Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The three witches, casting a spell

Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [Round about the cauldron go]

by William Shakespeare

The three witches, casting a spell

Round about the cauldron go;   
In the poison'd entrails throw.   
Toad, that under cold stone    
Days and nights hast thirty one   
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,   
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.   

     Double, double toil and trouble; 
     Fire burn and cauldron bubble.   

Fillet of a fenny snake,   
In the cauldron boil and bake;   
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,   
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,   
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,   
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,   
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.   

     Double, double toil and trouble;   
     Fire burn and cauldron bubble.  

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,  
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf  
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,  
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,  
Liver of blaspheming Jew,  
Gall of goat, and slips of yew  
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse,  
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,  
Finger of birth-strangled babe  
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,  
Make the gruel thick and slab:  
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,  
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

     Double, double toil and trouble;   
     Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

I have always enjoyed this passage from Macbeth.  It's such a wonderful mixture of words, and is perfect as Halloween approaches.


silvereagle said...

Interesting - male witches!!! I have only been exposed to the female variety, pointed nose, cone shaped hat, etc. Yours add a new depth!

Add to this "Quote the Raven, Nevermore" and Halloween is done!

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful ingredients! I want a double portion of "wool of bat" (being a caver and all).

Peace <3

Uncutplus said...

Male witches are called "warlocks"!

I love the new Geico commercial of the witch flying around inside a broom factory.

JoeBlow said...

Silvereagle, I posted "The Raven" last Tuesday.

Uncutplus, in Shakespeare, they are actually known as the bearded sisters and though always assumed to be women, they were originally played by men, so they could have just been gay "sisters" LOL.

JoeBlow said...

Jay, I just love the words.

Uncutplus said...

Sounds like a pretty poisonous brew with that hemlock in there!

But what did Shakespeare have against Jews, Turks, Tartars, and babes (I think meant to be an infant, not a gorgeous woman). LOL

Will said...

Turks and Tartars had invaded the the West and were considered serious enemies. Jews had been officially hated throughout Europe except in Spain under the Moors (they were expelled in 1492) and Queen Elizabeth's Jewish doctor was one of a group of seven beheaded in a plot to kill her. After that the few other Jews known to be in England were deported.

I LOVE those male witches. I know of a couple of productions that have cast them as men even when casting the other female roles with women.

Jason said...

wonderful words.

Anonymous said...


male witches are NOT called warlocks.
a male witch is a witch. Being called warlock is highly offensive. A warlock is a witch, male, or female who has been locked out of his or her coven, and the members of the group have turned their backs on the individual labeled as a warlock, because they feel that their tradition, or the craft was in someway betrayed.

JoeBlow said...

Very interesting, anon.