"Black Spirits And White, Red Spirits And Gray"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

Context: In The Witch a group of witches is several times employed by other characters for unlawful ends. The Duchess hires them to kill her husband, the Duke, who, when he had conquered her father in battle, had made from his skull a drinking cup from which he forces her to drink. Because of this injury she seeks his death by witchcraft. The charm song that the witches sing invites comparison with the much better one in Macbeth, Act IV, sc. i, but Middleton's witches lack the grim menace of Shakespeare's, being ludicrous and ineffectual. The charm song sung around the caldron in The Witch is:

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Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may!
Titty, Tiffin,
Keep it stiff in;
Firedrake, Puckey,
Make it lucky;
Liard, Robin,
You must bob in.
Round, around, around, about, about!
All ill come running in, all good keep out!

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"Though I Be Poor, I'm Honest"