Poems, now first collected/Witchcraft II

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WITCHCRAFT

II


A. D. 1884

Our great-great-grandpapas had schooled
Your fancies, Lita, were you born
In days when Cotton Mather ruled
And damask petticoats were worn!
Your pretty ways, your mocking air,
Had passed, mayhap, for Satan's wiles—
As fraught with danger, then and there,
To you, as now to us your smiles.


Why not? Were inquest to begin,
The tokens are not far to seek:
Item—the dimple of your chin;
Item—that freckle on your cheek.
Grace shield his simple soul from harm
Who enters yon flirtation niche,
Or trusts in whispered counter-charm,
Alone with such a parlous witch!


Your fan a wand is, in disguise;
It conjures, and we straight are drawn
Within a witches' Paradise
Of music, germans, roses, lawn.
So through the season, where you go,
All else than Lita men forget:
One needs no second-sight to know
That sorcery is rampant yet.


Now, since the bars no more await
Fair maids that practise sable arts,
Take heed, while I pronounce the fate
Of her who thus ensnares men's hearts:
In time you shall a wizard meet
With spells more potent than your own,
And you shall know your master, Sweet,
And for these witcheries atone.


For you at his behest shall wear
A veil, and seek with him the church,
And at the altar rail forswear
The craft that left you in the lurch;
But oft thereafter, musing long,
With smile, and sigh, and conscience-twitch,
You shall too late confess the wrong—
A captive and repentant witch.

1884