I Saw Three Witches

I saw three witches
Asleep in a valley,
Their heads in a row, like stones in a flood.
Till the moon, creeping upward,
Looked white through the valley,
And turned them to bushes in bright scarlet bud.

(From Walter de La Mare ‘I Saw Three Witches’)

normal_Alla_va_eso_Goya_le_on_de_volGoya_-_Caprichos_(68)

V0025829 Three witches or Fates spinning, with bodies of babies tied Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Three witches or Fates spinning, with bodies of babies tied up behind them. Etching by F. Goya, 1796/1798. 1796 By: Francisco Goya y LucientesPublished: [1796/1798] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

V0025829 Three witches or Fates spinning, with bodies of babies tied
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Three witches or Fates spinning, with bodies of babies tied up behind them. Etching by F. Goya, 1796/1798.
1796 By: Francisco Goya y LucientesPublished: [1796/1798]
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

I went to see the wonderful Goya Portraits at the National Gallery yesterday and whilst there are no paintings of the witches above I did discover a fantastic book from a previous show in the shop which contains all these dark and diabolical images:  Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album . This is well worth a browse. Witches have been quite prominent on the blog recently so do take a peek. You can listen to  Catherine Spooner talking about Witch Craft Trials , peruse a Literary History of Witchcraft , and read my thoughts on Rise of the Sympathetic Witch and the Book of Witches from my childhood.

Happy Halloween OGOMERS everywhere!!

About Lucy Northenra

Senior Lecturer in Literature, University of Hertfordshire
This entry was posted in Books and Articles, Critical thoughts, exhibitions, Fun stuff and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to I Saw Three Witches

  1. And Walter de la Mare (whose poem is quoted here) was much admired by the fabulous Angel Carter, of whom we blog a lot. I have a post on her poetry to add soon.

  2. firekrank says:

    I must dig out my childhood book of poetry. There are definitely some witchcraft poems in there and I feel like they must have had an effect on my childhood psyche.

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