Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

STEPHEN: You remember fairly accurately all my errors, boasts, mistakes. How long shall I continue to close my eyes to disloyalty? Whetstone!

THE CAP: Bah!

STEPHEN: Here's another for you. (He frowns) The reason is because the fundamental and the dominant are separated by the greatest possible interval which . . .

THE CAP: Which? Finish. You can't.

STEPHEN: (With an effort) Interval which. Is the greatest possible ellipse. Consistent with. The ultimate return. The octave. Which.

THE CAP: Which?

(Outside the gramophone begins to blare The Holy City.)

STEPHEN: (Abruptly) What went forth to the ends of the world to traverse not itself, God, the sun, Shakespeare, a commercial traveller, having itself traversed in reality itself becomes that self. Wait a moment. Wait a second. Damn that fellow's noise in the street. Self which it itself was ineluctably preconditioned to become. Ecco!

LYNCH: (With a mocking whinny of laughter grins at Bloom and Zoe Higgins) What a learned speech, eh?

ZOE: (Briskly) God help your head, he knows more than you have forgotten.

(With obese stupidity Florry Talbot regards Stephen.)

FLORRY: They say the last day is coming this summer.

KITTY: No!

ZOE: (Explodes in laughter) Great unjust God!

FLORRY: (Offended) Well, it was in the papers about Antichrist. O, my foot's tickling.

(Ragged barefoot newsboys, jogging a wagtail kite, patter past, yelling.)

THE NEWSBOYS: Stop press edition. Result of the rockinghorse races. Sea serpent in the royal canal. Safe arrival of Antichrist.

(Stephen turns and sees Bloom.)

STEPHEN: A time, times and half a time.

(Reuben I Antichrist, wandering jew, a clutching hand open on his spine, stumps forward. Across his loins is slung a pilgrim's wallet from which protrude promissory notes and dishonoured bills. Aloft over his shoulder he bears a long boatpole from the hook of which the sodden huddled mass of his only son, saved from Liffey waters, hangs from the slack of its breeches. A hobgoblin in the image of Punch Costello, hipshot, crookbacked, hydrocephalic, prognathic with receding forehead and Ally Sloper nose, tumbles in somersaults through the gathering darkness.)

ALL: What?

THE HOBGOBLIN: (His jaws chattering, capers to and fro, goggling his eyes, squeaking, kangaroohopping with outstretched clutching arms, then all at once thrusts his lipless face through the fork of his thighs) Il vient! C'est moi! L'homme qui rit! L'homme primigene! (He whirls round and round with dervish howls) Sieurs et dames, faites vos jeux! (He crouches juggling. Tiny roulette planets fly from his hands.) Les jeux sont faits! (The planets rush together, uttering crepitant cracks) Rien va plus! (The planets, buoyant balloons, sail swollen up and away. He springs off into vacuum.)

FLORRY: (Sinking into torpor, crossing herself secretly) The end of the world!

(A female tepid effluvium leaks out from her. Nebulous obscurity occupies space. Through the drifting fog without the gramophone blares over coughs and feetshuffling.)

THE GRAMOPHONE: Jerusalem!

Open your gates and sing

Hosanna . . .

(A rocket rushes up the sky and bursts. A white star fills from it, proclaiming the consummation of all things and second coming of Elijah. Along an infinite invisible tightrope taut from zenith to nadir the End of the World, a twoheaded octopus in gillie's kilts, busby and tartan filibegs, whirls through the murk, head over heels, in the form of the Three Legs of Man.)

THE END OF THE WORLD: (with a Scotch accent) Wha'll dance the keel row, the keel row, the keel row?

(Over the possing drift and choking breathcoughs, Elijah's voice, harsh as a corncrake's, jars on high. Perspiring in a loose lawn surplice with funnel sleeves he is seen, vergerfaced, above a rostrum about which the banner of old glory is draped. He thumps the parapet.)

