!

Severe isn’t it? So what do you think, do you believe that the children of today should be taught such a politically incorrect poem? What’s takes the priority here: historical accuracy, or censoring religious intolerance?

Comment and let me know if you think I should teach this 2nd verse to my 7 year old daughter or not?

EDIT: It seems given the number and length of comments (thanks to all who take the time to comment by the way), many people don’t read the comments that I’ve posted below and still get all uppity at my question. So let me summarise a clarification that I made: the question is not “Should I *ever* tell my daughter the truth?” But rather: “Is a child of 7 old enough to handle the truth?” Or put another way, at what age would you teach your child the whole truth? After all, many of the films at the cinema can’t be legal seen by under 18s.

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Soraya 5 November 2007, 12:39 pm

    There are many poems and nursery rhymes that in this day I don’t really want to hear my 5 year old singing. My particular pet hate is Goosey Gander where an old man gets thrown down the stairs for not saying his prayers. I think the best way to deal with violent messages in folklore etc is to explain what these rhymes etc tell us about the time and then stress that things aren’t the same today. At the end of the day I don’t believe that children take these sort of things to heart. I don’t know anyone for instance who’s thrown a pussy down a well. My daughters favourite film at age 2 was Van Helsing (too violent you may think) but to her killing the monsters was no more real than Scooby Doo. Bambi on the other hand gave her nightmares because she could relate to the wee beast and understood how afriad he was when his mother was killed.

  • George Orwell 1984 27 August 2008, 9:19 am

    Censoring? Hiding from the truth and what really happened? Are you serious? It is people with your ideaology that will ruin this society/world we live. Hiding from the truth will not solve the problem, only make it worse. Read George Orwell 1984 and you will understand where society is headed. Censoring… I can’t believe everyone jumps to the idea of censoring. It is almost a laughable idea if you think about it. Let’s all hide from the truth so we can feel better about ourselves because we are afraid of of reality. Sad honestly

  • Colin McNulty 29 August 2008, 11:18 am

    I agree that censorship is bad, but you didn’t address the key point: is that a suitable verse to teach a child of 7? I’m not saying never teach it and strike it from history, but at what age do you choose to unfetter truth?

  • m 22 September 2008, 8:04 pm

    And of now, with the film V for Vendetta, Guy Fawkes is a symbol for righteous opposition to a corrupt government. Never be forgot indeed!

  • _someone_ 5 November 2008, 6:28 pm

    the first section is very good but the second section is very unsuitable, as if a song like that was sang about a muslim leader u would be considered rasist.

    and to the person who said “the truth” the second verse is nothing to do with what happened.

  • me 8 September 2009, 3:59 am

    I would like to say a few words regarding this matter.
    One, i am a firm believer in the stopping of Censorship in modern society.
    Secondly, i would like to say that i have written many papers, essays, and term papers on Guy Fawkes and how he influenced modern society.
    I am not claiming to be an expert on the matter, but from what i have read, it is alright for a child to learn this saying. I must also agree with Orwell’s novel 1984. “WE” as a society have been corrupting our ways, to a point beyond repair. We are hiding truths from people who it should not be hidden from. those people, are our society… bound to the life of conformity.

    The movie V for Vendetta, can not just be taken at a face value rate… after watching it several times, one can see that it is not about righteous revolution, but it is about the divine right to actually “SEE” what the world is, not what the media portrays it as. I will always remember the 5th of November, mainly because on this day, history was made… it showed that abiding by conformist ways only ruins our existence as human beings.

    The smartest animal is what we are called, but we are ignorant, arrogant creatures, no better than the smartest bird. We even cage that bird, because it has the gift of flight, don’t you see how far we have drifted from the ideas of a Utopia? from the ideas of a “safe life”

  • rkk 17 September 2009, 8:48 pm

    I am contemplating using this for a year 9 assembly at school. (I am a teacher).

    I see no reason why students should not be taught the story, and the poem for this from an educational point of view..

    I will be teaching the entire poem- Im not creating a racial debate here or influencing students to go and kill the pope! its a piece of history. There is no need to hide it..

  • Colin McNulty 17 September 2009, 9:24 pm

    I happen to agree. However (and I should have made this clearer in my original post) that my daughter at the time was just 7. Year 9 is what, 14 years old? I agree they are a suitable audience, but 7? I’m not so sure. But then where is the line drawn?

