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Swelter'd venom 8 sleeping got,
Boil thou first i'the charmed pot !

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

2. WITCH. 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,

s Round about the cauldron go;] Milton has caught this image in his Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity:

“ In dismal dance about the furnace blue.” Steevens. 6

-coldest fone,] The old copy has" cold stone." The modern editors, the cold stone." -The lighter change I have made, by substituting the superlative for the positive, has met with the approbation of Dr. Farmer, or it would not have appeared in the text. STE EVENS.

The was added by Mr. Pope. Malone. 7 Days and nights haft -] Old copy-has. Corrected by Sir T. Hanmer. MALONE.

8 Swelter'd venom — ] This word seems to be employed by Shakspeare, to signify that the animal was moistened with its own cold exsudations. So, in the twenty-second song of Drayton's Polyolbion :

“ And all the knights there dub'd the morning but before,

“ The evening fun beheld there fwelter'd in their gore.” In the old translation of Boccace's Novels, (1620) the following sentence also occurs :—" an huge and mighty toad even weltering (as it were) in a hole full of poifon." Sweltering in blood” is likewise an expression used by Fuller in his Church History, p. 37.

And in Churchyard's Farewell to the World, 1593, is a similar expression : “ He spake great thinges that swelted in his greace.”

STEEVENS, 9 Double, double toil and trouble ;] As this was a very extraordi. nary incantation, they were to double their pains about it. I think, therefore, it should be pointed as I have pointed it:

Double, double toil and trouble; otherwise the folemnity is abated by the immediate recurrence of the rhyme. STEEVENS,


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.

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

3. Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf;
Witches' mummy; maw, and gulf,}
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark; 4
Root of hemlock, digg'd i'the dark;



_ blind-worm's fling,] The blind-worm is the for-worm, So Drayton in Noah's Flood: The small-eyed Now-worm held of many blind.

STEEVENS, maw, and gulf,] The gulf is the swallow, the throat.

STEEVENS, In The Mirrar for Magistrates, we have “ monstrous mawes and gulfes.HENDERSON.

ravin'd salt-lea fark;] Mr. M. Mafon obferves that we should read ravin instead of ravin'd. So, in All's well that ends well Helena says,

- Better it were
“ I met the ravin lion, when he roar'd

“ With sharp constraint of hunger.' And in Beaumont and Fletcher's Maid of the Mill, Gillian says

" When nurse Amaranta-
“ Was seiz'd on by a fierce and hungry bear,

“ She was the ravin's prey.” However, in Phineas Fletcher's Locusts, or Appollyonists, 1627, the same word, as it appears in the text of the play before us,

“ But slew, devour'd and fill'd his empty maw;
“ Bat with his raven'd prey

his bowells broke, “ So into four divides his brazen yoke.” Ravin'd is glutted with prey. Ravin is the ancient word for prey obtained by riolence. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, song 7:

- but a den for beaits of ravin made." The same word occurs again in Measure for Measure.



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Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and Nips 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.

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

To ravin, according to Minsheu, is to devour, or eat greedily. See his Dict. 1617, in v. To devour. I believe, our author, with his usual licence, used ravin’d for ravenous, the passive participle for the adjective. MaloNE.

5 Sliver’d in the moon's eclipse;] Sliver is a common word in the North, where it means to cut a piece or a slice. Again, in King Lear:

“ She who herself will fiver and disbranch." Milton has transplanted the second of these ideas into his Lycidas:

perfidious bark “ Built in theclipse." Steevens. 6 Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;] These ingredients in all probability owed their introduction to the detestation in which the Turks were held, on account of the holy wars.

So solicitous indeed were our neighbours the French (from whom most of our prejudices as well as customs are derived) to keep this idea awake, that even in their military {port of the quintain, their soldiers were accustomed to point their lances at the figure of a Saracen. STEVENS.

7 Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,] Chaudron, i. e, entrails; a word formerly in common use in the books of cookery, in one of which, printed in 1597, I meet with a receipt to make a pudding of a calf's chaldron. Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635 “ Sixpence a meal wench, as well as heart can wish, with calves' chauldrons and chitterlings.” At the coronation feast of Elizabeth of York, queen of Henry VII. among other dishes, one was fwan with chaudron,” meaning sauce made with its entrails. See Ives's Seleit Papers; No. 3. p. 140. See also Mr. Pegge’s Forme of Cury, a roll of ancient English Cookery, &c. 8vo. 1780, p. 66.



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

Enter Hecate, and the other three Witches.?

Hec. O, well done! 8 I commend your pains; And every one shall share i’the gains. And now about the cauldron sing, Like elves and fairies in a ring, Enchanting all that you put in. [Mufick.

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- the other three Witches.] The infertion of these words (and the other three Witches) in the original copy, must be owing to a mistake. There is no reason to suppose that Shakspeare meant to introduce more than three witches upon the scene. Ritson.

80, well done!] Ben Jonson’s Dame, in his Masque of Queens, 1609, addresses her associates in the same manner :

« Well done, my hags.The attentive reader will observe, that in this piece, old Ben has exerted his strongest efforts to rival the incantation of Shakspeare's Witches, and the final address of Prospero to the aerial fpirits under his command.

It may be remarked also, that Shakspeare's Hecate, after delivering a speech of five lines, interferes no further in the business of the scene, but is lost in the crowd of subordinate witches. Nothing, in short, is effected by her assistance, but what might have been done without it. STEEVENS.

9 SONG.] In a former note on this tragedy, I had obferved, that the original edition contains only the two first words of the song before us; but have since discovered the entire stanza in the Witch, a dramatic piece by Middleton, already quoted. The song is there called a Charme-song, about a vellel.”—I may add, that this invocation, as it firft occurs in the Witch, is—“ White {pirits, black spirits, gray spirits, red spirits."-Afterwards, we find it in its present metrical Thape.

2. Witch. By the pricking of my thumbs,” Something wicked this way comes : Open, locks, whoever knocks.

Enter Macbeth.

MACB. How now, you secret, black, and midnight

hags? What is't you do? All.

A deed without a name. Mace. I conjure you, by that which you profess, (Howe'er you come to know it,) answer me: Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches; though the yesty waves : Confound and swallow navigation up; Though bladed corn be lodg’d,4 and trees blown


The song was in all probability a traditional one. The colours of spirits are often mentioned. So, in Monsieur Thomas, 1639:

- Be thou black, or white, or green,

“ Be thou heard, or to be seen.” Perhaps, indeed, this mufical scrap (which does not well accord with the serious business of the scene) was introduced by the players, without the suggestion of Shakspeare. STEVENS.

Reginald Scot in his Dijcovery of Witchcraft, 1584, enumerating the different kinds of spirits, particularly mentions white, black, grey, and red spirits. See also a passage quoted from Camden, ante, p. 499, n. 8. The modern editions, without authority, readBlue spirits and grey. MALONE.

2 By the pricking of my thumbs, &c.] It is a very ancient superftition, that all sudden pains of the body, and other sensations which could not naturally be accounted for, were presages of somewhat that was shortly to happen. Hence Mr. Upton has explained a passage in The Miles Gloriosus of Plautus: “ 'Timeo quod rerum geileriin hic, ita dorfus rotus prurit." STEVENS. -yesty Waves -] That is foaming or frothy waves.

JOHNSON. 4 Though bladed corn be lodg’d,] So, in K. Richard II :

“ Our sighs, and they, Mall lodge the summer corn."


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