Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses/Oxen of the Sun/405

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Ulysses, 1922.djvu


Nos omnes biberimus viridum toxicum diabolus capiat posterioria nostria     (Dog Latin) We will all drink green poison [and] the devil take the hindmost.[1] The green poison is absinthe, which Stephen referred to earlier in the day as green fairy (043.02), a name by which it is known in France. The devil take the hindmost is a common expression. Posterioria nostria is not real Latin, though the meaning (our posteriors) is clear. Presumably this comment is added by Mulligan after Stephen has ordered absinthe for everyone; Mulligan's Latin, unlike Stephen's, is not always correct (384.15-18) and he has been preoccupied with posteriors before (192.36 ff. and 197.13).

Bonsoir la compagnie     (French) Goodnight, everyone. This is the title of a French song by the Abbé Gabriel Charles de L'Attaignant. The words were subsequently translated into English by Edwin Arnold and set to new music by Constance Maud (1896). The significance of the expression is that it is closing time and Mulligan, who is trying to give Stephen the slip, is taking French leave.

A la vôtre!     (French) Cheers! Gabler restores the grave accent to the first word, but in French accents are often omitted from uppercase letters.


  1. Gifford (1988) 446.
    Thornton (1968) 354.
Annotations to James Joyce's Ulysses
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