Cruikshank, 1853, Illustrated London News
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The Guy Fawkes Mask- Origins and Evolution
Before there was the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (1982-1985), or the movie of the same name (2005), there were "Guys"-- men dressed up in women's clothing, wearing blackface or masks. And there were effigies of Guy Fawkes, often wearing masks, that were part of annual bonfire celebrations and processions as well as generalized charivari activities centered around Bonfire Treason Day, Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night which is celebrated on November 5, the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
This page explores the origins and evolution of the mask and its design. Two traditions generally have informed the design and use of the mask. The first is the necessity to conceal the identities of participants and the second is to assist in the creation of effigies. Both traditions change through time. The use of the mask in "people power" protests as depicted in V for Vendetta has its origin in the need to disguise participants in order to avoid arrest. In Britain, in order to be arrested a person's identity had to be determined.
The Design Concept
Early Mask Traditions
21st Century Examples
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|The Design Concept
The design of the mask and effigy derive in part from descriptions of Fawkes:
"a tall, powerfully built man, with thick reddish-brown hair, a flowing moustache in the tradition of the time, and a bushy reddish-brown beard."
-Fraser, Antonia, (2005) , The Gunpowder Plot, p.84.
The design was also informed by contemporary engravings of the plotters. This one was done by Hogberg. The engravings most likely are accurate as the artists and their representatives traveled widely in England where they had many patrons and where many of the plotters were well known.
Although the source of the primary description remains obscure, it might be observed that neither the description nor the print are identical to the mask as it evolved. This may indicate that the design concept merged with existant types incorporating attributes of other evil characters, possibly the devil.
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Prior to the formalization of the design concept, effigies did not have masks but were designed to appear as military men, later this image turned to that of a clown.
In earliest processions the effigy was not of Guy Fawkes but of the Devil. Later Guy became known as the "Devil in the Vault," In this way attributes of the devil may have been merged with those of Fawkes.
-Broadside, Boston, South end forever [cut] North end forever. Extraordinary verses on Pope-night. or, A commemoration the fifth of November, giving a history of the attempt, made by the papishes, to blow up king and Parliament, A. D. 1588. Together with some account of the Pope himself, and his wife Joan: with several other things worthy of notice, too tedious to mention. Sold by the printers boys in Boston .
The later clown-like design aspect comes from the world view of the time which regarded Fawkes as a failed freedom fighter. Other images, such as those done by Cruikshank for the novels of Ainsworth, depict Fawkes more seriously. More to come.
Early works by Cruikshank portray as a military man all be it silly.
-Cruikshank, Squib, 1849.
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Written accounts such as those below describe the evolution of the concept of disguise or "Guising." Events such as these led to the removal of Gunpowder Treason Day from the Book of Common Prayer in 1859. This was done so that authorities had greater powers to shut down demonstrations once the day was no longer a national holiday. From these events Moore in V for Vendetta derived his concept of demonstrations by participants in Fawkes Masks exercising "people power." Accounts of demonstrations on the fifth of November prior to the revolution in the American colonies made the concerns of the authorities well founded. Stamp Act protests which led to the revolution were modeled after celebrations of the fifth of November. Such protests, while threatening, never resulted in significant loss of life or destruction of property, hence the allusion to peaceful protest in V for Vendetta. However, these celebrations were never quiet!
JAMES WHEELER, JOHN DENNIS, GEORGE DUFF, DANIEL JOHN QUAY, THOMAS GROVES, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 4th December 1828.
Reference Number: t18281204-181
Second Middlesex Jury - Before Mr. Baron Hullock.
180. JAMES WHEELER , JOHN DENNIS , GEORGE DUFF , DANIEL JOHN QUAY , and THOMAS GROVES , were indicted for feloniously assaulting Thomas Brooks on the King's highway, on the 5th of November , at St. Leonard, Shoreditch, putting him in fear, and taking from his person, and against his will, 1 purse, value 6d.; 5 sovereigns, and 1 watch, value 50l. , his property.
