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Over steep towers and turrets,
We fly by night, 'mongst troops of spirits.
No ring of bells to our ears sounds,
No howls of wolves, no yelp of hounds;
No, not the noise of water's breach,

Or cannon's roar, our height can reach. (Above). No ring of bells, &c.

Fire. Well, mother, I thank you for your kindness. You must be gamboling i th' air, and leave me here like a fool and a mortal,


The Incantation scene at the cauldron, is also the original of that in Macbeth, and is in like manner introduced by the Duchess's visiting the Witches' Habitation.

The Witches' Habitation.

Enter Duchess, Heccat, Firestone.
Hec. What death is't you desire for Almachildes?
Duch. A sudden and a subtle.

Hec. Then I've fitted you.
Here lie the gifts of both; sudden and subtle;
His picture made in wax, and gently molten
By a blue fire, kindled with dead men's eyes,
Will waste him by degrees.

Duch. In what time, pr’ythee?
Hec. Perhaps in a month's progress.

Duch. What? A month?
Out upon pictures ! If they be so tedious,
Give me things with some life.

Hec. Then seek no farther.

Duch. This must be done with speed, dispatched this night, If it may possibly.

Hec. I have it for you:
Here's that will do't. Stay but perfection's time,
And that's not five hours hence.

Duch. Can'st thou do this?
Hec. Can I ?
Duch. I mean, so closely.
Hec. So closely do you mean too?
Duch. So artfully, so cunningly.

Hec. Worse and worse ; doubts and incredulities,
They make me mad. Let scrupulous creatures know,

Cum volui, ripis ipsis mirantibus, amnes
In fontes rediere suos: concussaque sisto,
Stantia concutio cantu freta; nubila pello,
Nubilaque induco: ventos abigoque vocoque.
Vipereas rumpo verbis et carmine fauces;
Et silvas moveo, jubeoque tremiscere montes,
Et mugire solum, manesque exire sepulchres.

Te quoque luna traho.
Can you doubt me then, daughter?
That can make mountains tremble, miles of woods walk;
Whole earth's foundations bellow, and the spirits
Of the entomb'd to burst out from their marbles;
Nay, draw yon moon to my involvd designs ?

Fire. I know as well as can be when my mother's mad, and our great cat angry; for one spits French then, and th' other spits Latin. Duch. I did not doubt


mother. Hec. No? what did you? My power's so firm, it is not to be question'd.

Duch. Forgive what's past: and now I know th' offensive


That vexes art, I'll shun th' occasion ever.

Hec. Leave all to me and my five sisters, daughter. It shall be conveyed in at howlet-time.


you no care. My spirits know their moments;
Raven or scritch-owl never fly by th’ door,
But they call in (I thank 'ern), and they lose not by 't.
I give 'em barley soak’d in infants' blood :
They shall have semina cum sanguine,

gorge cramm'd full, if they come once to our house : We are no niggard.

[Exit Duchess. Fire. They fare but too well when they come hither. They ate up as much t'other night as would have made me a good conscionable pudding.

Hec. Give me some lizard's brain : quickly, Firestone!
Where's grannam Stadlin, and all the rest o’th’sisters ?

Fire. All at hand, forsooth.
Hec. Give me marmaritin; some bear-breech. When ?
Fire. Here's bear-breech and lizard's brain, forsooth.

Hec. Into the vessel ;
And fetch three ounces of the red-hair'd girl
I kill'd last midnight.

Fire. Whereabouts, sweet mother?
Hec. Hip; hip or flank, Where is the acopus?
Fire. You shall have acopus, forsooth.
Hec. Stir, stir about, whilst I begin the charm.

(The Witches going about the Cauldron).
Black spirits, and white; red spirits, and gray;
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.

Titty, Tiffin, keep it stiff in;
Firedrake, Puckey, make it lucky;

Liard, Robin, you must bob in.
Round, around, around, about, about;
All ill come running in; all good keep out!

1st Witch. Here's the blood of a bat.
Hec. Put in that; oh, put in that.

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2d Witch. Here's libbard's-bane.
Hec. Put in again.
1st Witch. The juice of toad; the oil of adder.
2d Witch. Those will make the yonker madder.
Hec. Put in: there's all, and rid the stench.
Fire. Nay, here's three ounces of the red-hair'd wench.

Round, around, around, &c.

See, see enough: into the vessel with it.
There; 't hath the true perfection. I'm so light
At any mischief: there's no villainy

But is in tune, methinks.
Fire. A tune! 'Tis to the tune of damnation then. I war-


song hath a villainous burthen.
Hec. Come, my sweet sisters ; let the air strike our

Whilst we show reverence to yond peeping moon.

[The Witches dance, and then exeunt."

rant you

I will conclude this account with Mr. Lamb's observations on the distinctive characters of these extraordinary and formidable personages, as they are described by Middleton or Shakespear.

“ Though some resemblance may be traced between the charms in Macbeth and the incantations in this play, which is supposed to have preceded it, this coincidence will not detract much from the originality of Shakespear. His witches are distinguished from the witches of Middleton by essential differences. These are creatures to whom man or woman, plotting some dire mischief, might resort for occasional consul

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tation. Those originate deeds of blood, and begin bad impulses to men. From the moment that their eyes first meet Macbeth's, he is spellbound. That meeting sways his destiny. He can never break the fascination. These Witches can hurt the body; those have power over the soul.-Hecate, in Middleton, has a son, a low buffoon: the Hags of Shakespear have neither child of their own, nor seem to be descended from any parent. They are foul anomalies, of whom we know not whence they sprung, nor whether they have beginning or ending. As they are without human passions, so they seem to be without human relations. They come with thunder and lightning, and vanish to airy music. This is all we know of them.--Except Hecate, they have no names, which heightens their mysteriousness. The names, and some of the properties which Middleton has given to his Hags, excite smiles. The Weird Sisters are serious things. Their presence cannot consist with mirth. But in a lesser degree, the Witches of Middleton are fine creations. Their power too is, in some measure, over the mind. They “' raise jars, jealousies, strifes, like a thick scurf o'er life.”

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