Ulysses By James Joyce Chapter 15 - Circe

PRIVATE CARR: (Pulls himself free and comes forward) What's that you're saying about my king?

(Edward the Seventh appears in an archway. He wars a white jersey on which an image of the Sacred Heart is stitched with the insignia of Garter and Thistle, Golden Fleece, Elephant of Denmark, Skinner's and Probyn's horse, Lincoln's Inn bencher and ancient and honourable artillery company of Massachusetts. He sucks a red jujube. He is robed as a grand elect perfect and sublime mason with trowel and apron, marked made in Germany. In his left hand he holds a plasterer's bucket on which is printed Defense d'uriner. A roar of welcome greets him.)

EDWARD THE SEVENTH: (Slowly, solemnly but indistinctly) Peace, perfect peace. For identification, bucket in my hand. Cheerio, boys. (He turns to his subjects) We have come here to witness a clean straight fight and we heartily wish both men the best of good luck. Mahak makar a bak.

(He shakes hands with Private Carr, Private Compton, Stephen, Bloom and Lynch. General applause. Edward the Seventh lifts his bucket graciously in acknowledgment.)

PRIVATE CARR: (To Stephen) Say it again.

STEPHEN: (Nervous, friendly, pulls himself up) I understand your point of view though I have no king myself for the moment. This is the age of patent medicines. A discussion is difficult down here. But this is the point. You die for your country. Suppose. (He places his arm on Private Carr's sleeve) Not that I wish it for you. But I say: Let my country die for me. Up to the present it has done so. I didn't want it to die. Damn death. Long live life!

EDWARD THE SEVENTH: (Levitates over heaps of slain, in the garb and with the halo of Joking Jesus, a white jujube in his phosphorescent face)

My methods are new and are causing surprise. To make the blind see I throw dust in their eyes.

STEPHEN: Kings and unicorns! (He fills back a pace) Come somewhere and we'll . . . What was that girl saying? . . .

PRIVATE COMPTON: Eh, Harry, give him a kick in the knackers. Stick one into Jerry.

BLOOM: (To the privates, softly) He doesn't know what he's saying. Taken a little more than is good for him. Absinthe. Greeneyed monster. I know him. He's a gentleman, a poet. It's all right.

STEPHEN: (Nods, smiling and laughing) Gentleman, patriot, scholar and judge of impostors.

PRIVATE CARR: I don't give a bugger who he is.

PRIVATE COMPTON: We don't give a bugger who he is.

STEPHEN: I seem to annoy them. Green rag to a bull.

(Kevin Egan of Paris in black Spanish tasselled shirt and peep-o'-day boy's hat signs to Stephen.)

KEVIN EGAN: H'lo! Bonjour! The vieille ogresse with the dents jaunes.

(Patrice Egan peeps from behind, his rabbitface nibbling a quince leaf.)

PATRICE: Socialiste!

DON EMILE PATRIZIO FRANZ RUPERT POPE HENNESSY: (In medieval hauberk, two wild geese volant on his helm, with noble indignation points a mailed hand against the privates) Werf those eykes to footboden, big grand porcos of johnyellows todos covered of gravy!

BLOOM: (To Stephen) Come home. You'll get into trouble.

STEPHEN: (Swaying) I don't avoid it. He provokes my intelligence.

BIDDY THE CLAP: One immediately observes that he is of patrician lineage.

THE VIRAGO: Green above the red, says he. Wolfe Tone.

THE BAWD: The red's as good as the green. And better. Up the soldiers! Up King Edward!

A ROUGH: (Laughs) Ay! Hands up to De Wet.

THE CITIZEN: (With a huge emerald muffler and shillelagh, calls)

May the God above
Send down a dove
With teeth as sharp as razors
To slit the throats
Of the English dogs
That hanged our Irish leaders.

THE CROPPY BOY: (The ropenoose round his neck, gripes in his issuing bowels with both hands)

I bear no hate to a living thing, But I love my country beyond the king.

RUMBOLD, DEMON BARBER: (Accompanied by two blackmasked assistants, advances with gladstone bag which he opens) Ladies and gents, cleaver purchased by Mrs Pearcy to slay Mogg. Knife with which Voisin dismembered the wife of a compatriot and hid remains in a sheet in the cellar, the unfortunate female's throat being cut from ear to ear. Phial containing arsenic retrieved from body of Miss Barron which sent Seddon to the gallows.

(He jerks the rope. The assistants leap at the victim's legs and drag him downward, grunting the croppy boy's tongue protrudes violently.)


Horhot ho hray hor hother's hest.

(He gives up the ghost. A violent erection of the hanged sends gouts of sperm spouting through his deathclothes on to the cobblestones. Mrs Bellingham, Mrs Yelverton Barry and the Honourable Mrs Mervyn Talboys rush forward with their handkerchiefs to sop it up.)

RUMBOLD: I'm near it myself. (He undoes the noose) Rope which hanged the awful rebel. Ten shillings a time. As applied to Her Royal Highness. (He plunges his head into the gaping belly of the hanged and draws out his head again clotted with coiled and smoking entrails) My painful duty has now been done. God save the king!

EDWARD THE SEVENTH: (Dances slowly, solemnly, rattling his bucket, and sings with soft contentment)

On coronation day, on coronation day, O, won't we have a merry time, Drinking whisky, beer and wine!

PRIVATE CARR: Here. What are you saying about my king?

STEPHEN: (Throws up his hands) O, this is too monotonous! Nothing. He wants my money and my life, though want must be his master, for some brutish empire of his. Money I haven't. (He searches his pockets vaguely) GAVE IT TO SOMEONE.

PRIVATE CARR: Who wants your bleeding money?

STEPHEN: (Tries to move off) Will someone tell me where I am least likely to meet these necessary evils? Ca se voit aussi a paris. Not that I . . . But, by Saint Patrick . . . !

(The women's heads coalesce. Old Gummy Granny in sugarloaf hat appears seated on a toadstool, the deathflower of the potato blight on her breast.)

STEPHEN: Aha! I know you, gammer! Hamlet, revenge! The old sow that eats her farrow!

OLD GUMMY GRANNY: (Rocking to and fro) Ireland's sweetheart, the king of Spain's daughter, alanna. Strangers in my house, bad manners to them! (She keens with banshee woe) Ochone! Ochone! Silk of the kine! (She wails) You met with poor old Ireland and how does she stand?

STEPHEN: How do I stand you? The hat trick! Where's the third person of the Blessed Trinity? Soggarth Aroon? The reverend Carrion Crow.

CISSY CAFFREY: (Shrill) Stop them from fighting!

A ROUGH: Our men retreated.

PRIVATE CARR: (Tugging at his belt) I'll wring the neck of any fucker says a word against my fucking king.

BLOOM: (Terrified) He said nothing. Not a word. A pure misunderstanding.

THE CITIZEN: Erin go bragh!

(Major Tweedy and the Citizen exhibit to each other medals, decorations, trophies of war, wounds. Both salute with fierce hostility.)

PRIVATE COMPTON: Go it, Harry. Do him one in the eye. He's a proboer.

STEPHEN: Did I? When?

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