MR. ADOLPHUS conducted the prosecution
MR. THOMAS BROOKS . I am a merchant , of the City. On the 5th of November, about eleven o'clock in the morning, I was near the Rosemary Branch public-house, at Hoxton , walking in the public-way, and observed a mob coming from Hoxton in a contrary direction to what I was going - there were thirty of forty of them; they had an ass, and a man in disguise sat on it - I stepped from the foot-path into the road, to make way for them; part of the mob (probably half of them) passed me, when one of the mob seized my watch-ribbon; I seized another part of it and struggled with him; I seized the upper part, nearest to the watch - I struggled with him, and others came and got the watch out of my fob; and as I still retained hold of the ring, they began to beat me with sticks- in the struggle, the ring which fastened the ribbon to the watch, broke, and then they got my watch; they struck me about the head and shoulders with sticks, and one blow came on my face, and cut me in two places, which bled; they immediately left me and went towards the Rosemary Branch; I should think the whole transaction did not last more than four or five minutes - some persons afterwards came and assisted me; I went into a house - a surgeon, who was passing, came and dressed my face - after that, I went to put my hand to my pocket to give the surgeon something, and found my pocket turned out, and my purse containing five sovereigns was gone; I saw the prisoners at the office, and cannot swear that either of them were among the men.
JOHN JOHNSON . I live with my father, at No. 25, Queen-street, Spitalfields. On the 5th of November, at half-past nine o'clock in the morning, I was coming down Brick-lane, a young man snatched my cap off and ran into George-street with it, and there was a whole mob with a man - they had a young man with a mask on his face in the mob - there was no donkey then; they took the man up in their arms and carried him down George-street - and when they came to near the end of George-street they turned round another street, and round another at the end of that, and went up Hare-street-fields; they there met three or four young men coming with a donkey, and sat the man in the mask on it - they then went down towards Bethnal-green-road into Hackney-road, crossed there, and down some more turnings into Philip-street.
Q. Well; did you see Mr. Brooks at any time? A. Yes; I was in what I think is called Hyde-place - a good many of them collected round him; some went on in front and came back again; they all turned to him, and John Quay struck him with a stick; I am certain of Quay's person; they all got round him, and I saw a young man put his hand to his watch and pull it out; I should know him again I think - it was not any of the prisoners; he took his watch, and then ran away across the bridge and down a place - I saw Wheeler there, he was round the mob and acting with them; I did not see him do any thing - he was among the men who were engaged about the prosecutor. I got my cap from the young man.
Q.After the gentleman was robbed, what became of the party? A. They all went across the brick-field - they kept together while they were in my sight; I saw an officer and told him, and came to Worship-street with him.
Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Was there not a great many persons there? A. Yes, it was Guy Fawkes - there were forty or fifty in the crowd, and great confusion among them; I am above thirteen years old - I was very much frightened.
Q.Were you not a good deal occupied in trying to get your cap during a good deal of the time? A. Yes: the occurrence with the prosecutor was over in about five minutes.
Cross-examined by MR. BODKIN. Q. You are quite sure the man who stole the watch is not here? A. Yes; quite sure - I have seen them about the streets before; I was looking at Wheeler particularly, and saw him do nothing.
MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.Had you got your cap before the robbery of after? A.When they all came round the robbery - I have seen Quay about the street, and am positive I saw him strike the gentleman.
THOMAS ALDER . I am a butcher. I was present at the first of the transaction about the Guy; I saw the prisoner Wheeler first running with a stick about half-past nine o'clock in the morning, when I was at home at breakfast; I looked out of the window - they brought a young man down to be a Guy, but he would not; they got another, and dressed him out with ribbons and leaves; I saw no more; Wheeler was busy about it; he had on a blue jacket and trousers, and a hairy-cap.
Cross-examined by MR. BODKIN. Q. Where was this? A. In Cheesman's-court, George-street, Bethnal-green.
