— I —
Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of
lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown,
ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He
held the bowl aloft and intoned:
—Introibo ad altare Dei.
Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called out coarsely:
—Come up, Kinch! Come up, you fearful jesuit!
Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about
and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the
awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent
towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat
and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned
his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking
gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light
untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.
Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the
—Back to barracks! he said sternly.
He added in a preacher's tone:
—For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul
and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One
moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.
He peered sideways up and gave a long slow whistle of call, then paused
awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there
with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered
through the calm.
—Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off
the current, will you?
He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering
about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and
sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages.
A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.
—The mockery of it! he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek!
He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet,
laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily
halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as
he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and
lathered cheeks and neck.
Buck Mulligan's gay voice went on.
—My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a
Hellenic ring, hasn't it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself.
We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out
He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight, cried:
—Will he come? The jejune jesuit!
Ceasing, he began to shave with care.
—Tell me, Mulligan, Stephen said quietly.
—Yes, my love?
—How long is Haines going to stay in this tower?
Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder.
—God, isn't he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks
you're not a gentleman. God, these bloody English! Bursting with money
and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus, you
have the real Oxford manner. He can't make you out. O, my name for you
is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade.
He shaved warily over his chin.
—He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is
—A woful lunatic! Mulligan said. Were you in a funk?
—I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark
with a man I don't know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a
black panther. You saved men from drowning. I'm not a hero, however. If
he stays on here I am off.
Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down
from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily.
—Scutter! he cried thickly.
He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen's upper
—Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.
Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a
dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly.
Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said:
—The bard's noserag! A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen.
You can almost taste it, can't you?
He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair
oakpale hair stirring slightly.
—God! he said quietly. Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a grey
sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa
ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them
in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother.
Come and look.
Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked
down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbourmouth of
—Our mighty mother! Buck Mulligan said.
He turned abruptly his grey searching eyes from the sea to Stephen's
—The aunt thinks you killed your mother, he said. That's why she won't
let me have anything to do with you.
—Someone killed her, Stephen said gloomily.
—You could have knelt down, damn it, Kinch, when your dying mother
asked you, Buck Mulligan said. I'm hyperborean as much as you. But to
think of your mother begging you with her last breath to kneel down and
pray for her. And you refused. There is something sinister in you...
He broke off and lathered again lightly his farther cheek. A tolerant
smile curled his lips.
—But a lovely mummer! he murmured to himself. Kinch, the loveliest
mummer of them all!
He shaved evenly and with care, in silence, seriously.
Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against
his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve.
Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in
a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its
loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her
breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of
wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a
great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay
and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had
stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had
torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.
Buck Mulligan wiped again his razorblade.
—Ah, poor dogsbody! he said in a kind voice. I must give you a shirt
and a few noserags. How are the secondhand breeks?
—They fit well enough, Stephen answered.
Buck Mulligan attacked the hollow beneath his underlip.
—The mockery of it, he said contentedly. Secondleg they should be. God
knows what poxy bowsy left them off. I have a lovely pair with a hair
stripe, grey. You'll look spiffing in them. I'm not joking, Kinch. You
look damn well when you're dressed.
—Thanks, Stephen said. I can't wear them if they are grey.
—He can't wear them, Buck Mulligan told his face in the mirror.
Etiquette is etiquette. He kills his mother but he can't wear grey
He folded his razor neatly and with stroking palps of fingers felt the
Stephen turned his gaze from the sea and to the plump face with its
smokeblue mobile eyes.
—That fellow I was with in the Ship last night, said Buck Mulligan,
says you have g.p.i. He's up in Dottyville with Connolly Norman. General
paralysis of the insane!
He swept the mirror a half circle in the air to flash the tidings abroad
in sunlight now radiant on the sea. His curling shaven lips laughed and
the edges of his white glittering teeth. Laughter seized all his strong
—Look at yourself, he said, you dreadful bard!
Stephen bent forward and peered at the mirror held out to him, cleft by
a crooked crack. Hair on end. As he and others see me. Who chose this
face for me? This dogsbody to rid of vermin. It asks me too.
—I pinched it out of the skivvy's room, Buck Mulligan said. It does her
all right. The aunt always keeps plainlooking servants for Malachi. Lead
him not into temptation. And her name is Ursula.
Laughing again, he brought the mirror away from Stephen's peering eyes.
—The rage of Caliban at not seeing his face in a mirror, he said. If
Wilde were only alive to see you!
Drawing back and pointing, Stephen said with bitterness:
—It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked looking-glass of a servant.
Buck Mulligan suddenly linked his arm in Stephen's and walked with him
round the tower, his razor and mirror clacking in the pocket where he
had thrust them.
—It's not fair to tease you like that, Kinch, is it? he said kindly.
God knows you have more spirit than any of them.
Parried again. He fears the lancet of my art as I fear that of his. The
—Cracked lookingglass of a servant! Tell that to the oxy chap
downstairs and touch him for a guinea. He's stinking with money and
thinks you're not a gentleman. His old fellow made his tin by selling
jalap to Zulus or some bloody swindle or other. God, Kinch, if you and I
could only work together we might do something for the island. Hellenise
Cranly's arm. His arm.
—And to think of your having to beg from these swine. I'm the only one
that knows what you are. Why don't you trust me more? What have you
up your nose against me? Is it Haines? If he makes any noise here I'll
bring down Seymour and we'll give him a ragging worse than they gave
Young shouts of moneyed voices in Clive Kempthorpe's rooms. Palefaces:
they hold their ribs with laughter, one clasping another. O, I shall
expire! Break the news to her gently, Aubrey! I shall die! With slit
ribbons of his shirt whipping the air he hops and hobbles round the
table, with trousers down at heels, chased by Ades of Magdalen with the
tailor's shears. A scared calf's face gilded with marmalade. I don't
want to be debagged! Don't you play the giddy ox with me!
Shouts from the open window startling evening in the quadrangle. A deaf
gardener, aproned, masked with Matthew Arnold's face, pushes his mower
on the sombre lawn watching narrowly the dancing motes of grasshalms.
To ourselves... new paganism... omphalos.
—Let him stay, Stephen said. There's nothing wrong with him except at
—Then what is it? Buck Mulligan asked impatiently. Cough it up. I'm
quite frank with you. What have you against me now?
They halted, looking towards the blunt cape of Bray Head that lay on the
water like the snout of a sleeping whale. Stephen freed his arm quietly.
—Do you wish me to tell you? he asked.
—Yes, what is it? Buck Mulligan answered. I don't remember anything.
He looked in Stephen's face as he spoke. A light wind passed his brow,
fanning softly his fair uncombed hair and stirring silver points of
anxiety in his eyes.
Stephen, depressed by his own voice, said:
—Do you remember the first day I went to your house after my mother's
Buck Mulligan frowned quickly and said:
—What? Where? I can't remember anything. I remember only ideas and
sensations. Why? What happened in the name of God?
—You were making tea, Stephen said, and went across the landing to
get more hot water. Your mother and some visitor came out of the
drawingroom. She asked you who was in your room.
—Yes? Buck Mulligan said. What did I say? I forget.
—You said, Stephen answered, O, it's only Dedalus whose mother is
A flush which made him seem younger and more engaging rose to Buck
—Did I say that? he asked. Well? What harm is that?
He shook his constraint from him nervously.
—And what is death, he asked, your mother's or yours or my own? You
saw only your mother die. I see them pop off every day in the Mater and
Richmond and cut up into tripes in the dissectingroom. It's a beastly
thing and nothing else. It simply doesn't matter. You wouldn't kneel
down to pray for your mother on her deathbed when she asked you. Why?
Because you have the cursed jesuit strain in you, only it's injected the
wrong way. To me it's all a mockery and beastly. Her cerebral lobes
are not functioning. She calls the doctor sir Peter Teazle and picks
buttercups off the quilt. Humour her till it's over. You crossed her
last wish in death and yet you sulk with me because I don't whinge like
some hired mute from Lalouette's. Absurd! I suppose I did say it. I
didn't mean to offend the memory of your mother.
He had spoken himself into boldness. Stephen, shielding the gaping
wounds which the words had left in his heart, said very coldly:
—I am not thinking of the offence to my mother.
—Of what then? Buck Mulligan asked.
—Of the offence to me, Stephen answered.
Buck Mulligan swung round on his heel.
—O, an impossible person! he exclaimed.
He walked off quickly round the parapet. Stephen stood at his post,
gazing over the calm sea towards the headland. Sea and headland now grew
dim. Pulses were beating in his eyes, veiling their sight, and he felt
the fever of his cheeks.
A voice within the tower called loudly:
—Are you up there, Mulligan?
—I'm coming, Buck Mulligan answered.
He turned towards Stephen and said:
—Look at the sea. What does it care about offences? Chuck Loyola,
Kinch, and come on down. The Sassenach wants his morning rashers.
His head halted again for a moment at the top of the staircase, level
with the roof:
—Don't mope over it all day, he said. I'm inconsequent. Give up the
His head vanished but the drone of his descending voice boomed out of
And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love's bitter mystery
For Fergus rules the brazen cars.
Woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the
stairhead seaward where he gazed. Inshore and farther out the mirror of
water whitened, spurned by lightshod hurrying feet. White breast of
the dim sea. The twining stresses, two by two. A hand plucking the
harpstrings, merging their twining chords. Wavewhite wedded words
shimmering on the dim tide.
A cloud began to cover the sun slowly, wholly, shadowing the bay in
deeper green. It lay beneath him, a bowl of bitter waters. Fergus' song:
I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her
door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity
I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those
words, Stephen: love's bitter mystery.
Her secrets: old featherfans, tasselled dancecards, powdered with musk,
a gaud of amber beads in her locked drawer. A birdcage hung in the sunny
window of her house when she was a girl. She heard old Royce sing in the
pantomime of Turko the Terrible and laughed with others when he sang:
I am the boy
That can enjoy
Phantasmal mirth, folded away: muskperfumed.
And no more turn aside and brood.
Folded away in the memory of nature with her toys. Memories beset his
brooding brain. Her glass of water from the kitchen tap when she had
approached the sacrament. A cored apple, filled with brown sugar,
roasting for her at the hob on a dark autumn evening. Her shapely
fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the children's
In a dream, silently, she had come to him, her wasted body within its
loose graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath,
bent over him with mute secret words, a faint odour of wetted ashes.
Her glazing eyes, staring out of death, to shake and bend my soul. On me
alone. The ghostcandle to light her agony. Ghostly light on the tortured
face. Her hoarse loud breath rattling in horror, while all prayed on
their knees. Her eyes on me to strike me down. Liliata rutilantium te
confessorum turma circumdet: iubilantium te virginum chorus excipiat.
