Sunday, October 30, 2011

For Halloween: Witches' Speech from Macbeth

Ah, Shakespeare, one of my true favorites. I love his lyrical speeches and flowery words. It takes a bit to get used to, but oh it's worth the trouble...

William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914. MacbethAct IV. Scene I.

A Cavern. In the middle, a boiling Cauldron.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
  First Witch.  Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.
  Sec. Witch.  Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin’d.   4
  Third Witch.  Harper cries: ’Tis time, ’tis time.
  First Witch.  Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone   8
Days and nights hast thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
  All.  Double, double toil and trouble;  12
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  Sec. Witch.  Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,  16
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,  20
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
  All.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  Third Witch.  Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,  24
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,  28
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  32
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.  36
  All.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
  Sec. Witch.  Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.  40
  Hec.  O! well done! I commend your pains,
And every one shall share i’ the gains.
And now about the cauldron sing,  44
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.  [Music and a song, ‘Black Spirits,’ &c.
  Sec. Witch.  By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.  48
    Open, locks,
    Whoever knocks.
  Macb.  How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!  52
What is ’t you do?
  All.        A deed without a name.
  Macb.  I conjure you, by that which you profess,—
Howe’er you come to know it,—answer me:  56
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 and trees blown down;  60
Though castles topple on their warders’ heads;
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations; though the treasure
Of Nature’s germens tumble all together,  64
Even till destruction sicken; answer me
To what I ask you.
  First Witch.        Speak.
  Sec. Witch.        Demand.  68
  Third Witch.        We’ll answer.
  First Witch.  Say if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths,
Or from our masters’?
  Macb.        Call’em: let me see ’em.  72
  First Witch.  Pour in sow’s blood, that hath eaten
Her nine farrow; grease, that’s sweaten
From the murderer’s gibbet throw
Into the flame.  76
  All.        Come, high or low;
Thyself and office deftly show.
Thunder. First Apparition of an armed Head.
  Macb.  Tell me, thou unknown power,—  80
  First Witch.        He knows thy thought:
Hear his speech, but say thou nought.
  First App.  Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff;
Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.  [Descends.  84
  Macb.  Whate’er thou art, for thy good caution thanks;
Thou hast harp’d my fear aright. But one word more,—
  First Witch.  He will not be commanded: here’s another,
More potent than the first.  88
  Thunder. Second  Apparition, a bloody Child.
  Sec. App.  Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!—
  Macb.  Had I three ears, I’d hear thee.
  Sec. App.  Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn  92
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.  [Descends.
  Macb.  Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?
But yet I’ll make assurance double sure,  96
And take a bond of fate: thou shalt not live;
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies,
And sleep in spite of thunder.
Thunder. Third Apparition, a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand. 100
What is this,
That rises like the issue of a king,
And wears upon his baby brow the round
And top of sovereignty? 104
  All.        Listen, but speak not to ’t.
  Third App.  Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:
Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until 108
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him.  [Descends.
  Macb.        That will never be:
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree 112
Unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! good!
Rebellion’s head, rise never till the wood
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac’d Macbeth
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath 116
To time and mortal custom. Yet my heart
Throbs to know one thing: tell me—if your art
Can tell so much,—shall Banquo’s issue ever
Reign in this kingdom? 120
  All.        Seek to know no more.
  Macb.  I will be satisfied: deny me this,
And an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.
Why sinks that cauldron? and what noise is this?  [Hautboys. 124
  First Witch.  Show!
  Sec. Witch.  Show!
  Third Witch.  Show!
  All.  Show his eyes, and grieve his heart; 128
Come like shadows, so depart.

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