A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming
down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road
met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo
His father told him that story: his father looked at him through a
glass: he had a hairy face.
He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne
lived: she sold lemon platt.
O, the wild rose blossoms
On the little green place.
He sang that song. That was his song.
O, the green wothe botheth.
When you wet the bed first it is warm then it gets cold. His mother put
on the oilsheet. That had the queer smell.
His mother had a nicer smell than his father. She played on the piano
the sailor's hornpipe for him to dance. He danced:
Uncle Charles and Dante clapped. They were older than his father and
mother but uncle Charles was older than Dante.
Dante had two brushes in her press. The brush with the maroon velvet
back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet back
was for Parnell. Dante gave him a cachou every time he brought her a
piece of tissue paper.
The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father and
mother. They were Eileen's father and mother. When they were grown up
he was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother said:
--O, Stephen will apologize.
--O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.--
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes.
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes,
The wide playgrounds were swarming with boys. All were shouting and the
prefects urged them on with strong cries. The evening air was pale and
chilly and after every charge and thud of the footballers the greasy
leather orb flew like a heavy bird through the grey light. He kept on
the fringe of his line, out of sight of his prefect, out of the reach
of the rude feet, feigning to run now and then. He felt his body small
and weak amid the throng of the players and his eyes were weak and
watery. Rody Kickham was not like that: he would be captain of the
third line all the fellows said.
Rody Kickham was a decent fellow but Nasty Roche was a stink. Rody
Kickham had greaves in his number and a hamper in the refectory. Nasty
Roche had big hands. He called the Friday pudding dog-in-the-blanket.
And one day be had asked:
--What is your name?
Stephen had answered: Stephen Dedalus.
Then Nasty Roche had said:
--What kind of a name is that?
And when Stephen had not been able to answer Nasty Roche had asked:
--What is your father?
Stephen had answered:
Then Nasty Roche had asked:
--Is he a magistrate?
He crept about from point to point on the fringe of his line, making
little runs now and then. But his hands were bluish with cold. He kept
his hands in the side pockets of his belted grey suit. That was a belt
round his pocket. And belt was also to give a fellow a belt. One day a
fellow said to Cantwell:
--I'd give you such a belt in a second.
Cantwell had answered:
--Go and fight your match. Give Cecil Thunder a belt. I'd like to see
you. He'd give you a toe in the rump for yourself.
That was not a nice expression. His mother had told him not to speak
with the rough boys in the college. Nice mother! The first day in the
hall of the castle when she had said goodbye she had put up her veil
double to her nose to kiss him: and her nose and eyes were red. But he
had pretended not to see that she was going to cry. She was a nice
mother but she was not so nice when she cried. And his father had given
him two five-shilling pieces for pocket money. And his father had told
him if he wanted anything to write home to him and, whatever he did,
never to peach on a fellow. Then at the door of the castle the rector
had shaken hands with his father and mother, his soutane fluttering in
the breeze, and the car had driven off with his father and mother on
it. They had cried to him from the car, waving their hands:
--Goodbye, Stephen, goodbye!
--Goodbye, Stephen, goodbye!
He was caught in the whirl of a scrimmage and, fearful of the flashing
eyes and muddy boots, bent down to look through the legs. The fellows
were struggling and groaning and their legs were rubbing and kicking
and stamping. Then Jack Lawton's yellow boots dodged out the ball and
all the other boots and legs ran after. He ran after them a little way
and then stopped. It was useless to run on. Soon they would be going
home for the holidays. After supper in the study hall he would change
the number pasted up inside his desk from seventy-seven to seventy-six.
It would be better to be in the study hall than out there in the cold.
The sky was pale and cold but there were lights in the castle. He
wondered from which window Hamilton Rowan had thrown his hat on the
ha-ha and had there been flowerbeds at that time under the windows. One
day when he had been called to the castle the butler had shown him the
marks of the soldiers' slugs in the wood of the door and had given him
a piece of shortbread that the community ate. It was nice and warm to
see the lights in the castle. It was like something in a book. Perhaps
Leicester Abbey was like that. And there were nice sentences in Doctor
Cornwell's Spelling Book. They were like poetry but they were only
sentences to learn the spelling from.
Wolsey died in Leicester Abbey
Where the abbots buried him.
Canker is a disease of plants,
Cancer one of animals.
It would be nice to lie on the hearthrug before the fire, leaning his
head upon his hands, and think on those sentences. He shivered as if he
had cold slimy water next his skin. That was mean of Wells to shoulder
him into the square ditch because he would not swop his little snuff
box for Wells's seasoned hacking chestnut, the conqueror of forty. How
cold and slimy the water had been! A fellow had once seen a big rat
jump into the scum. Mother was sitting at the fire with Dante waiting
for Brigid to bring in the tea. She had her feet on the fender and her
jewelly slippers were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell!
Dante knew a lot of things. She had taught him where the Mozambique
Channel was and what was the longest river in America and what was the
name of the highest mountain in the moon. Father Arnall knew more than
Dante because he was a priest but both his father and uncle Charles
said that Dante was a clever woman and a well-read woman. And when
Dante made that noise after dinner and then put up her hand to her
mouth: that was heartburn.
A voice cried far out on the playground:
Then other voices cried from the lower and third lines:
--All in! All in!
The players closed around, flushed and muddy, and he went among them,
glad to go in. Rody Kickham held the ball by its greasy lace. A fellow
asked him to give it one last: but he walked on without even answering
the fellow. Simon Moonan told him not to because the prefect was
looking. The fellow turned to Simon Moonan and said:
--We all know why you speak. You are McGlade's suck.
Suck was a queer word. The fellow called Simon Moonan that name because
Simon Moonan used to tie the prefect's false sleeves behind his back
and the prefect used to let on to be angry. But the sound was ugly.
Once he had washed his hands in the lavatory of the Wicklow Hotel and
his father pulled the stopper up by the chain after and the dirty water
went down through the hole in the basin. And when it had all gone down
slowly the hole in the basin had made a sound like that: suck. Only
To remember that and the white look of the lavatory made him feel cold
and then hot. There were two cocks that you turned and water came out:
cold and hot. He felt cold and then a little hot: and he could see the
names printed on the cocks. That was a very queer thing.
And the air in the corridor chilled him too. It was queer and wettish.
But soon the gas would be lit and in burning it made a light noise like
a little song. Always the same: and when the fellows stopped talking in
the playroom you could hear it.
It was the hour for sums. Father Arnall wrote a hard sum on the board
and then said:
--Now then, who will win? Go ahead, York! Go ahead, Lancaster!
Stephen tried his best, but the sum was too hard and he felt confused.
The little silk badge with the white rose on it that was pinned on the
breast of his jacket began to flutter. He was no good at sums, but he
tried his best so that York might not lose. Father Arnall's face looked
very black, but he was not in a wax: he was laughing. Then Jack Lawton
cracked his fingers and Father Arnall looked at his copybook and said:
--Right. Bravo Lancaster! The red rose wins. Come on now, York! Forge
Jack Lawton looked over from his side. The little silk badge with the
red rose on it looked very rich because he had a blue sailor top on.
Stephen felt his own face red too, thinking of all the bets about who
would get first place in elements, Jack Lawton or he. Some weeks Jack
Lawton got the card for first and some weeks he got the card for first.
His white silk badge fluttered and fluttered as he worked at the next
sum and heard Father Arnall's voice. Then all his eagerness passed away
and he felt his face quite cool. He thought his face must be white
because it felt so cool. He could not get out the answer for the sum
but it did not matter. White roses and red roses: those were beautiful
colours to think of. And the cards for first place and second place and
third place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender.
Lavender and cream and pink roses were beautiful to think of. Perhaps a
wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about
the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not
have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could.
The bell rang and then the classes began to file out of the rooms and
along the corridors towards the refectory. He sat looking at the two
prints of butter on his plate but could not eat the damp bread. The
tablecloth was damp and limp. But he drank off the hot weak tea which
the clumsy scullion, girt with a white apron, poured into his cup. He
wondered whether the scullion's apron was damp too or whether all white
things were cold and damp. Nasty Roche and Saurin drank cocoa that
their people sent them in tins. They said they could not drink the tea;
that it was hogwash. Their fathers were magistrates, the fellows said.
All the boys seemed to him very strange. They had all fathers and
mothers and different clothes and voices. He longed to be at home and
lay his head on his mother's lap. But he could not: and so he longed
for the play and study and prayers to be over and to be in bed.
He drank another cup of hot tea and Fleming said:
--What's up? Have you a pain or what's up with you?
--I don't know, Stephen said.
--Sick in your breadbasket, Fleming said, because your face looks
white. It will go away.
--O yes, Stephen said.
But he was not sick there. He thought that he was sick in his heart if
you could be sick in that place. Fleming was very decent to ask him. He
wanted to cry. He leaned his elbows on the table and shut and opened
the flaps of his ears. Then he heard the noise of the refectory every
time he opened the flaps of his ears. It made a roar like a train at
night. And when he closed the flaps the roar was shut off like a train
going into a tunnel. That night at Dalkey the train had roared like
that and then, when it went into the tunnel, the roar stopped. He
closed his eyes and the train went on, roaring and then stopping;
roaring again, stopping. It was nice to hear it roar and stop and then
roar out of the tunnel again and then stop.
Then the higher line fellows began to come down along the matting in
the middle of the refectory, Paddy Rath and Jimmy Magee and the
Spaniard who was allowed to smoke cigars and the little Portuguese who
wore the woolly cap. And then the lower line tables and the tables of
the third line. And every single fellow had a different way of walking.
He sat in a corner of the playroom pretending to watch a game of
dominoes and once or twice he was able to hear for an instant the
little song of the gas. The prefect was at the door with some boys and
Simon Moonan was knotting his false sleeves. He was telling them
something about Tullabeg.
Then he went away from the door and Wells came over to Stephen and
--Tell us, Dedalus, do you kiss your mother before you go to bed?
Wells turned to the other fellows and said:
--O, I say, here's a fellow says he kisses his mother every night
before he goes to bed.
The other fellows stopped their game and turned round, laughing.
Stephen blushed under their eyes and said:
--I do not.
--O, I say, here's a fellow says he doesn't kiss his mother before he
goes to bed.
They all laughed again. Stephen tried to laugh with them. He felt his
whole body hot and confused in a moment. What was the right answer to
the question? He had given two and still Wells laughed. But Wells must
know the right answer for he was in third of grammar. He tried to think
of Wells's mother but he did not dare to raise his eyes to Wells's
face. He did not like Wells's face. It was Wells who had shouldered him
into the square ditch the day before because he would not swop his
little snuff box for Wells's seasoned hacking chestnut, the conqueror
of forty. It was a mean thing to do; all the fellows said it was. And
how cold and slimy the water had been! And a fellow had once seen a big
rat jump plop into the scum.
The cold slime of the ditch covered his whole body; and, when the bell
rang for study and the lines filed out of the playrooms, he felt the
cold air of the corridor and staircase inside his clothes. He still
tried to think what was the right answer. Was it right to kiss his
mother or wrong to kiss his mother? What did that mean, to kiss? You
put your face up like that to say good night and then his mother put
her face down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek;
her lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny
little noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces?
Sitting in the study hall he opened the lid of his desk and changed the
number pasted up inside from seventy-seven to seventy-six. But the
Christmas vacation was very far away: but one time it would come
because the earth moved round always.
There was a picture of the earth on the first page of his geography: a
big ball in the middle of clouds. Fleming had a box of crayons and one
night during free study he had coloured the earth green and the clouds
maroon. That was like the two brushes in Dante's press, the brush with
the green velvet back for Parnell and the brush with the maroon velvet
back for Michael Davitt. But he had not told Fleming to colour them
those colours. Fleming had done it himself.
He opened the geography to study the lesson; but he could not learn the
names of places in America. Still they were all different places that
had different names. They were all in different countries and the
countries were in continents and the continents were in the world and
the world was in the universe.
He turned to the flyleaf of the geography and read what he had written
there: himself, his name and where he was.
Class of Elements
Clongowes Wood College
That was in his writing: and Fleming one night for a cod had written on
the opposite page:
Stephen Dedalus is my name,
Ireland is my nation.
Clongowes is my dwellingplace
And heaven my expectation.
He read the verses backwards but then they were not poetry. Then he
read the flyleaf from the bottom to the top till he came to his own
name. That was he: and he read down the page again. What was after the
Nothing. But was there anything round the universe to show where it
stopped before the nothing place began?
It could not be a wall; but there could be a thin thin line there all
round everything. It was very big to think about everything and
everywhere. Only God could do that. He tried to think what a big
thought that must be; but he could only think of God. God was God's
name just as his name was Stephen. DIEU was the French for God and that
was God's name too; and when anyone prayed to God and said DIEU then
God knew at once that it was a French person that was praying. But,
though there were different names for God in all the different
languages in the world and God understood what all the people who
prayed said in their different languages, still God remained always the
same God and God's real name was God.
It made him very tired to think that way. It made him feel his head
very big. He turned over the flyleaf and looked wearily at the green
round earth in the middle of the maroon clouds. He wondered which was
right, to be for the green or for the maroon, because Dante had ripped
the green velvet back off the brush that was for Parnell one day with
her scissors and had told him that Parnell was a bad man. He wondered
if they were arguing at home about that. That was called politics.
There were two sides in it: Dante was on one side and his father and Mr
Casey were on the other side but his mother and uncle Charles were on
no side. Every day there was something in the paper about it.
It pained him that he did not know well what politics meant and that he
did not know where the universe ended. He felt small and weak. When
would he be like the fellows in poetry and rhetoric? They had big
voices and big boots and they studied trigonometry. That was very far
away. First came the vacation and then the next term and then vacation
again and then again another term and then again the vacation. It was
like a train going in and out of tunnels and that was like the noise of
the boys eating in the refectory when you opened and closed the flaps
of the ears. Term, vacation; tunnel, out; noise, stop. How far away it
was! It was better to go to bed to sleep. Only prayers in the chapel
and then bed. He shivered and yawned. It would be lovely in bed after
the sheets got a bit hot. First they were so cold to get into. He
shivered to think how cold they were first. But then they got hot and
then he could sleep. It was lovely to be tired. He yawned again. Night
prayers and then bed: he shivered and wanted to yawn. It would be
lovely in a few minutes. He felt a warm glow creeping up from the cold
shivering sheets, warmer and warmer till he felt warm all over, ever so
warm and yet he shivered a little and still wanted to yawn.
The bell rang for night prayers and he filed out of the study hall
after the others and down the staircase and along the corridors to the
chapel. The corridors were darkly lit and the chapel was darkly lit.
Soon all would be dark and sleeping. There was cold night air in the
chapel and the marbles were the colour the sea was at night. The sea
was cold day and night: but it was colder at night. It was cold and
dark under the seawall beside his father's house. But the kettle would
be on the hob to make punch.
The prefect of the chapel prayed above his head and his memory knew the
O Lord open our lips
And our mouths shall announce Thy praise.
Incline unto our aid, O God!
O Lord make haste to help us!
There was a cold night smell in the chapel. But it was a holy smell. It
was not like the smell of the old peasants who knelt at the back of the
chapel at Sunday mass. That was a smell of air and rain and turf and
corduroy. But they were very holy peasants. They breathed behind him On
his neck and sighed as they prayed. They lived in Clane, a fellow said:
there were little cottages there and he had seen a
woman standing at the half-door of a cottage with a child in her arms
as the cars had come past from Sallins. It would be lovely to sleep for
one night in that cottage before the fire of smoking turf, in the dark
lit by the fire, in the warm dark, breathing the smell of the peasants,
air and rain and turf and corduroy. But O, the road there between the
trees was dark! You would be lost in the dark. It made him afraid to
think of how it was.
He heard the voice of the prefect of the chapel saying the last
prayers. He prayed it too against the dark outside under the trees.
VISIT, WE BESEECH THEE, O LORD, THIS HABITATION AND DRIVE
AWAY FROM IT ALL THE SNARES OF THE ENEMY. MAY THY HOLY
ANGELS DWELL HEREIN TO PRESERVE US IN PEACE AND MAY THY
BLESSINGS BE ALWAYS UPON US THROUGH CHRIST OUR LORD.
His fingers trembled as he undressed himself in the dormitory. He told
his fingers to hurry up. He had to undress and then kneel and say his
own prayers and be in bed before the gas was lowered so that he might
not go to hell when he died. He rolled his stockings off and put on his
nightshirt quickly and knelt trembling at his bedside and repeated his
prayers quickly, fearing that the gas would go down. He felt his
shoulders shaking as he murmured:
God bless my father and my mother and spare them to me!
God bless my little brothers and sisters and spare them to me!
God bless Dante and Uncle Charles and spare them to me!
He blessed himself and climbed quickly into bed and, tucking the end of
the nightshirt under his feet, curled himself together under the cold
white sheets, shaking and trembling. But he would not go to hell when
he died; and the shaking would stop. A voice bade the boys in the
dormitory good night. He peered out for an instant over the coverlet
and saw the yellow curtains round and before his bed that shut him off
on all sides. The light was lowered quietly.
The prefect's shoes went away. Where? Down the staircase and along the
corridors or to his room at the end? He saw the dark. Was it true about
the black dog that walked there at night with eyes as big as
carriage-lamps? They said it was the ghost of a murderer. A long shiver
of fear flowed over his body. He saw the dark entrance hall of the
castle. Old servants in old dress were in the ironing-room above the
staircase. It was long ago. The old servants were quiet. There was a
fire there, but the hall was still dark. A figure came up the staircase
from the hall. He wore the white cloak of a marshal; his face was pale
and strange; he held his hand pressed to his side. He looked out of
strange eyes at the old servants. They looked at him and saw their
master's face and cloak and knew that he had received his death-wound.
But only the dark was where they looked: only dark silent air. Their
master had received his death-wound on the battlefield of Prague far
away over the sea. He was standing on the field; his hand was pressed
to his side; his face was pale and strange and he wore the white cloak
of a marshal.
O how cold and strange it was to think of that! All the dark was cold
and strange. There were pale strange faces there, great eyes like
carriage-lamps. They were the ghosts of murderers, the figures of
marshals who had received their death-wound on battlefields far away
over the sea. What did they wish to say that their faces were so
VISIT, WE BESEECH THEE, O LORD, THIS HABITATION AND DRIVE AWAY FROM IT
Going home for the holidays! That would be lovely: the fellows had told
him. Getting up on the cars in the early wintry morning outside the
door of the castle. The cars were rolling on the gravel. Cheers for the
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
The cars drove past the chapel and all caps were raised. They drove
merrily along the country roads. The drivers pointed with their whips
to Bodenstown. The fellows cheered. They passed the farmhouse
of the Jolly Farmer. Cheer after cheer after cheer. Through Clane they
drove, cheering and cheered. The peasant women stood at the half-doors,
the men stood here and there. The lovely smell there was in the wintry
air: the smell of Clane: rain and wintry air and turf smouldering and
The train was full of fellows: a long long chocolate train with cream
facings. The guards went to and fro opening, closing, locking,
unlocking the doors. They were men in dark blue and silver; they had
silvery whistles and their keys made a quick music: click, click:
And the train raced on over the flat lands and past the Hill of Allen.
The telegraph poles were passing, passing. The train went on and on. It
knew. There were lanterns in the hall of his father's house and ropes
of green branches. There were holly and ivy round the pierglass and
holly and ivy, green and red, twined round the chandeliers. There were
red holly and green ivy round the old portraits on the walls. Holly and
ivy for him and for Christmas.
All the people. Welcome home, Stephen! Noises of welcome. His mother
kissed him. Was that right? His father was a marshal now: higher than a
magistrate. Welcome home, Stephen!
There was a noise of curtain-rings running back along the rods, of
water being splashed in the basins. There was a noise of rising and
dressing and washing in the dormitory: a noise of clapping of hands as
the prefect went up and down telling the fellows to look sharp. A pale
sunlight showed the yellow curtains drawn back, the tossed beds. His
bed was very hot and his face and body were very hot.
He got up and sat on the side of his bed. He was weak. He tried to pull
on his stocking. It had a horrid rough feel. The sunlight was queer and
--Are you not well?
He did not know; and Fleming said:
--Get back into bed. I'll tell McGlade you're not well.
--Get back into bed.
--Is he sick?
A fellow held his arms while he loosened the stocking clinging to his
foot and climbed back into the hot bed.
He crouched down between the sheets, glad of their tepid glow. He heard
the fellows talk among themselves about him as they dressed for mass.
It was a mean thing to do, to shoulder him into the square ditch, they
were saying.--Then their voices ceased; they had gone. A voice at his
--Dedalus, don't spy on us, sure you won't?
Wells's face was there. He looked at it and saw that Wells was afraid.
--I didn't mean to. Sure you won't?
His father had told him, whatever he did, never to peach on a fellow.
He shook his head and answered no and felt glad.
--I didn't mean to, honour bright. It was only for cod. I'm sorry.
The face and the voice went away. Sorry because he was afraid. Afraid
that it was some disease. Canker was a disease of plants and cancer one
of animals: or another different. That was a long time ago then out on
the playgrounds in the evening light, creeping from point to point on
the fringe of his line, a heavy bird flying low through the grey light.
Leicester Abbey lit up. Wolsey died there. The abbots buried him
It was not Wells's face, it was the prefect's. He was not foxing. No,
no: he was sick really. He was not foxing. And he felt the prefect's
hand on his forehead; and he felt his forehead warm and damp against
the prefect's cold damp hand. That was the way a rat felt, slimy and
damp and cold. Every rat had two eyes to look out of. Sleek slimy
coats, little little feet tucked up to jump, black slimy eyes to look
out of. They could understand how to jump. But the minds of rats could
not understand trigonometry. When they were dead they lay on their
sides. Their coats dried then. They were only dead things.
The prefect was there again and it was his voice that was saying that
he was to get up, that Father Minister had said he was to get up and
dress and go to the infirmary. And while he was dressing himself as
quickly as he could the prefect said:
--We must pack off to Brother Michael because we have the
He was very decent to say that. That was all to make him laugh. But he
could not laugh because his cheeks and lips were all shivery: and then
the prefect had to laugh by himself.
The prefect cried:
--Quick march! Hayfoot! Strawfoot!
They went together down the staircase and along the corridor and past
the bath. As he passed the door he remembered with a vague fear the
warm turf-coloured bogwater, the warm moist air, the noise of plunges,
the smell of the towels, like medicine.
Brother Michael was standing at the door of the infirmary and from the
door of the dark cabinet on his right came a smell like medicine. That
came from the bottles on the shelves. The prefect spoke to Brother
Michael and Brother Michael answered and called the prefect sir. He had
reddish hair mixed with grey and a queer look. It was queer that he
would always be a brother. It was queer too that you could not call him
sir because he was a brother and had a different kind of look. Was he
not holy enough or why could he not catch up on the others?
There were two beds in the room and in one bed there was a fellow: and
when they went in he called out:
--Hello! It's young Dedalus! What's up?
--The sky is up, Brother Michael said.
He was a fellow out of the third of grammar and, while Stephen was
undressing, he asked Brother Michael to bring him a round of buttered
--Ah, do! he said.
--Butter you up! said Brother Michael. You'll get your walking papers
in the morning when the doctor comes.
--Will I? the fellow said. I'm not well yet.
Brother Michael repeated:
--You'll get your walking papers. I tell you.
He bent down to rake the fire. He had a long back like the long back of
a tramhorse. He shook the poker gravely and nodded his head at the
fellow out of third of grammar.
Then Brother Michael went away and after a while the fellow out of
third of grammar turned in towards the wall and fell asleep.
That was the infirmary. He was sick then. Had they written home to tell
his mother and father? But it would be quicker for one of the priests
to go himself to tell them. Or he would write a letter for the priest
I am sick. I want to go home. Please come and take me home.
I am in the infirmary.
Your fond son,
How far away they were! There was cold sunlight outside the window. He
wondered if he would die. You could die just the same on a sunny day.
He might die before his mother came. Then he would have a dead mass in
the chapel like the way the fellows had told him it was when Little had
died. All the fellows would be at the mass, dressed in black, all with
sad faces. Wells too would be there but no fellow would look at him.
The rector would be there in a cope of black and gold and there would
be tall yellow candles on the altar and round the catafalque. And they
would carry the coffin out of the chapel slowly and he would be buried
in the little graveyard of the community off the main avenue of limes.
And Wells would be sorry then for what he had done. And the bell would
He could hear the tolling. He said over to himself the song that Brigid
had taught him.
Dingdong! The castle bell!
Farewell, my mother!
Bury me in the old churchyard
Beside my eldest brother.
My coffin shall be black,
Six angels at my back,
Two to sing and two to pray
And two to carry my soul away.
How beautiful and sad that was! How beautiful the words were where they
said BURY ME IN THE OLD CHURCHYARD! A tremor passed over his body. How
sad and how beautiful! He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself:
for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music. The bell! The bell!
Farewell! O farewell!
The cold sunlight was weaker and Brother Michael was standing at his
bedside with a bowl of beef-tea. He was glad for his mouth was hot and
dry. He could hear them playing in the playgrounds. And the day was
going on in the college just as if he were there.
Then Brother Michael was going away and the fellow out of the third of
grammar told him to be sure and come back and tell him all the news in
the paper. He told Stephen that his name was Athy and that his father
kept a lot of racehorses that were spiffing jumpers and that his father
would give a good tip to Brother Michael any time he wanted it because
Brother Michael was very decent and always told him the news out of the
paper they got every day up in the castle. There was every kind of news
in the paper: accidents, shipwrecks, sports, and politics.
--Now it is all about politics in the papers, he said. Do your people
talk about that too?
--Yes, Stephen said.
--Mine too, he said.
Then he thought for a moment and said:
--You have a queer name, Dedalus, and I have a queer name too, Athy.
My name is the name of a town. Your name is like Latin.
Then he asked:
--Are you good at riddles?
--Not very good.
Then he said:
--Can you answer me this one? Why is the county of Kildare like the
leg of a fellow's breeches?
Stephen thought what could be the answer and then said:
--I give it up.
--Because there is a thigh in it, he said. Do you see the joke? Athy
is the town in the county Kildare and a thigh is the other thigh.
--Oh, I see, Stephen said.
--That's an old riddle, he said.
After a moment he said:
--What? asked Stephen.
--You know, he said, you can ask that riddle another way.
--Can you? said Stephen.
--The same riddle, he said. Do you know the other way to ask it?
--No, said Stephen.
--Can you not think of the other way? he said.
He looked at Stephen over the bedclothes as he spoke. Then he lay back
on the pillow and said:
--There is another way but I won't tell you what it is.
Why did he not tell it? His father, who kept the racehorses, must be a
magistrate too like Saurin's father and Nasty Roche's father. He
thought of his own father, of how he sang songs while his mother played
and of how he always gave him a shilling when he asked for sixpence and
he felt sorry for him that he was not a magistrate like the other boys'
fathers. Then why was he sent to that place with them? But
his father had told him that he would be no stranger there because his
granduncle had presented an address to the liberator there fifty years
before. You could know the people of that time by their old dress. It
seemed to him a solemn time: and he wondered if that was the time when
the fellows in Clongowes wore blue coats with brass buttons and yellow
waistcoats and caps of rabbitskin and drank beer like grown-up people
and kept greyhounds of their own to course the hares with.
He looked at the window and saw that the daylight had grown weaker.
There would be cloudy grey light over the playgrounds. There was no
noise on the playgrounds. The class must be doing the themes or perhaps
Father Arnall was reading out of the book.
It was queer that they had not given him any medicine. Perhaps Brother
Michael would bring it back when he came. They said you got stinking
stuff to drink when you were in the infirmary. But he felt better now
than before. It would be nice getting better slowly. You could get a
book then. There was a book in the library about Holland. There were
lovely foreign names in it and pictures of strange looking cities and
ships. It made you feel so happy.
How pale the light was at the window! But that was nice. The fire rose
and fell on the wall. It was like waves. Someone had put coal on and he
heard voices. They were talking. It was the noise of the waves. Or the
waves were talking among themselves as they rose and fell.
He saw the sea of waves, long dark waves rising and falling, dark under
the moonless night. A tiny light twinkled at the pierhead where the
ship was entering: and he saw a multitude of people gathered by the
waters' edge to see the ship that was entering their harbour. A tall
man stood on the deck, looking out towards the flat dark land: and by
the light at the pierhead he saw his face, the sorrowful face of
He saw him lift his hand towards the people and heard him say in a loud
voice of sorrow over the waters:
--He is dead. We saw him lying upon the catafalque. A wail of sorrow
went up from the people.
--Parnell! Parnell! He is dead!
They fell upon their knees, moaning in sorrow.
And he saw Dante in a maroon velvet dress and with a green velvet
mantle hanging from her shoulders walking proudly and silently past the
people who knelt by the water's edge.
* * * * *
A great fire, banked high and red, flamed in the grate and under the
ivy-twined branches of the chandelier the Christmas table was spread.
They had come home a little late and still dinner was not ready: but it
would be ready in a jiffy his mother had said. They were waiting for
the door to open and for the servants to come in, holding the big
dishes covered with their heavy metal covers.
All were waiting: uncle Charles, who sat far away in the shadow of the
window, Dante and Mr Casey, who sat in the easy-chairs at either side
of the hearth, Stephen, seated on a chair between them, his feet
resting on the toasted boss. Mr Dedalus looked at himself in the
pierglass above the mantelpiece, waxed out his moustache ends and then,
parting his coattails, stood with his back to the glowing fire: and
still from time to time he withdrew a hand from his coat-tail to wax
out one of his moustache ends. Mr Casey leaned his head to one side
and, smiling, tapped the gland of his-neck with his fingers. And
Stephen smiled too for he knew now that it was not true that Mr Casey
had a purse of silver in his throat. He smiled to think how the silvery
noise which Mr Casey used to make had deceived him. And when he had
tried to open Mr Casey's hand to see if the purse of silver was hidden
there he had seen that the fingers could not be straightened out: and
Mr Casey had told him that he had got those three cramped fingers
making a birthday present for Queen Victoria. Mr Casey tapped the gland
of his neck and smiled at Stephen with sleepy eyes: and Mr Dedalus said
--Yes. Well now, that's all right. O, we had a good walk, hadn't we,
John? Yes...I wonder if there's any likelihood of dinner this evening.
Yes...O, well now, we got a good breath of ozone round the Head today. Ay,
He turned to Dante and said:
--You didn't stir out at all, Mrs Riordan?
Dante frowned and said shortly:
Mr Dedalus dropped his coat-tails and went over to the sideboard. He
brought forth a great stone jar of whisky from the locker and filled
the decanter slowly, bending now and then to see how much he had poured
in. Then replacing the jar in the locker he poured a little of the
whisky into two glasses, added a little water and came back with them
to the fireplace.
--A thimbleful, John, he said, just to whet your appetite.
Mr Casey took the glass, drank, and placed it near him on the
mantelpiece. Then he said:
--Well, I can't help thinking of our friend Christopher manufacturing.
He broke into a fit of laughter and coughing and added:
--manufacturing that champagne for those fellows.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly.
--Is it Christy? he said. There's more cunning in one of those warts
on his bald head than in a pack of jack foxes.
He inclined his head, closed his eyes, and, licking his lips profusely,
began to speak with the voice of the hotel keeper.
--And he has such a soft mouth when he's speaking to you, don't you
know. He's very moist and watery about the dewlaps, God bless him.
Mr Casey was still struggling through his fit of coughing and laughter.
Stephen, seeing and hearing the hotel keeper through his father's face
and voice, laughed.
Mr Dedalus put up his eyeglass and, staring down at him, said quietly
--What are you laughing at, you little puppy, you?
The servants entered and placed the dishes on the table. Mrs Dedalus
followed and the places were arranged.
--Sit over, she said.
Mr Dedalus went to the end of the table and said:
--Now, Mrs Riordan, sit over. John, sit you down, my hearty.
He looked round to where uncle Charles sat and said:
--Now then, sir, there's a bird here waiting for you.
When all had taken their seats he laid his hand on the cover and then
said quickly, withdrawing it:
Stephen stood up in his place to say the grace before meals:
Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which through
Thy bounty we are about to receive through Christ our
All blessed themselves and Mr Dedalus with a sigh of pleasure lifted
from the dish the heavy cover pearled around the edge with glistening
Stephen looked at the plump turkey which had lain, trussed and
skewered, on the kitchen table. He knew that his father had paid a
guinea for it in Dunn's of D'Olier Street and that the man had prodded
it often at the breastbone to show how good it was: and he remembered
the man's voice when he had said:
--Take that one, sir. That's the real Ally Daly.
Why did Mr Barrett in Clongowes call his pandybat a turkey? But
Clongowes was far away: and the warm heavy smell of turkey and ham and
celery rose from the plates and dishes and the great fire was banked
high and red in the grate and the green ivy and red holly made you feel
so happy and when dinner was ended the big plum pudding would be
carried in, studded with peeled almonds and sprigs of holly, with
bluish fire running around it and a little green flag flying from the
It was his first Christmas dinner and he thought of his little brothers
and sisters who were waiting in the nursery, as he had often waited,
till the pudding came. The deep low collar and the Eton jacket made him
feel queer and oldish: and that morning when his mother had brought him
down to the parlour, dressed for mass, his father had cried. That was
because he was thinking of his own father. And uncle Charles had said
Mr Dedalus covered the dish and began to eat hungrily. Then he said:
--Poor old Christy, he's nearly lopsided now with roguery.
--Simon, said Mrs Dedalus, you haven't given Mrs Riordan any sauce.
Mr Dedalus seized the sauceboat.
--Haven't I? he cried. Mrs Riordan, pity the poor blind. Dante covered
her plate with her hands and said:
Mr Dedalus turned to uncle Charles.
--How are you off, sir?
--Right as the mail, Simon.
--I'm all right. Go on yourself.
--Mary? Here, Stephen, here's something to make your hair curl.
He poured sauce freely over Stephen's plate and set the boat again on
the table. Then he asked uncle Charles was it tender. Uncle Charles
could not speak because his mouth was full; but he nodded that it was.
--That was a good answer our friend made to the canon. What? said Mr
--I didn't think he had that much in him, said Mr Casey.
--I'LL PAY YOUR DUES, FATHER, WHEN YOU CEASE TURNING THE HOUSE OF GOD
INTO A POLLING-BOOTH.
--A nice answer, said Dante, for any man calling himself a catholic to
give to his priest.
--They have only themselves to blame, said Mr Dedalus suavely. If they
took a fool's advice they would confine their attention to religion.
--It is religion, Dante said. They are doing their duty in warning the
--We go to the house of God, Mr Casey said, in all humility to pray to
our Maker and not to hear election addresses.
--It is religion, Dante said again. They are right. They must direct
--And preach politics from the altar, is it? asked Mr Dedalus.
--Certainly, said Dante. It is a question of public morality. A priest
would not be a priest if he did not tell his flock what is right and
what is wrong.
Mrs Dedalus laid down her knife and fork, saying:
--For pity sake and for pity sake let us have no political discussion
on this day of all days in the year.
--Quite right, ma'am, said uncle Charles. Now, Simon, that's quite
enough now. Not another word now.
--Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus quickly.
He uncovered the dish boldly and said:
--Now then, who's for more turkey?
Nobody answered. Dante said:
--Nice language for any catholic to use!
--Mrs Riordan, I appeal to you, said Mrs Dedalus, to let the matter
Dante turned on her and said:
--And am I to sit here and listen to the pastors of my church being
--Nobody is saying a word against them, said Mr Dedalus, so long as
they don't meddle in politics.
--The bishops and priests of Ireland have spoken, said Dante, and they
must be obeyed.
--Let them leave politics alone, said Mr Casey, or the people may
leave their church alone.
--You hear? said Dante, turning to Mrs Dedalus.
--Mr Casey! Simon! said Mrs Dedalus, let it end now.
--Too bad! Too bad! said uncle Charles.
--What? cried Mr Dedalus. Were we to desert him at the bidding of the
--He was no longer worthy to lead, said Dante. He was a public sinner.
--We are all sinners and black sinners, said Mr Casey coldly.
--WOE BE TO THE MAN BY WHOM THE SCANDAL COMETH! said Mrs Riordan. IT
WOULD BE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE TIED ABOUT HIS NECK AND
THAT HE WERE CAST INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA RATHER THAN THAT HE SHOULD
SCANDALIZE ONE OF THESE, MY LEAST LITTLE ONES. That is the language of
the Holy Ghost.
--And very bad language if you ask me, said Mr Dedalus coolly.
--Simon! Simon! said uncle Charles. The boy.
--Yes, yes, said Mr Dedalus. I meant about the...I was thinking about the
bad language of the railway porter. Well now, that's all right. Here,
Stephen, show me your plate, old chap. Eat away now. Here.
He heaped up the food on Stephen's plate and served uncle Charles and
Mr Casey to large pieces of turkey and splashes of sauce. Mrs Dedalus
was eating little and Dante sat with her hands in her lap. She was red
in the face. Mr Dedalus rooted with the carvers at the end of the dish
--There's a tasty bit here we call the pope's nose. If any lady or
He held a piece of fowl up on the prong of the carving fork. Nobody
spoke. He put it on his own plate, saying:
--Well, you can't say but you were asked. I think I had better eat it
myself because I'm not well in my health lately.
He winked at Stephen and, replacing the dish-cover, began to eat again.
There was a silence while he ate. Then he said:
--Well now, the day kept up fine after all. There were plenty of
strangers down too.
Nobody spoke. He said again:
--I think there were more strangers down than last Christmas.
He looked round at the others whose faces were bent towards their
plates and, receiving no reply, waited for a moment and said bitterly:
--Well, my Christmas dinner has been spoiled anyhow.
--There could be neither luck nor grace, Dante said, in a house where
there is no respect for the pastors of the church.
Mr Dedalus threw his knife and fork noisily on his plate.
--Respect! he said. Is it for Billy with the lip or for the tub of
guts up in Armagh? Respect!
--Princes of the church, said Mr Casey with slow scorn.
--Lord Leitrim's coachman, yes, said Mr Dedalus.
--They are the Lord's anointed, Dante said. They are an honour to their
--Tub of guts, said Mr Dedalus coarsely. He has a handsome face, mind
you, in repose. You should see that fellow lapping up his bacon and
cabbage of a cold winter's day. O Johnny!
He twisted his features into a grimace of heavy bestiality and made a
lapping noise with his lips.
--Really, Simon, you should not speak that way before Stephen. It's
--O, he'll remember all this when he grows up, said Dante hotly--the
language he heard against God and religion and priests in his own home.
--Let him remember too, cried Mr Casey to her from across the table,
the language with which the priests and the priests' pawns broke
Parnell's heart and hounded him into his grave. Let him remember that
too when he grows up.
--Sons of bitches! cried Mr Dedalus. When he was down they turned on
him to betray him and rend him like rats in a sewer. Low-lived dogs!
And they look it! By Christ, they look it!
--They behaved rightly, cried Dante. They obeyed their bishops and
their priests. Honour to them!
--Well, it is perfectly dreadful to say that not even for one day in
the year, said Mrs Dedalus, can we be free from these dreadful
Uncle Charles raised his hands mildly and said:
--Come now, come now, come now! Can we not have our opinions whatever
they are without this bad temper and this bad language? It is too bad
Mrs Dedalus spoke to Dante in a low voice but Dante said loudly:
--I will not say nothing. I will defend my church and my religion when
it is insulted and spit on by renegade catholics.
Mr Casey pushed his plate rudely into the middle of the table and,
resting his elbows before him, said in a hoarse voice to his host:
--Tell me, did I tell you that story about a very famous spit?
--You did not, John, said Mr Dedalus.
--Why then, said Mr Casey, it is a most instructive story. It happened
not long ago in the county Wicklow where we are now.
He broke off and, turning towards Dante, said with quiet indignation:
--And I may tell you, ma'am, that I, if you mean me, am no renegade
catholic. I am a catholic as my father was and his father before him
and his father before him again, when we gave up our lives rather than
sell our faith.
--The more shame to you now, Dante said, to speak as you do.
--The story, John, said Mr Dedalus smiling. Let us have the story
--Catholic indeed! repeated Dante ironically. The blackest protestant
in the land would not speak the language I have heard this evening.
Mr Dedalus began to sway his head to and fro, crooning like a country
--I am no protestant, I tell you again, said Mr Casey, flushing.
Mr Dedalus, still crooning and swaying his head, began to sing in a
grunting nasal tone:
O, come all you Roman catholics
That never went to mass.
He took up his knife and fork again in good humour and set to eating,
saying to Mr Casey:
--Let us have the story, John. It will help us to digest.
Stephen looked with affection at Mr Casey's face which stared across
the table over his joined hands. He liked to sit near him at the fire,
looking up at his dark fierce face. But his dark eyes were never fierce
and his slow voice was good to listen to. But why was he then against
the priests? Because Dante must be right then. But he had heard his
father say that she was a spoiled nun and that she had come out of the
convent in the Alleghanies when her brother had got the money from the
savages for the trinkets and the chainies. Perhaps that made her severe
against Parnell. And she did not like him to play with Eileen because
Eileen was a protestant and when she was young she knew children that
used to play with protestants and the protestants used to make fun of
the litany of the Blessed Virgin. TOWER OF IVORY they used to say,
HOUSE OF GOLD! How could a woman be a tower of ivory or a house of
gold? Who was right then? And he remembered the evening in the
infirmary in Clongowes, the dark waters, the light at the pierhead and
the moan of sorrow from the people when they had heard.
Eileen had long white hands. One evening when playing tig she had put
her hands over his eyes: long and white and thin and cold and soft.
That was ivory: a cold white thing. That was the meaning of TOWER OF
--The story is very short and sweet, Mr Casey said. It was one day
down in Arklow, a cold bitter day, not long before the chief died. May
God have mercy on him!
He closed his eyes wearily and paused. Mr Dedalus took a bone from his
plate and tore some meat from it with his teeth, saying:
--Before he was killed, you mean.
Mr Casey opened his eyes, sighed and went on:
--It was down in Arklow one day. We were down there at a meeting and
after the meeting was over we had to make our way to the railway
station through the crowd. Such booing and baaing, man, you never
heard. They called us all the names in the world. Well there was one
old lady, and a drunken old harridan she was surely, that paid all her
attention to me. She kept dancing along beside me in the mud bawling
and screaming into my face: PRIEST-HUNTER! THE PARIS FUNDS! MR FOX!
--And what did you do, John? asked Mr Dedalus.
--I let her bawl away, said Mr Casey. It was a cold day and to keep up
my heart I had (saving your presence, ma'am) a quid of Tullamore in my
mouth and sure I couldn't say a word in any case because my mouth was
full of tobacco juice.
--Well. I let her bawl away, to her heart's content, KITTY O'SHEA and
the rest of it till at last she called that lady a name that I won't
sully this Christmas board nor your ears, ma'am, nor my own lips by
He paused. Mr Dedalus, lifting his head from the bone, asked:
--And what did you do, John?
--Do! said Mr Casey. She stuck her ugly old face up at me when she
said it and I had my mouth full of tobacco juice. I bent down to her
and PHTH! says I to her like that.
He turned aside and made the act of spitting.
--PHTH! says I to her like that, right into her eye.
He clapped his hand to his eye and gave a hoarse scream of pain.
--O JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH! says she. I'M BLINDED! I'M BLINDED AND
He stopped in a fit of coughing and laughter, repeating:
--I'M BLINDED ENTIRELY.
Mr Dedalus laughed loudly and lay back in his chair while uncle Charles
swayed his head to and fro.
Dante looked terribly angry and repeated while they laughed:
--Very nice! Ha! Very nice!
It was not nice about the spit in the woman's eye.
But what was the name the woman had called Kitty O'Shea that Mr Casey
would not repeat? He thought of Mr Casey walking through the crowds of
people and making speeches from a wagonette. That was what he had been
in prison for and he remembered that one night Sergeant O'Neill had
come to the house and had stood in the hall, talking in a low voice
with his father and chewing nervously at the chinstrap of his cap. And
that night Mr Casey had not gone to Dublin by train but a car had come
to the door and he had heard his father say something about the
He was for Ireland and Parnell and so was his father: and so was Dante
too for one night at the band on the esplanade she had hit a gentleman
on the head with her umbrella because he had taken off his hat when the
band played GOD SAVE THE QUEEN at the end.
Mr Dedalus gave a snort of contempt.
--Ah, John, he said. It is true for them. We are an unfortunate
priest-ridden race and always were and always will be till the end of
Uncle Charles shook his head, saying:
--A bad business! A bad business!
Mr Dedalus repeated:
--A priest-ridden Godforsaken race!
He pointed to the portrait of his grandfather on the wall to his right.
--Do you see that old chap up there, John? he said. He was a good
Irishman when there was no money In the job. He was condemned to death
as a whiteboy. But he had a saying about our clerical friends, that he
would never let one of them put his two feet under his mahogany.
Dante broke in angrily:
--If we are a priest-ridden race we ought to be proud of it! They are the
apple of God's eye. TOUCH THEM NOT, says Christ, FOR THEY ARE THE APPLE
OF MY EYE.
--And can we not love our country then? asked Mr Casey. Are we not to
follow the man that was born to lead us?
--A traitor to his country! replied Dante. A traitor, an adulterer!
The priests were right to abandon him. The priests were always the true
friends of Ireland.
--Were they, faith? said Mr Casey.
He threw his fist on the table and, frowning angrily, protruded one
finger after another.
--Didn't the bishops of Ireland betray us in the time of the union
when Bishop Lanigan presented an address of loyalty to the Marquess
Cornwallis? Didn't the bishops and priests sell the aspirations of
their country in 1829 in return for catholic emancipation? Didn't they
denounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confession box?
And didn't they dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew MacManus?
His face was glowing with anger and Stephen felt the glow rise to his
own cheek as the spoken words thrilled him. Mr Dedalus uttered a guffaw
of coarse scorn.
--O, by God, he cried, I forgot little old Paul Cullen! Another apple
of God's eye!
Dante bent across the table and cried to Mr Casey:
--Right! Right! They were always right! God and morality and religion
Mrs Dedalus, seeing her excitement, said to her:
--Mrs Riordan, don't excite yourself answering them.