Ghoul! Chewer of corpses!
No, mother! Let me be and let me live.
Buck Mulligan's voice sang from within the tower. It came nearer up the
staircase, calling again. Stephen, still trembling at his soul's cry,
heard warm running sunlight and in the air behind him friendly words.
—Dedalus, come down, like a good mosey. Breakfast is ready. Haines is
apologising for waking us last night. It's all right.
—I'm coming, Stephen said, turning.
—Do, for Jesus' sake, Buck Mulligan said. For my sake and for all our
His head disappeared and reappeared.
—I told him your symbol of Irish art. He says it's very clever. Touch
him for a quid, will you? A guinea, I mean.
—I get paid this morning, Stephen said.
—The school kip? Buck Mulligan said. How much? Four quid? Lend us one.
—If you want it, Stephen said.
—Four shining sovereigns, Buck Mulligan cried with delight. We'll
have a glorious drunk to astonish the druidy druids. Four omnipotent
He flung up his hands and tramped down the stone stairs, singing out of
tune with a Cockney accent:
O, won't we have a merry time,
Drinking whisky, beer and wine!
O, won't we have a merry time
On coronation day!
Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. The nickel shavingbowl shone,
forgotten, on the parapet. Why should I bring it down? Or leave it there
all day, forgotten friendship?
He went over to it, held it in his hands awhile, feeling its coolness,
smelling the clammy slaver of the lather in which the brush was stuck.
So I carried the boat of incense then at Clongowes. I am another now and
yet the same. A servant too. A server of a servant.
In the gloomy domed livingroom of the tower Buck Mulligan's gowned form
moved briskly to and fro about the hearth, hiding and revealing its
yellow glow. Two shafts of soft daylight fell across the flagged floor
from the high barbacans: and at the meeting of their rays a cloud of
coalsmoke and fumes of fried grease floated, turning.
—We'll be choked, Buck Mulligan said. Haines, open that door, will you?
Stephen laid the shavingbowl on the locker. A tall figure rose from the
hammock where it had been sitting, went to the doorway and pulled open
the inner doors.
—Have you the key? a voice asked.
—Dedalus has it, Buck Mulligan said. Janey Mack, I'm choked!
He howled, without looking up from the fire:
—It's in the lock, Stephen said, coming forward.
The key scraped round harshly twice and, when the heavy door had been
set ajar, welcome light and bright air entered. Haines stood at the
doorway, looking out. Stephen haled his upended valise to the table and
sat down to wait. Buck Mulligan tossed the fry on to the dish beside
him. Then he carried the dish and a large teapot over to the table, set
them down heavily and sighed with relief.
—I'm melting, he said, as the candle remarked when... But, hush! Not a
word more on that subject! Kinch, wake up! Bread, butter, honey. Haines,
come in. The grub is ready. Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts.
Where's the sugar? O, jay, there's no milk.
Stephen fetched the loaf and the pot of honey and the buttercooler from
the locker. Buck Mulligan sat down in a sudden pet.
—What sort of a kip is this? he said. I told her to come after eight.
—We can drink it black, Stephen said thirstily. There's a lemon in the
—O, damn you and your Paris fads! Buck Mulligan said. I want Sandycove
Haines came in from the doorway and said quietly:
—That woman is coming up with the milk.
—The blessings of God on you! Buck Mulligan cried, jumping up from his
chair. Sit down. Pour out the tea there. The sugar is in the bag. Here,
I can't go fumbling at the damned eggs.
He hacked through the fry on the dish and slapped it out on three
—In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.
Haines sat down to pour out the tea.
—I'm giving you two lumps each, he said. But, I say, Mulligan, you do
make strong tea, don't you?
Buck Mulligan, hewing thick slices from the loaf, said in an old woman's
—When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I
makes water I makes water.
—By Jove, it is tea, Haines said.
Buck Mulligan went on hewing and wheedling:
—So I do, Mrs Cahill, says she. Begob, ma'am, says Mrs Cahill, God
send you don't make them in the one pot.
He lunged towards his messmates in turn a thick slice of bread, impaled
on his knife.
—That's folk, he said very earnestly, for your book, Haines. Five
lines of text and ten pages of notes about the folk and the fishgods of
Dundrum. Printed by the weird sisters in the year of the big wind.
He turned to Stephen and asked in a fine puzzled voice, lifting his
—Can you recall, brother, is mother Grogan's tea and water pot spoken
of in the Mabinogion or is it in the Upanishads?
—I doubt it, said Stephen gravely.
—Do you now? Buck Mulligan said in the same tone. Your reasons, pray?
—I fancy, Stephen said as he ate, it did not exist in or out of the
Mabinogion. Mother Grogan was, one imagines, a kinswoman of Mary Ann.
Buck Mulligan's face smiled with delight.
—Charming! he said in a finical sweet voice, showing his white teeth
and blinking his eyes pleasantly. Do you think she was? Quite charming!
Then, suddenly overclouding all his features, he growled in a hoarsened
rasping voice as he hewed again vigorously at the loaf:
—For old Mary Ann
She doesn't care a damn.
But, hising up her petticoats...
He crammed his mouth with fry and munched and droned.
The doorway was darkened by an entering form.
—The milk, sir!
—Come in, ma'am, Mulligan said. Kinch, get the jug.
An old woman came forward and stood by Stephen's elbow.
—That's a lovely morning, sir, she said. Glory be to God.
—To whom? Mulligan said, glancing at her. Ah, to be sure!
Stephen reached back and took the milkjug from the locker.
—The islanders, Mulligan said to Haines casually, speak frequently of
the collector of prepuces.
—How much, sir? asked the old woman.
—A quart, Stephen said.
He watched her pour into the measure and thence into the jug rich white
milk, not hers. Old shrunken paps. She poured again a measureful and
a tilly. Old and secret she had entered from a morning world, maybe
a messenger. She praised the goodness of the milk, pouring it out.
Crouching by a patient cow at daybreak in the lush field, a witch on her
toadstool, her wrinkled fingers quick at the squirting dugs. They lowed
about her whom they knew, dewsilky cattle. Silk of the kine and poor old
woman, names given her in old times. A wandering crone, lowly form of
an immortal serving her conqueror and her gay betrayer, their common
cuckquean, a messenger from the secret morning. To serve or to upbraid,
whether he could not tell: but scorned to beg her favour.
—It is indeed, ma'am, Buck Mulligan said, pouring milk into their cups.
—Taste it, sir, she said.
He drank at her bidding.
—If we could live on good food like that, he said to her somewhat
loudly, we wouldn't have the country full of rotten teeth and rotten
guts. Living in a bogswamp, eating cheap food and the streets paved with
dust, horsedung and consumptives' spits.
—Are you a medical student, sir? the old woman asked.
—I am, ma'am, Buck Mulligan answered.
—Look at that now, she said.
Stephen listened in scornful silence. She bows her old head to a voice
that speaks to her loudly, her bonesetter, her medicineman: me she
slights. To the voice that will shrive and oil for the grave all there
is of her but her woman's unclean loins, of man's flesh made not in
God's likeness, the serpent's prey. And to the loud voice that now bids
her be silent with wondering unsteady eyes.
—Do you understand what he says? Stephen asked her.
—Is it French you are talking, sir? the old woman said to Haines.
Haines spoke to her again a longer speech, confidently.
—Irish, Buck Mulligan said. Is there Gaelic on you?
—I thought it was Irish, she said, by the sound of it. Are you from the
—I am an Englishman, Haines answered.
—He's English, Buck Mulligan said, and he thinks we ought to speak
Irish in Ireland.
—Sure we ought to, the old woman said, and I'm ashamed I don't speak
the language myself. I'm told it's a grand language by them that knows.
—Grand is no name for it, said Buck Mulligan. Wonderful entirely. Fill
us out some more tea, Kinch. Would you like a cup, ma'am?
—No, thank you, sir, the old woman said, slipping the ring of the
milkcan on her forearm and about to go.
Haines said to her:
—Have you your bill? We had better pay her, Mulligan, hadn't we?
Stephen filled again the three cups.
—Bill, sir? she said, halting. Well, it's seven mornings a pint at
twopence is seven twos is a shilling and twopence over and these three
mornings a quart at fourpence is three quarts is a shilling. That's a
shilling and one and two is two and two, sir.
Buck Mulligan sighed and, having filled his mouth with a crust thickly
buttered on both sides, stretched forth his legs and began to search his
—Pay up and look pleasant, Haines said to him, smiling.
Stephen filled a third cup, a spoonful of tea colouring faintly the
thick rich milk. Buck Mulligan brought up a florin, twisted it round in
his fingers and cried:
He passed it along the table towards the old woman, saying:
—Ask nothing more of me, sweet. All I can give you I give.
Stephen laid the coin in her uneager hand.
—We'll owe twopence, he said.
—Time enough, sir, she said, taking the coin. Time enough. Good
She curtseyed and went out, followed by Buck Mulligan's tender chant:
—Heart of my heart, were it more,
More would be laid at your feet.
He turned to Stephen and said:
—Seriously, Dedalus. I'm stony. Hurry out to your school kip and bring
us back some money. Today the bards must drink and junket. Ireland
expects that every man this day will do his duty.
—That reminds me, Haines said, rising, that I have to visit your
national library today.
—Our swim first, Buck Mulligan said.
He turned to Stephen and asked blandly:
—Is this the day for your monthly wash, Kinch?
Then he said to Haines:
—The unclean bard makes a point of washing once a month.
—All Ireland is washed by the gulfstream, Stephen said as he let honey
trickle over a slice of the loaf.
Haines from the corner where he was knotting easily a scarf about the
loose collar of his tennis shirt spoke:
—I intend to make a collection of your sayings if you will let me.
Speaking to me. They wash and tub and scrub. Agenbite of inwit.
Conscience. Yet here's a spot.
—That one about the cracked lookingglass of a servant being the symbol
of Irish art is deuced good.
Buck Mulligan kicked Stephen's foot under the table and said with warmth
—Wait till you hear him on Hamlet, Haines.
—Well, I mean it, Haines said, still speaking to Stephen. I was just
thinking of it when that poor old creature came in.
—Would I make any money by it? Stephen asked.
Haines laughed and, as he took his soft grey hat from the holdfast of
the hammock, said:
—I don't know, I'm sure.
He strolled out to the doorway. Buck Mulligan bent across to Stephen and
said with coarse vigour:
—You put your hoof in it now. What did you say that for?
—Well? Stephen said. The problem is to get money. From whom? From the
milkwoman or from him. It's a toss up, I think.
—I blow him out about you, Buck Mulligan said, and then you come along
with your lousy leer and your gloomy jesuit jibes.
