JAMES JOYCE, “Telemachus”—from ULYSSES (1922)


Notes © 2019 by M. Keith Booker

One of the hallmarks of Ulysses is the intricate interconnectedness of its different parts. At the same time, each of the eighteen chapters has a character of its own and stands apart more than do the individuals chapters of any other novel. Each has been given a title by scholars based on its relationship to Homer’s Odyssey, and much scholarship on Ulysses actually addresses individualchapters rather than the entire book. As the first chapter begins, it is the morning of June 16, 1904, a Thursday. Young poet Stephen Dedalus (age 22) has been back in Ireland for nearly a year, having returned from Paris due to the serious illness of his mother, who died soon afterward. He is still in mourning eleven months later. We know Stephen already if we follow Joyce, because he is the protagonist of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), which tracks his development from early childhood until his departure for France at the end of the novel. With housing scarce in Dublin, Stephen and his friend Buck Mulligan (joined by the Englishman Haines, who is in Ireland to study Irish culture) are living in the Dublin suburb of Sandycove in a Martello Tower, one of the short, round, squat towers that were built by the British at various points around their empire as coastal fortifications—largely to guard against French invasions, given the level of tensions between the British and postrevolutionary France. These tensions, in fact, led to an uprising in Ireland in 1798, aided by a planned French invasion, but the invasion was mostly aborted due to bad weather at sea. The uprising subsequently collapsed. The British colonial domination of Ireland is thus established as important background to the text from the very beginning. At the same time, the setting is quite realistic. Joyce’s friend Oliver St. John Gogarty once rented a Martello Tower, and Joyce stayed there with him for a time. The tower in which Joyce stayed (and which inspired the tower in which Stephen is staying) is now maintained as a museum in modern-day Dublin. Many aspects of Stephen’s character and experience are based on those of Joyce, though Joyce views him with irony as he looks back from the standpoint of a much more mature man and artist. As the chapter begins, Mulligan is preparing to begin his morning shave on the flat top of the tower, a procedure that he undertakes in parody of the Catholic mass. He calls Stephen to come up and join him.

Related image
The Martello Tower in Sandymount, Dublin, where Joyce stayed briefly in 1904. Originally built in 1804, it now serves as a museum.


* Stately, plump Buck Mulligan[1] came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft[2] and intoned:

Introibo ad altare Dei.[3]

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called out coarsely:

—Come up, Kinch![4] Come up, you fearful jesuit![5]

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest.[6] He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding land and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

—Back to barracks! he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

—For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine christine[7]: body and soul and blood and ouns.[8] Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles.[9] Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long slow whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos.[10] Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.[11]

—Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?[12]

He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages.[13] A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.

—The mockery of it! he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek![14]

He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily halfway and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck.

Buck Mulligan’s gay voice went on.

—My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls.[15] But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn’t it?[16] Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?

He laid the brush aside and, laughing with delight, cried:

—Will he come? The jejune jesuit!

Ceasing, he began to shave with care.

—Tell me, Mulligan, Stephen said quietly.

—Yes, my love?

—How long is Haines going to stay in this tower?[17]

Buck Mulligan showed a shaven cheek over his right shoulder.

—God, isn’t he dreadful? he said frankly. A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you’re not a gentleman. God, these bloody English! Bursting with money and indigestion. Because he comes from Oxford. You know, Dedalus, you have the real Oxford manner. He can’t make you out. O, my name for you is the best: Kinch, the knife-blade. He shaved warily over his chin.

—He was raving all night about a black panther, Stephen said. Where is his guncase?

—A woful lunatic! Mulligan said. Were you in a funk?

—I was, Stephen said with energy and growing fear. Out here in the dark with a man I don’t know raving and moaning to himself about shooting a black panther. You saved men from drowning. I’m not a hero, however. If he stays on here I am off.

Buck Mulligan frowned at the lather on his razorblade. He hopped down from his perch and began to search his trouser pockets hastily.

—Scutter! he cried thickly.

He came over to the gunrest and, thrusting a hand into Stephen’s upper pocket, said:

—Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.

Stephen suffered him to pull out and hold up on show by its corner a dirty crumpled handkerchief. Buck Mulligan wiped the razorblade neatly. Then, gazing over the handkerchief, he said:

—The bard’s noserag! A new art colour for our Irish poets: snotgreen. You can almost taste it, can’t you?[18]

He mounted to the parapet again and gazed out over Dublin bay, his fair oakpale hair stirring slightly.

—God! he said quietly. Isn’t the sea what Algy[19] calls it: a great sweet mother?[20] The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea[21]. Epi oinopa ponton.[22] Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta![23] She is our great sweet mother. Come and look.

Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet. Leaning on it he looked down on the water and on the mailboat clearing the harbourmouth of Kingstown[24].

—Our mighty mother![25] Buck Mulligan said.

He turned abruptly his grey searching eyes from the sea to Stephen’s face.

—The aunt thinks you killed your mother, he said. That’s why she won’t let me have anything to do with you.[26]

—Someone killed her, Stephen said gloomily.[27]

—You could have knelt down, damn it, Kinch, when your dying mother asked you, Buck Mulligan said. I’m hyperborean[28] as much as you. But to think of your mother begging you with her last breath to kneel down and pray for her. And you refused. There is something sinister in you …

He broke off and lathered again lightly his farther cheek. A tolerant smile curled his lips.

—But a lovely mummer![29] he murmured to himself. Kinch, the loveliest mummer of them all!

He shaved evenly and with care, in silence, seriously.

Stephen, an elbow rested on the jagged granite, leaned his palm against his brow and gazed at the fraying edge of his shiny black coat-sleeve. Pain, that was not yet the pain of love,[30] fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes. Across the threadbare cuffedge he saw the sea hailed as a great sweet mother by the wellfed voice beside him. The ring of bay and skyline held a dull green mass of liquid. A bowl of white china had stood beside her deathbed holding the green sluggish bile which she had torn up from her rotting liver by fits of loud groaning vomiting.

Buck Mulligan wiped again his razorblade.