SARAH TAYLOR . I live in King's-row, close to the Rosemary Branch. I saw a Guy and the mob; I was close to Mr. Brooks with my little girl; I saw Mr. Brooks step out of the carriage-road on to the footpath out of their way - I saw the crowd rush against him, and I suppose that was about three minutes before they got his watch; they struck him three or four times on his face and head - the blood gushed out of him and came on my hand: Wheeler and Dennis were there; I saw Wheeler rush against Mr. Brooks for the space of half a minute, and then I saw his hand in his pocket; I did not see Dennis do any thing, but he had a stick in his hand, and was close with Mr. Brooks.
Cross-examined by MR. BODKIN. Q.How old was your child? A.Four years - she was walking; she was alarmed and cried, and I was alarmed; I am sure I was close to Mr. Brooks, and observed the crowd before they came up to him.
Q. Did you observe before they came up that they had a quarrel among themselves, and were striking each other? A. No, I did not; there might be four or six persons close to Mr. Brooks at the time I saw Wheeler's hand in his pocket - but I saw Wheeler for the space of half a moment before he went up to Mr. Brooks; I did not say the mob all rushed on him together - I do not mean to say they went up singly; the footpath is only on one side of the road and I was on that side; I know Moss, he was not there - I did not see him there.
HENRY PAGE . I am a butcher. On the 5th of November, about eleven o'clock in the day, Wheeler came to my shop; I live about fifty yards from where Mr. Brooks was robbed - I saw none of the transaction, but saw Mr. Brooks bleeding afterwards; Wheeler came in a direction from where Mr. Brooks was bleeding, about that time - Mrs. Taylor was in my shop two minutes before, and went towards where Mr. Brooks was robbed.
SAMUEL BOULTON . I am a coal-dealer. On the day Mr. Brooks was robbed, I saw Wheeler at Page's window, apparently asking for money - that was about ten minutes past eleven o'clock; he followed the mob, and joined them; I did not see Mr. Brooks, but saw a scuffle - I cannot say whether Wheeler was in the scuffle, but I saw him join that part of the mob.
Q.What was the scuffle? A. They were striking a person with sticks, and surrounding him; I cannot say it was Mr. Brooks.
JAMES LITTON . I am a butcher. I met the Guy Fawkes at Haggerstone about an hour before the robbery, about ten o'clock, but saw no more of them; I cannot recognise any of the prisoners but Groves - he was at the latter part of the mob; I met the mob; one on the opposite side called out to knock my hat off, and another immediately said, "Knock his head off;" I took out my steel, and one of them said,"No, No;" I cannot say who it was, but believe it was Groves trying to prevent their touching me.
WILLIAM BARLOW . I am a coal and corn-dealer. I saw a parcel of men and boys coming up the lane by my house, on the 5th of November, about eleven o'clock; I live at the corner of Haggerstone-lane, about a quarter of a mile from where Mr. Brooks was robbed; to the best of my recollection Duff was among them; I never saw him before - I saw nothing of the robbery.
JOSEPH DORMER . On the 5th of November, about eleven o'clock, I saw some persons on the canal-bridge; Ido not know how far it was from where Mr. Brooks was robbed - they were running; I saw Duff among them, and saw him strike a donkey with a stick: I did not see Mr. Brooks.
RICHARD SAUNDERS . I am a constable. On the 5th of November, I was at work in Bridport-place, in the parish of Shoreditch; there was a cry of Stop thief! I ran out, and followed a gang of about thirty as far as the brickfields in Ball's-pond - they stopped there, and threatened to rip me up; I cannot say whether either of the prisoners were there.
THOMAS HAYWOOD . I live in Pelham-street. On the 5th of November I saw the Guy Fawkes; I was near the place where Mr. Brooks was robbed and wounded - I was not quite so near to him as to Mr. Goodyear, who was robbed; I came up after Mr. Brooks was robbed - I saw Wheeler and Groves there - I did not see them doing any thing; it was over: they were going up further - about forty or fifty persons were with them.