—I see little hope, Stephen said, from her or from him.
Buck Mulligan sighed tragically and laid his hand on Stephen's arm.
—From me, Kinch, he said.
In a suddenly changed tone he added:
—To tell you the God's truth I think you're right. Damn all else they
are good for. Why don't you play them as I do? To hell with them all.
Let us get out of the kip.
He stood up, gravely ungirdled and disrobed himself of his gown, saying
—Mulligan is stripped of his garments.
He emptied his pockets on to the table.
—There's your snotrag, he said.
And putting on his stiff collar and rebellious tie he spoke to them,
chiding them, and to his dangling watchchain. His hands plunged and
rummaged in his trunk while he called for a clean handkerchief. God,
we'll simply have to dress the character. I want puce gloves and
green boots. Contradiction. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I
contradict myself. Mercurial Malachi. A limp black missile flew out of
his talking hands.
—And there's your Latin quarter hat, he said.
Stephen picked it up and put it on. Haines called to them from the
—Are you coming, you fellows?
—I'm ready, Buck Mulligan answered, going towards the door. Come out,
Kinch. You have eaten all we left, I suppose. Resigned he passed out
with grave words and gait, saying, wellnigh with sorrow:
—And going forth he met Butterly.
Stephen, taking his ashplant from its leaningplace, followed them out
and, as they went down the ladder, pulled to the slow iron door and
locked it. He put the huge key in his inner pocket.
At the foot of the ladder Buck Mulligan asked:
—Did you bring the key?
—I have it, Stephen said, preceding them.
He walked on. Behind him he heard Buck Mulligan club with his heavy
bathtowel the leader shoots of ferns or grasses.
—Down, sir! How dare you, sir!
—Do you pay rent for this tower?
—Twelve quid, Buck Mulligan said.
—To the secretary of state for war, Stephen added over his shoulder.
They halted while Haines surveyed the tower and said at last:
—Rather bleak in wintertime, I should say. Martello you call it?
—Billy Pitt had them built, Buck Mulligan said, when the French were on
the sea. But ours is the omphalos.
—What is your idea of Hamlet? Haines asked Stephen.
—No, no, Buck Mulligan shouted in pain. I'm not equal to Thomas Aquinas
and the fiftyfive reasons he has made out to prop it up. Wait till I
have a few pints in me first.
He turned to Stephen, saying, as he pulled down neatly the peaks of his
—You couldn't manage it under three pints, Kinch, could you?
—It has waited so long, Stephen said listlessly, it can wait longer.
—You pique my curiosity, Haines said amiably. Is it some paradox?
—Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde and paradoxes.
It's quite simple. He proves by algebra that Hamlet's grandson is
Shakespeare's grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own
—What? Haines said, beginning to point at Stephen. He himself?
Buck Mulligan slung his towel stolewise round his neck and, bending in
loose laughter, said to Stephen's ear:
—O, shade of Kinch the elder! Japhet in search of a father!
—We're always tired in the morning, Stephen said to Haines. And it is
rather long to tell.
Buck Mulligan, walking forward again, raised his hands.
—The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue of Dedalus, he said.
—I mean to say, Haines explained to Stephen as they followed, this
tower and these cliffs here remind me somehow of Elsinore. That beetles
o'er his base into the sea, isn't it?
Buck Mulligan turned suddenly for an instant towards Stephen but did
not speak. In the bright silent instant Stephen saw his own image in
cheap dusty mourning between their gay attires.
—It's a wonderful tale, Haines said, bringing them to halt again.
Eyes, pale as the sea the wind had freshened, paler, firm and prudent.
The seas' ruler, he gazed southward over the bay, empty save for the
smokeplume of the mailboat vague on the bright skyline and a sail
tacking by the Muglins.
—I read a theological interpretation of it somewhere, he said bemused.
The Father and the Son idea. The Son striving to be atoned with the
Buck Mulligan at once put on a blithe broadly smiling face. He looked
at them, his wellshaped mouth open happily, his eyes, from which he had
suddenly withdrawn all shrewd sense, blinking with mad gaiety. He moved
a doll's head to and fro, the brims of his Panama hat quivering, and
began to chant in a quiet happy foolish voice:
—I'm the queerest young fellow that ever you heard.
My mother's a jew, my father's a bird.
With Joseph the joiner I cannot agree.
So here's to disciples and Calvary.
He held up a forefinger of warning.
—If anyone thinks that I amn't divine
He'll get no free drinks when I'm making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That i make when the wine becomes water again.
He tugged swiftly at Stephen's ashplant in farewell and, running forward
to a brow of the cliff, fluttered his hands at his sides like fins or
wings of one about to rise in the air, and chanted:
—Goodbye, now, goodbye! Write down all I said
And tell Tom, Dick and Harry I rose from the dead.
What's bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly
And Olivet's breezy... Goodbye, now, goodbye!
He capered before them down towards the fortyfoot hole, fluttering his
winglike hands, leaping nimbly, Mercury's hat quivering in the fresh
wind that bore back to them his brief birdsweet cries.
Haines, who had been laughing guardedly, walked on beside Stephen and
—We oughtn't to laugh, I suppose. He's rather blasphemous. I'm not a
believer myself, that is to say. Still his gaiety takes the harm out of
it somehow, doesn't it? What did he call it? Joseph the Joiner?
—The ballad of joking Jesus, Stephen answered.
—O, Haines said, you have heard it before?
—Three times a day, after meals, Stephen said drily.
—You're not a believer, are you? Haines asked. I mean, a believer in
the narrow sense of the word. Creation from nothing and miracles and a
—There's only one sense of the word, it seems to me, Stephen said.
Haines stopped to take out a smooth silver case in which twinkled a
green stone. He sprang it open with his thumb and offered it.
—Thank you, Stephen said, taking a cigarette.
Haines helped himself and snapped the case to. He put it back in his
sidepocket and took from his waistcoatpocket a nickel tinderbox, sprang
it open too, and, having lit his cigarette, held the flaming spunk
towards Stephen in the shell of his hands.
—Yes, of course, he said, as they went on again. Either you believe
or you don't, isn't it? Personally I couldn't stomach that idea of a
personal God. You don't stand for that, I suppose?
—You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible
example of free thought.
He walked on, waiting to be spoken to, trailing his ashplant by his
side. Its ferrule followed lightly on the path, squealing at his heels.
My familiar, after me, calling, Steeeeeeeeeeeephen! A wavering line
along the path. They will walk on it tonight, coming here in the dark.
He wants that key. It is mine. I paid the rent. Now I eat his salt
bread. Give him the key too. All. He will ask for it. That was in his
—After all, Haines began...
Stephen turned and saw that the cold gaze which had measured him was not
—After all, I should think you are able to free yourself. You are your
own master, it seems to me.
—I am a servant of two masters, Stephen said, an English and an
—Italian? Haines said.
A crazy queen, old and jealous. Kneel down before me.
—And a third, Stephen said, there is who wants me for odd jobs.
—Italian? Haines said again. What do you mean?
—The imperial British state, Stephen answered, his colour rising, and
the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church.
Haines detached from his underlip some fibres of tobacco before he
—I can quite understand that, he said calmly. An Irishman must think
like that, I daresay. We feel in England that we have treated you rather
unfairly. It seems history is to blame.
The proud potent titles clanged over Stephen's memory the triumph
of their brazen bells: et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam
ecclesiam: the slow growth and change of rite and dogma like his own
rare thoughts, a chemistry of stars. Symbol of the apostles in the
mass for pope Marcellus, the voices blended, singing alone loud in
affirmation: and behind their chant the vigilant angel of the church
militant disarmed and menaced her heresiarchs. A horde of heresies
fleeing with mitres awry: Photius and the brood of mockers of
whom Mulligan was one, and Arius, warring his life long upon the
consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, and Valentine, spurning
Christ's terrene body, and the subtle African heresiarch Sabellius who
held that the Father was Himself His own Son. Words Mulligan had spoken
a moment since in mockery to the stranger. Idle mockery. The void
awaits surely all them that weave the wind: a menace, a disarming and a
worsting from those embattled angels of the church, Michael's host,
who defend her ever in the hour of conflict with their lances and their
Hear, hear! Prolonged applause. Zut! Nom de Dieu!
—Of course I'm a Britisher, Haines's voice said, and I feel as one. I
don't want to see my country fall into the hands of German jews either.
That's our national problem, I'm afraid, just now.
Two men stood at the verge of the cliff, watching: businessman, boatman.
—She's making for Bullock harbour.
The boatman nodded towards the north of the bay with some disdain.
—There's five fathoms out there, he said. It'll be swept up that way
when the tide comes in about one. It's nine days today.
The man that was drowned. A sail veering about the blank bay waiting
for a swollen bundle to bob up, roll over to the sun a puffy face,
saltwhite. Here I am.
They followed the winding path down to the creek. Buck Mulligan stood on
a stone, in shirtsleeves, his unclipped tie rippling over his shoulder.
A young man clinging to a spur of rock near him, moved slowly frogwise
his green legs in the deep jelly of the water.
—Is the brother with you, Malachi?
—Down in Westmeath. With the Bannons.
—Still there? I got a card from Bannon. Says he found a sweet young
thing down there. Photo girl he calls her.
—Snapshot, eh? Brief exposure.
Buck Mulligan sat down to unlace his boots. An elderly man shot up near
the spur of rock a blowing red face. He scrambled up by the stones,
water glistening on his pate and on its garland of grey hair, water
rilling over his chest and paunch and spilling jets out of his black
Buck Mulligan made way for him to scramble past and, glancing at Haines
and Stephen, crossed himself piously with his thumbnail at brow and lips
—Seymour's back in town, the young man said, grasping again his spur of
rock. Chucked medicine and going in for the army.
—Ah, go to God! Buck Mulligan said.
—Going over next week to stew. You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily?
—Spooning with him last night on the pier. The father is rotto with
—Is she up the pole?
—Better ask Seymour that.
—Seymour a bleeding officer! Buck Mulligan said.
He nodded to himself as he drew off his trousers and stood up, saying
—Redheaded women buck like goats.
He broke off in alarm, feeling his side under his flapping shirt.
—My twelfth rib is gone, he cried. I'm the Uebermensch. Toothless
Kinch and I, the supermen.
He struggled out of his shirt and flung it behind him to where his
—Are you going in here, Malachi?
—Yes. Make room in the bed.
The young man shoved himself backward through the water and reached
the middle of the creek in two long clean strokes. Haines sat down on a
—Are you not coming in? Buck Mulligan asked.
—Later on, Haines said. Not on my breakfast.
Stephen turned away.
—I'm going, Mulligan, he said.