  • Dr. Mercury 4 November 2009, 12:21 pm

    First off, thanks for posting the entire poem. I didn’t even KNOW there was more to it than the first few lines until I saw some reference to it on some site. It took another four links to find it here. (Actually, as these things go, I was seriously disappointed in the insipid, simplistic second verse. Are we sure both were written by the same person?)

    As to your question, the commenters who posted about “censorship” completely missed the point. This isn’t a question of “censoring” something, it’s a question of at what age is it proper to introduce the concepts of murder and assassination to a child? Or, put another way, at what age do you destroy a child’s innocence?

    I’d break it down two ways:

    – Yes, 7 years old is too young to learn that if you don’t agree with someone, the best avenue is to burn off his head. And, even if one doesn’t believe in the Catholic god, advocating that you kill the POPE — of all people — is certainly over the edge.

    – With that said, however, there’s certainly a way you could relate the poem to a child and not warp them psycholgically. It could be told with a lot of vocal and body expression, like telling a ghost story to kids. “…burn him like a blazing star — ooooh!”, said with a twinkle in your eye.

    The interesting thing, as one of the commenters pointed out, is that the “no reason…it should ever be forgot” line has turned around over the years, as evidenced by the movie. At least Fawkes TRIED to do something about a repressive government — as referred to the droning sheep who sit by and just take it.

    Here’s a great line from Fawkes’ Wikipedia entry:

    “However, his reputation has since undergone a rehabilitation, and today he is often toasted as, ‘The last man to enter Parliament with honourable intentions.'”

    If we had a Guy Fawkes here in America, we’d be saying the same thing about Congress.

    Thanks again for the interesting post,

  • Colin McNulty 4 November 2009, 8:46 pm

    Hi Doc and thanks for the great comment. I’m glad someone realised I wasn’t asking about censorship, but as you said, about the age of innocence.

    I think time heals the wounds of terrorism, especially as the cause he was fighting for is no longer relevant. I wonder if in 400 years, Osama Bin Laden say, will be viewed in a different light? Who can say.

  • mike 24 May 2010, 11:36 am

    this is all i got to say about nursery rhymes

  • Marcia D 5 November 2010, 5:13 pm

    Censorship be damned! If this is the worry, then have you taught her Ring Around the Rosies? What kid doesn’t know that one–but they don’t need to know the history behind it until they are old enough to understand. It’s no different then having the sex talk with kids. They absorb what they can and blow off the rest until they’re ready. Common sense is not censorship.

  • Kathy Suhr 15 March 2011, 11:00 pm

    I have home schooled my two sons and they were taught there are two sides to every coin.In order to speak knowledgeably about any thing you have to know what you believe and what the other(s) believe and most people do not know… So to edit history and all that goes with it.for the lame excuse that it isn’t correct that we just might step on some ones toes we are bound to repeat what in history we so greatly fear.History repeats it’s self because we refuse to know it for what it was…our mistakes , biases, hates, loves, tears and hope.

  • V for Vendetta 10 May 2011, 1:33 pm

    Oh…my…God…And people wonder what’s wrong with this generaton?! Look at this! They said the second part was “politically incorrect”? What pansies! Let kids learn this. It might give them some guts to take care of themselves for once instead of having their parents baby them until they’re forty-five. Don’t mess with history just because you don’t like the way it happened. What next? Are they going to censor the Battle of the Alamo, the Battle of San Jacinto, the Civil War, World War I, or World War II? Let these kids grow up. I think all of us “grown ups” should grow up.

  • V for Vendetta 10 May 2011, 2:10 pm

    I want to comment again. It’s not much but if any of you have not seen the movie “V for Vendetta” you should watch it. People should not be scared of their governments; governments should be scared of their people.

  • Colin McNulty 11 May 2011, 6:38 am

    Dude, chill, for the sake of your blood pressure!

    First off, I never said one way or another which “side” I was on. Further, if you read the 3rd comment down, I clarified that it is not a question of if, but when, I would teach my daughter this. You wouldn’t show a 7 year old the film Saving Private Ryan (not unless you wanted to give them nightmares) but that’s not censoring WW2, it’s just presenting appropriate information at the right time for the emotional capacity of the individual.

  • john walker 5 June 2011, 2:46 am

    Ok, I’ve read the replies here and draw on my own childhood memories. Is it wrong to teach a 7 year old what we ourselves have been taught ? I dont think it would do any harm nor would it do any good either.
    Today’s kids have the internet and all other kinds of gadgets to learn from, and some simple odd..very odd poems dont realy mean anything in today’s politicaly correct age. Maybe we should tell them about it and let them decide for themselves.
    Remember we were taught them too…has it hurt us ? has it corrupted us and our way of thinking, or has it just gave us childhood memories that we draw upon in our times of remeberance and reminise.
    Personaly, I loved those old poems and songs. I guess we look back and think it was a simple time by today’s standards. But back then it was sort of a way to keep the demons away and the kids safe.

