James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

November 5

Gunpowder Plot

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

  • A conspiracy of malcontents, having for its object the destruction of James I and the Lords and Commons in the Parliament House. It was discovered on Nov. 5, 1605.

  • FEAR hath a hundred eyes that all agree

    To plague her beating heart: and there is one

    (Nor idlest that!) which holds communion

    With things that were not, yet were meant to be

    Aghast within its gloomy cavity

    That eye (which sees as if fulfilled and done

    Crimes that might stop the motion of the sun)

    Beholds the horrible catastrophe

    Of an assembled Senate unredeemed

    From subterraneous Treason’s darkling power:

    Merciless act of sorrow infinite,

    Worse than the product of that dismal night,

    When gushing, copious as a thunder-shower

    The blood of Huguenots through Paris streamed.