--God and religion before everything! Dante cried. God and religion
before the world.
Mr Casey raised his clenched fist and brought it down on the table with
--Very well then, he shouted hoarsely, if it comes to that, no God for
--John! John! cried Mr Dedalus, seizing his guest by the coat sleeve.
Dante stared across the table, her cheeks shaking. Mr Casey struggled
up from his chair and bent across the table towards her, scraping the
air from before his eyes with one hand as though he were tearing aside
--No God for Ireland! he cried. We have had too much God In Ireland.
Away with God!
--Blasphemer! Devil! screamed Dante, starting to her feet and almost
spitting in his face.
Uncle Charles and Mr Dedalus pulled Mr Casey back into his chair again,
talking to him from both sides reasonably. He stared before him out of
his dark flaming eyes, repeating:
--Away with God, I say!
Dante shoved her chair violently aside and left the table, upsetting
her napkin-ring which rolled slowly along the carpet and came to rest
against the foot of an easy-chair. Mrs Dedalus rose quickly and
followed her towards the door. At the door Dante turned round violently
and shouted down the room, her cheeks flushed and quivering with rage:
--Devil out of hell! We won! We crushed him to death! Fiend!
The door slammed behind her.
Mr Casey, freeing his arms from his holders, suddenly bowed his head on
his hands with a sob of pain.
--Poor Parnell! he cried loudly. My dead king!
He sobbed loudly and bitterly.
Stephen, raising his terror-stricken face, saw that his father's eyes
were full of tears.
* * * * *
The fellows talked together in little groups.
One fellow said:
--They were caught near the Hill of Lyons.
--Who caught them?
--Mr Gleeson and the minister. They were on a car. The same fellow
--A fellow in the higher line told me.
--But why did they run away, tell us?
--I know why, Cecil Thunder said. Because they had fecked cash out of
the rector's room.
--Who fecked it?
--Kickham's brother. And they all went shares in it.
--But that was stealing. How could they have done that?
--A fat lot you know about it, Thunder! Wells said. I know why they
--Tell us why.
--I was told not to, Wells said.
--O, go on, Wells, all said. You might tell us. We won't let it out.
Stephen bent forward his head to hear. Wells looked round to see if
anyone was coming. Then he said secretly:
--You know the altar wine they keep in the press in the sacristy?
--Well, they drank that and it was found out who did it by the smell.
And that's why they ran away, if you want to know.
And the fellow who had spoken first said:
--Yes, that's what I heard too from the fellow in the higher line.
The fellows all were silent. Stephen stood among them, afraid to speak,
listening. A faint sickness of awe made him feel weak. How could they
have done that? He thought of the dark silent sacristy. There were dark
wooden presses there where the crimped surplices lay quietly folded. It
was not the chapel but still you had to speak under your breath. It was
a holy place. He remembered the summer evening he had been there to be
dressed as boatbearer, the evening of the Procession to the little
altar in the wood. A strange and holy place. The boy that held the
censer had swung it lifted by the middle chain to keep the coals
lighting. That was called charcoal: and it had burned quietly as the
fellow had swung it gently and had given off a weak sour smell. And
then when all were vested he had stood holding out the boat to the
rector and the rector had put a spoonful of incense in it and it had
hissed on the red coals.
The fellows were talking together in little groups here and there on
the playground. The fellows seemed to him to have grown smaller: that
was because a sprinter had knocked him down the day before, a fellow
out of second of grammar. He had been thrown by the fellow's machine
lightly on the cinder path and his spectacles had been broken in three
pieces and some of the grit of the cinders had gone Into his mouth.
That was why the fellows seemed to him smaller and farther away and the
goalposts so thin and far and the soft grey sky so high up. But there
was no play on the football grounds for cricket was coming: and some
said that Barnes would be prof and some said it would be Flowers. And
all over the playgrounds they were playing rounders and bowling
twisters and lobs. And from here and from there came the sounds of the
cricket bats through the soft grey air. They said: pick, pack, pock,
puck: little drops of water in a fountain slowly falling in the
Athy, who had been silent, said quietly:
--You are all wrong.
All turned towards him eagerly.
--Do you know?
--Who told you?
--Tell us, Athy.
Athy pointed across the playground to where Simon Moonan was walking by
himself kicking a stone before him.
--Ask him, he said.
The fellows looked there and then said:
--Is he in it?
Athy lowered his voice and said:
--Do you know why those fellows scut? I will tell you but you must not
let on you know.
--Tell us, Athy. Go on. You might if you know.
He paused for a moment and then said mysteriously:
--They were caught with Simon Moonan and Tusker Boyle in the square one
The fellows looked at him and asked:
All the fellows were silent: and Athy said:
--And that's why.
Stephen looked at the faces of the fellows but they were all looking
across the playground. He wanted to ask somebody about it. What did
that mean about the smugging in the square? Why did the five fellows
out of the higher line run away for that? It was a joke, he thought.
Simon Moonan had nice clothes and one night he had shown him a ball of
creamy sweets that the fellows of the football fifteen had rolled down
to him along the carpet in the middle of the refectory when he was at
the door. It was the night of the match against the Bective Rangers;
and the ball was made just like a red and green apple only it opened
and it was full of the creamy sweets. And one day Boyle had said that
art elephant had two tuskers instead of two tusks and that was why he
was called Tusker Boyle but some fellows called him Lady Boyle because
he was always at his nails, paring them.
Eileen had long thin cool white hands too because she was a girl. They
were like ivory; only soft. That was the meaning of TOWER OF IVORY but
protestants could not understand it and made fun of it. One day he had
stood beside her looking into the hotel grounds. A waiter was running
up a trail of bunting on the flagstaff and a fox terrier was scampering
to and fro on the sunny lawn. She had put her hand into his pocket
where his hand was and he had felt how cool and thin and soft her hand
was. She had said that pockets were funny things to have: and then all
of a sudden she had broken away and had run laughing down the sloping
curve of the path. Her fair hair had streamed out behind her like gold
in the sun. TOWER OF IVORY. HOUSE OF GOLD. By thinking of things you
could understand them.
But why in the square? You went there when you wanted to do something.
It was all thick slabs of slate and water trickled all day out of tiny
pinholes and there was a queer smell of stale water there. And behind
the door of one of the closets there was a drawing in red pencil of a
bearded man in a Roman dress with a brick in each hand and underneath
was the name of the drawing:
Balbus was building a wall.
Some fellow had drawn it there for a cod. It had a funny face but it
was very like a man with a beard. And on the wall of another closet
there was written in backhand in beautiful writing:
Julius Caesar wrote The Calico Belly.
Perhaps that was why they were there because it was a place where some
fellows wrote things for cod. But all the same it was queer what Athy
said and the way he said it. It was not a cod because they had run
away. He looked with the others across the playground and began to feel
At last Fleming said:
--And we are all to be punished for what other fellows did?
I won't come back, see if I do, Cecil Thunder said. Three days' silence
in the refectory and sending us up for six and eight every minute.
--Yes, said Wells. And old Barrett has a new way of twisting the note
so that you can't open it and fold it again to see how many ferulae you
are to get. I won't come back too.
Yes, said Cecil Thunder, and the prefect of studies was in second of
grammar this morning.
--Let us get up a rebellion, Fleming said. Will we?
All the fellows were silent. The air was very silent and you could hear
the cricket bats but more slowly than before: pick, pock.
--What is going to be done to them?
--Simon Moonan and Tusker are going to be flogged, Athy said, and the
fellows in the higher line got their choice of flogging or being
--And which are they taking? asked the fellow who had spoken first.
--All are taking expulsion except Corrigan, Athy answered. He's going
to be flogged by Mr Gleeson.
--I know why, Cecil Thunder said. He is right and the other fellows
are wrong because a flogging wears off after a bit but a fellow that
has been expelled from college is known all his life on account of it.
Besides Gleeson won't flog him hard.
--It's best of his play not to, Fleming said.
--I wouldn't like to be Simon Moonan and Tusker Cecil Thunder said.
But I don't believe they will be flogged. Perhaps they will be sent up
for twice nine.
--No, no, said Athy. They'll both get it on the vital spot. Wells
rubbed himself and said in a crying voice:
--Please, sir, let me off!
Athy grinned and turned up the sleeves of his jacket, saying:
It can't be helped;
It must be done.
So down with your breeches
And out with your bum.
The fellows laughed; but he felt that they were a little afraid. In the
silence of the soft grey air he heard the cricket bats from here and
from there: pock. That was a sound to hear but if you were hit then you
would feel a pain. The pandybat made a sound too but not like that. The
fellows said it was made of whalebone and leather with lead inside: and
he wondered what was the pain like. There were different kinds of
sounds. A long thin cane would have a high whistling sound and he
wondered what was that pain like. It made him shivery to think of it
and cold: and what Athy said too. But what was there to laugh at in it?
It made him shivery: but that was because you always felt like a shiver
when you let down your trousers. It was the same in the bath when you
undressed yourself. He wondered who had to let them down, the master or
the boy himself. O how could they laugh about it that way?
He looked at Athy's rolled-up sleeves and knuckly inky hands. He had
rolled up his sleeves to show how Mr Gleeson would roll up his sleeves.
But Mr Gleeson had round shiny cuffs and clean white wrists and fattish
white hands and the nails of them were long and pointed. Perhaps he
pared them too like Lady Boyle. But they were terribly long and pointed
nails. So long and cruel they were, though the white fattish hands were
not cruel but gentle. And though he trembled with cold and fright to
think of the cruel long nails and of the high whistling sound of the cane
and of the chill you felt at the end of your shirt when you undressed
yourself yet he felt a feeling of queer quiet pleasure inside him to think
of the white fattish hands, clean and strong and gentle. And he thought of
what Cecil Thunder had said: that Mr Gleeson would not flog Corrigan hard.
And Fleming had said he would not because it was best of his play not
to. But that was not why
A voice from far out on the playground cried:
And other voices cried:
--All in! All in!
During the writing lesson he sat with his arms folded, listening to the
slow scraping of the pens. Mr Harford went to and fro making little
signs in red pencil and sometimes sitting beside the boy to show him
how to hold his pen. He had tried to spell out the headline for himself
though he knew already what it was for it was the last of the book.
Zeal WITHOUT PRUDENCE IS LIKE A SHIP ADRIFT. But the lines of the
letters were like fine invisible threads and it was only by closing his
right eye tight and staring out of the left eye that he could make out
the full curves of the capital.
But Mr Harford was very decent and never got into a wax. All the other
masters got into dreadful waxes. But why were they to suffer for what
fellows in the higher line did? Wells had said that they had drunk some
of the altar wine out of the press in the sacristy and that it had been
found out who had done it by the smell. Perhaps they had stolen a
monstrance to run away with and sell it somewhere. That must have been
a terrible sin, to go in there quietly at night, to open the dark press
and steal the flashing gold thing into which God was put on the altar
in the middle of flowers and candles at benediction while the incense
went up in clouds at both sides as the fellow swung the censer and
Dominic Kelly sang the first part by himself in the choir. But God was
not in it of course when they stole it. But still it was a strange and
a great sin even to touch it. He thought of it with deep awe; a
terrible and strange sin: it thrilled him to think of it in the silence
when the pens scraped lightly. But to drink the altar wine out of the
press and be found out by the smell was a sin too: but it was not
terrible and strange. It only made you feel a little sickish on account
of the smell of the wine. Because on the day when he had made his first
holy communion in the chapel he had shut his eyes and opened his mouth
and put out his tongue a little: and when the rector had stooped down
to give him the holy communion he had smelt a faint winy smell off the
rector's breath after the wine of the mass. The word was beautiful:
wine. It made you think of dark purple because the grapes were dark
purple that grew in Greece outside houses like white temples. But the
faint smell of the rector's breath had made him feel a sick feeling on
the morning of his first communion. The day of your first communion was
the happiest day of your life. And once a lot of generals had asked
Napoleon what was the happiest day of his life. They thought he would
say the day he won some great battle or the day he was made an emperor.
But he said:
--Gentlemen, the happiest day of my life was the day on which I made
my first holy communion.
Father Arnall came in and the Latin lesson began and he remained still,
leaning on the desk with his arms folded. Father Arnall gave out the
theme-books and he said that they were scandalous and that they were
all to be written out again with the corrections at once. But the worst
of all was Fleming's theme because the pages were stuck together by a
blot: and Father Arnall held it up by a corner and said it was an
insult to any master to send him up such a theme. Then he asked Jack
Lawton to decline the noun MARE and Jack Lawton stopped at the ablative
singular and could not go on with the plural.
--You should be ashamed of yourself, said Father Arnall sternly. You,
the leader of the class!
Then he asked the next boy and the next and the next. Nobody knew.
Father Arnall became very quiet, more and more quiet as each boy tried
to answer it and could not. But his face was black-looking and
his eyes were staring though his voice was so quiet. Then he asked
Fleming and Fleming said that the word had no plural. Father Arnall
suddenly shut the book and shouted at him:
--Kneel out there in the middle of the class. You are one of the
idlest boys I ever met. Copy out your themes again the rest of you.
Fleming moved heavily out of his place and knelt between the two last
benches. The other boys bent over their theme-books and began to write.
A silence filled the classroom and Stephen, glancing timidly at Father
Arnall's dark face, saw that it was a little red from the wax he was in.
Was that a sin for Father Arnall to be in a wax or was he allowed to
get into a wax when the boys were idle because that made them study
better or was he only letting on to be in a wax? It was because he was
allowed, because a priest would know what a sin was and would not do
it. But if he did it one time by mistake what would he do to go to
confession? Perhaps he would go to confession to the minister. And if
the minister did it he would go to the rector: and the rector to the
provincial: and the provincial to the general of the jesuits. That was
called the order: and he had heard his father say that they were all
clever men. They could all have become high-up people in the world if
they had not become jesuits. And he wondered what Father Arnall and
Paddy Barrett would have become and what Mr McGlade and Mr Gleeson
would have become if they had not become jesuits. It was hard to think
what because you would have to think of them in a different way with
different coloured coats and trousers and with beards and moustaches
and different kinds of hats.
The door opened quietly and closed. A quick whisper ran through the
class: the prefect of studies. There was an instant of dead silence and
then the loud crack of a pandybat on the last desk. Stephen's heart
leapt up in fear.
--Any boys want flogging here, Father Arnall? cried the prefect of
studies. Any lazy idle loafers that want flogging in this class?
He came to the middle of the class and saw Fleming on his knees.
--Hoho! he cried. Who is this boy? Why is he on his knees? What is
your name, boy?
--Hoho, Fleming! An idler of course. I can see it in your eye. Why is
he on his knees, Father Arnall?
--He wrote a bad Latin theme, Father Arnall said, and he missed all
the questions in grammar.
--Of course he did! cried the prefect of studies, of course he did! A
born idler! I can see it in the corner of his eye.
He banged his pandybat down on the desk and cried:
--Up, Fleming! Up, my boy!
Fleming stood up slowly.
--Hold out! cried the prefect of studies.
Fleming held out his hand. The pandybat came down on it with a loud
smacking sound: one, two, three, four, five, six.
The pandybat came down again in six loud quick smacks.
--Kneel down! cried the prefect of studies.
Fleming knelt down, squeezing his hands under his armpits, his face
contorted with pain; but Stephen knew how hard his hands were because
Fleming was always rubbing rosin into them. But perhaps he was in great
pain for the noise of the pandybat was terrible. Stephen's heart was
beating and fluttering.
--At your work, all of you! shouted the prefect of studies. We want no
lazy idle loafers here, lazy idle little schemers. At your work, I tell
you. Father Dolan will be in to see you every day. Father Dolan will be
He poked one of the boys in the side with his pandybat, saying:
--You, boy! When will Father Dolan be in again?
--Tomorrow, sir, said Tom Furlong's voice.
--Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, said the prefect of studies.
Make up your minds for that. Every day Father Dolan. Write away. You,
boy, who are you?
Stephen's heart jumped suddenly.
--Why are you not writing like the others?
He could not speak with fright.
--Why is he not writing, Father Arnall?
--He broke his glasses, said Father Arnall, and I exempted him from
--Broke? What is this I hear? What is this your name is! said the
prefect of studies.
--Out here, Dedalus. Lazy little schemer. I see schemer in your face.
Where did you break your glasses?
Stephen stumbled into the middle of the class, blinded by fear and haste.
--Where did you break your glasses? repeated the prefect of studies.
--The cinder-path, sir.
--Hoho! The cinder-path! cried the prefect of studies. I know that trick.
Stephen lifted his eyes in wonder and saw for a moment Father Dolan's
white-grey not young face, his baldy white-grey head with fluff at the
sides of it, the steel rims of his spectacles and his no-coloured eyes
looking through the glasses. Why did he say he knew that trick?
--Lazy idle little loafer! cried the prefect of studies. Broke my
glasses! An old schoolboy trick! Out with your hand this moment!
Stephen closed his eyes and held out in the air his trembling hand with
the palm upwards. He felt the prefect of studies touch it for a moment
at the fingers to straighten it and then the swish of the sleeve of the
soutane as the pandybat was lifted to strike. A hot burning stinging
tingling blow like the loud crack of a broken stick made his trembling
hand crumple together like a leaf in the fire: and at the sound and the
pain scalding tears were driven into his eyes. His whole body was shaking
with fright, his arm was shaking and his crumpled burning livid hand shook
like a loose leaf in the air. A cry sprang to his lips, a prayer to be let
off. But though the tears scalded his eyes and his limbs quivered with
pain and fright he held back the hot tears and the cry that scalded his
--Other hand! shouted the prefect of studies.
Stephen drew back his maimed and quivering right arm and held out his
left hand. The soutane sleeve swished again as the pandybat was lifted
and a loud crashing sound and a fierce maddening tingling burning pain
made his hand shrink together with the palms and fingers in a livid
quivering mass. The scalding water burst forth from his eyes and,
burning with shame and agony and fear, he drew back his shaking arm in
terror and burst out into a whine of pain. His body shook with a palsy
of fright and in shame and rage he felt the scalding cry come from his
throat and the scalding tears falling out of his eyes and down his
--Kneel down, cried the prefect of studies.
Stephen knelt down quickly pressing his beaten hands to his sides. To
think of them beaten and swollen with pain all in a moment made him
feel so sorry for them as if they were not his own but someone else's
that he felt sorry for. And as he knelt, calming the last sobs in his
throat and feeling the burning tingling pain pressed into his sides, he
thought of the hands which he had held out in the air with the palms up
and of the firm touch of the prefect of studies when he had steadied
the shaking fingers and of the beaten swollen reddened mass of palm and
fingers that shook helplessly in the air.
--Get at your work, all of you, cried the prefect of studies from the
door. Father Dolan will be in every day to see if any boy, any lazy
idle little loafer wants flogging. Every day. Every day.
The door closed behind him.
The hushed class continued to copy out the themes. Father Arnall rose
from his seat and went among them, helping the boys with gentle words
and telling them the mistakes they had made. His voice was very gentle
and soft. Then he returned to his seat and said to Fleming and Stephen:
--You may return to your places, you two.
Fleming and Stephen rose and, walking to their seats, sat down.
Stephen, scarlet with shame, opened a book quickly with one weak hand
and bent down upon it, his face close to the page.
It was unfair and cruel because the doctor had told him not to read
without glasses and he had written home to his father that morning to
send him a new pair. And Father Arnall had said that he need not study
till the new glasses came. Then to be called a schemer before the class
and to be pandied when he always got the card for first or second and
was the leader of the Yorkists! How could the prefect of studies know
that it was a trick? He felt the touch of the prefect's fingers as they
had steadied his hand and at first he had thought he was going to shake
hands with him because the fingers were soft and firm: but then in an
instant he had heard the swish of the soutane sleeve and the crash. It
was cruel and unfair to make him kneel in the middle of the class then:
and Father Arnall had told them both that they might return to their
places without making any difference between them. He listened to
Father Arnall's low and gentle voice as he corrected the themes.
Perhaps he was sorry now and wanted to be decent. But it was unfair and
cruel. The prefect of studies was a priest but that was cruel and
unfair. And his white-grey face and the no-coloured eyes behind the
steel-rimmed spectacles were cruel looking because he had steadied the
hand first with his firm soft fingers and that was to hit it better and
--It's a stinking mean thing, that's what it is, said Fleming in the
corridor as the classes were passing out in file to the refectory, to
pandy a fellow for what is not his fault.
--You really broke your glasses by accident, didn't you? Nasty Roche
Stephen felt his heart filled by Fleming's words and did not answer.
--Of course he did! said Fleming. I wouldn't stand it. I'd go up and
tell the rector on him.
--Yes, said Cecil Thunder eagerly, and I saw him lift the pandy-bat
over his shoulder and he's not allowed to do that.
--Did they hurt you much? Nasty Roche asked.
--Very much, Stephen said.
--I wouldn't stand it, Fleming repeated, from Baldyhead or any other
Baldyhead. It's a stinking mean low trick, that's what it is. I'd go
straight up to the rector and tell him about it after dinner.
--Yes, do. Yes, do, said Cecil Thunder.
--Yes, do. Yes, go up and tell the rector on him, Dedalus, said Nasty
Roche, because he said that he'd come in tomorrow again and pandy you.
--Yes, yes. Tell the rector, all said.
And there were some fellows out of second of grammar listening and one
of them said:
--The senate and the Roman people declared that Dedalus had been
It was wrong; it was unfair and cruel; and, as he sat in the refectory,
he suffered time after time in memory the same humiliation until he
began to wonder whether it might not really be that there was something
in his face which made him look like a schemer and he wished he had a
little mirror to see. But there could not be; and it was unjust and
cruel and unfair.
He could not eat the blackish fish fritters they got on Wednesdays in
lent and one of his potatoes had the mark of the spade in it. Yes, he
would do what the fellows had told him. He would go up and tell the
rector that he had been wrongly punished. A thing like that had been
done before by somebody in history, by some great person whose head was
in the books of history. And the rector would declare that he had been
wrongly punished because the senate and the Roman people always
declared that the men who did that had been wrongly punished. Those
were the great men whose names were in Richmal Magnall's Questions.
History was all about those men and what they did and that was what
Peter Parley's Tales about Greece and Rome were all about. Peter Parley
himself was on the first page in a picture. There was a road over a
heath with grass at the side and little bushes: and Peter Parley had a
broad hat like a protestant minister and a big stick and he was walking
fast along the road to Greece and Rome.
It was easy what he had to do. All he had to do was when the dinner was
over and he came out in his turn to go on walking but not out to the
corridor but up the staircase on the right that led to the castle. He
had nothing to do but that: to turn to the right and walk fast up the
staircase and in half a minute he would be in the low dark narrow
corridor that led through the castle to the rector's room. And every
fellow had said that it was unfair, even the fellow out of second of
grammar who had said that about the senate and the Roman people.
What would happen?
He heard the fellows of the higher line stand up at the top of the
refectory and heard their steps as they came down the matting: Paddy
Rath and Jimmy Magee and the Spaniard and the Portuguese and the fifth
was big Corrigan who was going to be flogged by Mr Gleeson. That was
why the prefect of studies had called him a schemer and pandied him for
nothing: and, straining his weak eyes, tired with the tears, he watched
big Corrigan's broad shoulders and big hanging black head passing in the
file. But he had done something and besides Mr Gleeson would not flog him
hard: and he remembered how big Corrigan looked in the bath. He had skin
the same colour as the turf-coloured bogwater in the shallow end of the
bath and when he walked along the side his feet slapped loudly on the wet
tiles and at every step his thighs shook a little because he was fat.
The refectory was half empty and the fellows were still passing out in
file. He could go up the staircase because there was never a priest or
a prefect outside the refectory door. But he could not go. The rector
would side with the prefect of studies and think it was a schoolboy
trick and then the prefect of studies would come in every day the same,
only it would be worse because he would be dreadfully waxy at any
fellow going up to the rector about him. The fellows had told him to go
but they would not go themselves. They had forgotten all about it. No,
it was best to forget all about it and perhaps the prefect of studies
had Only said he would come in. No, it was best to hide out of the way
because when you were small and young you could often escape that way.
The fellows at his table stood up. He stood up and passed out among
them in the file. He had to decide. He was coming near the door. If he
went on with the fellows he could never go up to the rector because he
could not leave the playground for that. And if he went and was pandied
all the same all the fellows would make fun and talk about young
Dedalus going up to the rector to tell on the prefect of studies.
He was walking down along the matting and he saw the door before him.
It was impossible: he could not. He thought of the baldy head of the
prefect of studies with the cruel no-coloured eyes looking at him and
he heard the voice of the prefect of studies asking him twice what his
name was. Why could he not remember the name when he was told the first
time? Was he not listening the first time or was it to make fun out of
the name? The great men in the history had names like that and nobody
made fun of them. It was his own name that he should have made fun of
if he wanted to make fun. Dolan: it was like the name of a woman who
He had reached the door and, turning quickly up to the right, walked up
the stairs and, before he could make up his mind to come back, he had
entered the low dark narrow corridor that led to the castle. And as he
crossed the threshold of the door of the corridor he saw, without
turning his head to look, that all the fellows were looking after him
as they went filing by.
He passed along the narrow dark corridor, passing little doors that
were the doors of the rooms of the community. He peered in front of him
and right and left through the gloom and thought that those must be
portraits. It was dark and silent and his eyes were weak and tired with
tears so that he could not see. But he thought they were the portraits
of the saints and great men of the order who were looking down on him
silently as he passed: saint Ignatius Loyola holding an open book and
pointing to the words AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM in it; saint Francis
Xavier pointing to his chest; Lorenzo Ricci with his berretta on his
head like one of the prefects of the lines, the three patrons of holy
youth--saint Stanislaus Kostka, saint Aloysius Gonzago, and Blessed
John Berchmans, all with young faces because they died when they were
young, and Father Peter Kenny sitting in a chair wrapped in a big
He came out on the landing above the entrance hall and looked about
him. That was where Hamilton Rowan had passed and the marks of the
soldiers' slugs were there. And it was there that the old servants had
seen the ghost in the white cloak of a marshal.
An old servant was sweeping at the end of the landing. He asked him
where was the rector's room and the old servant pointed to the door at
the far end and looked after him as he went on to it and knocked.
There was no answer. He knocked again more loudly and his heart jumped
when he heard a muffled voice say:
He turned the handle and opened the door and fumbled for the handle of
the green baize door inside. He found it and pushed it open and went in.
He saw the rector sitting at a desk writing. There was a skull on the
desk and a strange solemn smell in the room like the old leather of
His heart was beating fast on account of the solemn place he was in and
the silence of the room: and he looked at the skull and at the rector's
--Well, my little man, said the rector, what is it?
Stephen swallowed down the thing in his throat and said:
--I broke my glasses, sir.
The rector opened his mouth and said:
Then he smiled and said:
--Well, if we broke our glasses we must write home for a new pair.
--I wrote home, sir, said Stephen, and Father Arnall said I am not to
study till they come.
--Quite right! said the rector.
Stephen swallowed down the thing again and tried to keep his legs and
his voice from shaking.
--Father Dolan came in today and pandied me because I was not writing
The rector looked at him in silence and he could feel the blood rising
to his face and the tears about to rise to his eyes.
The rector said:
--Your name is Dedalus, isn't it?
--And where did you break your glasses?
--On the cinder-path, sir. A fellow was coming out of the bicycle
house and I fell and they got broken. I don't know the fellow's name.
The rector looked at him again in silence. Then he smiled and said:
--O, well, it was a mistake; I am sure Father Dolan did not know.
--But I told him I broke them, sir, and he pandied me.
--Did you tell him that you had written home for a new pair? the
--O well then, said the rector, Father Dolan did not understand. You can
say that I excuse you from your lessons for a few days.
Stephen said quickly for fear his trembling would prevent him:
--Yes, sir, but Father Dolan said he will come in tomorrow to pandy me
again for it.
--Very well, the rector said, it is a mistake and I shall speak to
Father Dolan myself. Will that do now?
Stephen felt the tears wetting his eyes and murmured:
--O yes sir, thanks.
The rector held his hand across the side of the desk where the skull
was and Stephen, placing his hand in it for a moment, felt a cool moist
--Good day now, said the rector, withdrawing his hand and bowing.
--Good day, sir, said Stephen.
He bowed and walked quietly out of the room, closing the doors
carefully and slowly.
But when he had passed the old servant on the landing and was again in
the low narrow dark corridor he began to walk faster and faster. Faster
and faster he hurried on through the gloom excitedly. He bumped his
elbow against the door at the end and, hurrying down the staircase,
walked quickly through the two corridors and out into the air.
He could hear the cries of the fellows on the playgrounds. He broke
into a run and, running quicker and quicker, ran across the cinderpath
and reached the third line playground, panting.
The fellows had seen him running. They closed round him in a ring,
pushing one against another to hear.
--Tell us! Tell us!
--What did he say?
--Did you go in?
--What did he say?
--Tell us! Tell us!
He told them what he had said and what the rector had said and, when he
had told them, all the fellows flung their caps spinning up into the
air and cried:
They caught their caps and sent them up again spinning sky-high and
They made a cradle of their locked hands and hoisted him up among them
and carried him along till he struggled to get free. And when he had
escaped from them they broke away in all directions, flinging their
caps again into the air and whistling as they went spinning up and
And they gave three groans for Baldyhead Dolan and three cheers for
Conmee and they said he was the decentest rector that was ever in
The cheers died away in the soft grey air. He was alone. He was happy
and free; but he would not be anyway proud with Father Dolan. He would
be very quiet and obedient: and he wished that he could do something
kind for him to show him that he was not proud.
The air was soft and grey and mild and evening was coming. There was
the smell of evening in the air, the smell of the fields in the country
where they digged up turnips to peel them and eat them when they went
out for a walk to Major Barton's, the smell there was in the little
wood beyond the pavilion where the gallnuts were.
The fellows were practising long shies and bowling lobs and slow
twisters. In the soft grey silence he could hear the bump of the balls:
and from here and from there through the quiet air the sound of the
cricket bats: pick, pack, pock, puck: like drops of water in a fountain
falling softly in the brimming bowl.
Uncle Charles smoked such black twist that at last his nephew suggested
to him to enjoy his morning smoke in a little outhouse at the end of
--Very good, Simon. All serene, Simon, said the old man tranquilly.
Anywhere you like. The outhouse will do me nicely: it will be more
--Damn me, said Mr Dedalus frankly, if I know how you can smoke such
villainous awful tobacco. It's like gunpowder, by God.
--It's very nice, Simon, replied the old man. Very cool and
Every morning, therefore, uncle Charles repaired to his outhouse but
not before he had greased and brushed scrupulously his back hair and
brushed and put on his tall hat. While he smoked the brim of his tall
hat and the bowl of his pipe were just visible beyond the jambs of the
outhouse door. His arbour, as he called the reeking outhouse which he
shared with the cat and the garden tools, served him also as a
sounding-box: and every morning he hummed contentedly one of his
favourite songs: O, TWINE ME A BOWER or BLUE EYES AND GOLDEN HAIR or
THE GROVES OF BLARNEY while the grey and blue coils of smoke rose
slowly from his pipe and vanished in the pure air.
During the first part of the summer in Blackrock uncle Charles was
Stephen's constant companion. Uncle Charles was a hale old man with a
well tanned skin, rugged features and white side whiskers. On week days
he did messages between the house in Carysfort Avenue and those shops
in the main street of the town with which the family dealt. Stephen was
glad to go with him on these errands for uncle Charles helped him very
liberally to handfuls of whatever was exposed in open boxes and barrels
outside the counter. He would seize a handful of grapes and sawdust or
three or four American apples and thrust them generously into his
grandnephew's hand while the shopman smiled uneasily; and, on Stephen's
feigning reluctance to take them, he would frown and say:
--Take them, sir. Do you hear me, sir? They're good for your bowels.
When the order list had been booked the two would go on to the park
where an old friend of Stephen's father, Mike Flynn, would be found
seated on a bench, waiting for them. Then would begin Stephen's run
round the park. Mike Flynn would stand at the gate near the railway
station, watch in hand, while Stephen ran round the track in the style
Mike Flynn favoured, his head high lifted, his knees well lifted and
his hands held straight down by his sides. When the morning practice
was over the trainer would make his comments and sometimes illustrate
them by shuffling along for a yard or so comically in an old pair of
blue canvas shoes. A small ring of wonderstruck children and nursemaids
would gather to watch him and linger even when he and uncle Charles had
sat down again and were talking athletics and politics. Though he had
heard his father say that Mike Flynn had put some of the best runners
of modern times through his hands Stephen often glanced at his
trainer's flabby stubble-covered face, as it bent over the long stained
fingers through which he rolled his cigarette, and with pity at the
mild lustreless blue eyes which would look up suddenly from the task
and gaze vaguely into the blue distance while the long swollen fingers
ceased their rolling and grains and fibres of tobacco fell back into
On the way home uncle Charles would often pay a visit to the chapel
and, as the font was above Stephen's reach, the old man would dip his
hand and then sprinkle the water briskly about Stephen's clothes and on
the floor of the porch. While he prayed he knelt on his red
handkerchief and read above his breath from a thumb blackened prayer
book wherein catchwords were printed at the foot of every page. Stephen
knelt at his side respecting, though he did not share, his piety. He
often wondered what his grand-uncle prayed for so seriously. Perhaps he
prayed for the souls in purgatory or for the grace of a happy death or
perhaps he prayed that God might send him back a part of the big
fortune he had squandered in Cork.
On Sundays Stephen with his father and his grand-uncle took their
constitutional. The old man was a nimble walker in spite of his corns
and often ten or twelve miles of the road were covered. The little
village of Stillorgan was the parting of the ways. Either they went to
the left towards the Dublin mountains or along the Goatstown road and
thence into Dundrum, coming home by Sandyford. Trudging along the road
or standing in some grimy wayside public house his elders spoke
constantly of the subjects nearer their hearts, of Irish politics, of
Munster and of the legends of their own family, to all of which Stephen
lent an avid ear. Words which he did not understand he said over and
over to himself till he had learnt them by heart: and through them he
had glimpses of the real world about them. The hour when he too would
take part in the life of that world seemed drawing near and in secret
he began to make ready for the great part which he felt awaited him the
nature of which he only dimly apprehended.
His evenings were his own; and he pored over a ragged translation of
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. The figure of that dark avenger stood forth
in his mind for whatever he had heard or divined in childhood of the
strange and terrible. At night he built up on the parlour table an
image of the wonderful island cave out of transfers and paper flowers
and coloured tissue paper and strips of the silver and golden paper in
which chocolate is wrapped. When he had broken up this scenery, weary
of its tinsel, there would come to his mind the bright picture of
Marseille, of sunny trellises, and of Mercedes.
Outside Blackrock, on the road that led to the mountains, stood a small
whitewashed house in the garden of which grew many rosebushes: and in
this house, he told himself, another Mercedes lived. Both on the
outward and on the homeward journey he measured distance by this
landmark: and in his imagination he lived through a long train of
adventures, marvellous as those in the book itself, towards the close
of which there appeared an image of himself, grown older and sadder,
standing in a moonlit garden with Mercedes who had so many years before
slighted his love, and with a sadly proud gesture of refusal, saying:
--Madam, I never eat muscatel grapes.
He became the ally of a boy named Aubrey Mills and founded with him a
gang of adventurers in the avenue. Aubrey carried a whistle dangling
from his buttonhole and a bicycle lamp attached to his belt while the
others had short sticks thrust daggerwise through theirs. Stephen, who
had read of Napoleon's plain style of dress, chose to remain unadorned
and thereby heightened for himself the pleasure of taking counsel with
his lieutenant before giving orders. The gang made forays into the
gardens of old maids or went down to the castle and fought a battle on
the shaggy weed-grown rocks, coming home after it weary stragglers with
the stale odours of the foreshore in their nostrils and the rank oils
of the seawrack upon their hands and in their hair.
Aubrey and Stephen had a common milkman and often they drove out in the
milk-car to Carrickmines where the cows were at grass. While the men
were milking the boys would take turns in riding the tractable mare
round the field. But when autumn came the cows were driven home from
the grass: and the first sight of the filthy cowyard at Stradbrook with
its foul green puddles and clots of liquid dung and steaming bran
troughs, sickened Stephen's heart. The cattle which had seemed so
beautiful in the country on sunny days revolted him and he could not
even look at the milk they yielded.
The coming of September did not trouble him this year for he was not to
be sent back to Clongowes. The practice in the park came to an end when
Mike Flynn went into hospital. Aubrey was at school and had only an
hour or two free in the evening. The gang fell asunder and there were
no more nightly forays or battles on the rocks. Stephen sometimes went
round with the car which delivered the evening milk and these chilly
drives blew away his memory of the filth of the cowyard and he felt no
repugnance at seeing the cow hairs and hayseeds on the milkman's coat.
Whenever the car drew up before a house he waited to catch a glimpse of
a well scrubbed kitchen or of a softly lighted hall and to see how the
servant would hold the jug and how she would close the door. He thought
it should be a pleasant life enough, driving along the roads every
evening to deliver milk, if he had warm gloves and a fat bag of
gingernuts in his pocket to eat from. But the same foreknowledge which
had sickened his heart and made his legs sag suddenly as he raced round
the park, the same intuition which had made him glance with mistrust at
his trainer's flabby stubble-covered face as it bent heavily over his long
stained fingers, dissipated any vision of the future. In a vague way he
understood that his father was in trouble and that this was the reason
why he himself had not been sent back to Clongowes. For some time he
had felt the slight change in his house; and those changes in what he
had deemed unchangeable were so many slight shocks to his boyish
conception of the world. The ambition which he felt astir at times in
the darkness of his soul sought no outlet. A dusk like that of the
outer world obscured his mind as he heard the mare's hoofs clattering
along the tramtrack on the Rock Road and the great can swaying and
rattling behind him.
He returned to Mercedes and, as he brooded upon her image, a strange
unrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever gathered within him and
led him to rove alone in the evening along the quiet avenue. The peace
of the gardens and the kindly lights in the windows poured a tender
influence into his restless heart. The noise of children at play
annoyed him and their silly voices made him feel, even more keenly than
he had felt at Clongowes, that he was different from others. He did not
want to play. He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial
image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to
seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this
image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would
meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst,
perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be
alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of
supreme tenderness he would be transfigured.
He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a
moment he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience
would fall from him in that magic moment.
* * * * *
Two great yellow caravans had halted one morning before the door and
men had come tramping into the house to dismantle it. The furniture had
been hustled out through the front garden which was strewn with wisps
of straw and rope ends and into the huge vans at the gate. When all had
been safely stowed the vans had set off noisily down the avenue: and
from the window of the railway carriage, in which he had sat with his
red-eyed mother, Stephen had seen them lumbering along the Merrion
The parlour fire would not draw that evening and Mr Dedalus rested the
poker against the bars of the grate to attract the flame. Uncle Charles
dozed in a corner of the half furnished uncarpeted room and near him
the family portraits leaned against the wall. The lamp on the table
shed a weak light over the boarded floor, muddied by the feet of the
van-men. Stephen sat on a footstool beside his father listening to a
long and incoherent monologue. He understood little or nothing of it at
first but he became slowly aware that his father had enemies and that
some fight was going to take place. He felt, too, that he was being
enlisted for the fight, that some duty was being laid upon his
shoulders. The sudden flight from the comfort and revery of Blackrock,
the passage through the gloomy foggy city, the thought of the bare
cheerless house in which they were now to live made his heart heavy,
and again an intuition, a foreknowledge of the future came to him. He
understood also why the servants had often whispered together in the
hall and why his father had often stood on the hearthrug with his back
to the fire, talking loudly to uncle Charles who urged him to sit down
and eat his dinner.
--There's a crack of the whip left in me yet, Stephen, old chap, said
Mr Dedalus, poking at the dull fire with fierce energy. We're not dead
yet, sonny. No, by the Lord Jesus (God forgive me) not half dead.
Dublin was a new and complex sensation. Uncle Charles had grown so
witless that he could no longer be sent out on errands and the disorder
in settling in the new house left Stephen freer than he had been in
Blackrock. In the beginning he contented himself with circling timidly
round the neighbouring square or, at most, going half way down one of
the side streets but when he had made a skeleton map of the city in his
mind he followed boldly one of its central lines until he reached the
customhouse. He passed unchallenged among the docks and along the quays
wondering at the multitude of corks that lay bobbing on the surface of
the water in a thick yellow scum, at the crowds of quay porters and the
rumbling carts and the ill-dressed bearded policeman. The vastness and
strangeness of the life suggested to him by the bales of merchandise
stocked along the walls or swung aloft out of the holds of steamers
wakened again in him the unrest which had sent him wandering in the
evening from garden to garden in search of Mercedes. And amid this new
bustling life he might have fancied himself in another Marseille but that
he missed the bright sky and the sum-warmed trellises of the wineshops.
A vague dissatisfaction grew up within him as he looked on the quays and
on the river and on the lowering skies and yet he continued to wander up
and down day after day as if he really sought someone that eluded him.
He went once or twice with his mother to visit their relatives: and
though they passed a jovial array of shops lit up and adorned for
Christmas his mood of embittered silence did not leave him. The causes
of his embitterment were many, remote and near. He was angry with
himself for being young and the prey of restless foolish impulses,
angry also with the change of fortune which was reshaping the world
about him into a vision of squalor and insincerity. Yet his anger lent
nothing to the vision. He chronicled with patience what he saw,
detaching himself from it and tasting its mortifying flavour in secret.
He was sitting on the backless chair in his aunt's kitchen. A lamp with
a reflector hung on the japanned wall of the fireplace and by its light
his aunt was reading the evening paper that lay on her knees. She
looked a long time at a smiling picture that was set in it and said
--The beautiful Mabel Hunter!
A ringletted girl stood on tiptoe to peer at the picture and said softly:
--What is she in, mud?
--In a pantomime, love.
The child leaned her ringletted head against her mother's sleeve,
gazing on the picture, and murmured as if fascinated:
--The beautiful Mabel Hunter!
As if fascinated, her eyes rested long upon those demurely taunting
eyes and she murmured devotedly:
--Isn't she an exquisite creature?
And the boy who came in from the street, stamping crookedly under his
stone of coal, heard her words. He dropped his load promptly on the
floor and hurried to her side to see. He mauled the edges of the paper
with his reddened and blackened hands, shouldering her aside and
complaining that he could not see.
He was sitting in the narrow breakfast room high up in the old
dark-windowed house. The firelight flickered on the wall and beyond the
window a spectral dusk was gathering upon the river. Before the fire an
old woman was busy making tea and, as she bustled at the task, she told
in a low voice of what the priest and the doctor had said. She told too
of certain changes they had seen in her of late and of her odd ways and
sayings. He sat listening to the words and following the ways of
adventure that lay open in the coals, arches and vaults and winding
galleries and jagged caverns.
Suddenly he became aware of something in the doorway. A skull appeared
suspended in the gloom of the doorway. A feeble creature like a monkey
was there, drawn thither by the sound of voices at the fire. A whining
voice came from the door asking:
--Is that Josephine?
The old bustling woman answered cheerily from the fireplace:
--No, Ellen, it's Stephen.
--OO, good evening, Stephen.
He answered the greeting and saw a silly smile break over the face in
--Do you want anything, Ellen? asked the old woman at the fire.
But she did not answer the question and said:
--I thought it was Josephine. I thought you were Josephine, Stephen.
And, repeating this several times, she fell to laughing feebly.
He was sitting in the midst of a children's party at Harold's Cross.
His silent watchful manner had grown upon him and he took little part
in the games. The children, wearing the spoils of their crackers,
danced and romped noisily and, though he tried to share their
merriment, he felt himself a gloomy figure amid the gay cocked hats and
But when he had sung his song and withdrawn into a snug corner of the
room he began to taste the joy of his loneliness. The mirth, which in
the beginning of the evening had seemed to him false and trivial, was
like a soothing air to him, passing gaily by his senses, hiding from
other eyes the feverish agitation of his blood while through the
circling of the dancers and amid the music and laughter her glance
travelled to his corner, flattering, taunting, searching, exciting his
In the hall the children who had stayed latest were putting on their
things: the party was over. She had thrown a shawl about her and, as
they went together towards the tram, sprays of her fresh warm breath
flew gaily above her cowled head and her shoes tapped blithely on the
It was the last tram. The lank brown horses knew it and shook their
bells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with the
driver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. On the empty
seats of the tram were scattered a few coloured tickets. No sound of
footsteps came up or down the road. No sound broke the peace of the
night save when the lank brown horses rubbed their noses together and
shook their bells.
They seemed to listen, he on the upper step and she on the lower. She
came up to his step many times and went down to hers again between
their phrases and once or twice stood close beside him for some moments
on the upper step, forgetting to go down, and then went down. His heart
danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide. He heard what her
eyes said to him from beneath their cowl and knew that in some dim
past, whether in life or revery, he had heard their tale before. He saw
her urge her vanities, her fine dress and sash and long black
stockings, and knew that he had yielded to them a thousand times. Yet a
voice within him spoke above the noise of his dancing heart, asking him
would he take her gift to which he had only to stretch out his hand.
And he remembered the day when he and Eileen had stood looking into the
hotel grounds, watching the waiters running up a trail of bunting on
the flagstaff and the fox terrier scampering to and fro on the sunny
lawn and how, all of a sudden, she had broken out into a peal of
laughter and had run down the sloping curve of the path. Now, as then,
he stood listlessly in his place, seemingly a tranquil watcher of the
scene before him.
--She too wants me to catch hold of her, he thought. That's why she
came with me to the tram. I could easily catch hold Of her when she
comes up to my step: nobody is looking. I could hold her and kiss her.
But he did neither: and, when he was sitting alone in the deserted
tram, he tore his ticket into shreds and stared gloomily at the
* * * * *
The next day he sat at his table in the bare upper room for many hours.
