The Witches' Song

by Alison Bauld From Two Shakespeare Songs (1990)

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The Witches' Song
English source: William Shakespeare

_Witches' incantation from Macbeth_

_First Witch_
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

_Second Witch_
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

_Third Witch_
Harpier cries, "'Tis time, 'tis time."

_First Witch_
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

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

_Second 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,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of pow’rful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Third Witch 
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' 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.

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

_Enter Hecate,_
_to the other three Witches:_

O well done! I commend your pains;
And evr’ry one shall share i’ the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring;
Enchanting all that you put in…

Come, come, come, come, come, give me your hand,
What's done cannot be undone:
I tell you yet again...
Banquo's buried
He cannot come out on 's grave...
To bed, to bed:
There's knocking at the gate.


Alison Bauld

Alison Margaret Bauld is an Australian writer and composer. She lives and works in London, England.


William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet, and the "Bard of Avon". His extant…

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