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Bubbles and

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)


Act IV Scene I

[A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron]
Thunder. Enter the three Witches
1. Witch. Thrice the brinded 1 cat hath mew’d.
2. Witch. Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whin’d.
3. Witch. Harpier cries; ’tis time, ’tis time.
1. Witch. Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelt’red 2 venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
All. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
2. Witch. Fillet of a fenny 3 snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt 4 and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
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.
All. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
3. Witch. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, 5 maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d 7 salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’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.
All. Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
2. Witch. Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.


Act I Scene III

As the witches vanish -

The earth hath bubbles, as the water has,
And these are of them. Whither are they vanish'd?

Into the air; and what seem'd corporal melted
As breath into the wind. Would they had stay'd!

William Shakespeare King Henry IV

Act II Scene III

Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war
And thus hath so bestirr'd thee in thy sleep,
That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow
Like bubbles in a late-disturbed stream...

As You Like It

JAQUES: All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

William Shakespeare
King Richard III

Act IV Scene IV

Before the palace.

QUEEN MARGARET: I call'd thee then vain flourish of my fortune;
I call'd thee then poor shadow, painted queen;
The presentation of but what I was;
The flattering index of a direful pageant;
One heaved a-high, to be hurl'd down below;
A mother only mock'd with two sweet babes;
A dream of what thou wert, a breath, a bubble,
A sign of dignity, a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot,
A queen in jest, only to fill the scene.

William Shakespeare

ACT IV Scene 1

... Here stood a battle of ten thousand horse;
There twice as many pikes in quadrant wise;
Here crossbows and deadly wounding darts.
And in the midst, like to a slender point,
Within the compass of the horizon,
As 'twere a rising bubble in the sea,
A hazel wand amidst a wood of pines,
Or as a bear, fast chained unto a stake,
Stood famous Edward, still expecting when
Those dogs of France would fasten on his flesh...

Camp before Florence.

First Lord: If your lordship find him not a hilding, hold me no more in your respect.
Second Lord: On my life, my lord, a bubble.
BERTRAM: Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
Second Lord: Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge,
without any malice, but to speak of him as my
kinsman, he's a most notable coward, an infinite and
endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner
of no one good quality worthy your lordship's

The question is often asked - was the word "bubble" first penned by Shakespeare? AND - Did he originate the wondrus word "bubble?"
No - actually it was used in one of the very first books, made by the English printer William Caxton, in 1481. In the fifteenth century, variants of ‘bubble’ arose spelled such as ‘bubbuls’, ‘bobles’ and ‘buble’ - but in the end the bubbalicious spelling - "bubble" - won!!

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William Shakespeare. Wm. Shakespere. William. Shakespeare. William Shakespeare. Shakespeares. Sonnet. Sonnets. Macbeth.