JOSHUA ARMSTRONG . I am an officer. I apprehended Wheeler on the 10th of November, at a public-house, and asked him where he was on the 5th - be said he was at home from nine o'clock in the morning till between one and two, making fire-works; nothing further passed then; after I brought him out of the tap-room I told him to go in and sit down again, not being satisfied sufficiently to take him, and in less than five minutes we had information that he had left the house, and was gone to the Bull's Head public-house; I went there, and took him - I told him the charge; he said he should like to see the party, to see if they should know him - he was taken to different houses, and then to the Whitmore's Head, Hoxton; I sent for Taylor, told her to go into the room, and see if she knew any body - she went in, came out, and said she knew one man there, and pointed out Wheeler as one of the men who were round Mr. Brooks at the time he was robbed; Page, the butcher, went in - he came out, and said he knew one man, and pointed out Wheeler: I then told Waters, in the prisoner's presence, to take him - he called to me, in the prisoner's presence, and said, "I want to speak to you;" I went, and Wheeler said, "I am not going to suffer for other chaps - I know the chap who robbed him, and I had a sovereign out of the money at the Halifax Arms, next day;" Groves came to me and surrendered, as he had heard I had been to his master's about him.
Cross-examined by MR. BODKIN. Q.How far is the second public-house from the first? A.About two hundred yards - I had not told him the charge; when I first took him, I asked him about the 5th of November: I went to look after him again in three minutes - I found him then in custody.
THOMAS WATERS . I am an officer of Worship-street. I was with Armstrong when Wheeler was taken - after he had been identified, as I was taking him to the watch-house, he said it was hard to suffer for other people; I immediately called Armstrong to him - he said, "If you will do what is right, I will do what is right;" I said I always did right on duty; he then said, "It was not me that took the purse - it was another chap that took it, and gave me a sovereign out of it the next day, at the Halifax Arms;" I said he had better disclose that to the Magistrate.
WHEELER'S Defence. When Armstrong took me out of the Halifax Arms he let me go again: I went in for a few minutes, and came out and went to the Bull's Head - a man stopped me, and said I wanted to rob him of a cart; he took me into the house - the officers came and said,"We have got you now, and will keep you;" they took me to two or three houses - then took me to a house in Hoxton, among a parcel of respectable people, and fetched the woman in; I was sitting by the side of an officer, and she said, "That is one of them," and as we went along Hattfield said, "I know you know about it, why don't you tell me whether any of the people at the Halifax Arms were with you or not?" I said, "I don't know" - he said,"If you will tell me of six people, I will let you go;" I said, "Would you have me swear to six innocent people? I will do no such a thing" - I have witnesses to prove Taylor has forsworn herself.
QUAY's Defence. People outside can swear I was at home at the time.
GEORGE CECIL . I am a silk-weaver, and live at No. 37, St. John-street; Quay lives in my house, and is in my employ: on the 5th of November I saw him first - about a quarter to eight o'clock he got up; he is a weaver, and works in my house - I had occasion to go out at twenty minutes to eleven o'clock, and left him at work; my wife was then out - I returned at half-past eleven, and found him at home at work; I did not notice his shoes to see if he had been out - I know his father; he was not in my house that day.
MR. ADOLPHUS. Q.What first called your attention to the prisoner on the 5th of November? A.Because I was at work on the 5th, and he worked; I was at work on the 4th and 6th, and he also - I cannot say how far my place is from Hoxton.
MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Do you know where Hoxton is? A. Yes - Quay has lived in my house about three years; he bears an excellent good character - I have left him in my place for days and half days together; I have a deal of silk there.
BETSY CECIL . I am the wife of the last witness. I saw Quay at work on the 5th of November, at half-past ten o'clock; I went out soon after that - he is a hard-working industrious young man.
MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. Did you or your husband go out first? A. I did - at what time he went out I do not know; I did not meet him.