  • ... 8 July 2011, 12:51 pm

    Personally, I think that this should not be censored. Kids today should be able to learn about history just the way it is. I myself being 12, hate it when others try and change history. Guy Fawkes night was an historical night to England, and if you go there and pick 3 random people of the streets, i’ll bet you that they will know the first 6 words of the poem. It’s well known and it should not be censored. the 2nd verse only shows the hatred that was spread from protestants to catholics in those times, and it should be remembered. And if you want to go and hide in a corner because what you’re afraid of what really happened, then i have 2 words for you. Grow up.

  • ... 8 July 2011, 12:53 pm

    And honestly, shouldn’t we at least get a say in what is being censored from us? I mean, really.

  • Anonymous 27 July 2011, 1:22 am

    Cencorship is a disrespect to history. A disrespect to Guy Fawkes. And part of how this world is going to be destroyed. It is a manipulation. A disgreet form of makeing you a puppet, and a clone. The people start thinking, not of what they think, but what their governments want them to think. o one should be lied to no matter what age. Takeing the ‘sex talk’ as an excuse is not an acceptable one. Children are taught about sex at ages of sometimes 3 or 4, and can easily understand or disregard. If they do disregard so be it. At least you have told them the truth.

  • T. Kunz 11 August 2011, 6:33 pm

    Yes Anonymous, I concur! Censorship is to ignore the truth about Humanity in every form, teach your kids as I have taught my 2 sons who are now 19 & 20, they have the truth, they know the truth in their own minds, they are free thinkers even though they are caught in this shadow play of religion, government & propaganda & they are angry that their friends were not taught this when they were young so as to stunt their brain’s ability to grow up with the truth, they can preach history, but it’s parental guidance that is the Most Important part of parenting! Good work Colin, tell her everything, read her MacBeth, teach her to think for herself, I told my children to disagree with me whenever they feel the need to & we will discuss it as is the reason Humans were given tongues, brains & free will, to be shared, Knowledge is the greatest gift we can give our children! Religion is conformity!!

  • ... 11 August 2011, 7:30 pm

    I have nothing against religion, t kunz, but I agree that children should have their own minds.
    However, kids should be tought at a young age that there are rules, but also tought not to succumb
    To puppetry or the (most of the time) dictorial government. But again, we all think differently,
    So isn’t it fair to say that people should have their own say in things? Please,
    Teach your children your own belifs and rights. But also teach them to make their own minds up,
    As well as listening to you. There is a saying, which is quite true, and it goes somewhat like this…

    “Do a child harm, and he will know violence. Teach a child the arts, and he will be cultured.
    Remind a child that there is something greater than him, and he will be humbled.
    But do not forget, there is always a different perspective to an object. Always.”
    It goes somewhat like that. And its true. But can we really teach a child something and then expect him/herto understand and accept it the way we do? I think not.

  • T. Kunz 11 August 2011, 7:59 pm

    That why I taught them to disagree with me their Mother, & tell me Colin what has Religion done to Humanity except divide them, conform them, conquer them? It is the cruelest facade in History that we should believe a book or a certain book when there are so many to choose from! My children know more history than I ever wanted to know, I hated school, conformity, rules because unless you are hurting another human, there should be no rules to conform to except respect, fairness, dignity, decency, honesty… did these words come from Religion Colin? No, they came from thousands of years of pain & demoralization from Governments & Religion & the mixture of the two! Humanity has different rules than religion, I don’t care what History says, people are lambs led to slaughter by their own hands, minds, conforming to others belief & rules! Where did evil come from Colin? It came from religion because that is where judging others came from! My heart guides me but so does my limited knowledge & my Obstinate belief of Human Rights for everyone, not just those who follow Religion blindly because of family history anymore than those who follow along with their Governments blindly conforming to their Rules! Think outside the box that these rules have imposed on humanity, love thy neighbor, help thy neighbor, love thy enemy, help show him what he has not been shown or taught, it’s called Love! It’s like saying all bad people were born to be bad, put those people in other circumstances & they would thrive like anyone else in better circumstances! Humans are fragile, we need love, acceptance, patience, understanding, but now time has become the element that is trading on the stock markets, your time, my time… so those who need help get no time to become who they truly want to be, should be given the chance to be, like You or Me! Are you saying all rioters are thieves? I am Canadian, look at the G20 Summits around the world & tell me to trust any Government? There is always a better way to take care of your fellow citizens in any country, greed stops us from taking the time to help the poor, the humiliated, the abused people of this world! So you condone the acts of Catholic Priests or any religious seniors to abuse children? That is what you said because it has happened & is still happening & these men go free Colin, tell your daughter that truth & tell me if she respects religion when she’s 20! I believe in God, in Humanity as a whole, but to think a man can become a God is just silly, we all make up God after our deaths in Heaven or Hell, it is our choice, but no one knows until they die!! Nothing is sacred anymore… least of all… life & love for each other!! <3, X/O, what do these Symbols mean to You? Other than red cross, what does the cross symbolize… death, murder, blood lust of human against human! It sickens me greatly!

