Bonfire Night – The Gunpowder Plot
Il 5 novembre nel Regno Unito si festeggia Bonfire Night, la notte dei falò.
È la notte in cui si accendono falò e si sparano fuochi di artificio per celebrare il fallimento della “Congiura delle polveri”, un complotto ordito da un gruppo di cattolici inglesi per uccidere, in un colpo solo, il re protestante Giacomo I e i membri del suo governo facendo saltare in aria la Camera dei Lord durante la cerimonia di apertura del Parlamento, lo State Opening, il 5 Novembre del 1605.
Il piano di Robert Catesby, Thomas Winter, John Wright, Thomas Percy e Guy Fawkes fu, però, svelato da una lettera anonima e, intorno alla mezzanotte del 4 novembre, durante una perquisizione, Guy Fawkes, uno dei congiurati, fu sorpreso negli scantinati del Parlamento con trentasei barili di polvere da sparo. L’uomo fu quindi arrestato e torturato e un destino simile toccò poco dopo anche agli altri cospiratori.
Nel gennaio del 1606, per celebrare il fallimento della congiura cattolica, con il Thanksgiving act, il Parlamento inglese stabilì che il 5 novembre dovesse essere una giornata di ringraziamento e di gioia nazionale, con tanto di funzioni speciali e scampanii a festa.
Scopriamo insieme qualcosa di più sulla Congiura delle Polveri, the Gunpowder Plot, grazie a questo videoracconto realizzato per la serie Stories from Parliament.
Il narratore, Will Danby, è un personaggio di fantasia.
While you watch the video, try to catch the answers to the following questions, you will find the solution at the bottom of the post:
- Why did four men go to visit Robert Catesby on the evening of 20th May 1605?
- How were Catholics treated at the time?
- Who proposed to blow up the House of Lords and how?
- How did the plot take shape?
Se vi occorre aiuto, ecco qui la trascrizione:
Danby: This is not my story. I’m Will Danby. You won’t find my name in the history books. I was just a servant, you see. Just a man who lit fires and poured wine for his master, Robert Catesby. I don’t care what they say about him, he was a good man. Brave, determined, strong. I was proud to serve him. But he was guilty. They were all guilty. I knew what they were planning and said nothing. Told no-one. Perhaps I was guilty too.
They first came to my master’s house in Lambeth, in London town, on the evening of 20th May 1605.
Wintour: «Let us in, Will. We have business with your master.»
Danby: «This way Sir. Master Catesby is expecting you.»
Three of them I recognised, Thomas Percy, John Wright and Thomas Wintour, but one was a stranger, a dark haired man who seldom spoke.
Fawkes: «Guy Fawkes, Master Catesby. I am pleased to meet you.»
Catesby: «Welcome, Master Fawkes. I’ve heard much about you. I’m glad that you could join us. Will, serve wine to these gentlemen.»
Nobody notices a servant. When you’re a servant it’s like being invisible. So sometimes you hear things… things you’re not supposed to hear.
Wintour: «The treatment of our True Catholic Church gets worse every day, Master Catesby.»
Percy: «The new King James fears and hates us as much as Elizabeth did.»
Wintour: «Our priests are still in hiding and our people fined and jailed.»
Fawkes: «Even put to death if they refuse to accept the new religion.»
Percy: «We must take action against the King. I am prepared to do it. For my faith here today I draw my sword against the King.»
Wright: «And I.».
Wintour: «And I.»
Catesby: «And I. And you, Master Fawkes, will you draw your sword against the King? What do you say?»
Fawkes: «I say that we have to finish this persecution forever, so that all Catholics can be free to worship in peace.»
Catesby: «Answer my question Fawkes. Are you prepared to kill the King?»
Fawkes: «The King, the Government, the Lords and every protestant tyrant who denies our freedom and spits on the True Church. We have to kill them all.»
Catesby: «Kill them all? And how would you propose to do that, Master Fawkes?»
Fawkes: «Gunpowder, Sir. Thirty barrels of gunpowder in a cellar under the House of Lords. The State Opening of Parliament. They’ll all be there: the King and all our enemies in one room. Then all it takes is a match. One single match. One tiny spark and… bang. All gone.»
And that’s when I should have said something. That’s when I should have told someone. But I didn’t. Over the next few weeks a plot started to take shape.
Wintour: «We have the gunpowder, Master Catesby.»
Percy: «Fawkes has purchased thirty-four barrels. Enough to blow the whole place to a million pieces.»
Wintour: «We’re bringing it across the river in small boats. A few barrels every night.»
Percy: «A cellar has been hired right under the House of Lords. I have the keys here. It’s the perfect place for the gunpowder.»
Wintour: «The State Opening of Parliament is to be November 5th and our thirty-four barrels will be in place. That will be the day, gentlemen. November 5th will be our day.»
Percy: «We’ll need matches and slow burning torchwood, so our man can light the fuse and still have time to escape before the whole place explodes.»
Catesby: «And who will be our man? Who will be the one to light the fuse?»
Fawkes: «I will do it, gentlemen.»
Catesby: «Master Fawkes, you are prepared to do this? You are sure?»
Fawkes: «I am sure, it will be an honour.»
Danby: On November 4th – the night before the attack – I dreamt of Guy Fawkes. In my dream he was walking through the cellar under Parliament with his lantern and his matches.
In my dream I saw him stand before the barrels of gunpowder and light his fuse.
I heard a mighty explosion and felt the heat of the fire on my face.
Then I awoke. I was trembling. I knew that I should tell someone, warn the king of this terrible thing which was about to happen. But, to my shame, I did nothing. They were all guilty. And I was guilty too. That night I tried to pray, but could not find the words.
Sul sito del Parlamento britannico potete trovare anche la seconda parte della storia con il video, la trascrizione e alcune schede di approfondimento.
Nel frattempo, però, approfittiamo di questo di video per imparare alcuni vocaboli relativi alla sfera del crimine:
guilty (adjective) = responsible for committing a crime or doing something bad or wrong
gunpowder (noun) = an explosive powder used in guns and blasting
persecution (noun) = the act of persecuting, especially on the basis of race or religion
plot (noun) = a secret usually evil plan
(to) blow something to pieces = (to) damage or destroy something with an explosion
(to) draw a sword = (to) take out a sword
(to) kill = (to) cause the death of a person, animal, or plant
Il Thanksgiving act rimase in vigore fino al 1859, ma Bonfire Night negli anni era ormai diventata soprattutto un’occasione per organizzare feste, falò, grigliate e spettacoli pirotecnici, nei giardini privati così come nelle piazze. Se volete saperne di più su come gli inglesi vivono ancora oggi questa festa, non perdetevi il nostro post Bonfire Night celebrations.
Happy Bonfire Night, j
(1. Because they wanted to plot to kill the King. 2. They were fined, jailed and put to death if they refused to accept the new religion. 3. Guy Fawkes. 4.The conspirators bought 34 barrels of gunpowder and hired a room under the House of Lords.)