JAMES JOHN QUAY . I am the prisoner's father - he was at work on the 5th of November; he came up to my place where I live, which is right opposite Cecil's, and asked me to give him a bit of stuff to mend his harness - that was about ten minutes before eleven o'clock; after I gave it to him he walked towards the back-window - some boys were letting off some little cannons in the yard; he looked at them, came from the window, and said, "Father, it is just gone eleven o'clock, I shall go back and get to work till dark, and then leave off.
MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. About what time of day did he come to you? A. About ten minutes before eleven o'clock- I know the time by what he told me; he told me the clock had struck eleven - he goes by Spitalfield's clock, which is about a quarter of a mile from our window, and we can plainly hear it; I did not hear it - I am not so quick of hearing, but my daughter heard it.
JOSEPH FLETCHER MOSS . I live at No. 29, Pool-street, New North-road, and am a tailor. I know Sarah Taylor - she was a tenant of mine prior to Michaelmas twelve month; I saw her on the 5th of November at the bottom of Abury-street, facing the canal, about one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards from where the robbery was committed - she had a child in her arms; she remained there in conversation with me about five minutes - there was then a party, a mob returning from towards the Rosemary Branch - she walked towards the mob, and I walked home.
Q. Could you, where you stood, see any thing done in the scuffle? A.Certainly not - she was nearer to it than me, but I did not see the scuffle - it was half an hour after.
MR. ADOLPHUS. Q. This was after the robbery was over? A. Yes.
Seven witnesses deposed to the good character of Quay, and the same number to that of Wheeler.
WHEELER - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 21.
QUAY - GUILTY - DEATH . Aged 17.
Quay recommended to Mercy by the Jury on account or his good character .
DENNIS - NOT GUILTY .
DUFF - NOT GUILTY .
GROVES - NOT GUILTY .
said prisoners were all again indicted for
on the King's highway, on the 5th of November
, putting her in fear, and taking from her
person, and against her will, 1 handkerchief, value 1s.; 3 shillings; 12
halfpence, and 6 keys, her property. Also for feloniously assaulting
, on the same day, and taking from his
person, and against his will, 1 seal, value 1s., and 1 key, value 6d.,
his property ; but no evidence was offered.
Disgraceful Riot at Malton.—A 5th of November outrage of the most disgraceful nature occurred at Malton on Tuesday night. About 6 o’clock crowds of men and boys began to assemble in the streets, and for four hours literally took possession of the town. About 9 o’clock the crowd must have reached 500 people, who moved from street to street, setting all law and order at defiance. The police were totally powerless, and whenever they attempted to assert their authority they were hooted and mobbed, stones and fireworks being thrown at them. For every policeman there were at least 100 marauders. For four hours the town was in a most disgraceful state, at times as many as a dozen rockets being fired at once. It is no exaggeration to say hundreds of rockets, squibs and crackers were let off in the streets. For several hours it was impossible to pass along the streets, and at one period it was thought desirable that special constables should be sworn in. As night advanced, and the places where fireworks could be obtained were closed the crowd gradually dispersed. Guns and pistols however, were fired for some time, and one young man had his arm fearfully shattered. A disturbance so disgraceful and lawless has never before occurred at Malton.
4 November 1870 Page 6 col b.
The Fifth of November.—Great apprehension prevails in the
-Times Of London
1847 One hundred and seventy 'of the principal tradesmen and other
respectable inhabitants' were summoned to be sworn in as special
constables. On their way to a meeting on the night of November 4th, they
were attacked by Bonfire Boys in the High Street. Tar-barrels were lighted
and several incidents occurred. The police fastened a chain across the road
The next day, 100 of the 'A! Division of the Metropolitan Constabulary
arrived, and great was the excitement in Lewes that evening. It was an
the mail-gig from
head. Lord Chichester read the Riot Act from the steps of the County Hall
and gave the crowd five minutes in which to depart. In the free fight that
ensued, many of the Metropolitan Police were injured, but the streets were
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|When did Masks become Essential?
This image of 1805 demonstrates that masks were not an essential part of the celebration at that time.
