Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Proteus/047

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Ulysses, 1922.djvu

Annotations[edit | edit source]

the red Egyptians     Gypsies.[1] In Ireland, however, Gypsies usually refers to members of the Travelling Community, who are ethnically Irish. In this passage Stephen is relying for his quotations and information on Richard Head's The Canting Academy of 1673. Head describes the Gypsies thus:

The principal Professors of this Gibberish or Canting, I find, are a sort of People which are vulgarly called Gypsies; and they do endeavour to perswade the ignorant, that they were extracted from the Egyptians ... they artificially discolour their faces, and with this tawny hew and tatterdemallion habit, they rove up and down the Country, and with the pretension of wonderful prediction, delude a many of the younger and less intelligent people.[2]

blued feet     Stephen is probably referring to the discoloration of the feet which occurs when the traditional blue dye indigo is worked into fabrics by treading barefoot in the vats. In ancient Egypt the preparation of the indigo for the vats also involved treading.[3]

ruffian     In standard English ruffian is a pejorative term for a lawless thug. In thieves' cant, ruffin or ruffian refers specifically to the Devil. Stephen may have confused the two. In Richard Head's The Canting Academy, male gypsies are usually called rogues or coves.

strolling mort     (Thieves' Cant) wandering wench. In Richard Head's The Canting Academy, Strowling Morts are described thus:

Strowling-Morts are such as pretend to be Widdows, travelling about from County to County, making laces upon [st]aves, as Beggars tape, or the like; they are subtil Queans, hard-hearted, light-fingered, hypocritical and dissembling, and very dangerous to meet, if any Ruffler or Rogue be in their company.[4]

bing awast, to Romeville     (Thieves' Cant) Go away, to London.[5] Stephen is quoting the first line of the seventh and final stanza of the canting song, The Rogue's Delight in Praise of his Strolling Mort, which Richard Head includes in The Canting Academy. Rome means rum, i.e. excellent; Romeville is the cant term for London. See below.

Buss     (archaic) Kiss. Buss is archaic English. It is not, and never has been, cant.

wap in rogue's rum lingo     (Thieves' cant) fuck, in the excellent language of the Gypsies.,[6] however, Gifford followed rules of voluntary censorship, the closest and obvious translation of "wap" is "fuck". While the word, "dock" in the final verse is actually an intentional euphemism since in this instance the word, wap (or fuck), would be without poetic force. Stephen translates the Shakespearean term buss into cant. On the term lingo, Eric Partridge writes:

lingo was in [the 18th century], and occ[asionally] later, a synonym of the slang, the flash (language); just - only just - possibly it was, for a decade, c[ant] in this specific sense.[7]

O, my dimber wapping dell     (Thieves' Cant) O, my pretty loving wench.[8] Stephen is quoting the second line of the seventh and final stanza of the canting song, The Rogue's Delight in Praise of his Strolling Mort, which Richard Head includes in The Canting Academy. To wap means to copulate. See below.

White thy fambles ... clip and kiss      (Thieves' Cant) This is the second stanza of the canting song, The Rogue's Delight in Praise of his Strolling Mort, which Richard Head includes in The Canting Academy:[9]

The Rogue's Delight in Praise of his Strolling Mort

Doxy oh! Thy Glaziers shine
As Glymmar by the Salomon,
No Gentry Mort hath prats like thine
No Cove e're wap'd with such a one.

White thy fambles, red thy gan,
And thy quarrons dainty is,
Couch a hogshead with me than,
In the Darkmans clip and kiss.

What though I no Togeman wear,
Nor Commission, Mish, or slate,
Store of strummel wee'l have here.
And i'th' Skipper lib in state.

Wapping thou I know dost love,
Else the Ruffin cly thee Mort,
From thy stampers then remove
Thy Drawers and let's prig in sport.

When the Lightmans up do's call
Margery Prater from her nest,
And her Cackling cheats with all
In a Boozing-Ken wee'l feast.