  • ... 11 August 2011, 8:31 pm

    All I’m going to say, is that you should watch the new planet of the apes. Iy really shows a world where
    Humans aren’t alpha and “gods.”

  • Colin McNulty 12 August 2011, 12:07 am

    [Comment removed by contrite author (that would be me!)]

  • ... 12 August 2011, 8:08 am

    ??? No disrespect intended colin, but are you twelve?? You are really acting immature.
    I mean, really.

  • Colin McNulty 12 August 2011, 9:25 am

    I’d like to start this comment by apologising to the anonymous “…” and to T. Kunz for my last comment (which I’ve just edited out to hide my shame). I could make excuses along the lines of too much wine, but that would be a cop out. The simple truth is I didn’t read either of your comments properly and from the combination of poor spelling and formatting, I immediately jumped to the conclusion they were spam comments as occasionally some get through (as of this morning my blog spam filter has blocked 55,905 spam comments in the last 4 years!). That was wrong and I’m sorry.

    Thanks for both of your opinions, we are in fact mostly in agreement. I wrote the original post deliberately without biasing it with my own opinion regarding censorship, and did in fact qualify the point in my first comment. I completely agree that censorship is bad and it was never a question of not teaching her this poem, but at what age? T Kunz suggested 3-4 is ok as that’s what age they’re taught about sex, I disagree here as I feel that’s too young. At 10 my daughter is now mentally mature enough I think to process this information properly, though I know several 10 year olds that are not.

    Regarding the wider point on religion, it is certainly true that there have been, and continue to be, many atrocities across the world in the name of religion. In many cases religion is used as a tool to control the population for the profit of the leaders (either financially or for personal power). The obviously topical extreme example of this is the suicide bomber, a young adult that has been indoctrinated from childhood to believe that this life is just a stepping stone and they can achieve greatness in the next by blowing themselves up in this. “Allah will catch me” I recall hearing from one young suicide bomber wannabe on the TV!

    In an interesting twist though I’ve been discussing this very subject with a friend of mine, and I’ve been wondering if a believe in religion, or more specifically an afterlife or reincarnation, has actually promoted a more carefree or even reckless attitude to life than nature would otherwise intend, and was that in fact beneficial to human exploration and expansion?

  • ... 12 August 2011, 10:28 am

    your apology is accepted, and I agree with you in most ways, colin, but really not in all ways.
    Religon is fine, but the way you teach it, can have different effects on a person. The taliban, and the suicide bombers, for example, preach that allah is on their side. But that is the way they have been taught the religon of islam. If you read on it, islam is a religon of charity and peace, and the Bad reputation Is given to it by some crack pots. No fingers on one hand are equal. This argument reminds me of the nature/nurture debate. It is a bit of both. Now, many people believe that they are right, and others believe that they too are right. It was very brave of you to ask the genral public on their opinions, considering some previous comments, but I think that you should teach your daughter what you think is right. As her legal parent, you should have every right to. Also, at the mature age of ten, I think that she will process it in her own way, and if it is different from your point of view, then live with the good fact that you have told your child what you think is right. And if our parents diddnt express their veiws to us when we were young, then would there be different sides to an argument??

  • ... 12 August 2011, 10:30 am

    Very annoyed. I’ve just written a long entry, and it diddnt show… grr..

  • ... 12 August 2011, 10:31 am

    Acutally, it did. Never mind.