Before him lay a new pen, a new bottle of ink and a new emerald
exercise. From force of habit he had written at the top of the
first page the initial letters of the jesuit motto: A.M.D.G. On the
first line of the page appeared the title of the verses he was trying
to write: To E-- C--. He knew it was right to begin so for he had seen
similar titles in the collected poems of Lord Byron. When he had
written this title and drawn an ornamental line underneath he fell into
a daydream and began to draw diagrams on the cover of the book. He saw
himself sitting at his table in Bray the morning after the discussion
at the Christmas dinner table, trying to write a poem about Parnell on
the back of one of his father's second moiety notices. But his brain
had then refused to grapple with the theme and, desisting, he had
covered the page with the names and addresses of certain of his
Now it seemed as if he would fail again but, by dint of brooding on the
incident, he thought himself into confidence. During this process all
those elements which he deemed common and insignificant fell out of the
scene. There remained no trace of the tram itself nor of the tram-men
nor of the horses: nor did he and she appear vividly. The verses told
only of the night and the balmy breeze and the maiden lustre of the
moon. Some undefined sorrow was hidden in the hearts of the
protagonists as they stood in silence beneath the leafless trees and
when the moment of farewell had come the kiss, which had been withheld
by one, was given by both. After this the letters L. D. S. were written
at the foot of the page, and, having hidden the book, he went into his
mother's bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of
But his long spell of leisure and liberty was drawing to its end. One
evening his father came home full of news which kept his tongue busy
all through dinner. Stephen had been awaiting his father's return for
there had been mutton hash that day and he knew that his father would
make him dip his bread in the gravy. But he did not relish the hash for
the mention of Clongowes had coated his palate with a scum of disgust.
--I walked bang into him, said Mr Dedalus for the fourth time, just at
the corner of the square.
--Then I suppose, said Mrs Dedalus, he will be able to arrange it. I
mean about Belvedere.
--Of course he will, said Mr Dedalus. Don't I tell you he's provincial
of the order now?
--I never liked the idea of sending him to the christian brothers
myself, said Mrs Dedalus.
--Christian brothers be damned! said Mr Dedalus. Is it with Paddy
Stink and Micky Mud? No, let him stick to the jesuits in God's name
since he began with them. They'll be of service to him in after years.
Those are the fellows that can get you a position.
--And they're a very rich order, aren't they, Simon?
--Rather. They live well, I tell you. You saw their table at
Clongowes. Fed up, by God, like gamecocks.
Mr Dedalus pushed his plate over to Stephen and bade him finish what
was on it.
--Now then, Stephen, he said, you must put your shoulder to the wheel,
old chap. You've had a fine long holiday.
--O, I'm sure he'll work very hard now, said Mrs Dedalus, especially
when he has Maurice with him.
--O, Holy Paul, I forgot about Maurice, said Mr Dedalus. Here,
Maurice! Come here, you thick-headed ruffian! Do you know I'm going to
send you to a college where they'll teach you to spell c.a.t. cat. And
I'll buy you a nice little penny handkerchief to keep your nose dry.
Won't that be grand fun?
Maurice grinned at his father and then at his brother.
Mr Dedalus screwed his glass into his eye and stared hard at both his
sons. Stephen mumbled his bread without answering his father's gaze.
--By the bye, said Mr Dedalus at length, the rector, or provincial
rather, was telling me that story about you and Father Dolan. You're an
impudent thief, he said.
--O, he didn't, Simon!
--Not he! said Mr Dedalus. But he gave me a great account of the whole
affair. We were chatting, you know, and one word borrowed another. And,
by the way, who do you think he told me will get that job in the
corporation? But I `Il tell you that after. Well, as I was saying, we
were chatting away quite friendly and he asked me did our friend here
wear glasses still, and then he told me the whole story.
--And was he annoyed, Simon?
--Annoyed? Not he! MANLY LITTLE CHAP! he said.
Mr Dedalus imitated the mincing nasal tone of the provincial.
Father Dolan and I, when I told them all at dinner about it, Father
Dolan and I had a great laugh over it. YOU BETTER MIND YOURSELF FATHER
DOLAN, said I, OR YOUNG DEDALUS WILL SEND YOU UP FOR TWICE NINE. We had
a famous laugh together over it. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Mr Dedalus turned to his wife and interjected in his natural voice:
--Shows you the spirit in which they take the boys there. O, a jesuit
for your life, for diplomacy!
He reassumed the provincial's voice and repeated:
--I TOLD THEM ALL AT DINNER ABOUT IT AND FATHER DOLAN AND I AND ALL OF
US WE HAD A HEARTY LAUGH TOGETHER OVER IT. HA! HA! HA!
* * * * *
The night of the Whitsuntide play had come and Stephen from the window
of the dressing-room looked out on the small grass-plot across which
lines of Chinese lanterns were stretched. He watched the visitors come
down the steps from the house and pass into the theatre. Stewards in
evening dress, old Belvedereans, loitered in groups about the entrance
to the theatre and ushered in the visitors with Ceremony. Under the
sudden glow of a lantern he could recognize the smiling face of a
The Blessed Sacrament had been removed from the tabernacle and the
first benches had been driven back so as to leave the dais of the altar
and the space before it free. Against the walls stood companies of
barbells and Indian clubs; the dumbbells were piled in one corner: and
in the midst of countless hillocks of gymnasium shoes and sweaters and
singlets in untidy brown parcels there stood the stout leather-
jacketed vaulting horse waiting its turn to be carried up on the stage
and set in the middle of the winning team at the end of the gymnastic
Stephen, though in deference to his reputation for essay writing he had
been elected secretary to the gymnasium, had had no part in the first
section of the programme but in the play which formed the second
section he had the chief part, that of a farcical pedagogue. He had
been cast for it on account of his stature and grave manners for he was
now at the end of his second year at Belvedere and in number two.
A score of the younger boys in white knickers and singlets came
pattering down from the stage, through the vestry and to the chapel.
The vestry and chapel were peopled with eager masters and boys. The
plump bald sergeant major was testing with his foot the springboard of
the vaulting horse. The lean young man in a long overcoat, who was to
give a special display of intricate club swinging, stood near watching
with interest, his silver-coated clubs peeping out of his deep
side-pockets. The hollow rattle of the wooden dumbbells was heard as
another team made ready to go up on the stage: and in another moment the
excited prefect was hustling the boys through the vestry like a flock of
geese, flapping the wings of his soutane nervously and crying to the
laggards to make haste. A little troop of Neapolitan peasants were
practising their steps at the end of the chapel, some circling their arms
above their heads, some swaying their baskets of paper violets and
curtsying. In a dark corner of the chapel at the gospel side of the altar
a stout old lady knelt amid her copious black skirts. When she stood up a
pink-dressed figure, wearing a curly golden wig and an old-fashioned straw
sunbonnet, with black pencilled eyebrows and cheeks delicately rouged and
powdered, was discovered. A low murmur of curiosity ran round the chapel
at the discovery of this girlish figure. One of the prefects, smiling and
nodding his head, approached the dark corner and, having bowed to the
stout old lady, said pleasantly:
--Is this a beautiful young lady or a doll that you have here, Mrs
Then, bending down to peer at the smiling painted face under the leaf
of the bonnet, he exclaimed:
--No! Upon my word I believe it's little Bertie Tallon after all!
Stephen at his post by the window heard the old lady and the priest
laugh together and heard the boys' murmurs of admiration behind him as
they passed forward to see the little boy who had to dance the
sunbonnet dance by himself. A movement of impatience escaped him. He
let the edge of the blind fall and, stepping down from the bench on
which he had been standing, walked out of the chapel.
He passed out of the schoolhouse and halted under the shed that flanked
the garden. From the theatre opposite came the muffled noise of the
audience and sudden brazen clashes of the soldiers' band. The light
spread upwards from the glass roof making the theatre seem a festive
ark, anchored among the hulks of houses, her frail cables of lanterns
looping her to her moorings. A side door of the theatre opened suddenly
and a shaft of light flew across the grass plots. A sudden burst of
music issued from the ark, the prelude of a waltz: and when the side
door closed again the listener could hear the faint rhythm of the
music. The sentiment of the opening bars, their languor and supple
movement, evoked the incommunicable emotion which had been the cause of
all his day's unrest and of his impatient movement of a moment before.
His unrest issued from him like a wave of sound: and on the tide of
flowing music the ark was journeying, trailing her cables of lanterns
in her wake. Then a noise like dwarf artillery broke the movement. It
was the clapping that greeted the entry of the dumbbell team on the
At the far end of the shed near the street a speck of pink light showed
in the darkness and as he walked towards it he became aware of a faint
aromatic odour. Two boys were standing in the shelter of a doorway,
smoking, and before he reached them he had recognised Heron by his
--Here comes the noble Dedalus! cried a high throaty voice. Welcome to
our trusty friend!
This welcome ended in a soft peal of mirthless laughter as Heron
salaamed and then began to poke the ground with his cane.
--Here I am, said Stephen, halting and glancing from Heron to his
The latter was a stranger to him but in the darkness, by the aid of the
glowing cigarette tips, he could make out a pale dandyish face over
which a smile was travelling slowly, a tall overcoated figure and a
hard hat. Heron did not trouble himself about an introduction but said
--I was just telling my friend Wallis what a lark it would be tonight
if you took off the rector in the part of the schoolmaster. It would be
a ripping good joke.
Heron made a poor attempt to imitate for his friend Wallis the rector's
pedantic bass and then, laughing at his failure, asked Stephen to do
--Go on, Dedalus, he urged, you can take him off rippingly. HE THAT WILL
NOT HEAR THE CHURCHA LET HIM BE TO THEEA AS THE HEATHENA AND THE
The imitation was prevented by a mild expression of anger from Wallis
in whose mouthpiece the cigarette had become too tightly wedged.
--Damn this blankety blank holder, he said, taking it from his mouth
and smiling and frowning upon it tolerantly. It's always getting stuck
like that. Do you use a holder?
--I don't smoke, answered Stephen.
--No, said Heron, Dedalus is a model youth. He doesn't smoke and he
doesn't go to bazaars and he doesn't flirt and he doesn't damn anything
or damn all.
Stephen shook his head and smiled in his rival's flushed and mobile
face, beaked like a bird's. He had often thought it strange that
Vincent Heron had a bird's face as well as a bird's name. A shock of
pale hair lay on the forehead like a ruffled crest: the forehead was
narrow and bony and a thin hooked nose stood out between the close-set
prominent eyes which were light and inexpressive. The rivals were
school friends. They sat together in class, knelt together in the
chapel, talked together after beads over their lunches. As the fellows
in number one were undistinguished dullards, Stephen and Heron had been
during the year the virtual heads of the school. It was they who went
up to the rector together to ask for a free day or to get a fellow off.
--O by the way, said Heron suddenly, I saw your governor going in.
The smile waned on Stephen's face. Any allusion made to his father by a
fellow or by a master put his calm to rout in a moment. He waited in
timorous silence to hear what Heron might say next. Heron, however,
nudged him expressively with his elbow and said:
--You're a sly dog.
--Why so? said Stephen.
--You'd think butter wouldn't melt in your mouth said Heron. But I'm
afraid you're a sly dog.
--Might I ask you what you are talking about? said Stephen urbanely.
--Indeed you might, answered Heron. We saw her, Wallis, didn't we? And
deucedly pretty she is too. And inquisitive! AND WHAT PART DOES STEPHEN
TAKE, MR DEDALUS? AND WILL STEPHEN NOT SING, MR DEDALUS? Your governor
was staring at her through that eyeglass of his for all he was worth so
that I think the old man has found you out too. I wouldn't care a bit,
by Jove. She's ripping, isn't she, Wallis?
--Not half bad, answered Wallis quietly as he placed his holder once
more in a corner of his mouth.
A shaft of momentary anger flew through Stephen's mind at these
indelicate allusions in the hearing of a stranger. For him there was
nothing amusing in a girl's interest and regard. All day he had thought
of nothing but their leave-taking on the steps of the tram at Harold's
Cross, the stream of moody emotions it had made to course through him
and the poem he had written about it. All day he had imagined a new
meeting with her for he knew that she was to come to the play. The old
restless moodiness had again filled his breast as it had done on the
night of the party, but had not found an outlet in verse. The growth
and knowledge of two years of boyhood stood between then and now,
forbidding such an outlet: and all day the stream of gloomy tenderness
within him had started forth and returned upon itself in dark courses
and eddies, wearying him in the end until the pleasantry of the prefect
and the painted little boy had drawn from him a movement of impatience.
--So you may as well admit, Heron went on, that we've fairly found you
out this time. You can't play the saint on me any more, that's one sure
A soft peal of mirthless laughter escaped from his lips and, bending
down as before, he struck Stephen lightly across the calf of the leg
with his cane, as if in jesting reproof.
Stephen's moment of anger had already passed. He was neither flattered
nor confused, but simply wished the banter to end. He scarcely resented
what had seemed to him a silly indelicateness for he knew that the
adventure in his mind stood in no danger from these words: and his face
mirrored his rival's false smile.
--Admit! repeated Heron, striking him again with his cane across the
calf of the leg.
The stroke was playful but not so lightly given as the first one had
been. Stephen felt the skin tingle and glow slightly and almost
painlessly; and, bowing submissively, as if to meet his companion's
jesting mood, began to recite the CONFITEOR. The episode ended well,
for both Heron and Wallis laughed indulgently at the irreverence.
The confession came only from Stephen's lips and, while they spoke the
words, a sudden memory had carried him to another scene called up, as
if by magic, at the moment when he had noted the faint cruel dimples at
the corners of Heron's smiling lips and had felt the familiar stroke of
the cane against his calf and had heard the familiar word of
It was towards the close of his first term in the college when he was
in number six. His sensitive nature was still smarting under the lashes
of an undivined and squalid way of life. His soul was still disquieted
and cast down by the dull phenomenon of Dublin. He had emerged from a
two years' spell of revery to find himself in the midst of a new scene,
every event and figure of which affected him intimately, disheartened
him or allured and, whether alluring or disheartening, filled him
always with unrest and bitter thoughts. All the leisure which his
school life left him was passed in the company of subversive writers
whose jibes and violence of speech set up a ferment in his brain before
they passed out of it into his crude writings.
The essay was for him the chief labour of his week and every Tuesday,
as he marched from home to the school, he read his fate in the
incidents of the way, pitting himself against some figure ahead of him
and quickening his pace to outstrip it before a certain goal was
reached or planting his steps scrupulously in the spaces of the
patchwork of the pathway and telling himself that he would be first and
not first in the weekly essay.
On a certain Tuesday the course of his triumphs was rudely broken. Mr
Tate, the English master, pointed his finger at him and said bluntly:
--This fellow has heresy in his essay.
A hush fell on the class. Mr Tate did not break it but dug with his
hand between his thighs while his heavily starched linen creaked about
his neck and wrists. Stephen did not look up. It was a raw spring
morning and his eyes were still smarting and weak. He was conscious of
failure and of detection, of the squalor of his own mind and home, and
felt against his neck the raw edge of his turned and jagged collar.
A short loud laugh from Mr Tate set the class more at ease.
--Perhaps you didn't know that, he said.
--Where? asked Stephen.
Mr Tate withdrew his delving hand and spread out the essay.
--Here. It's about the Creator and the soul. Rrmrrm rrmAh! WITHOUT A
POSSIBILITY OF EVER APPROACHING NEARER. That's heresy.
--I meant WITHOUT A POSSIBILITY OF EVER REACHING.
It was a submission and Mr Tate, appeased, folded up the essay and
passed it across to him, saying:
--OAh! EVER REACHING. That's another story.
But the class was not so soon appeased. Though nobody spoke to him of
the affair after class he could feel about him a vague general
A few nights after this public chiding he was walking with a letter
along the Drumcondra Road when he heard a voice cry:
He turned and saw three boys of his own class coming towards him in the
dusk. It was Heron who had called out and, as he marched forward
between his two attendants, he cleft the air before him with a thin
cane in time to their steps. Boland, his friend, marched beside him, a
large grin on his face, while Nash came on a few steps behind, blowing
from the pace and wagging his great red head.
As soon as the boys had turned into Clonliffe Road together they began
to speak about books and writers, saying what books they were reading
and how many books there were in their fathers' bookcases at home.
Stephen listened to them in some wonderment for Boland was the dunce
and Nash the idler of the class. In fact, after some talk about their
favourite writers, Nash declared for Captain Marryat who, he said, was
the greatest writer.
--Fudge! said Heron. Ask Dedalus. Who is the greatest writer, Dedalus?
Stephen noted the mockery in the question and said:
--Of prose do you mean?
--Newman, I think.
--Is it Cardinal Newman? asked Boland.
--Yes, answered Stephen.
The grin broadened on Nash's freckled face as he turned to Stephen and
--And do you like Cardinal Newman, Dedalus?
--O, many say that Newman has the best prose style, Heron said to the
other two in explanation, of course he's not a poet.
--And who is the best poet, Heron? asked Boland.
--Lord Tennyson, of course, answered Heron.
--O, yes, Lord Tennyson, said Nash. We have all his poetry at home in a
At this Stephen forgot the silent vows he had been making and burst out:
--Tennyson a poet! Why, he's only a rhymester!
--O, get out! said Heron. Everyone knows that Tennyson is the greatest
--And who do you think is the greatest poet? asked Boland, nudging his
--Byron, of course, answered Stephen.
Heron gave the lead and all three joined in a scornful laugh.
--What are you laughing at? asked Stephen.
--You, said Heron. Byron the greatest poet! He's only a poet for
--He must be a fine poet! said Boland.
--You may keep your mouth shut, said Stephen, turning on him boldly.
All you know about poetry is what you wrote up on the slates in the
yard and were going to be sent to the loft for.
Boland, in fact, was said to have written on the slates in the yard a
couplet about a classmate of his who often rode home from the college
on a pony:
As Tyson was riding into Jerusalem
He fell and hurt his Alec Kafoozelum.
This thrust put the two lieutenants to silence but Heron went on:
--In any case Byron was a heretic and immoral too.
--I don't care what he was, cried Stephen hotly.
--You don't care whether he was a heretic or not? said Nash.
--What do you know about it? shouted Stephen. You never read a line of
anything in your life except a trans, or Boland either.
--I know that Byron was a bad man, said Boland.
--Here, catch hold of this heretic, Heron called out. In a moment
Stephen was a prisoner.
--Tate made you buck up the other day, Heron went on, about the heresy
in your essay.
--I'll tell him tomorrow, said Boland.
--Will you? said Stephen. You'd be afraid to open your lips.
--Ay. Afraid of your life.
--Behave yourself! cried Heron, cutting at Stephen's legs with his
It was the signal for their onset. Nash pinioned his arms behind while
Boland seized a long cabbage stump which was lying in the gutter.
Struggling and kicking under the cuts of the cane and the blows of the
knotty stump Stephen was borne back against a barbed wire fence.
--Admit that Byron was no good.
At last after a fury of plunges he wrenched himself free. His
tormentors set off towards Jones's Road, laughing and jeering at him,
while he, half blinded with tears, stumbled on, clenching his fists
madly and sobbing.
While he was still repeating the CONFITEOR amid the indulgent laughter
of his hearers and while the scenes of that malignant episode were
still passing sharply and swiftly before his mind he wondered why he
bore no malice now to those who had tormented him. He had not forgotten
a whit of their cowardice and cruelty but the memory of it called forth
no anger from him. All the descriptions of fierce love and hatred which
he had met in books had seemed to him therefore unreal. Even that night
as he stumbled homewards along Jones's Road he had felt that some power
was divesting him of that sudden-woven anger as easily as a fruit is
divested of its soft ripe peel.
He remained standing with his two companions at the end of the shed
listening idly to their talk or to the bursts of applause in the
theatre. She was sitting there among the others perhaps waiting for him
to appear. He tried to recall her appearance but could not. He could
remember only that she had worn a shawl about her head like a cowl and
that her dark eyes had invited and unnerved him. He wondered had he
been in her thoughts as she had been in his. Then in the dark and
unseen by the other two he rested the tips of the fingers of one hand
upon the palm of the other hand, scarcely touching it lightly. But the
pressure of her fingers had been lighter and steadier: and suddenly the
memory of their touch traversed his brain and body like an invisible
A boy came towards them, running along under the shed. He was excited
--O, Dedalus, he cried, Doyle is in a great bake about you. You're to
go in at once and get dressed for the play. Hurry up, you better.
--He's coming now, said Heron to the messenger with a haughty drawl,
when he wants to.
The boy turned to Heron and repeated:
--But Doyle is in an awful bake.
--Will you tell Doyle with my best compliments that I damned his eyes?
--Well, I must go now, said Stephen, who cared little for such points
--I wouldn't, said Heron, damn me if I would. That's no way to send
for one of the senior boys. In a bake, indeed! I think it's quite
enough that you're taking a part in his bally old play.
This spirit of quarrelsome comradeship which he had observed lately in
his rival had not seduced Stephen from his habits of quiet obedience.
He mistrusted the turbulence and doubted the sincerity of such
comradeship which seemed to him a sorry anticipation of manhood. The
question of honour here raised was, like all such questions, trivial to
him. While his mind had been pursuing its intangible phantoms and
turning in irresolution from such pursuit he had heard about him the
constant voices of his father and of his masters, urging him to be a
gentleman above all things and urging him to be a good catholic above all
things. These voices had now come to be hollow-sounding in his ears. When
the gymnasium had been opened he had heard another voice urging him to be
strong and manly and healthy and when the movement towards national
revival had begun to be felt in the college yet another voice had bidden
him be true to his country and help to raise up her language and
tradition. In the profane world, as he foresaw, a worldly voice would bid
him raise up his father's fallen state by his labours and, meanwhile, the
voice of his school comrades urged him to be a decent fellow, to shield
others from blame or to beg them off and to do his best to get free days
for the school. And it was the din of all these hollow-sounding voices
that made him halt irresolutely in the pursuit of phantoms. He gave them
ear only for a time but he was happy only when he was far from them,
beyond their call, alone or in the company of phantasmal comrades.
In the vestry a plump fresh-faced jesuit and an elderly man, in shabby
blue clothes, were dabbling in a case of paints and chalks. The boys
who had been painted walked about or stood still awkwardly, touching
their faces in a gingerly fashion with their furtive fingertips. In the
middle of the vestry a young jesuit, who was then on a visit to the
college, stood rocking himself rhythmically from the tips of his toes
to his heels and back again, his hands thrust well forward into his
side-pockets. His small head set off with glossy red curls and his
newly shaven face agreed well with the spotless decency of his soutane
and with his spotless shoes.
As he watched this swaying form and tried to read for himself the
legend of the priest's mocking smile there came into Stephen's memory a
saying which he had heard from his father before he had been sent to
Clongowes, that you could always tell a jesuit by the style of his
clothes. At the same moment he thought he saw a likeness between his
father's mind and that of this smiling well-dressed priest: and he was
aware of some desecration of the priest's office or of the vestry
itself whose silence was now routed by loud talk and joking and its air
pungent with the smells of the gas-jets and the grease.
While his forehead was being wrinkled and his jaws painted black and
blue by the elderly man, he listened distractedly to the voice of the
plump young jesuit which bade him speak up and make his points clearly.
He could hear the band playing THE LILY OF KILLARNEY and knew that in a
few moments the curtain would go up. He felt no stage fright but the
thought of the part he had to play humiliated him. A remembrance of
some of his lines made a sudden flush rise to his painted cheeks. He
saw her serious alluring eyes watching him from among the audience and
their image at once swept away his scruples, leaving his will compact.
Another nature seemed to have been lent him: the infection of the
excitement and youth about him entered into and transformed his moody
mistrustfulness. For one rare moment he seemed to be clothed in the
real apparel of boyhood: and, as he stood in the wings among the other
players, he shared the common mirth amid which the drop scene was
hauled upwards by two able-bodied priests with violent jerks and all awry.
A few moments after he found himself on the stage amid the garish gas
and the dim scenery, acting before the innumerable faces of the void.
It surprised him to see that the play which he had known at rehearsals
for a disjointed lifeless thing had suddenly assumed a life of its own.
It seemed now to play itself, he and his fellow actors aiding it with
their parts. When the curtain fell on the last scene he heard the void
filled with applause and, through a rift in a side scene, saw the
simple body before which he had acted magically deformed, the void of
faces breaking at all points and falling asunder into busy groups.
He left the stage quickly and rid himself of his mummery and passed out
through the chapel into the college garden. Now that the play was over
his nerves cried for some further adventure. He hurried onwards as if
to overtake it. The doors of the theatre were all open and the audience
had emptied out. On the lines which he had fancied the moorings of an
ark a few lanterns swung in the night breeze, flickering cheerlessly.
He mounted the steps from the garden in haste, eager that some prey
should not elude him, and forced his way through the crowd in the hall
and past the two jesuits who stood watching the exodus and bowing and
shaking hands with the visitors. He pushed onward nervously, feigning a
still greater haste and faintly conscious of the smiles and stares and
nudges which his powdered head left in its wake.
When he came out on the steps he saw his family waiting for' him at the
first lamp. In a glance he noted that every figure of the group was
familiar and ran down the steps angrily.
--I have to leave a message down in George's Street, he said to his
father quickly. I'll be home after you.
Without waiting for his father's questions he ran across the road and
began to walk at breakneck speed down the hill. He hardly knew where he
was walking. Pride and hope and desire like crushed herbs in his heart
sent up vapours of, maddening incense before the eyes of his mind. He
strode down the hill amid the tumult of sudden-risen vapours of wounded
pride and fallen hope and baffled desire. They streamed upwards before
his anguished eyes in dense and maddening fumes and passed away above
him till at last the air was clear and cold again.
A film still veiled his eyes but they burned no longer. A power, akin
to that which had often made anger or resentment fall from him, brought
his steps to rest. He stood still and gazed up at the sombre porch of
the morgue and from that to the dark cobbled laneway at its side. He
saw the word LOTTS on the wall of the lane and breathed slowly the rank
That is horse piss and rotted straw, he thought. It is a good odour to
breathe. It will calm my heart. My heart is quite calm now. I will go
* * * * *
Stephen was once again seated beside his father in the corner of a
railway carriage at Kingsbridge. He was travelling with his father by
the night mail to Cork. As the train steamed out of the station he
recalled his childish wonder of years before and every event of his
first day at Clongowes. But he felt no wonder now. He saw the darkening
lands slipping away past him, the silent telegraph-poles passing his
window swiftly every four seconds, the little glimmering stations,
manned by a few silent sentries, flung by the mail behind her and
twinkling for a moment in the darkness like fiery grains flung
backwards by a runner.
He listened without sympathy to his father's evocation of Cork and of
scenes of his youth, a tale broken by sighs or draughts from his pocket
flask whenever the image of some dead friend appeared in it or whenever
the evoker remembered suddenly the purpose of his actual visit. Stephen
heard but could feel no pity. The images of the dead were all strangers
to him save that of uncle Charles, an image which had lately been
fading out of memory. He knew, however, that his father's property was
going to be sold by auction, and in the manner of his own dispossession
he felt the world give the lie rudely to his phantasy.
At Maryborough he fell asleep. When he awoke the train had passed out
of Mallow and his father was stretched asleep on the other seat. The
cold light of the dawn lay over the country, over the unpeopled fields
and the closed cottages. The terror of sleep fascinated his mind as he
watched the silent country or heard from time to time his father's deep
breath or sudden sleepy movement. The neighbourhood of unseen sleepers
filled him with strange dread, as though they could harm him, and he
prayed that the day might come quickly. His prayer, addressed neither
to God nor saint, began with a shiver, as the chilly morning breeze
crept through the chink of the carriage door to his feet, and ended in
a trail of foolish words which he made to fit the insistent rhythm of
the train; and silently, at intervals of four seconds, the
telegraph-poles held the galloping notes of the music between punctual
bars. This furious music allayed his dread and, leaning against the
windowledge, he let his eyelids close again.
They drove in a jingle across Cork while it was still early morning and
Stephen finished his sleep in a bedroom of the Victoria Hotel. The
bright warm sunlight was streaming through the window and he could hear
the din of traffic. His father was standing before the dressing-table,
examining his hair and face and moustache with great care, craning his
neck across the water-jug and drawing it back sideways to see the better.
While he did so he sang softly to himself with quaint accent and phrasing:
'Tis youth and folly
Makes young men marry,
So here, my love, I'll
No longer stay.
What can't be cured, sure,
Must be injured, sure,
So I'll go to
My love she's handsome,
My love she's bony:
She's like good whisky
When it is new;
But when 'tis old
And growing cold
It fades and dies like
The mountain dew.
The consciousness of the warm sunny city outside his window and the
tender tremors with which his father's voice festooned the strange sad
happy air, drove off all the mists of the night's ill humour from
Stephen's brain. He got up quickly to dress and, when the song had
--That's much prettier than any of your other COME-ALL-YOUS.
--Do you think so? asked Mr Dedalus.
--I like it, said Stephen.
--It's a pretty old air, said Mr Dedalus, twirling the points of his
moustache. Ah, but you should have heard Mick Lacy sing it! Poor Mick
Lacy! He had little turns for it, grace notes that he used to put in
that I haven't got. That was the boy who could sing a COME-ALL-YOU, if
Mr Dedalus had ordered drisheens for breakfast and during the meal he
cross-examined the waiter for local news. For the most part they spoke
at cross purposes when a name was mentioned, the waiter having in mind
the present holder and Mr Dedalus his father or perhaps his
--Well, I hope they haven't moved the Queen's College anyhow, said Mr
Dedalus, for I want to show it to this youngster of mine.
Along the Mardyke the trees were in bloom. They entered the grounds of
the college and were led by the garrulous porter across the quadrangle.
But their progress across the gravel was brought to a halt after every
dozen or so paces by some reply of the porter's.
--Ah, do you tell me so? And is poor Pottlebelly dead?
--Yes, sir. Dead, sir.
During these halts Stephen stood awkwardly behind the two men, weary of
the subject and waiting restlessly for the slow march to begin again.
By the time they had crossed the quadrangle his restlessness had risen
to fever. He wondered how his father, whom he knew for a shrewd
suspicious man, could be duped by the servile manners of the porter;
and the lively southern speech which had entertained him all the
morning now irritated his ears.
They passed into the anatomy theatre where Mr Dedalus, the porter
aiding him, searched the desks for his initials. Stephen remained in
the background, depressed more than ever by the darkness and silence of
the theatre and by the air it wore of jaded and formal study. On the
desk he read the word FOETUS cut several times in the dark stained
wood. The sudden legend startled his blood: he seemed to feel the
absent students of the college about him and to shrink from their
company. A vision of their life, which his father's words had been
powerless to evoke, sprang up before him out of the word cut in the
desk. A broad-shouldered student with a moustache was cutting in the
letters with a jack-knife, seriously. Other students stood or sat near
him laughing at his handiwork. One jogged his elbow. The big student
turned on him, frowning. He was dressed in loose grey clothes and had
Stephen's name was called. He hurried down the steps of the theatre so
as to be as far away from the vision as he could be and, peering
closely at his father's initials, hid his flushed face.
But the word and the vision capered before his eyes as he walked back
across the quadrangle and towards the college gate. It shocked him to
find in the outer world a trace of what he had deemed till then a
brutish and individual malady of his own mind. His monstrous reveries
came thronging into his memory. They too had sprung up before him,
suddenly and furiously, out of mere words. He had soon given in to them
and allowed them to sweep across and abase his intellect, wondering
always where they came from, from what den of monstrous images, and
always weak and humble towards others, restless and sickened of himself
when they had swept over him.
--Ay, bedad! And there's the Groceries sure enough! cried Mr Dedalus.
You often heard me speak of the Groceries, didn't you, Stephen. Many's
the time we went down there when our names had been marked, a crowd of
us, Harry Peard and little Jack Mountain and Bob Dyas and Maurice
Moriarty, the Frenchman, and Tom O'Grady and Mick Lacy that I told you
of this morning and Joey Corbet and poor little good-hearted Johnny
Keevers of the Tantiles.
The leaves of the trees along the Mardyke were astir and whispering in
the sunlight. A team of cricketers passed, agile young men in flannels
and blazers, one of them carrying the long green wicket-bag. In a quiet
bystreet a German band of five players in faded uniforms and with
battered brass instruments was playing to an audience of street arabs
and leisurely messenger boys. A maid in a white cap and apron was
watering a box of plants on a sill which shone like a slab of limestone
in the warm glare. From another window open to the air came the sound
of a piano, scale after scale rising into the treble.
Stephen walked on at his father's side, listening to stories he had
heard before, hearing again the names of the scattered and dead
revellers who had been the companions of his father's youth. And a
faint sickness sighed in his heart.
He recalled his own equivocal position in Belvedere, a free boy, a
leader afraid of his own authority, proud and sensitive and suspicious,
battling against the squalor of his life and against the riot of his
mind. The letters cut in the stained wood of the desk stared upon him,
mocking his bodily weakness and futile enthusiasms and making him
loathe himself for his own mad and filthy orgies. The spittle in his
throat grew bitter and foul to swallow and the faint sickness climbed
to his brain so that for a moment he closed his eyes and walked on in
He could still hear his father's voice--
--When you kick out for yourself, Stephen--as I daresay you will one
of these days--remember, whatever you do, to mix with gentlemen. When
I was a young fellow I tell you I enjoyed myself. I mixed with fine
decent fellows. Everyone of us could lo something. One fellow had a
good voice, another fellow was a good actor, another could sing a good
comic song, another was a good oarsman or a good racket player, another
could tell a good story and so on. We kept the ball rolling anyhow and
enjoyed ourselves and saw a bit of life and we were none the worse of
it either. But we were all gentlemen, Stephen--at least I hope we were
-and bloody good honest Irishmen too. That's the kind of fellows I
want you to associate with, fellows of the right kidney. I'm talking to
you as a friend, Stephen. I don't believe a son should be afraid of his
father. No, I treat you as your grandfather treated me when I was a
young chap. We were more like brothers than father and son. I `Il never
forget the first day he caught me smoking. I was standing at the end of
the South Terrace one day with some maneens like myself and sure we
thought we were grand fellows because we had pipes stuck in the corners
of our mouths. Suddenly the governor passed. He didn't say a word, or
stop even. But the next day, Sunday, we were out for a walk together
and when we were coming home he took out his cigar case and said:--By
the by, Simon, I didn't know you smoked, or something like that.--Of
course I tried to carry it off as best I could.--If you want a good
smoke, he said, try one of these cigars. An American captain made me a
present of them last night in Queenstown.
Stephen heard his father's voice break into a laugh which was almost a
--He was the handsomest man in Cork at that time, by God he was! The
women used to stand to look after him in the street.
He heard the sob passing loudly down his father's throat and opened his
eyes with a nervous impulse. The sunlight breaking-suddenly on his
sight turned the sky and clouds into a fantastic world of sombre masses
with lakelike spaces of dark rosy light. His very brain was sick and
powerless. He could scarcely interpret the letters of the signboards of
the shops. By his monstrous way of life he seemed to have put himself
beyond the limits of reality. Nothing moved him or spoke to him from
the real world unless he heard in it an echo of the infuriated cries
within him. He could respond to no earthly or human appeal, dumb and
insensible to the call of summer and gladness and companionship,
wearied and dejected by his father's voice. He could scarcely recognize
as his own thoughts, and repeated slowly to himself:
--I am Stephen Dedalus. I am walking beside my father whose name is
Simon Dedalus. We are in Cork, in Ireland. Cork is a city. Our room is
in the Victoria Hotel. Victoria and Stephen and Simon. Simon and
Stephen and Victoria. Names.
The memory of his childhood suddenly grew dim. He tried to call forth
some of its vivid moments but could not. He recalled only names. Dante,
Parnell, Clane, Clongowes. A little boy had been taught geography by an
old woman who kept two brushes in her wardrobe. Then he had been sent
away from home to a college, he had made his first communion and eaten
slim jim out of his cricket cap and watched the firelight leaping and
dancing on the wall of a little bedroom in the infirmary and dreamed of
being dead, of mass being said for him by the rector in a black and
gold cope, of being buried then in the little graveyard of the
community off the main avenue of limes. But he had not died then.
Parnell had died. There had been no mass for the dead in the chapel and
no procession. He had not died but he had faded out like a film in the
sun. He had been lost or had wandered out of existence for he no longer
existed. How strange to think of him passing out of existence in such a
way, not by death but by fading out in the sun or by being lost and
forgotten somewhere in the universe! It was strange to see his small
body appear again for a moment: a little boy in a grey belted suit. His
hands were in his side-pockets and his trousers were tucked in at the
knees by elastic bands.
On the evening of the day on which the property was sold Stephen
followed his father meekly about the city from bar to bar. To the
sellers in the market, to the barmen and barmaids, to the beggars who
importuned him for a lob Mr Dedalus told the same tale--that he was an
old Corkonian, that he had been trying for thirty years to get rid of
his Cork accent up in Dublin and that Peter Pickackafax beside him was
his eldest son but that he was only a Dublin jackeen.
They had set out early in the morning from Newcombe's coffee-house,
where Mr Dedalus's cup had rattled noisily against its saucer, and
Stephen had tried to cover that shameful sign of his father's drinking
bout of the night before by moving his chair and coughing. One
humiliation had succeeded another--the false smiles of the market
sellers, the curvetings and oglings of the barmaids with whom his
father flirted, the compliments and encouraging words of his father's
friends. They had told him that he had a great look of his grandfather
and Mr Dedalus had agreed that he was an ugly likeness. They had
unearthed traces of a Cork accent in his speech and made him admit that
the Lee was a much finer river than the Liffey. One of them, in order
to put his Latin to the proof, had made him translate short passages
from Dilectus and asked him whether it was correct to say: TEMPORA
MUTANTUR NOS ET MUTAMUR IN ILLIS or TEMPORA MUTANTUR ET NOS MUTAMUR IN
ILLIS. Another, a brisk old man, whom Mr Dedalus called Johnny Cashman,
had covered him with confusion by asking him to say which were
prettier, the Dublin girls or the Cork girls.
--He's not that way built, said Mr Dedalus. Leave him alone. He's a
level-headed thinking boy who doesn't bother his head about that kind
--Then he's not his father's son, said the little old man.
--I don't know, I'm sure, said Mr Dedalus, smiling complacently.
--Your father, said the little old man to Stephen, was the boldest flirt
in the City of Cork in his day. Do you know that?
Stephen looked down and studied the tiled floor of the bar into which
they had drifted.
--Now don't be putting ideas into his head, said Mr Dedalus Leave him
to his Maker.
--Yerra, sure I wouldn't put any ideas into his head. I'm old enough
to be his grandfather. And I am a grandfather, said the little old man
to Stephen. Do you know that?
--Are you? asked Stephen.
--Bedad I am, said the little old man. I have two bouncing
grandchildren out at Sunday's Well. Now, then! What age do you think I
am? And I remember seeing your grandfather in his red coat riding out
to hounds. That was before you were born.
--Ay, or thought of, said Mr Dedalus.
--Bedad I did, repeated the little old man. And, more than that, I can
remember even your great-grandfather, old John Stephen Dedalus, and a
fierce old fire-eater he was. Now, then! There's a memory for you!
--That's three generations--four generations, said another of the
company. Why, Johnny Cashman, you must be nearing the century.
--Well, I'll tell you the truth, said the little old man. I'm just
twenty-seven years of age.
--We're as old as we feel, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus. And just finish
what you have there and we'll have another. Here, Tim or Tom or
whatever your name is, give us the same again here. By God, I don't
feel more than eighteen myself. There's that son of mine there not half
my age and I'm a better man than he is any day of the week.
--Draw it mild now, Dedalus. I think it's time for you to take a back
seat, said the gentleman who had spoken before.
--No, by God! asserted Mr Dedalus. I'll sing a tenor song against him
or I'll vault a five-barred gate against him or I'll run with him after
the hounds across the country as I did thirty years ago along with the
Kerry Boy and the best man for it.
--But he'll beat you here, said the little old man, tapping his
forehead and raising his glass to drain it.
--Well, I hope he'll be as good a man as his father. That's all I can
say, said Mr Dedalus.
--If he is, he'll do, said the little old man.
--And thanks be to God, Johnny, said Mr Dedalus, that we lived so long
and did so little harm.
--But did so much good, Simon, said the little old man gravely. Thanks
be to God we lived so long and did so much good.
Stephen watched the three glasses being raised from the counter as his
father and his two cronies drank to the memory of their past. An abyss
of fortune or of temperament sundered him from them. His mind seemed
older than theirs: it shone coldly on their strifes and happiness and
regrets like a moon upon a younger earth. No life or youth stirred in
him as it had stirred in them. He had known neither the pleasure of
companionship with others nor the vigour of rude male health nor filial
piety. Nothing stirred within his soul but a cold and cruel and
loveless lust. His childhood was dead or lost and with it his soul
capable of simple joys and he was drifting amid life like the barren
shell of the moon.
Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
He repeated to himself the lines of Shelley's fragment. Its alternation
of sad human ineffectiveness with vast inhuman cycles of activity
chilled him and he forgot his own human and ineffectual grieving.
* * * * *
Stephen's mother and his brother and one of his cousins waited at the
corner of quiet Foster Place while he and his father went up the steps
and along the colonnade where the Highland sentry was parading. When
they had passed into the great hall and stood at the counter Stephen
drew forth his orders on the governor of the bank of Ireland for thirty
and three pounds; and these sums, the moneys of his exhibition and
essay prize, were paid over to him rapidly by the teller in notes and
in coin respectively. He bestowed them in his pockets with feigned
composure and suffered the friendly teller, to whom his father chatted,
to take his hand across the broad counter and wish him a brilliant
career in after life. He was impatient of their voices and could not
keep his feet at rest. But the teller still deferred the serving of
others to say he was living in changed times and that there was nothing
like giving a boy the best education that money could buy. Mr Dedalus
lingered in the hall gazing about him and up at the roof and telling
Stephen, who urged him to come out, that they were standing in the
house of commons of the old Irish parliament.
--God help us! he said piously, to think of the men of those times,
Stephen, Hely Hutchinson and Flood and Henry Grattan and Charles Kendal
Bushe, and the noblemen we have now, leaders of the Irish people at
home and abroad. Why, by God, they wouldn't be seen dead in a ten-acre
field with them. No, Stephen, old chap, I'm sorry to say that they are
only as I roved out one fine May morning in the merry month of sweet
A keen October wind was blowing round the bank. The three figures
standing at the edge of the muddy path had pinched cheeks and watery
eyes. Stephen looked at his thinly clad mother and remembered that a
few days before he had seen a mantle priced at twenty guineas in the
windows of Barnardo's.
--Well that's done, said Mr Dedalus.
--We had better go to dinner, said Stephen. Where?
--Dinner? said Mr Dedalus. Well, I suppose we had better, what?
--Some place that's not too dear, said Mrs Dedalus.
--Yes. Some quiet place.
--Come along, said Stephen quickly. It doesn't matter about the
He walked on before them with short nervous steps, smiling. They tried
to keep up with him, smiling also at his eagerness.
--Take it easy like a good young fellow, said his father. We're hot
out for the half mile, are we?
For a swift season of merrymaking the money of his prizes ran through
Stephen's fingers. Great parcels of groceries and delicacies and dried
fruits arrived from the city. Every day he drew up a bill of fare for
the family and every night led a party of three or four to the theatre
to see INGOMAR or THE LADY OF LYONS. In his coat pockets he carried
squares of Vienna chocolate for his guests while his trousers' pocket
bulged with masses of silver and copper coins. He bought presents for
everyone, overhauled his room, wrote out resolutions, marshalled his
books up and down their shelves, pored upon all kinds of price lists,
drew up a form of commonwealth for the household by which every member
of it held some office, opened a loan bank for his family and pressed
loans on willing borrowers so that he might have the pleasure of making
out receipts and reckoning the interests on the sums lent. When he
could do no more he drove up and down the city in trams. Then the
season of pleasure came to an end. The pot of pink enamel paint gave out
and the wainscot of his bedroom remained with its unfinished and
His household returned to its usual way of life. His mother had no
further occasion to upbraid him for squandering his money. He too
returned to his old life at school and all his novel enterprises fell
to pieces. The commonwealth fell, the loan bank closed its coffers and
its books on a sensible loss, the rules of life which he had drawn
about himself fell into desuetude.
How foolish his aim had been! He had tried to build a break-water of
order and elegance against the sordid tide of life without him and to
dam up, by rules of conduct and active interest and new filial
relations, the powerful recurrence of the tides within him. Useless.
From without as from within the waters had flowed over his barriers:
their tides began once more to jostle fiercely above the crumbled mole.
He saw clearly too his own futile isolation. He had not gone one step
nearer the lives he had sought to approach nor bridged the restless
shame and rancour that had divided him from mother and brother and
sister. He felt that he was hardly of the one blood with them but stood
to them rather in the mystical kinship of fosterage, fosterchild and
He turned to appease the fierce longings of his heart before which
everything else was idle and alien. He cared little that he was in
mortal sin, that his life had grown to be a tissue of subterfuge and
falsehood. Beside the savage desire within him to realize the
enormities which he brooded on nothing was sacred. He bore cynically
with the shameful details of his secret riots in which he exulted to
defile with patience whatever image had attracted his eyes. By day and
by night he moved among distorted images of the outer world. A figure
that had seemed to him by day demure and innocent came towards him by
night through the winding darkness of sleep, her face transfigured by a
lecherous cunning, her eyes bright with brutish joy. Only the morning
pained him with its dim memory of dark orgiastic riot, its keen and
humiliating sense of transgression.
He returned to his wanderings. The veiled autumnal evenings led him
from street to street as they had led him years before along the quiet
avenues of Blackrock. But no vision of trim front gardens or of kindly
lights in the windows poured a tender influence upon him now. Only at
times, in the pauses of his desire, when the luxury that was wasting
him gave room to a softer languor, the image of Mercedes traversed the
background of his memory. He saw again the small white house and the
garden of rose-bushes on the road that led to the mountains and he
remembered the sadly proud gesture of refusal which he was to make
there, standing with her in the moonlit garden after years of
estrangement and adventure. At those moments the soft speeches of
Claude Melnotte rose to his lips and eased his unrest. A tender
premonition touched him of the tryst he had then looked forward to and,
in spite of the horrible reality which lay between his hope of then and
now, of the holy encounter he had then imagined at which weakness and
timidity and inexperience were to fall from him.
