Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

VIRAG: (Agueshaken, profuse yellow spawn foaming over his bony epileptic lips) She sold lovephiltres, whitewax, orangeflower. Panther, the Roman centurion, polluted her with his genitories. (He sticks out a flickering phosphorescent scorpion tongue, his hand on his fork) Messiah! He burst her tympanum. (With gibbering baboon's cries he jerks his hips in the cynical spasm) Hik! Hek! Hak! Hok! Huk! Kok! Kuk!

(Ben Jumbo Dollard, Rubicund, musclebound, hairynostrilled, hugebearded, cabbageeared, shaggychested, shockmaned, fat-papped, stands forth, his loins and genitals tightened into a pair of black bathing bagslops.)

BEN DOLLARD: (Nakkering castanet bones in his huge padded paws, yodels jovially in base barreltone) When love absorbs my ardent soul.

(The virgins Nurse Callan and Nurse Quigley burst through the ringkeepers and the ropes and mob him with open arms.)

THE VIRGINS: (Gushingly) Big Ben! Ben my Chree!

A VOICE: Hold that fellow with the bad breeches.

BEN DOLLARD: (Smites his thigh in abundant laughter) Hold him now.

HENRY: (Caressing on his breast a severed female head, murmurs) Thine heart, mine love. (He plucks his lutestrings) When first I saw . . .

VIRAG: (Sloughing his skins, his multitudinous plumage moulting) Rats! (He yawns, showing a coalblack throat, and closes his jaws by an upward push of his parchmentroll) After having said which I took my departure. Farewell. Fare thee well. Dreck!

(Henry Flower combs his moustache and beard rapidly with a pocketcomb and gives a cow's lick to his hair. Steered by his rapier, he glides to the door, his wild harp slung behind him. Virag reaches the door in two ungainly stilthops, his tail cocked, and deftly claps sideways on the wall a pusyellow flybill, butting it with his head.)

THE FLYBILL: K. II. Post No Bills. Strictly confidential. Dr Hy Franks.

HENRY: All is lost now.

(Virag unscrews his head in a trice and holds it under his arm.)


(Exeunt severally.)

STEPHEN: (Over his shoulder to zoe) You would have preferred the fighting parson who founded the protestant error. But beware Antisthenes, the dog sage, and the last end of Arius Heresiarchus. The agony in the closet.

LYNCH: All one and the same God to her.

STEPHEN: (Devoutly) And sovereign Lord of all things.

FLORRY: (To Stephen) I'm sure you're a spoiled priest. Or a monk.

LYNCH: He is. A cardinal's son.

STEPHEN: Cardinal sin. Monks of the screw.

(His Eminence Simon Stephen Cardinal Dedalus, Primate of all Ireland, appears in the doorway, dressed in red soutane, sandals and socks. Seven dwarf simian acolytes, also in red, cardinal sins, uphold his train, peeping under it. He wears a battered silk hat sideways on his head. His thumbs are stuck in his armpits and his palms outspread. Round his neck hangs a rosary of corks ending on his breast in a corkscrew cross. Releasing his thumbs, he invokes grace from on high with large wave gestures and proclaims with bloated pomp:)


Conservio lies captured
He lies in the lowest dungeon
With manacles and chains around his limbs
Weighing upwards of three tons.

(He looks at all for a moment, his right eye closed tight, his left cheek puffed out. Then, unable to repress his merriment, he rocks to and fro, arms akimbo, and sings with broad rollicking humour:)

O, the poor little fellow
Hihihihihis legs they were yellow
He was plump, fat and heavy and brisk as a snake
But some bloody savage
To graize his white cabbage
He murdered Nell Flaherty's duckloving drake.

(A multitude of midges swarms white over his robe. He scratches himself with crossed arms at his ribs, grimacing, and exclaims:)

I'm suffering the agony of the damned. By the hoky fiddle, thanks be to Jesus those funny little chaps are not unanimous. If they were they'd walk me off the face of the bloody globe.

(His head aslant he blesses curtly with fore and middle fingers, imparts the Easter kiss and doubleshuffles off comically, swaying his hat from side to side, shrinking quickly to the size of his trainbearers. The dwarf acolytes, giggling, peeping, nudging, ogling, Easterkissing, zigzag behind him. His voice is heard mellow from afar, merciful male, melodious:)

Shall carry my heart to thee,
Shall carry my heart to thee,
And the breath of the balmy night
Shall carry my heart to thee!
(The trick doorhandle turns.)


ZOE: The devil is in that door.

(A male form passes down the creaking staircase and is heard taking the waterproof and hat from the rack. Bloom starts forward involuntarily and, half closing the door as he passes, takes the chocolate from his pocket and offers it nervously to Zoe.)

ZOE: (Sniffs his hair briskly) Hmmm! Thank your mother for the rabbits. I'm very fond of what I like.

BLOOM: (Hearing a male voice in talk with the whores on the doorstep, pricks his ears) If it were he? After? Or because not? Or the double event?

ZOE: (Tears open the silverfoil) Fingers was made before forks. (She breaks off and nibbles a piece gives a piece to Kitty Ricketts and then turns kittenishly to Lynch) No objection to French lozenges? (He nods. She taunts him.) Have it now or wait till you get it? (He opens his mouth, his head cocked. She whirls the prize in left circle. His head follows. She whirls it back in right circle. He eyes her.) Catch!

(She tosses a piece. With an adroit snap he catches it and bites it through with a crack.)

KITTY: (Chewing) The engineer I was with at the bazaar does have lovely ones. Full of the best liqueurs. And the viceroy was there with his lady. The gas we had on the Toft's hobbyhorses. I'm giddy still.

BLOOM: (In Svengali's fur overcoat, with folded arms and Napoleonic forelock, frowns in ventriloquial exorcism with piercing eagle glance towards the door. Then rigid with left foot advanced he makes a swift pass with impelling fingers and gives the sign of past master, drawing his right arm downwards from his left shoulder.) Go, go, go, I conjure you, whoever you are!

(A male cough and tread are heard passing through the mist outside. Bloom's features relax. He places a hand in his waistcoat, posing calmly. Zoe offers him chocolate.)

BLOOM: (Solemnly) Thanks.

ZOE: Do as you're bid. Here!

(A firm heelclacking tread is heard on the stairs.)

BLOOM: (Takes the chocolate) Aphrodisiac? Tansy and pennyroyal. But I bought it. Vanilla calms or? Mnemo. Confused light confuses memory. Red influences lupus. Colours affect women's characters, any they have. This black makes me sad. Eat and be merry for tomorrow. (He eats) Influence taste too, mauve. But it is so long since I. Seems new. Aphro. That priest. Must come. Better late than never. Try truffles at Andrews.

(The door opens. Bella Cohen, a massive whoremistress, enters. She is dressed in a threequarter ivory gown, fringed round the hem with tasselled selvedge, and cools herself flirting a black horn fan like Minnie Hauck in Carmen. On her left hand are wedding and keeper rings. Her eyes are deeply carboned. She has a sprouting moustache. Her olive face is heavy, slightly sweated and fullnosed with orangetainted nostrils. She has large pendant beryl eardrops.)

BELLA: My word! I'm all of a mucksweat.

(She glances round her at the couples. Then her eyes rest on Bloom with hard insistence. Her large fan winnows wind towards her heated faceneck and embonpoint. Her falcon eyes glitter.)

THE FAN: (Flirting quickly, then slowly) Married, I see.

BLOOM: Yes. Partly, I have mislaid . . .

THE FAN: (Half opening, then closing) And the missus is master. Petticoat government.

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