Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes

Guy Fawkes Rhyme and Bonfire Night Old Chants
I sing a doleful tragedy—Guy Fawkes, the Prince of Sinisters, Who once blew up the House of Lords, the King, and all his Ministers; That is—he would have blown them up, and folks will ne’er forget him— His will was good to do the deed-that is, if they’d have let him!

Chorus- Bow, wow, wow Tol lol de riddle lol de rol lol deray.

He straightway came from Lambeth side, and wish’d the State was undone, And crossing over Vauxhall Bridge, that way com’d into London; That is- he would have come that way to perpetrate his guilt, sirs, But a little thing prevented him- the bridge it was not built, sirs.

Then searching through the dreary vaults, with portable gas-light, sirs, About to touch the powder train, at witching hour of night, sirs, That is—I mean, he would have used the gas, but was prevented, ‘Cause gas, you see, in James’s time, it had not been invented

And when they caught him in the fact, so very near the Crown’s end, They straightway sent to Bow Street for that brave old runner Townshend; That is—they would have sent for him—for fear he is no starter at— But Townshend wasn’t living then-he wasn’t born till after that.

So then they put poor Guy to death, for ages to remember, And boys now kill him once a-year, in dreary, dark November; That is—I mean his effigy, for truth is strong and steady—
Poor Guy they cannot kill again, because he’s dead already.

Then bless her Gracious Majesty, and bless her Royal Son, sirs — And may he never get blown up, if to the Throne he comes, sirs; And if he lives, I’m sure he’ll reign, so prophecies my song, sirs — And if he don’t, why then he won’t, and so I can’t be wrong, sirs.
– Johnson Ballads 2539 Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes


A new Speech for the 5th of November on the Downfall of Guy Fawkes Broadside: Printed and sold by D. Batchelar, Hackney Road, London.

Good gentlefolks, pray Remember this day, Which to your kind notice we bring; Here’s the figure of sly Old villainous Guy, Who wanted to murder the King: With powder a store, He bitterly swore,
As he sulked in the vault to prepare, How the Parliament too, By him and his crew, Should all be blown up to the air, So please to remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot;
We know no reason why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

But James, very wise, Did the Papists surprise, Who plotted the cruelty great; He guess’d their intent, And Suffolk was sent, Who sav’d both the kingdom and state,
With a lantern was found Guy Fawkes underground, And quick was the traitor bound fast; They said he should die – So hang him up high, And burn him to ashes at last

Then please to remember, So we, once a year, Go round without fear, To keep in remembrance the day; With assistance from you, To bring to your view, Guy Fawkes again blazing away! While with crackers and fire, In the fullest desire, In his chair he thus merrily burns; So jolly we’ll be, And about may you see Of this day many happy returns.

So please to remember, Then halloo boys! halloo, boys! shout and huzza! Halloo, boys! halloo, boys! keep up the day; Halloo, boys! halloo, boys! let the bells ring! Down with the Pope, and God save the Queen! Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!
– No current date for Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes version.


Guy Fawkes Rhyme, Remember, remember the fifth of November.

Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine Vol. 68 (422) Dec. 1850 Page 689: Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes

Who Rolled the Powder In? A lay of the Gunpowder Plot – [“Upon this the conversation dropped, and soon afterwards Tresham departed. When he found himself alone, he suffered his rage to find vent in words. “Perdition seize Them!” he cried:” I shall now lose two thousand pounds, in addition to what I have already advanced;And, as Monteagle will not have the disclosure made till the beginning of November, there is no way of Avoiding payment. They would not fall into the snare I laid to throw the blame of the discovery, when it takes place, upon their own indiscretion. But I must devise some other plan.””- Ainsworth’s Life and Times of Guy Fawkes.]

They’ve done their task, and every cask Is piled within the cell: They’ve heaped the wood in order good, And hid the powder well. And Guido Fawkes, who seldom talks,
Remarked with cheerful glee — “The moon is bright—they’ll fly by night! Now, sirs, let’s turn the key.”

The wind without blew cold and stout, As though it smelt of snow — But was’t the breeze that made the knees Of Tresham tremble so? With ready hand, at Guy’s command, He rolled the powder in;
But what’s the cause that Tresham’s jaws Are chattering to the chin?

Nor wine nor beer his heart can cheer, As in his chamber lone He walks the plank with heavy clank, And vents the frequent groan. “Alack!” quoth he, “that this should be — Alack, and well-a-day!
I had the hope to bring the Pope, But in a different way.

“I’d risk a rope to bring the Pope By gradual means and slow; But Guido Fawkes, who seldom talks, Won’t let me manage so. That furious man has hatched a plan That must undo us all;
He’d blow the Peers unto the spheres, And throne the Cardinal!

“It’s time I took from other book Than his a saving leaf; I’ll do it—Yes! I’ll e’en confess, Like many a conscious thief. And on the whole, upon my soul, As Garnet used to teach,
When human schemes are vain as dreams, ‘It’s always best to peach! Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes

“My mind’s made up!” he drained the cup, Then straightway sate him down, Divulged the whole, whitewashed his soul, And saved the British crown: – Disclosed the walks of Guido Fawkes, And swore, with pious aim, That from the first he thought him cursed, And still opined the same.

Poor Guido died, and Tresham eyed His dangling corpse on high; Yet no one durst reflect at first On him who played the spy. Did any want a Protestant, As stiff as a rattan, To rail at home ‘against priests at Rome — Why, Tresham was their man!

‘Twas nothing though he’d kissed the Toe Abroad in various ways, Or managed rather that his wife’s father Should hear the blame and praise. Yet somehow men, who knew him when He wooed the Man of Sin, Would slightly sneer, and whisper near, WHO ROLLED THE POWDER IN?


Morals Guy Fawkes Rhyme and Bonfire Night Old Chants
If you, dear youth, are bent on truth In these degenerate days, And if you dare one hour to spare For aught but “Roman Lays:” If, shunning rhymes, you read the Times,
And search its columns through, You’ll find perhaps that Tresham’s lapse Is matched by something new.

Our champion John, with armour on, Is ready now to stand. (For so we hope) against the Pope, At least on English land. ‘Against foreign rule and Roman bull He’ll fight, and surely win.
But—tarry yet- and don’t forget WHO ROLLED THE POWDER IN!


Guy Fawkes Rhyme and Bonfire Night Old Chants:
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!

– 19th Century Calendar Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night Rhymes

Further information


Are you working through Bonfire Night Beginners guide, return back to it here for Lesson 6:. Or, if you prefer Use the exploring links below or browse the menu above.

Join The Seasonal Forum and share your local traditional Guy Fawkes Rhyme and old Bonfire night chants.