Macbeth - Act 4, Scene i 1

[A Cavern. In the middle, a boiling Cauldron.]

[Thunder. Enter the three Witches.]

First Witch
   Thrice the brinded Cat hath mew'd.           brinded: striped (see Shakespeare blazon); mew'd: proclaimed

Second Witch
   Thrice and once the Hedge-Pig whined.     hedge: concealed; whined: complained

Third Witch
   Harpier cries: 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch
   Round about the Cauldron go;
   In the poison'd Entrails throw.
   Toad, that under cold stone
   Days and Nights has thirty-one
   Swelter'd Venom sleeping got,
   Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

   Double, double toile and trouble ;
   Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
   Fillet of a Fenny Snake,
   In the Cauldron boil and bake;
   Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frogge,
   Wool of Bat, and Tongue of Dogge,
   Adder's Fork, and Blind-worm's Sting,
   Lizard's leg, and Howlet's wing,
   For a Charm of powerful trouble
   Like a Hell-broth boil and bubble.

   Double, double toyle and trouble,
   Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Third Witch
   Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolf,
   Witches' Mummy, Maw and Gulf
   Of the ravin'd salt Sea shark,
   Root of Hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
   Liver of Blaspheming Jew,
   Gall of Goat, and Slips of Yew
   Silver'd in the Moon's Eclipse,
   Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,
   Finger of Birth-strangled Babe
   Ditch-deliver'd by a Drab,
   Make the Gruel thick and slab:
   Add thereto a Tiger's Chaudron,
   For the Ingredients of our Cauldron.

   Double, double toyle and trouble'
   Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
   Cool it with a Baboon's blood,
   Then the Charm is firm and good.

[Enter Hecate.]

   O! well done! I commend your pains,
   And every one shall share i' the gains.
   And now about the Cauldron sing,
   Like Elves and Fairies in a Ring,
   Enchanting all that you put in.

[Music, and a Song, 'Black Spirits,' and company.] 2

   Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray;
   Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may.

[Exit Hecate.]

Second Witch

   By the pricking of my Thumbs,
   Something wicked this way comes.
   Open, Locks,
   Whoever knocks.

[Enter Macbeth.]

   How now, you secret, black, and midnight Hags?
   What is't you do?

   A deed without a name.

O.K., Let's get started by first learning about some very simple, but significantly small mathematical odds using familiar Scrabble® game pieces.

First, you need to know that in the late-16th century English alphabet, there were only 24 letters ("j" and "u" not being in common use at the time).

If you take one wooden Scrabble® tile of each of those 24 remaining letters – plus one blank space – and put them into a hat, you have one chance in 25 of pulling out a certain pre-determined letter. Like thus: I want a (predetermined) letter "C" so I reach in and pull out one wooden tile. I have one chance in 25 of it actually being a "C" (remember the space tile counts, too). Place the letter on the table.

Now I want a second letter: an "A" from the hat. I now have one chance in 24 of pulling out the predetermined letter because I placed the first letter on the table in front of me. Reach in, pull out one tile.

The probability of these two letters being "CA" are now 1/25 times 1/24 or, one in 600. Easy math, so far.

Now for the letter "T": If it wasn't one of the first two you pulled out, there is one chance in 23 of pulling it out of the hat this go-round (If "CA" were the first two, the CAT is no longer in the hat.)

Multiply 1/600 times 1/23: One chance in 13,800. Whew. The odds are really slimming down pretty fast. Remember, you have 13,799 other two- or three-letter combinations that could now be on the table in front of you. I.E.: pretty good odds that the word "CAT" is not on the table.

Well, cut to the chase, as they say. The chances of pulling out any seven predetermined letters and one space as a choice (eight tiles, total) is one in 3,488,228,320. That's one in (roughly) three-and-a-half Billion! ...and using only capital letters. Using upper-and lower-case letters makes the odds one in 9 Trillion, 83 Billion, 657 Million, 777 Thousand and 40!

You'll need a lot more than damn good luck to pull out eight predetermined, case-specific tiles... and all eight in a certain, predetermined order.

(By the way, we can pull out lower-case letters by simply agreeing that the blank side of any tile is simply the lower-case version of the obverse [Upper-case] side of the tile. We also have to agree that each tile will be pulled out and kept in a horizontal manner and the side facing up is the letter we've chosen. No peeking.)

So, what's my point?

Well, by example, let's pull out the two word phrase "My Point" ... one chance in 9.08 Trillion on the first — or any try. "mY pOiNT" has the same mathematical odds, but has a slightly discomforting outcome to the reader.