—Ah, poor dogsbody![31] he said in a kind voice. I must give you a shirt and a few noserags. How are the secondhand breeks?

—They fit well enough, Stephen answered.

Buck Mulligan attacked the hollow beneath his underlip.

—The mockery of it, he said contentedly. Secondleg they should be. God knows what poxy bowsy left them off. I have a lovely pair with a hairstripe, grey. You’ll look spiffing in them. I’m not joking, Kinch. You look damn well when you’re dressed.

—Thanks, Stephen said. I can’t wear them if they are grey.[32]

—He can’t wear them, Buck Mulligan told his face in the mirror. Etiquette is etiquette. He kills his mother but he can’t wear grey trousers.[33]

He folded his razor neatly and with stroking palps of fingers felt the smooth skin.

Stephen turned his gaze from the sea and to the plump face with its smokeblue mobile eyes.

—That fellow I was with in the Ship[34] last night, said Buck Mulligan, says you have g.p.i. He’s up in Dottyville with Connolly Norman. General paralysis of the insane![35]

He swept the mirror a half circle in the air to flash the tidings abroad in sunlight now radiant on the sea. His curling shaven lips laughed and the edges of his white glittering teeth. Laughter seized all his strong wellknit trunk.

—Look at yourself, he said, you dreadful bard!

Stephen bent forward and peered at the mirror held out to him, cleft by a crooked crack. Hair on end. As he and others see me. Who chose this face for me? This dogsbody to rid of vermin.[36] It asks me too.

—I pinched it out of the skivvy’s[37] room, Buck Mulligan said. It does her all right. The aunt always keeps plainlooking servants for Malachi. Lead him not into temptation.[38] And her name is Ursula.[39]

Laughing again, he brought the mirror away from Stephen’s peering eyes.

—The rage of Caliban at not seeing his face in a mirror, he said. If Wilde were only alive to see you![40]

Drawing back and pointing, Stephen said with bitterness:

—It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked looking-glass of a servant.[41]

Buck Mulligan suddenly linked his arm in Stephen’s and walked with him round the tower, his razor and mirror clacking in the pocket where he had thrust them.

—It’s not fair to tease you like that, Kinch, is it? he said kindly. God knows you have more spirit than any of them.

Parried again. He fears the lancet of my art as I fear that of his. The cold steelpen.

—Cracked lookingglass of a servant! Tell that to the oxy chap[42] downstairs and touch him for a guinea. He’s stinking with money and thinks you’re not a gentleman. His old fellow made his tin by selling jalap to Zulus or some bloody swindle or other.[43] God, Kinch, if you and I could only work together we might do something for the island. Hellenise it.[44]

Cranly’s arm. His arm.[45]

—And to think of your having to beg from these swine. I’m the only one that knows what you are. Why don’t you trust me more? What have you up your nose against me? Is it Haines? If he makes any noise here I’ll bring down Seymour and we’ll give him a ragging worse than they gave Clive Kempthorpe.[46]

Young shouts of moneyed voices in Clive Kempthorpe’s rooms. Palefaces: they hold their ribs with laughter, one clasping another. O, I shall expire! Break the news to her gently,[47] Aubrey! I shall die! With slit ribbons of his shirt whipping the air he hops and hobbles round the

table, with trousers down at heels, chased by Ades of Magdalen[48] with the tailor’s shears. A scared calf’s face gilded with marmalade. I don’t want to be debagged![49] Don’t you play the giddy ox with me!

Shouts from the open window startling evening in the quadrangle. A deaf gardener, aproned, masked with Matthew Arnold’s[50] face, pushes his mower on the sombre lawn watching narrowly the dancing motes of grasshalms.[51]

To ourselves … new paganism … omphalos.[52]

—Let him stay, Stephen said. There’s nothing wrong with him except at night.

—Then what is it? Buck Mulligan asked impatiently. Cough it up. I’m quite frank with you. What have you against me now?

They halted, looking towards the blunt cape of Bray Head[53] that lay on the water like the snout of a sleeping whale. Stephen freed his arm quietly.

—Do you wish me to tell you? he asked.

—Yes, what is it? Buck Mulligan answered. I don’t remember anything.

He looked in Stephen’s face as he spoke. A light wind passed his brow, fanning softly his fair uncombed hair and stirring silver points of anxiety in his eyes.

Stephen, depressed by his own voice, said:

—Do you remember the first day I went to your house after my mother’s death?

Buck Mulligan frowned quickly and said:

—What? Where? I can’t remember anything. I remember only ideas and

sensations.[54] Why? What happened in the name of God?

—You were making tea, Stephen said, and went across the landing to get more hot water. Your mother and some visitor came out of the drawingroom. She asked you who was in your room.

—Yes? Buck Mulligan said. What did I say? I forget.

—You said, Stephen answered, O, it’s only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead.

A flush which made him seem younger and more engaging rose to Buck Mulligan’s cheek.

—Did I say that? he asked. Well? What harm is that?

He shook his constraint from him nervously.

—And what is death, he asked, your mother’s or yours or my own? You saw only your mother die. I see them pop off every day in the Mater[55] and Richmond[56] and cut up into tripes in the dissectingroom. It’s a beastly thing and nothing else. It simply doesn’t matter. You wouldn’t kneel down to pray for your mother on her deathbed when she asked you. Why? Because you have the cursed jesuit strain in you, only it’s injected the wrong way[57]. To me it’s all a mockery and beastly. Her cerebral lobes are not functioning.[58] She calls the doctor sir Peter Teazle[59] and picks buttercups off the quilt. Humour her till it’s over. You crossed her last wish in death and yet you sulk with me because I don’t whinge like some hired mute from Lalouette’s.[60] Absurd! I suppose I did say it. I didn’t mean to offend the memory of your mother.

He had spoken himself into boldness. Stephen, shielding the gaping wounds which the words had left in his heart,[61] said very coldly:

—I am not thinking of the offence to my mother.

—Of what then? Buck Mulligan asked.

—Of the offence to me, Stephen answered.

