With Bonfire Night just a few days away, there’s one phrase you’ll no doubt hear every now and then:
Remember, remember the fifth of November.
This is a line taken from a poem called ‘The Fifth of November’ written in 1870. It celebrates the foiling of Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the House of Parliament back in 1605.
Even if this context is new to you, you probably recognise the line. And, when November the fifth rolls around, you’ll clock it as a significant date.
Real Staying Power
Back in the 19th Century, the dominant form of mass communication wasn’t video.
Poems, on the other hand, were incredibly popular. As you can see with ‘The Fifth of November’, they weren’t just used to entertain – they were a key way of circulating political and social messages, too.
The fact that the poem is recognisable even today is proof of its popularity.
What Lessons Can We Draw From This?
Note that no-one recites the whole poem; it’s the one line with its internal rhyme that we remember.
Enjoy the fireworks!