—Give us that key, Kinch, Buck Mulligan said, to keep my chemise flat.
Stephen handed him the key. Buck Mulligan laid it across his heaped
—And twopence, he said, for a pint. Throw it there.
Stephen threw two pennies on the soft heap. Dressing, undressing. Buck
Mulligan erect, with joined hands before him, said solemnly:
—He who stealeth from the poor lendeth to the Lord. Thus spake
His plump body plunged.
—We'll see you again, Haines said, turning as Stephen walked up the
path and smiling at wild Irish.
Horn of a bull, hoof of a horse, smile of a Saxon.
—The Ship, Buck Mulligan cried. Half twelve.
—Good, Stephen said.
He walked along the upwardcurving path.
Iubilantium te virginum.
The priest's grey nimbus in a niche where he dressed discreetly. I will
not sleep here tonight. Home also I cannot go.
A voice, sweettoned and sustained, called to him from the sea. Turning
the curve he waved his hand. It called again. A sleek brown head, a
seal's, far out on the water, round.
—You, Cochrane, what city sent for him?
—Very good. Well?
—There was a battle, sir.
—Very good. Where?
The boy's blank face asked the blank window.
Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as
memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake's wings
of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling
masonry, and time one livid final flame. What's left us then?
—I forget the place, sir. 279 B. C.
—Asculum, Stephen said, glancing at the name and date in the
—Yes, sir. And he said: Another victory like that and we are done
That phrase the world had remembered. A dull ease of the mind. From
a hill above a corpsestrewn plain a general speaking to his officers,
leaned upon his spear. Any general to any officers. They lend ear.
—You, Armstrong, Stephen said. What was the end of Pyrrhus?
—End of Pyrrhus, sir?
—I know, sir. Ask me, sir, Comyn said.
—Wait. You, Armstrong. Do you know anything about Pyrrhus?
A bag of figrolls lay snugly in Armstrong's satchel. He curled them
between his palms at whiles and swallowed them softly. Crumbs adhered to
the tissue of his lips. A sweetened boy's breath. Welloff people, proud
that their eldest son was in the navy. Vico road, Dalkey.
—Pyrrhus, sir? Pyrrhus, a pier.
All laughed. Mirthless high malicious laughter. Armstrong looked round
at his classmates, silly glee in profile. In a moment they will laugh
more loudly, aware of my lack of rule and of the fees their papas pay.
—Tell me now, Stephen said, poking the boy's shoulder with the book,
what is a pier.
—A pier, sir, Armstrong said. A thing out in the water. A kind of a
bridge. Kingstown pier, sir.
Some laughed again: mirthless but with meaning. Two in the back bench
whispered. Yes. They knew: had never learned nor ever been innocent.
All. With envy he watched their faces: Edith, Ethel, Gerty, Lily. Their
likes: their breaths, too, sweetened with tea and jam, their bracelets
tittering in the struggle.
—Kingstown pier, Stephen said. Yes, a disappointed bridge.
The words troubled their gaze.
—How, sir? Comyn asked. A bridge is across a river.
For Haines's chapbook. No-one here to hear. Tonight deftly amid wild
drink and talk, to pierce the polished mail of his mind. What then? A
jester at the court of his master, indulged and disesteemed, winning a
clement master's praise. Why had they chosen all that part? Not wholly
for the smooth caress. For them too history was a tale like any other
too often heard, their land a pawnshop.
Had Pyrrhus not fallen by a beldam's hand in Argos or Julius Caesar not
been knifed to death. They are not to be thought away. Time has
branded them and fettered they are lodged in the room of the infinite
possibilities they have ousted. But can those have been possible seeing
that they never were? Or was that only possible which came to pass?
Weave, weaver of the wind.
—Tell us a story, sir.
—O, do, sir. A ghoststory.
—Where do you begin in this? Stephen asked, opening another book.
--Weep no more, Comyn said.
—Go on then, Talbot.
—And the story, sir?
—After, Stephen said. Go on, Talbot.
A swarthy boy opened a book and propped it nimbly under the breastwork
of his satchel. He recited jerks of verse with odd glances at the text:
—Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor...
It must be a movement then, an actuality of the possible as possible.
Aristotle's phrase formed itself within the gabbled verses and floated
out into the studious silence of the library of Saint Genevieve where he
had read, sheltered from the sin of Paris, night by night. By his elbow
a delicate Siamese conned a handbook of strategy. Fed and feeding brains
about me: under glowlamps, impaled, with faintly beating feelers: and
in my mind's darkness a sloth of the underworld, reluctant, shy of
brightness, shifting her dragon scaly folds. Thought is the thought of
thought. Tranquil brightness. The soul is in a manner all that is: the
soul is the form of forms. Tranquility sudden, vast, candescent: form of
—Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves,
Through the dear might...
—Turn over, Stephen said quietly. I don't see anything.
—What, sir? Talbot asked simply, bending forward.
His hand turned the page over. He leaned back and went on again, having
just remembered. Of him that walked the waves. Here also over these
craven hearts his shadow lies and on the scoffer's heart and lips and
on mine. It lies upon their eager faces who offered him a coin of the
tribute. To Caesar what is Caesar's, to God what is God's. A long
look from dark eyes, a riddling sentence to be woven and woven on the
church's looms. Ay.
Riddle me, riddle me, randy ro.
My father gave me seeds to sow.
Talbot slid his closed book into his satchel.
—Have I heard all? Stephen asked.
—Yes, sir. Hockey at ten, sir.
—Half day, sir. Thursday.
—Who can answer a riddle? Stephen asked.
They bundled their books away, pencils clacking, pages rustling.
Crowding together they strapped and buckled their satchels, all gabbling
—A riddle, sir? Ask me, sir.
—O, ask me, sir.
—A hard one, sir.
—This is the riddle, Stephen said:
The cock crew,
The sky was blue:
The bells in heaven
Were striking eleven.
'Tis time for this poor soul
To go to heaven.
What is that?
—Again, sir. We didn't hear.
Their eyes grew bigger as the lines were repeated. After a silence
—What is it, sir? We give it up.
Stephen, his throat itching, answered:
—The fox burying his grandmother under a hollybush.
He stood up and gave a shout of nervous laughter to which their cries
A stick struck the door and a voice in the corridor called:
They broke asunder, sidling out of their benches, leaping them. Quickly
they were gone and from the lumberroom came the rattle of sticks and
clamour of their boots and tongues.
Sargent who alone had lingered came forward slowly, showing an open
copybook. His thick hair and scraggy neck gave witness of unreadiness
and through his misty glasses weak eyes looked up pleading. On his
cheek, dull and bloodless, a soft stain of ink lay, dateshaped, recent
and damp as a snail's bed.
He held out his copybook. The word Sums was written on the headline.
Beneath were sloping figures and at the foot a crooked signature with
blind loops and a blot. Cyril Sargent: his name and seal.
—Mr Deasy told me to write them out all again, he said, and show them
to you, sir.
Stephen touched the edges of the book. Futility.
—Do you understand how to do them now? he asked.
—Numbers eleven to fifteen, Sargent answered. Mr Deasy said I was to
copy them off the board, sir.
—Can you do them yourself? Stephen asked.
Ugly and futile: lean neck and thick hair and a stain of ink, a snail's
bed. Yet someone had loved him, borne him in her arms and in her heart.
But for her the race of the world would have trampled him underfoot,
a squashed boneless snail. She had loved his weak watery blood drained
from her own. Was that then real? The only true thing in life? His
mother's prostrate body the fiery Columbanus in holy zeal bestrode.
She was no more: the trembling skeleton of a twig burnt in the fire,
an odour of rosewood and wetted ashes. She had saved him from being
trampled underfoot and had gone, scarcely having been. A poor soul
gone to heaven: and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek
of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth,
listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped.
Sitting at his side Stephen solved out the problem. He proves by algebra
that Shakespeare's ghost is Hamlet's grandfather. Sargent peered askance
through his slanted glasses. Hockeysticks rattled in the lumberroom: the
hollow knock of a ball and calls from the field.
Across the page the symbols moved in grave morrice, in the mummery of
their letters, wearing quaint caps of squares and cubes. Give hands,
traverse, bow to partner: so: imps of fancy of the Moors. Gone too from
the world, Averroes and Moses Maimonides, dark men in mien and movement,
flashing in their mocking mirrors the obscure soul of the world, a
darkness shining in brightness which brightness could not comprehend.
—Do you understand now? Can you work the second for yourself?
In long shaky strokes Sargent copied the data. Waiting always for a word
of help his hand moved faithfully the unsteady symbols, a faint hue of
shame flickering behind his dull skin. Amor matris: subjective and
objective genitive. With her weak blood and wheysour milk she had fed
him and hid from sight of others his swaddling bands.
Like him was I, these sloping shoulders, this gracelessness. My
childhood bends beside me. Too far for me to lay a hand there once or
lightly. Mine is far and his secret as our eyes. Secrets, silent, stony
sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their
tyranny: tyrants, willing to be dethroned.
The sum was done.
—It is very simple, Stephen said as he stood up.
—Yes, sir. Thanks, Sargent answered.
He dried the page with a sheet of thin blottingpaper and carried his
copybook back to his bench.
—You had better get your stick and go out to the others, Stephen said
as he followed towards the door the boy's graceless form.
In the corridor his name was heard, called from the playfield.
—Run on, Stephen said. Mr Deasy is calling you.
He stood in the porch and watched the laggard hurry towards the scrappy
field where sharp voices were in strife. They were sorted in teams and
Mr Deasy came away stepping over wisps of grass with gaitered feet. When
he had reached the schoolhouse voices again contending called to him. He
turned his angry white moustache.
—What is it now? he cried continually without listening.
—Cochrane and Halliday are on the same side, sir, Stephen said.
—Will you wait in my study for a moment, Mr Deasy said, till I restore
And as he stepped fussily back across the field his old man's voice
—What is the matter? What is it now?
Their sharp voices cried about him on all sides: their many forms closed
round him, the garish sunshine bleaching the honey of his illdyed head.
Stale smoky air hung in the study with the smell of drab abraded leather
of its chairs. As on the first day he bargained with me here. As it was
in the beginning, is now. On the sideboard the tray of Stuart coins,
base treasure of a bog: and ever shall be. And snug in their spooncase
of purple plush, faded, the twelve apostles having preached to all the
gentiles: world without end.
A hasty step over the stone porch and in the corridor. Blowing out his
rare moustache Mr Deasy halted at the table.
—First, our little financial settlement, he said.
He brought out of his coat a pocketbook bound by a leather thong. It
slapped open and he took from it two notes, one of joined halves, and
laid them carefully on the table.
—Two, he said, strapping and stowing his pocketbook away.
