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 toil and trouble;William Shakespeare, MacBeth
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
We recognized that William Shakespeare was an extraordinary writer and poet, but he was also politically astute. King James I was known to be a theatre enthusiast.
What better way to welcome King James but with the play, Macbeth, which was set in King James’s native Scotland and included the King’s real-life ancestor, Banquo (Lord Banquo, the Thane of Lochaber), who was positioned as a good and just man destined to have monarchs in his bloodline.
The three witches was a brilliant touch which would have appealed to King James because of his interest in witchcraft. In fact, he considered himself an expert in this area of study having written a book on this subject in 1597.
Dr. Simon Forman was at the first public performance of Macbeth. Most likely, King James had a private performance with is thought to have occurred in August or December 1606.
Can you imagine the crowd when the witches appeared chanting for the first time in public: Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.