Such moments passed and the wasting fires of lust sprang up again. The
verses passed from his lips and the inarticulate cries and the unspoken
brutal words rushed forth from his brain to force a passage. His blood
was in revolt. He wandered up and down the dark slimy streets peering
into the gloom of lanes and doorways, listening eagerly for any sound.
He moaned to himself like some baffled prowling beast. He wanted to sin
with another of his kind, to force another being to sin with him and to
exult with her in sin. He felt some dark presence moving irresistibly
upon him from the darkness, a presence subtle and murmurous as a flood
filling him wholly with itself. Its murmur besieged his ears like the
murmur of some multitude in sleep; its subtle streams penetrated his
being. His hands clenched convulsively and his teeth set together as he
suffered the agony of its penetration. He stretched out his arms in the
street to hold fast the frail swooning form that eluded him and incited
him: and the cry that he had strangled for so long in his throat issued
from his lips. It broke from him like a wail of despair from a hell of
sufferers and died in a wail of furious entreaty, a cry for an
iniquitous abandonment, a cry which was but the echo of an obscene
scrawl which he had read on the oozing wall of a urinal.
He had wandered into a maze of narrow and dirty streets. From the foul
laneways he heard bursts of hoarse riot and wrangling and the drawling
of drunken singers. He walked onward, dismayed, wondering whether he
had strayed into the quarter of the Jews. Women and girls dressed in
long vivid gowns traversed the street from house to house. They were
leisurely and perfumed. A trembling seized him and his eyes grew dim.
The yellow gas-flames arose before his troubled vision against the
vapoury sky, burning as if before an altar. Before the doors and in the
lighted halls groups were gathered arrayed as for some rite. He was in
another world: he had awakened from a slumber of centuries.
He stood still in the middle of the roadway, his heart clamouring
against his bosom in a tumult. A young woman dressed in a long pink
gown laid her hand on his arm to detain him and gazed into his face.
She said gaily:
--Good night, Willie dear!
Her room was warm and lightsome. A huge doll sat with her legs apart in
the copious easy-chair beside the bed. He tried to bid his tongue speak
that he might seem at ease, watching her as she undid her gown, noting
the proud conscious movements of her perfumed head.
As he stood silent in the middle of the room she came over to him and
embraced him gaily and gravely. Her round arms held him firmly to her
and he, seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling the
warm calm rise and fall of her breast, all but burst into hysterical
weeping. Tears of joy and relief shone in his delighted eyes and his
lips parted though they would not speak.
She passed her tinkling hand through his hair, calling him a little
--Give me a kiss, she said.
His lips would not bend to kiss her. He wanted to be held firmly in her
arms, to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt that
he had suddenly become strong and fearless and sure of himself. But his
lips would not bend to kiss her.
With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to his
and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. It
was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her,
body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure
of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon his
lips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and between
them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of
sin, softer than sound or odour.
The swift December dusk had come tumbling clownishly after its dull day
and, as he stared through the dull square of the window of the
schoolroom, he felt his belly crave for its food. He hoped there would
be stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and bruised potatoes and fat
mutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered flour-fattened sauce.
Stuff it into you, his belly counselled him.
It would be a gloomy secret night. After early nightfall the yellow
lamps would light up, here and there, the squalid quarter of the
brothels. He would follow a devious course up and down the streets,
circling always nearer and nearer in a tremor of fear and joy, until
his feet led him suddenly round a dark corner. The whores would be just
coming out of their houses making ready for the night, yawning lazily
after their sleep and settling the hairpins in their clusters of hair.
He would pass by them calmly waiting for a sudden movement of his own
will or a sudden call to his sin-loving soul from their soft perfumed
flesh. Yet as he prowled in quest of that call, his senses, stultified
only by his desire, would note keenly all that wounded or shamed them;
his eyes, a ring of porter froth on a clothless table or a photograph
of two soldiers standing to attention or a gaudy playbill; his ears,
the drawling jargon of greeting:
--Hello, Bertie, any good in your mind?
--Is that you, pigeon?
--Number ten. Fresh Nelly is waiting on you.
--Good night, husband! Coming in to have a short time?
The equation on the page of his scribbler began to spread out a
widening tail, eyed and starred like a peacock's; and, when the eyes
and stars of its indices had been eliminated, began slowly to fold
itself together again. The indices appearing and disappearing were eyes
opening and closing; the eyes opening and closing were stars being born
and being quenched. The vast cycle of starry life bore his weary mind
outward to its verge and inward to its centre, a distant music
accompanying him outward and inward. What music? The music came nearer
and he recalled the words, the words of Shelley's fragment upon the
moon wandering companionless, pale for weariness. The stars began to
crumble and a cloud of fine stardust fell through space.
The dull light fell more faintly upon the page whereon another equation
began to unfold itself slowly and to spread abroad its widening tail.
It was his own soul going forth to experience, unfolding itself sin by
sin, spreading abroad the bale-fire of its burning stars and folding
back upon itself, fading slowly, quenching its own lights and fires.
They were quenched: and the cold darkness filled chaos.
A cold lucid indifference reigned in his soul. At his first violent sin
he had felt a wave of vitality pass out of him and had feared to find
his body or his soul maimed by the excess. Instead the vital wave had
carried him on its bosom out of himself and back again when it receded:
and no part of body or soul had been maimed but a dark peace had been
established between them. The chaos in which his ardour extinguished
itself was a cold indifferent knowledge of himself. He had sinned
mortally not once but many times and he knew that, while he stood in
danger of eternal damnation for the first sin alone, by every
succeeding sin he multiplied his guilt and his punishment. His days and
works and thoughts could make no atonement for him, the fountains of
sanctifying grace having ceased to refresh his soul. At most, by an
alms given to a beggar whose blessing he fled from, he might hope
wearily to win for himself some measure of actual grace. Devotion had
gone by the board. What did it avail to pray when he knew that his soul
lusted after its own destruction? A certain pride, a certain awe,
withheld him from offering to God even one prayer at night, though he
knew it was in God's power to take away his life while he slept and
hurl his soul hellward ere he could beg for mercy. His pride in his own
sin, his loveless awe of God, told him that his offence was too
grievous to be atoned for in whole or in part by a false homage to the
All-seeing and All-knowing.
--Well now, Ennis, I declare you have a head and so has my stick! Do
you mean to say that you are not able to tell me what a surd is?
The blundering answer stirred the embers of his contempt of his
fellows. Towards others he felt neither shame nor fear. On Sunday
mornings as he passed the church door he glanced coldly at the
worshippers who stood bareheaded, four deep, outside the church,
morally present at the mass which they could neither see nor hear.
Their dull piety and the sickly smell of the cheap hair-oil with which
they had anointed their heads repelled him from the altar they prayed
at. He stooped to the evil of hypocrisy with others, sceptical of their
innocence which he could cajole so easily.
On the wall of his bedroom hung an illuminated scroll, the certificate
of his prefecture in the college of the sodality of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. On Saturday mornings when the sodality met in the chapel to
recite the little office his place was a cushioned kneeling-desk at the
right of the altar from which he led his wing of boys through the
responses. The falsehood of his position did not pain him. If at
moments he felt an impulse to rise from his post of honour and,
confessing before them all his unworthiness, to leave the chapel, a
glance at their faces restrained him. The imagery of the psalms of
prophecy soothed his barren pride. The glories of Mary held his soul
captive: spikenard and myrrh and frankincense, symbolizing her royal
lineage, her emblems, the late-flowering plant and late-blossoming
tree, symbolizing the age-long gradual growth of her cultus among men.
When it fell to him to read the lesson towards the close of the office
he read it in a veiled voice, lulling his conscience to its music.
QUASI CEDRUS EXALTATA SUM IN LIBANON ET QUASI CUPRESSUS IN MONTE SION.
QUASI PALMA EXALTATA SUM IN GADES ET QUASI PLANTATIO ROSAE IN JERICHO.
QUASI ULIVA SPECIOSA IN CAMPIS ET QUASI PLATANUS EXALTATA SUM JUXTA
AQUAM IN PLATEIS. SICUT CINNAMOMUM ET BALSAMUM AROMATIZANS ODOREM DEDI
ET QUASI MYRRHA ELECTA DEDI SUAVITATEM ODORIS.
His sin, which had covered him from the sight of God, had led him
nearer to the refuge of sinners. Her eyes seemed to regard him with
mild pity; her holiness, a strange light glowing faintly upon her frail
flesh, did not humiliate the sinner who approached her. If ever he was
impelled to cast sin from him and to repent the impulse that moved him
was the wish to be her knight. If ever his soul, re-entering her
dwelling shyly after the frenzy of his body's lust had spent itself,
was turned towards her whose emblem is the morning star, BRIGHT AND
MUSICAL, TELLING OF HEAVEN AND INFUSING PEACE, it was when her names
were murmured softly by lips whereon there still lingered foul and
shameful words, the savour itself of a lewd kiss.
That was strange. He tried to think how it could be. But the dusk,
deepening in the schoolroom, covered over his thoughts. The bell rang.
The master marked the sums and cuts to be done for the next lesson and
went out. Heron, beside Stephen, began to hum tunelessly.
MY EXCELLENT FRIEND BOMBADOS.
Ennis, who had gone to the yard, came back, saying:
--The boy from the house is coming up for the rector.
A tall boy behind Stephen rubbed his hands and said:
--That's game ball. We can scut the whole hour. He won't be in till
after half two. Then you can ask him questions on the catechism,
Stephen, leaning back and drawing idly on his scribbler, listened to
the talk about him which Heron checked from time to time by saying:
--Shut up, will you. Don't make such a bally racket!
It was strange too that he found an arid pleasure in following up to
the end the rigid lines of the doctrines of the church and penetrating
into obscure silences only to hear and feel the more deeply his own
condemnation. The sentence of saint James which says that he who
offends against one commandment becomes guilty of all, had seemed to him
first a swollen phrase until he had begun to grope in the darkness
of his own state. From the evil seed of lust all other deadly
sins had sprung forth: pride in himself and contempt of others,
covetousness In using money for the purchase of unlawful pleasures,
envy of those whose vices he could not reach to and calumnious
murmuring against the pious, gluttonous enjoyment of food,
the dull glowering anger amid which he brooded upon his longing, the
swamp of spiritual and bodily sloth in which his whole being had sunk.
As he sat in his bench gazing calmly at the rector's shrewd harsh face,
his mind wound itself in and out of the curious questions proposed to
it. If a man had stolen a pound in his youth and had used that pound to
amass a huge fortune how much was he obliged to give back, the pound he
had stolen only or the pound together with the compound interest
accruing upon it or all his huge fortune? If a layman in giving baptism
pour the water before saying the words is the child baptized? Is
baptism with a mineral water valid? How comes it that while the first
beatitude promises the kingdom of heaven to the poor of heart the
second beatitude promises also to the meek that they shall possess the
land? Why was the sacrament of the eucharist instituted under the two
species of bread and wine if Jesus `Christ be present body and blood,
soul and divinity, in the bread alone and in the wine alone? Does a
tiny particle of the consecrated bread contain all the body and blood
of Jesus Christ or a part only of the body and blood? If the wine
change into vinegar and the host crumble into corruption after they
have been consecrated, is Jesus Christ still present under their
species as God and as man?
--Here he is! Here he is!
A boy from his post at the window had seen the rector come from the
house. All the catechisms were opened and all heads bent upon them
silently. The rector entered and took his seat on the dais. A gentle
kick from the tall boy in the bench behind urged Stephen to ask a
The rector did not ask for a catechism to hear the lesson from. He
clasped his hands on the desk and said:
--The retreat will begin on Wednesday afternoon in honour of saint
Francis Xavier whose feast day is Saturday. The retreat will go on from
Wednesday to Friday. On Friday confession will be heard all the
afternoon after beads. If any boys have special confessors perhaps it
will be better for them not to change. Mass will be on Saturday morning
at nine o'clock and general communion for the whole college. Saturday
will be a free day. But Saturday and Sunday being free days some boys
might be inclined to think that Monday is a free day also. Beware of
making that mistake. I think you, Lawless, are likely to make that
--I sir? Why, sir?
A little wave of quiet mirth broke forth over the class of boys from
the rector's grim smile. Stephen's heart began slowly to fold and fade
with fear like a withering flower.
The rector went on gravely:
--You are all familiar with the story of the life of saint Francis
Xavier, I suppose, the patron of your college. He came of an old and
illustrious Spanish family and you remember that he was one of the
first followers of saint Ignatius. They met in Paris where Francis
Xavier was professor of philosophy at the university. This young and
brilliant nobleman and man of letters entered heart and soul into the
ideas of our glorious founder and you know that he, at his own desire,
was sent by saint Ignatius to preach to the Indians. He is called, as
you know, the apostle of the Indies. He went from country to country in
the east, from Africa to India, from India to Japan, baptizing the
people. He is said to have baptized as many as ten thousand idolaters
in one month. It is said that his right arm had grown powerless from
having been raised so often over the heads of those whom he baptized.
He wished then to go to China to win still more souls for God but he
died of fever on the island of Sancian. A great saint, saint Francis
Xavier! A great soldier of God!
The rector paused and then, shaking his clasped hands before him, went
--He had the faith in him that moves mountains. Ten thousand souls won
for God in a single month! That is a true conqueror, true to the motto
of our order: AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM! A saint who has great power in
heaven, remember: power to intercede for us in our grief; power to
obtain whatever we pray for if it be for the good of our souls; power
above all to obtain for us the grace to repent if we be in sin. A great
saint, saint Francis Xavier! A great fisher of souls!
He ceased to shake his clasped hands and, resting them against his
forehead, looked right and left of them keenly at his listeners out of
his dark stern eyes.
In the silence their dark fire kindled the dusk into a tawny glow.
Stephen's heart had withered up like a flower of the desert that feels
the simoom coming from afar.
* * * * *
--REMEMBER ONLY THY LAST THINGS AND THOU SHALT NOT SIN FOR EVER--
words taken, my dear little brothers in Christ, from the book of
Ecclesiastes, seventh chapter, fortieth verse. In the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Stephen sat in the front bench of the chapel. Father Arnall sat at a
table to the left of the altar. He wore about his shoulders a heavy
cloak; his pale face was drawn and his voice broken with rheum. The
figure of his old master, so strangely rearisen, brought back to
Stephen's mind his life at Clongowes: the wide playgrounds, swarming
with boys; the square ditch; the little cemetery off the main avenue of
limes where he had dreamed of being buried; the firelight on the wall
of the infirmary where he lay sick; the sorrowful face of Brother
Michael. His soul, as these memories came back to him, became again a
--We are assembled here today, my dear little brothers in Christ, for
one brief moment far away from the busy bustle of the outer world to
celebrate and to honour one of the greatest of saints, the apostle of
the Indies, the patron saint also of your college, saint Francis
Xavier. Year after year, for much longer than any of you, my dear
little boys, can remember or than I can remember, the boys of this
college have met in this very chapel to make their annual retreat
before the feast day of their patron saint. Time has gone on and
brought with it its changes. Even in the last few years what changes
can most of you not remember? Many of the boys who sat in those front
benches a few years ago are perhaps now in distant lands, in the
burning tropics, or immersed in professional duties or in seminaries,
or voyaging over the vast expanse of the deep or, it may be, already
called by the great God to another life and to the rendering up of
their stewardship. And still as the years roll by, bringing with them
changes for good and bad, the memory of the great saint is honoured by
the boys of this college who make every year their annual retreat on
the days preceding the feast day set apart by our Holy Mother the
Church to transmit to all the ages the name and fame of one of the
greatest sons of catholic Spain.
--Now what is the meaning of this word RETREAT and why is it allowed
on all hands to be a most salutary practice for all who desire to lead
before God and in the eyes of men a truly christian life? A retreat, my
dear boys, signifies a withdrawal for awhile from the cares of our
life, the cares of this workaday world, in order to examine the state
of our conscience, to reflect on the mysteries of holy religion and to
understand better why we are here in this world. During these few days
I intend to put before you some thoughts concerning the four last
things. They are, as you know from your catechism, death, judgement,
hell, and heaven. We shall try to understand them fully during these
few days so that we may derive from the understanding of them a lasting
benefit to our souls. And remember, my dear boys, that we have been
sent into this world for one thing and for one thing alone: to do God's
holy will and to save our immortal souls. All else is worthless. One
thing alone is needful, the salvation of one's soul. What doth it
profit a man to gain the whole world if he suffer the loss of his
immortal soul? Ah, my dear boys, believe me there is nothing in this
wretched world that can make up for such a loss.
--I will ask you, therefore, my dear boys, to put away from your minds
during these few days all worldly thoughts, whether of study or
pleasure or ambition, and to give all your attention to the state of
your souls. I need hardly remind you that during the days of the
retreat all boys are expected to preserve a quiet and pious demeanour
and to shun all loud unseemly pleasure. The elder boys, of course, will
see that this custom is not infringed and I look especially to the
prefects and officers of the sodality of Our Blessed Lady and of the
sodality of the holy angels to set a good example to their
--Let us try, therefore, to make this retreat in honour of saint
Francis with our whole heart and our whole mind. God's blessing will
then be upon all your year's studies. But, above and beyond all, let
this retreat be one to which you can look back in after years when
maybe you are far from this college and among very different
surroundings, to which you can look back with joy and thankfulness and
give thanks to God for having granted you this occasion of laying the
first foundation of a pious honourable zealous christian life. And if,
as may so happen, there be at this moment in these benches any poor
soul who has had the unutterable misfortune to lose God's holy grace
and to fall into grievous sin, I fervently trust and pray that this
retreat may be the turning point in the life of that soul. I pray to
God through the merits of His zealous servant Francis Xavier, that such
a soul may be led to sincere repentance and that the holy communion on
saint Francis's day of this year may be a lasting covenant between God
and that soul. For just and unjust, for saint and sinner alike, may
this retreat be a memorable one.
--Help me, my dear little brothers in Christ. Help me by your pious
attention, by your own devotion, by your outward demeanour. Banish from
your minds all worldly thoughts and think only of the last things,
death, judgement, hell, and heaven. He who remembers these things, says
Ecclesiastes, shall not sin for ever. He who remembers the last things
will act and think with them always before his eyes. He will live a
good life and die a good death, believing and knowing that, if he has
sacrificed much in this earthly life, it will be given to him a
hundredfold and a thousandfold more in the life to come, in the kingdom
without end--a blessing, my dear boys, which I wish you from my heart,
one and all, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
As he walked home with silent companions, a thick fog seemed to compass
his mind. He waited in stupor of mind till it should lift and reveal
what it had hidden. He ate his dinner with surly appetite and when the
meal was over and the grease-strewn plates lay abandoned on the table,
he rose and went to the window, clearing the thick scum from his mouth
with his tongue and licking it from his lips. So he had sunk to the
state of a beast that licks his chaps after meat. This was the end; and
a faint glimmer of fear began to pierce the fog of his mind. He pressed
his face against the pane of the window and gazed out into the
darkening street. Forms passed this way and that through the dull
light. And that was life. The letters of the name of Dublin lay heavily
upon his mind, pushing one another surlily hither and thither with slow
boorish insistence. His soul was fattening and congealing into a gross
grease, plunging ever deeper in its dull fear into a sombre threatening
dusk while the body that was his stood, listless and dishonoured,
gazing out of darkened eyes, helpless, perturbed, and human for a
bovine god to stare upon.
The next day brought death and judgement, stirring his soul slowly from
its listless despair. The faint glimmer of fear became a terror of
spirit as the hoarse voice of the preacher blew death into his soul. He
suffered its agony. He felt the death chill touch the extremities and
creep onward towards the heart, the film of death veiling the eyes, the
bright centres of the brain extinguished one by one like lamps, the
last sweat oozing upon the skin, the powerlessness of the dying limbs,
the speech thickening and wandering and failing, the heart throbbing
faintly and more faintly, all but vanquished, the breath, the poor
breath, the poor helpless human spirit, sobbing and sighing, gurgling
and rattling in the throat. No help! No help! He--he himself--his
body to which he had yielded was dying. Into the grave with it. Nail it
down into a wooden box the corpse. Carry it out of the house on the
shoulders of hirelings. Thrust it out of men's sight into a long hole
in the ground, into the grave, to rot, to feed the mass of its creeping
worms and to be devoured by scuttling plump-bellied rats.
And while the friends were still standing in tears by the bedside the
soul of the sinner was judged. At the last moment of consciousness the
whole earthly life passed before the vision of the soul and, ere it had
time to reflect, the body had died and the soul stood terrified before
the judgement seat. God, who had long been merciful, would then be
just. He had long been patient, pleading with the sinful soul,
giving it time to repent, sparing it yet awhile. But that time had
gone. Time was to sin and to enjoy, time was to scoff at God and at the
warnings of His holy church, time was to defy His majesty, to disobey
His commands, to hoodwink one's fellow men, to commit sin after sin and
to hide one's corruption from the sight of men. But that time was over.
Now it was God's turn: and He was not to be hoodwinked or deceived.
Every sin would then come forth from its lurking place, the most
rebellious against the divine will and the most degrading to our poor
corrupt nature, the tiniest imperfection and the most heinous atrocity.
What did it avail then to have been a great emperor, a great general, a
marvellous inventor, the most learned of the learned? All were as one
before the judgement seat of God. He would reward the good and punish
the wicked. One single instant was enough for the trial of a man's
soul. One single instant after the body's death, the soul had been
weighed in the balance. The particular judgement was over and the soul
had passed to the abode of bliss or to the prison of purgatory or had
been hurled howling into hell.
Nor was that all. God's justice had still to be vindicated before men:
after the particular there still remained the general judgement. The
last day had come. The doomsday was at hand. The stars of heaven were
falling upon the earth like the figs cast by the fig-tree which the
wind has shaken. The sun, the great luminary of the universe, had
become as sackcloth of hair. The moon was blood-red. The firmament was
as a scroll rolled away. The archangel Michael, the prince of the
heavenly host, appeared glorious and terrible against the sky. With one
foot on the sea and one foot on the land he blew from the arch-
angelical trumpet the brazen death of time. The three blasts of the
angel filled all the universe. Time is, time was, but time shall be no
more. At the last blast the souls of universal humanity throng towards
the valley of Jehoshaphat, rich and poor, gentle and simple, wise and
foolish, good and wicked. The soul of every human being that has ever
existed, the souls of all those who shall yet be born, all the sons and
daughters of Adam, all are assembled on that supreme day. And lo, the
supreme judge is coming! No longer the lowly Lamb of God, no longer the
meek Jesus of Nazareth, no longer the Man of Sorrows, no longer the
Good Shepherd, He is seen now coming upon the clouds, in great power
and majesty, attended by nine choirs of angels, angels and archangels,
principalities, powers and virtues, thrones and dominations, cherubim
and seraphim, God Omnipotent, God Everlasting. He speaks: and His voice
is heard even at the farthest limits of space, even In the bottomless
abyss. Supreme Judge, from His sentence there will be and can be no
appeal. He calls the just to His side, bidding them enter into the
kingdom, the eternity of bliss prepared for them. The unjust He casts
from Him, crying in His offended majesty: DEPART FROM ME, YE CURSED,
INTO EVERLASTING FIRE WHICH WAS PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS.
O, what agony then for the miserable sinners! Friend is torn apart from
friend, children are torn from their parents, husbands from their
wives. The poor sinner holds out his arms to those who were dear to him
in this earthly world, to those whose simple piety perhaps he made a
mock of, to those who counselled him and tried to lead him on the right
path, to a kind brother, to a loving sister, to the mother and father
who loved him so dearly. But it is too late: the just turn away from
the wretched damned souls which now appear before the eyes of all in
their hideous and evil character. O you hypocrites, O, you whited
sepulchres, O you who present a smooth smiling face to the world while
your soul within is a foul swamp of sin, how will it fare with you in
that terrible day?
And this day will come, shall come, must come: the day of death and the
day of judgement. It is appointed unto man to die and after death the
judgement. Death is certain. The time and manner are uncertain, whether
from long disease or from some unexpected accident: the Son of God
cometh at an hour when you little expect Him. Be therefore ready every
moment, seeing that you may die at any moment. Death is the end of us
all. Death and judgement, brought into the world by the sin of our
first parents, are the dark portals that close our earthly existence,
the portals that open into the unknown and the unseen, portals through
which every soul must pass, alone, unaided save by its good works,
without friend or brother or parent or master to help it, alone and
trembling. Let that thought be ever before our minds and then we cannot
sin. Death, a cause of terror to the sinner, is a blessed moment for
him who has walked in the right path, fulfilling the duties of his
station in life, attending to his morning and evening prayers,
approaching the holy sacrament frequently and performing good and
merciful works. For the pious and believing catholic, for the just man,
death is no cause of terror. Was it not Addison, the great English
writer, who, when on his deathbed, sent for the wicked young earl of
Warwick to let him see how a christian can meet his end? He it is and he
alone, the pious and believing christian, who can say in his heart:
O grave, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?
Every word of it was for him. Against his sin, foul and secret, the
whole wrath of God was aimed. The preacher's knife had probed deeply
into his disclosed conscience and he felt now that his soul was
festering in sin. Yes, the preacher was right. God's turn had come.
Like a beast in its lair his soul had lain down in its own filth but
the blasts of the angel's trumpet had driven him forth from the
darkness of sin into the light. The words of doom cried by the angel
shattered in an instant his presumptuous peace. The wind of the last
day blew through his mind, his sins, the jewel-eyed harlots of his
imagination, fled before the hurricane, squeaking like mice in their
terror and huddled under a mane of hair.
As he crossed the square, walking homeward, the light laughter of a
girl reached his burning ear. The frail gay sound smote his heart more
strongly than a trumpet blast, and, not daring to lift his eyes, he
turned aside and gazed, as he walked, into the shadow of the tangled
shrubs. Shame rose from his smitten heart and flooded his whole being.
The image of Emma appeared before him, and under her eyes the flood of
shame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mind
had subjected her or how his brute-like lust had torn and trampled upon
her innocence! Was that boyish love? Was that chivalry? Was that
poetry? The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils.
The soot-coated packet of pictures which he had hidden in the flue of
the fireplace and in the presence of whose shameless or bashful
wantonness he lay for hours sinning In thought and deed; his monstrous
dreams, peopled by ape-like creatures and by harlots with gleaming
jewel eyes; the foul long letters he had written in the joy of guilty
confession and carried secretly for days and days only to throw them
under cover of night among the grass in the corner of a field or
beneath some hingeless door in some niche in the hedges where a girl
might come upon them as she walked by and read them secretly. Mad! Mad!
Was it possible he had done these things? A cold sweat broke out upon
his forehead as the foul memories condensed within his brain.
When the agony of shame had passed from him he tried to raise his soul
from its abject powerlessness. God and the Blessed Virgin were too far
from him: God was too great and stern and the Blessed Virgin too pure
and holy. But he imagined that he stood near Emma in a wide land and,
humbly and in tears, bent and kissed the elbow of her sleeve.
In the wide land under a tender lucid evening sky, a cloud drifting
westward amid a pale green sea of heaven, they stood together, children
that had erred. Their error had offended deeply God's majesty though it
was the error of two children; but it had not offended her whose beauty
IS NOT LIKE EARTHLY BEAUTY, DANGEROUS TO LOOK UPON, BUT LIKE THE
MORNING STAR WHICH. IS ITS EMBLEM, BRIGHT AND MUSICAL. The eyes were
not offended which she turned upon him nor reproachful. She placed
their hands together, hand in hand, and said, speaking to their hearts:
--Take hands, Stephen and Emma. It is a beautiful evening now in
heaven. You have erred but you are always my children. It is one heart
that loves another heart. Take hands together, my dear children, and
you will be happy together and your hearts will love each other.
The chapel was flooded by the dull scarlet light that filtered through
the lowered blinds; and through the fissure between the last blind and
the sash a shaft of wan light entered like a spear and touched the
embossed brasses of the candlesticks upon the altar that gleamed like
the battle-worn mail armour of angels.
Rain was falling on the chapel, on the garden, on the college. It would
rain for ever, noiselessly. The water would rise inch by inch, covering
the grass and shrubs, covering the trees and houses, covering the
monuments and the mountain tops. All life would be choked off,
noiselessly: birds, men, elephants, pigs, children: noiselessly
floating corpses amid the litter of the wreckage of the world. Forty
days and forty nights the rain would fall till the waters covered the
face of the earth.
It might be. Why not?
--HELL HAS ENLARGED ITS SOUL AND OPENED ITS MOUTH WITHOUT ANY LIMITS--
words taken, my dear little brothers in Christ Jesus, from the book of
Isaias, fifth chapter, fourteenth verse. In the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher took a chainless watch from a pocket within his soutane
and, having considered its dial for a moment in silence, placed it
silently before him on the table.
He began to speak in a quiet tone.
--Adam and Eve, my dear boys, were, as you know, our first parents,
and you will remember that they were created by God in order that the
seats in heaven left vacant by the fall of Lucifer and his rebellious
angels might be filled again. Lucifer, we are told, was a son of the
morning, a radiant and mighty angel; yet he fell: he fell and there
fell with him a third part of the host of heaven: he fell and was
hurled with his rebellious angels into hell. What his sin was we cannot
say. Theologians consider that it was the sin of pride, the sinful
thought conceived in an instant: NON SERVIAM: I WILL NOT SERVE. That
instant was his ruin.
He offended the majesty of God by the sinful thought of one instant and
God cast him out of heaven into hell for ever.
--Adam and Eve were then created by God and placed in Eden, in the
plain of Damascus, that lovely garden resplendent with sunlight and
colour, teeming with luxuriant vegetation. The fruitful earth gave them
her bounty: beasts and birds were their willing servants: they knew not
the ills our flesh is heir to, disease and poverty and death: all that
a great and generous God could do for them was done. But there was one
condition imposed on them by God: obedience to His word. They were not
to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree.
--Alas, my dear little boys, they too fell. The devil, once a shining
angel, a son of the morning, now a foul fiend came in the shape of a
serpent, the subtlest of all the beasts of the field. He envied them.
He, the fallen great one, could not bear to think that man, a being of
clay, should possess the inheritance which he by his sin had forfeited
for ever. He came to the woman, the weaker vessel, and poured the
poison of his eloquence into her ear, promising her--O, the blasphemy
of that promise!--that if she and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit they
would become as gods, nay as God Himself. Eve yielded to the wiles of
the archtempter. She ate the apple and gave it also to Adam who had not
the moral courage to resist her. The poison tongue of Satan had done
its work. They fell.
--And then the voice of God was heard in that garden, calling His
creature man to account: and Michael, prince of the heavenly host, with
a sword of flame in his hand, appeared before the guilty pair and drove
them forth from Eden into the world, the world of sickness and
striving, of cruelty and disappointment, of labour and hardship, to
earn their bread in the sweat of their brow. But even then how merciful
was God! He took pity on our poor degraded parents and promised that in
the fullness of time He would send down from heaven One who would
redeem them, make them once more children of God and heirs to the
kingdom of heaven: and that One, that Redeemer of fallen man, was to be
God's only begotten Son, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity,
the Eternal Word.
--He came. He was born of a virgin pure, Mary the virgin mother. He
was born in a poor cowhouse in Judea and lived as a humble carpenter
for thirty years until the hour of His mission had come. And then,
filled with love for men, He went forth and called to men to hear the
--Did they listen? Yes, they listened but would not hear. He was
seized and bound like a common criminal, mocked at as a fool, set aside
to give place to a public robber, scourged with five thousand lashes,
crowned with a crown of thorns, hustled through the streets by the
jewish rabble and the Roman soldiery, stripped of his garments and
hanged upon a gibbet and His side was pierced with a lance and from the
wounded body of our Lord water and blood issued continually.
--Yet even then, in that hour of supreme agony, Our Merciful Redeemer had
pity for mankind. Yet even there, on the hill of Calvary, He founded
the holy catholic church against which, it is promised, the gates of
hell shall not prevail. He founded it upon the rock of ages, and
endowed it with His grace, with sacraments and sacrifice, and promised
that if men would obey the word of His church they would still enter
into eternal life; but if, after all that had been done for them, they
still persisted in their wickedness, there remained for them an
eternity of torment: hell.
The preacher's voice sank. He paused, joined his palms for an instant,
parted them. Then he resumed:
--Now let us try for a moment to realize, as far as we can, the nature
of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God has
called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is a
strait and dark and foul-smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost
souls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison house
is expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by
His laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty
of movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in the
gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the
great number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their
awful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles
thick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a
blessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, they
are not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.
--They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives
forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian
furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the
fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns
eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark
flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are
heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the
plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague
alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we
give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone
but for all eternity?
--The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awful
stench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of the
world, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the
terrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. The
brimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills all
hell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned
themselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventure
says, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. The
very air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul and
unbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must be
the foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpse
that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass
of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured
by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of
nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening
stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the
millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the
reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this,
and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.
--But this stench is not, horrible though it is, the greatest physical
torment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fire is the
greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellow
creatures. Place your finger for a moment in the flame of a candle and
you will feel the pain of fire. But our earthly fire was created by God
for the benefit of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and to
help him in the useful arts, whereas the fire of hell is of another
quality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentant
sinner. Our earthly fire also consumes more or less rapidly according
as the object which it attacks is more or less combustible, so that
human ingenuity has even succeeded in inventing chemical preparations
to check or frustrate its action. But the sulphurous brimstone which
burns in hell is a substance which is specially designed to burn for
ever and for ever with unspeakable fury. Moreover, our earthly fire
destroys at the same time as it burns, so that the more intense it is
the shorter is its duration; but the fire of hell has this property,
that it preserves that which it burns, and, though it rages with
incredible intensity, it rages for ever.
--Our earthly fire again, no matter how fierce or widespread it may be,
is always of a limited extent; but the lake of fire in hell is
boundless, shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devil
himself, when asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged to
confess that if a whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean of
hell it would be burned up In an instant like a piece of wax. And this
terrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only from
without, but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundless
fire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of those
wretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brains
are boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting,
the bowels a red-hot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming like
--And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and
boundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to its
intensity, an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by
divine design for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fire
which proceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its own
activity but as an instrument of Divine vengeance. As the waters of
baptism cleanse the soul with the body, so do the fires of punishment
torture the spirit with the flesh. Every sense of the flesh is tortured
and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable
utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and
howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption,
nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes,
with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the
senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid
the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the
offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and
ever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the God-head.
--Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison is
increased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on
earth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from
the company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell all
laws are overturned--there is no thought of family or country, of
ties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another,
their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings tortured
and raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. The
yells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vast
abyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God and
of hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those souls
which were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the custom
to punish the parricide, the man who had raised his murderous hand
against his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sack
in which were placed a cock, a monkey, and a serpent. The intention of
those law-givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times,
was to punish the criminal by the company of hurtful and hateful
beasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with the
fury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and aching
throats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions in
misery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowed
the first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, those
whose immodest suggestions led them on to sin, those whose eyes tempted
and allured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon those
accomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless and
hopeless: it is too late now for repentance.
--Last of all consider the frightful torment to those damned souls,
tempters and tempted alike, of the company of the devils. These devils
will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their
reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint
Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather
than look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, she
would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red
coals. These devils, who were once beautiful angels, have become as
hideous and ugly as they once were beautiful. They mock and jeer at the
lost souls whom they dragged down to ruin. It is they, the foul demons,
who are made in hell the voices of conscience. Why did you sin? Why did
you lend an ear to the temptings of friends? Why did you turn aside
from your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun the
occasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why did
you not give up that lewd habit, that impure habit? Why did you not
listen to the counsels of your confessor? Why did you not, even after
you had fallen the first or the second or the third or the fourth or
the hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who only
waited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the time
for repentance has gone by. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more!
Time was to sin in secrecy, to indulge in that sloth and pride, to
covet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, to
live like the beasts of the field, nay worse than the beasts of the
field, for they, at least, are but brutes and have no reason to guide
them: time was, but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so many
voices, but you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride and
anger in your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, you
would not obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to your
religious duties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, you
would not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language of
those fiendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatred
and of disgust. Of disgust, yes! For even they, the very devils, when
they sinned, sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with such
angelical natures, a rebellion of the intellect: and they, even they,
the foul devils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from the
contemplation of those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outrages
and defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, defiles and pollutes himself.
--O, my dear little brothers in Christ, may it never be our lot to
hear that language! May it never be our lot, I say! In the last day of
terrible reckoning I pray fervently to God that not a single soul of
those who are in this chapel today may be found among those miserable
beings whom the Great Judge shall command to depart for ever from His
sight, that not one of us may ever hear ringing in his ears the awful
sentence of rejection: DEPART FROM ME, YE CURSED, INTO EVERLASTING FIRE
WHICH WAS PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS!
He came down the aisle of the chapel, his legs shaking and the scalp of
his head trembling as though it had been touched by ghostly fingers. He
passed up the staircase and into the corridor along the walls of which
the overcoats and waterproofs hung like gibbeted malefactors, headless
and dripping and shapeless. And at every step he feared that he had
already died, that his soul had been wrenched forth of the sheath of
his body, that he was plunging headlong through space.
He could not grip the floor with his feet and sat heavily at his desk,
opening one of his books at random and poring over it. Every word for
him. It was true. God was almighty. God could call him now, call him as
he sat at his desk, before he had time to be conscious of the summons.
God had called him. Yes? What? Yes? His flesh shrank together as it
felt the approach of the ravenous tongues of flames, dried up as it
felt about it the swirl of stifling air. He had died. Yes. He was
judged. A wave of fire swept through his body: the first. Again a wave.
His brain began to glow. Another. His brain was simmering and bubbling
within the cracking tenement of the skull. Flames burst forth from his
skull like a corolla, shrieking like voices:
--Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell! Hell!
Voices spoke near him:
--I suppose he rubbed it into you well.
--You bet he did. He put us all into a blue funk.
--That'S what you fellows want: and plenty of it to make you work.
He leaned back weakly in his desk. He had not died. God had spared him
still. He was still in the familiar world of the school. Mr Tate and
Vincent Heron stood at the window, talking, jesting, gazing out at the
bleak rain, moving their heads.
--I wish it would clear up. I had arranged to go for a spin on the
bike with some fellows out by Malahide. But the roads must be
--It might clear up, sir.
The voices that he knew so well, the common words, the quiet of the
classroom when the voices paused and the silence was filled by the
sound of softly browsing cattle as the other boys munched their lunches
tranquilly, lulled his aching soul.
There was still time. O Mary, refuge of sinners, intercede for him! O
Virgin Undefiled, save him from the gulf of death!
The English lesson began with the hearing of the history. Royal
persons, favourites, intriguers, bishops, passed like mute phantoms
behind their veil of names. All had died: all had been judged. What did
it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lost his soul? At last he
had understood: and human life lay around him, a plain of peace whereon
ant-like men laboured in brotherhood, their dead sleeping under quiet
mounds. The elbow of his companion touched him and his heart was
touched: and when he spoke to answer a question of his master he heard
his own voice full of the quietude of humility and contrition.
His soul sank back deeper into depths of contrite peace, no longer able
to suffer the pain of dread, and sending forth, as he sank, a faint
prayer. Ah yes, he would still be spared; he would repent in his heart
and be forgiven; and then those above, those in heaven, would see what
he would do to make up for the past: a whole life, every hour of life.
--All, God! All, all!
A messenger came to the door to say that confessions were being heard
in the chapel. Four boys left the room; and he heard others passing
down the corridor. A tremulous chill blew round his heart, no stronger
than a little wind, and yet, listening and suffering silently, he
seemed to have laid an ear against the muscle of his own heart, feeling
it close and quail, listening to the flutter of its ventricles.
No escape. He had to confess, to speak out in words what he had done
and thought, sin after sin. How? How?
The thought slid like a cold shining rapier into his tender flesh:
confession. But not there in the chapel of the college. He would
confess all, every sin of deed and thought, sincerely; but not there
among his school companions. Far away from there in some dark place he
would murmur out his own shame; and he besought God humbly not to be
offended with him if he did not dare to confess in the college chapel
and in utter abjection of spirit he craved forgiveness mutely of the
boyish hearts about him.
He sat again in the front bench of the chapel. The daylight without was
already failing and, as it fell slowly through the dull red blinds, it
seemed that the sun of the last day was going down and that all souls
were being gathered for the judgement.
--I AM CAST AWAY FROM THE SIGHT OF THINE EYES: words taken, my dear
little brothers in Christ, from the Book of Psalms, thirtieth chapter,
twenty-third verse. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Ghost. Amen.
The preacher began to speak in a quiet friendly tone. His face was kind
and he joined gently the fingers of each hand, forming a frail cage by
the union of their tips.
--This morning we endeavoured, in our reflection upon hell, to make
what our holy founder calls in his book of spiritual exercises, the
composition of place. We endeavoured, that is, to imagine with the
senses of the mind, in our imagination, the material character of that
awful place and of the physical torments which all who are in hell endure.
This evening we shall consider for a few moments the nature of the
spiritual torments of hell.
--Sin, remember, is a twofold enormity. It is a base consent to the
promptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that which
is gross and beast-like; and it is also a turning away from the counsel
of our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Holy God
Himself. For this reason mortal sin is punished in hell by two
different forms of punishment, physical and spiritual.
Now of all these spiritual pains by far the greatest is the pain of
loss, so great, in fact, that in itself it is a torment greater than
all the others. Saint Thomas, the greatest doctor of the church, the
angelic doctor, as he is called, says that the worst damnation consists
in this, that the understanding of man is totally deprived of divine
light and his affection obstinately turned away from the goodness of
God. God, remember, is a being infinitely good, and therefore the loss
of such a being must be a loss infinitely painful. In this life we have
not a very clear idea of what such a loss must be, but the damned in
hell, for their greater torment, have a full understanding of that
which they have lost, and understand that they have lost it through
their own sins and have lost it for ever. At the very instant of death
the bonds of the flesh are broken asunder and the soul at once flies
towards God as towards the centre of her existence. Remember, my dear
little boys, our souls long to be with God. We come from God, we live
by God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably His. God loves with a
divine love every human soul, and every human soul lives in that love.
How could it be otherwise? Every breath that we draw, every thought of
our brain, every instant of life proceeds from God's inexhaustible
goodness. And if it be pain for a mother to be parted from her child,
for a man to be exiled from hearth and home, for friend to be sundered
from friend, O think what pain, what anguish it must be for the poor
soul to be spurned from the presence of the supremely good and loving
Creator Who has called that soul into existence from nothingness and
sustained it in life and loved it with an immeasurable love. This,
then, to be separated for ever from its greatest good, from God, and to
feel the anguish of that separation, knowing full well that it is
unchangeable: this is the greatest torment which the created soul is
capable of bearing, POENA DAMNI, the pain of loss.
The second pain which will afflict the souls of the damned in hell is
the pain of conscience. Just as in dead bodies worms are engendered by
putrefaction, so in the souls of the lost there arises a perpetual
remorse from the putrefaction of sin, the sting of conscience, the
worm, as Pope Innocent the Third calls it, of the triple sting. The
first sting inflicted by this cruel worm will be the memory of past
pleasures. O what a dreadful memory will that be! In the lake of
all-devouring flame the proud king will remember the pomps of his
court, the wise but wicked man his libraries and instruments of
research, the lover of artistic pleasures his marbles and pictures and
other art treasures, he who delighted in the pleasures of the table his
gorgeous feasts, his dishes prepared with such delicacy, his choice
wines; the miser will remember his hoard of gold, the robber his
ill-gotten wealth, the angry and revengeful and merciless murderers
their deeds of blood and violence in which they revelled, the impure
and adulterous the unspeakable and filthy pleasures in which they
delighted. They will remember all this and loathe themselves and their
sins. For how miserable will all those pleasures seem to the soul
condemned to suffer in hellfire for ages and ages. How they will rage
and fume to think that they have lost the bliss of heaven for the dross
of earth, for a few pieces of metal, for vain honours, for bodily
comforts, for a tingling of the nerves. They will repent indeed: and
this is the second sting of the worm of conscience, a late and
fruitless sorrow for sins committed. Divine justice insists that the
understanding of those miserable wretches be fixed continually on the
sins of which they were guilty, and moreover, as saint Augustine points
out, God will impart to them His own knowledge of sin, so that sin will
appear to them in all its hideous malice as it appears to the eyes of
God Himself. They will behold their sins in all their foulness and
repent but it will be too late and then they will bewail the good
occasions which they neglected. This is the last and deepest and most
cruel sting of the worm of conscience. The conscience will say: You had
time and opportunity to repent and would not. You were brought up
religiously by your parents. You had the sacraments and grace and
indulgences of the church to aid you. You had the minister of God to
preach to you, to call you back when you had strayed, to forgive you
your sins, no matter how many, how abominable, if only you had
confessed and repented. No. You would not. You flouted the ministers
of holy religion, you turned your back on the confessional, you
wallowed deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. God appealed to you,
threatened you, entreated you to return to Him. O, what shame, what
misery! The Ruler of the universe entreated you, a creature of clay, to
love Him Who made you and to keep His law. No. You would not. And now,
though you were to flood all hell with your tears if you could still
weep, all that sea of repentance would not gain for you what a single
tear of true repentance shed during your mortal life would have gained
for you. You implore now a moment of earthly life wherein to repent: In
vain. That time is gone: gone for ever.
--Such is the threefold sting of conscience, the viper which gnaws the
very heart's core of the wretches in hell, so that filled with hellish
fury they curse themselves for their folly and curse the evil
companions who have brought them to such ruin and curse the devils who
tempted them in life and now mock them in eternity and even revile and
curse the Supreme Being Whose goodness and patience they scorned and
slighted but Whose justice and power they cannot evade.