  • Colin Bain 10 October 2011, 11:05 am

    A couple of comments. The gun powder plot was not a grass roots uprising against an overbearing government. It was one aspect of a struggle between Protestant and Catholic control. In fact, if anything, it was an expression of the waning powers of the Roman Catholic Empire. For the time, one government was as repressive as another, in the eyes of our time.
    Belief in afterlife causing a carefree attitude? Evidence hardly supports that, on the whole. The protestant work ethic has driven forward what we call progress. The Catholic Empire inspired a tremendous scientific and arts output in its time. Hospitals, schools, welfare, I could go on. Belief in afterlife through resurrection is one of the pillars of their creeds.
    Muslims similarly on the whole have advanced civilisation. They gave morphine to Western medicine in the 1100’s via the Crusades. Architecture, hospitals, astronomy etc.
    Minority sects and groups of people, however, will always be around and use whatever excuse to justify their own actions.

  • Colin McNulty 11 October 2011, 8:22 am

    Thanks for the comment Colin:

    > Belief in afterlife causing a carefree attitude? Evidence hardly supports that, on the whole. The protestant work ethic has driven forward what we call progress. The Catholic Empire inspired a tremendous scientific and arts output in its time. Hospitals, schools, welfare, I could go on.

    I’m sorry if I didn’t explain myself properly. I didn’t mean to imply that belief in an afterlife meant that people were work shy, quite the opposite. The point I was trying to make was that religious pressure / promise of a better afterlife, can coerce people to do things that nature’s basic self preservation may otherwise prohibit.

    A possible example would be crusading off to Jerusalem with the very good chance that you’ll end up dead, but don’t worry, Jesus will reward you in heaven. Or the very current example of Islamic suicide bombers as I mentioned previously. See for example these 2 quotes from the Quran (source Wikipedia):

    “Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their wealth for the price of Paradise, to fight in the way of Allah, to kill and get killed. It is a promise binding on the truth in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an.” – Surah 9 At-Tawba verse 111:<48>

    “And if ye die, or are slain, Lo! it is unto Allah that ye are brought together.” – Sura 3 Imran, verse 158:<49>

    And also:

    “It was mentioned by Daraj Ibn Abi Hatim that Abu-al-Haytham Abdullah Ibn Wahb narrated from Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, who heard the Prophet Muhammad saying: ‘The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah to Sana’a.'” – Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir of Surah Al-Rahman (55), verse 72

  • Sh doll 14 October 2011, 3:27 am

    It is good to teach children history an tolerance but today most people are ignorant ….she’s a little to young to hate a worthless man but you need to be her parent and choose for your self . God bless 🙂

  • Unknown 5 November 2011, 5:59 am

    LOL. Respect for Guy Fawkes? Thanks to him, Catholic rights got set back near a hundred years in Britain. I wonder how people would react if I wore a Timothy McVeigh mask tomorrow.

  • Unknown 5 November 2011, 6:02 am

    And hey, McNulty, did you happen to read the rest of the article?

    Even though suicide is forbidden in Islam, some conservative, influential Muslim scholars including most notably Yusuf al-Qaradawi have justified suicide bombings when the perpetrators are occupied or acting in self-defense without other available means to defend themselves.[65] However, many scholars of Islam have pointed out that classically, Islam does not justify suicide bombings. For example, Bernard Lewis states, “The emergence of the now widespread terrorism practice of suicide bombing is a development of the 20th century. It has no antecedents in Islamic history, and no justification in terms of Islamic theology, law, or tradition.”[49] Respected Muslim scholars have also made statements and fatwas condemning suicide bombings as terrorism that is prohibited in Islam with the perpetrators being destined to hell.[48] In condemning suicide attacks, Muslim scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri directly targeted the rationale of Islamists by stating, “Violence is violence. It has no place in Islamic teaching, and no justification can be provided to it…good intention cannot justify a wrong and forbidden act”.[48] In January 2006, one of Shia Islam’s highest ranking Marja clerics, Ayatollah al-Udhma Yousof al-Sanei also decreed a fatwa against suicide bombing, declaring it as a “terrorist act”.[66]
    According to Charles Kimball, chair of the Department of Religion at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, “There is only one verse in the Qur’an that contains a phrase related to suicide”, Surah 4 verse 29 of the Quran.[67] It reads:
    O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.
    Some commentators believe that the phrase “do not kill yourselves” is better translated “do not kill each other”, and some translations (e.g., by Shakir) reflect that view.[68] Mainstream Islamic groups such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research also cite the Quranic verse Al-Anam 6:151 as prohibiting suicide: “And take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law”.[69] In addition, the Hadith unambiguously forbid suicide including Bukhari 2:445, “The Prophet said, ‘…whoever commits suicide with a piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in the Hell Fire,” and “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.”.[70][71]

  • wildebeest 5 November 2011, 11:16 am

    Repudiate this ill-found belief that words create us. We create words. We create myths. Myths do not create us. There is no such thing as bad words, only words used badly. Teach the classics. Learn where you’re really from and then let it go. The PC police harbor a secret desire to control. They want a world in which words create us so that they might be the privileged set who supply the approved words, the words that have never and will never create us. They are fat sultans and closet aristocrats. They are Torquemada in the dungeons of Spain. Do not worship this word-god. Become who you really are. Logos (λόγος ) is the lie. Remember, remember the 5th of November!