And now his strongroom for the gold. Stephen's embarrassed hand moved
over the shells heaped in the cold stone mortar: whelks and money
cowries and leopard shells: and this, whorled as an emir's turban, and
this, the scallop of saint James. An old pilgrim's hoard, dead treasure,
A sovereign fell, bright and new, on the soft pile of the tablecloth.
—Three, Mr Deasy said, turning his little savingsbox about in his hand.
These are handy things to have. See. This is for sovereigns. This is for
shillings. Sixpences, halfcrowns. And here crowns. See.
He shot from it two crowns and two shillings.
—Three twelve, he said. I think you'll find that's right.
—Thank you, sir, Stephen said, gathering the money together with shy
haste and putting it all in a pocket of his trousers.
—No thanks at all, Mr Deasy said. You have earned it.
Stephen's hand, free again, went back to the hollow shells. Symbols too
of beauty and of power. A lump in my pocket: symbols soiled by greed and
—Don't carry it like that, Mr Deasy said. You'll pull it out somewhere
and lose it. You just buy one of these machines. You'll find them very
—Mine would be often empty, Stephen said.
The same room and hour, the same wisdom: and I the same. Three times
now. Three nooses round me here. Well? I can break them in this instant
if I will.
—Because you don't save, Mr Deasy said, pointing his finger. You don't
know yet what money is. Money is power. When you have lived as long as I
have. I know, I know. If youth but knew. But what does Shakespeare say?
Put but money in thy purse.
—Iago, Stephen murmured.
He lifted his gaze from the idle shells to the old man's stare.
—He knew what money was, Mr Deasy said. He made money. A poet, yes, but
an Englishman too. Do you know what is the pride of the English? Do you
know what is the proudest word you will ever hear from an Englishman's
The seas' ruler. His seacold eyes looked on the empty bay: it seems
history is to blame: on me and on my words, unhating.
—That on his empire, Stephen said, the sun never sets.
—Ba! Mr Deasy cried. That's not English. A French Celt said that. He
tapped his savingsbox against his thumbnail.
—I will tell you, he said solemnly, what is his proudest boast. I paid
Good man, good man.
—I paid my way. I never borrowed a shilling in my life. Can you feel
that? I owe nothing. Can you?
Mulligan, nine pounds, three pairs of socks, one pair brogues, ties.
Curran, ten guineas. McCann, one guinea. Fred Ryan, two shillings.
Temple, two lunches. Russell, one guinea, Cousins, ten shillings, Bob
Reynolds, half a guinea, Koehler, three guineas, Mrs MacKernan, five
weeks' board. The lump I have is useless.
—For the moment, no, Stephen answered.
Mr Deasy laughed with rich delight, putting back his savingsbox.
—I knew you couldn't, he said joyously. But one day you must feel it.
We are a generous people but we must also be just.
—I fear those big words, Stephen said, which make us so unhappy.
Mr Deasy stared sternly for some moments over the mantelpiece at the
shapely bulk of a man in tartan filibegs: Albert Edward, prince of
—You think me an old fogey and an old tory, his thoughtful voice said.
I saw three generations since O'Connell's time. I remember the famine in
'46. Do you know that the orange lodges agitated for repeal of the
union twenty years before O'Connell did or before the prelates of your
communion denounced him as a demagogue? You fenians forget some things.
Glorious, pious and immortal memory. The lodge of Diamond in Armagh the
splendid behung with corpses of papishes. Hoarse, masked and armed, the
planters' covenant. The black north and true blue bible. Croppies lie
Stephen sketched a brief gesture.
—I have rebel blood in me too, Mr Deasy said. On the spindle side. But
I am descended from sir John Blackwood who voted for the union. We are
all Irish, all kings' sons.
—Alas, Stephen said.
—Per vias rectas, Mr Deasy said firmly, was his motto. He voted for
it and put on his topboots to ride to Dublin from the Ards of Down to do
Lal the ral the ra
The rocky road to Dublin.
A gruff squire on horseback with shiny topboots. Soft day, sir John!
Soft day, your honour!... Day!... Day!... Two topboots jog dangling
on to Dublin. Lal the ral the ra. Lal the ral the raddy.
—That reminds me, Mr Deasy said. You can do me a favour, Mr Dedalus,
with some of your literary friends. I have a letter here for the press.
Sit down a moment. I have just to copy the end.
He went to the desk near the window, pulled in his chair twice and read
off some words from the sheet on the drum of his typewriter.
—Sit down. Excuse me, he said over his shoulder, the dictates of
common sense. Just a moment.
He peered from under his shaggy brows at the manuscript by his elbow
and, muttering, began to prod the stiff buttons of the keyboard slowly,
sometimes blowing as he screwed up the drum to erase an error.
Stephen seated himself noiselessly before the princely presence. Framed
around the walls images of vanished horses stood in homage, their meek
heads poised in air: lord Hastings' Repulse, the duke of Westminster's
Shotover, the duke of Beaufort's Ceylon, prix de Paris, 1866. Elfin
riders sat them, watchful of a sign. He saw their speeds, backing king's
colours, and shouted with the shouts of vanished crowds.
—Full stop, Mr Deasy bade his keys. But prompt ventilation of this
Where Cranly led me to get rich quick, hunting his winners among the
mudsplashed brakes, amid the bawls of bookies on their pitches and reek
of the canteen, over the motley slush. Fair Rebel! Fair Rebel! Even
money the favourite: ten to one the field. Dicers and thimbleriggers
we hurried by after the hoofs, the vying caps and jackets and past
the meatfaced woman, a butcher's dame, nuzzling thirstily her clove of
Shouts rang shrill from the boys' playfield and a whirring whistle.
Again: a goal. I am among them, among their battling bodies in a medley,
the joust of life. You mean that knockkneed mother's darling who seems
to be slightly crawsick? Jousts. Time shocked rebounds, shock by shock.
Jousts, slush and uproar of battles, the frozen deathspew of the slain,
a shout of spearspikes baited with men's bloodied guts.
—Now then, Mr Deasy said, rising.
He came to the table, pinning together his sheets. Stephen stood up.
—I have put the matter into a nutshell, Mr Deasy said. It's about
the foot and mouth disease. Just look through it. There can be no two
opinions on the matter.
May I trespass on your valuable space. That doctrine of laissez faire
which so often in our history. Our cattle trade. The way of all our old
industries. Liverpool ring which jockeyed the Galway harbour scheme.
European conflagration. Grain supplies through the narrow waters of
the channel. The pluterperfect imperturbability of the department of
agriculture. Pardoned a classical allusion. Cassandra. By a woman who
was no better than she should be. To come to the point at issue.
—I don't mince words, do I? Mr Deasy asked as Stephen read on.
Foot and mouth disease. Known as Koch's preparation. Serum and virus.
Percentage of salted horses. Rinderpest. Emperor's horses at Murzsteg,
lower Austria. Veterinary surgeons. Mr Henry Blackwood Price. Courteous
offer a fair trial. Dictates of common sense. Allimportant question. In
every sense of the word take the bull by the horns. Thanking you for the
hospitality of your columns.
—I want that to be printed and read, Mr Deasy said. You will see at the
next outbreak they will put an embargo on Irish cattle. And it can
be cured. It is cured. My cousin, Blackwood Price, writes to me it is
regularly treated and cured in Austria by cattledoctors there. They
offer to come over here. I am trying to work up influence with
the department. Now I'm going to try publicity. I am surrounded by
difficulties, by... intrigues by... backstairs influence by...
He raised his forefinger and beat the air oldly before his voice spoke.
—Mark my words, Mr Dedalus, he said. England is in the hands of the
jews. In all the highest places: her finance, her press. And they are
the signs of a nation's decay. Wherever they gather they eat up the
nation's vital strength. I have seen it coming these years. As sure
as we are standing here the jew merchants are already at their work of
destruction. Old England is dying.
He stepped swiftly off, his eyes coming to blue life as they passed a
broad sunbeam. He faced about and back again.
—Dying, he said again, if not dead by now.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's windingsheet.
His eyes open wide in vision stared sternly across the sunbeam in which
—A merchant, Stephen said, is one who buys cheap and sells dear, jew or
gentile, is he not?
—They sinned against the light, Mr Deasy said gravely. And you can see
the darkness in their eyes. And that is why they are wanderers on the
earth to this day.
On the steps of the Paris stock exchange the goldskinned men quoting
prices on their gemmed fingers. Gabble of geese. They swarmed loud,
uncouth about the temple, their heads thickplotting under maladroit silk
hats. Not theirs: these clothes, this speech, these gestures. Their full
slow eyes belied the words, the gestures eager and unoffending, but
knew the rancours massed about them and knew their zeal was vain. Vain
patience to heap and hoard. Time surely would scatter all. A hoard
heaped by the roadside: plundered and passing on. Their eyes knew their
years of wandering and, patient, knew the dishonours of their flesh.
—Who has not? Stephen said.
—What do you mean? Mr Deasy asked.
He came forward a pace and stood by the table. His underjaw fell
sideways open uncertainly. Is this old wisdom? He waits to hear from me.
—History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
From the playfield the boys raised a shout. A whirring whistle: goal.
What if that nightmare gave you a back kick?
—The ways of the Creator are not our ways, Mr Deasy said. All human
history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.
Stephen jerked his thumb towards the window, saying:
—That is God.
Hooray! Ay! Whrrwhee!
—What? Mr Deasy asked.
—A shout in the street, Stephen answered, shrugging his shoulders.
Mr Deasy looked down and held for awhile the wings of his nose tweaked
between his fingers. Looking up again he set them free.
—I am happier than you are, he said. We have committed many errors and
many sins. A woman brought sin into the world. For a woman who was no
better than she should be, Helen, the runaway wife of Menelaus, ten
years the Greeks made war on Troy. A faithless wife first brought the
strangers to our shore here, MacMurrough's wife and her leman, O'Rourke,
prince of Breffni. A woman too brought Parnell low. Many errors, many
failures but not the one sin. I am a struggler now at the end of my
days. But I will fight for the right till the end.
For Ulster will fight
And Ulster will be right.
Stephen raised the sheets in his hand.
—Well, sir, he began...
—I foresee, Mr Deasy said, that you will not remain here very long
at this work. You were not born to be a teacher, I think. Perhaps I am
—A learner rather, Stephen said.
And here what will you learn more?
Mr Deasy shook his head.
—Who knows? he said. To learn one must be humble. But life is the great
Stephen rustled the sheets again.
—As regards these, he began.
—Yes, Mr Deasy said. You have two copies there. If you can have them
published at once.
Telegraph. Irish Homestead.