--The next spiritual pain to which the damned are subjected is the
pain of extension. Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable of
many evils, is not capable of them all at once, inasmuch as one evil
corrects and counteracts another just as one poison frequently corrects
another. In hell, on the contrary, one torment, instead of
counteracting another, lends it still greater force: and, moreover, as
the internal faculties are more perfect than the external senses, so
are they more capable of suffering. Just as every sense is afflicted
with a fitting torment, so is every spiritual faculty; the fancy with
horrible images, the sensitive faculty with alternate longing and rage,
the mind and understanding with an interior darkness more terrible even
than the exterior darkness which reigns in that dreadful prison. The
malice, impotent though it be, which possesses these demon souls is an
evil of boundless extension, of limitless duration, a frightful state
of wickedness which we can scarcely realize unless we bear in mind the
enormity of sin and the hatred God bears to it.
--Opposed to this pain of extension and yet coexistent with it we have
the pain of intensity. Hell is the centre of evils and, as you know,
things are more intense at their centres than at their remotest points.
There are no contraries or admixtures of any kind to temper or soften
in the least the pains of hell. Nay, things which are good in
themselves become evil in hell. Company, elsewhere a source of comfort
to the afflicted, will be there a continual torment: knowledge, so much
longed for as the chief good of the intellect, will there be hated
worse than ignorance: light, so much coveted by all creatures from the
lord of creation down to the humblest plant in the forest, will be
loathed intensely. In this life our sorrows are either not very long or
not very great because nature either overcomes them by habits or puts
an end to them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the torments
cannot be overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensity
they are at the same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak,
taking fire from another and re-endowing that which has enkindled it
with a still fiercer flame. Nor can nature escape from these intense
and various tortures by succumbing to them for the soul is sustained
and maintained in evil so that its suffering may be the greater.
Boundless extension of torment, incredible intensity of suffering,
unceasing variety of torture--this is what the divine majesty, so
outraged by sinners, demands; this is what the holiness of heaven,
slighted and set aside for the lustful and low pleasures of the corrupt
flesh, requires; this is what the blood of the innocent Lamb of God,
shed for the redemption of sinners, trampled upon by the vilest of the
vile, insists upon.
--Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is
the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What
mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain.
Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet
they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But
while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know,
intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an
insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be,
then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all
eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the
awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore.
How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains
go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now
imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from
the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad,
extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness;
and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand
multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water
in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on
animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the
end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and
carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions
upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away
even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages
before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch
of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended.
At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would
have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been
all carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all away
again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there
are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea,
leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon
animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of
that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity
could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period,
after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain
reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.
--A holy saint (one of our own fathers I believe it was) was once
vouchsafed a vision of hell. It seemed to him that he stood in the
midst of a great hall, dark and silent save for the ticking of a great
clock. The ticking went on unceasingly; and it seemed to this saint
that the sound of the ticking was the ceaseless repetition of the words
-ever, never; ever, never. Ever to be in hell, never to be in heaven;
ever to be shut off from the presence of God, never to enjoy the
beatific vision; ever to be eaten with flames, gnawed by vermin, goaded
with burning spikes, never to be free from those pains; ever to have
the conscience upbraid one, the memory enrage, the mind filled with
darkness and despair, never to escape; ever to curse and revile the
foul demons who gloat fiendishly over the misery of their dupes, never
to behold the shining raiment of the blessed spirits; ever to cry out
of the abyss of fire to God for an instant, a single instant, of
respite from such awful agony, never to receive, even for an instant,
God's pardon; ever to suffer, never to enjoy; ever to be damned, never
to be saved; ever, never; ever, never. O, what a dreadful punishment!
An eternity of endless agony, of endless bodily and spiritual torment,
without one ray of hope, without one moment of cessation, of agony
limitless in intensity, of torment infinitely varied, of torture that
sustains eternally that which it eternally devours, of anguish that
everlastingly preys upon the spirit while it racks the flesh, an
eternity, every instant of which is itself an eternity of woe. Such is
the terrible punishment decreed for those who die in mortal sin by an
almighty and a just God.
--Yes, a just God! Men, reasoning always as men, are astonished that
God should mete out an everlasting and infinite punishment in the fires
of hell for a single grievous sin. They reason thus because, blinded by
the gross illusion of the flesh and the darkness of human
understanding, they are unable to comprehend the hideous malice of
mortal sin. They reason thus because they are unable to comprehend that
even venial sin is of such a foul and hideous nature that even if the
omnipotent Creator could end all the evil and misery in the world, the
wars, the diseases, the robberies, the crimes, the deaths, the murders,
on condition that he allowed a single venial sin to pass unpunished, a
single venial sin, a lie, an angry look, a moment of wilful sloth, He,
the great omnipotent God could not do so because sin, be it in thought
or deed, is a transgression of His law and God would not be God if He
did not punish the transgressor.
--A sin, an instant of rebellious pride of the intellect, made Lucifer
and a third part of the cohort of angels fall from their glory. A sin,
an instant of folly and weakness, drove Adam and Eve out of Eden and
brought death and suffering into the world. To retrieve the
consequences of that sin the Only Begotten Son of God came down to
earth, lived and suffered and died a most painful death, hanging for
three hours on the cross.
--O, my dear little brethren in Christ Jesus, will we then offend that
good Redeemer and provoke His anger? Will we trample again upon that
torn and mangled corpse? Will we spit upon that face so full of sorrow
and love? Will we too, like the cruel jews and the brutal soldiers,
mock that gentle and compassionate Saviour Who trod alone for our sake
the awful wine-press of sorrow? Every word of sin is a wound in His
tender side. Every sinful act is a thorn piercing His head. Every
impure thought, deliberately yielded to, is a keen lance transfixing that
sacred and loving heart. No, no. It is impossible for any human being to
do that which offends so deeply the divine majesty, that which is punished
by an eternity of agony, that which crucifies again the Son of God and
makes a mockery of Him.
--I pray to God that my poor words may have availed today to confirm
in holiness those who are in a state of grace, to strengthen the
wavering, to lead back to the state of grace the poor soul that has
strayed if any such be among you. I pray to God, and do you pray with
me, that we may repent of our sins. I will ask you now, all of you, to
repeat after me the act of contrition, kneeling here in this humble
chapel in the presence of God. He is there in the tabernacle burning
with love for mankind, ready to comfort the afflicted. Be not afraid.
No matter how many or how foul the sins if you only repent of them they
will be forgiven you. Let no worldly shame hold you back. God is still
the merciful Lord who wishes not the eternal death of the sinner but
rather that he be converted and live.
--He calls you to Him. You are His. He made you out of nothing. He
loved you as only a God can love. His arms are open to receive you even
though you have sinned against Him. Come to Him, poor sinner, poor vain
and erring sinner. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the hour.
The priest rose and, turning towards the altar, knelt upon the step
before the tabernacle in the fallen gloom. He waited till all in the
chapel had knelt and every least noise was still. Then, raising his
head, he repeated the act of contrition, phrase by phrase, with
fervour. The boys answered him phrase by phrase. Stephen, his tongue
cleaving to his palate, bowed his head, praying with his heart.
--O my God!--
--O my God!--
--I am heartily sorry--
--I am heartily sorry--
--for having offended Thee--
--for having offended Thee--
--and I detest my sins--
--and I detest my sins--
--above every other evil--
--above every other evil--
--because they displease Thee, my God--
--because they displease Thee, my God--
--Who art so deserving--
--Who art so deserving--
--of all my love--
--of all my love--
--and I firmly purpose--
--and I firmly purpose--
--by Thy holy grace--
--by Thy holy grace--
--never more to offend Thee--
--never more to offend Thee--
--and to amend my life--
--and to amend my life--
* * * * *
He went up to his room after dinner in order to be alone with his soul,
and at every step his soul seemed to sigh; at every step his soul
mounted with his feet, sighing in the ascent, through a region of
He halted on the landing before the door and then, grasping the
porcelain knob, opened the door quickly. He waited in fear, his soul
pining within him, praying silently that death might not touch his brow
as he passed over the threshold, that the fiends that inhabit darkness
might not be given power over him. He waited still at the threshold as
at the entrance to some dark cave. Faces were there; eyes: they waited
--We knew perfectly well of course that though it was bound to come to
the light he would find considerable difficulty in endeavouring to try
to induce himself to try to endeavour to ascertain the spiritual
plenipotentiary and so we knew of course perfectly well--
Murmuring faces waited and watched; murmurous voices filled the dark
shell of the cave. He feared intensely in spirit and in flesh but,
raising his head bravely, he strode into the room firmly. A doorway, a
room, the same room, same window. He told himself calmly that those
words had absolutely no sense which had seemed to rise murmurously from
the dark. He told himself that it was simply his room with the door
He closed the door and, walking swiftly to the bed, knelt beside it and
covered his face with his hands. His hands were cold and damp and his
limbs ached with chill. Bodily unrest and chill and weariness beset
him, routing his thoughts. Why was he kneeling there like a child
saying his evening prayers? To be alone with his soul, to examine his
conscience, to meet his sins face to face, to recall their times and
manners and circumstances, to weep over them. He could not weep. He
could not summon them to his memory. He felt only an ache of soul and
body, his whole being, memory, will, understanding, flesh, benumbed
That was the work of devils, to scatter his thoughts and over-cloud his
conscience, assailing him at the gates of the cowardly and
sin-corrupted flesh: and, praying God timidly to forgive him his
weakness, he crawled up on to the bed and, wrapping the blankets
closely about him, covered his face again with his hands. He had
sinned. He had sinned so deeply against heaven and before God that he
was not worthy to be called God's child.
Could it be that he, Stephen Dedalus, had done those things? His
conscience sighed in answer. Yes, he had done them, secretly, filthily,
time after time, and, hardened in sinful impenitence, he had dared to
wear the mask of holiness before the tabernacle itself while his soul
within was a living mass of corruption. How came it that God had not
struck him dead? The leprous company of his sins closed about him,
breathing upon him, bending over him from all sides. He strove to
forget them in an act of prayer, huddling his limbs closer together and
binding down his eyelids: but the senses of his soul would not be bound
and, though his eyes were shut fast, he saw the places where he had
sinned and, though his ears were tightly covered, he heard. He desired
with all his will not to hear or see. He desired till his frame shook
under the strain of his desire and until the senses of his soul closed.
They closed for an instant and then opened. He saw.
A field of stiff weeds and thistles and tufted nettle-bunches. Thick
among the tufts of rank stiff growth lay battered canisters and clots
and coils of solid excrement. A faint marshlight struggling upwards
from all the ordure through the bristling grey-green weeds. An evil
smell, faint and foul as the light, curled upwards sluggishly out of
the canisters and from the stale crusted dung.
Creatures were in the field: one, three, six: creatures were moving in
the field, hither and thither. Goatish creatures with human faces,
hornybrowed, lightly bearded and grey as india-rubber. The malice of
evil glittered in their hard eyes, as they moved hither and thither,
trailing their long tails behind them. A rictus of cruel malignity lit
up greyly their old bony faces. One was clasping about his ribs a torn
flannel waistcoat, another complained monotonously as his beard stuck
in the tufted weeds. Soft language issued from their spittleless lips
as they swished in slow circles round and round the field, winding
hither and thither through the weeds, dragging their long tails amid
the rattling canisters. They moved in slow circles, circling closer and
closer to enclose, to enclose, soft language issuing from their lips,
their long swishing tails besmeared with stale shite, thrusting upwards
their terrific faces
He flung the blankets from him madly to free his face and neck. That
was his hell. God had allowed him to see the hell reserved for his
sins: stinking, bestial, malignant, a hell of lecherous goatish fiends.
For him! For him!
He sprang from the bed, the reeking odour pouring down his throat,
clogging and revolting his entrails. Air! The air of heaven! He
stumbled towards the window, groaning and almost fainting with
sickness. At the washstand a convulsion seized him within; and,
clasping his cold forehead wildly, he vomited profusely in agony.
When the fit had spent itself he walked weakly to the window and,
lifting the sash, sat in a corner of the embrasure and leaned his elbow
upon the sill. The rain had drawn off; and amid the moving vapours from
point to point of light the city was spinning about herself a soft
cocoon of yellowish haze. Heaven was still and faintly luminous and the
air sweet to breathe, as in a thicket drenched with showers; and amid
peace and shimmering lights and quiet fragrance he made a covenant with
--HE ONCE HAD MEANT TO COME ON EARTH IN HEAVENLY GLORY BUT WE SINNED; AND
THEN HE COULD NOT SAFELY VISIT US BUT WITH A SHROUDED MAJESTY AND A
BEDIMMED RADIANCE FOR HE WAS GOD. SO HE CAME HIMSELF IN WEAKNESS NOT IN
POWER AND HE SENT THEE, A CREATURE IN HIS STEAD, WITH A CREATURES
COMELINESS AND LUSTRE SUITED TO OUR STATE. AND NOW THY VERY FACE AND
FORM, DEAR MOTHER SOAK TO US OF THE ETERNAL NOT LIKE EARTHLY BEAUTY,
DANGEROUS TO LOOK UPON, BUT LIKE THE MORNING STAR WHICH IS THY EMBLEM,
BRIGHT AND MUSICAL, BREATHING PURITY, TELLING OF HEAVEN AND INFUSING
PEACE. O HARBINGER OF DAY! O LIGHT OF THE PILGRIM! LEAD US STILL AS
THOU HAST LED. IN THE DARK NIGHT, ACROSS THE BLEAK WILDERNESS GUIDE US
ON TO OUR LORD JESUS, GUIDE US HOME.
His eyes were dimmed with tears and, looking humbly up to heaven, he
wept for the innocence he had lost.
When evening had fallen he left the house, and the first touch of the
damp dark air and the noise of the door as it closed behind him made
ache again his conscience, lulled by prayer and tears. Confess!
Confess! It was not enough to lull the conscience with a tear and a
prayer. He had to kneel before the minister of the Holy Ghost and tell
over his hidden sins truly and repentantly. Before he heard again the
footboard of the housedoor trail over the threshold as it opened to let
him in, before he saw again the table in the kitchen set for supper he
would have knelt and confessed. It was quite simple.
The ache of conscience ceased and he walked onward swiftly through the
dark streets. There were so many flagstones on the footpath of that
street and so many streets in that City and so many cities in the
world. Yet eternity had no end. He was in mortal sin. Even once was a
mortal sin. It could happen in an instant. But how so quickly? By
seeing or by thinking of seeing. The eyes see the thing, without having
wished first to see. Then in an instant it happens. But does that part
of the body understand or what? The serpent, the most subtle beast of
the field. It must understand when it desires in one instant and then
prolongs its own desire instant after instant, sinfully. It feels and
understands and desires. What a horrible thing! Who made it to be like
that, a bestial part of the body able to understand bestially and
desire bestially? Was that then he or an inhuman thing moved by a lower
soul? His soul sickened at the thought of a torpid snaky life feeding
itself out of the tender marrow of his life and fattening upon the
slime of lust. O why was that so? O why?
He cowered in the shadow of the thought, abasing himself in the awe of
God Who had made all things and all men. Madness. Who could think such
a thought? And, cowering in darkness and abject, he prayed mutely to
his guardian angel to drive away with his sword the demon that was
whispering to his brain.
The whisper ceased and he knew then clearly that his own soul had
sinned in thought and word and deed wilfully through his own body.
Confess! He had to confess every sin. How could he utter in words to
the priest what he had done? Must, must. Or how could he explain
without dying of shame? Or how could he have done such things without
shame? A madman! Confess! O he would indeed to be free and sinless
again! Perhaps the priest would know. O dear God!
He walked on and on through ill-lit streets, fearing to stand still for
a moment lest it might seem that he held back from what awaited him,
fearing to arrive at that towards which he still turned with longing.
How beautiful must be a soul in the state of grace when God looked upon
it with love!
Frowsy girls sat along the curbstones before their baskets. Their dank
hair hung trailed over their brows. They were not beautiful to see as
they crouched in the mire. But their souls were seen by God; and if
their souls were in a state of grace they were radiant to see: and God
loved them, seeing them.
A wasting breath of humiliation blew bleakly over his soul to think of
how he had fallen, to feel that those souls were dearer to God than
his. The wind blew over him and passed on to the myriads and myriads of
other souls on whom God's favour shone now more and now less, stars now
brighter and now dimmer sustained and failing. And the glimmering souls
passed away, sustained and failing, merged in a moving breath.
One soul was lost; a tiny soul: his. It flickered once and went
out, forgotten, lost. The end: black, cold, void waste.
Consciousness of place came ebbing back to him slowly over a vast tract
of time unlit, unfelt, unlived. The squalid scene composed itself
around him; the common accents, the burning gas-jets in the shops,
odours of fish and spirits and wet sawdust, moving men and women. An
old woman was about to cross the street, an oilcan in her hand. He bent
down and asked her was there a chapel near.
--A chapel, sir? Yes, sir. Church Street chapel.
She shifted the can to her other hand and directed him; and, as she
held out her reeking withered right hand under its fringe of shawl, he
bent lower towards her, saddened and soothed by her voice.
--You are quite welcome, sir.
The candles on the high altar had been extinguished but the fragrance
of incense still floated down the dim nave. Bearded workmen with pious
faces were guiding a canopy out through a side door, the sacristan
aiding them with quiet gestures and words. A few of the faithful still
lingered praying before one of the side-altars or kneeling in the
benches near the confessionals. He approached timidly and knelt at the
last bench in the body, thankful for the peace and silence and fragrant
shadow of the church. The board on which he knelt was narrow and worn
and those who knelt near him were humble followers of Jesus. Jesus too
had been born in poverty and had worked in the shop of a carpenter,
cutting boards and planing them, and had first spoken of the kingdom of
God to poor fishermen, teaching all men to be meek and humble of heart.
He bowed his head upon his hands, bidding his heart be meek and humble
that he might be like those who knelt beside him and his prayer as
acceptable as theirs. He prayed beside them but it was hard. His soul
was foul with sin and he dared not ask forgiveness with the simple
trust of those whom Jesus, in the mysterious ways of God, had called
first to His side, the carpenters, the fishermen, poor and simple
people following a lowly trade, handling and shaping the wood of trees,
mending their nets with patience.
A tall figure came down the aisle and the penitents stirred; and at the
last moment, glancing up swiftly, he saw a long grey beard and the
brown habit of a capuchin. The priest entered the box and was hidden.
Two penitents rose and entered the confessional at either side. The
wooden slide was drawn back and the faint murmur of a voice troubled
His blood began to murmur in his veins, murmuring like a sinful city
summoned from its sleep to hear its doom. Little flakes of fire fell
and powdery ashes fell softly, alighting on the houses of men. They
stirred, waking from sleep, troubled by the heated air.
The slide was shot back. The penitent emerged from the side of the box.
The farther side was drawn. A woman entered quietly and deftly where
the first penitent had knelt. The faint murmur began again.
He could still leave the chapel. He could stand up, put one foot before
the other and walk out softly and then run, run, run swiftly through
the dark streets. He could still escape from the shame. Had it been any
terrible crime but that one sin! Had it been murder! Little fiery
flakes fell and touched him at all points, shameful thoughts, shameful
words, shameful acts. Shame covered him wholly like fine glowing ashes
falling continually. To say it in words! His soul, stifling and
helpless, would cease to be.
The slide was shot back. A penitent emerged from the farther side of
the box. The near slide was drawn. A penitent entered where the other
penitent had come out. A soft whispering noise floated in vaporous
cloudlets out of the box. It was the woman: soft whispering cloudlets,
soft whispering vapour, whispering and vanishing.
He beat his breast with his fist humbly, secretly under cover of the
wooden armrest. He would be at one with others and with God. He would
love his neighbour. He would love God who had made and loved him. He
would kneel and pray with others and be happy. God would look down on
him and on them and would love them all.
It was easy to be good. God's yoke was sweet and light. It was better
never to have sinned, to have remained always a child, for God loved
little children and suffered them to come to Him. It was a terrible and
a sad thing to sin. But God was merciful to poor sinners who were truly
sorry. How true that was! That was indeed goodness.
The slide was shot to suddenly. The penitent came out. He was next. He
stood up in terror and walked blindly into the box.
At last it had come. He knelt in the silent gloom and raised his eyes
to the white crucifix suspended above him. God could see that he was
sorry. He would tell all his sins. His confession would be long, long.
Everybody in the chapel would know then what a sinner he had been. Let
them know. It was true. But God had promised to forgive him if he was
sorry. He was sorry. He clasped his hands and raised them towards the
white form, praying with his darkened eyes, praying with all his
trembling body, swaying his head to and fro like a lost creature,
praying with whimpering lips.
--Sorry! Sorry! O sorry!
The slide clicked back and his heart bounded in his breast. The face of
an old priest was at the grating, averted from him, leaning upon a
hand. He made the sign of the cross and prayed of the priest to bless
him for he had sinned. Then, bowing his head, he repeated the CONFITEOR
in fright. At the words MY MOST GRIEVOUS FAULT he ceased, breathless.
--How long is it since your last confession, my child?
--A long time, father.
--A month, my child?
--Three months, my child?
--Eight months, father.
He had begun. The priest asked:
--And what do you remember since that time?
He began to confess his sins: masses missed, prayers not said, lies.
--Anything else, my child?
Sins of anger, envy of others, gluttony, vanity, disobedience.
--Anything else, my child?
There was no help. He murmured:
--Icommitted sins of impurity, father.
The priest did not turn his head.
--With yourself, my child?
--With women, my child?
--Were they married women, my child?
He did not know. His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled
in shameful drops from his soul, festering and oozing like a sore, a
squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy.
There was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome.
The Priest was silent. Then he asked:
--How old are you, my child?
The priest passed his hand several times over his face. Then, resting
his forehead against his hand, he leaned towards the grating and, with
eyes still averted, spoke slowly. His voice was weary and old.
--You are very young, my child, he said, and let me implore of you to
give up that sin. It is a terrible sin. It kills the body and it kills
the soul. It is the cause of many crimes and misfortunes. Give it up,
my child, for God's sake. It is dishonourable and unmanly. You cannot
know where that wretched habit will lead you or where it will come
against you. As long as you commit that sin, my poor child, you will
never be worth one farthing to God. Pray to our mother Mary to help
you. She will help you, my child. Pray to Our Blessed Lady when that
sin comes into your mind. I am sure you will do that, will you not? You
repent of all those sins. I am sure you do. And you will promise God
now that by His holy grace you will never offend Him any more by that
wicked sin. You will make that solemn promise to God, will you not?
The old and weary voice fell like sweet rain upon his quaking parching
heart. How sweet and sad!
--Do so my poor child. The devil has led you astray. Drive him back to
hell when he tempts you to dishonour your body in that way--the foul
spirit who hates our Lord. Promise God now that you will give up that
sin, that wretched wretched sin.
Blinded by his tears and by the light of God's mercifulness he bent his
head and heard the grave words of absolution spoken and saw the
priest's hand raised above him in token of forgiveness.
--God bless you, my child. Pray for me.
He knelt to say his penance, praying in a corner of the dark nave; and
his prayers ascended to heaven from his purified heart like perfume
streaming upwards from a heart of white rose.
The muddy streets were gay. He strode homeward, conscious of an
invisible grace pervading and making light his limbs. In spite of all
he had done it. He had confessed and God had pardoned him. His soul was
made fair and holy once more, holy and happy.
It would be beautiful to die if God so willed. It was beautiful to live
in grace a life of peace and virtue and forbearance with others.
He sat by the fire in the kitchen, not daring to speak for happiness.
Till that moment he had not known how beautiful and peaceful life could
be. The green square of paper pinned round the lamp cast down a tender
shade. On the dresser was a plate of sausages and white pudding and on
the shelf there were eggs. They would be for the breakfast in the
morning after the communion in the college chapel. White pudding and
eggs and sausages and cups of tea. How simple and beautiful was life
after all! And life lay all before him.
In a dream he fell asleep. In a dream he rose and saw that it was
morning. In a waking dream he went through the quiet morning towards
The boys were all there, kneeling in their places. He knelt among them,
happy and shy. The altar was heaped with fragrant masses of white
flowers; and in the morning light the pale flames of the candles among
the white flowers were clear and silent as his own soul.
He knelt before the altar with his classmates, holding the altar cloth
with them over a living rail of hands. His hands were trembling and his
soul trembled as he heard the priest pass with the ciborium from
communicant to communicant.
--CORPUS DOMINI NOSTRI.
Could it be? He knelt there sinless and timid; and he would hold upon
his tongue the host and God would enter his purified body.
--IN VITAM ETERNAM. AMEN.
Another life! A life of grace and virtue and happiness! It was true. It
was not a dream from which he would wake. The past was past.
--CORPUS DOMINI NOSTRI.
The ciborium had come to him.
Sunday was dedicated to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Monday to the
Holy Ghost, Tuesday to the Guardian Angels, Wednesday to saint Joseph,
Thursday to the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, Friday to the
Suffering Jesus, Saturday to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Every morning he hallowed himself anew in the presence of some holy
image or mystery. His day began with an heroic offering of its every
moment of thought or action for the intentions of the sovereign pontiff
and with an early mass. The raw morning air whetted his resolute piety;
and often as he knelt among the few worshippers at the side-altar,
following with his interleaved prayer-book the murmur of the priest, he
glanced up for an instant towards the vested figure standing in the
gloom between the two candles, which were the old and the new
testaments, and imagined that he was kneeling at mass in the catacombs.
His daily life was laid out in devotional areas. By means of
ejaculations and prayers he stored up ungrudgingly for the souls in
purgatory centuries of days and quarantines and years; yet the
spiritual triumph which he felt in achieving with ease so many fabulous
ages of canonical penances did not wholly reward his zeal of prayer,
since he could never know how much temporal punishment he had remitted
by way of suffrage for the agonizing souls; and fearful lest in the
midst of the purgatorial fire, which differed from the infernal only in
that it was not everlasting, his penance might avail no more than a
drop of moisture, he drove his soul daily through an increasing circle
of works of supererogation.
Every part of his day, divided by what he regarded now as the duties of
his station in life, circled about its own centre of spiritual energy.
His life seemed to have drawn near to eternity; every thought, word,
and deed, every instance of consciousness could be made to revibrate
radiantly in heaven; and at times his sense of such immediate
repercussion was so lively that he seemed to feel his soul in devotion
pressing like fingers the keyboard of a great cash register and to see
the amount of his purchase start forth immediately in heaven, not as a
number but as a frail column of incense or as a slender flower.
The rosaries, too, which he said constantly--for he carried his beads
loose in his trousers' pockets that he might tell them as he walked the
streets--transformed themselves into coronals of flowers of such vague
unearthly texture that they seemed to him as hueless and odourless as
they were nameless. He offered up each of his three daily chaplets that
his soul might grow strong in each of the three theological virtues, in
faith in the Father Who had created him, in hope in the Son Who had
redeemed him and in love of the Holy Ghost Who had sanctified him; and
this thrice triple prayer he offered to the Three Persons through Mary
in the name of her joyful and sorrowful and glorious mysteries.
On each of the seven days of the week he further prayed that one of the
seven gifts of the Holy Ghost might descend upon his soul and drive out
of it day by day the seven deadly sins which had defiled it in the
past; and he prayed for each gift on its appointed day, confident that
it would descend upon him, though it seemed strange to him at times
that wisdom and understanding and knowledge were so distinct in their
nature that each should be prayed for apart from the others. Yet he
believed that at some future stage of his spiritual progress this
difficulty would be removed when his sinful soul had been raised up
from its weakness and enlightened by the Third Person of the Most
Blessed Trinity. He believed this all the more, and with trepidation,
because of the divine gloom and silence wherein dwelt the unseen
Paraclete, Whose symbols were a dove and a mighty wind, to sin against
Whom was a sin beyond forgiveness, the eternal mysterious secret Being
to Whom, as God, the priests offered up mass once a year, robed in the
scarlet of the tongues of fire.
The imagery through which the nature and kinship of the Three Persons
of the Trinity were darkly shadowed forth in the books of devotion
which he read--the Father contemplating from all eternity as in a
mirror His Divine Perfections and thereby begetting eternally the
Eternal Son and the Holy Spirit proceeding out of Father and Son from
all eternity--were easier of acceptance by his mind by reason of their
august incomprehensibility than was the simple fact that God had loved
his soul from all eternity, for ages before he had been born into the
world, for ages before the world itself had existed.
He had heard the names of the passions of love and hate pronounced
solemnly on the stage and in the pulpit, had found them set forth
solemnly in books and had wondered why his soul was unable to harbour
them for any time or to force his lips to utter their names with
conviction. A brief anger had often invested him but he had never been
able to make it an abiding passion and had always felt himself passing
out of it as if his very body were being divested with ease of some
outer skin or peel. He had felt a subtle, dark, and murmurous presence
penetrate his being and fire him with a brief iniquitous lust: it, too,
had slipped beyond his grasp leaving his mind lucid and indifferent.
This, it seemed, was the only love and that the only hate his soul
But he could no longer disbelieve in the reality of love, since God
Himself had loved his individual soul with divine love from all
eternity. Gradually, as his soul was enriched with spiritual knowledge,
he saw the whole world forming one vast symmetrical expression of God's
power and love. Life became a divine gift for every moment and
sensation of which, were it even the sight of a single leaf hanging on
the twig of a tree, his soul should praise and thank the Giver. The
world for all its solid substance and complexity no longer existed for
his soul save as a theorem of divine power and love and universality.
So entire and unquestionable was this sense of the divine meaning in
all nature granted to his soul that he could scarcely understand why it
was in any way necessary that he should continue to live. Yet that was
part of the divine purpose and he dared not question its use, he above
all others who had sinned so deeply and so foully against the divine
purpose. Meek and abased by this consciousness of the one eternal
omnipresent perfect reality his soul took up again her burden of
pieties, masses and prayers and sacraments and mortifications, and only
then for the first time since he had brooded on the great mystery of
love did he feel within him a warm movement like that of some newly
born life or virtue of the soul itself. The attitude of rapture in
sacred art, the raised and parted hands, the parted lips and eyes as of
one about to swoon, became for him an image of the soul in prayer,
humiliated and faint before her Creator.
But he had been forewarned of the dangers of spiritual exaltation and
did not allow himself to desist from even the least or lowliest
devotion, striving also by constant mortification to undo the sinful
past rather than to achieve a saintliness fraught with peril. Each of
his senses was brought under a rigorous discipline. In order to mortify
the sense of sight he made it his rule to walk in the street with
downcast eyes, glancing neither to right nor left and never behind him.
His eyes shunned every encounter with the eyes of women. From time to
time also he balked them by a sudden effort of the will, as by lifting
them suddenly in the middle of an unfinished sentence and closing the
book. To mortify his hearing he exerted no control over his voice which
was then breaking, neither sang nor whistled, and made no attempt to
flee from noises which caused him painful nervous irritation such as
the sharpening of knives on the knife board, the gathering of cinders
on the fire-shovel and the twigging of the carpet. To mortify his smell
was more difficult as he found in himself no instinctive repugnance to
bad odours whether they were the odours of the outdoor world, such as
those of dung or tar, or the odours of his own person among which he
had made many curious comparisons and experiments. He found in the end
that the only odour against which his sense of smell revolted was a
certain stale fishy stink like that of long-standing urine; and
whenever it was possible he subjected himself to this unpleasant odour.
To mortify the taste he practised strict habits at table, observed to
the letter all the fasts of the church and sought by distraction to
divert his mind from the savours of different foods. But it was to the
mortification of touch he brought the most assiduous ingenuity of
inventiveness. He never consciously changed his position in bed, sat in
the most uncomfortable positions, suffered patiently every itch and
pain, kept away from the fire, remained on his knees all through the
mass except at the gospels, left part of his neck and face undried so
that air might sting them and, whenever he was not saying his beads,
carried his arms stiffly at his sides like a runner and never in his
pockets or clasped behind him.
He had no temptations to sin mortally. It surprised him however to find
that at the end of his course of intricate piety and self-restraint he
was so easily at the mercy of childish and unworthy imperfections. His
prayers and fasts availed him little for the suppression of anger at
hearing his mother sneeze or at being disturbed in his devotions. It
needed an immense effort of his will to master the impulse which urged
him to give outlet to such irritation. Images of the outbursts of
trivial anger which he had often noted among his masters, their
twitching mouths, close-shut lips and flushed cheeks, recurred to his
memory, discouraging him, for all his practice of humility, by the
comparison. To merge his life in the common tide of other lives was
harder for him than any fasting or prayer and it was his constant
failure to do this to his own satisfaction which caused in his soul at
last a sensation of spiritual dryness together with a growth of doubts
and scruples. His soul traversed a period of desolation in which the
sacraments themselves seemed to have turned into dried-up sources. His
confession became a channel for the escape of scrupulous and unrepented
imperfections. His actual reception of the eucharist did not bring him
the same dissolving moments of virginal self-surrender as did those
spiritual communions made by him sometimes at the close of some visit
to the Blessed Sacrament. The book which he used for these visits was
an old neglected book written by saint Alphonsus Liguori, with fading
characters and sere foxpapered leaves. A faded world of fervent love
and virginal responses seemed to be evoked for his soul by the reading
of its pages in which the imagery of the canticles was interwoven with
the communicant's prayers. An inaudible voice seemed to caress the
soul, telling her names and glories, bidding her arise as for espousal
and come away, bidding her look forth, a spouse, from Amana and from
the mountains of the leopards; and the soul seemed to answer with the
same inaudible voice, surrendering herself: INTER UBERA MEA
This idea of surrender had a perilous attraction for his mind now that
he felt his soul beset once again by the insistent voices of the flesh
which began to murmur to him again during his prayers and meditations.
It gave him an intense sense of power to know that he could, by a
single act of consent, in a moment of thought, undo all that he had
done. He seemed to feel a flood slowly advancing towards his naked feet
and to be waiting for the first faint timid noiseless wavelet to touch
his fevered skin. Then, almost at the instant of that touch, almost at
the verge of sinful consent, he found himself standing far away from
the flood upon a dry shore, saved by a sudden act of the will or a
sudden ejaculation; and, seeing the silver line of the flood far away
and beginning again its slow advance towards his feet, a new thrill of
power and satisfaction shook his soul to know that he had not yielded
nor undone all.
When he had eluded the flood of temptation many times in this way he
grew troubled and wondered whether the grace which he had refused to
lose was not being filched from him little by little. The clear
certitude of his own immunity grew dim and to it succeeded a vague fear
that his soul had really fallen unawares. It was with difficulty that
he won back his old consciousness of his state of grace by telling
himself that he had prayed to God at every temptation and that the
grace which he had prayed for must have been given to him inasmuch as
God was obliged to give it. The very frequency and violence of
temptations showed him at last the truth of what he had heard about the
trials of the saints. Frequent and violent temptations were a proof
that the citadel of the soul had not fallen and that the devil raged to
make it fall.
Often when he had confessed his doubts and scruples--some momentary
inattention at prayer, a movement of trivial anger in his soul, or a
subtle wilfulness in speech or act--he was bidden by his confessor to
name some sin of his past life before absolution was given him. He
named it with humility and shame and repented of it once more. It
humiliated and shamed him to think that he would never be freed from it
wholly, however holily he might live or whatever virtues or perfections
he might attain. A restless feeling of guilt would always be present
with him: he would confess and repent and be absolved, confess and
repent again and be absolved again, fruitlessly. Perhaps that first
hasty confession wrung from him by the fear of hell had not been good?
Perhaps, concerned only for his imminent doom, he had not had sincere
sorrow for his sin? But the surest sign that his confession had been
good and that he had had sincere sorrow for his sin was, he knew, the
amendment of his life.
--I have amended my life, have I not? he asked himself
The director stood in the embrasure of the window, his back to the
light, leaning an elbow on the brown crossblind, and, as he spoke and
smiled, slowly dangling and looping the cord of the other blind,
Stephen stood before him, following for a moment with his eyes the
waning of the long summer daylight above the roofs or the slow deft
movements of the priestly fingers. The priest's face was in total
shadow, but the waning daylight from behind him touched the deeply
grooved temples and the curves of the skull.
Stephen followed also with his ears the accents and intervals of the
priest's voice as he spoke gravely and cordially of indifferent themes,
the vacation which had just ended, the colleges of the order abroad,
the transference of masters. The grave and cordial voice went on easily
with its tale and in the pauses Stephen felt bound to set it on again
with respectful questions. He knew that the tale was a prelude and his
mind waited for the sequel. Ever since the message of summons had come
for him from the director his mind had struggled to find the meaning of
the message; and, during the long restless time he had sat in the
college parlour waiting for the director to come in, his eyes had
wandered from one sober picture to another around the walls and his
mind wandered from one guess to another until the meaning of the
summons had almost become clear. Then, just as he was wishing that some
unforeseen cause might prevent the director from coming, he had heard
the handle of the door turning and the swish of a soutane.
The director had begun to speak of the dominican and franciscan orders
and of the friendship between saint Thomas and saint Bonaventure. The
capuchin dress, he thought, was rather too
Stephen's face gave back the priest's indulgent smile and, not being
anxious to give an opinion, he made a slight dubitative movement with
--I believe, continued the director, that there is some talk now among
the capuchins themselves of doing away with it and following the
example of the other franciscans.
--I suppose they would retain it in the cloisters? said Stephen.
--O certainly, said the director. For the cloister it is all right but
for the street I really think it would be better to do away with it,
--It must be troublesome, I imagine.
--Of course it is, of course. Just imagine when I was in Belgium I
used to see them out cycling in all kinds of weather with this thing up
about their knees! It was really ridiculous. LES JUPES, they call them
The vowel was so modified as to be indistinct.
--What do they call them?
Stephen smiled again in answer to the smile which he could not see on
the priest's shadowed face, its image or spectre only passing rapidly
across his mind as the low discreet accent fell upon his ear. He gazed
calmly before him at the waning sky, glad of the cool of the evening
and of the faint yellow glow which hid the tiny flame kindling upon his
The names of articles of dress worn by women or of certain soft and
delicate stuffs used in their making brought always to his mind a
delicate and sinful perfume. As a boy he had imagined the reins by
which horses are driven as slender silken bands and it shocked him to
feel at Stradbrooke the greasy leather of harness. It had shocked him,
too, when he had felt for the first time beneath his tremulous fingers
the brittle texture of a woman's stocking for, retaining nothing of all
he read save that which seemed to him an echo or a prophecy of his own
state, it was only amid soft-worded phrases or within rose-soft stuff's
that he dared to conceive of the soul or body of a woman moving with
But the phrase on the priest's lips was disingenuous for he knew that a
priest should not speak lightly on that theme. The phrase had been
spoken lightly with design and he felt that his face was being searched
by the eyes in the shadow. Whatever he had heard or read of the craft
of jesuits he had put aside frankly as not borne out by his own
experience. His masters, even when they had not attracted him,
had seemed to him always intelligent and serious priests,
athletic and high-spirited prefects. He thought of them as men
who washed their bodies briskly with cold water and wore clean cold
linen. During all the years he had lived among them in Clongowes and in
Belvedere he had received only two pandies and, though these had been
dealt him in the wrong, he knew that he had often escaped punishment.
During all those years he had never heard from any of his masters a
flippant word: it was they who had taught him christian doctrine and
urged him to live a good life and, when he had fallen into grievous
sin, it was they who had led him back to grace. Their presence had made
him diffident of himself when he was a muffin Clongowes and it had made
him diffident of himself also while he had held his equivocal position
in Belvedere. A constant sense of this had remained with him up to the
last year of his school life. He had never once disobeyed or allowed
turbulent companions to seduce him from his habit of quiet obedience;
and, even when he doubted some statement of a master, he had never
presumed to doubt openly. Lately some of their judgements had sounded a
little childish in his ears and had made him feel a regret and pity as
though he were slowly passing out of an accustomed world and were
hearing its language for the last time. One day when some boys had
gathered round a priest under the shed near the chapel, he had heard
the priest say:
--I believe that Lord Macaulay was a man who probably never committed
a mortal sin in his life, that is to say, a deliberate mortal sin.
Some of the boys had then asked the priest if Victor Hugo were not the
greatest French writer. The priest had answered that Victor Hugo had
never written half so well when he had turned against the church as he
had written when he was a catholic.
--But there are many eminent French critics, said the priest, who
consider that even Victor Hugo, great as he certainly was, had not so
pure a French style as Louis Veuillot.
The tiny flame which the priest's allusion had kindled upon Stephen's
cheek had sunk down again and his eyes were still fixed calmly on the
colourless sky. But an unresting doubt flew hither and thither before
his mind. Masked memories passed quickly before him: he recognized
scenes and persons yet he was conscious that he had failed to perceive
some vital circumstance in them. He saw himself walking about the
grounds watching the sports in Clongowes and eating slim jim out of his
cricket cap. Some jesuits were walking round the cycle-track in the
company of ladies. The echoes of certain expressions used in Clongowes
sounded in remote caves of his mind.
His ears were listening to these distant echoes amid the silence of the
parlour when he became aware that the priest was addressing him in a
--I sent for you today, Stephen, because I wished to speak to you on a
very important subject.
--Have you ever felt that you had a vocation?
Stephen parted his lips to answer yes and then withheld the word
suddenly. The priest waited for the answer and added:
--I mean, have you ever felt within yourself, in your soul, a desire
to join the order? Think.
--I have sometimes thought of it, said Stephen.
The priest let the blindcord fall to one side and, uniting his hands,
leaned his chin gravely upon them, communing with himself.
--In a college like this, he said at length, there is one boy or perhaps
two or three boys whom God calls to the religious life. Such a boy is
marked off from his companions by his piety, by the good example he
shows to others. He is looked up to by them; he is chosen perhaps as
prefect by his fellow sodalists. And you, Stephen, have been such a boy
in this college, prefect of Our Blessed Lady's sodality. Perhaps you
are the boy in this college whom God designs to call to Himself.
A strong note of pride reinforcing the gravity of the priest's voice
made Stephen's heart quicken in response.
To receive that call, Stephen, said the priest, is the greatest honour
that the Almighty God can bestow upon a man. No king or emperor on this
earth has the power of the priest of God. No angel or archangel in
heaven, no saint, not even the Blessed Virgin herself, has the power of
a priest of God: the power of the keys, the power to bind and to loose
from sin, the power of exorcism, the power to cast out from the
creatures of God the evil spirits that have power over them; the power,
the authority, to make the great God of Heaven come down upon the altar
and take the form of bread and wine. What an awful power, Stephen!
A flame began to flutter again on Stephen's cheek as he heard in this
proud address an echo of his own proud musings. How often had he seen
himself as a priest wielding calmly and humbly the awful power
of which angels and saints stood in reverence! His soul had loved
to muse in secret on this desire. He had seen himself, a young
and silent-mannered priest, entering a confessional swiftly,
ascending the altarsteps, incensing, genuflecting, accomplishing
the vague acts of the priesthood which pleased him by reason of
their semblance of reality and of their distance from it. In that
dim life which he had lived through in his musings he had
assumed the voices and gestures which he had noted with various
priests. He had bent his knee sideways like such a one, he had
shaken the thurible only slightly like such a one, his chasuble had
swung open like that of such another as he turned to the altar again
after having blessed the people. And above all it had pleased him to
fill the second place in those dim scenes of his imagining. He shrank
from the dignity of celebrant because it displeased him to imagine that
all the vague pomp should end in his own person or that the ritual
should assign to him so clear and final an office. He longed for the
minor sacred offices, to be vested with the tunicle of subdeacon at
high mass, to stand aloof from the altar, forgotten by the people, his
shoulders covered with a humeral veil, holding the paten within its
folds or, when the sacrifice had been accomplished, to stand as deacon
in a dalmatic of cloth of gold on the step below the celebrant, his
hands joined and his face towards the people, and sing the chant ITE
MISSA EST. If ever he had seen himself celebrant it was as in the
pictures of the mass in his child's massbook, in a church without
worshippers, save for the angel of the sacrifice, at a bare altar, and
served by an acolyte scarcely more boyish than himself. In vague
sacrificial or sacramental acts alone his will seemed drawn to go forth
to encounter reality; and it was partly the absence of an appointed
rite which had always constrained him to inaction whether he had
allowed silence to cover his anger or pride or had suffered only an
embrace he longed to give.
He listened in reverent silence now to the priest's appeal and through
the words he heard even more distinctly a voice bidding him approach,
offering him secret knowledge and secret power. He would know then what
was the sin of Simon Magus and what the sin against the Holy Ghost for
which there was no forgiveness. He would know obscure things, hidden
from others, from those who were conceived and born children of wrath.
He would know the sins, the sinful longings and sinful thoughts and
sinful acts, of others, hearing them murmured into his ears in the
confessional under the shame of a darkened chapel by the lips of women
and of girls; but rendered immune mysteriously at his ordination by the
imposition of hands, his soul would pass again uncontaminated to the
white peace of the altar. No touch of sin would linger upon the hands
with which he would elevate and break the host; no touch of sin would
linger on his lips in prayer to make him eat and drink damnation to
himself not discerning the body of the Lord. He would hold his secret
knowledge and secret power, being as sinless as the innocent, and he
would be a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec.
--I will offer up my mass tomorrow morning, said the director, that
Almighty God may reveal to you His holy will. And let you, Stephen,
make a novena to your holy patron saint, the first martyr, who is very
powerful with God, that God may enlighten your mind. But you must be
quite sure, Stephen, that you have a vocation because it would be
terrible if you found afterwards that you had none. Once a priest
always a priest, remember. Your catechism tells you that the sacrament
of Holy Orders is one of those which can be received only once because
it imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark which can never be
effaced. It is before you must weigh well, not after. It is a solemn
question, Stephen, because on it may depend the salvation of your
eternal soul. But we will pray to God together.
He held open the heavy hall door and gave his hand as if already to a
companion in the spiritual life. Stephen passed out on to the wide
platform above the steps and was conscious of the caress of mild
evening air. Towards Findlater's church a quartet of young men were
striding along with linked arms, swaying their heads and stepping to
the agile melody of their leader's concertina. The music passed in an
instant, as the first bars of sudden music always did, over the
fantastic fabrics of his mind, dissolving them painlessly and
noiselessly as a sudden wave dissolves the sand-built turrets of
children. Smiling at the trivial air he raised his eyes to the priest's
face and, seeing in it a mirthless reflection of the sunken day,
detached his hand slowly which had acquiesced faintly in the
As he descended the steps the impression which effaced his troubled
self-communion was that of a mirthless mask reflecting a sunken day
from the threshold of the college. The shadow, then, of the life of the
college passed gravely over his consciousness. It was a grave and
ordered and passionless life that awaited him, a life without material
cares. He wondered how he would pass the first night in the novitiate
and with what dismay he would wake the first morning in the dormitory.