The image below of a village celebration of 1857 also shows that neither fancy dress, masquerade. nor masks were essential components for celebrants.
While conclusive research has yet to be done it appears that masquerade, and fancy dress did not come into the tradition until the formation of bonfire societies in the mid to late 19th century. Jim Etherington notes in the history of the Cliffe Bonfire Society in Lewes Sussex: "the bonfire boys were compelled to hold their celebrations in Wallands Park, away from the High Street, until 1850. In that year the reintroduction of the Catholic hierarchy into Britain led the town authorities to permit the celebrations to return to the High Street. However this return to the streets of Lewes was marked by a significant change in the celebration’s character and heralded the formation of the Cliffe Bonfire Society. Recognising that riotous proceedings would no longer be tolerated the bonfire boys formed themselves into Bonfire Societies and set about organising military style torchlight processions efficiently marshalled by members resplendent in various titles including Commander-in-Chief, Staff Officer and Inspector General." -http://www.cliffebonfire.com/history.html This does not mean that the mask concept had not evolved but that a new politically correct phase of the development of "bonfire" had begun. This phase called for more organized masquerade style costuming most likely including the Guy concept.
The image below depicts a 19th Century bonfire celebration in Lewes, Sussex UK. The only guy like representation present is the effigy. A general masquerade atmosphere seems to dominate.
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|Early Mask Traditions
The many functions of the same mask concept/design can be sen in William Hogarth's work of 1725- 1726, " Burning ye Rumps at Temple-Barr. Down with the rump parliament." from Hudibras.
This is an early reference to a procession of effigies, of the rumps being taken to bonfires, which Hogarth illustrates in keeping with the references in the text to the Gunpowder Plot and Butler refers to in terms of thanksgiving. (the celebration of the deliverance from the Gunpowder Treason was considered a Thanksgiving celebration) One can assume that Hogarth is portraying accurately a Guy Fawkes/Bonfire procession of the first quarter of the 18th century.
Hudibras, Samuel Butler.1663-1678, Canto 2, Part III
Who star'd about, as pale as death,
That beastly rabble—that came down 1505
Are now drawn up—in greater shoals,
Knights, citizens, and burgesses— 1515
Held forth by rumps—of pigs and geese,
That serve for characters—and badges
To represent their personages.
Each bonfire is a funeral pile,
In which they roast, and scorch, and broil,
And ev'ry representative
Have vow'd to roast—and broil alive:
And 'tis a miracle we are not
Already sacrific'd incarnate;
For while we wrangle here, and jar, 1525
W are grilly'd all at Temple-bar;
Some, on the sign-post of an ale-house,
Hang in effigy, on the gallows,3
Made up of rags to personate
Respective officers of state; 1530
That, henceforth, they may stand reputed,
Proscrib'd in law, and executed,
And, while the work is carrying on,
Be ready listed under Dun,
That worthy patriot, once the bellows, 1535
And tinder-box of all his fellows ;
Some, on the sign-post of an ale-house,
Hang in effigy, on the gallows,] For, or instead of, a gallows, would, perhaps, be a more correct reading: it is better to hang the effigy on the sign-post, than the original on the lamp-iron.
Who, for his faithful service then,
Is chosen for a fifth agen: 1540
For since the state has made a quint
Of generals, he's listed in 't.s
This worthy, as the world will say,
Is paid in specie, his own way;
For, moulded to the life, in clouts, 1546
They've pick'd from dunghills hereabouts,
He's mounted on a hazel bavin'
A cropp'd malignant baker gave 'em ;
And to the largest bonfire riding,
They've roasted Cook already, and Pride in ;
He's mounted on a hazel bavin] An hazel faggot, such as bakers heat their ovens with.
On whom, in equipage and state,
His scare-crow fellow-members wait,
And march in order, two and two,
As at thanksgivings th' us'd to do;
Each in a tatter'd talisman, 1555
Like vermin in effigy slain.