—I will try, Stephen said, and let you know tomorrow. I know two
—That will do, Mr Deasy said briskly. I wrote last night to Mr Field,
M.P. There is a meeting of the cattletraders' association today at the
City Arms hotel. I asked him to lay my letter before the meeting. You
see if you can get it into your two papers. What are they?
—The Evening Telegraph...
—That will do, Mr Deasy said. There is no time to lose. Now I have to
answer that letter from my cousin.
—Good morning, sir, Stephen said, putting the sheets in his pocket.
—Not at all, Mr Deasy said as he searched the papers on his desk. I
like to break a lance with you, old as I am.
—Good morning, sir, Stephen said again, bowing to his bent back.
He went out by the open porch and down the gravel path under the trees,
hearing the cries of voices and crack of sticks from the playfield.
The lions couchant on the pillars as he passed out through the gate:
toothless terrors. Still I will help him in his fight. Mulligan will dub
me a new name: the bullockbefriending bard.
Running after me. No more letters, I hope.
—Just one moment.
—Yes, sir, Stephen said, turning back at the gate.
Mr Deasy halted, breathing hard and swallowing his breath.
—I just wanted to say, he said. Ireland, they say, has the honour of
being the only country which never persecuted the jews. Do you know
that? No. And do you know why?
He frowned sternly on the bright air.
—Why, sir? Stephen asked, beginning to smile.
—Because she never let them in, Mr Deasy said solemnly.
A coughball of laughter leaped from his throat dragging after it a
rattling chain of phlegm. He turned back quickly, coughing, laughing,
his lifted arms waving to the air.
—She never let them in, he cried again through his laughter as he
stamped on gaitered feet over the gravel of the path. That's why.
On his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung
spangles, dancing coins.
Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought
through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn
and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver,
rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies.
Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By
knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a
millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why
in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it it
is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.
Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and
shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time.
A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six:
the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the
audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles
o'er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably! I am
getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with
it: they do. My two feet in his boots are at the ends of his legs,
nebeneinander. Sounds solid: made by the mallet of Los Demiurgos.
Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick,
crick. Wild sea money. Dominie Deasy kens them a'. Won't you come to
Sandymount, Madeline the mare?
Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. Acatalectic tetrameter of iambs
marching. No, agallop: deline the mare.
Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I
open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I
See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world
They came down the steps from Leahy's terrace prudently, Frauenzimmer:
and down the shelving shore flabbily, their splayed feet sinking in
the silted sand. Like me, like Algy, coming down to our mighty mother.
Number one swung lourdily her midwife's bag, the other's gamp poked in
the beach. From the liberties, out for the day. Mrs Florence MacCabe,
relict of the late Patk MacCabe, deeply lamented, of Bride Street. One
of her sisterhood lugged me squealing into life. Creation from nothing.
What has she in the bag? A misbirth with a trailing navelcord, hushed
in ruddy wool. The cords of all link back, strandentwining cable of
all flesh. That is why mystic monks. Will you be as gods? Gaze in your
omphalos. Hello! Kinch here. Put me on to Edenville. Aleph, alpha:
nought, nought, one.
Spouse and helpmate of Adam Kadmon: Heva, naked Eve. She had no navel.
Gaze. Belly without blemish, bulging big, a buckler of taut vellum,
no, whiteheaped corn, orient and immortal, standing from everlasting to
everlasting. Womb of sin.
Wombed in sin darkness I was too, made not begotten. By them, the man
with my voice and my eyes and a ghostwoman with ashes on her breath.
They clasped and sundered, did the coupler's will. From before the ages
He willed me and now may not will me away or ever. A lex eterna stays
about Him. Is that then the divine substance wherein Father and Son are
consubstantial? Where is poor dear Arius to try conclusions? Warring
his life long upon the contransmagnificandjewbangtantiality. Illstarred
heresiarch' In a Greek watercloset he breathed his last: euthanasia.
With beaded mitre and with crozier, stalled upon his throne, widower of
a widowed see, with upstiffed omophorion, with clotted hinderparts.
Airs romped round him, nipping and eager airs. They are coming, waves.
The whitemaned seahorses, champing, brightwindbridled, the steeds of
I mustn't forget his letter for the press. And after? The Ship, half
twelve. By the way go easy with that money like a good young imbecile.
Yes, I must.
His pace slackened. Here. Am I going to aunt Sara's or not? My
consubstantial father's voice. Did you see anything of your artist
brother Stephen lately? No? Sure he's not down in Strasburg terrace with
his aunt Sally? Couldn't he fly a bit higher than that, eh? And and and
and tell us, Stephen, how is uncle Si? O, weeping God, the things I
married into! De boys up in de hayloft. The drunken little costdrawer
and his brother, the cornet player. Highly respectable gondoliers! And
skeweyed Walter sirring his father, no less! Sir. Yes, sir. No, sir.
Jesus wept: and no wonder, by Christ!
I pull the wheezy bell of their shuttered cottage: and wait. They take
me for a dun, peer out from a coign of vantage.
—It's Stephen, sir.
—Let him in. Let Stephen in.
A bolt drawn back and Walter welcomes me.
—We thought you were someone else.
In his broad bed nuncle Richie, pillowed and blanketed, extends over the
hillock of his knees a sturdy forearm. Cleanchested. He has washed the
He lays aside the lapboard whereon he drafts his bills of costs for
the eyes of master Goff and master Shapland Tandy, filing consents and
common searches and a writ of Duces Tecum. A bogoak frame over his
bald head: Wilde's Requiescat. The drone of his misleading whistle
brings Walter back.
—Malt for Richie and Stephen, tell mother. Where is she?
—Bathing Crissie, sir.
Papa's little bedpal. Lump of love.
—No, uncle Richie...
—Call me Richie. Damn your lithia water. It lowers. Whusky!
—Uncle Richie, really...
—Sit down or by the law Harry I'll knock you down.
Walter squints vainly for a chair.
—He has nothing to sit down on, sir.
—He has nowhere to put it, you mug. Bring in our chippendale chair.
Would you like a bite of something? None of your damned lawdeedaw airs
here. The rich of a rasher fried with a herring? Sure? So much the
better. We have nothing in the house but backache pills.
He drones bars of Ferrando's aria di sortita. The grandest number,
Stephen, in the whole opera. Listen.
His tuneful whistle sounds again, finely shaded, with rushes of the air,
his fists bigdrumming on his padded knees.
This wind is sweeter.
Houses of decay, mine, his and all. You told the Clongowes gentry you
had an uncle a judge and an uncle a general in the army. Come out of
them, Stephen. Beauty is not there. Nor in the stagnant bay of Marsh's
library where you read the fading prophecies of Joachim Abbas. For whom?
The hundredheaded rabble of the cathedral close. A hater of his kind
ran from them to the wood of madness, his mane foaming in the moon,
his eyeballs stars. Houyhnhnm, horsenostrilled. The oval equine
faces, Temple, Buck Mulligan, Foxy Campbell, Lanternjaws. Abbas
father,—furious dean, what offence laid fire to their brains? Paff!
Descende, calve, ut ne amplius decalveris. A garland of grey hair
on his comminated head see him me clambering down to the footpace
(descende!), clutching a monstrance, basiliskeyed. Get down, baldpoll!
A choir gives back menace and echo, assisting about the altar's horns,
the snorted Latin of jackpriests moving burly in their albs, tonsured
and oiled and gelded, fat with the fat of kidneys of wheat.
And at the same instant perhaps a priest round the corner is elevating
it. Dringdring! And two streets off another locking it into a pyx.
Dringadring! And in a ladychapel another taking housel all to his own
cheek. Dringdring! Down, up, forward, back. Dan Occam thought of that,
invincible doctor. A misty English morning the imp hypostasis tickled
his brain. Bringing his host down and kneeling he heard twine with his
second bell the first bell in the transept (he is lifting his) and,
rising, heard (now I am lifting) their two bells (he is kneeling) twang
Cousin Stephen, you will never be a saint. Isle of saints. You were
awfully holy, weren't you? You prayed to the Blessed Virgin that you
might not have a red nose. You prayed to the devil in Serpentine avenue
that the fubsy widow in front might lift her clothes still more from the
wet street. O si, certo! Sell your soul for that, do, dyed rags pinned
round a squaw. More tell me, more still!! On the top of the Howth tram
alone crying to the rain: Naked women! naked women! What about that,
What about what? What else were they invented for?
Reading two pages apiece of seven books every night, eh? I was young.
You bowed to yourself in the mirror, stepping forward to applause
earnestly, striking face. Hurray for the Goddamned idiot! Hray! No-one
saw: tell no-one. Books you were going to write with letters for titles.
Have you read his F? O yes, but I prefer Q. Yes, but W is wonderful. O
yes, W. Remember your epiphanies written on green oval leaves, deeply
deep, copies to be sent if you died to all the great libraries of the
world, including Alexandria? Someone was to read them there after a few
thousand years, a mahamanvantara. Pico della Mirandola like. Ay, very
like a whale. When one reads these strange pages of one long gone one
feels that one is at one with one who once...
The grainy sand had gone from under his feet. His boots trod again
a damp crackling mast, razorshells, squeaking pebbles, that on the
unnumbered pebbles beats, wood sieved by the shipworm, lost Armada.
Unwholesome sandflats waited to suck his treading soles, breathing
upward sewage breath, a pocket of seaweed smouldered in seafire under a
midden of man's ashes. He coasted them, walking warily. A porterbottle
stood up, stogged to its waist, in the cakey sand dough. A sentinel:
isle of dreadful thirst. Broken hoops on the shore; at the land a maze
of dark cunning nets; farther away chalkscrawled backdoors and on the
higher beach a dryingline with two crucified shirts. Ringsend: wigwams
of brown steersmen and master mariners. Human shells.
He halted. I have passed the way to aunt Sara's. Am I not going there?
Seems not. No-one about. He turned northeast and crossed the firmer sand
towards the Pigeonhouse.
—Qui vous a mis dans cette fichue position?
—c'est le pigeon, Joseph.
Patrice, home on furlough, lapped warm milk with me in the bar MacMahon.
Son of the wild goose, Kevin Egan of Paris. My father's a bird, he
lapped the sweet lait chaud with pink young tongue, plump bunny's
face. Lap, lapin. He hopes to win in the gros lots. About the nature
of women he read in Michelet. But he must send me La Vie de Jesus by
M. Leo Taxil. Lent it to his friend.
—C'est tordant, vous savez. Moi, je suis socialiste. Je ne crois pas
en l'existence de Dieu. Faut pas le dire a mon p-re.
—Mon pere, oui.
Schluss. He laps.