The troubling odour of the long corridors of Clongowes came back to him
and he heard the discreet murmur of the burning gasflames. At once from
every part of his being unrest began to irradiate. A feverish
quickening of his pulses followed, and a din of meaningless words drove
his reasoned thoughts hither and thither confusedly. His lungs dilated
and sank as if he were inhaling a warm moist unsustaining air and he
smelt again the moist warm air which hung in the bath in Clongowes
above the sluggish turf-coloured water.
Some instinct, waking at these memories, stronger than education or
piety, quickened within him at every near approach to that life, an
instinct subtle and hostile, and armed him against acquiescence. The
chill and order of the life repelled him. He saw himself rising in the
cold of the morning and filing down with the others to early mass and
trying vainly to struggle with his prayers against the fainting
sickness of his stomach. He saw himself sitting at dinner with the
community of a college. What, then, had become of that deep-rooted
shyness of his which had made him loth to eat or drink under a strange
roof? What had come of the pride of his spirit which had always made
him conceive himself as a being apart in every order?
The Reverend Stephen Dedalus, S.J.
His name in that new life leaped into characters before his eyes and to
it there followed a mental sensation of an undefined face or colour of
a face. The colour faded and became strong like a changing glow of
pallid brick red. Was it the raw reddish glow he had so often seen on
wintry mornings on the shaven gills of the priests? The face was
eyeless and sour-favoured and devout, shot with pink tinges of
suffocated anger. Was it not a mental spectre of the face of one of the
jesuits whom some of the boys called Lantern Jaws and others Foxy
He was passing at that moment before the jesuit house in Gardiner
Street and wondered vaguely which window would be his if he ever joined
the order. Then he wondered at the vagueness of his wonder, at the
remoteness of his own soul from what he had hitherto imagined her
sanctuary, at the frail hold which so many years of order and obedience
had of him when once a definite and irrevocable act of his threatened
to end for ever, in time and in eternity, his freedom. The voice of the
director urging upon him the proud claims of the church and the mystery
and power of the priestly office repeated itself idly in his memory.
His soul was not there to hear and greet it and he knew now that the
exhortation he had listened to had already fallen into an idle formal
tale. He would never swing the thurible before the tabernacle as priest.
His destiny was to be elusive of social or religious orders. The wisdom of
the priest's appeal did not touch him to the quick. He was destined to
learn his own wisdom apart from others or to learn the wisdom of others
himself wandering among the snares of the world.
The snares of the world were its ways of sin. He would fall. He had not
yet fallen but he would fall silently, in an instant. Not to fall was
too hard, too hard; and he felt the silent lapse of his soul, as it
would be at some instant to come, falling, falling, but not yet fallen,
still unfallen, but about to fall.
He crossed the bridge over the stream of the Tolka and turned his eyes
coldly for an instant towards the faded blue shrine of the Blessed
Virgin which stood fowl-wise on a pole in the middle of a ham-shaped
encampment of poor cottages. Then, bending to the left, he followed the
lane which led up to his house. The faint dour stink of rotted cabbages
came towards him from the kitchen gardens on the rising ground above
the river. He smiled to think that it was this disorder, the misrule
and confusion of his father's house and the stagnation of vegetable
life, which was to win the day in his soul. Then a short laugh broke
from his lips as he thought of that solitary farmhand in the kitchen
gardens behind their house whom they had nicknamed the man with the
hat. A second laugh, taking rise from the first after a pause, broke
from him involuntarily as he thought of how the man with the hat
worked, considering in turn the four points of the sky and then
regretfully plunging his spade in the earth.
He pushed open the latchless door of the porch and passed through the
naked hallway into the kitchen. A group of his brothers and sisters was
sitting round the table. Tea was nearly over and only the last of the
second watered tea remained in the bottoms of the small glass jars and
jampots which did service for teacups. Discarded crusts and lumps of
sugared bread, turned brown by the tea which had been poured over them,
lay scattered on the table. Little wells of tea lay here and there on
the board, and a knife with a broken ivory handle was stuck through the
pith of a ravaged turnover.
The sad quiet grey-blue glow of the dying day came through the window
and the open door, covering over and allaying quietly a sudden instinct
of remorse in Stephen's heart. All that had been denied them had been
freely given to him, the eldest; but the quiet glow of evening showed
him in their faces no sign of rancour.
He sat near them at the table and asked where his father and mother
were. One answered:
--Goneboro toboro lookboro atboro aboro houseboro.
Still another removal! A boy named Fallon in Belvedere had often asked
him with a silly laugh why they moved so often. A frown of scorn
darkened quickly his forehead as he heard again the silly laugh of the
--Why are we on the move again if it's a fair question?
--Becauseboro theboro landboro lordboro willboro putboro usboro outboro.
The voice of his youngest brother from the farther side of the
fireplace began to sing the air OFT IN THE STILLY NIGHT. One by one the
others took up the air until a full choir of voices was singing. They
would sing so for hours, melody after melody, glee after glee, till the
last pale light died down on the horizon, till the first dark night
clouds came forth and night fell.
He waited for some moments, listening, before he too took up the air
with them. He was listening with pain of spirit to the overtone of
weariness behind their frail fresh innocent voices. Even before they
set out on life's journey they seemed weary already of the way.
He heard the choir of voices in the kitchen echoed and multiplied
through an endless reverberation of the choirs of endless generations
of children and heard in all the echoes an echo also of the recurring
note of weariness and pain. All seemed weary of life even before
entering upon it. And he remembered that Newman had heard this note
also in the broken lines of Virgil, GIVING UTTERANCE, LIKE THE VOICE OF
NATURE HERSELF TO THAT PAIN AND WEARINESS YET HOPE OF BETTER THINGS
WHICH HAS BEEN THE EXPERIENCE OF HER CHILDREN IN EVERY TIME.
* * * * *
He could wait no longer.
From the door of Byron's public-house to the gate of Clontarf Chapel,
from the gate of Clontail Chapel to the door of Byron's public-house
and then back again to the chapel and then back again to the public-
house he had paced slowly at first, planting his steps scrupulously in
the spaces of the patchwork of the footpath, then timing their fall to
the fall of verses. A full hour had passed since his father had gone in
with Dan Crosby, the tutor, to find out for him something about the
university. For a full hour he had paced up and down, waiting: but he
could wait no longer.
He set off abruptly for the Bull, walking rapidly lest his father's
shrill whistle might call him back; and in a few moments he had rounded
the curve at the police barrack and was safe.
Yes, his mother was hostile to the idea, as he had read from her
listless silence. Yet her mistrust pricked him more keenly than his
father's pride and he thought coldly how he had watched the faith which
was fading down in his soul ageing and strengthening in her eyes. A dim
antagonism gathered force within him and darkened his mind as a cloud
against her disloyalty and when it passed, cloud-like, leaving his mind
serene and dutiful towards her again, he was made aware dimly and
without regret of a first noiseless sundering of their lives.
The university! So he had passed beyond the challenge of the sentries
who had stood as guardians of his boyhood and had sought to keep him
among them that he might be subject to them and serve their ends. Pride
after satisfaction uplifted him like long slow waves. The end he had
been born to serve yet did not see had led him to escape by an unseen
path and now it beckoned to him once more and a new adventure was about
to be opened to him. It seemed to him that he heard notes of fitful
music leaping upwards a tone and downwards a diminished fourth, upwards
a tone and downwards a major third, like triple-branching flames
leaping fitfully, flame after flame, out of a midnight wood. It was an
elfin prelude, endless and formless; and, as it grew wilder and faster,
the flames leaping out of time, he seemed to hear from under the boughs
and grasses wild creatures racing, their feet pattering like rain upon
the leaves. Their feet passed in pattering tumult over his mind, the
feet of hares and rabbits, the feet of harts and hinds and antelopes,
until he heard them no more and remembered only a proud cadence from
--Whose feet are as the feet of harts and underneath the everlasting arms.
The pride of that dim image brought back to his mind the dignity of the
office he had refused. All through his boyhood he had mused upon that
which he had so often thought to be his destiny and when the moment had
come for him to obey the call he had turned aside, obeying a wayward
instinct. Now time lay between: the oils of ordination would never
anoint his body. He had refused. Why?
He turned seaward from the road at Dollymount and as he passed on to
the thin wooden bridge he felt the planks shaking with the tramp of
heavily shod feet. A squad of christian brothers was on its way back
from the Bull and had begun to pass, two by two, across the bridge.
Soon the whole bridge was trembling and resounding. The uncouth faces
passed him two by two, stained yellow or red or livid by the sea, and,
as he strove to look at them with ease and indifference, a faint stain
of personal shame and commiseration rose to his own face. Angry with
himself he tried to hide his face from their eyes by gazing down
sideways into the shallow swirling water under the bridge but he still
saw a reflection therein of their top-heavy silk hats and humble
tape-like collars and loosely-hanging clerical clothes.
Their piety would be like their names, like their faces, like their
clothes, and it was idle for him to tell himself that their humble and
contrite hearts, it might be, paid a far richer tribute of devotion
than his had ever been, a gift tenfold more acceptable than his
elaborate adoration. It was idle for him to move himself to be generous
towards them, to tell himself that if he ever came to their gates,
stripped of his pride, beaten and in beggar's weeds, that they would be
generous towards him, loving him as themselves. Idle and embittering,
finally, to argue, against his own dispassionate certitude, that the
commandment of love bade us not to love our neighbour as ourselves with
the same amount and intensity of love but to love him as ourselves with
the same kind of love.
He drew forth a phrase from his treasure and spoke it softly to
--A day of dappled seaborne clouds.
The phrase and the day and the scene harmonized in a chord. Words. Was
it their colours? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue:
sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves,
the grey-fringed fleece of clouds. No, it was not their colours: it was
the poise and balance of the period itself. Did he then love the
rhythmic rise and fall of words better than their associations of
legend and colour? Or was it that, being as weak of sight as he was shy
of mind, he drew less pleasure from the reflection of the glowing
sensible world through the prism of a language many-coloured and richly
storied than from the contemplation of an inner world of individual
emotions mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose?
He passed from the trembling bridge on to firm land again. At that
instant, as it seemed to him, the air was chilled and, looking askance
towards the water, he saw a flying squall darkening and crisping
suddenly the tide. A faint click at his heart, a faint throb in his
throat told him once more of how his flesh dreaded the cold infrahuman
odour of the sea; yet he did not strike across the downs on his left
but held straight on along the spine of rocks that pointed against the
A veiled sunlight lit up faintly the grey sheet of water where the
river was embayed. In the distance along the course of the slow-flowing
Liffey slender masts flecked the sky and, more distant still, the dim
fabric of the city lay prone in haze. Like a scene on some vague arras,
old as man's weariness, the image of the seventh city of christendom
was visible to him across the timeless air, no older nor more weary nor
less patient of subjection than in the days of the thingmote.
Disheartened, he raised his eyes towards the slow-drifting clouds,
dappled and seaborne. They were voyaging across the deserts of the sky,
a host of nomads on the march, voyaging high over Ireland, westward
bound. The Europe they had come from lay out there beyond the Irish
Sea, Europe of strange tongues and valleyed and woodbegirt and
citadelled and of entrenched and marshalled races. He heard a confused
music within him as of memories and names which he was almost conscious
of but could not capture even for an instant; then the music seemed to
recede, to recede, to recede, and from each receding trail of nebulous
music there fell always one longdrawn calling note, piercing like a
star the dusk of silence. Again! Again! Again! A voice from beyond the
world was calling.
--Here comes The Dedalus!
--Ao! Eh, give it over, Dwyer, I'm telling you, or I'll give you a stuff
in the kisser for yourself. Ao!
--Good man, Towser! Duck him!
--Come along, Dedalus! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephaneforos!
--Duck him! Guzzle him now, Towser!
--Help! Help! Ao!
He recognized their speech collectively before he distinguished their
faces. The mere sight of that medley of wet nakedness chilled him to
the bone. Their bodies, corpse-white or suffused with a pallid golden
light or rawly tanned by the sun, gleamed with the wet of the sea.
Their diving-stone, poised on its rude supports and rocking under their
plunges, and the rough-hewn stones of the sloping breakwater over which
they scrambled in their horseplay gleamed with cold wet lustre. The
towels with which they smacked their bodies were heavy with cold
seawater; and drenched with cold brine was their matted hair.
He stood still in deference to their calls and parried their banter
with easy words. How characterless they looked: Shuley without his deep
unbuttoned collar, Ennis without his scarlet belt with the snaky clasp,
and Connolly without his Norfolk coat with the flapless side-pockets!
It was a pain to see them, and a sword-like pain to see the signs of
adolescence that made repellent their pitiable nakedness. Perhaps they
had taken refuge in number and noise from the secret dread in their
souls. But he, apart from them and in silence, remembered in what dread
he stood of the mystery of his own body.
--Stephanos Dedalos! Bous Stephanoumenos! Bous Stephaneforos!
Their banter was not new to him and now it flattered his mild proud
sovereignty. Now, as never before, his strange name seemed to him a
prophecy. So timeless seemed the grey warm air, so fluid and impersonal
his own mood, that all ages were as one to him. A moment before the
ghost of the ancient kingdom of the Danes had looked forth through the
vesture of the hazewrapped City. Now, at the name of the fabulous
artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged
form flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did it
mean? Was it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book of
prophecies and symbols, a hawk-like man flying sunward above the sea, a
prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been following
through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist
forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a
new soaring impalpable imperishable being?
His heart trembled; his breath came faster and a wild spirit passed
over his limbs as though he was soaring sunward. His heart trembled in
an ecstasy of fear and his soul was in flight. His soul was soaring in
an air beyond the world and the body he knew was purified in a breath
and delivered of incertitude and made radiant and commingled with the
element of the spirit. An ecstasy of flight made radiant his eyes and
wild his breath and tremulous and wild and radiant his windswept limbs.
--One! Two! Look out!
--Oh, Cripes, I'm drownded!
--One! Two! Three and away!
--The next! The next!
His throat ached with a desire to cry aloud, the cry of a hawk or eagle
on high, to cry piercingly of his deliverance to the winds. This was
the call of life to his soul not the dull gross voice of the world of
duties and despair, not the inhuman voice that had called him to the
pale service of the altar. An instant of wild flight had delivered him
and the cry of triumph which his lips withheld cleft his brain.
What were they now but cerements shaken from the body of death--the
fear he had walked in night and day, the incertitude that had ringed
him round, the shame that had abased him within and without--
cerements, the linens of the grave?
His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her
grave-clothes. Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the
freedom and power of his soul, as the great artificer whose name he
bore, a living thing, new and soaring and beautiful, impalpable,
He started up nervously from the stone-block for he could no longer
quench the flame in his blood. He felt his cheeks aflame and his throat
throbbing with song. There was a lust of wandering in his feet that
burned to set out for the ends of the earth. On! On! his heart seemed
to cry. Evening would deepen above the sea, night fall upon the plains,
dawn glimmer before the wanderer and show him strange fields and hills
and faces. Where?
He looked northward towards Howth. The sea had fallen below the line of
seawrack on the shallow side of the breakwater and already the tide was
running out fast along the foreshore. Already one long oval bank of
sand lay warm and dry amid the wavelets. Here and there warm isles of
sand gleamed above the shallow tide and about the isles and around the
long bank and amid the shallow currents of the beach were lightclad
figures, wading and delving.
Inca few moments he was barefoot, his stockings folded in his pockets
and his canvas shoes dangling by their knotted laces over his shoulders
and, picking a pointed salt-eaten stick out of the jetsam among the
rocks, he clambered down the slope of the breakwater.
There was a long rivulet in the strand and, as he waded slowly up its
course, he wondered at the endless drift of seaweed. Emerald and black
and russet and olive, it moved beneath the current, swaying and
turning. The water of the rivulet was dark with endless drift and
mirrored the high-drifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above him
silently and silently the seatangle was drifting below him and the grey
warm air was still and a new wild life was singing in his veins.
Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung back from
her destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds and in her
house of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cerements and in
wreaths that withered at the touch? Or where was he?
He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of
life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a
waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and
tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of
children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.
A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to
sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a
strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate
as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had
fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and
soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white
fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her
slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed
behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft
as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was
girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her
She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his
presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet
sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she
suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent
them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither
and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the
silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep;
hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled on
--Heavenly God! cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane joy.
He turned away from her suddenly and set off across the strand. His
cheeks were aflame; his body was aglow; his limbs were trembling. On
and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly
to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him.
Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken the
holy silence of his ecstasy. Her eyes had called him and his soul had
leaped at the call. To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate
life out of life! A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal
youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open
before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error
and glory. On and on and on and on!
He halted suddenly and heard his heart in the silence. How far had he
walked? What hour was it?
There was no human figure near him nor any sound borne to him over the
air. But the tide was near the turn and already the day was on the
wane. He turned landward and ran towards the shore and, running up the
sloping beach, reckless of the sharp shingle, found a sandy nook amid a
ring of tufted sandknolls and lay down there that the peace and silence
of the evening might still the riot of his blood.
He felt above him the vast indifferent dome and the calm processes of
the heavenly bodies; and the earth beneath him, the earth that had
borne him, had taken him to her breast.
He closed his eyes in the languor of sleep. His eyelids trembled as if
they felt the vast cyclic movement of the earth and her watchers,
trembled as if they felt the strange light of some new world. His soul
was swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under
sea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings. A world, a glimmer or a
flower? Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breaking
light, an opening flower, it spread in endless succession to itself,
breaking in full crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leaf
by leaf and wave of light by wave of light, flooding all the heavens
with its soft flushes, every flush deeper than the other.
Evening had fallen when he woke and the sand and arid grasses of his
bed glowed no longer. He rose slowly and, recalling the rapture of his
sleep, sighed at its joy.
He climbed to the crest of the sandhill and gazed about him. Evening
had fallen. A rim of the young moon cleft the pale waste of skyline,
the rim of a silver hoop embedded in grey sand; and the tide was
flowing in fast to the land with a low whisper of her waves, islanding
a few last figures in distant pools.
He drained his third cup of watery tea to the dregs and set to chewing
the crusts of fried bread that were scattered near him, staring into
the dark pool of the jar. The yellow dripping had been scooped out like
a boghole and the pool under it brought back to his memory the dark
turf-coloured water of the bath in Clongowes. The box of pawn tickets
at his elbow had just been rifled and he took up idly one after another
in his greasy fingers the blue and white dockets, scrawled and sanded
and creased and bearing the name of the pledger as Daly or MacEvoy.
1 Pair Buskins.
1 D. Coat.
3 Articles and White.
1 Man's Pants.
Then he put them aside and gazed thoughtfully at the lid of the box,
speckled with louse marks, and asked vaguely:
--How much is the clock fast now?
His mother straightened the battered alarm clock that was lying on its
side in the middle of the mantelpiece until its dial showed a quarter
to twelve and then laid it once more on its side.
--An hour and twenty-five minutes, she said. The right time now is
twenty past ten. The dear knows you might try to be in time for your
--Fill out the place for me to wash, said Stephen.
--Katey, fill out the place for Stephen to wash.
--Boody, fill out the place for Stephen to wash.
--I can't, I'm going for blue. Fill it out, you, Maggy.
When the enamelled basin had been fitted into the well of the sink and
the old washing glove flung on the side of it he allowed his mother to
scrub his neck and root into the folds of his ears and into the
interstices at the wings of his nose.
--Well, it's a poor case, she said, when a university student is so
dirty that his mother has to wash him.
--But it gives you pleasure, said Stephen calmly.
An ear-splitting whistle was heard from upstairs and his mother thrust
a damp overall into his hands, saying:
--Dry yourself and hurry out for the love of goodness.
A second shrill whistle, prolonged angrily, brought one of the girls to
the foot of the staircase.
--Is your lazy bitch of a brother gone out yet?
The girl came back, making signs to him to be quick and go out quietly
by the back. Stephen laughed and said:
--He has a curious idea of genders if he thinks a bitch is masculine.
--Ah, it's a scandalous shame for you, Stephen, said his mother, and
you'll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know how
it has changed you.
--Good morning, everybody, said Stephen, smiling and kissing the tips
of his fingers in adieu.
The lane behind the terrace was waterlogged and as he went down it
slowly, choosing his steps amid heaps of wet rubbish, he heard a mad
nun screeching in the nuns' madhouse beyond the wall.
--Jesus! O Jesus! Jesus!
He shook the sound out of his ears by an angry toss of his head and
hurried on, stumbling through the mouldering offal, his heart already
bitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness. His father's whistle, his
mother's mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now so
many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his youth.
He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration; but, as
he walked down the avenue and felt the grey morning light falling about
him through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild smell of the
wet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries.
The rain-laden trees of the avenue evoked in him, as always, memories
of the girls and women in the plays of Gerhart Hauptmann; and the
memory of their pale sorrows and the fragrance falling from the wet
branches mingled in a mood of quiet joy. His morning walk across the
city had begun, and he foreknew that as he passed the sloblands of
Fairview he would think of the cloistral silver-veined prose of Newman;
that as he walked along the North Strand Road, glancing idly at the
windows of the provision shops, he would recall the dark humour of
Guido Cavalcanti and smile; that as he went by Baird's stonecutting
works in Talbot Place the spirit of Ibsen would blow through him like a
keen wind, a spirit of wayward boyish beauty; and that passing a grimy
marine dealer's shop beyond the Liffey he would repeat the song by Ben
Jonson which begins:
I was not wearier where I lay.
His mind when wearied of its search for the essence of beauty amid the
spectral words of Aristotle or Aquinas turned often for its pleasure to
the dainty songs of the Elizabethans. His mind, in the vesture of a
doubting monk, stood often in shadow under the windows of that age, to
hear the grave and mocking music of the lutenists or the frank laughter
of waist-coateers until a laugh too low, a phrase, tarnished by time,
of chambering and false honour stung his monkish pride and drove him on
from his lurking-place.
The lore which he was believed to pass his days brooding upon so that
it had rapt him from the companionship of youth was only a garner of
slender sentences from Aristotle's poetics and psychology and a
SYNOPSIS PHILOSOPHIAE SCHOLASTICAE AD MENTEM DIVI THOMAE. His thinking
was a dusk of doubt and self-mistrust, lit up at moments by the
lightnings of intuition, but lightnings of so clear a splendour that in
those moments the world perished about his feet as if it had been
fire-consumed; and thereafter his tongue grew heavy and he met the eyes
of others with unanswering eyes, for he felt that the spirit of beauty
had folded him round like a mantle and that in revery at least he had
been acquainted with nobility. But when this brief pride of
silence upheld him no longer he was glad to find himself
still in the midst of common lives, passing on his way amid the squalor
and noise and sloth of the city fearlessly and with a light heart.
Near the hoardings on the canal he met the consumptive man with the
doll's face and the brimless hat coming towards him down the slope of
the bridge with little steps, tightly buttoned into his chocolate
overcoat, and holding his furled umbrella a span or two from him like a
divining rod. It must be eleven, he thought, and peered into a dairy to
see the time. The clock in the dairy told him that it was five minutes
to five but, as he turned away, he heard a clock somewhere near him,
but unseen, beating eleven strokes in swift precision. He laughed as he
heard it for it made him think of McCann, and he saw him a squat figure
in a shooting jacket and breeches and with a fair goatee, standing in
the wind at Hopkins' corner, and heard him say:
--Dedalus, you're an antisocial being, wrapped up in yourself. I'm
not. I'm a democrat and I `Il work and act for social liberty and
equality among all classes and sexes in the United States of the Europe
of the future.
Eleven! Then he was late for that lecture too. What day of the week was
it? He stopped at a newsagent's to read the headline of a placard.
Thursday. Ten to eleven, English; eleven to twelve, French; twelve to
one, physics. He fancied to himself the English lecture and felt, even
at that distance, restless and helpless. He saw the heads of his
classmates meekly bent as they wrote in their notebooks the points they
were bidden to note, nominal definitions, essential definitions and
examples or dates of birth or death, chief works, a favourable and an
unfavourable criticism side by side. His own head was unbent for his
thoughts wandered abroad and whether he looked around the little class
of students or out of the window across the desolate gardens of the
green an odour assailed him of cheerless cellar-damp and decay. Another
head than his, right before him in the first benches, was poised
squarely above its bending fellows like the head of a priest appealing
without humility to the tabernacle for the humble worshippers about
him. Why was it that when he thought of Cranly he could never raise
before his mind the entire image of his body but only the image of the
head and face? Even now against the grey curtain of the morning he saw
it before him like the phantom of a dream, the face of a severed head
or death-mask, crowned on the brows by its stiff black upright hair as
by an iron crown. It was a priest-like face, priest-like in its palor,
in the wide winged nose, in the shadowings below the eyes and along the
jaws, priest-like in the lips that were long and bloodless and faintly
smiling; and Stephen, remembering swiftly how he had told Cranly of all
the tumults and unrest and longings in his soul, day after day and
night by night, only to be answered by his friend's listening silence,
would have told himself that it was the face of a guilty priest who
heard confessions of those whom he had not power to absolve but that he
felt again in memory the gaze of its dark womanish eyes.
Through this image he had a glimpse of a strange dark cavern of
speculation but at once turned away from it, feeling that it was not
yet the hour to enter it. But the nightshade of his friend's
listlessness seemed to be diffusing in the air around him a tenuous and
deadly exhalation and be found himself glancing from one casual word to
another on his right or left in stolid wonder that they had been so
silently emptied of instantaneous sense until every mean shop legend
bound his mind like the words of a spell and his soul shrivelled up
sighing with age as he walked on in a lane among heaps of dead
language. His own consciousness of language was ebbing from his brain
and trickling into the very words themselves which set to band and
disband themselves in wayward rhythms:
The ivy whines upon the wall,
And whines and twines upon the wall,
The yellow ivy upon the wall,
Ivy, ivy up the wall.
Did anyone ever hear such drivel? Lord Almighty! Who ever heard of ivy
whining on a wall? Yellow ivy; that was all right. Yellow ivory also.
And what about ivory ivy?
The word now shone in his brain, clearer and brighter than any ivory
sawn from the mottled tusks of elephants. IVORY, IVOIRE, AVORIO, EBUR.
One of the first examples that he had learnt in Latin had run:
INDIA MITTIT EBUR; and he recalled the shrewd northern face of the
rector who had taught him to construe the Metamorphoses of Ovid in a
courtly English, made whimsical by the mention of porkers and potsherds
and chines of bacon. He had learnt what little he knew of the laws of
Latin verse from a ragged book written by a Portuguese priest.
Contrahit orator, variant in carmine vates.
The crises and victories and secessions in Roman history were handed on
to him in the trite words IN TANTO DISCRIMINE and he had tried to peer
into the social life of the city of cities through the words IMPLERE
OLLAM DENARIORUM which the rector had rendered sonorously as the
filling of a pot with denaries. The pages of his time-worn Horace never
felt cold to the touch even when his own fingers were cold; they were
human pages and fifty years before they had been turned by the human
fingers of John Duncan Inverarity and by his brother, William Malcolm
Inverarity. Yes, those were noble names on the dusky flyleaf and, even
for so poor a Latinist as he, the dusky verses were as fragrant as
though they had lain all those years in myrtle and lavender and
vervain; but yet it wounded him to think that he would never be but a
shy guest at the feast of the world's culture and that the monkish
learning, in terms of which he was striving to forge out an esthetic
philosophy, was held no higher by the age he lived in than the subtle
and curious jargons of heraldry and falconry.
The grey block of Trinity on his left, set heavily in the city's
ignorance like a dull stone set in a cumbrous ring, pulled his mind
downward and while he was striving this way and that to free his feet
from the fetters of the reformed conscience he came upon the droll
statue of the national poet of Ireland.
He looked at it without anger; for, though sloth of the body and of the
soul crept over it like unseen vermin, over the shuffling feet and up
the folds of the cloak and around the servile head, it seemed humbly
conscious of its indignity. It was a Firbolg in the borrowed cloak of a
Milesian; and he thought of his friend Davin, the peasant student. It
was a jesting name between them, but the young peasant bore with it
--Go on, Stevie, I have a hard head, you tell me. Call me what you
The homely version of his christian name on the lips of his friend had
touched Stephen pleasantly when first heard for he was as formal in
speech with others as they were with him. Often, as he sat in Davin's
rooms in Grantham Street, wondering at his friend's well-made boots
that flanked the wall pair by pair and repeating for his friend's
simple ear the verses and cadences of others which were the veils of
his own longing and dejection, the rude Firbolg mind of his listener
had drawn his mind towards it and flung it back again, drawing it by a
quiet inbred courtesy of attention or by a quaint turn of old English
speech or by the force of its delight in rude bodily skill--for Davin
had sat at the feet of Michael Cusack, the Gael--repelling swiftly and
suddenly by a grossness of intelligence or by a bluntness of feeling or
by a dull stare of terror in the eyes, the terror of soul of a starving
Irish village in which the curfew was still a nightly fear.
Side by side with his memory of the deeds of prowess of his uncle Mat
Davin, the athlete, the young peasant worshipped the sorrowful legend
of Ireland. The gossip of his fellow-students which strove to render
the flat life of the college significant at any cost loved to think of
him as a young fenian. His nurse had taught him Irish and shaped his
rude imagination by the broken lights of Irish myth. He stood towards
the myth upon which no individual mind had ever drawn out a line of
beauty and to its unwieldy tales that divided against themselves as
they moved down the cycles in the same attitude as towards the Roman
catholic religion, the attitude of a dull-witted loyal serf. Whatsoever
of thought or of feeling came to him from England or by way of English
culture his mind stood armed against in obedience to a password; and of
the world that lay beyond England he knew only the foreign legion of
France in which he spoke of serving.
Coupling this ambition with the young man's humour Stephen had often
called him one of the tame geese and there was even a point of
irritation in the name pointed against that very reluctance of speech
and deed in his friend which seemed so often to stand between Stephen's
mind, eager of speculation, and the hidden ways of Irish life.
One night the young peasant, his spirit stung by the violent or
luxurious language in which Stephen escaped from the cold silence of
intellectual revolt, had called up before Stephen's mind a strange
vision. The two were walking slowly towards Davin's rooms through the
dark narrow streets of the poorer jews.
--A thing happened to myself, Stevie, last autumn, coming on winter,
and I never told it to a living soul and you are the first person now I
ever told it to. I disremember if it was October or November. It was
October because it was before I came up here to join the matriculation
Stephen had turned his smiling eyes towards his friend's face,
flattered by his confidence and won over to sympathy by the speaker's
--I was away all that day from my own place over in Buttevant.
--I don't know if you know where that is--at a hurling match between
the Croke's Own Boys and the Fearless Thurles and by God, Stevie, that
was the hard fight. My first cousin, Fonsy Davin, was stripped to his
buff that day minding cool for the Limericks but he was up with the
forwards half the time and shouting like mad. I never will forget that
day. One of the Crokes made a woeful wipe at him one time with his
caman and I declare to God he was within an aim's ace of getting it at
the side of his temple. Oh, honest to God, if the crook of it caught
him that time he was done for.
--I am glad he escaped, Stephen had said with a laugh, but surely
that's not the strange thing that happened you?--Well, I suppose that
doesn't interest you, but leastways there was such noise after the
match that I missed the train home and I couldn't get any kind of a
yoke to give me a lift for, as luck would have it, there was a mass
meeting that same day over in Castletownroche and all the cars in the
country were there. So there was nothing for it only to stay the night
or to foot it out. Well, I started to walk and on I went and it was
coming on night when I got into the Ballyhoura hills, that's better
than ten miles from Kilmallock and there's a long lonely road after
that. You wouldn't see the sign of a christian house along the road or
hear a sound. It was pitch dark almost. Once or twice I stopped by the
way under a bush to redden my pipe and only for the dew was thick I'd
have stretched out there and slept. At last, after a bend of the road,
I spied a little cottage with a light in the window. I went up and
knocked at the door. A voice asked who was there and I answered I was
over at the match in Buttevant and was walking back and that I'd be
thankful for a glass of water. After a while a young woman opened the
door and brought me out a big mug of milk. She was half undressed as if
she was going to bed when I knocked and she had her hair hanging and I
thought by her figure and by something in the look of her eyes that she
must be carrying a child. She kept me in talk a long while at the door,
and I thought it strange because her breast and her shoulders were
bare. She asked me was I tired and would I like to stop the night
there. She said she was all alone in the house and that her husband had
gone that morning to Queenstown with his sister to see her off. And all
the time she was talking, Stevie, she had her eyes fixed on my face and
she stood so close to me I could hear her breathing. When I handed her
back the mug at last she took my hand to draw me in over the threshold
and said: `COME IN AND STAY THE NIGHT HERE. YOU'VE NO CALL TO BE
FRIGHTENED. THERE'S NO ONE IN IT BUT OURSELVES.' I didn't go in,
Stevie. I thanked her and went on my way again, all in a fever. At the
first bend of the road I looked back and she was standing at the door.
The last words of Davin's story sang in his memory and the figure of
the woman in the story stood forth reflected in other figures of the
peasant women whom he had seen standing in the doorways at Clane as the
college cars drove by, as a type of her race and of his own, a bat-like
soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and
loneliness and, through the eyes and voice and gesture of a woman
without guile, calling the stranger to her bed.
A hand was laid on his arm and a young voice cried:
--Ah, gentleman, your own girl, sir! The first handsel today, gentleman.
Buy that lovely bunch. Will you, gentleman?
The blue flowers which she lifted towards him and her young blue eyes
seemed to him at that instant images of guilelessness, and he halted
till the image had vanished and he saw only her ragged dress and damp
coarse hair and hoydenish face.
--Do, gentleman! Don't forget your own girl, sir!
--I have no money, said Stephen.
--Buy them lovely ones, will you, sir? Only a penny.
--Did you hear what I said? asked Stephen, bending towards her.
I told you I had no money. I tell you again now.
--Well, sure, you will some day, sir, please God, the girl answered
after an instant.
--Possibly, said Stephen, but I don't think it likely.
--He left her quickly, fearing that her intimacy might turn to jibing
and wishing to be out of the way before she offered her ware to
another, a tourist from England or a student of Trinity. Grafton
Street, along which he walked, prolonged that moment of discouraged
poverty. In the roadway at the head of the street a slab was set to the
memory of Wolfe Tone and he remembered having been present with his
father at its laying. He remembered with bitterness that scene of
tawdry tribute. There were four French delegates in a brake and one, a
plump smiling young man, held, wedged on a stick, a card on which were
printed the words: VIVE L'IRLANDE!
But the trees in Stephen's Green were fragrant of rain and the
rain-sodden earth gave forth its mortal odour, a faint incense rising
upward through the mould from many hearts. The soul of the gallant
venal city which his elders had told him of had shrunk with time to a
faint mortal odour rising from the earth and he knew that in a moment
when he entered the sombre college he would be conscious of a
corruption other than that of Buck Egan and Burnchapel Whaley.
It was too late to go upstairs to the French class. He crossed the hall
and took the corridor to the left which led to the physics theatre. The
corridor was dark and silent but not unwatchful. Why did he feel that
it was not unwatchful? Was it because he had heard that in Buck
Whaley's time there was a secret staircase there? Or was the jesuit
house extra-territorial and was he walking among aliens? The Ireland of
Tone and of Parnell seemed to have receded in space.
He opened the door of the theatre and halted in the chilly grey light
that struggled through the dusty windows. A figure was crouching before
the large grate and by its leanness and greyness he knew that it was
the dean of studies lighting the fire. Stephen closed the door quietly
and approached the fireplace.
--Good morning, sir! Can I help you?
The priest looked up quickly and said:
--One moment now, Mr Dedalus, and you will see. There is an art in
lighting a fire. We have the liberal arts and we have the useful arts.
This is one of the useful arts.
--I will try to learn it, said Stephen.
--Not too much coal, said the dean, working briskly at his task, that
is one of the secrets.
He produced four candle-butts from the side-pockets of his soutane and
placed them deftly among the coals and twisted papers. Stephen watched
him in silence. Kneeling thus on the flagstone to kindle the fire and
busied with the disposition of his wisps of paper and candle-butts he
seemed more than ever a humble server making ready the place of
sacrifice in an empty temple, a levite of the Lord. Like a levite's
robe of plain linen the faded worn soutane draped the kneeling figure
of one whom the canonicals or the bell-bordered ephod would irk and
trouble. His very body had waxed old in lowly service of the Lord--in
tending the fire upon the altar, in bearing tidings secretly, in
waiting upon worldlings, in striking swiftly when bidden--and yet had
remained ungraced by aught of saintly or of prelatic beauty. Nay, his
very soul had waxed old in that service without growing towards light
and beauty or spreading abroad a sweet odour of her sanctity--a
mortified will no more responsive to the thrill of its obedience than
was to the thrill of love or combat his ageing body, spare and sinewy,
greyed with a silver-pointed down.
The dean rested back on his hunkers and watched the sticks catch.
Stephen, to fill the silence, said:
--I am sure I could not light a fire.
--You are an artist, are you not, Mr Dedalus? said the dean, glancing
up and blinking his pale eyes. The object of the artist is the creation
of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.
He rubbed his hands slowly and drily over the difficulty.
--Can you solve that question now? he asked.
--Aquinas, answered Stephen, says PULCRA SUNT QUAE VISA PLACENT.
--This fire before us, said the dean, will be pleasing to the eye.
Will it therefore be beautiful?
--In so far as it is apprehended by the sight, which I suppose means
here esthetic intellection, it will be beautiful. But Aquinas also says
BONUM EST IN QUOD TENDIT APPETITUS. In so far as it satisfies the
animal craving for warmth fire is a good. In hell, however, it is an
--Quite so, said the dean, you have certainly hit the nail on the head.
He rose nimbly and went towards the door, set it ajar and said:
--A draught is said to be a help in these matters.
As he came back to the hearth, limping slightly but with a brisk step,
Stephen saw the silent soul of a jesuit look out at him from the pale
loveless eyes. Like Ignatius he was lame but in his eyes burned no
spark of Ignatius's enthusiasm. Even the legendary craft of the
company, a craft subtler and more secret than its fabled books of
secret subtle wisdom, had not fired his soul with the energy of
apostleship. It seemed as if he used the shifts and lore and cunning of
the world, as bidden to do, for the greater glory of God, without joy
in their handling or hatred of that in them which was evil but turning
them, with a firm gesture of obedience back upon themselves and for all
this silent service it seemed as if he loved not at all the master and
little, if at all, the ends he served. SIMILITER ATQUE SENIS BACULUS,
he was, as the founder would have had him, like a staff in an old man's
hand, to be leaned on in the road at nightfall or in stress of weather,
to lie with a lady's nosegay on a garden seat, to be raised in menace.
The dean returned to the hearth and began to stroke his chin.
--When may we expect to have something from you on the esthetic
question? he asked.
--From me! said Stephen in astonishment. I stumble on an idea once a
fortnight if I am lucky.
--These questions are very profound, Mr Dedalus, said the dean. It is
like looking down from the cliffs of Moher into the depths. Many go
down into the depths and never come up. Only the trained diver can go
down into those depths and explore them and come to the surface again.
--If you mean speculation, sir, said Stephen, I also am sure that
there is no such thing as free thinking inasmuch as all thinking must
be bound by its own laws.
--For my purpose I can work on at present by the light of one or two
ideas of Aristotle and Aquinas.
--I see. I quite see your point.
--I need them only for my own use and guidance until I have done
something for myself by their light. If the lamp smokes or smells I
shall try to trim it. If it does not give light enough I shall sell it
and buy another.
--Epictetus also had a lamp, said the dean, which was sold for a fancy
price after his death. It was the lamp he wrote his philosophical
dissertations by. You know Epictetus?
--An old gentleman, said Stephen coarsely, who said that the soul is
very like a bucketful of water.
--He tells us in his homely way, the dean went on, that he put an iron
lamp before a statue of one of the gods and that a thief stole the
lamp. What did the philosopher do? He reflected that it was in the
character of a thief to steal and determined to buy an earthen lamp
next day instead of the iron lamp.
A smell of molten tallow came up from the dean's candle butts and fused
itself in Stephen's consciousness with the jingle of the words, bucket
and lamp and lamp and bucket. The priest's voice, too, had a hard
jingling tone. Stephen's mind halted by instinct, checked by the
strange tone and the imagery and by the priest's face which seemed like
an unlit lamp or a reflector hung in a false focus. What lay behind it
or within it? A dull torpor of the soul or the dullness of the
thundercloud, charged with intellection and capable of the gloom of
--I meant a different kind of lamp, sir, said Stephen.
--Undoubtedly, said the dean.
--One difficulty, said Stephen, in esthetic discussion is to know
whether words are being used according to the literary tradition or
according to the tradition of the marketplace. I remember a sentence of
Newman's in which he says of the Blessed Virgin that she was detained
in the full company of the saints. The use of the word in the
marketplace is quite different. I HOPE I AM NOT DETAINING YOU.
--Not in the least, said the dean politely.
--No, no, said Stephen, smiling, I mean--
--Yes, yes; I see, said the dean quickly, I quite catch the point:
He thrust forward his under jaw and uttered a dry short cough.
--To return to the lamp, he said, the feeding of it is also a nice
problem. You must choose the pure oil and you must be careful when you
pour it in not to overflow it, not to pour in more than the funnel can
--What funnel? asked Stephen.
--The funnel through which you pour the oil into your lamp.
--That? said Stephen. Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish?
--What is a tundish?
--Is that called a tundish in Ireland? asked the dean. I never heard
the word in my life.
--It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra, said Stephen, laughing,
where they speak the best English.
--A tundish, said the dean reflectively. That is a most interesting
word. I must look that word up. Upon my word I must.
His courtesy of manner rang a little false and Stephen looked at the
English convert with the same eyes as the elder brother in the parable
may have turned on the prodigal. A humble follower in the wake of
clamorous conversions, a poor Englishman in Ireland, he seemed to have
entered on the stage of jesuit history when that strange play of
intrigue and suffering and envy and struggle and indignity had been all
but given through--a late-comer, a tardy spirit. From what had he set
out? Perhaps he had been born and bred among serious dissenters, seeing
salvation in Jesus only and abhorring the vain pomps of the
establishment. Had he felt the need of an implicit faith amid the
welter of sectarianism and the jargon of its turbulent schisms, six
principle men, peculiar people, seed and snake baptists, supralapsarian
dogmatists? Had he found the true church all of a sudden in winding up
to the end like a reel of cotton some fine-spun line of reasoning upon
insufflation on the imposition of hands or the procession of the Holy
Ghost? Or had Lord Christ touched him and bidden him follow, like that
disciple who had sat at the receipt of custom, as he sat by the door of
some zinc-roofed chapel, yawning and telling over his church pence?
The dean repeated the word yet again.
--Tundish! Well now, that is interesting!
--The question you asked me a moment ago seems to me more interesting.
What is that beauty which the artist struggles to express from lumps of
earth, said Stephen coldly.
--The little word seemed to have turned a rapier point of his
sensitiveness against this courteous and vigilant foe. He felt with a
smart of dejection that the man to whom he was speaking was a
countryman of Ben Jonson. He thought:
--The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How
different are the words HOME, CHRIST, ALE, MASTER, on his lips and on
mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His
language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired
speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at
bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
--And to distinguish between the beautiful and the sublime, the dean
added, to distinguish between moral beauty and material beauty. And to
inquire what kind of beauty is proper to each of the various arts.
These are some interesting points we might take up.
Stephen, disheartened suddenly by the dean's firm, dry tone, was
silent; and through the silence a distant noise of many boots and
confused voices came up the staircase.
--In pursuing these speculations, said the dean conclusively, there
is, however, the danger of perishing of inanition. First you must take
your degree. Set that before you as your first aim. Then, little by
little, you will see your way. I mean in every sense, your way in life
and in thinking. It may be uphill pedalling at first. Take Mr Moonan.
He was a long time before he got to the top. But he got there.
--I may not have his talent, said Stephen quietly.
--You never know, said the dean brightly. We never can say what is in
us. I most certainly should not be despondent. PER ASPERA AD ASTRA.
He left the hearth quickly and went towards the landing to oversee the
arrival of the first arts' class.
Leaning against the fireplace Stephen heard him greet briskly and
impartially every Student of the class and could almost see the frank
smiles of the coarser students. A desolating pity began to fall like
dew upon his easily embittered heart for this faithful serving-man of
the knightly Loyola, for this half-brother of the clergy, more venal
than they in speech, more steadfast of soul than they, one whom he
would never call his ghostly father; and he thought how this man and
his companions had earned the name of worldlings at the hands not of
the unworldly only but of the worldly also for having pleaded, during
all their history, at the bar of God's justice for the souls of the lax
and the lukewarm and the prudent.
The entry of the professor was signalled by a few rounds of Kentish
fire from the heavy boots of those students who sat on the highest tier
of the gloomy theatre under the grey cobwebbed windows. The calling of
the roll began and the responses to the names were given out in all
tones until the name of Peter Byrne was reached.
A deep bass note in response came from the upper tier, followed by
coughs of protest along the other benches.
The professor paused in his reading and called the next name:
A smile flew across Stephen's face as he thought of his friend's
--Try Leopardstown! Said a voice from the bench behind. Stephen
glanced up quickly but Moynihan's snoutish face, outlined on the grey
light, was impassive. A formula was given out. Amid the rustling of the
notebooks Stephen turned back again and said:
--Give me some paper for God's sake.
Are you as bad as that? asked Moynihan with a broad grin.
He tore a sheet from his scribbler and passed it down, whispering:
--In case of necessity any layman or woman can do it.
The formula which he wrote obediently on the sheet of paper, the
coiling and uncoiling calculations of the professor, the spectre-like
symbols of force and velocity fascinated and jaded Stephen's mind. He
had heard some say that the old professor was an atheist freemason. O
the grey dull day! It seemed a limbo of painless patient consciousness
through which souls of mathematicians might wander, projecting long
slender fabrics from plane to plane of ever rarer and paler twilight,
radiating swift eddies to the last verges of a universe ever vaster,
farther and more impalpable.
