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Stad. There was a bat hung at my lips three times

As we came through the woods, and drank her fill.

Old Puckle saw her.
Hec. You are fortunate still:

The very screech-owl lights upon your shoulder,
And woos
you like a pigeon. Are you

furnish'd ?
Have you your

ointments ?
Stad. All.
Hec. Prepare to flight then:

I'll overtake you swiftly.
Stad. Hie thee, Hecate:
We shall be

up

betimes. Hec. I'll reach you quickly. [The other Witches mount. Fire. They are all going a-birding to-night. They talk of

fowls in the air, that fly by day: I am sure, they 'll
be a company of foul sluts there to-night. If we
have not mortality offer'd', I'll be hanged; for they
are able to putrefy it, to infect a whole region. She

spies me now.
Hec. What, Firestone, our sweet son ?
Fire. A little sweeter than some of you; or a dunghill were

too good for me.
Hec. How much hast here?
Fire. Nineteen, and all brave plump ones; besides six lizards,

and three serpentine eggs.
Hec. Dear and sweet boy: what herbs hast thou ?
Fire. I have some Marmartin and Mandragon.
Hec. Marmaritin and Mandragora thou wouldst say.
Fire. Here's Pannax too: I thank thee, my pan aches I am
With kneeling down to cut 'em.

[sure Hec. And Selago,

Hedge hyssop too: how near he goes my cuttings !

Were they all cropt by moonlight ?
Fire. Every blade of 'em, or I am a moon-calf, mother.
Hec. Hie thee home with 'em.

Look well to the house to-night: I am for aloft.
Fire. Aloft, quoth you? I would you would break your neck

once, that I might have all quickly. Hark, hark,
mother; they are above the steeple already, flying

over your head with a noise of musicians.
Hec. They are indeed. Help me, help me; I'm too late else.

1 Probably the true reading is after't.

1

I come,

Song in the Air.
Come away, come away ;

Hecate, Hecate, come away.
Hec. I come, I come, I come,

With all the speed I may,
With all the speed I may.

Where's Stadsin ?
[Above.] Here.
Hec. Where's Puckle ?
[Above.] Here:

And Hoppo too, and Hellwain too:
We lack but you; we lack but you:
Come away, make up

the count.
Hec. I will but ’noint, and then I mount.

[A Spirit like a Cat descends. [Above.] -There's one come down to fetch his dues ;

A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood :
And why thou stay’st so long, I muse, I muse,

Since the air 's so sweet and good.
Hec. 0, art thou come ?
What
news,

what news?
Spirit. All goes still to our delight:

Either come, or else

Refuse, refuse.
Hec. Now I am furnish'd for the flight.
Fire. Hark, hark, the Cat sings a brave treble in her own
Hec. [Going up.] Now

I go, now I fly, [language.
Malkin my sweet Spirit and I.
0, what a dainty pleasure 'tis
To ride in the air
When the moon shines fair,
And sing, and dance, and toy, and kiss !
Over woods, high rocks, and mountains,
Over seas (our mistress' fountains),
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 yelps of hounds;
No, not the noise of water's breach,

Or cannon's throat, our height can reach.
[Above.]—No ring of bells, &c.
Fire. Well, mother, I thank your kindness; you must b

[graphic]

Fire. I know as well as can be when my mother's mad, and

our Great cat angry; for one spits French then, and the

other spits Latin. Duch. I did not doubt you, 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 the offensive

That vexes art, I'll shun the occasion ever. [ness Hec. Leave all to me and my five sisters, daughter.

It shall be convey'd in at howlet-time.
Take you no care. My spirits know their moments :
Raven or screech-owl never fly by the door
But they call in (I thank ’em) and they lose not by ’t.
I give 'em barley soak'd in infant's blood :
They shall bave semina cum sanguine,
Their gorge cramm’d full, if they come once to our house :

We are no niggard. -
Fire. They fare but too well when they come hither: they

ate up as much the 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 of the sisters ? Fire. All at hand, forsooth. [The other Witches appear. 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. Whereabout, sweet mother?
Hec. Hip; hip, or flank. Where 's the Acopus ?
Fire. You shall have Acopus, forsooth.
Hec. Stir, stir, about; whilst I begin the charm,

A Charm Song about a Vessel.
Hec. Black spirits and white, red spirits and grey;

Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.
Titty, Tiffin, keep it stiff in;
Fire-drake, Puckey, make it lucky;
Liard, Robin, you must bob in.
Round, around, around, about, about, about;

All Ill come running in, all Good keep out.
First Witch. Here's the blood of a bat.

Hec. Put in that, O, put in that.
Sec. Witch. Here's libbard's-bane.
Hec. Put in again.
First Witch.

The juice of toad; the oil of adder.
Sec. Witch. Those will make the younker madder.
Hec. Put in, there's all, and rid the stench.
Fire. Nay, here's three ounces of the red-hair'd wench.
All. Round, around, around, &c.
Hec. So, so, enough: into the vessel with it.

There; 't hath the true perfection: I am so light'
At any mischief, there 's no villany

But is a tune methinks.
Fire. A tune! 'tis to the tune of damnation then, I warrant
And that song hath a villanous burthen.

[you, Hec. Come, my sweet sisters, let the air strike our tune; Whilst we show reverence to yon peeping moon.

[The Witches dance, et Exeunt. [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 Shakspeare. 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 consultation. Those originate deeds of blood, and begin bad impulses to men. From the moment that their eyes first meet with Macbeth's, he is spell-bound. 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 Shakspeare 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 are sprung, nor whe. ther 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 mysterious

Their names, and some of the properties, which Middleton has given to his hags, excite smiles. The Weird Sisters are serious things. Their presence cannot co-exist 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.]

ness.

1 Light-hearted.

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