Buck Mulligan swung round on his heel.

—O, an impossible person! he exclaimed.

He walked off quickly round the parapet. Stephen stood at his post, gazing over the calm sea towards the headland. Sea and headland now grew dim. Pulses were beating in his eyes, veiling their sight, and he felt the fever of his cheeks.

A voice within the tower called loudly:

—Are you up there, Mulligan?

—I’m coming, Buck Mulligan answered.

He turned towards Stephen and said:

—Look at the sea. What does it care about offences? Chuck Loyola,[62] Kinch, and come on down. The Sassenach[63] wants his morning rashers.[64]

His head halted again for a moment at the top of the staircase, level with the roof:

—Don’t mope over it all day, he said. I’m inconsequent. Give up the moody brooding.

His head vanished but the drone of his descending voice boomed out of the stairhead:

—And no more turn aside and brood

Upon love’s bitter mystery

For Fergus rules the brazen cars.[65]

Woodshadows[66] floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed. Inshore and farther out the mirror of water whitened, spurned by lightshod hurrying feet. White breast of the dim sea.[67] The twining stresses, two by two. A hand plucking the harpstrings, merging their twining chords. Wavewhite wedded words shimmering on the dim tide.[68]

A cloud began to cover the sun slowly, wholly, shadowing the bay in deeper green. It lay beneath him, a bowl of bitter waters. Fergus’ song: I sang it alone in the house, holding down the long dark chords. Her door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe and pity I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed. For those words, Stephen: love’s bitter mystery.

Where now?

Her secrets: old featherfans, tasselled dancecards, powdered with musk, a gaud of amber beads in her locked drawer.[69] A birdcage hung in the sunny window of her house when she was a girl. She heard old Royce[70] sing in the pantomime[71] of Turko the Terrible[72] and laughed with others when he sang:

    I am the boy

    That can enjoy


Phantasmal mirth, folded away: muskperfumed.

And no more turn aside and brood.[74]

Folded away in the memory of nature with her toys.[75] Memories beset his brooding brain. Her glass of water from the kitchen tap when she had approached the sacrament. A cored apple, filled with brown sugar, roasting for her at the hob on a dark autumn evening. Her shapely fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the children’s shirts.

In a dream, silently, she had come to him, her wasted body within its loose graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, bent over him with mute secret words, a faint odour of wetted ashes.

Her glazing eyes, staring out of death, to shake and bend my soul. On me alone. The ghostcandle to light her agony. Ghostly light on the tortured face.[76] Her hoarse loud breath rattling in horror, while all prayed on their knees. Her eyes on me to strike me down. Liliata rutilantium te confessorum turma circumdet: iubilantium te virginum chorus excipiat.[77]

Ghoul! Chewer of corpses![78]

No, mother! Let me be and let me live.

—Kinch ahoy!

Buck Mulligan’s voice sang from within the tower. It came nearer up the staircase, calling again. Stephen, still trembling at his soul’s cry, heard warm running sunlight[79] and in the air behind him friendly words.

—Dedalus, come down, like a good mosey. Breakfast is ready. Haines is apologising for waking us last night. It’s all right.

—I’m coming, Stephen said, turning.

—Do, for Jesus’ sake, Buck Mulligan said. For my sake and for all our sakes.

His head disappeared and reappeared.

—I told him your symbol of Irish art. He says it’s very clever. Touch him for a quid, will you? A guinea, I mean.[80]

—I get paid this morning, Stephen said.[81]

—The school kip?[82] Buck Mulligan said. How much? Four quid? Lend us one.

—If you want it, Stephen said.

—Four shining sovereigns, Buck Mulligan cried with delight. We’ll have a glorious drunk to astonish the druidy druids. Four omnipotent sovereigns.[83]

He flung up his hands and tramped down the stone stairs, singing out oftune with a Cockney accent:[84]

—O, won’t we have a merry time,

Drinking whisky, beer and wine!

On coronation,

Coronation day!

O, won’t we have a merry time

On coronation day![85]

Warm sunshine merrying over the sea. The nickel shavingbowl shone, forgotten, on the parapet. Why should I bring it down? Or leave it there all day, forgotten friendship?

He went over to it, held it in his hands awhile, feeling its coolness, smelling the clammy slaver[86] of the lather in which the brush was stuck. So I carried the boat of incense then at Clongowes.[87] I am another now and yet the same.[88] A servant too.[89] A server of a servant.

In the gloomy domed livingroom of the tower Buck Mulligan’s gowned form moved briskly to and fro about the hearth, hiding and revealing its yellow glow. Two shafts of soft daylight fell across the flagged floor from the high barbacans:[90] and at the meeting of their rays a cloud of coalsmoke and fumes of fried grease floated, turning.[91]

—We’ll be choked, Buck Mulligan said. Haines, open that door, will you?[92]

Stephen laid the shavingbowl on the locker. A tall figure rose from the hammock where it had been sitting, went to the doorway and pulled open the inner doors.

—Have you the key? a voice asked.

—Dedalus has it, Buck Mulligan said. Janey Mack,[93] I’m choked!

He howled, without looking up from the fire:


—It’s in the lock, Stephen said, coming forward.

The key scraped round harshly twice and, when the heavy door had been set ajar, welcome light and bright air entered. Haines stood at the doorway, looking out. Stephen haled his upended valise to the table and sat down to wait. Buck Mulligan tossed the fry on to the dish beside him. Then he carried the dish and a large teapot over to the table, set them down heavily and sighed with relief.

—I’m melting, he said, as the candle remarked when[94] … But, hush! Not a word more on that subject! Kinch, wake up! Bread, butter, honey. Haines, come in. The grub is ready. Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. Where’s the sugar? O, jay[95], there’s no milk.

Stephen fetched the loaf and the pot of honey and the buttercooler from the locker. Buck Mulligan sat down in a sudden pet.[96]

—What sort of a kip is this? he said. I told her to come after eight.

—We can drink it black, Stephen said thirstily. There’s a lemon in the locker.

—O, damn you and your Paris fads! Buck Mulligan said. I want Sandycove milk.