My Latin quarter hat. God, we simply must dress the character. I want
puce gloves. You were a student, weren't you? Of what in the other
devil's name? Paysayenn. P. C. N., you know: physiques, chimiques et
naturelles. Aha. Eating your groatsworth of mou en civet, fleshpots
of Egypt, elbowed by belching cabmen. Just say in the most natural
tone: when I was in Paris; boul' Mich', I used to. Yes, used to
carry punched tickets to prove an alibi if they arrested you for murder
somewhere. Justice. On the night of the seventeenth of February 1904 the
prisoner was seen by two witnesses. Other fellow did it: other me.
Hat, tie, overcoat, nose. Lui, c'est moi. You seem to have enjoyed
Proudly walking. Whom were you trying to walk like? Forget: a
dispossessed. With mother's money order, eight shillings, the banging
door of the post office slammed in your face by the usher. Hunger
toothache. Encore deux minutes. Look clock. Must get. Ferme. Hired
dog! Shoot him to bloody bits with a bang shotgun, bits man spattered
walls all brass buttons. Bits all khrrrrklak in place clack back. Not
hurt? O, that's all right. Shake hands. See what I meant, see? O, that's
all right. Shake a shake. O, that's all only all right.
You were going to do wonders, what? Missionary to Europe after fiery
Columbanus. Fiacre and Scotus on their creepystools in heaven spilt from
their pintpots, loudlatinlaughing: Euge! Euge! Pretending to speak
broken English as you dragged your valise, porter threepence, across
the slimy pier at Newhaven. Comment? Rich booty you brought back; Le
Tutu, five tattered numbers of Pantalon Blanc et Culotte Rouge; a
blue French telegram, curiosity to show:
—Mother dying come home father.
The aunt thinks you killed your mother. That's why she won't.
Then here's a health to Mulligan's aunt
And I'll tell you the reason why.
She always kept things decent in
The Hannigan famileye.
His feet marched in sudden proud rhythm over the sand furrows, along by
the boulders of the south wall. He stared at them proudly, piled stone
mammoth skulls. Gold light on sea, on sand, on boulders. The sun is
there, the slender trees, the lemon houses.
Paris rawly waking, crude sunlight on her lemon streets. Moist pith of
farls of bread, the froggreen wormwood, her matin incense, court
the air. Belluomo rises from the bed of his wife's lover's wife, the
kerchiefed housewife is astir, a saucer of acetic acid in her hand. In
Rodot's Yvonne and Madeleine newmake their tumbled beauties, shattering
with gold teeth chaussons of pastry, their mouths yellowed with the
pus of flan breton. Faces of Paris men go by, their wellpleased
pleasers, curled conquistadores.
Noon slumbers. Kevin Egan rolls gunpowder cigarettes through fingers
smeared with printer's ink, sipping his green fairy as Patrice his
white. About us gobblers fork spiced beans down their gullets. Un demi
setier! A jet of coffee steam from the burnished caldron. She serves me
at his beck. Il est irlandais. Hollandais? Non fromage. Deux irlandais,
nous, Irlande, vous savez ah, oui! She thought you wanted a cheese
hollandais. Your postprandial, do you know that word? Postprandial.
There was a fellow I knew once in Barcelona, queer fellow, used to call
it his postprandial. Well: slainte! Around the slabbed tables the
tangle of wined breaths and grumbling gorges. His breath hangs over our
saucestained plates, the green fairy's fang thrusting between his lips.
Of Ireland, the Dalcassians, of hopes, conspiracies, of Arthur Griffith
now, A E, pimander, good shepherd of men. To yoke me as his yokefellow,
our crimes our common cause. You're your father's son. I know the voice.
His fustian shirt, sanguineflowered, trembles its Spanish tassels at
his secrets. M. Drumont, famous journalist, Drumont, know what he called
queen Victoria? Old hag with the yellow teeth. Vieille ogresse
with the dents jaunes. Maud Gonne, beautiful woman, La Patrie, M.
Millevoye, Felix Faure, know how he died? Licentious men. The froeken,
bonne a tout faire, who rubs male nakedness in the bath at Upsala.
Moi faire, she said, Tous les messieurs. Not this Monsieur, I
said. Most licentious custom. Bath a most private thing. I wouldn't let
my brother, not even my own brother, most lascivious thing. Green eyes,
I see you. Fang, I feel. Lascivious people.
The blue fuse burns deadly between hands and burns clear. Loose
tobaccoshreds catch fire: a flame and acrid smoke light our corner. Raw
facebones under his peep of day boy's hat. How the head centre got away,
authentic version. Got up as a young bride, man, veil, orangeblossoms,
drove out the road to Malahide. Did, faith. Of lost leaders, the
betrayed, wild escapes. Disguises, clutched at, gone, not here.
Spurned lover. I was a strapping young gossoon at that time, I tell you.
I'll show you my likeness one day. I was, faith. Lover, for her love he
prowled with colonel Richard Burke, tanist of his sept, under the walls
of Clerkenwell and, crouching, saw a flame of vengeance hurl them upward
in the fog. Shattered glass and toppling masonry. In gay Paree he hides,
Egan of Paris, unsought by any save by me. Making his day's stations,
the dingy printingcase, his three taverns, the Montmartre lair he sleeps
short night in, rue de la Goutte-d'Or, damascened with flyblown faces of
the gone. Loveless, landless, wifeless. She is quite nicey comfy
without her outcast man, madame in rue Git-le-Coeur, canary and two
buck lodgers. Peachy cheeks, a zebra skirt, frisky as a young thing's.
Spurned and undespairing. Tell Pat you saw me, won't you? I wanted to
get poor Pat a job one time. Mon fils, soldier of France. I taught him
to sing The boys of Kilkenny are stout roaring blades. Know that old
lay? I taught Patrice that. Old Kilkenny: saint Canice, Strongbow's
castle on the Nore. Goes like this. O, O. He takes me, Napper Tandy, by
O, O THE BOYS OF
Weak wasting hand on mine. They have forgotten Kevin Egan, not he them.
Remembering thee, O Sion.
He had come nearer the edge of the sea and wet sand slapped his boots.
The new air greeted him, harping in wild nerves, wind of wild air of
seeds of brightness. Here, I am not walking out to the Kish lightship,
am I? He stood suddenly, his feet beginning to sink slowly in the
quaking soil. Turn back.
Turning, he scanned the shore south, his feet sinking again slowly
in new sockets. The cold domed room of the tower waits. Through the
barbacans the shafts of light are moving ever, slowly ever as my
feet are sinking, creeping duskward over the dial floor. Blue dusk,
nightfall, deep blue night. In the darkness of the dome they wait,
their pushedback chairs, my obelisk valise, around a board of abandoned
platters. Who to clear it? He has the key. I will not sleep there when
this night comes. A shut door of a silent tower, entombing their—blind
bodies, the panthersahib and his pointer. Call: no answer. He lifted his
feet up from the suck and turned back by the mole of boulders. Take
all, keep all. My soul walks with me, form of forms. So in the moon's
midwatches I pace the path above the rocks, in sable silvered, hearing
Elsinore's tempting flood.
The flood is following me. I can watch it flow past from here. Get back
then by the Poolbeg road to the strand there. He climbed over the sedge
and eely oarweeds and sat on a stool of rock, resting his ashplant in a
A bloated carcass of a dog lay lolled on bladderwrack. Before him the
gunwale of a boat, sunk in sand. Un coche ensablé Louis Veuillot
called Gautier's prose. These heavy sands are language tide and wind
have silted here. And these, the stoneheaps of dead builders, a warren
of weasel rats. Hide gold there. Try it. You have some. Sands and
stones. Heavy of the past. Sir Lout's toys. Mind you don't get one
bang on the ear. I'm the bloody well gigant rolls all them bloody well
boulders, bones for my steppingstones. Feefawfum. I zmellz de bloodz odz
A point, live dog, grew into sight running across the sweep of sand.
Lord, is he going to attack me? Respect his liberty. You will not
be master of others or their slave. I have my stick. Sit tight. From
farther away, walking shoreward across from the crested tide, figures,
two. The two maries. They have tucked it safe mong the bulrushes.
Peekaboo. I see you. No, the dog. He is running back to them. Who?
Galleys of the Lochlanns ran here to beach, in quest of prey, their
bloodbeaked prows riding low on a molten pewter surf. Dane vikings,
torcs of tomahawks aglitter on their breasts when Malachi wore the
collar of gold. A school of turlehide whales stranded in hot noon,
spouting, hobbling in the shallows. Then from the starving cagework city
a horde of jerkined dwarfs, my people, with flayers' knives, running,
scaling, hacking in green blubbery whalemeat. Famine, plague and
slaughters. Their blood is in me, their lusts my waves. I moved among
them on the frozen Liffey, that I, a changeling, among the spluttering
resin fires. I spoke to no-one: none to me.
The dog's bark ran towards him, stopped, ran back. Dog of my enemy. I
just simply stood pale, silent, bayed about. Terribilia meditans. A
primrose doublet, fortune's knave, smiled on my fear. For that are you
pining, the bark of their applause? Pretenders: live their lives. The
Bruce's brother, Thomas Fitzgerald, silken knight, Perkin Warbeck,
York's false scion, in breeches of silk of whiterose ivory, wonder of
a day, and Lambert Simnel, with a tail of nans and sutlers, a scullion
crowned. All kings' sons. Paradise of pretenders then and now. He saved
men from drowning and you shake at a cur's yelping. But the courtiers
who mocked Guido in Or san Michele were in their own house. House of...
We don't want any of your medieval abstrusiosities. Would you do what he
did? A boat would be near, a lifebuoy. Natürlich, put there for you.
Would you or would you not? The man that was drowned nine days ago off
Maiden's rock. They are waiting for him now. The truth, spit it out. I
would want to. I would try. I am not a strong swimmer. Water cold soft.
When I put my face into it in the basin at Clongowes. Can't see! Who's
behind me? Out quickly, quickly! Do you see the tide flowing quickly in
on all sides, sheeting the lows of sand quickly, shellcocoacoloured? If
I had land under my feet. I want his life still to be his, mine to be
mine. A drowning man. His human eyes scream to me out of horror of his
death. I... With him together down... I could not save her. Waters:
bitter death: lost.
A woman and a man. I see her skirties. Pinned up, I bet.
Their dog ambled about a bank of dwindling sand, trotting, sniffing on
all sides. Looking for something lost in a past life. Suddenly he made
off like a bounding hare, ears flung back, chasing the shadow of a
lowskimming gull. The man's shrieked whistle struck his limp ears. He
turned, bounded back, came nearer, trotted on twinkling shanks. On a
field tenney a buck, trippant, proper, unattired. At the lacefringe of
the tide he halted with stiff forehoofs, seawardpointed ears. His
snout lifted barked at the wavenoise, herds of seamorse. They serpented
towards his feet, curling, unfurling many crests, every ninth, breaking,
plashing, from far, from farther out, waves and waves.