There if Lour we want I'l mill
A Gage or nip for thee a bung,
Rum booz thou shalt booz thy fill
And crash a Grunting cheat that's young.

Bing awast to Rome-vile then
O my dimber wapping Dell,
Wee'l heave a booth and dock agen
Then trining scape and all is well.

Wench oh! Thy eyes shine
As fire by the Mass[10]
No gentlewoman has thighs like thine
No fellow ever made love with such a one.

White thy hands, red thy mouth,
And thy body dainty is,
Lie down with me then,
In the night embrace and kiss.

What though I no cloak wear,
Nor shirt, chemise, or sheet,
Plenty of straw we'll have here.
And in the barn sleep in state.

Copulating thou I know dost love,
Else the Devil seize thee, wench,
From thy feet then remove
Thy stockings and let's ride in sport.

When the Sun rises and does call
The hen from her nest,
And her chickens withal
In a tippling-house we'll feast.

There if money we want I'll steal
A pot or nab for thee a purse,
Excellent liquor thou shalt drink thy fill
And crunch a pig that's young.

Go away to London then
O my pretty loving wench,
We'll rob a house and fuck again,
Then hanging escape and all is well.

frate porcospino     (Italian) Brother Porcupine.[11] Stephen is probably referring to Aquinas's habit of surrounding his assertions with a defensive ring of arguments, which makes it as difficult to attack him as it is to attack a porcupine or hedgehog.

followed by the sun's flaming sword     Cf. Genesis 3:24, "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

oinopa ponton, a winedark sea     See 005.13.

Omnis caro ad te veniet     (Latin) All flesh shall come unto thee.[12] This quotation, adapted from Psalms 65:1-2 (Vulgate 64:1-2),[13] occurs in the Introit of the Mass for the Dead.

My tablets     William Shakespeare, Hamlet 1:5:107: "My tables--meet it is I set it down/That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain." In substituting tablets for Hamlet's tables, Stephen is repeating the mistake Jonathan Swift is alleged to have made when he first laid eyes on the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. His godson, Thomas Sheridan, recounts the following anecdote in relation to Swift's satirical epigram on the construction of the fort:

The dean, in his lunacy, had some intervals of sense; at which time his guardians or physicians took him out for the air. On one of these days, when they came to the Park, Swift remarked a new building, which he had never seen, and asked what it was designed for. To which Dr. Kingsbury answered, "That, Mr. dean, is the magazine for arms and powder, for the security of the city." "Oh! oh!" says the dean, pulling out his pocketbook, "let me take an item of that. This is worth remarking: 'my tablets,' as Hamlet says, 'my tablets — memory, put down that!" — Which produced the above lines, said to be the last he ever wrote.[14]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gifford (1988) 61.
    Thornton (1968) 60-61.
  2. Richard Head, The Canting Academy, London (1673), page 2.
  3. Robert James Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology 136.
  4. Richard Head, The Canting Academy, London (1673), page 86.
  5. Gifford (1988) 61.
    Thornton (1968) 61.
  6. Gifford (1988) 61.
  7. Partridge, Eric (1995). Dictionary of the Underworld. Ware: Wordsworth Editions Ltd. p. 410. ISBN 1-85326-361-3. 
  8. Gifford (1988) 61.
    Thornton (1968) 61.
  9. Richard Head, The Canting Academy, London (1673), pp. 19-20.
  10. By the Mass, I believe, is an oath, referring to the Catholic Mass. Hence: Your eyes are as bright as fire, by God!
  11. Gifford (1988) 61.
    Thornton (1968) 61.
  12. Gifford, Don; Seidman, Robert J. (1988). Ulysses Annotated. University of California Press. p. 62. 
    Thornton, Weldon (1968). Allusions in Ulysses. University of North Carolina Press. p. 62. 
  13. Bible Gateway
  14. Swift, Jonathan (1801). The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, D.D., Volume 8. London. p. 228. ISBN 1-85326-361-3. 

Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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