--So we must distinguish between elliptical and ellipsoidal. Perhaps some
of you gentlemen may be familiar with the works of Mr W. S. Gilbert. In
one of his songs he speaks of the billiard sharp who is condemned to
On a cloth untrue
With a twisted cue
And elliptical billiard balls.
--He means a ball having the form of the ellipsoid of the principal
axes of which I spoke a moment ago.
Moynihan leaned down towards Stephen's ear and murmured:
--What price ellipsoidal balls! chase me, ladies, I'm in the cavalry!
His fellow student's rude humour ran like a gust through the cloister
of Stephen's mind, shaking into gay life limp priestly vestments that
hung upon the walls, setting them to sway and caper in a sabbath of
misrule. The forms of the community emerged from the gust-blown
vestments, the dean of studies, the portly florid bursar with his cap
of grey hair, the president, the little priest with feathery hair who
wrote devout verses, the squat peasant form of the professor of
economics, the tall form of the young professor of mental science
discussing on the landing a case of conscience with his class like a
giraffe cropping high leafage among a herd of antelopes, the grave
troubled prefect of the sodality, the plump round-headed professor of
Italian with his rogue's eyes. They came ambling and stumbling,
tumbling and capering, kilting their gowns for leap frog, holding one
another back, shaken with deep false laughter, smacking one another
behind and laughing at their rude malice, calling to one another by
familiar nicknames, protesting with sudden dignity at some rough usage,
whispering two and two behind their hands.
The professor had gone to the glass cases on the side wall, from a
shelf of which he took down a set of coils, blew away the dust from
many points and, bearing it carefully to the table, held a finger on it
while he proceeded with his lecture. He explained that the wires in
modern coils were of a compound called platinoid lately discovered by
F. W. Martino.
He spoke clearly the initials and surname of the discoverer. Moynihan
whispered from behind:
--Good old Fresh Water Martin!
--Ask him, Stephen whispered back with weary humour, if he wants a
subject for electrocution. He can have me.
Moynihan, seeing the professor bend over the coils, rose in his bench
and, clacking noiselessly the fingers of his right hand, began to call
with the voice of a slobbering urchin.
--Please teacher! This boy is after saying a bad word, teacher.
--Platinoid, the professor said solemnly, is preferred to German
silver because it has a lower coefficient of resistance by changes of
temperature. The platinoid wire is insulated and the covering of silk
that insulates it is wound on the ebonite bobbins just where my finger
is. If it were wound single an extra current would be induced in the
coils. The bobbins are saturated in hot paraffin wax
A sharp Ulster voice said from the bench below Stephen:
--Are we likely to be asked questions on applied science?
The professor began to juggle gravely with the terms pure science and
applied science. A heavy-built student, wearing gold spectacles, stared
with some wonder at the questioner. Moynihan murmured from behind in
his natural voice:
--Isn't MacAlister a devil for his pound of flesh?
Stephen looked coldly on the oblong Skull beneath him overgrown with
tangled twine-coloured hair. The voice, the accent, the mind of the
questioner offended him and he allowed the offence to carry him towards
wilful unkindness, bidding his mind think that the student's father
would have done better had he sent his son to Belfast to study and have
saved something on the train fare by so doing.
The oblong skull beneath did not turn to meet this shaft of thought and
yet the shaft came back to its bowstring; for he saw in a moment the
student's whey-pale face.
--That thought is not mine, he said to himself quickly. It came from
the comic Irishman in the bench behind. Patience. Can you Say with
certitude by whom the soul of your race was bartered and its elect
betrayed--by the questioner or by the mocker? Patience. Remember
Epictetus. It is probably in his character to ask such a question at
such a moment in such a tone and to pronounce the word SCIENCE as a
The droning voice of the professor continued to wind itself slowly
round and round the coils it spoke of, doubling, trebling, quadrupling
its somnolent energy as the coil multiplied its ohms of resistance.
Moynihan's voice called from behind in echo to a distant bell:
--Closing time, gents!
The entrance hall was crowded and loud with talk. On a table near the
door were two photographs in frames and between them a long roll of
paper bearing an irregular tail of signatures. MacCann went briskly to
and fro among the students, talking rapidly, answering rebuffs and
leading one after another to the table. In the inner hall the dean of
studies stood talking to a young professor, stroking his chin gravely
and nodding his head.
Stephen, checked by the crowd at the door, halted irresolutely. From
under the wide falling leaf of a soft hat Cranly's dark eyes were
--Have you signed? Stephen asked.
Cranly closed his long thin-lipped mouth, communed with himself an
instant and answered:
--What is it for?
--What is it for?
Cranly turned his pale face to Stephen and said blandly and bitterly:
--PER PAX UNIVERSALIS.
--Stephen pointed to the Tsar's photograph and said:
--He has the face of a besotted Christ.
The scorn and anger in his voice brought Cranly's eyes back from a calm
survey of the walls of the hall.
--Are you annoyed? he asked.
--No, answered Stephen.
--Are you in bad humour?
--CREDO UT VOS SANGUINARIUS MENDAX ESTIS, said Cranly, QUIA FACIES
VOSTRA MONSTRAT UT VOS IN DAMNO MALO HUMORE ESTIS.
Moynihan, on his way to the table, said in Stephen's ear:
--MacCann is in tiptop form. Ready to shed the last drop. Brand new
world. No stimulants and votes for the bitches.
Stephen smiled at the manner of this confidence and, when Moynihan had
passed, turned again to meet Cranly's eyes.
--Perhaps you can tell me, he said, why he pours his soul so freely
into my ear. Can you?
A dull scowl appeared on Cranly's forehead. He stared at the table
where Moynihan had bent to write his name on the roll, and then said
--QUIS EST IN MALO HUMORE, said Stephen, EGO AUT VOS?
Cranly did not take up the taunt. He brooded sourly on his judgement
and repeated with the same flat force:
--A flaming bloody sugar, that's what he is!
It was his epitaph for all dead friendships and Stephen wondered
whether it would ever be spoken in the same tone over his memory. The
heavy lumpish phrase sank slowly out of hearing like a stone through a
quagmire. Stephen saw it sink as he had seen many another, feeling its
heaviness depress his heart. Cranly's speech, unlike that of Davin, had
neither rare phrases of Elizabethan English nor quaintly turned
versions of Irish idioms. Its drawl was an echo of the quays of Dublin
given back by a bleak decaying seaport, its energy an echo of the
sacred eloquence of Dublin given back flatly by a Wicklow pulpit.
The heavy scowl faded from Cranly's face as MacCann marched briskly
towards them from the other side of the hall.
--Here you are! said MacCann cheerily.
--Here I am! said Stephen.
--Late as usual. Can you not combine the progressive tendency with a
respect for punctuality?
--That question is out of order, said Stephen. Next business. His
smiling eyes were fixed on a silver-wrapped tablet of milk chocolate
which peeped out of the propagandist's breast-pocket. A little ring of
listeners closed round to hear the war of wits. A lean student with
olive skin and lank black hair thrust his face between the two, glancing
from one to the other at each phrase and seeming to try to catch each
flying phrase in his open moist mouth. Cranly took a small grey handball
from his pocket and began to examine it closely, turning it over and over.
--Next business? said MacCann. Hom!
He gave a loud cough of laughter, smiled broadly and tugged twice at
the straw-coloured goatee which hung from his blunt chin.
--The next business is to sign the testimonial.
--Will you pay me anything if I sign? asked Stephen.
--I thought you were an idealist, said MacCann.
The gipsy-like student looked about him and addressed the onlookers in
an indistinct bleating voice.
--By hell, that's a queer notion. I consider that notion to be a
His voice faded into silence. No heed was paid to his words. He turned
his olive face, equine in expression, towards Stephen, inviting him to
MacCann began to speak with fluent energy of the Tsar's rescript, of
Stead, of general disarmament arbitration in cases of international
disputes, of the signs of the times, of the new humanity and the new
gospel of life which would make it the business of the community to
secure as cheaply as possible the greatest possible happiness of the
greatest possible number.
The gipsy student responded to the close of the period by crying:
--Three cheers for universal brotherhood!
--Go on, Temple, said a stout ruddy student near him. I'll stand you a
--I'm a believer in universal brotherhood, said Temple, glancing about
him out of his dark oval eyes. Marx is only a bloody cod.
Cranly gripped his arm tightly to check his tongue, smiling uneasily,
--Easy, easy, easy!
Temple struggled to free his arm but continued, his mouth flecked by a
--Socialism was founded by an Irishman and the first man in Europe who
preached the freedom of thought was Collins. Two hundred years ago. He
denounced priestcraft, the philosopher of Middlesex. Three cheers for
John Anthony Collins!
A thin voice from the verge of the ring replied:
Moynihan murmured beside Stephen's ear:
--And what about John Anthony's poor little sister:
Lottie Collins lost her drawers;
Won't you kindly lend her yours?
Stephen laughed and Moynihan, pleased with the result, murmured again:
--We'll have five bob each way on John Anthony Collins.
--I am waiting for your answer, said MacCann briefly.
--The affair doesn't interest me in the least, said Stephen wearily.
You know that well. Why do you make a scene about it?
--Good! said MacCann, smacking his lips. You are a reactionary, then?
--Do you think you impress me, Stephen asked, when you flourish your
--Metaphors! said MacCann bluntly. Come to facts. Stephen blushed and
turned aside. MacCann stood his ground and said with hostile humour:
--Minor poets, I suppose, are above such trivial questions as the
question of universal peace.
Cranly raised his head and held the handball between the two students
by way of a peace-offering, saying:
--PAX SUPER TOTUM SANGUINARIUM GLOBUM.
Stephen, moving away the bystanders, jerked his shoulder angrily in the
direction of the Tsar's image, saying:
--Keep your icon. If we must have a Jesus let us have a legitimate
--By hell, that's a good one! said the gipsy student to those about
him, that's a fine expression. I like that expression immensely.
He gulped down the spittle in his throat as if he were gulping down the
phrase and, fumbling at the peak of his tweed cap, turned to Stephen,
--Excuse me, sir, what do you mean by that expression you uttered just
Feeling himself jostled by the students near him, he said to them:
--I am curious to know now what he meant by that expression.
He turned again to Stephen and said in a whisper:
--Do you believe in Jesus? I believe in man. Of course, I don't know
if you believe in man. I admire you, sir. I admire the mind of man
independent of all religions. Is that your opinion about the mind of
--Go on, Temple, said the stout ruddy student, returning, as was his
wont, to his first idea, that pint is waiting for you.--He thinks I'm
an imbecile, Temple explained to Stephen, because I'm a believer in the
power of mind.
Cranly linked his arms into those of Stephen and his admirer and said:
--NOS AD MANUM BALLUM JOCABIMUS.
Stephen, in the act of being led away, caught sight of MacCann's
flushed blunt-featured face.
--My signature is of no account, he said politely. You are right to go
your way. Leave me to go mine.
--Dedalus, said MacCann crisply, I believe you're a good fellow but
you have yet to learn the dignity of altruism and the responsibility of
the human individual.
A voice said:
--Intellectual crankery is better out of this movement than in it.
Stephen, recognizing the harsh tone of MacAlister's voice did not turn
in the direction of the voice. Cranly pushed solemnly through the
throng of students, linking Stephen and Temple like a celebrant
attended by his ministers on his way to the altar.
Temple bent eagerly across Cranly's breast and said:
--Did you hear MacAlister what he said? That youth is jealous of you.
Did you see that? I bet Cranly didn't see that. By hell, I saw that at
As they crossed the inner hall, the dean of studies was in the act of
escaping from the student with whom he had been conversing. He stood at
the foot of the staircase, a foot on the lowest step, his threadbare
soutane gathered about him for the ascent with womanish care, nodding
his head often and repeating:
--Not a doubt of it, Mr Hackett! Very fine! Not a doubt of it!
I n the middle of the hall the prefect of the college sodality was
speaking earnestly, in a soft querulous voice, with a boarder. As he
spoke he wrinkled a little his freckled brow and bit, between his
phrases, at a tiny bone pencil.
--I hope the matric men will all come. The first arts' men are pretty
sure. Second arts, too. We must make sure of the newcomers.
Temple bent again across Cranly, as they were passing through the
doorway, and said in a swift whisper:
--Do you know that he is a married man? he was a married man before
they converted him. He has a wife and children somewhere. By hell, I
think that's the queerest notion I ever heard! Eh?
His whisper trailed off into sly cackling laughter. The moment they
were through the doorway Cranly seized him rudely by the neck and shook
--You flaming floundering fool! I'll take my dying bible there isn't a
bigger bloody ape, do you know, than you in the whole flaming bloody
Temple wriggled in his grip, laughing still with sly content, while
Cranly repeated flatly at every rude shake:
--A flaming flaring bloody idiot!
They crossed the weedy garden together. The president, wrapped in a
heavy loose cloak, was coming towards them along one of the walks,
reading his office. At the end of the walk he halted before turning and
raised his eyes. The students saluted, Temple fumbling as before at the
peak of his cap. They walked forward in silence. As they neared the
alley Stephen could hear the thuds of the players' hands and the wet
smacks of the ball and Davin's voice crying out excitedly at each
The three students halted round the box on which Davin sat to follow
the game. Temple, after a few moments, sidled across to Stephen and
--Excuse me, I wanted to ask you, do you believe that Jean-Jacques
Rousseau was a sincere man?
Stephen laughed outright. Cranly, picking up the broken stave of a cask
from the grass at his feet, turned swiftly and said sternly:
--Temple, I declare to the living God if you say another word, do you
know, to anybody on any subject, I'll kill you SUPER SPOTTUM.
--He was like you, I fancy, said Stephen, an emotional man.
--Blast him, curse him! said Cranly broadly. Don't talk to him at all.
Sure, you might as well be talking, do you know, to a flaming
chamber-pot as talking to Temple. Go home, Temple. For God's sake, go
--I don't care a damn about you, Cranly, answered Temple, moving out of
reach of the uplifted stave and pointing at Stephen. He's the only man
I see in this institution that has an individual mind.
--Institution! Individual! cried Cranly. Go home, blast you, for
you're a hopeless bloody man.
--I'm an emotional man, said Temple. That's quite rightly expressed.
And I'm proud that I'm an emotionalist.
He sidled out of the alley, smiling slyly. Cranly watched him with a
blank expressionless face.
--Look at him! he said. Did you ever see such a go-by-the-wall?
His phrase was greeted by a strange laugh from a student who lounged
against the wall, his peaked cap down on his eyes. The laugh, pitched
in a high key and coming from a So muscular frame, seemed like the
whinny of an elephant. The student's body shook all over and, to ease
his mirth, he rubbed both his hands delightedly over his groins.
--Lynch is awake, said Cranly.
Lynch, for answer, straightened himself and thrust forward his chest.
--Lynch puts out his chest, said Stephen, as a criticism of life.
Lynch smote himself sonorously on the chest and said:
--Who has anything to say about my girth?
Cranly took him at the word and the two began to tussle. When their
faces had flushed with the struggle they drew apart, panting. Stephen
bent down towards Davin who, intent on the game, had paid no heed to
the talk of the others.
--And how is my little tame goose? he asked. Did he sign, too?
David nodded and said:
--And you, Stevie?
Stephen shook his head.
--You're a terrible man, Stevie, said Davin, taking the short pipe
from his mouth, always alone.
--Now that you have signed the petition for universal peace, said
Stephen, I suppose you will burn that little copybook I saw in your
As Davin did not answer, Stephen began to quote:
--Long pace, fianna! Right incline, fianna! Fianna, by numbers,
salute, one, two!
--That's a different question, said Davin. I'm an Irish nationalist,
first and foremost. But that's you all out. You're a born sneerer,
--When you make the next rebellion with hurleysticks, said Stephen,
and want the indispensable informer, tell me. I can find you a few in
--I can't understand you, said Davin. One time I hear you talk against
English literature. Now you talk against the Irish informers. What with
your name and your ideas--Are you Irish at all?
--Come with me now to the office of arms and I will show you the tree
of my family, said Stephen.
--Then be one of us, said Davin. Why don't you learn Irish? Why did you
drop out of the league class after the first lesson?
--You know one reason why, answered Stephen. Davin toss his head and
--Oh, come now, he said. Is it on account of that certain young lady
and Father Moran? But that's all in your own mind, Stevie. They were
only talking and laughing.
Stephen paused and laid a friendly hand upon Davin's shoulder.
--Do you remember, he said, when we knew each other first? The first
morning we met you asked me to show you the way to the matriculation
class, putting a very strong stress on the first syllable. You
remember? Then you used to address the jesuits as father, you remember?
I ask myself about you: IS HE A INNOCENT AS HIS SPEECH?
--I'm a simple person, said Davin. You know that. When you told me
that night in Harcourt Street those things about your private life,
honest to God, Stevie, I was not able to eat my dinner. I was quite
bad. I was awake a long time that night. Why did you tell me those
--Thanks, said Stephen. You mean I am a monster.
--No, said Davin. But I wish you had not told me.
A tide began to surge beneath the calm surface of Stephen's
--This race and this country and this life produced me, he said I
shall express myself as I am.
--Try to be one of us, repeated Davin. In heart you are an Irish man
but your pride is too powerful.
--My ancestors threw off their language and took another Stephen said.
They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you fancy I am
going to pay in my own life and person debts they made? What for?
--For our freedom, said Davin.
--No honourable and sincere man, said Stephen, has given up to you his
life and his youth and his affections from the days of Tone to those of
Parnell, but you sold him to the enemy or failed him in need or reviled
him and left him for another. And you invite me to be one of you. I'd
see you damned first.
--They died for their ideals, Stevie, said Davin. Our day will come
yet, believe me.
Stephen, following his own thought, was silent for an instant.
--The soul is born, he said vaguely, first in those moments I told you
of. It has a slow and dark birth, more mysterious than the birth of the
body. When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets
flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality,
language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
Davin knocked the ashes from his pipe.
--Too deep for me, Stevie, he said. But a man's country comes first.
Ireland first, Stevie. You can be a poet or a mystic after.
--Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence.
Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
Davin rose from his box and went towards the players, shaking his head
sadly. But in a moment his sadness left him and he was hotly disputing
with Cranly and the two players who had finished their game. A match of
four was arranged, Cranly insisting, however, that his ball should be
used. He let it rebound twice or thrice to his hand and struck it strongly
and swiftly towards the base of the alley, exclaiming in answer to its
Stephen stood with Lynch till the score began to rise. Then he plucked
him by the sleeve to come away. Lynch obeyed, saying:
--Let us eke go, as Cranly has it.
Stephen smiled at this side-thrust.
They passed back through the garden and out through the hall where the
doddering porter was pinning up a hall notice in the frame. At the foot
of the steps they halted and Stephen took a packet of cigarettes from
his pocket and offered it to his companion.
--I know you are poor, he said.
--Damn your yellow insolence, answered Lynch.
This second proof of Lynch's culture made Stephen smile again.
--It was a great day for European culture, he said, when you made up
your mind to swear in yellow.
They lit their cigarettes and turned to the right. After a pause
--Aristotle has not defined pity and terror. I have. I say Lynch
halted and said bluntly:
--Stop! I won't listen! I am sick. I was out last night on a yellow
drunk with Horan and Goggins.
Stephen went on:
--Pity is the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of
whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with
the human sufferer. Terror is the feeling which arrests the mind in the
presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and
unites it with the secret cause.
--Repeat, said Lynch.
Stephen repeated the definitions slowly.
--A girl got into a hansom a few days ago, he went on, in London. She
was on her way to meet her mother whom she had not seen for many years.
At the corner of a street the shaft of a lorry shivered the window of
the hansom in the shape of a star. A long fine needle of the shivered
glass pierced her heart. She died on the instant. The reporter called
it a tragic death. It is not. It is remote from terror and pity
according to the terms of my definitions.
--The tragic emotion, in fact, is a face looking two ways, towards
terror and towards pity, both of which are phases of it. You see I use
the word ARREST. I mean that the tragic emotion is static. Or rather
the dramatic emotion is. The feelings excited by improper art are
kinetic, desire or loathing. Desire urges us to possess, to go to
something; loathing urges us to abandon, to go from something. The arts
which excite them, pornographical or didactic, are therefore improper
arts. The esthetic emotion (I used the general term) is therefore
static. The mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing.
--You say that art must not excite desire, said Lynch. I told you that
one day I wrote my name in pencil on the backside of the Venus of
Praxiteles in the Museum. Was that not desire?
--I speak of normal natures, said Stephen. You also told me that when
you were a boy in that charming carmelite school you ate pieces of
Lynch broke again into a whinny of laughter and again rubbed both his
hands over his groins but without taking them from his pockets.
--O, I did! I did! he cried.
Stephen turned towards his companion and looked at him for a moment
boldly in the eyes. Lynch, recovering from his laughter, answered his
look from his humbled eyes. The long slender flattened skull beneath
the long pointed cap brought before Stephen's mind the image of a
hooded reptile. The eyes, too, were reptile-like in glint and gaze. Yet
at that instant, humbled and alert in their look, they were lit by one
tiny human point, the window of a shrivelled soul, poignant and
--As for that, Stephen said in polite parenthesis, we are all animals.
I also am an animal.
--You are, said Lynch.
--But we are just now in a mental world, Stephen continued. The desire
and loathing excited by improper esthetic means are really not esthetic
emotions not only because they are kinetic in character but also
because they are not more than physical. Our flesh shrinks from what it
dreads and responds to the stimulus of what it desires by a purely
reflex action of the nervous system. Our eyelid closes before we are
aware that the fly is about to enter our eye.
--Not always, said Lynch critically.
--In the same way, said Stephen, your flesh responded to the stimulus
of a naked statue, but it was, I say, simply a reflex action of the
nerves. Beauty expressed by the artist cannot awaken in us an emotion
which is kinetic or a sensation which is purely physical. It awakens,
or ought to awaken, or induces, or ought to induce, an esthetic stasis,
an ideal pity or an ideal terror, a stasis called forth, prolonged, and
at last dissolved by what I call the rhythm of beauty.
--What is that exactly? asked Lynch.
--Rhythm, said Stephen, is the first formal esthetic relation of part
to part in any esthetic whole or of an esthetic whole to its part or
parts or of any part to the esthetic whole of which it is a part.
--If that is rhythm, said Lynch, let me hear what you call beauty;
and, please remember, though I did eat a cake of cowdung once, that I
admire only beauty.
Stephen raised his cap as if in greeting. Then, blushing slightly, he
laid his hand on Lynch's thick tweed sleeve.
--We are right, he said, and the others are wrong. To speak of these
things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it,
to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again,
from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and
colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty
we have come to understand--that is art.
They had reached the canal bridge and, turning from their course, went
on by the trees. A crude grey light, mirrored in the sluggish water and
a smell of wet branches over their heads seemed to war against the
course of Stephen's thought.
--But you have not answered my question, said Lynch. What is art? What
is the beauty it expresses?
--That was the first definition I gave you, you sleepy-headed wretch,
said Stephen, when I began to try to think out the matter for myself.
Do you remember the night? Cranly lost his temper and began to talk
about Wicklow bacon.
--I remember, said Lynch. He told us about them flaming fat devils of
--Art, said Stephen, is the human disposition of sensible or
intelligible matter for an esthetic end. You remember the pigs and
forget that. You are a distressing pair, you and Cranly.
Lynch made a grimace at the raw grey sky and said:
--If I am to listen to your esthetic philosophy give me at least
another cigarette. I don't care about it. I don't even care about
women. Damn you and damn everything. I want a job of five hundred a
year. You can't get me one.
Stephen handed him the packet of cigarettes. Lynch took the last one
that remained, saying simply:
--Aquinas, said Stephen, says that is beautiful the apprehension of
--I remember that, he said, PULCRA SUNT QUAE VISA PLACENT.--He uses
the word VISA, said Stephen, to cover esthetic apprehensions of all
kinds, whether through sight or hearing or through any other avenue of
apprehension. This word, though it is vague, is clear enough to keep
away good and evil which excite desire and loathing. It means certainly
a stasis and not a kinesis. How about the true? It produces also a
stasis of the mind. You would not write your name in pencil across the
hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle.
--No, said Lynch, give me the hypotenuse of the Venus of Praxiteles.
--Static therefore, said Stephen. Plato, I believe, said that beauty
is the splendour of truth. I don't think that it has a meaning, but the
true and the beautiful are akin. Truth is beheld by the intellect which
is appeased by the most satisfying relations of the intelligible;
beauty is beheld by the imagination which is appeased by the most
satisfying relations of the sensible. The first step in the direction
of truth is to understand the frame and scope of the intellect itself,
to comprehend the act itself of intellection. Aristotle's entire system
of philosophy rests upon his book of psychology and that, I think,
rests on his statement that the same attribute cannot at the same time
and in the same connexion belong to and not belong to the same subject.
The first step in the direction of beauty is to understand the frame
and scope of the imagination, to comprehend the act itself of esthetic
apprehension. Is that clear?
--But what is beauty? asked Lynch impatiently. Out with another
definition. Something we see and like! Is that the best you and Aquinas
--Let us take woman, said Stephen.--Let us take her! said Lynch
fervently.--The Greek, the Turk, the Chinese, the Copt, the
Hottentot, said Stephen, all admire a different type of female beauty.
That seems to be a maze out of which we cannot escape. I see, however,
two ways out. One is this hypothesis: that every physical quality
admired by men in women is in direct connexion with the manifold
functions of women for the propagation of the species. It may be so.
The world, it seems, is drearier than even you, Lynch, imagined. For my
part I dislike that way out. It leads to eugenics rather than to
esthetic. It leads you out of the maze into a new gaudy lecture-room
where MacCann, with one hand on THE ORION OF SPECIES and the other hand
on the new testament, tells you that you admired the great flanks of
Venus because you felt that she would bear you burly offspring and
admired her great breasts because you felt that she would give good
milk to her children and yours.
--Then MacCann is a sulphur-yellow liar, said Lynch energetically.
--There remains another way out, said Stephen, laughing.
--To wit? said Lynch.
--This hypothesis, Stephen began.
A long dray laden with old iron came round the corner of Sir Patrick
Dun's hospital covering the end of Stephen's speech with the harsh roar
of jangled and rattling metal. Lynch closed his ears and gave out oath
after oath till the dray had passed. Then he turned on his heel rudely.
Stephen turned also and waited for a few moments till his companion's
ill-humour had had its vent.
--This hypothesis, Stephen repeated, is the other way out: that,
though the same object may not seem beautiful to all people, all people
who admire a beautiful object find in it certain relations which
satisfy and coincide with the stages themselves of all esthetic
apprehension. These relations of the sensible, visible to you through
one form and to me through another, must be therefore the necessary
qualities of beauty. Now, we can return to our old friend saint Thomas
for another pennyworth of wisdom.
--It amuses me vastly, he said, to hear you quoting him time after
time like a jolly round friar. Are you laughing in your sleeve?
--MacAlister, answered Stephen, would call my esthetic theory applied
Aquinas. So far as this side of esthetic philosophy extends, Aquinas
will carry me all along the line. When we come to the phenomena of
artistic conception, artistic gestation, and artistic reproduction I
require a new terminology and a new personal experience.
--Of course, said Lynch. After all Aquinas, in spite of his intellect,
was exactly a good round friar. But you will tell me about the new
personal experience and new terminology some other day. Hurry up and
finish the first part.
--Who knows? said Stephen, smiling. Perhaps Aquinas would understand
me better than you. He was a poet himself. He wrote a hymn for Maundy
Thursday. It begins with the words PANGE LINGUA GLORIOSI. They say it
is the highest glory of the hymnal. It is an intricate and soothing
hymn. I like it; but there is no hymn that can be put beside that
mournful and majestic processional song, the VEXILLA REGIS of Venantius
Lynch began to sing softly and solemnly in a deep bass voice:
IMPLETA SUNT QUAE CONCINIT
DAVID FIDELI CARMINE
REGNAVIT A LIGNO DEUS.
--That's great! he said, well pleased. Great music!
They turned into Lower Mount Street. A few steps from the corner a fat
young man, wearing a silk neckcloth, saluted them and stopped.
--Did you hear the results of the exams? he asked. Griffin was
plucked. Halpin and O'Flynn are through the home civil. Moonan got
fifth place in the Indian. O'Shaughnessy got fourteenth. The Irish
fellows in Clark's gave them a feed last night. They all ate curry.
His pallid bloated face expressed benevolent malice and, as he had
advanced through his tidings of success, his small fat-encircled eyes
vanished out of sight and his weak wheezing voice out of hearing.
In reply to a question of Stephen's his eyes and his voice came forth
again from their lurking-places.
--Yes, MacCullagh and I; he said. He's taking pure mathematics and I'm
taking constitutional history. There are twenty subjects. I'm taking
botany too. You know I'm a member of the field club.
He drew back from the other two in a stately fashion and placed a plump
woollen-gloved hand on his breast from which muttered wheezing laughter
at once broke forth.
--Bring us a few turnips and onions the next time you go out, said
Stephen drily, to make a stew.
The fat student laughed indulgently and said:
--We are all highly respectable people in the field club. Last
Saturday we went out to Glenmalure, seven of us.
--With women, Donovan? said Lynch.
Donovan again laid his hand on his chest and said:
--Our end is the acquisition of knowledge. Then he said quickly:
--I hear you are writing some essays about esthetics. Stephen made a
vague gesture of denial.
--Goethe and Lessing, said Donovan, have written a lot on that
subject, the classical school and the romantic school and all that. The
Laocoon interested me very much when I read it. Of course it is
idealistic, German, ultra-profound.
Neither of the others spoke. Donovan took leave of them urbanely.
--I must go, he said softly and benevolently, I have a strong
suspicion, amounting almost to a conviction, that my sister intended to
make pancakes today for the dinner of the Donovan family.
--Goodbye, Stephen said in his wake. Don't forget the turnips for me
and my mate.
Lynch gazed after him, his lip curling in slow scorn till his face
resembled a devil's mask:
--To think that that yellow pancake-eating excrement can get a good
job, he said at length, and I have to smoke cheap cigarettes!
They turned their faces towards Merrion Square and went for a little in
--To finish what I was saying about beauty, said Stephen, the most
satisfying relations of the sensible must therefore correspond to the
necessary phases of artistic apprehension. Find these and you find the
qualities of universal beauty. Aquinas says: AD PULCRITUDINEM TRIA
REQUIRUNTUR INTEGRITAS, CONSONANTIA, CLARITAS. I translate it so: THREE
THINGS ARE NEEDED FOR BEAUTY, WHOLENESS, HARMONY, AND RADIANCE. Do
these correspond to the phases of apprehension? Are you following?
--Of course, I am, said Lynch. If you think I have an excrementitious
intelligence run after Donovan and ask him to listen to you.
Stephen pointed to a basket which a butcher's boy had slung inverted on
--Look at that basket, he said.
--I see it, said Lynch.
--In order to see that basket, said Stephen, your mind first of all
separates the basket from the rest of the visible universe which is not
the basket. The first phase of apprehension is a bounding line drawn
about the object to be apprehended. An esthetic image is presented to
us either in space or in time.
What is audible is presented in time, what is visible is presented in
space. But, temporal or spatial, the esthetic image is first luminously
apprehended as selfbounded and selfcontained upon the immeasurable
background of space or time which is not it. You apprehended it as ONE
thing. You see it as one whole. You apprehend its wholeness. That is
--Bull's eye! said Lynch, laughing. Go on.
--Then, said Stephen, you pass from point to point, led by its formal
lines; you apprehend it as balanced part against part within its
limits; you feel the rhythm of its structure. In other words, the
synthesis of immediate perception is followed by the analysis of
apprehension. Having first felt that it is ONE thing you feel now that
it is a THING. You apprehend it as complex, multiple, divisible,
separable, made up of its parts, the result of its parts and their sum,
harmonious. That is CONSONANTIA.
--Bull's eye again! said Lynch wittily. Tell me now what is CLARITAS
and you win the cigar.
--The connotation of the word, Stephen said, is rather vague. Aquinas
uses a term which seems to be inexact. It baffled me for a long time.
It would lead you to believe that he had in mind symbolism or idealism,
the supreme quality of beauty being a light from some other world, the
idea of which the matter is but the shadow, the reality of which it is
but the symbol. I thought he might mean that CLARITAS is the artistic
discovery and representation of the divine purpose in anything or a
force of generalization which would make the esthetic image a'
universal one, make it outshine its proper conditions. But that is
literary talk. I understand it so. When you have apprehended that
basket as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form and
apprehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which is
logically and esthetically permissible. You see that it is that thing
which it is and no other thing. The radiance of which he speaks in the
scholastic QUIDDITAS, the WHATNESS of a thing. This supreme quality is
felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his
imagination. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened
beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality
of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended
luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and
fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic
pleasure, a spiritual state very like to that cardiac condition which
the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani, using a phrase almost as
beautiful as Shelley's, called the enchantment of the heart.
Stephen paused and, though his companion did not speak, felt that his
words had called up around them a thought-enchanted silence.
--What I have said, he began again, refers to beauty in the wider
sense of the word, in the sense which the word has in the literary
tradition. In the marketplace it has another sense. When we speak of
beauty in the second sense of the term our judgement is influenced in
the first place by the art itself and by the form of that art. The
image, it is clear, must be set between the mind or senses of the
artist himself and the mind or senses of others. If you bear this in
memory you will see that art necessarily divides itself into three
forms progressing from one to the next. These forms are: the lyrical
form, the form wherein the artist presents his image in immediate
relation to himself; the epical form, the form wherein he presents his
image in mediate relation to himself and to others; the dramatic form,
the form wherein he presents his image in immediate relation to others.
--That you told me a few nights ago, said Lynch, and we began the
--I have a book at home, said Stephen, in which I have written down
questions which are more amusing than yours were. In finding the
answers to them I found the theory of esthetic which I am trying to
explain. Here are some questions I set myself: IS A CHAIR FINELY MADE
TRAGIC OR COMIC? IS THE PORTRAIT OF MONA LISA GOOD IF I DESIRE TO SEE
IT? IF NOT, WHY NOT?
--Why not, indeed? said Lynch, laughing.
--IF A MAN HACKING IN FURY AT A BLOCK OF WOOD, Stephen continued, MAKE
THERE AN IMAGE OF A COW, IS THAT IMAGE A WORK OF ART? IF NOT, WHY NOT?
--That's a lovely one, said Lynch, laughing again. That has the true
--Lessing, said Stephen, should not have taken a group of statues to
write of. The art, being inferior, does not present the forms I spoke
of distinguished clearly one from another. Even in literature, the
highest and most spiritual art, the forms are often confused. The
lyrical form is in fact the simplest verbal vesture of an instant of
emotion a rhythmical cry such as ages ago cheered on the man who pulled
at the oar or dragged stones up a slope. He who utters it is more
conscious of the instant of emotion than of himself as feeling emotion.
The simplest epical form is seen emerging out of lyrical literature
when the artist prolongs and broods upon himself as the centre of an
epical event and this form progresses till the centre of emotional
gravity is equidistant from the artist himself and from others. The
narrative is no longer purely personal. The personality of the artist
passes into the narration itself, flowing round and round the persons
and the action like a vital sea. This progress you will see easily in
that old English ballad TURPIN HERO which begins in the first person
and ends in the third person. The dramatic form is reached when the
vitality which has flowed and eddied round each person fills every
person with such vital force that he or she assumes a proper and
intangible esthetic life. The personality of the artist, at first a cry
or a cadence or a mood and then a fluid and lambent narrative, finally
refines itself out of existence, impersonalizes itself, so to speak.
The esthetic image in the dramatic form is life purified in and
reprojected from the human imagination. The mystery of esthetic, like
that of material creation, is accomplished. The artist, like the God of
creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork,
invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his
--Trying to refine them also out of existence, said Lynch.
A fine rain began to fall from the high veiled sky and they turned into
the duke's lawn to reach the national library before the shower came.
--What do you mean, Lynch asked surlily, by prating about beauty and
the imagination in this miserable Godforsaken island? No wonder the
artist retired within or behind his handiwork after having perpetrated
The rain fell faster. When they passed through the passage beside
Kildare house they found many students sheltering under the arcade of
the library. Cranly, leaning against a pillar, was picking his teeth
with a sharpened match, listening to some companions. Some girls stood
near the entrance door. Lynch whispered to Stephen:
--Your beloved is here.
Stephen took his place silently on the step below the group of
students, heedless of the rain which fell fast, turning his eyes
towards her from time to time. She too stood silently among her
companions. She has no priest to flirt with, he thought with conscious
bitterness, remembering how he had seen her last. Lynch was right. His
mind emptied of theory and courage, lapsed back into a listless peace.
He heard the students talking among themselves. They spoke of two
friends who had passed the final medical examination, of the chances of
getting places on ocean liners, of poor and rich practices.
--That's all a bubble. An Irish country practice is better.
--Hynes was two years in Liverpool and he says the same. A frightful
hole he said it was. Nothing but midwifery cases.
--Do you mean to say it is better to have a job here in the country
than in a rich city like that? I know a fellow.
--Hynes has no brains. He got through by stewing, pure stewing.
--Don't mind him. There's plenty of money to be made in a big commercial
--Depends on the practice.
--EGO CREDO UT VITA PAUPERUM EST SIMPLICITER ATROX, SIMPLICITER
SANGUINARIUS ATROX, IN LIVERPOOLIO.
Their voices reached his ears as if from a distance in interrupted
pulsation. She was preparing to go away with her companions.
The quick light shower had drawn off, tarrying in clusters of diamonds
among the shrubs of the quadrangle where an exhalation was breathed
forth by the blackened earth. Their trim boots prattled as they stood
on the steps of the colonnade, talking quietly and gaily, glancing at
the clouds, holding their umbrellas at cunning angles against the few
last raindrops, closing them again, holding their skirts demurely.
And if he had judged her harshly? If her life were a simple rosary of
hours, her life simple and strange as a bird's life, gay in the
morning, restless all day, tired at sundown? Her heart simple and
wilful as a bird's heart?
* * * * *
Towards dawn he awoke. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet.
Over his limbs in sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay
still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet
music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a
morning inspiration. A spirit filled him, pure as the purest water,
sweet as dew, moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed, how
passionlessly, as if the seraphim themselves were breathing upon him!
His soul was waking slowly, fearing to awake wholly. It was that
windless hour of dawn when madness wakes and strange plants open to the
light and the moth flies forth silently.
An enchantment of the heart! The night had been enchanted. In a dream
or vision he had known the ecstasy of seraphic life. Was it an instant
of enchantment only or long hours and years and ages?
The instant of inspiration seemed now to be reflected from all sides at
once from a multitude of cloudy circumstances of what had happened or
of what might have happened. The instant flashed forth like a point of
light and now from cloud on cloud of vague circumstance confused form
was veiling softly its afterglow. O! In the virgin womb of the
imagination the word was made flesh. Gabriel the seraph had come to the
virgin's chamber. An afterglow deepened within his spirit, whence the
white flame had passed, deepening to a rose and ardent light. That rose
and ardent light was her strange wilful heart, strange that no man had
known or would know, wilful from before the beginning of the world; and
lured by that ardent rose-like glow the choirs of the seraphim were
falling from heaven.
Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
The verses passed from his mind to his lips and, murmuring them over,
he felt the rhythmic movement of a villanelle pass through them. The
rose-like glow sent forth its rays of rhyme; ways, days, blaze, praise,
raise. Its rays burned up the world, consumed the hearts of men and
angels: the rays from the rose that was her wilful heart.
Your eyes have set man's heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
And then? The rhythm died away, ceased, began again to move and beat.
And then? Smoke, incense ascending from the altar of the world.
Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Smoke went up from the whole earth, from the vapoury oceans, smoke of
her praise. The earth was like a swinging swaying censer, a ball of
incense, an ellipsoidal fall. The rhythm died out at once; the cry of
his heart was broken. His lips began to murmur the first verses over
and over; then went on stumbling through half verses, stammering and
baffled; then stopped. The heart's cry was broken.
The veiled windless hour had passed and behind the panes of the naked
window the morning light was gathering. A bell beat faintly very far
away. A bird twittered; two birds, three. The bell and the bird ceased;
and the dull white light spread itself east and west, covering the
world, covering the roselight in his heart.
Fearing to lose all, he raised himself suddenly on his elbow to look
for paper and pencil. There was neither on the table; only the soup
plate he had eaten the rice from for supper and the candlestick with
its tendrils of tallow and its paper socket, singed by the last flame.
He stretched his arm wearily towards the foot of the bed, groping with
his hand in the pockets of the coat that hung there. His fingers found
a pencil and then a cigarette packet. He lay back and, tearing open the
packet, placed the last cigarette on the window ledge and began to
write out the stanzas of the villanelle in small neat letters on the
rough cardboard surface.
Having written them out he lay back on the lumpy pillow, murmuring them
again. The lumps of knotted flock under his head reminded him of the
lumps of knotted horsehair in the sofa of her parlour on which he used
to sit, smiling or serious, asking himself why he had come, displeased
with her and with himself, confounded by the print of the Sacred Heart
above the untenanted sideboard. He saw her approach him in a lull of
the talk and beg him to sing one of his curious songs. Then he saw
himself sitting at the old piano, striking chords softly from its
speckled keys and singing, amid the talk which had risen again in the
room, to her who leaned beside the mantelpiece a dainty song of the
Elizabethans, a sad and sweet loth to depart, the victory chant of
Agincourt, the happy air of Greensleeves. While he sang and she
listened, or feigned to listen, his heart was at rest but when the
quaint old songs had ended and he heard again the voices in the room he
remembered his own sarcasm: the house where young men are called by
their christian names a little too soon.
At certain instants her eyes seemed about to trust him but he had
waited in vain. She passed now dancing lightly across his memory as she
had been that night at the carnival ball, her white dress a little
lifted, a white spray nodding in her hair. She danced lightly in the
round. She was dancing towards him and, as she came, her eyes were a
little averted and a faint glow was on her cheek. At the pause in the
chain of hands her hand had lain in his an instant, a soft merchandise.
--You are a great stranger now.
--Yes. I was born to be a monk.
--I am afraid you are a heretic.
--Are you much afraid?
For answer she had danced away from him along the chain of hands,
dancing lightly and discreetly, giving herself to none. The white spray
nodded to her dancing and when she was in shadow the glow was deeper on
A monk! His own image started forth a profaner of the cloister, a
heretic franciscan, willing and willing not to serve, spinning like
Gherardino da Borgo San Donnino, a lithe web of sophistry and
whispering in her ear.
No, it was not his image. It was like the image of the young priest in
whose company he had seen her last, looking at him out of dove's eyes,
toying with the pages of her Irish phrase-book.
--Yes, yes, the ladies are coming round to us. I can see it every day.
The ladies are with us. The best helpers the language has.
--And the church, Father Moran?
--The church too. Coming round too. The work is going ahead there too.
Don't fret about the church.
Bah! he had done well to leave the room in disdain. He had done well
not to salute her on the steps of the library! He had done well to
leave her to flirt with her priest, to toy with a church which was the
scullery-maid of christendom.
Rude brutal anger routed the last lingering instant of ecstasy from his
soul. It broke up violently her fair image and flung the fragments on
all sides. On all sides distorted reflections of her image started from
his memory: the flower girl in the ragged dress with damp coarse hair
and a hoyden's face who had called herself his own girl and begged his
handsel, the kitchen-girl in the next house who sang over the clatter
of her plates, with the drawl of a country singer, the first bars of BY
KILLARNEY'S LAKES AND FELLS, a girl who had laughed gaily to see him
stumble when the iron grating in the footpath near Cork Hill had caught
the broken sole of his shoe, a girl he had glanced at, attracted by her
small ripe mouth, as she passed out of Jacob's biscuit factory, who had
cried to him over her shoulder:
--Do you like what you seen of me, straight hair and curly eyebrows?
And yet he felt that, however he might revile and mock her image, his
anger was also a form of homage. He had left the classroom in disdain
that was not wholly sincere, feeling that perhaps the secret of her
race lay behind those dark eyes upon which her long lashes flung a
quick shadow. He had told himself bitterly as he walked through the
streets that she was a figure of the womanhood of her country, a bat-
like soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy
and loneliness, tarrying awhile, loveless and sinless, with her mild
lover and leaving him to whisper of innocent transgressions in the
latticed ear of a priest. His anger against her found vent in coarse
railing at her paramour, whose name and voice and features offended his
baffled pride: a priested peasant, with a brother a policeman in Dublin
and a brother a potboy in Moycullen. To him she would unveil her soul's
shy nakedness, to one who was but schooled in the discharging of a
formal rite rather than to him, a priest of the eternal imagination,
transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of
The radiant image of the eucharist united again in an instant his
bitter and despairing thoughts, their cries arising unbroken in a hymn
Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.
He spoke the verses aloud from the first lines till the music and
rhythm suffused his mind, turning it to quiet indulgence; then copied
them painfully to feel them the better by seeing them; then lay back on
The full morning light had come. No sound was to be heard; but he knew
that all around him life was about to awaken in common noises, hoarse
voices, sleepy prayers. Shrinking from that life he turned towards the
wall, making a cowl of the blanket and staring at the great overblown
scarlet flowers of the tattered wallpaper. He tried to warm his
perishing joy in their scarlet glow, imagining a roseway from where he
lay upwards to heaven all strewn with scarlet flowers. Weary! Weary! He
too was weary of ardent ways.
A gradual warmth, a languorous weariness passed over him descending
along his spine from his closely cowled head. He felt it descend and,
seeing himself as he lay, smiled. Soon he would sleep.
He had written verses for her again after ten years. Ten years before
she had worn her shawl cowlwise about her head, sending sprays of her
warm breath into the night air, tapping her foot upon the glassy road.
It was the last tram; the lank brown horses knew it and shook their
bells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with the
driver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. They stood
on the steps of the tram, he on the upper, she on the lower. She came
up to his step many times between their phrases and went down again and
once or twice remained beside him forgetting to go down and then went
down. Let be! Let be!