  • GrayWolf 5 November 2011, 4:02 pm

    The problem with people today is they want to censor everything and be “politically correct.” History is history. If we start censoring it or try to make it sound “nice” then we will never learn anything from the past either. Get over it….I would tell my children about it and read the poem to them….oh yes…I did!

  • Colin McNulty 5 November 2011, 5:36 pm

    Unknown: Yes I did read the rest of the article, but as religious scholars from all faiths do, I chose to quote the verses that backed up what I wanted to say. It is my (admittedly limited) experience, that if you look hard enough, all religious texts are often so vague and/or contradictory, that you can almost make they say anything you want. How else do you explain the fact that every religion has a multitude of factions that believe different fundamental things, based on the same teachings?

  • Ian Melvin 6 November 2011, 1:52 pm

    “Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.”
    As a kid I used to stand outside Edgware Road Tube Station asking passersby for “a penny for the Guy”, collecting money for fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night! Ironic that that particular station was one bombed during the July 7th suicide bombings of London’s Underground!

  • patti charron 7 November 2011, 2:57 am

    The verse is beyond the capacity of a seven year-old. Teach her in increments. That way nothing will be lost on her.

    Thank you for this post and for including the entire poem. “Remember, remember, The fifth of November” is the oldest recorded rhyme. I learned that in school, along with the story of Guy Fawkes. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about history.

    (And I would like to mention that it just KILLS me that so many people believe that “Remember, remember . . . ” was created by the writers of the movie, “V for Vendetta.”) Sad.

  • Rose 9 November 2011, 1:49 pm

    Okay, for those of you saying religion only divides us, you REALLY don’t know your history. YES, it has done a LOT of bad, 9/11 being an example, but is also does a lot of good. Many people finds good purposes in their lives because they believe in their religion. NO, I am not religious, I am agnostic, but seriously, THINK: If we didn’t have religion, people would just fight over different things, race, hair color, the way a person is taught. Religion is just a scape goat people use for wars and such, and you’re justing giving the people who use it as such more power. Morons.

    Second, I totally think that we’re hiding TOO much from our kids these days. At the school by my house kids can’t even play tag or red rover because “ooooh they’re touching each other how fucking inappropriate!” It’s all the parents fault for how badly my generation has turned out, and these kids are gonna be worse, because when a kid who had parents who are either over protective, or don’t give an rats ass has a kid, they’ll act either just as bad, or the exact opposite.

    No, 7 is not the right time to stop censoring your kids however, but god sake let em’ play tag. Let them sing ring around the rose and bah bah black sheep, they don’t know what the fuck it means, and if another kid tells them and they ask you, that’s a good way to start up the conversation most parents now a day ignore, and that’s that people can, and will try to, hurt them.

  • g-g 16 November 2011, 1:38 am

    NO!!! dont teach that to a 7 year old

  • sasha 5 February 2012, 8:03 pm

    tell the kid the truth, it’s nothing to be scared of, just put it in a way that she could understand and don;t forget to mention that violence brings other violence. I think she’ll get it and i think she will enjoy the story. Take care now!

  • C.G 9 March 2012, 5:51 am

    Remember Remember The Fifth Of November Poem may have been Anti-Catholic Mob Violence but it never stopped anyone from trying to blow up the Parliament building, and along with with the second chores
    “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!”

    This part is basicly telling everyone to burn the pope in a Tub Of Tar. Seeming that no one wanted the pope around in that time, seeing how everything was going on and how everything got started.

    The reason that I was looking for this was so I could know the whole poem of the “Bonfire Night” which is a English Tradition, which led me to do some more research so I knew more about it. Correct me if I’m wrong on my posting. I just want to see if this was the basic idea of what was going on in aura of time.