Haines came in from the doorway and said quietly:

—That woman is coming up with the milk.

—The blessings of God on you! Buck Mulligan cried, jumping up from his chair. Sit down. Pour out the tea there. The sugar is in the bag. Here, I can’t go fumbling at the damned eggs.

He hacked through the fry on the dish and slapped it out on three plates, saying:

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.[97]

Haines sat down to pour out the tea.

—I’m giving you two lumps each, he said. But, I say, Mulligan, you do make strong tea, don’t you?

Buck Mulligan, hewing thick slices from the loaf, said in an old woman’s wheedling voice:

—When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I makes water I makes water.[98]

—By Jove, it is tea, Haines said.

Buck Mulligan went on hewing and wheedling:

So I do, Mrs Cahill, says she. Begob, ma’am, says Mrs Cahill, God send you don’t make them in the one pot.

He lunged towards his messmates in turn a thick slice of bread, impaled on his knife.

—That’s folk, he said very earnestly, for your book, Haines. Five lines of text and ten pages of notes about the folk and the fishgods of Dundrum. Printed by the weird sisters in the year of the big wind.[99]

He turned to Stephen and asked in a fine puzzled voice, lifting his brows:

—Can you recall, brother, is mother Grogan’s tea and water pot spoken of in the   Mabinogion or is it in the Upanishads?[100]

—I doubt it, said Stephen gravely.

—Do you now? Buck Mulligan said in the same tone. Your reasons, pray?

—I fancy, Stephen said as he ate, it did not exist in or out of the Mabinogion. Mother Grogan was, one imagines, a kinswoman of Mary Ann.[101]

Buck Mulligan’s face smiled with delight.

—Charming! he said in a finical sweet voice, showing his white teeth and blinking his eyes pleasantly. Do you think she was? Quite charming!

Then, suddenly overclouding all his features, he growled in a hoarsened rasping voice as he hewed again vigorously at the loaf:

  —For old Mary Ann

    She doesn’t care a damn.

    But, hising up her petticoats …[102]

He crammed his mouth with fry and munched and droned.

The doorway was darkened by an entering form.

—The milk, sir!

—Come in, ma’am, Mulligan said. Kinch, get the jug.

An old woman came forward and stood by Stephen’s elbow.

—That’s a lovely morning, sir, she said. Glory be to God.

—To whom? Mulligan said, glancing at her. Ah, to be sure!

Stephen reached back and took the milkjug from the locker.

—The islanders, Mulligan said to Haines casually, speak frequently of the collector of prepuces.[103]

—How much, sir? asked the old woman.

—A quart, Stephen said.

He watched her pour into the measure and thence into the jug rich white milk, not hers. Old shrunken paps. She poured again a measureful and a tilly. Old and secret she had entered from a morning world, maybe a messenger. She praised the goodness of the milk, pouring it out.

Crouching by a patient cow at daybreak in the lush field, a witch on her toadstool, her wrinkled fingers quick at the squirting dugs. They lowed about her whom they knew, dewsilky cattle. Silk of the kine and poor old woman, names given her in old times. A wandering crone, lowly form of an immortal serving her conqueror and her gay betrayer, their common cuckquean, a messenger from the secret morning. To serve or to upbraid, whether he could not tell: but scorned to beg her favour.[104]

—It is indeed, ma’am, Buck Mulligan said, pouring milk into their cups.

—Taste it, sir, she said.

He drank at her bidding.

—If we could live on good food like that, he said to her somewhat loudly, we wouldn’t have the country full of rotten teeth and rotten guts. Living in a bogswamp, eating cheap food and the streets paved with dust, horsedung and consumptives’ spits.

—Are you a medical student, sir? the old woman asked.[105]

—I am, ma’am, Buck Mulligan answered.

—Look at that now, she said.

Stephen listened in scornful silence. She bows her old head to a voice that speaks to her loudly, her bonesetter, her medicineman: me she slights. To the voice that will shrive and oil for the grave all there is of her but her woman’s unclean loins, of man’s flesh made not in God’s likeness, the serpent’s prey. And to the loud voice that now bids her be silent with wondering unsteady eyes.[106]

—Do you understand what he says? Stephen asked her.

—Is it French you are talking, sir? the old woman said to Haines.

Haines spoke to her again a longer speech, confidently.

—Irish, Buck Mulligan said. Is there Gaelic on you?

—I thought it was Irish, she said, by the sound of it. Are you from the west[107], sir?

—I am an Englishman, Haines answered.

—He’s English, Buck Mulligan said, and he thinks we ought to speak Irish

in Ireland.

—Sure we ought to, the old woman said, and I’m ashamed I don’t speak the language myself. I’m told it’s a grand language by them that knows.[108]

—Grand is no name for it, said Buck Mulligan. Wonderful entirely. Fill us out some more tea, Kinch. Would you like a cup, ma’am?

—No, thank you, sir, the old woman said, slipping the ring of the milkcan on her forearm and about to go.

Haines said to her:

—Have you your bill? We had better pay her, Mulligan, hadn’t we?

Stephen filled again the three cups.

—Bill, sir? she said, halting. Well, it’s seven mornings a pint at twopence is seven twos is a shilling and twopence over and these three mornings a quart at fourpence is three quarts is a shilling. That’s a shilling and one and two is two and two, sir.[109]

Buck Mulligan sighed and, having filled his mouth with a crust thickly buttered on both sides, stretched forth his legs and began to search his trouser pockets.

—Pay up and look pleasant, Haines said to him, smiling.

Stephen filled a third cup, a spoonful of tea colouring faintly the thick rich milk. Buck Mulligan brought up a florin,[110] twisted it round in his fingers and cried:

—A miracle!

He passed it along the table towards the old woman, saying:

—Ask nothing more of me, sweet. All I can give you I give.[111]

Stephen laid the coin in her uneager hand.

—We’ll owe twopence, he said.