Cocklepickers. They waded a little way in the water and, stooping,
soused their bags and, lifting them again, waded out. The dog yelped
running to them, reared up and pawed them, dropping on all fours, again
reared up at them with mute bearish fawning. Unheeded he kept by them as
they came towards the drier sand, a rag of wolf's tongue redpanting from
his jaws. His speckled body ambled ahead of them and then loped off at a
calf's gallop. The carcass lay on his path. He stopped, sniffed, stalked
round it, brother, nosing closer, went round it, sniffling rapidly like
a dog all over the dead dog's bedraggled fell. Dogskull, dogsniff, eyes
on the ground, moves to one great goal. Ah, poor dogsbody! Here lies
poor dogsbody's body.
—Tatters! Out of that, you mongrel!
The cry brought him skulking back to his master and a blunt bootless
kick sent him unscathed across a spit of sand, crouched in flight. He
slunk back in a curve. Doesn't see me. Along by the edge of the mole he
lolloped, dawdled, smelt a rock and from under a cocked hindleg pissed
against it. He trotted forward and, lifting again his hindleg, pissed
quick short at an unsmelt rock. The simple pleasures of the poor. His
hindpaws then scattered the sand: then his forepaws dabbled and delved.
Something he buried there, his grandmother. He rooted in the sand,
dabbling, delving and stopped to listen to the air, scraped up the sand
again with a fury of his claws, soon ceasing, a pard, a panther, got in
spousebreach, vulturing the dead.
After he woke me last night same dream or was it? Wait. Open hallway.
Street of harlots. Remember. Haroun al Raschid. I am almosting it. That
man led me, spoke. I was not afraid. The melon he had he held against my
face. Smiled: creamfruit smell. That was the rule, said. In. Come. Red
carpet spread. You will see who.
Shouldering their bags they trudged, the red Egyptians. His blued feet
out of turnedup trousers slapped the clammy sand, a dull brick muffler
strangling his unshaven neck. With woman steps she followed: the
ruffian and his strolling mort. Spoils slung at her back. Loose sand and
shellgrit crusted her bare feet. About her windraw face hair trailed.
Behind her lord, his helpmate, bing awast to Romeville. When night hides
her body's flaws calling under her brown shawl from an archway
where dogs have mired. Her fancyman is treating two Royal Dublins in
O'Loughlin's of Blackpitts. Buss her, wap in rogues' rum lingo, for, O,
my dimber wapping dell! A shefiend's whiteness under her rancid rags.
Fumbally's lane that night: the tanyard smells.
White thy fambles, red thy gan
And thy quarrons dainty is.
Couch a hogshead with me then.
In the darkmans clip and kiss.
Morose delectation Aquinas tunbelly calls this, frate porcospino.
Unfallen Adam rode and not rutted. Call away let him: thy quarrons
dainty is. Language no whit worse than his. Monkwords, marybeads jabber
on their girdles: roguewords, tough nuggets patter in their pockets.
A side eye at my Hamlet hat. If I were suddenly naked here as I sit? I
am not. Across the sands of all the world, followed by the sun's flaming
sword, to the west, trekking to evening lands. She trudges, schlepps,
trains, drags, trascines her load. A tide westering, moondrawn, in
her wake. Tides, myriadislanded, within her, blood not mine, oinopa
ponton, a winedark sea. Behold the handmaid of the moon. In sleep
the wet sign calls her hour, bids her rise. Bridebed, childbed, bed of
death, ghostcandled. Omnis caro ad te veniet. He comes, pale vampire,
through storm his eyes, his bat sails bloodying the sea, mouth to her
Here. Put a pin in that chap, will you? My tablets. Mouth to her kiss.
No. Must be two of em. Glue em well. Mouth to her mouth's kiss.
His lips lipped and mouthed fleshless lips of air: mouth to her moomb.
Oomb, allwombing tomb. His mouth moulded issuing breath, unspeeched:
ooeeehah: roar of cataractic planets, globed, blazing, roaring
wayawayawayawayaway. Paper. The banknotes, blast them. Old Deasy's
letter. Here. Thanking you for the hospitality tear the blank end off.
Turning his back to the sun he bent over far to a table of rock and
scribbled words. That's twice I forgot to take slips from the library
His shadow lay over the rocks as he bent, ending. Why not endless till
the farthest star? Darkly they are there behind this light, darkness
shining in the brightness, delta of Cassiopeia, worlds. Me sits there
with his augur's rod of ash, in borrowed sandals, by day beside a livid
sea, unbeheld, in violet night walking beneath a reign of uncouth stars.
I throw this ended shadow from me, manshape ineluctable, call it back.
Endless, would it be mine, form of my form? Who watches me here? Who
ever anywhere will read these written words? Signs on a white field.
Somewhere to someone in your flutiest voice. The good bishop of Cloyne
took the veil of the temple out of his shovel hat: veil of space with
coloured emblems hatched on its field. Hold hard. Coloured on a flat:
yes, that's right. Flat I see, then think distance, near, far, flat
I see, east, back. Ah, see now! Falls back suddenly, frozen in
stereoscope. Click does the trick. You find my words dark. Darkness is
in our souls do you not think? Flutier. Our souls, shamewounded by our
sins, cling to us yet more, a woman to her lover clinging, the more the
She trusts me, her hand gentle, the longlashed eyes. Now where the blue
hell am I bringing her beyond the veil? Into the ineluctable modality of
the ineluctable visuality. She, she, she. What she? The virgin at Hodges
Figgis' window on Monday looking in for one of the alphabet books you
were going to write. Keen glance you gave her. Wrist through the
braided jesse of her sunshade. She lives in Leeson park with a grief
and kickshaws, a lady of letters. Talk that to someone else, Stevie: a
pickmeup. Bet she wears those curse of God stays suspenders and
yellow stockings, darned with lumpy wool. Talk about apple dumplings,
piuttosto. Where are your wits?
Touch me. Soft eyes. Soft soft soft hand. I am lonely here. O, touch me
soon, now. What is that word known to all men? I am quiet here alone.
Sad too. Touch, touch me.
He lay back at full stretch over the sharp rocks, cramming the scribbled
note and pencil into a pock his hat. His hat down on his eyes. That is
Kevin Egan's movement I made, nodding for his nap, sabbath sleep. Et
vidit Deus. Et erant valde bona. Alo! Bonjour. Welcome as the flowers
in May. Under its leaf he watched through peacocktwittering lashes the
southing sun. I am caught in this burning scene. Pan's hour, the faunal
noon. Among gumheavy serpentplants, milkoozing fruits, where on the
tawny waters leaves lie wide. Pain is far.
And no more turn aside and brood.
His gaze brooded on his broadtoed boots, a buck's castoffs,
nebeneinander. He counted the creases of rucked leather wherein
another's foot had nested warm. The foot that beat the ground in
tripudium, foot I dislove. But you were delighted when Esther Osvalt's
shoe went on you: girl I knew in Paris. Tiens, quel petit pied!
Staunch friend, a brother soul: Wilde's love that dare not speak its
name. His arm: Cranly's arm. He now will leave me. And the blame? As I
am. As I am. All or not at all.
In long lassoes from the Cock lake the water flowed full, covering
greengoldenly lagoons of sand, rising, flowing. My ashplant will float
away. I shall wait. No, they will pass on, passing, chafing against the
low rocks, swirling, passing. Better get this job over quick. Listen: a
fourworded wavespeech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeiss, ooos. Vehement breath of
waters amid seasnakes, rearing horses, rocks. In cups of rocks it slops:
flop, slop, slap: bounded in barrels. And, spent, its speech ceases. It
flows purling, widely flowing, floating foampool, flower unfurling.
Under the upswelling tide he saw the writhing weeds lift languidly and
sway reluctant arms, hising up their petticoats, in whispering water
swaying and upturning coy silver fronds. Day by day: night by night:
lifted, flooded and let fall. Lord, they are weary; and, whispered to,
they sigh. Saint Ambrose heard it, sigh of leaves and waves, waiting,
awaiting the fullness of their times, diebus ac noctibus iniurias
patiens ingemiscit. To no end gathered; vainly then released,
forthflowing, wending back: loom of the moon. Weary too in sight of
lovers, lascivious men, a naked woman shining in her courts, she draws a
toil of waters.
Five fathoms out there. Full fathom five thy father lies. At one, he
said. Found drowned. High water at Dublin bar. Driving before it a loose
drift of rubble, fanshoals of fishes, silly shells. A corpse rising
saltwhite from the undertow, bobbing a pace a pace a porpoise landward.
There he is. Hook it quick. Pull. Sunk though he be beneath the watery
floor. We have him. Easy now.
Bag of corpsegas sopping in foul brine. A quiver of minnows, fat of a
spongy titbit, flash through the slits of his buttoned trouserfly.
God becomes man becomes fish becomes barnacle goose becomes featherbed
mountain. Dead breaths I living breathe, tread dead dust, devour a
urinous offal from all dead. Hauled stark over the gunwale he breathes
upward the stench of his green grave, his leprous nosehole snoring to
A seachange this, brown eyes saltblue. Seadeath, mildest of all deaths
known to man. Old Father Ocean. Prix de paris: beware of imitations.
Just you give it a fair trial. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Come. I thirst. Clouding over. No black clouds anywhere, are there?
Thunderstorm. Allbright he falls, proud lightning of the intellect,
Lucifer, dico, qui nescit occasum. No. My cockle hat and staff and
hismy sandal shoon. Where? To evening lands. Evening will find itself.
He took the hilt of his ashplant, lunging with it softly, dallying
still. Yes, evening will find itself in me, without me. All days make
their end. By the way next when is it Tuesday will be the longest
day. Of all the glad new year, mother, the rum tum tiddledy tum. Lawn
Tennyson, gentleman poet. Già. For the old hag with the yellow teeth.
And Monsieur Drumont, gentleman journalist. Già. My teeth are very
bad. Why, I wonder. Feel. That one is going too. Shells. Ought I go to a
dentist, I wonder, with that money? That one. This. Toothless Kinch, the
superman. Why is that, I wonder, or does it mean something perhaps?
My handkerchief. He threw it. I remember. Did I not take it up?
His hand groped vainly in his pockets. No, I didn't. Better buy one.
He laid the dry snot picked from his nostril on a ledge of rock,
carefully. For the rest let look who will.
Behind. Perhaps there is someone.
He turned his face over a shoulder, rere regardant. Moving through the
air high spars of a threemaster, her sails brailed up on the crosstrees,
homing, upstream, silently moving, a silent ship. +