Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Mrs. Freudenthal Consults the Witch of Endor
By Osbert Sitwell
 
A NOSE, however aquiline,
  Escapes detection in a throng—
So she hopes; but sense of sin
  Made her shrink, and steal along.
 
Streets glazed by mocking summer heat        5
  To semblance of a cool canal,
Where iridescent insects beat
  Their wings upon the liquid wall;
 
Where radiant insects, carrion-fed,
  Buzz and flutter busily—        10
Smile, or frown, or nod the head,
  Expressing some familiar lie.
 
Enter the house, ascend the stair!
  Consult the scintillating ball.
Beatrice Freudenthal, beware!        15
  Eve felt like you before the Fall.
 
Within the shining mystic globe
  Lies luck-at-bridge, or martyr’s crown;
A modern prophetess will probe
  The future, for one guinea down.        20
 
For that amount, the future’s sword
  From crystal scabbard she will drag.
She can unpack the future’s hoard
  As we unpack a Gladstone bag.
.      .      .      .      .      .      .
Without the agency of man,        25
  Solely by fasting and by prayer,
The wizards of old Jenghiz Khan
  Could move a wine-cup through the air
 
Until it reached him, and he drank
  Fermented juice of rye or grape.        30
The cup flew back; his courtiers shrank
  Away, astonished and agape.
 
Before the Llama turns to grapple
  With state affairs, he learns to spin
(Despite Sir Isaac Newton’s apple)        35
  In mid-air sixty times—to win
 
Amusement mixed with approbation
  From skeptical ambassadors;
For any kind of levitation
  Increases prestige with the Powers.        40
 
Such things were practised—did not tend
  To promote war or anarchy;
Yet now such things would even end
  A Constitutional Monarchy.
 
Magic for a holy race        45
  Is surely wrong; how strictly hidden
The future in its crystal case
  Lies—oh, so near, and yet forbidden!
 
Though gentile kings upon their thrones
  May weave a spell or dance like Tich,        50
Yet ponder on the bleaching bones
  Of Saul, who sought the Endor witch.
 
 
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