—Time enough, sir, she said, taking the coin. Time enough. Good morning,


She curtseyed and went out, followed by Buck Mulligan’s tender chant:

  —Heart of my heart, were it more,

    More would be laid at your feet.[112]

He turned to Stephen and said:

—Seriously, Dedalus. I’m stony.[113] Hurry out to your school kip and bring us back some money. Today the bards must drink and junket. Ireland expects that every man this day will do his duty.[114]

—That reminds me, Haines said, rising, that I have to visit your

national library today.

—Our swim first, Buck Mulligan said.

He turned to Stephen and asked blandly:

—Is this the day for your monthly wash, Kinch?[115]

Then he said to Haines:

—The unclean bard makes a point of washing once a month.

—All Ireland is washed by the gulfstream, Stephen said as he let honey trickle over a slice of the loaf.

Haines from the corner where he was knotting easily a scarf about the

loose collar of his tennis shirt spoke:

—I intend to make a collection of your sayings if you will let me.[116]

Speaking to me. They wash and tub and scrub. Agenbite of inwit.[117] Conscience. Yet here’s a spot.[118]

—That one about the cracked lookingglass of a servant being the symbol of Irish art is deuced good.

Buck Mulligan kicked Stephen’s foot under the table and said with warmth of tone:

—Wait till you hear him on Hamlet, Haines.[119]

—Well, I mean it, Haines said, still speaking to Stephen. I was just thinking of it when that poor old creature came in.

—Would I make any money by it? Stephen asked.

Haines laughed and, as he took his soft grey hat from the holdfast of the hammock, said:

—I don’t know, I’m sure.

He strolled out to the doorway. Buck Mulligan bent across to Stephen and said with coarse vigour:

—You put your hoof in it now. What did you say that for?

—Well? Stephen said. The problem is to get money[120]. From whom? From the

milkwoman or from him. It’s a toss up, I think.

—I blow him out about you, Buck Mulligan said, and then you come along with your lousy leer and your gloomy jesuit jibes.

—I see little hope, Stephen said, from her or from him.

Buck Mulligan sighed tragically and laid his hand on Stephen’s arm.

—From me, Kinch, he said.

In a suddenly changed tone he added:

—To tell you the God’s truth I think you’re right. Damn all else theyare good for. Why don’t you play them as I do? To hell with them all. Let us get out of the kip.

He stood up, gravely ungirdled and disrobed himself of his gown, saying resignedly:

—Mulligan is stripped of his garments.[121]

He emptied his pockets on to the table.

—There’s your snotrag, he said.

And putting on his stiff collar and rebellious tie he spoke to them, chiding them, and to his dangling watchchain. His hands plunged and rummaged in his trunk while he called for a clean handkerchief. God, we’ll simply have to dress the character. I want puce gloves and green

boots. Contradiction. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. [122] Mercurial Malachi. A limp black missile flew out of his talking hands.

—And there’s your Latin quarter hat, he said.[123]

Stephen picked it up and put it on. Haines called to them from the doorway:

—Are you coming, you fellows?

—I’m ready, Buck Mulligan answered, going towards the door. Come out, Kinch. You have eaten all we left, I suppose. Resigned he passed out with grave words and gait, saying, wellnigh with sorrow:

—And going forth he met Butterly.[124]

Stephen, taking his ashplant[125] from its leaningplace, followed them out and, as they went down the ladder, pulled to the slow iron door and locked it. He put the huge key in his inner pocket.

At the foot of the ladder Buck Mulligan asked:

—Did you bring the key?

—I have it, Stephen said, preceding them.

He walked on. Behind him he heard Buck Mulligan club with his heavy bathtowel the leader shoots of ferns or grasses.

—Down, sir! How dare you, sir!

Haines asked:

—Do you pay rent for this tower?

—Twelve quid, Buck Mulligan said.

—To the secretary of state for war, Stephen added over his shoulder.[126]

They halted while Haines surveyed the tower and said at last:

—Rather bleak in wintertime, I should say. Martello you call it?

—Billy Pitt[127] had them built, Buck Mulligan said, when the French were on the sea. But ours is the omphalos.[128]

—What is your idea of Hamlet? Haines asked Stephen.

—No, no, Buck Mulligan shouted in pain. I’m not equal to Thomas Aquinas[129] and the fifty-five reasons he has made out to prop it up. Wait till I have a few pints in me first.

He turned to Stephen, saying, as he pulled down neatly the peaks of his

primrose waistcoat:

—You couldn’t manage it under three pints, Kinch, could you?

—It has waited so long, Stephen said listlessly, it can wait longer.

—You pique my curiosity, Haines said amiably. Is it some paradox?

—Pooh! Buck Mulligan said. We have grown out of Wilde[130] and paradoxes. It’s quite simple. He proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father.[131]

—What? Haines said, beginning to point at Stephen. He himself?

Buck Mulligan slung his towel stolewise round his neck and, bending in loose laughter, said to Stephen’s ear:

—O, shade of Kinch the elder! Japhet in search of a father![132]

—We’re always tired in the morning, Stephen said to Haines. And it is rather long to tell.

Buck Mulligan, walking forward again, raised his hands.

—The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue of Dedalus, he said.

—I mean to say, Haines explained to Stephen as they followed, this tower and these cliffs here remind me somehow of Elsinore[133]. That beetles o’er his base into the sea, isn’t it?[134]

Buck Mulligan turned suddenly for an instant towards Stephen but did not speak. In the bright silent instant Stephen saw his own image in cheap dusty mourning between their gay attires.

—It’s a wonderful tale, Haines said, bringing them to halt again.

Eyes, pale as the sea the wind had freshened, paler, firm and prudent. The seas’ ruler, he gazed southward over the bay, empty save for the smokeplume of the mailboat vague on the bright skyline and a sail tacking by the Muglins.[135]

—I read a theological interpretation of it somewhere, he said bemused. The Father and the Son idea. The Son striving to be atoned with the Father.

Buck Mulligan at once put on a blithe broadly smiling face. He looked at them, his wellshaped mouth open happily, his eyes, from which he had suddenly withdrawn all shrewd sense, blinking with mad gaiety. He moved a doll’s head to and fro, the brims of his Panama hat quivering, and began to chant in a quiet happy foolish voice:

I’m the queerest young fellow that ever you heard.