ELIJAH: No yapping, if you please, in this booth. Jake Crane, Creole Sue, Dove Campbell, Abe Kirschner, do your coughing with your mouths shut. Say, I am operating all this trunk line. Boys, do it now. God's time is 12.25. Tell mother you'll be there. Rush your order and you play a slick ace. Join on right here. Book through to eternity junction, the nonstop run. Just one word more. Are you a god or a doggone clod? If the second advent came to Coney Island are we ready? Florry Christ, Stephen Christ, Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Kitty Christ, Lynch Christ, it's up to you to sense that cosmic force. Have we cold feet about the cosmos? No. Be on the side of the angels. Be a prism. You have that something within, the higher self. You can rub shoulders with a Jesus, a Gautama, an Ingersoll. Are you all in this vibration? I say you are. You once nobble that, congregation, and a buck joyride to heaven becomes a back number. You got me? It's a lifebrightener, sure. The hottest stuff ever was. It's the whole pie with jam in. It's just the cutest snappiest line out. It is immense, supersumptuous. It restores. It vibrates. I know and I am some vibrator. Joking apart and, getting down to bedrock, A. J. Christ Dowie and the harmonial philosophy, have you got that? O. K. Seventyseven west sixtyninth street. Got me? That's it. You call me up by sunphone any old time. Bumboosers, save your stamps. (He shouts) Now then our glory song. All join heartily in the singing. Encore! (He sings) Jeru . . .

THE GRAMOPHONE: (Drowning his voice) Whorusalaminyourhighhohhhh . . . (The disc rasps gratingly against the needle)

THE THREE WHORES: (Covering their ears, squawk) Ahhkkk!

ELIJAH: (In rolledup shirtsleeves, black in the face, shouts at the top of his voice, his arms uplifted) Big Brother up there, Mr President, you hear what I done just been saying to you. Certainly, I sort of believe strong in you, Mr President. I certainly am thinking now Miss Higgins and Miss Ricketts got religion way inside them. Certainly seems to me I don't never see no wusser scared female than the way you been, Miss Florry, just now as I done seed you. Mr President, you come long and help me save our sisters dear. (He winks at his audience) Our Mr President, he twig the whole lot and he aint saying nothing.

KITTY-KATE: I forgot myself. In a weak moment I erred and did what I did on Constitution hill. I was confirmed by the bishop and enrolled in the brown scapular. My mother's sister married a Montmorency. It was a working plumber was my ruination when I was pure.

ZOE-FANNY: I let him larrup it into me for the fun of it.

FLORRY-TERESA: It was in consequence of a portwine beverage on top of Hennessy's three star. I was guilty with Whelan when he slipped into the bed.

STEPHEN: In the beginning was the word, in the end the world without end. Blessed be the eight beatitudes.

(The beatitudes, Dixon, Madden, Crotthers, Costello, Lenehan, Bannon, Mulligan and Lynch in white surgical students' gowns, four abreast, goosestepping, tramp fist past in noisy marching)

THE BEATITUDES: (Incoherently) Beer beef battledog buybull businum barnum buggerum bishop.

LYSTER: (In quakergrey kneebreeches and broadbrimmed hat, says discreetly) He is our friend. I need not mention names. Seek thou the light.

(He corantos by. Best enters in hairdresser's attire, shinily laundered, his locks in curlpapers. He leads John Eglinton who wears a mandarin's kimono of Nankeen yellow, lizardlettered, and a high pagoda hat.)

BEST: (Smiling, lifts the hat and displays a shaven poll from the crown of which bristles a pigtail toupee tied with an orange topknot) I was just beautifying him, don't you know. A thing of beauty, don't you know, Yeats says, or I mean, Keats says.

JOHN EGLINTON: (Produces a greencapped dark lantern and flashes it towards a corner: with carping accent) Esthetics and cosmetics are for the boudoir. I am out for truth. Plain truth for a plain man. Tanderagee wants the facts and means to get them.

(In the cone of the searchlight behind the coalscuttle, ollave, holyeyed, the bearded figure of Mananaun Maclir broods, chin on knees. He rises slowly. A cold seawind blows from his druid mouth. About his head writhe eels and elvers. He is encrusted with weeds and shells. His right hand holds a bicycle pump. His left hand grasps a huge crayfish by its two talons.)

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