Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Aeolus/133

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Annotations[edit | edit source]

la tua pace ... si tace     (Italian) Stephen recalls the closing words of lines 92 and 94 and all of line 96 in Canto 5 of Dante's Inferno:[1]

Inferno 5:88-96

"O animal grazïoso e benigno
che visitando vai per l’aere perso
noi che tignemmo il mondo di sanguigno,

se fosse amico il re dell’universo,
noi pregheremmo lui de la tua pace,
poi c’hai pietà del nostro mal perverso.

Di quel che udire e che parlar vi piace,
noi udiremo e parleremo a vui,
mentre che ’l vento, come fa, ci tace.

"O creature gracious and benign,
Who goest through the murky air, visiting
Us, who stained the world with blood,

If the king of the universe were a friend,
We would pray to him for your peace,
Since thou hast pity on our evil plight.

Of that which it pleases thee to hear and speak
We shall hear and speak to thee,
Whilst the wind, as it is, is silent.

The speakers are the adulterers Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini.

Joyce's . . . .mentreche has been emended to Mentre che in Gabler's corrected text.[2]

He saw them three by three ... underdarkneath the night     Following the allusion to Dante's Inferno, Stephen now conflates two episodes from the remaining parts of the Divine Comedy: the Divine Pageant (or Mystic Procession) in the 29th canto of the Purgatorio, and the vision of the Virgin Mary in the 31st canto of the Paradiso.[3]

Purgatorio 29:121-135

Tre donne in giro da la destra rota
venian danzando; l'una tanto rossa
ch'a pena fora dentro al foco nota;

l'altr'era come se le carni e l'ossa
fossero state di smeraldo fatte;
la terza parea neve teste' mossa;

e or parean da la bianca tratte,
or da la rossa; e dal canto di questa
l'altre toglien l'andare e tarde e ratte.

Da la sinistra quattro facean festa,
in porpore vestite, dietro al modo
d'una di lor ch'avea tre occhi in testa.

Appresso tutto il pertrattato nodo
vidi due vecchi in abito dispari,
ma pari in atto e onesto e sodo.

Three ladies in a ring at the right wheel
came dancing; one so red
that scarcely would she have been noticed in the fire;

the next was as though her flesh and bones
had been made of emerald;
the third seemed snow newly fallen;

and now they seemed to be led by the white,
now by the red; and from the song of this one
the others took their pace, both slow and fast.

On the left four made festival,
in purple clothed, after the manner
of one of them, who had three eyes in her head.

Behind the whole of the aforementioned knot
I saw two old men in disparate habits,
but alike in their actions both honest and solid.

Paradiso 31:124-142

E come quivi ove s’aspetta il temo
che mal guidò Fetonte, più s’infiamma,
e quinci e quindi il lume si fa scemo,

così quella pacifica oriafiamma
nel mezzo s’avvivava, e d’ogne parte
per igual modo allentava la fiamma;

e a quel mezzo, con le penne sparte,
vid’ io più di mille angeli festanti,
ciascun distinto di fulgore e d’arte.

Vidi a lor giochi quivi e a lor canti
ridere una bellezza, che letizia
era ne li occhi a tutti li altri santi;

e s’io avessi in dir tanta divizia
quanta ad imaginar, non ardirei
lo minimo tentar di sua delizia.

Bernardo, come vide li occhi miei
nel caldo suo calor fissi e attenti,
li suoi con tanto affetto volse a lei,

che ’ miei di rimirar fé più ardenti.

And as the place where one awaits the shaft
that Phaëton ill guided is most inflamed,
while on this side and on that the light abates,

so that peaceful Oriflamme
was rekindled in the middle, while on each side
in equal measure the flame weakened;

and at that middle, with their wings displayed,
I saw more than a thousand jubilant angels,
each one distinct in splendour and in skill.

I saw, at their games there and at their songs
smiling, a beautiful one, who joy
was in the eyes of all the other saints;

and if I had in speech as much abundance divizia
as in imagination, I would not dare
attempt the least of her delights.

Bernard, as soon as he saw my eyes
on her warm heat fixed and attentive,
his own with such affection he turned to her

that he made mine more eager to regaze.

He saw them three by three     Dante, who employed terza rima in his Divine Comedy.

three by three     This phrase does not occur in the passages Stephen conflates. Gifford[4] mistranslates Purgatorio 29:110 tre e tre as three by three, believing it refers to the three approaching ladies, but tre e tre means three and three, and refers to the first three and final three of the seven bands in the Divine Pageant: twenty-four elders, representing the books of the Old Testament; the four Living Creatures of the Apocalypse, representing the four Gospels; the three ladies, representing the three Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity; four dancers, representing the four Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude; two old men, representing the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Saint Paul; four humble men, representing the Epistles of Saints Peter, James, John and Jude; and one old man, representing the Book of Revelation. Stephen, however, is still thinking of the terza rima Dante employs in his Comedy, in which the rhymes occur three by three.

entwining     Stephen is thinking of the manner in which the rhymes are entwined in Dante's terza rima.

per l'aere perso     (Italian) through the murky air. In his Convivio, Dante defines perse as a colour mingled of purple and of black, but the black predominates.[5] See the quotation from Dante's Inferno 5:89 above.

quella pacifica oriafiamma     (Italian) that peaceful Oriflamme. See the quotation from Dante's Paradiso 31:127 above. The Oriflamme was the battle standard of the kings of France.

di rimirar fè più ardenti     (Italian) made [my eyes] more eager to regaze. See the quotation from Dante's Paradiso 31:142 above. These are the closing words of the canto.

But I old men     Dante saw his rhymes three by three as colourful girls, but Stephen sees the rhymes he employed in the quatrain he wrote in Proteus as pairs of old men. See 127.20-23.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gifford (1988) 143.
    Thornton (1968) 120-121.
  2. Gabler (1984) 114.
  3. Gifford (1988) 143.
    Thornton (1968) 121.
  4. Gifford (1988) 143.
  5. Dante, Convivio 4:20.

Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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