    My mother’s a jew, my father’s a bird.

    With Joseph the joiner I cannot agree.

    So here’s to disciples and Calvary.[136]

He held up a forefinger of warning.

If anyone thinks that I amn’t divine

    He’ll get no free drinks when I’m making the wine

    But have to drink water and wish it were plain

    That I make when the wine becomes water again.[137]

He tugged swiftly at Stephen’s ashplant in farewell and, running forward to a brow of the cliff, fluttered his hands at his sides like fins or wings of one about to rise in the air, and chanted:

Goodbye, now, goodbye! Write down all I said

    And tell Tom, Dick and Harry I rose from the dead.

    What’s bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly

    And Olivet’s[138] breezy … goodbye, now, goodbye![139]

He capered before them down towards the forty-foot hole, fluttering his winglike hands, leaping nimbly, Mercury’s hat quivering in the fresh wind that bore back to them his brief birdsweet cries.

Haines, who had been laughing guardedly, walked on beside Stephen and said:

—We oughtn’t to laugh, I suppose. He’s rather blasphemous. I’m not a believer myself, that is to say. Still his gaiety takes the harm out of it somehow, doesn’t it? What did he call it?  Joseph the Joiner?

—The ballad of joking Jesus, Stephen answered.

—O, Haines said, you have heard it before?

—Three times a day, after meals, Stephen said drily.[140]

—You’re not a believer, are you? Haines asked. I mean, a believer in the narrow sense of the word. Creation from nothing and miracles and a personal God.

—There’s only one sense of the word, it seems to me, Stephen said.[141]

Haines stopped to take out a smooth silver case in which twinkled a green stone. He sprang it open with his thumb and offered it.

—Thank you, Stephen said, taking a cigarette.

Haines helped himself and snapped the case to. He put it back in his sidepocket and took from his waistcoatpocket a nickel tinderbox, sprang it open too, and, having lit his cigarette, held the flaming spunk towards Stephen in the shell of his hands.

—Yes, of course, he said, as they went on again. Either you believe or you don’t, isn’t it? Personally I couldn’t stomach that idea of a personal God. You don’t stand for that, I suppose?

—You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible example of free thought.[142]

He walked on, waiting to be spoken to, trailing his ashplant by his side. Its ferrule[143] followed lightly on the path, squealing at his heels. My familiar[144], after me, calling, Steeeeeeeeeeeephen! A wavering line along the path. They will walk on it tonight, coming here in the dark. He wants that key. It is mine. I paid the rent. Now I eat his salt bread.[145] Give him the key too. All. He will ask for it. That was in his eyes.

—After all, Haines began …

Stephen turned and saw that the cold gaze which had measured him was not all unkind.

—After all, I should think you are able to free yourself. You are your own master, it seems to me.

—I am a servant of two masters, Stephen said, an English and an Italian.[146]

—Italian? Haines said.

A crazy queen, old and jealous. Kneel down before me.

—And a third, Stephen said, there is who wants me for odd jobs.

—Italian? Haines said again. What do you mean?

—The imperial British state, Stephen answered, his colour rising, and the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church.

Haines detached from his underlip some fibres of tobacco before he spoke.

—I can quite understand that, he said calmly. An Irishman must think like that, I daresay. We feel in England that we have treated you rather unfairly. It seems history is to blame.[147]

The proud potent titles clanged over Stephen’s memory the triumph of their brazen bells: et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam:[148] the slow growth and change of rite and dogma like his own rare thoughts, a chemistry of stars. Symbol of the apostles in the mass for pope Marcellus,[149] the voices blended, singing alone loud in affirmation: and behind their chant the vigilant angel of the church militant disarmed and menaced her heresiarchs. A horde of heresies fleeing with mitres awry: Photius[150] and the brood of mockers of whom Mulligan was one,[151] and Arius[152], warring his life long upon the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father, and Valentine[153], spurning Christ’s terrene body, and the subtle African heresiarch Sabellius[154] who held that the Father was Himself His own Son. Words Mulligan had spoken a moment since in mockery to the stranger. Idle mockery. The void awaits surely all them that weave the wind: a menace, a disarming and a worsting from those embattled angels of the church, Michael’s[155] host, who defend her ever in the hour of conflict with their lances and their shields.[156]

Hear, hear! Prolonged applause. Zut! Nom de Dieu![157]

—Of course I’m a Britisher, Haines’s voice said, and I feel as one. I don’t want to see my country fall into the hands of German jews either. That’s our national problem, I’m afraid, just now.[158]

Two men stood at the verge of the cliff, watching: businessman, boatman.

—She’s making for Bullock harbour.[159]

The boatman nodded towards the north of the bay with some disdain.

—There’s five fathoms out there, he said. It’ll be swept up that way when the tide comes in about one. It’s nine days today.

The man that was drowned. A sail veering about the blank bay waiting for a swollen bundle to bob up, roll over to the sun a puffy face, saltwhite. Here I am.[160]

They followed the winding path down to the creek. Buck Mulligan stood on a stone, in shirtsleeves, his unclipped tie rippling over his shoulder. A young man clinging to a spur of rock near him, moved slowly frogwise his green legs in the deep jelly of the water.

—Is the brother with you, Malachi?

—Down in Westmeath. With the Bannons.

—Still there? I got a card from Bannon[161]. Says he found a sweet young thing down there. Photo girl he calls her.[162]

—Snapshot, eh? Brief exposure.

Buck Mulligan sat down to unlace his boots. An elderly man shot up near the spur of rock a blowing red face. He scrambled up by the stones, water glistening on his pate and on its garland of grey hair, water rilling over his chest and paunch and spilling jets out of his black sagging loincloth.

Buck Mulligan made way for him to scramble past and, glancing at Haines and Stephen, crossed himself piously[163] with his thumbnail at brow and lips and breastbone.

