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For Hallowe’en, round about the cauldron go

To welcome October, the month of All Hallow’s Eve, and get in the mood for Samhain, Hallowe’en, All Saint’s Day, and Allantide, we stumble into a shadowed glade where late one night, three witches stand watch over their bubbling cauldron.


Against the gloom, a quake of thunder rips the heavens. The witches intone the following incantation, while Hekate and the forces of darkness look on … soon, ambitious Macbeth will wander towards the witches, sealing his fate. 

Macbeth, Folio I: 1623

Act IV, Scene I

Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
ThunderEnter the three Witches.

Thrice the brindled Cat hath mew’d.

 Thrice, and once the Hedge-Pigge whin’d.

Harpier cries, ’tis time, ’tis time.

Round about the Cauldron go:

In the poysond Entrailes throw

Toad, that under cold stone,

Dayes and Nights, ha’s thirty one:

Sweltred Venom sleeping got,

Boyle thou first i’th’ charmed pot.

All. Double, double, toile and trouble;

Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a Fenny Snake,

In the Cauldron boyle and bake:

Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frogge,

Wooll of Bat, and Tongue of Dogge:

Adders Forke, and Blinde-wormes Sting,

Lizards legge, and Howlets wing:

For a Charme of powrefull trouble,

Like a Hell-broth, boyle and bubble.

All. Double, double, toyle and trouble,

Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble.

Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolfe,

Witches Mummey, Maw, and Gulfe

Of the ravin’d salt Sea sharke:

Roote of Hemlocke, digg’d i’th’ darke:

Liver of Blaspheming Jew,

Gall of Goate, and Slippes of Yew,

Sliver’d in the Moones Ecclipse:

Nose of Turke, and Tartars lips:

Finger of Birth-strangled Babe,

Ditch-deliver’d by a Drab,

Make the Grewell thicke, and slab.

Adde thereto a Tigers Chawdron,

For th’ Ingredience of our Cawdron.

All. Double, double, toyle and trouble,

Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble.

Coole it with a Baboones blood,

Then the Charme is firme and good.

Enter Hecat, and the other three Witches.

Hec. O well done: I commend your paines,

And every one shall share i’th’ gaines:

And now about the Cauldron sing

Like Elves and Fairies in a Ring,

Inchanting all that you put in.

By the pricking of my Thumbes,

Something wicked this way comes:

Open Lockes, who ever knockes.

Enter Macbeth.

Macb. How now you secret, black, & midnight Hags?

What is’t you do?

All. A deed without a name.

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