THE WITCHES' SONG
— From Ben Jonson' s Masque of Queens, presented
at Whitehall, Feb.2, 1609
A raven feeding upon a quarter:
And, soone as she turn'd her beak to the south,
I snatch'd this morsell of her mouth.
The madd dogges foames, and adders eares;
The spurging of a deadmans eye:
And all since the evening starre did rise.
O' the ground, to heare the mandrake grone;
And pluckt him up, though he grew full low:
And, as I had done, the cocke did crow.
From charnell houses that were full;
From private grots, and publike pits;
And frighted a sexton out of his wits.
By day; and, when the childe was a-sleepe
At night, I suck'd the breath; and rose,
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose.
Killed an infant to have his fat.
A piper it got at a church-ale.
I bade him again blow wind i' the taile.
The sunne and the wind had shrunke his veines:
I bit off a sinew; I clipp'd his haire ;
I brought off his ragges, that danc'd i' the ayre.
The bloud of the brogge, and the bone in his backe
I have been getting; and made of his skin
A purset to keepe sir Cranion in.
Hemlock, henbane, adders-tongue,
Night-shade, moone-wort, libbards-bane ;
And twise by the dogges was lke to be tane.
Did snatch these bones, and then leap'd the ditch :
Yet went I back to the house agine,
Kill'd the blacke cat, and here is the braine.
I charmed him out, and he came at my call;
I scratch'd out the eyes of the owle before;
I tore the batts wing: what would you have more?
Horned poppie, cypresse boughes,
The fig-tree wild, that grows on tombes,
And juice, that from the larch-tree comes,
The basiliskes bloud, and the vipers skin :
And now our orgies let's begin.