—Seymour’s back in town, the young man said, grasping again his spur of rock. Chucked medicine and going in for the army.[164]

—Ah, go to God! Buck Mulligan said.

—Going over next week to stew.[165] You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily?[166]


—Spooning with him last night on the pier. The father is rotto[167] with money.

—Is she up the pole?[168]

—Better ask Seymour that.

—Seymour a bleeding officer! Buck Mulligan said.

He nodded to himself as he drew off his trousers and stood up, saying tritely:

—Redheaded women buck like goats.[169]

He broke off in alarm, feeling his side under his flapping shirt.

—My twelfth rib is gone, he cried. I’m the Übermensch.[170] Toothless Kinch and I, the supermen.

He struggled out of his shirt and flung it behind him to where his clothes lay.

—Are you going in here, Malachi?

—Yes. Make room in the bed.

The young man shoved himself backward through the water and reached the middle of the creek in two long clean strokes. Haines sat down on a stone, smoking.

—Are you not coming in? Buck Mulligan asked.

—Later on, Haines said. Not on my breakfast.

Stephen turned away.

—I’m going, Mulligan, he said.

—Give us that key, Kinch, Buck Mulligan said, to keep my chemise flat.

Stephen handed him the key. Buck Mulligan laid it across his heaped clothes.

—And twopence[171], he said, for a pint. Throw it there.

Stephen threw two pennies on the soft heap. Dressing, undressing. Buck Mulligan erect, with joined hands before him, said solemnly:

—He who stealeth from the poor lendeth to the Lord. Thus spake Zarathustra.[172]

His plump body plunged.

—We’ll see you again, Haines said, turning as Stephen walked up the path and smiling at wild Irish.[173]

Horn of a bull, hoof of a horse, smile of a Saxon.[174]

—The Ship, Buck Mulligan cried. Half twelve.[175]

—Good, Stephen said.

He walked along the upwardcurving path.

   Liliata rutilantium.

   Turma circumdet.

   Iubilantium te virginum.[176]

The priest’s grey nimbus in a niche where he dressed discreetly. I will not sleep here tonight. Home also I cannot go.[177]

A voice, sweettoned and sustained, called to him from the sea. Turning the curve he waved his hand. It called again. A sleek brown head, a seal’s, far out on the water, round.[178]



[1] Malachi “Buck” Mulligan is based on Joyce’s friend Oliver St. John Gogarty. For all its literary extravagance, Ulysses is intensely rooted in the realities of 1904 Dublin.

[2] Mulligan lifts the bowl of water he is using to shave in mockery of the lifting of the chalice containing wine (symbolically, the blood of Christ) in the Catholic mass.

[3] Latin: “I will go up to the altar of God.” The traditional beginning of the Catholic mass. Mulligan is here being intentionally irreverent, perhaps even blasphemous—partly because he knows it will bother the somber Stephen, who takes Catholicism (and most other things) very seriously, despite the fact that he has lost his belief. Note that Joyce, in Ulysses and elsewhere, uses a leading dash (in the French style) to indicate spoken dialogue, rather than quotation marks.

[4] “Kinch” is Mulligan’s nickname for Stephen—and was apparently also a nickname that Gogarty gave to Joyce. No one knows why, though some have theorized, given Mulligan’s later reference to “Kinch, the knife-blade,” that it is an onomatopoeia suggesting the sound of a cutting knife. Ultimately, the nickname is one of the many mysteries of this enigmatic text.

[5] Jesuits are members of an order of Catholic priests, the Society of Jesus. They are particularly noted for their efforts in scholarship and education. Stephen, of course, is not a Jesuit, though he (like Joyce) has been educated in Jesuit-run schools.

[6] The mention of the gunrest provides a subtle reminder of the military origins of the tower—and of the violent background of British colonialism.

[7] “Christine” is a feminized version of “Christ.” Mulligan is making an irreverent allusion to the Black Mass conducted by Satan-worshippers, in which the body of a woman is used as an altar.

[8] “Ouns” = “Wounds.” “God’s blood and wounds” is a blasphemous oath.

[9] In the Catholic mass, red wine is used to represent the blood of Christ. Mulligan here is sarcastically suggesting that the red wine should perhaps be mixed with white wine to represent the white cells in Christ’s blood. His point is to make a mockery of the whole notion of symbolically drinking the blood of Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist. A medical student (as was Gogarty), Mulligan would be aware of such problematic details.

[10] “Chrysostomos”: Greek, “Golden-mouthed.” A reference here to Mulligan’s dental work, but also typically used to indicate oratorical skill. Here, it is also a sly reference to John Chrysostom (349–407), an important founder of the early church. Honored as a saint, he was known for his oratorical skills.

[11] The source of these answering whistles in unknown, another of the mysteries of Ulysses. They are perhaps an echo. But, as Mulligan seems to be whistling to God, the suggestion is that he has received a reply, even though it presumably does not literally come from God.

[12] Mulligan here is addressing the “old chap” upstairs, suggesting that perhaps God zaps the wine with some sort of magical current to transubstantiate it into the blood of Christ—much in the way that lightning is used by Victor Frankenstein to animate his creature.

[13] The allusions in Ulysses are often a bit obscure. Here, the “prelate” to whom Mulligan is being compared would appear (based on a letter written by Joyce himself in 1912) to be Rodrigo Borgia (1432–1503), who in 1492 became Pope Alexander VI. Rodrigo and his illegitimate children, Cesare and Lucrezia, are regarded as quintessential examples of libertinism and corruption. Rodrigo here stands as an image of Mulligan’s sinfulness but also a reminder that the Catholic clergy has often been just as sinful, only more hypocritical.