  • Britain Palmer 13 April 2012, 9:43 pm

    My favorit poem. I am a poet and this has always grabbed my eye. My Birthday is On November the 5th as well

  • EmInCanada 23 May 2012, 8:46 pm

    Holy crap. How long do you have to defend yourself against these people who never read your original post properly to begin with!?! It’s been 4 years, people.

    Not that it matters because she’s probably old enough by now, but I see no reason to teach children about burning people etc. It is not censorship to guard your child against the evils of this world.

    There is no reason for a 7 year old to know about religious unrest and murder. She has many years to know about these things and so few of her precious, innocent childhood. I think we can all agree censorship is bad, but choosing what your child reads and watches is responsible parenting!

  • Colin McNulty 23 May 2012, 8:56 pm

    Lol thanks Em, there have been times when I’ve rued the day I wrote this post! I agree with your comment 100%.

  • Mariner V 2 July 2012, 5:15 am

    Everyone has to decide for themselves what would be appropriate for their own children. I was a very precocious child and so I took to language at a very young age. That affinity has led to a lifelong appreciation for words, poetry and ideas. I would not have been offended at any age, if I had the ability to comprehend the passages in front of me. What is more offensive in our time and place of living, is to be denied the fullest expression of what is possible in our lives. Today we are plagued with governments that fail to provide solutions to imminent problems, that plead a hearing. If they continue to fail to heed the voice of reason and or dissent and our world fails to move forward, then Guy Fawkes suggestions will prevail until they are replaced with something more substantial. For the time being, having expressed my own personal appreciation for poetry, I leave the following which comments on being touched and lifted by something that I read when I was 10. It changed the course of my life thereafter.

    It is from Thomas Grey from the Churchyard Elergy.

    “Full many a gem of purest ray serene, the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bare
    full may a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air”

    Long Life

  • Mariner V 2 July 2012, 5:23 am


    Evidently, that key did not press when I left the Thomas Grey stanza, it is as follows:

    “Full many a gem of purest ray serene, the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bare
    full many a flower is born to blush unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air”

  • Gillian 8 September 2012, 5:29 am

    I was taught this poem and and Guy when i was small. I am protestant and i was conceived in England by a English mother and a French Canadian father. For the last 25 yrs we have burned Guy every year. Twice a year once in April and again in November. My daughters are 12 and 4 and you best believe that even though we live in theU.S. They know why we burn Guy every year and they know the poem. Its like the Confederate flag now days, its heritage NOT hate.

  • Celeste 12 October 2012, 12:56 pm

    My mother would have let me know the second verse. She always, even as a child, made sure I wasn’t fooled or lied to. Not in any way saying keeping this from your daughter would be lying, but it might prepare her in a nicer kind of rhyme for the history she’s bound to learn later.
    I was taught early what little songs meant, from London Bridge is Falling Down, to Ring Around the Rosey and I feel much more alert because of that.

  • Bob 4 November 2012, 10:51 pm

    Fascinating to see how such a simple question can lead to such a variety of views. You need to think about a few things to answer it.Does your child have a mobile phone? Do you have a computer with internet access? Does your child have friends who can access the internet? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you won’t be able to hide infomation from your kids. This very site is proof. If Miss McNulty was dertimined enough, she could have found the second verse with no parental input. Without someone there to explain that burning the pope is not a good thing, children could develop all sorts of twisted ideas. If you’re worried about the opinions they’ll develop when y
    ou are there to give the appropriate historical context, think about what will happen when you’re not.

  • Robert Hayes Halfpenny 9 November 2012, 5:24 am

    The real curse of this nation is the entire concept of “Political Correctness”! I wish you people, who are so afraid of warping a young child’s mind by telling them the truth, get a grip on reality. ALWAYS TELL YOUR CHILDREN THE TRUTH—THEY CAN HANDLE IT!!! EVEN IF YOU CAN’T!!!

    Obviously, when dealing with young children, the truth need not be detailed in that they probably wouldn’t understand anyway. Also the truth need not be a long dissertation as most young children don’t have attention spans that last for any length of time. The time honored question of all children is, “where do babies come from”? The truthful answer is that the baby grows inside mommy’s tummy and daddies take mommies to the hospital to get the baby out. NO FURTHER INFORMATION IS NECESSARY! But, for Gd’s sake, to tell the poor kid that the stork brings the baby of that the baby was left in Mrs. Wiggs’ cabbage patch. JUST TELL THE TRUTH!!!