"Geo Bush" ? — One chance in 9.08 Trillion.

"New Cars" ? — One in 9.08 Trillion.

"old Hags" ? — 9.08 Trillion.

You get the picture.

How 'bout "Fr baCon"? Yep. One in 9.08 Trillion.

Amazingly, "Fire burn and Cauldron bubble." neatly contains those specific letters... and in that specific order. (Note, too, that not considering the other 18 letters and 3 spaces exponentially improves the odds to a doubting Stratfordian's favor.) (And, yes, I'm aware that the same boiling phrase also contains "run nude" [once], "bald nub" [twice] and "Fred Cub" [thrice] – and others – each with the same 9.08 trillion-to-one odds of being there.)

Look: Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.
And it's repeated three times to draw attention to it.

Then Hecate exclaims: "O! well done! I commend your pains".

In a moment, Macbeth enters and asks:
"How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags!
    What is't you do?

And all three witches happily reply:
    "A deed without a name."
   —playfully denying their obvious mischief.

Note, too, that the short song's first-line lyrics are
"Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray;"
which are, by "some coincidence," the tinctures
in the Bacon blazon.

Now, yet another oddity is also somewhat apparent.

Remember the VVILL=111... and the VVIC=111 which both have the Kaye Cypher value for the name "Bacon". Notice, as well, the word "witch" contains the VVIC combination (as explained in the previous VVIC web page)... another instance of 111. There are three witches who repeat the stanza three times to bring attention to it as noted before... 33 is Simple Cypher for, guess who, Bacon.

But it's all just coincidence and happenstance, right?

   "Double, double toile and trouble...

                                 — Francis Bacon; West Seattle, Washington.

William is madder than hell about this!!  Copyright ©2005 Francis Bacon • All Rights Reserved

1. Using Times Roman, here's what the text looks like in the First Folio of 1623:

Actus Quartus.   Scena Prima.

      Thunder.   Enter the three Witches .

   1 Thrice the brinded Cat has mew'd.
   2 Thrice,and once the Hedge-Pigge shin'd.
   3 Harpier cries, 'tis time, 'tis time.
   1 Round about the Caldron go :
In the poysond Entrailes throw
Toad, that vnder cold stone,
Dayes and Nights, ha's thirty one :
Sweltred Venom sleeping got,
Boyle thou first I'the' charmed pot.
   All. Double, double, toile and trouble ;
Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble.
   2 Fillet of a Fenny snake,
In the Cauldron boyle and bake :
Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frogge,
Wooll of Bat, and Toungue of Dogge:
Adders Forke, and Blinde-wormes Sting,
Lizard 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
   3 Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolfe,
Witches Mummey, Maw,and Gulfe
Of the rauin'd salt Sea sharke:
Roote of Hemlocke, digg'd i'th' darke :
Liuer of Blaspheming Iew,
Gall of Goate, and Slippes of Yew,
Sliuer'd in the Moones Ecclipse :
Nose of turke,and Tartars lips :
Finger of Birth-strangled Babe,
Ditch-deliuer'd by a Drab,
Make the Grewell thick, and slab.
Adde thereto a Tigers Chawdron,
For th' Ingredience of our Cawdron.
   All. Double, double, toyle and trouble,
Fire Burne,and Cauldron bubble.
   2 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 euery one shall share i'the'gaines :
And now about the Cauldron sing
Like Elues and Fairies in a Ring,
Inchanting all that you put in.
            Musicke and a Song. Blacke Spirits, &c.2
   2 By the pricking of my thumbes,
Something wicked this way comes:
Open Lockes, who euer knockes.
            Enter Macbeth.
   Macb.How now you secret,black,& midnight Hags?
What is't you do?
   All. A deed without a name.

2 The text of the First Folio did not contain the two-line text of this song.
From the textual notes of The Riverside Shakespeare (Houghton Mifflin Company, Copyright 1974), we read:
   "The song here referred to occurs in Middleton's The Witch (c. 1609), V.iii, and in Davenant's adaptation of Macbeth (1674), IV,i, but not in Q (1673). The following text of the song, like that printed in the note to III.iv.33, is taken from Davenant, since it seems probable that he derived it from an earlier prompt-book of [Macbeth].

Musick and Song.
   Hec. Black Spirits, and white,
Red Spirits and gray;
Mingle, mingle, mingle,
You that mingle may.

   [...etc., etc.]"

William is madder than hell about this!!  Copyright ©2005 Francis Bacon • All Rights Reserved