Guy Fawkes looking like Salvador Dali
On this Guy Fawkes Day
, I (Evander) ask the timely question of questions: Did the ringleader of the Gunpowder Plot play or watch cricket? According to our book
, the earliest confirmed reference to cricket dates to 1598. This is the year Shakespeare’s theater was about finished, and seven years before Fawkes tried to fire-bomb his government. (At the time, Britain was led by King James I
, formerly James VI of Scotland. There are much-earlier references to a bat-and-ball game taking place amid the hops of Kent, during the days of King Edward I
: roughly three-hundred years before.) One suspects Fawkes was motivated by forces other than a county match on the village green. Similarly, I doubt T. S. Eliot had cricket in mind when he composed “The Hollow Men”
, inspired by Joseph Conrad as much as by Guy Fawkes. But till we ask the hard questions, we’d never know.