There once was a King named James
On whom history always blames
A number of quite heinous crimes
In foul and feeble semi- rhymes.
And yet perhaps the worst of all;
The one historians don’t recall,
Is a tale of something rather big,
Of Guido Fawkes and Nell the Fig.
Poor James had proved to be the worst
At following Queen Liz the first,
And Catholics hated his new foible
Of an English version of the Bible.
They met in secret, speaking treason,
Considering they had good reason
And cause enough to find the means
To blow the king to smithereens.
And one of them who talks the talk,
A gentleman named Guido Fawkes,
Became their chosen instrument
To blow up James’s Parliament.
Yet Guido’s heart was flowing over,
A-pounding in poetic clover,
For a filly in a powdered wig
Known to all as Nell the Fig.
She had him dangling on a rope,
With promises to make him hope
That in the coming days and weeks
He might slip in between her sheets.
And thus, when James’s foes conspired
They quickly saw what was required
A billet-doux from Mistress Nell
Could damn their foolish king to hell.
Poor Guido Fawkes received the note.
He donned his best beloved coat
His shiny shoes, his froth of lace
And dreamed of amorous disgrace.
For penned in Nelly’s crabby hand
A rendezvous for two was planned,
Where she would give unending pleasure
All day and night, at Guido’s leisure.
So filled with lust, the lucky fella
Set off at once to Nelly’s cellar
Which lay beneath the very boards
That housed the King and all his Lords.
“Sweet Nelly,” he cried out, “sweet Nell,”
For in the dark he could not tell
His Nelly’s face and Nelly’s end
From barrels set there by his friends.
And so he took his love’s advice;
He never needed telling twice;
To spark a light and strike a fuse
The better to embrace his muse.
And just as had been long expected
The hapless lover was detected
But not by Nelly’s beauteous face,
Instead he felt the guard’s embrace
So having sought a lovers’ bower
He found himself cast in the Tower
Protesting innocent intent
And not the harm they thought he meant.
Alas no words could save him now
And, forced to take his final bow,
He spoke his love for Nell the Fig,
Fruit seller at sign of the pig.
And as his friends were hunted down,
Accused of crimes against the crown,
Guido walked with limbs all loose
To place his head inside a noose.
Since then, historians have chosen
To paint his story all a-rosen
And claim him as a Catholic martyr
A sort of reputation barter:
They won’t admit the simple truth,
Of amorous and callow youth,
Guy cared nought for political measures,
But only hoped for Nelly’s pleasures.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why Nelly’s true season
Should ever be forgot.
Jeff R Vescent might be. Equally, he might not be. That is the question.