    The worst word of PC’s Lexicon is “INAPPROPRIATE”. Does the use of that word make you feel somehow intellectually superior. Or, do you feel that by simply using the word you can intimidate another person into silence by making them feel as though they had done or said something wrong. When you do that you are exercising nothing more than a form of consummate arrogance. Certainly it is true people can make boorish remarks or use coarse language, but be truthful with them and tell them you don’t care for vulgar language or boorish behavior. Be honest and tell the truth– DON”T pussyfoot around pontificating about inappropriate behavior. Be honest, be truthful and be direct!

    Now, as to this rather silly question of whether you should tell your daughter the second verse of the poem. The answer is OF COURSE YES YES YES!!! You must always tell the truth. Hiding or concealing anything is tantamount to lying, especially when you are doing it “for the sake of the children”. You certainly can explain to your daughter, in very simple terms, what the rift between the Catholics and Protestants was all about. Should you realize that this is the correct approach make sure you know the true and correct answer, odds are that you probably don’t. (this is NOT in any way meant to be an insult to your intelligence or knowledge of history. It is simply a fact that a great many people really don’t know the true reasons for the rift. I thought I knew the real causes until I started looking up information and found, much to my embarrassment, that I had the wrong slant on nearly everything).

    The bottom line to all that I have written here is that it is impossible to ever harm a child when you stick to the absolute truth. More harm has been done to our children from NOT telling the truth. Lest anyone thinks I am saying that people shouldn’t lie, you couldn’t be more wrong. What I am saying is that the opposite of telling the truth, is concealing the truth.

  • bob3443 9 November 2012, 8:42 pm

    I posted a comment in the very early hours of today. It has not yet appeared! Could it be possible that it was censored? The comment basically decried Political Correctness as being one of the worst concepts to assail our freedom of speech. I also stood staunchly on the side of ALWAYS TELLING THE TRUTH! This is especially true when it is to our children.

    I did refer to your questions as being rather silly, “What’s takes the priority here: historical accuracy, or censoring religious intolerance? Comment and let me know if you think I should teach this 2nd verse to my 7 year old daughter or not?”

    Clearly, your preference would appear to be that of censoring. I feel sorry for your child.
    If you can’t tell her the truth now, how will you ever be able to when she grows older and starts asking the really important questions?

    Robert Hayes Halfpenny

  • brian 1 May 2013, 10:08 pm

    This is easy historically accurate is a lot better with all poems, songs, and books. why should they be changed and censored just because stupid people have to go change the meanings of words?

  • you dont know me 10 September 2013, 8:34 pm

    I don’t get a bit of it because I’m learning about it in calls and I am 12 so Yeh you should explain it to here

  • Martyin Saunders 6 November 2013, 7:29 pm

    Reading all of these comments sort of made me laugh to see how many different ways people can interpret a question & give different answers I was & am a Catholic who was raised in a community were we were the only Catholics & we joined in the bon fire every year with our Protestants friends & I never heard about Guy Fawkes but only that he tried to burn the Parliament in England down but no one ever sang or did I ever hear this poem about the Pope. it wasn’t until I went to another Community & to a Catholic school that I read the history that I that I understood why the bon fire started. this is my first time hearing or reading this poem I am now 78 would you believe . but to let you know how much we were taught as children I will relate my first time I asked my mother where did babies come from I think I was about 7 0r 8 she told me that we came from old stumps in the forest but they had to be a certain type of stump they were old white ones. So I an my younger brother took an axe & went in the woods we spent all one Saturday cutting down stumps looking for a baby & doing it very carefully listening to make sure we didn’t hurt or cut a baby, needless to say we didn’t find one & when we got home our mother was really concerned about us for she did not know where we had gone. she asked us where had we been & we told her she tried not to laugh but assured us that it was only special stumps that babies came from & only Adults could find them. So that satisfied us we didn’t go cutting down stumps after that. After I became a teenager found out from other teenagers where babies came from & I never figured my mother lied to me they do come from a little stumps if you stop & think about it HA HA HA

  • Kathryn Kelly 2 November 2016, 9:24 pm

    If you want to teach your daughter hatred, then that is your choice. As for teaching “truth”, while teaching that Guy Fawkes was a “Catholic terrorist”, you will be censoring history yourself if you fail to include all of the anti-Catholic propaganda and persecution during that time that led to “priest holes”, Catholics being unable to hold public office, etc. The fact that the UK continues to celebrate this event with all of its skewed facts, the burning of effigies and even the inability of a member of the Royal Family removed from succession of Catholic is ludicrous and medieval.

  • Gideon 2 December 2016, 12:57 am

    “Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow…” That is 30 barrels not 20.

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