A New Song for Bonefire Night

I was asked to give a talk to ACE on the Gunpowder Plot – Guy Fawkes and Co. Looking for an authentic, good folk song about it, I failed! So, remembering Birmingham Sunday by Richard Farina from the 19602, I used the traditional  tune “I once loved a lass” and wrote one myself and call it “The Prince of Sinister”. I’ve now sung it in Brixham for ACE, at our own Folk Plus night in November and twice at the Acoustic Warehouse and people seem to like it. Unfortunately it’s very topical with similarities to modern terrorism. Here are the words:

              E                                                                  A

Come ’round by my side and I’ll sing you a song

       E                                   D                   E             B7

I’ll sing it so softly, it’ll do no-one wrong.

       E             B7                               E

I’ll tell of a story we all ought to hear,

                     D                           Dsus2/A             E                           

When our kingdom was threatened    by powder. 

  1. A plot had been hatched by a dangerous gang

                When a new king had recently come to this land.

                King James was the man and his death was their aim,

                When they threatened the kingdom with powder. 

  1. Many barrels of powder were hidden below

Where the king and his parliament were certain to show

The fuse was all ready and a villain in place

To threaten the kingdom with powder.


  1. The fuse would be lit and the fire take a hold

                   No people would live when the barrels explode.

             The sinister prince would escape in the dark

             While the kingdom was blazing from powder.  

  1. But the secret got out and a search party found

         Guy Fawkes, in the cellar, with his barrels around.

       He was caught in the act, but no danger was done

       To the kingdom he’d threatened with powder. 

  1. The plotters were killed and the church bells were rung

                                   The bonfires blazed and the songs they were sung:

                                   “Remember, remember that November day!”

                                   When the kingdom was threatened by powder.


  1. Why should we remember and what should we learn?                               

                   When people can threaten such terrible harm?

                                                E                 B7                        E

                                How fear and mistrust   cause the blood mist to rise…

                                                E                 B7                        E

                                How obsessive beliefs   mean that good people die…

                                                 E                 B7               E

                                How the truth can be hidden   by so many lies…

                                           E                     B7                        E

                                So we all should remember   that terrible day…

                                                   D                   D sus2/A                 E                  Esus4           E

                                When the kingdom was threatened with powder.  

Paul Woodhouse November 2015

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