Who Rolled the Powder in?

A Lay of the Gunpowder Plot.

[ “ Upon this the conversation dropped, and soon afterwards Tresham departed.
When he found himself alone, he suffered his rage to find vent in words. ' Perdition
seize them !’ he cried : ‘ I shall now lose two thousand pounds, in addition to what
I have already advanced ; and, as Mounteagle will not have the disclosure made till
the beginning of November, there is no way of avoiding payment. They would not
fall into the snare I laid to throw the blame of the discovery, when it takes place,
upon their own indiscretion. But I must devise some other plan.’
Life and Times of Guy Fawkes .]
They’ve done their task, and every cask1
Is piled within the cell :2
They’ve heaped the wood in order good,3
And hid the powder well.4
And Guido Fawkes, who seldom talks,5
Remarked with cheerful glee6
The moon is bright—they’ll fly by night !7
Now, sirs, let’s turn the key.”8
The wind without blew cold and stout,9
As though it smelt of snow10
But was’t the breeze that made the knees11
Of Tresham tremble so ?12
With ready hand, at Guy’s command,13
He rolled the powder in ;14
But what’s the cause that Tresham’s jaws15
Are chattering to the chin ?16
Nor wine nor beer his heart can cheer,17
As in his chamber lone18
He walks the plank with heavy clank,19
And vents the frequent groan.20
Alack !” quoth he, “ that this should be21
Alack, and well-a-day !22
I had the hope to bring the Pope,23
But in a different way.24
I’d risk a rope to bring the Pope25
By gradual means and slow ;26
But Guido Fawkes, who seldom talks,27
Won’t let me manage so.28
That furious man has hatched a plan29
That must undo us all ;30
He’d blow the Peers unto the spheres,31
And throne the Cardinal !32
It’s time I took from other book33
Than his a saving leaf ;34
I’ll do it—yes ! I’ll e’en confess,35
Like many a conscious thief.36
And on the whole, upon my soul,37
As Garnet used to teach,38
When human schemes are vain as dreams,39
’Tis always best to preach !40
My mind’s made up !”  He drained the cup,41
Then straightway sate him down,42
Divulged the whole, whitewashed his soul,43
And saved the British crown ;—44
Disclosed the walks of Guido Fawkes,45
And swore, with pious aim,46
That from the first he thought him cursed,47
And still opined the same.48
Poor Guido died, and Tresham eyed49
His dangling corpse on high ;50
Yet no one durst reflect at first51
On him who played the spy.52
Did any want a Protestant,53
As stiff as a rattan,54
To rail at home ’gainst priests at Rome55
Why, Tresham was their man !56
’Twas nothing though he’d kissed the Toe57
Abroad in various ways,58
Or managed rather that his wife’s father59
Should bear the blame and praise.60
Yet somehow men, who knew him when61
He wooed the Man of Sin,62
Wouldslightly sneer, and whisper near,63
Who rolled the powder in ?64


If you, dear youth, are bent on truth65
n these degenerate days,66
And if you dare one hour to spare67
For aught but “ Roman Lays ;”68
If, shunning rhymes, you read the Times,69
And search its columns through,70
You’ll find perhaps that Tresham’s lapse71
Is matched by something new.72
Our champion John, with armour on,73
Is ready now to stand74
(For so we hope) against the Pope,75
At least on English land.76
’Gainst foreign rule and Roman bill77
He’ll fight and surely win.78
But—tarry yet—and don’t forget79
Who rolled the powder in.80