But, what's more dreadful than the rest,
For none, but Jesuits, have a mission
That have the charge of all her stores;
1521. Since first they fail'd in their designs,
To take in heav'n by springing mines,
And, with unanswerable barrels
Of gunpowder, dispute their quarrels,
Alluding to the gunpowder-plot, in the reign of James I. supposed to have been conducted by the jesuits, and for which Garnet and Oldcorn suffered.
And, with unanswerable barrels
Of gunpowder, dispute their quarrels, 1570
Now take a course more practicable,
By laying trains to fire the rabble,
And blow us up, in th' open streets,
Disguis'd in rumps, like sambenites,*
More like to ruin and confound, 1575
Than all their doctrines underground.
Nor have they chosen rumps amiss,
For symbols of state-mysteries;
Tho' some suppose, 'twas but to shew
How much they scorn'd the saints, the few,
Who, 'cause they 're wasted to the stumps,
Are represented best by rumps.
But Jesuits have deeper reaches
In all their politic far-fetches;
And from the Coptic priest, Kircherus, 1585
Found out this mystic way to jeer us
For, as the Egyptians us'd by bees
T express their ancient Ptolemies,
And by their stings, the swords they wore,
Held forth authority and pow'r; 1590
Because these subtle animals
Bear all their int'rests in their tails;
And when they 're once impair'd in that,
Are banish'd their well-order'd state:
They thought all governments were best 1596
By hieroglyphic rumps exprest.
For, as in bodies natural,
The rump's the fundament of all;
So, in a commonwealth or realm,
The government is called the helm; 1600
With which, like vessels under sail,
They're turn'd and winded by the tail.
-Butler, Samuel, Hudibras; with notes by T.R. Nash, Vol 2, 1835 (1663-1678).
The work is a satirical polemic upon Roundheads, Puritans, Presbyterians and many of the other factions involved in the English Civil War. The work was begun, according to the title page, during the civil war and published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678, with the first edition encompassing all three parts in 1684 (see 1684 in poetry). The Mercurius Aulicus (an early newspaper of the time) reported an unauthorised edition of the first part was already in print in early 1662
Published only four years after Charles II had been restored to the throne and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell being completely over, the poem found an appreciative audience. The satire is not balanced as Butler was fiercely royalist and only the parliamentarian side are singled out for ridicule. Butler also uses the work to parody some of the dreadful poetry of the time.
The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory praise that is so thickly applied as to be absurd, and the conceited and arrogant person is visible beneath. He is praised for his knowledge of logic despite appearing stupid throughout, but it is his religious fervour which is mainly attacked:
His squire, Ralpho, is of a similar stamp but makes no claim to great learning, knowing all there is to know from his religion or “new-light”, as he calls it. Butler satirises the competing factions at the time of the protectorship by the constant bickering of these two principal characters whose religious opinions should unite them.
These are fawning but barbed portraits and are thought to represent
personalities of the times but the actual analogues are, now as then,
debatable. "A Key to Hudibras" printed with one of the work's editions
(1709) and ascribed to Roger L'Estrange names Sir Samuel Luke
as the model for Hudibras. Certainly, the mention of Mamaluke in the
poem makes this possible although Butler suggests Hudibras is from the
West Country making Henry Rosewell a candidate. The witchfinder, Matthew
Hopkins, John Desborough, parliamentarian general, and William Prynne,
lawyer, all make appearances, and the character of Sidrophel is
variously seen as either William Lilly or Paul Neale
|21st Century Examples
From: Alan Moore – meet the man behind the protest maskby Tom Lamont
Moore on the origins of the mask design concept in V for Vendetta
Moore has been caught off-guard in recent years, and particularly in
2011, by the inescapable presence of a certain mask being worn at
protests around the world. A sallow, smirking likeness of Guy Fawkes –
created by Moore and the artist David Lloyd for their 1982 series V for Vendetta.
