In Competition No. 2758 you were invited to submit a horoscope for Cancer or Leo written by a well-known literary figure past or present.
I regretted not having space for William Danes-Volkov’s horoscopic Hemingway: ‘Maybe someone else will listen to you in the cold air of Friday in the high mountains, or maybe money will come your way; only a few pesos perhaps, but enough to buy a tortilla from the woman with the troubles of which she does not speak.’ Equally impressive were Basil Ransome-Davies, Frank Upton and Margaret J. Howell. The winners below earn £25 each. Brian Allgar takes £30.
From shifting stars do I my judgement pluck;
I read this brave o’erhanging firmament
Construing who shall fail, and who’s in luck:
In truth, my divination’s heaven-sent.
Today ’tis Leo — ‘Lion’, some would spell it —
The ladies tremble, hearing how he roars;
Yet he shall have his way, the stars foretell it,
Be they princesses, chamber-maids or whores.
’Tis not ourselves that hold our destiny,
But constellations, planets, moons and stars,
And Leo’s now the sign ’tis best to be —
Except when visited by wrathful Mars.
For Death, in inns and suchlike places, ravens
When Mars within the Lion’s realm doth sit.
I therefore prithee, venture not in taverns
If Christopher’s thy name, or even Kit.
Hear, Leo, what your whirling Stars relate:
A Damoclean Sword o’erhangs your Fate,
’Though where or when the dreadful Blow will land Is more than mortal Mind can understand.
It might be better that you stay at Home
Forswearing any seasonal Urge to roam
And let th’Olympics, screened, suffice for Sport
(Bestow your Favours as a Subject ought.)
This will your Finances improve, for they
Grow sorrier and more parlous Day by Day.
Of rich Employment there is still no Sign
So signing on’s your only Way to dine.
Yet hope! for Venus on th’Horizon bears
Some amatory Promise: he who dares
Might win a Partner suited to his Need
And you, poor Leo, have great Needs indeed.
D.A. Prince/Alexander Pope
Grey over hills and valleys; grey over our capital city; grey over the political situation; grey over financial forecasts. To represent, however, that a lack of visible evidence of the solar presence, upon whose relative celestial position a Leo relies at this aestival season, must betoken ill-fortune in the forthcoming days, is to undervalue the current profusion of yellows and golds; sunflower, marigold and buttercup in garden and meadow suffice to validate the sun’s powerful existence notwithstanding depressing shades of cloud cover. These being straitened times, a Leo, though instinctively generous, must needs harness his creativity and espouse a ‘Micawberish’ faith. Fortunate are those Leos whose present activities include competitive sports; sport gives occasion for exercise; exercise presages health and opportunity. During this period, confidence in one’s superior understanding of the inscrutable decrees of fate should be curbed; particularly does this apply to those inclined optimistically to foretell the weather.
You know what you are? A Leo. Nothing more or less. Eh? (Pause.) I mean, stands to reason you’re a gadabout. You gad … about. And you got new reason to do it. Gadabouting. You got a party, big party, coming up. A bit of a bash, that’s what. I mean, if you plan to be the centre of attention, it’s been arranged. Laid on. Caterers, major domos, photographers, my word, it’ll be like Christmas. Like Hanukkah. With … with bells on. Yes, I should say you’ll be the party animal. For two bob, I’d get my gladrags on, join you in a shimmy. (Pause.) You got a retrograde Mercury, too, mate. I mean, I wouldn’t worry. You’ll be chuffed, providing you pay attention, I mean, watch your step. When on this gad. And a full moon on August 1st! What you want is a cummerbund. Yes. A tight one.
Bill Greenwell/Harold Pinter
The favourable of aspect of Sol in this period will encourage the romantic optimism natural to the Leo personality. You may be motivated to proceed with plans that take you back to an activity where you enjoyed success and reunite you with former colleagues. Those who are still alive, that is. Your sense of commitment will take you far, but be cautious whom you trust as some of those who offer you help or friendship may be two-faced liars with ulterior motives. You may even find a close family member is disloyal. If your work takes you away from home, expect to find that your accommodation lacks modern comforts, but your long-practiced equanimity will stand you in good stead. There is no good prospect for love affairs at this time, and gratitude is in short supply, but you will find that observing Moscow rules will protect you.
G.M. Davis/John Le Carré
Poor cancer, the claw of the crab bids you nothing but ill in all that besets you. Fare forth if you will in the hope against hope that it might not be so but, sadly, your birthstone, moonstone, will turn to moonshine and melody, once your vibration, will wail a demented, augmented fourth befitting the devil’s interval. Kneel if it aids you, just like the oxen that knelt in the lonely barton, or so it was said, but here is no Christmas. Best embrace fate and falter forward however obscure the path may be. Two loves await you but only to grieve you and sour the song that you long to bow on a viol whose strings will sing no more. So darkness nighs as your star winters westward but do not despair, a pair of blue eyes may yet betwinkle and lighten the yonder horizon in times to come.
Alan Millard/Thomas Hardy
2761: Hotchpotch V. gallimaufry
At the end of his play A Resounding Tinkle N.F. Simpson provides a brilliant parody of a BBC radio programme in which critics solemnly discuss whether the play they have just seen is a ‘hotchpotch’ or a ‘gallimaufry’. You are invited to provide an example of critics debating a trivial point in an absurd way (150 words maximum). Please email entries, wherever possible, to email@example.com by midday on 22 August.