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Song of the Witches
by
William Shakespeare


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From Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1
 
Round about the cauldron go:
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Sweated 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 owlet'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,
Witch's 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.

Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was an English poet and playwright whose work has arguably had more influence on the world--certainly the English-speaking part of it--than any other writer. Popular enough during his lifetime, William’s reputation and renown began to flourish in the 1800s and he is today considered one of the greatest writers of all times. While we don’t know how much of his work may have been lost over the centuries, nearly 40 plays, 154 sonnets, and a handful of other poems are currently identified as the work of "The Bard of Avon." His humor has withstood the test of time and virtually every great actor includes a Shakespearean monologue in his or her repertoire.


Post New Comment:
Dorcas:
Thanks.
Posted 12/01/2013 04:47 PM
dotief@comcast.net:
Love it! My classes used to enact the scene in which this poem is located and with the southern dialect that most of my students had, it became quite another thing!
Posted 10/30/2013 10:28 AM
Katrina:
I often only remember the first scene of The Scottish Play, in which I have been cast as all three witches simultaneously!
Posted 10/30/2013 09:10 AM
KevinArnold:
Wonderful post. The shape of the poem seems just right. The line about the blaspheming Jew, commented on in YDP, is unfortunate, but we can't understand the gestalt from almost five hundred years ago to berate Shakespeare too severely over it. The baboon blood isn't too inviting either, nor some of the other images--perhaps he was mocking the witches as much as he was celebrating them. Great post so near to Halloween, which even today has its own weirdness about it.
Posted 10/30/2013 08:59 AM
njc:
"Liver of blaspheming Jew" really made me pause. It's been years since I've read or heard this in its entirety....thanks!
Posted 10/30/2013 07:59 AM
paradea:
Fun, from the master!
Posted 10/30/2013 07:47 AM


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