It has a confused lineage, this mask: the plastic replica that
thousands of demonstrators have been wearing is actually a bit of tie-in merchandise from the film version of V for Vendetta,
a Joel Silver production made (quite badly) in 2006......
all comes back to Moore.....
"… It's peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.".....
smile is so haunting," says Moore. "I tried to use the cryptic nature of
it to dramatic effect." We could show a picture of the character just
standing there, silently, with an expression that could have been
pleasant, breezy or more sinister." .....
....."Moore first noticed the masks being worn by members of the Anonymous group, "bothering Scientologists halfway down Tottenham Court Road" in 2008."
But with the mask's growing popularity, Moore has come to see its appeal as about something more than identity-shielding. "It turns protests into performances. The mask is very operatic; it creates a sense of romance and drama. I mean, protesting, protest marches, they can be very demanding, very gruelling. They can be quite dismal. They're things that have to be done, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're tremendously enjoyable – whereas actually, they should be."
At one point in V for Vendetta, V lectures Evey about the importance of melodrama in a resistance effort. Says Moore: "I think it's appropriate that this generation of protesters have made their rebellion into something the public at large can engage with more readily than with half-hearted chants, with that traditional, downtrodden sort of British protest. These people look like they're having a good time. And that sends out a tremendous message.".....
...."He sees parallels between the dystopia predicted in the story and the world today. The book foretold the prevalence of CCTV cameras on city streets, for instance; and Moore takes a particular satisfaction in a strand of the plot that seemed to anticipate the sort of internet-based dissent that has made groups such as Anonymous and Assange's WikiLeaks such major agents of protest. "The reason V's fictional crusade against the state is ultimately successful is that the state, in V for Vendetta, relies upon a centralised computer network which he has been able to hack. Not an obvious idea in 1981, but it struck me as the sort of thing that might be down the line." Moore is not computer-literate. "This was just something I made up because I thought it would make an interesting adventure story. Thirty years go by and you find yourself living it."
He is careful to point out that "I have no particular connection or claim to what [the protesters] are doing, nor am I suggesting that these people are fans of mine, or of V for Vendetta." Ultimately, use of the mask may be down to the simple fact that "it's cool-looking. I'm not trying to make a proprietorial statement."
He is also aware of how badly things can go wrong when a fiction of his spreads too far from source. Last year, an unhinged man in Florida went on a shooting spree in a school, spray-painting a "V" symbol on the wall (matching a symbol that appears in the comic and film incarnations of V for Vendetta) before killing himself. "A horrible, pointless episode," says Moore. "So there's always... Now I didn't feel responsible, but..." He does not finish the thought, but trusts the V mask will remain an essentially peaceful tool of protest. "At the moment, the demonstrators seem to me to be making clearly moral moves, protesting against the ridiculous state that our banks and corporations and political leaders have brought us to."
David Lloyd, V for Vendetta's co-creator, has admitted going along to a demo in New York to see the masks in use. The extent of Moore's own activism has been "a good moan in the local pub"; he does not see himself donning a mask ("Be a bit weird, wouldn't it?"). But his sympathies are with the protesters, and there is a clear sense of pride for him that so many people – if not "the 99%" then a great, unignorable bloc – have caused such a stir. "It would be probably be better if the authorities accepted this is a new situation, that this is history happening. History is a thing that happens in waves. Generally it is best to go with these waves, not try to make them turn back – the Canute option. I'm hoping that the world's leaders will realise this."
Back in the early 80s, approaching the end of Vendetta's epic 38-part cycle, Moore was struggling to think of another "V" word with which to title a closing chapter. He'd already used Victims, Vaudeville and Vengeance; the Villain, the Voice, the Vanishing; even Vicissitude and Verwirrung (the German word for confusion). "I was getting pretty desperate," he says.
He eventually settled on Vox populi. "Voice of the people. And I think that if the mask stands for anything, in the current context, that is what it stands for. This is the people. That mysterious entity that is evoked so often – this is the people."-http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/nov/27/alan-moore-v-vendetta-mask-protest
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