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'll 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 He 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?
--That. The... funnel.
--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
--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!
In 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 tossed his head and laughed.
--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 AS 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