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Over steep towers and turrets,
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. Then I've fitted you.
Duch. In what time, pr’ythee?
Duch. What? A month?
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:
Duch. Can'st thou do this?
Hec. Worse and worse ; doubts and incredulities,
Cum volui, ripis ipsis mirantibus, amnes
Te quoque luna traho.
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;
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!
Fire. All at hand, forsooth.
Hec. Into the vessel ;
Fire. Whereabouts, sweet mother?
A CHARM SONG,
Titty, Tiffin, keep it stiff in;
Liard, Robin, you must bob in.
1st Witch. Here's the blood of a bat.
2d Witch. Here's libbard's-bane.
Round, around, around, &c.
See, see enough: into the vessel with it.
But is in tune, methinks.
song hath a villainous burthen.
[The Witches dance, and then exeunt."
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
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.”