Ten years from that wisdom of children to his folly. If he sent her the
verses? They would be read out at breakfast amid the tapping of
egg-shells. Folly indeed! Her brothers would laugh and try to wrest the
page from each other with their strong hard fingers. The suave priest,
her uncle, seated in his arm-chair, would hold the page at arm's
length, read it smiling and approve of the literary form.
No, no; that was folly. Even if he sent her the verses she would not
show them to others. No, no; she could not.
He began to feel that he had wronged her. A sense of her innocence
moved him almost to pity her, an innocence he had never understood till
he had come to the knowledge of it through sin, an innocence which she
too had not understood while she was innocent or before the strange
humiliation of her nature had first come upon her. Then first her soul
had begun to live as his soul had when he had first sinned, and a
tender compassion filled his heart as he remembered her frail pallor
and her eyes, humbled and saddened by the dark shame of womanhood.
While his soul had passed from ecstasy to languor where had she been?
Might it be, in the mysterious ways of spiritual life, that her soul at
those same moments had been conscious of his homage? It might be.
A glow of desire kindled again his soul and fired and fulfilled all his
body. Conscious of his desire she was waking from odorous sleep, the
temptress of his villanelle. Her eyes, dark and with a look of languor,
were opening to his eyes. Her nakedness yielded to him, radiant, warm,
odorous and lavish-limbed, enfolded him like a shining cloud, enfolded
him like water with a liquid life; and like a cloud of vapour or like
waters circumfluent in space the liquid letters of speech, symbols of
the element of mystery, flowed forth over his brain.
Are you not weary of ardent ways,
Lure of the fallen seraphim?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Your eyes have set man's heart ablaze
And you have had your will of him.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Above the flame the smoke of praise
Goes up from ocean rim to rim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.
Our broken cries and mournful lays
Rise in one eucharistic hymn.
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
While sacrificing hands upraise
The chalice flowing to the brim.
Tell no more of enchanted days.
And still you hold our longing gaze
With languorous look and lavish limb!
Are you not weary of ardent ways?
Tell no more of enchanted days.
What birds were they? He stood on the steps of the library to look at
them, leaning wearily on his ashplant. They flew round and round the
jutting shoulder of a house in Molesworth Street. The air of the late
March evening made clear their flight, their dark quivering bodies
flying clearly against the sky as against a limp-hung cloth of smoky
He watched their flight; bird after bird: a dark flash, a swerve, a
flutter of wings. He tried to count them before all their darting
quivering bodies passed: six, ten, eleven: and wondered were they odd
or even in number. Twelve, thirteen: for two came wheeling down from the
upper sky. They were flying high and low but ever round and round in
straight and curving lines and ever flying from left to right, circling
about a temple of air.
He listened to the cries: like the squeak of mice behind the wainscot:
a shrill twofold note. But the notes were long and shrill and whirring,
unlike the cry of vermin, falling a third or a fourth and trilled as
the flying beaks clove the air. Their cry was shrill and clear and fine
and falling like threads of silken light unwound from whirring spools.
The inhuman clamour soothed his ears in which his mother's sobs and
reproaches murmured insistently and the dark frail quivering bodies
wheeling and fluttering and swerving round an airy temple of the
tenuous sky soothed his eyes which still saw the image of his mother's
Why was he gazing upwards from the steps of the porch, hearing their
shrill twofold cry, watching their flight? For an augury of good or
evil? A phrase of Cornelius Agrippa flew through his mind and then
there flew hither and thither shapeless thoughts from Swedenborg on the
correspondence of birds to things of the intellect and of how the
creatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times and
seasons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life and
have not perverted that order by reason.
And for ages men had gazed upward as he was gazing at birds in flight.
The colonnade above him made him think vaguely of an ancient temple and
the ashplant on which he leaned wearily of the curved stick of an
augur. A sense of fear of the unknown moved in the heart of his
weariness, a fear of symbols and portents, of the hawk-like man whose
name he bore soaring out of his captivity on osier-woven wings, of
Thoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and
bearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon.
He smiled as he thought of the god's image for it made him think of a
bottle-nosed judge in a wig, putting commas into a document which he
held at arm's length, and he knew that he would not have remembered the
god's name but that it was like an Irish oath. It was folly. But was it
for this folly that he was about to leave for ever the house of prayer
and prudence into which he had been born and the order of life out of
which he had come?
They came back with shrill cries over the jutting shoulder of the
house, flying darkly against the fading air. What birds were they? He
thought that they must be swallows who had come back from the south.
Then he was to go away for they were birds ever going and coming,
building ever an unlasting home under the eaves of men's houses and
ever leaving the homes they had built to wander.
Bend down your faces, Oona and Aleel.
I gaze upon them as the swallow gazes
Upon the nest under the eave before
He wander the loud waters.
A soft liquid joy like the noise of many waters flowed over his memory
and he felt in his heart the soft peace of silent spaces of fading
tenuous sky above the waters, of oceanic silence, of swallows flying
through the sea-dusk over the flowing waters.
A soft liquid joy flowed through the words where the soft long vowels
hurtled noiselessly and fell away, lapping and flowing back and ever
shaking the white bells of their waves in mute chime and mute peal, and
soft low swooning cry; and he felt that the augury he had sought in the
wheeling darting birds and in the pale space of sky above him had come
forth from his heart like a bird from a turret, quietly and swiftly.
Symbol of departure or of loneliness? The verses crooned in the ear of
his memory composed slowly before his remembering eyes the scene of the
hall on the night of the opening of the national theatre. He was alone
at the side of the balcony, looking out of jaded eyes at the culture of
Dublin In the stalls and at the tawdry scene-cloths and human dolls
framed by the garish lamps of the stage. A burly policeman sweated behind
him and seemed at every moment about to act. The catcalls and hisses and
mocking cries ran in rude gusts round the hall from his scattered fellow
--A libel on Ireland!
--Made in Germany.
--We never sold our faith!
--No Irish woman ever did it!
--We want no amateur atheists.
--We want no budding buddhists.
A sudden swift hiss fell from the windows above him and he knew that
the electric lamps had been switched on in the reader's room. He turned
into the pillared hall, now calmly lit, went up the staircase and
passed in through the clicking turnstile.
Cranly was sitting over near the dictionaries. A thick book, opened at
the frontispiece, lay before him on the wooden rest. He leaned back in
his chair, inclining his ear like that of a confessor to the face of
the medical student who was reading to him a problem from the chess
page of a journal. Stephen sat down at his right and the priest at the
other side of the table closed his copy of THE TABLET with an angry
snap and stood up.
Cranly gazed after him blandly and vaguely. The medical student went on
in a softer voice:
--Pawn to king's fourth.
--We had better go, Dixon, said Stephen in warning. He has gone to
Dixon folded the journal and rose with dignity, saying:
--Our men retired in good order.
--With guns and cattle, added Stephen, pointing to the titlepage of
Cranly's book on which was printed DISEASES OF THE OX.
As they passed through a lane of the tables Stephen said:
--Cranly, I want to speak to you.
Cranly did not answer or turn. He laid his book on the counter and
passed out, his well-shod feet sounding flatly on the floor. On the
staircase he paused and gazing absently at Dixon repeated:
--Pawn to king's bloody fourth.
--Put it that way if you like, Dixon said.
He had a quiet toneless voice and urbane manners and on a finger of his
plump clean hand he displayed at moments a signet ring.
As they crossed the hall a man of dwarfish stature came towards them.
Under the dome of his tiny hat his unshaven face began to smile with
pleasure and he was heard to murmur. The eyes were melancholy as those
of a monkey.
--Good evening, gentlemen, said the stubble-grown monkeyish face.
--Warm weather for March, said Cranly. They have the windows open
Dixon smiled and turned his ring. The blackish, monkey-puckered face
pursed its human mouth with gentle pleasure and its voice purred:
--Delightful weather for March. Simply delightful.
--There are two nice young ladies upstairs, captain, tired of waiting,
Cranly smiled and said kindly:
--The captain has only one love: sir Walter Scott. Isn't that so,
--What are you reading now, captain? Dixon asked. THE BRIDE OF
LAMMERMOOR?--I love old Scott, the flexible lips said, I think he
writes something lovely. There is no writer can touch sir Walter Scott.
He moved a thin shrunken brown hand gently in the air in time to his
praise and his thin quick eyelids beat often over his sad eyes.
Sadder to Stephen's ear was his speech: a genteel accent, low and
moist, marred by errors, and, listening to it, he wondered was the
story true and was the thin blood that flowed in his shrunken frame
noble and come of an incestuous love?
The park trees were heavy with rain; and rain fell still and ever in
the lake, lying grey like a shield. A game of swans flew there and the
water and the shore beneath were fouled with their green-white slime.
They embraced softly,--impelled by the grey rainy light, the wet
silent trees, the shield-like witnessing lake, the swans. They embraced
without joy or passion, his arm about his sister's neck. A grey woollen
cloak was wrapped athwart her from her shoulder to her waist and her
fair head was bent in willing shame. He had loose red-brown hair and
tender shapely strong freckled hands. Face? There was no face seen. The
brother's face was bent upon her fair rain-fragrant hair. The hand
freckled and strong and shapely and caressing was Davin's hand.
He frowned angrily upon his thought and on the shrivelled mannikin who
had called it forth. His father's jibes at the Bantry gang leaped out
of his memory. He held them at a distance and brooded uneasily on his
own thought again. Why were they not Cranly's hands? Had Davin's
simplicity and innocence stung him more secretly?
He walked on across the hall with Dixon, leaving Cranly to take leave
elaborately of the dwarf.
Under the colonnade Temple was standing in the midst of a little group
of students. One of them cried:
--Dixon, come over till you hear. Temple is in grand form.
Temple turned on him his dark gipsy eyes.
--You're a hypocrite, O'Keeffe, he said. And Dixon is a smiler. By
hell, I think that's a good literary expression.
He laughed slyly, looking in Stephen's face, repeating:
--By hell, I'm delighted with that name. A smiler.
A stout student who stood below them on the steps said:
--Come back to the mistress, Temple. We want to hear about that.
--He had, faith, Temple said. And he was a married man too. And all the
priests used to be dining there. By hell, I think they all had a touch.
--We shall call it riding a hack to spare the hunter, said Dixon.
--Tell us, Temple, O'Keeffe said, how many quarts of porter have you
--All your intellectual soul is in that phrase, O'Keeffe, said Temple
with open scorn.
He moved with a shambling gait round the group and spoke to Stephen.
--Did you know that the Forsters are the kings of Belgium? he asked.
Cranly came out through the door of the entrance hall, his hat thrust
back on the nape of his neck and picking his teeth with care.
And here's the wiseacre, said Temple. Do you know that about the Forsters?
He paused for an answer. Cranly dislodged a figseed from his teeth on
the point of his rude toothpick and gazed at it intently
--The Forster family, Temple said, is descended from Baldwin the
First, king of Flanders. He was called the Forester. Forester and
Forster are the same name. A descendant of Baldwin the First, captain
Francis Forster, settled in Ireland and married the daughter of the
last chieftain of Clanbrassil. Then there are the Blake Forsters.
That's a different branch.
--From Baldhead, king of Flanders, Cranly repeated, rooting again
deliberately at his gleaming uncovered teeth.
--Where did you pick up all that history? O'Keeffe asked.
--I know all the history of your family, too, Temple said, turning to
Stephen. Do you know what Giraldus Cambrensis says about your family?
--Is he descended from Baldwin too? asked a tall consumptive student
with dark eyes.
--Baldhead, Cranly repeated, sucking at a crevice in his teeth.
--PERNOBILIS ET PERVETUSTA FAMILIA, Temple said to Stephen. The stout
student who stood below them on the steps farted briefly. Dixon turned
towards him, saying in a soft voice:
--Did an angel speak?
Cranly turned also and said vehemently but without anger:
--Goggins, you're the flamingest dirty devil I ever met, do you know.
--I had it on my mind to say that, Goggins answered firmly. It did no
one any harm, did it?
--We hope, Dixon said suavely, that it was not of the kind known to
science as a PAULO POST FUTURUM.
--Didn't I tell you he was a smiler? said Temple, turning right and
left. Didn't I give him that name?
--You did. We're not deaf, said the tall consumptive.
Cranly still frowned at the stout student below him. Then, with a snort
of disgust, he shoved him violently down the steps.
--Go away from here, he said rudely. Go away, you stinkpot. And you are a
Goggins skipped down on to the gravel and at once returned to his place
with good humour. Temple turned back to Stephen and asked:
--Do you believe in the law of heredity?
--Are you drunk or what are you or what are you trying to say? asked
Cranly, facing round on him with an expression of wonder.
--The most profound sentence ever written, Temple said with
enthusiasm, is the sentence at the end of the zoology. Reproduction is
the beginning of death.
He touched Stephen timidly at the elbow and said eagerly:
--Do you feel how profound that is because you are a poet?
--Cranly pointed his long forefinger.
--Look at him! he said with scorn to the others. Look at Ireland's hope!
They laughed at his words and gesture. Temple turned on him bravely,
--Cranly, you're always sneering at me. I can see that. But I am as
good as you any day. Do you know what I think about you now as compared
--My dear man, said Cranly urbanely, you are incapable, do you know,
absolutely incapable of thinking.
--But do you know, Temple went on, what I think of you and of myself
--Out with it, Temple! the stout student cried from the steps. Get it
out in bits!
Temple turned right and left, making sudden feeble gestures as he spoke.
--I'm a ballocks, he said, shaking his head in despair. I am and I
know I am. And I admit it that I am.
Dixon patted him lightly on the shoulder and said mildly:
--And it does you every credit, Temple.
--But he, Temple said, pointing to Cranly, he is a ballocks, too, like
me. Only he doesn't know it. And that's the only difference I see.
A burst of laughter covered his words. But he turned again to Stephen
and said with a sudden eagerness:
--That word is a most interesting word. That's the only English dual
number. Did you know?
--Is it? Stephen said vaguely.
He was watching Cranly's firm-featured suffering face, lit up now by a
smile of false patience. The gross name had passed over it like foul
water poured over an old stone image, patient of injuries; and, as he
watched him, he saw him raise his hat in salute and uncover the black
hair that stood stiffly from his forehead like an iron crown.
She passed out from the porch of the library and bowed across Stephen
in reply to Cranly's greeting. He also? Was there not a slight flush on
Cranly's cheek? Or had it come forth at Temple's words? The light had
waned. He could not see.
Did that explain his friend's listless silence, his harsh comments, the
sudden intrusions of rude speech with which he had shattered so often
Stephen's ardent wayward confessions? Stephen had forgiven freely for
he had found this rudeness also in himself. And he remembered an
evening when he had dismounted from a borrowed creaking bicycle to pray
to God in a wood near Malahide. He had lifted up his arms and spoken in
ecstasy to the sombre nave of the trees, knowing that he stood on holy
ground and in a holy hour. And when two constabulary men had come into
sight round a bend in the gloomy road he had broken off his prayer to
whistle loudly an air from the last pantomime.
He began to beat the frayed end of his ashplant against the base of a
pillar. Had Cranly not heard him? Yet he could wait. The talk about him
ceased for a moment and a soft hiss fell again from a window above. But
no other sound was in the air and the swallows whose flight he had
followed with idle eyes were sleeping.
She had passed through the dusk. And therefore the air was silent save
for one soft hiss that fell. And therefore the tongues about him had
ceased their babble. Darkness was falling.
Darkness falls from the air.
A trembling joy, lambent as a faint light, played like a fairy host
around him. But why? Her passage through the darkening air or the verse
with its black vowels and its opening sound, rich and lutelike?
He walked away slowly towards the deeper shadows at the end of the
colonnade, beating the stone softly with his stick to hide his revery
from the students whom he had left: and allowed his mind to summon back
to itself the age of Dowland and Byrd and Nash.
Eyes, opening from the darkness of desire, eyes that dimmed the
breaking east. What was their languid grace but the softness of
chambering? And what was their shimmer but the shimmer of the scum that
mantled the cesspool of the court of a slobbering Stuart. And he tasted
in the language of memory ambered wines, dying fallings of sweet airs,
the proud pavan, and saw with the eyes of memory kind gentlewomen in
Covent Garden wooing from their balconies with sucking mouths and the
pox-fouled wenches of the taverns and young wives that, gaily yielding
to their ravishers, clipped and clipped again.
The images he had summoned gave him no pleasure. They were secret and
inflaming but her image was not entangled by them. That was not the way
to think of her. It was not even the way in which he thought of her.
Could his mind then not trust itself? Old phrases, sweet only with a
disinterred sweetness like the figseeds Cranly rooted out of his
It was not thought nor vision though he knew vaguely that her figure
was passing homeward through the city. Vaguely first and then more
sharply he smelt her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood.
Yes, it was her body he smelt, a wild and languid smell, the tepid
limbs over which his music had flowed desirously and the secret soft
linen upon which her flesh distilled odour and a dew.
A louse crawled over the nape of his neck and, putting his thumb and
forefinger deftly beneath his loose collar, he caught it. He rolled its
body, tender yet brittle as a grain of rice, between thumb and finger
for an instant before he let it fall from him and wondered would it
live or die. There came to his mind a curious phrase from CORNELIUS A
LAPIDE which said that the lice born of human sweat were not created by
God with the other animals on the sixth day. But the tickling of the
skin of his neck made his mind raw and red. The life of his body, ill
clad, ill fed, louse-eaten, made him close his eyelids in a sudden
spasm of despair and in the darkness he saw the brittle bright bodies
of lice falling from the air and turning often as they fell. Yes, and
it was not darkness that fell from the air. It was brightness.
Brightness falls from the air.
He had not even remembered rightly Nash's line. All the images it had
awakened were false. His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice born
of the sweat of sloth.
He came back quickly along the colonnade towards the group of students.
Well then, let her go and be damned to her! She could love some clean
athlete who washed himself every morning to the waist and had black
hair on his chest. Let her.
Cranly had taken another dried fig from the supply in his pocket and
was eating it slowly and noisily. Temple sat on the pediment of a
pillar, leaning back, his cap pulled down on his sleepy eyes. A squat
young man came out of the porch, a leather portfolio tucked under his
armpit. He marched towards the group, striking the flags with the heels
of his boots and with the ferrule of his heavy umbrella. Then, raising
the umbrella in salute, he said to all:
--Good evening, sirs.
He struck the flags again and tittered while his head trembled with a
slight nervous movement. The tall consumptive student and Dixon and
O'Keeffe were speaking in Irish and did not answer him. Then, turning
to Cranly, he said:
--Good evening, particularly to you.
He moved the umbrella in indication and tittered again. Cranly, who was
still chewing the fig, answered with loud movements of his jaws.
--Good? Yes. It is a good evening.
The squat student looked at him seriously and shook his umbrella gently
--I can see, he said, that you are about to make obvious remarks.
--Um, Cranly answered, holding out what remained of the half chewed
fig and jerking it towards the squat student's mouth in sign that he
The squat student did not eat it but, indulging his special humour,
said gravely, still tittering and prodding his phrase with his
--Do you intend that?
He broke off, pointed bluntly to the munched pulp of the fig, and said
--I allude to that.
Um, Cranly said as before.
--Do you intend that now, the squat student said, as IPSO FACTO or,
let us say, as so to speak?
Dixon turned aside from his group, saying:
--Goggins was waiting for you, Glynn. He has gone round to the Adelphi
to look for you and Moynihan. What have you there? he asked, tapping
the portfolio under Glynn's arm.
--Examination papers, Glynn answered. I give them monthly examinations
to see that they are profiting by my tuition.
He also tapped the portfolio and coughed gently and smiled.
--Tuition! said Cranly rudely. I suppose you mean the barefooted
children that are taught by a bloody ape like you. God help them!
He bit off the rest of the fig and flung away the butt.
--I suffer little children to come unto me, Glynn said amiably.
--A bloody ape, Cranly repeated with emphasis, and a blasphemous
Temple stood up and, pushing past Cranly, addressed Glynn:
--That phrase you said now, he said, is from the new testament about
suffer the children to come to me.
--Go to sleep again, Temple, said O'Keeffe.
--Very well, then, Temple continued, still addressing Glynn, and if
Jesus suffered the children to come why does the church send them all
to hell if they die unbaptized? Why is that?
--Were you baptized yourself, Temple? the consumptive student asked.
--But why are they sent to hell if Jesus said they were all to come?
Temple said, his eyes searching Glynn's eyes.
Glynn coughed and said gently, holding back with difficulty the nervous
titter in his voice and moving his umbrella at every word:
--And, as you remark, if it is thus, I ask emphatically whence comes
--Because the church is cruel like all old sinners, Temple said.
--Are you quite orthodox on that point, Temple? Dixon said suavely.
--Saint Augustine says that about unbaptized children going to hell,
Temple answered, because he was a cruel old sinner too.
--I bow to you, Dixon said, but I had the impression that limbo
existed for such cases.
--Don't argue with him, Dixon, Cranly said brutally. Don't talk to him
or look at him. Lead him home with a sugan the way you'd lead a
--Limbo! Temple cried. That's a fine invention too. Like hell.
--But with the unpleasantness left out, Dixon said. He turned smiling
to the others and said:
--I think I am voicing the opinions of all present in saying so much.
-You are, Glynn said in a firm tone. On that point Ireland is united.
He struck the ferrule of his umbrella on the stone floor of the
--Hell, Temple said. I can respect that invention of the grey spouse
of Satan. Hell is Roman, like the walls of the Romans, strong and ugly.
But what is limbo?
--Put him back into the perambulator, Cranly, O'Keeffe called out.
Cranly made a swift step towards Temple, halted, stamping his foot,
crying as if to a fowl:
Temple moved away nimbly.
--Do you know what limbo is? he cried. Do you know what we call a
notion like that in Roscommon?
--Hoosh! Blast you! Cranly cried, clapping his hands.
--Neither my arse nor my elbow! Temple cried out scornfully. And
that's what I call limbo.
--Give us that stick here, Cranly said.
He snatched the ashplant roughly from Stephen's hand and sprang down
the steps: but Temple, hearing him move in pursuit, fled through the
dusk like a wild creature, nimble and fleet-footed. Cranly's heavy
boots were heard loudly charging across the quadrangle and then
returning heavily, foiled and spurning the gravel at each step.
His step was angry and with an angry abrupt gesture he thrust the stick
back into Stephen's hand. Stephen felt that his anger had another cause
but, feigning patience, touched his arm slightly and said quietly:
--Cranly, I told you I wanted to speak to you. Come away. Cranly
looked at him for a few moments and asked:
--Yes, now, Stephen said. We can't speak here. Come away.
They crossed the quadrangle together without speaking. The bird call
from SIGFRIED whistled softly followed them from the steps of the
porch. Cranly turned, and Dixon, who had whistled, called out:
--Where are you fellows off to? What about that game, Cranly?
They parleyed in shouts across the still air about a game of billiards
to be played in the Adelphi hotel. Stephen walked on alone and out into
the quiet of Kildare Street opposite Maple's hotel he stood to wait,
patient again. The name of the hotel, a colourless polished wood, and
its colourless front stung him like a glance of polite disdain. He
stared angrily back at the softly lit drawing-room of the hotel in
which he imagined the sleek lives of the patricians of Ireland housed
in calm. They thought of army commissions and land agents: peasants
greeted them along the roads in the country; they knew the names of
certain French dishes and gave orders to jarvies in high-pitched
provincial voices which pierced through their skin-tight accents.
How could he hit their conscience or how cast his shadow over the
imaginations of their daughters, before their squires begat upon them,
that they might breed a race less ignoble than their own? And under the
deepened dusk he felt the thoughts and desires of the race to which he
belonged flitting like bats across the dark country lanes, under trees
by the edges of streams and near the pool-mottled bogs. A woman had
waited in the doorway as Davin had passed by at night and, offering him
a cup of milk, had all but wooed him to her bed; for Davin had the mild
eyes of one who could be secret. But him no woman's eyes had wooed.
His arm was taken in a strong grip and Cranly's voice said:
--Let us eke go.
They walked southward in silence. Then Cranly said:
--That blithering idiot, Temple! I swear to Moses, do you know, that
I'll be the death of that fellow one time.
But his voice was no longer angry and Stephen wondered was he thinking
of her greeting to him under the porch.
They turned to the left and walked on as before. When they had gone on
so for some time Stephen said:
--Cranly, I had an unpleasant quarrel this evening.
--With your people? Cranly asked.
--With my mother.
--Yes, Stephen answered.
After a pause Cranly asked:
--What age is your mother?
--Not old, Stephen said. She wishes me to make my easter duty.
--And will you?
--I will not, Stephen said.
--Why not? Cranly said.
--I will not serve, answered Stephen.
--That remark was made before, Cranly said calmly.
--It is made behind now, said Stephen hotly.
Cranly pressed Stephen's arm, saying:
--Go easy, my dear man. You're an excitable bloody man, do you know.
He laughed nervously as he spoke and, looking up into Stephen's face
with moved and friendly eyes, said:
--Do you know that you are an excitable man?
--I daresay I am, said Stephen, laughing also.
Their minds, lately estranged, seemed suddenly to have been drawn
closer, one to the other.
--Do you believe in the eucharist? Cranly asked.
--I do not, Stephen said.
--Do you disbelieve then?
--I neither believe in it nor disbelieve in it, Stephen answered.
--Many persons have doubts, even religious persons, yet they overcome
them or put them aside, Cranly said. Are your doubts on that point too
--I do not wish to overcome them, Stephen answered.
Cranly, embarrassed for a moment, took another fig from his pocket and
was about to eat it when Stephen said:
--Don't, please. You cannot discuss this question with your mouth full
of chewed fig.
Cranly examined the fig by the light of a lamp under which he halted.
Then he smelt it with both nostrils, bit a tiny piece, spat it out and
threw the fig rudely into the gutter.
Addressing it as it lay, he said:
--Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire! Taking Stephen's
arms, he went on again and said:
--Do you not fear that those words may be spoken to you on the day of
--What is offered me on the other hand? Stephen asked. An eternity of
bliss in the company of the dean of studies?
--Remember, Cranly said, that he would be glorified.
--Ay, Stephen said somewhat bitterly, bright, agile, impassible and,
above all, subtle.
--It is a curious thing, do you know, Cranly said dispassionately, how
your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you
disbelieve. Did you believe in it when you were at school? I bet you
--I did, Stephen answered.
--And were you happier then? Cranly asked softly, happier than you are
now, for instance?
--Often happy, Stephen said, and often unhappy. I was someone else
--How someone else? What do you mean by that statement?
--I mean, said Stephen, that I was not myself as I am now, as I had to
--Not as you are now, not as you had to become, Cranly repeated. Let
me ask you a question. Do you love your mother?
Stephen shook his head slowly.
--I don't know what your words mean, he said simply.
--Have you never loved anyone? Cranly asked.
--Do you mean women?
--I am not speaking of that, Cranly said in a colder tone. I ask you
if you ever felt love towards anyone or anything?
Stephen walked on beside his friend, staring gloomily at the footpath.
--I tried to love God, he said at length. It seems now I failed. It is
very difficult. I tried to unite my will with the will of God instant
by instant. In that I did not always fail. I could perhaps do that
Cranly cut him short by asking:
--Has your mother had a happy life?
--How do I know? Stephen said.
--How many children had she?
--Nine or ten, Stephen answered. Some died.
--Was your...father Cranly interrupted himself for an instant, and then
said: I don't want to pry into your family affairs. But was your father
what is called well-to-do? I mean, when you were growing up?
--Yes, Stephen said.
--What was he? Cranly asked after a pause.
Stephen began to enumerate glibly his father's attributes.
--A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shouting
politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good
fellow, a story-teller, somebody's secretary, something in a
distillery, a tax-gatherer, a bankrupt and at present a praiser of his
Cranly laughed, tightening his grip on Stephen's arm, and said:
--The distillery is damn good.
--Is there anything else you want to know? Stephen asked.
--Are you in good circumstances at present?
--Do, look it? Stephen asked bluntly.
--So then, Cranly went on musingly, you were born in the lap of luxury.
He used the phrase broadly and loudly as he often used technical
expressions, as if he wished his hearer to understand that they were
used by him without conviction.
--Your mother must have gone through a good deal of suffering, he said
then. Would you not try to save her from suffering more even ifor would
--If I could, Stephen said, that would cost me very little.
--Then do so, Cranly said. Do as she wishes you to do. What is it for
you? You disbelieve in it. It is a form: nothing else. And you will set
her mind at rest.
He ceased and, as Stephen did not reply, remained silent. Then, as if
giving utterance to the process of his own thought, he said:
--Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a
mother's love is not. Your mother brings you into the world, carries
you first in her body. What do we know about what she feels? But
whatever she feels, it, at least, must be real. It must be. What are
our ideas or ambitions? Play. Ideas! Why, that bloody bleating goat
Temple has ideas. MacCann has ideas too. Every jackass going the roads
thinks he has ideas.
Stephen, who had been listening to the unspoken speech behind the
words, said with assumed carelessness:
--Pascal, if I remember rightly, would not suffer his mother to kiss
him as he feared the contact of her sex.
--Pascal was a pig, said Cranly.
--Aloysius Gonzaga, I think, was of the same mind, Stephen said.
--And he was another pig then, said Cranly.
--The church calls him a saint, Stephen objected.
-I don't care a flaming damn what anyone calls him, Cranly said rudely
and flatly. I call him a pig.
Stephen, preparing the words neatly in his mind, continued:
--Jesus, too, seems to have treated his mother with scant courtesy in
public but Suarez, a jesuit theologian and Spanish gentleman, has
apologized for him.
--Did the idea ever occur to you, Cranly asked, that Jesus was not
what he pretended to be?
--The first person to whom that idea occurred, Stephen answered, was
--I mean, Cranly said, hardening in his speech, did the idea ever
occur to you that he was himself a conscious hypocrite, what he called
the jews of his time, a whited sepulchre? Or, to put it more plainly,
that he was a blackguard?
--That idea never occurred to me, Stephen answered. But I am curious
to know are you trying to make a convert of me or a pervert of
He turned towards his friend's face and saw there a raw smile which
some force of will strove to make finely significant.
Cranly asked suddenly in a plain sensible tone:
--Tell me the truth. Were you at all shocked by what I said?
--Somewhat, Stephen said.
--And why were you shocked, Cranly pressed on in the same tone, if you
feel sure that our religion is false and that Jesus was not the son of
--I am not at all sure of it, Stephen said. He is more like a son of
God than a son of Mary.
--And is that why you will not communicate, Cranly asked, because you
are not sure of that too, because you feel that the host, too, may be
the body and blood of the son of God and not a wafer of bread? And
because you fear that it may be?
--Yes, Stephen said quietly, I feel that and I also fear it.
--I see, Cranly said.
Stephen, struck by his tone of closure, reopened the discussion at once
--I fear many things: dogs, horses, fire-arms, the sea,
thunder-storms, machinery, the country roads at night.
--But why do you fear a bit of bread?
--I imagine, Stephen said, that there is a malevolent reality behind
those things I say I fear.
--Do you fear then, Cranly asked, that the God of the Roman catholics
would strike you dead and damn you if you made a sacrilegious
--The God of the Roman catholics could do that now, Stephen said. I fear
more than that the chemical action which would be set up in my soul by
a false homage to a symbol behind which are massed twenty centuries of
authority and veneration.
--Would you, Cranly asked, in extreme danger, commit that particular
sacrilege? For instance, if you lived in the penal days?
--I cannot answer for the past, Stephen replied. Possibly not.
--Then, said Cranly, you do not intend to become a protestant?
--I said that I had lost the faith, Stephen answered, but not that I
had lost self-respect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake
an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is
illogical and incoherent?
They had walked on towards the township of Pembroke and now, as they
went on slowly along the avenues, the trees and the scattered lights in
the villas soothed their minds. The air of wealth and repose diffused
about them seemed to comfort their neediness. Behind a hedge of laurel
a light glimmered in the window of a kitchen and the voice of a servant
was heard singing as she sharpened knives. She sang, in short broken
Cranly stopped to listen, saying:
The soft beauty of the Latin word touched with an enchanting touch the
dark of the evening, with a touch fainter and more persuading than the
touch of music or of a woman's hand. The strife of their minds was
quelled. The figure of a woman as she appears in the liturgy of the
church passed silently through the darkness: a white-robed figure,
small and slender as a boy, and with a falling girdle. Her voice, frail
and high as a boy's, was heard intoning from a distant choir the first
words of a woman which pierce the gloom and clamour of the first
chanting of the passion:
ET TU CUM JESU GALILAEO ERAS.
And all hearts were touched and turned to her voice, shining like a
young star, shining clearer as the voice intoned the pro-paroxytone and
more faintly as the cadence died.
The singing ceased. They went on together, Cranly repeating in strongly
stressed rhythm the end of the refrain:
And when we are married,
O, how happy we'll be
For I love sweet Rosie O'Grady
And Rosie O'Grady loves me.
--There's real poetry for you, he said. There's real love.
He glanced sideways at Stephen with a strange smile and said:
--Do you consider that poetry? Or do you know what the words mean?
--I want to see Rosie first, said Stephen.
--She's easy to find, Cranly said.
His hat had come down on his forehead. He shoved it back and in the
shadow of the trees Stephen saw his pale face, framed by the dark, and
his large dark eyes. Yes. His face was handsome and his body was strong
and hard. He had spoken of a mother's love. He felt then the sufferings
of women, the weaknesses of their bodies and souls; and would shield
them with a strong and resolute arm and bow his mind to them.
Away then: it is time to go. A voice spoke softly to Stephen's lonely
heart, bidding him go and telling him that his friendship was coming to
an end. Yes; he would go. He could not strive against another. He knew
--Probably I shall go away, he said.
--Where? Cranly asked.
--Where I can, Stephen said.
--Yes, Cranly said. It might be difficult for you to live here now.
But is it that makes you go?
--I have to go, Stephen answered.
--Because, Cranly continued, you need not look upon yourself as driven
away if you do not wish to go or as a heretic or an outlaw. There are
many good believers who think as you do. Would that surprise you? The
church is not the stone building nor even the clergy and their dogmas.
It is the whole mass of those born into it. I don't know what you wish
to do in life. Is it what you told me the night we were standing
outside Harcourt Street station?
--Yes, Stephen said, smiling in spite of himself at Cranly's way of
remembering thoughts in connexion with places. The night you spent half
an hour wrangling with Doherty about the shortest way from Sallygap to
--Pothead! Cranly said with calm contempt. What does he know about the
way from Sallygap to Larras? Or what does he know about anything for
that matter? And the big slobbering washing-pot head of him!
He broke into a loud long laugh.
--Well? Stephen said. Do you remember the rest?
What you said, is it? Cranly asked. Yes, I remember it. To discover the
mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in
Stephen raised his hat in acknowledgement.
--Freedom! Cranly repeated. But you are not free enough yet to commit
a sacrilege. Tell me would you rob?
--I would beg first, Stephen said.
--And if you got nothing, would you rob?
--You wish me to say, Stephen answered, that the rights of property
are provisional, and that in certain circumstances it is not unlawful
to rob. Everyone would act in that belief. So I will not make you that
answer. Apply to the jesuit theologian, Juan Mariana de Talavera, who
will also explain to you in what circumstances you may lawfully Kill
your King and whether you had better hand him his poison in a goblet or
smear it for him upon his robe or his saddlebow. Ask me rather would I
suffer others to rob me, or if they did, would I call down upon them
what I believe is called the chastisement of the secular arm?
--And would you?
--I think, Stephen said, it would pain me as much to do so as to be
--I see, Cranly said.
He produced his match and began to clean the crevice between two teeth.
Then he said carelessly:
--Tell me, for example, would you deflower a virgin?
--Excuse me, Stephen said politely, is that not the ambition of most
--What then is your point of view? Cranly asked.
His last phrase, sour smelling as the smoke of charcoal and
disheartening, excited Stephen's brain, over which its fumes seemed to
--Look here, Cranly, he said. You have asked me what I would do and
what I would not do. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not
do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call
itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express
myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as
I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use--
silence, exile, and cunning.
Cranly seized his arm and steered him round so as to lead him back
towards Leeson Park. He laughed almost slyly and pressed Stephen's arm
with an elder's affection.
--Cunning indeed! he said. Is it you? You poor poet, you!
--And you made me confess to you, Stephen said, thrilled by his touch,
as I have confessed to you so many other things, have I not?
--Yes, my child, Cranly said, still gaily.
--You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also
what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for
another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to
make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake, and perhaps
as long as eternity too.
Cranly, now grave again, slowed his pace and said:
--Alone, quite alone. You have no fear of that. And you know what that
word means? Not only to be separate from all others but to have not
even one friend.
--I will take the risk, said Stephen.
--And not to have any one person, Cranly said, who would be more than
a friend, more even than the noblest and truest friend a man ever had.
His words seemed to have struck some deep chord in his own nature. Had
he spoken of himself, of himself as he was or wished to be? Stephen
watched his face for some moments in silence. A cold sadness was there.
He had spoken of himself, of his own loneliness which he feared.
--Of whom are you speaking? Stephen asked at length. Cranly did not
* * * * *
MARCH 20. Long talk with Cranly on the subject of my revolt.
He had his grand manner on. I supple and suave. Attacked me on the
score of love for one's mother. Tried to imagine his mother: cannot.
Told me once, in a moment of thoughtlessness, his father was sixty-one
when he was born. Can see him. Strong farmer type. Pepper and salt
suit. Square feet. Unkempt, grizzled beard. Probably attends coursing
matches. Pays his dues regularly but not plentifully to Father Dwyer of
Larras. Sometimes talks to girls after nightfall. But his mother? Very
young or very old? Hardly the first. If so, Cranly would not have
spoken as he did. Old then. Probably, and neglected. Hence Cranly's
despair of soul: the child of exhausted loins.
MARCH 21, MORNING. Thought this in bed last night but was too lazy and
free to add to it. Free, yes. The exhausted loins are those of
Elizabeth and Zacchary. Then he is the precursor. Item: he eats chiefly
belly bacon and dried figs. Read locusts and wild honey. Also, when
thinking of him, saw always a stern severed head or death mask as if
outlined on a grey curtain or veronica. Decollation they call it in the
gold. Puzzled for the moment by saint John at the Latin gate. What do I
see? A decollated percursor trying to pick the lock.
MARCH 21, NIGHT. Free. Soul free and fancy free. Let the dead bury the
dead. Ay. And let the dead marry the dead.
MARCH 22. In company with Lynch followed a sizeable hospital nurse.
Lynch's idea. Dislike it. Two lean hungry greyhounds walking after a
MARCH 23. Have not seen her since that night. Unwell? Sits at the fire
perhaps with mamma's shawl on her shoulders. But not peevish. A nice
bowl of gruel? Won't you now?
MARCH 24. Began with a discussion with my mother. Subject: B.V.M.
Handicapped by my sex and youth. To escape held up relations between
Jesus and Papa against those-between Mary and her son. Said religion
was not a lying-in hospital. Mother indulgent. Said I have a queer mind
and have read too much. Not true. Have read little and understood less.
Then she said I would come back to faith because I had a restless mind.
This means to leave church by back door of sin and re-enter through the
skylight of repentance. Cannot repent. Told her so and asked for
sixpence. Got threepence.
Then went to college. Other wrangle with little round head rogue's eye
Ghezzi. This time about Bruno the Nolan. Began in Italian and ended in
pidgin English. He said Bruno was a terrible heretic. I said he was
terribly burned. He agreed to this with some sorrow. Then gave me
recipe for what he calls RISOTTO ALLA BERGAMASCA. When he pronounces a
soft O he protrudes his full carnal lips as if he kissed the vowel. Has
he? And could he repent? Yes, he could: and cry two round rogue's
tears, one from each eye.
Crossing Stephen's, that is, my green, remembered that his countrymen
and not mine had invented what Cranly the other night called our
religion. A quartet of them, soldiers of the ninety-seventh infantry
regiment, sat at the foot of the cross and tossed up dice for the
overcoat of the crucified.
Went to library. Tried to read three reviews. Useless. She is not out
yet. Am I alarmed? About what? That she will never be out again.
I wonder if William Bond will die
For assuredly he is very ill.
Alas, poor William!
I was once at a diorama in Rotunda. At the end were pictures of big
nobs. Among them William Ewart Gladstone, just then dead. Orchestra
played O WILLIE, WE HAVE MISSED YOU.
A race of clodhoppers!
MARCH 25, MORNING. A troubled night of dreams. Want to get them off my
A long curving gallery. From the floor ascend pillars of dark vapours.
It is peopled by the images of fabulous kings, set in stone. Their
hands are folded upon their knees in token of weariness and their eyes
are darkened for the errors of men go up before them for ever as dark
Strange figures advance as from a cave. They are not as tall as men.
One does not seem to stand quite apart from another. Their faces are
phosphorescent, with darker streaks. They peer at me and their eyes
seem to ask me something. They do not speak.
MARCH 30. This evening Cranly was in the porch of the library,
proposing a problem to Dixon and her brother. A mother let her child
fall into the Nile. Still harping on the mother. A crocodile seized the
child. Mother asked it back. Crocodile said all right if she told him
what he was going to do with the child, eat it or not eat It.
This mentality, Lepidus would say, is indeed bred out of your mud by
the operation of your sun.
And mine? Is it not too? Then into Nile mud with it!
APRIL 1. Disapprove of this last phrase.
APRIL 2. Saw her drinking tea and eating cakes in Johnston's, Mooney
and O'Brien's. Rather, lynx-eyed Lynch saw her as we passed. He tells
me Cranly was invited there by brother. Did he bring his crocodile? Is
he the shining light now? Well, I discovered him. I protest I did.
Shining quietly behind a bushel of Wicklow bran.
APRIL 3. Met Davin at the cigar shop opposite Findlater's church. He
was in a black sweater and had a hurley stick. Asked me was it true I
was going away and why. Told him the shortest way to Tara was VIA
Holyhead. Just then my father came up. Introduction. Father polite and
observant. Asked Davin if he might offer him some refreshment. Davin
could not, was going to a meeting. When we came away father told me he
had a good honest eye. Asked me why I did not join a rowing club. I
pretended to think it over. Told me then how he broke Pennyfeather's
heart. Wants me to read law. Says I was cut out for that. More mud,
APRIL 5. Wild spring. Scudding clouds. O life! Dark stream of swirling
bogwater on which apple-trees have cast down their delicate flowers.
Eyes of girls among the leaves. Girls demure and romping. All fair or
auburn: no dark ones. They blush better. Houpla!
APRIL 6. Certainly she remembers the past. Lynch says all women do.
Then she remembers the time of her childhood--and mine, if I was ever
a child. The past is consumed in the present and the present is living
only because it brings forth the future. Statues of women, if Lynch be
right, should always be fully draped, one hand of the woman feeling
regretfully her own hinder parts.
APRIL 6, LATER. Michael Robartes remembers forgotten beauty and, when
his arms wrap her round, he presses in his arms the loveliness which
has long faded from the world. Not this. Not at all. I desire to press
in my arms the loveliness which has not yet come into the world.
APRIL 10. Faintly, under the heavy night, through the silence of the
city which has turned from dreams to dreamless sleep as a weary lover
whom no caresses move, the sound of hoofs upon the road. Not so faintly
now as they come near the bridge; and in a moment, as they pass the
darkened windows, the silence is cloven by alarm as by an arrow. They
are heard now far away, hoofs that shine amid the heavy night as gems,
hurrying beyond the sleeping fields to what journey's end--what heart?
--bearing what tidings?
APRIL 11. Read what I wrote last night. Vague words for a vague
emotion. Would she like it? I think so. Then I should have to like it
APRIL 13. That tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I looked it
up and find it English and good old blunt English too. Damn the dean of
studies and his funnel! What did he come here for to teach us his own
language or to learn it from us. Damn him one way or the other!
APRIL 14. John Alphonsus Mulrennan has just returned from the west of
Ireland. European and Asiatic papers please copy. He told us he met an
old man there in a mountain cabin. Old man had red eyes and short pipe.
Old man spoke Irish. Mulrennan spoke Irish. Then old man and Mulrennan
spoke English. Mulrennan spoke to him about universe and stars. Old man
sat, listened, smoked, spat. Then said:
--Ah, there must be terrible queer creatures at the latter and of the
I fear him. I fear his red-rimmed horny eyes. It is with him I must
struggle all through this night till day come, till he or I lie dead,
gripping him by the sinewy throat till.
Till what? Till he yield to me? No. I mean no harm.
APRIL 15. Met her today point blank in Grafton Street. The crowd
brought us together. We both stopped. She asked me why I never came,
said she had heard all sorts of stories about me. This was only to gain
time. Asked me was I writing poems? About whom? I asked her. This
confused her more and I felt sorry and mean. Turned off that valve at
once and opened the spiritual-heroic refrigerating apparatus, invented
and patented in all countries by Dante Alighieri. Talked rapidly of
myself and my plans. In the midst of it unluckily I made a sudden
gesture of a revolutionary nature. I must have looked like a fellow
throwing a handful of peas into the air. People began to look at us.
She shook hands a moment after and, in going away, said she hoped I
would do what I said.
Now I call that friendly, don't you?
Yes, I liked her today. A little or much? Don't know. I liked her and
it seems a new feeling to me. Then, in that case, all the rest, all
that I thought I thought and all that I felt I felt, all the rest
before now, in fact. O, give it up, old chap! Sleep it off!
APRIL 16. Away! Away!
The spell of arms and voices: the white arms of roads, their promise of
close embraces and the black arms of tall ships that stand against the
moon, their tale of distant nations. They are held out to say: We are
alone--come. And the voices say with them: We are your kinsmen. And
the air is thick with their company as they call to me, their kinsman,
making ready to go, shaking the wings of their exultant and terrible
APRIL 26. Mother is putting my new secondhand clothes in order. She
prays now, she says, that I may learn in my own life and away from home
and friends what the heart is and what it feels. Amen. So be it.
Welcome, O life, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality
of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated
conscience of my race.
APRIL 27. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good