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Which, when the hawk espies, leaves her first game,
And boldly ventures on the king of birds.
Long tugged they in the air, till at the length
The falcon (better breath'd) seized on the eagle,
And struck it dead. The barons praised the bird,
And for her courage she was peerless held.
The emperor, after some deliberate thoughts,
Made her no less; he caused a crown of gold
To be new framed, and fitted to her head,
In honour of her courage: then the bird,
With great applause, was to the market-place
In triumph borne; where, when her utmost worth
Had been proclaimed, the common executioner
First by the king's command took off her crown,
And after with a sword struck off her head,
As one no better than a noble traitor

Unto the king of birds.

Thomas Middleton.

THE WITCH: A TRAGI-COMEDY.

HECATE, and the other Witches, at their charms.

Hec. Titty and Tiffin, Suckin

And Pidgen, Liard and Robin !

White spirits, black spirits, gray spirits, red spirits,
Devil-toad, devil-ram, devil-cat, and devil dam,
Why, Hoppo and Stadlin, Hellwain and Puckle!
Stad. Here, sweating at the vessel.

Hec. Boil it well.

Hop. It gallops now!

Hec. Are the flames blue enough,

Or shall I use a little seeten* more?

Stad. The nips of fairies upon maids' white hips

Are not more perfect azure.

Hec. Tend it carefully.

Send Stadlin to me with a brazen dish,

That I may fall to work upon these serpents,
And squeeze 'em ready for the second hour.
Why! when?

Stad. Here's Stadlin, and the dish.

Hec. Here, take this unbaptized brat!

Boil it well-preserve the fat:

You know 'tis precious to transfer

Our 'nointed flesh into the air,

In moonlight nights, o'er steeple-tops,

Mountains, and pine-trees, that like pricks, or stops,

Seem to our height: high towers, and roofs of princes,
Like wrinkles in the earth: whole provinces
Appear to our sight then even like

A russet mole upon some lady's cheek.

When hundred leagues in air, we feast and sing,
Dance, kiss, and coll, use every thing:

What young man can we wish to pleasure us,
But we enjoy him in an incubus ?

Thou know'st it, Stadlin?

Stad. Usually that's done.
Hec. Away! in!

Go feed the vessel for the second hour.

* Seething.

Stad. Where be the magical herbs?

Hec. They're down his throat,*

His mouth crammed full; his ears and nostrils stuffed.

I thrust in eleaselinum, lately

Aconitum, frondes populeas, and soot.

You may see that, he looks so black i' th' mouth.
Then sium, acharum, vulgaro too,

Dentaphillon, the blood of a flitter-mouse,

Solanum somnificum et oleum.

Stad. Then there's all, Hecate.
Hec. Is the heart of wax

Stuck full of magic needles?

Stad. 'Tis done, Hecate.

Hec. And is the farmer's picture, and his wife's, Laid down to the fire yet?

Stad. They are a-roasting both, too.

Hec. Good!

Then their marrows are a-melting subtilly,

And three months' sickness sucks up life in 'em.
They denied me often flour, barm, and milk,
Goose-grease and tar, when I ne'er hurt their churnings,
Their brew-locks nor their batches, nor forespoke
Any of their breedings. Now I'll be meet with 'em.
Seven of their young pigs I have bewitched already
Of the last litter, nine ducklings, thirteen goslings, and a hog,
Fell lame last Sunday, after even-song too.

And mark how their sheep prosper; or what soup
Each milch-kine gives to th' pail: I'll send these snakes
Shall milk 'em all beforehand; the dewed skirted dairy-wench
Shall stroke dry dugs for this, and go home cursing!

*The dead child's.

I'll mar their sillabubs, and swarthy feastings
Under cows' bellies, with the parish youths.

Hecate, Stadlin, HOPPO, with the other Witches, preparing for their midnight journey through the air. FIRESTONE, HECATE'S Son.

Hec. The Moon's a gallant: see how brisk she rides! Stad. Here's a rich evening, Hecate.

Hec. Ay, is't not, wenches,

To take a journey of five thousand mile?

Hop. Ours will be more to-night.
Hec. Oh, 'twill be precious!

Heard you the owl yet ?

Stad. Briefly in the copse,

As we came through now.

Hec. 'Tis high time for us, then.

Stad. There was a bat hung at my lips three times As we came through the woods, and drank her fill. Old Puckle saw her.

Hec. You are fortunate still:

The very screech-owl lights upon your shoulder,
And woos you like a pigeon. Are you furnished?
Have you your ointments?

Stad. All.

Hec. Prepare to flight, then I'll overtake you swiftly.

Stad. Hie thee, Hecate !

We shall be up betimes.

Hec. I'll reach you quickly. [The other Witches mount. Fire. They are all going a-birding to-night. They talk of fowls in the air, that fly by day; I am sure, they'll be a company of foul sluts there to-night. If we have not mor

tality offered, I'll be hanged; for they are able to putrefy it, to infect a whole region.-She spies me now.

Hec. What! Firestone, our sweet son?

Fire. A little sweeter than some of you; or a dunghill were too good for me.

Hec. How much hast here?

Fire. Nineteen, and all brave plump ones; besides six lizards, and three serpentine eggs.

Hec. Dear and sweet boy, what herbs hast thou? Fire. I have some marmartin and mandragon. Hec. Marmaritin and mandragora, thou wouldst say. Fire. Here's pannax too: I thank thee, my pan aches, I am sure, with kneeling down to cut 'em.

Hec. And selago,

Hedge-hyssop too: how near he goes my cuttings!
Were they all cropped by moonlight?

Fire. Every blade of 'em, or I am a moon-calf, mother.
Hec. Hie thee home with 'em.

Look well to the house to-night; I am for aloft.

Fire. Aloft, quoth you? I would you would break your neck once, that I might have all quickly. Hark! hark, mother! they are above the steeple already, flying over your head with a noise of musicians.

Hec. They are indeed. Help me, help me! I'm too late else.

Song in the Air.

Come away, come away!
Hecate, Hecate, come away!

Hec. I come, I come, I come, I come,
With all the speed I may,

*Probably the true reading is after 't.

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