[14] Mulligan refers here to the myth of Icarus and Daedalus. The latter, a master craftsman, made a pair of wings held together by wax so that the former, his son, could fly. But Icarus, becoming excited by the flight, soared too near to the sun, causing the wax to melt. Losing his wings, he plunged into the sea below. The myth is typically employed as a cautionary tale about excessive striving. Stephen, as a poet, is a craftsman of sorts, but the irony of Mulligan’s allusion is that Stephen functions throughout Ulysses as a son figure, with protagonist Leopold Bloom (introduced in Chapter 3) serving as a sort of father figure to him. Indeed, the first chapter of Ulysses is conventionally referred to by scholars as the “Telemachus” chapter, though that designation does not appear in the actual text. Telemachus was the son of Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey, a text to which Ulysses is related in important ways. (“Ulysses” is the roman name of the Greek “Odysseus.”) Bloom is an ironic modern figure of Odysseus, making Stephen, the dominant character in Chapter 1, a figure of Telemachus.

[15] A dactyl is a meter composed of a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. Mulligan uses this figure from poetry to tease the poet Stephen.

[16] Mulligan’s name does not, in fact, have a Hellenic ring. Mulligan is a quintessentially Irish surname, and Malachi is a Hebrew name, the name of an Old Testament prophet. It is not, however, unheard of as a name in Ireland. Still, in Hebrew the name means “My Messenger,” so that the name would symbolically (and ironically) make Mulligan the Messenger of God.

[17] Stephen clearly resents the presence of the Englishman Haines in their midst, which he regards as a reminder of British control over Ireland. Haines, incidentally, is based on the Englishman Richard Samuel Chenevix Trench (1881-1909), whom Gogarty in fact hosted in his rented Martello Tower at the same time as Joyce.

[18] This reminder of the dirtiness of Stephen’s handkerchief begins a panoply of references to physical bodily functions that permeate the entire text of Ulysses, which openly acknowledges the status of human beings as biological creatures, in open defiance and mockery of the traditional Catholic horror of the body and its functions.

[19] Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909), English poet and novelist. Though a writer of only moderate importance, he was also known for advertising (and exaggerating) the decadence of his own lifestyle. He thus marks a fitting literary hero for Mulligan. The reference to Swinburne begins the cascade of literary allusions that are one of the most important hallmarks of Ulysses.

[20] In his poem “The Triumph of Time” (1866), Swinburne refers to “The sweet sea, mother of loves and hours.” The mother reference, of course, is calculated to get under Stephen’s skin, given that he is still brooding over the death of his mother.

[21] Mulligan produces his own parody of Swinburne’s florid poetic style. He is as irreverent toward poetry as he is toward religion, two things that Stephen, of course, takes very seriously.

[22] Greek: “upon the wine-colored sea.” The phrase appears several times in The Odyssey and thus here constitutes the first direct allusion to that key text.

[23] Greek: “The sea! The sea!” The quote is from Xenophon’s Anabasis, written early in the fourth century BC. It is the cry of a Greek army at having reached the Black Sea and thus having escaped what had appeared to be certain death.

[24] The reference to the artificial harbor that lies one mile to the northwest of the tower. Today, the very British name “Kingstown” has been changed to the very Irish “Dún Laoghaire.”

[25] Though this phrase appears simply to replicate Mulligan’s earlier allusion to Swinburne, it actually comes from the work of the Irish writer George Russell, known by the pen name of “A.E.” Russell himself appears in Chapter 9 of Ulysses (“Scylla and Charybdis”), when Stephen acknowledges that he owes Russell money with the memorable line “A.E.I.O.U.”

[26] Mulligan here rather brutally makes clear that all of his “mother” references have been intentionally aimed at Stephen’s personal situation. When Stephen’s dying mother asked him to pray with her, he refused, on the grounds that it would be inappropriate, given that he does not believe in God. Mulligan believes he should have faked it to spare his mother’s feelings.

[27] Stephen, of course, is thinking here of God, but in a sarcastic way, given that he is an unbeliever.

[28] The term “hyperborean” is used by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), whose thought exercised an influence on the modernists exceeded only by the influence of Marx and Freud. Nietzsche applied the term to his “Übermensch,” the superior human who has transcended what Nietzsche saw as the slave mentality of Christian ethics and metaphysics. Mulligan is simply saying that he is as much of an unbeliever as is Stephen but adding his special pedantic flair—and suggesting that he would be less pious in his unbelief, as the take nothing seriously.

[29] A mummer is a sort of clownlike street performer, often performing skits that involve death and resurrection. A mummer is the kind of figure with whom Mulligan would no doubt identify. Stephen, of course, is typically the very antithesis of a mummer, so Mulligan’s label here is clearly ironic.

[30] Joyce was a master of poetic phrasing, but his most poetic lines were typically ironic. Ulysses is a book that is very much about love, in the tradition of much of the literature that came before. Ulysses, however, is a departure in that it is primarily about sexual love. Joyce sets Ulysses onJune 16, 1904, because that was the date on which he first went out walking with Nora Barnacle, who would eventually become his life. Atypically, for Dublin dates, the evening ended with a sexual climax, as Nora pulled him off inside his pants. No such encounter seems to have occurred for Stephen at this point in his journey through life.

[31] “Dogsbody” is British slang for a lowly underling relegated to doing unpleasant tasks that no one else wants to do.

[32] Stephen is still officially in mourning, so he can only wear black. The irony is that Stephen is being so fastidious about observing the traditions of mourning for his mother but otherwise professes to be an iconoclast—up to an including his refusal to pray with his dying mother. Stephen’s excessive mourning for his mother parallels Hamlet’s reaction to the death of his father. Indeed, Stephen will be a figure of Hamlet throughout Ulysses.

[33] Mulligan calls Stephen out on the inconsistencies in his attitudes. He seems insensitive, but he has a point.

[34] The Ship is a pub on Lower Abbey Street.

[35] A reference to syphilis, though the actual term would be “general paresis of the insane.” Mulligan and his fellow medical students apparently like to deliver sarcastic diagnoses of their friends, without much regard for medical accuracy.

[36] Given to morbidity, Stephen converts Mulligan’s earlier “Dogsbody” reference into an image of an actual dog’s body. Despite his rejection of Catholicism, Stephen often displays a very Catholic horror of the physical body. He might have turned away from the specifics of Catholic doctrine, but many Catholic ideas and attitudes are deeply rooted in his psyche. As Stephen’s friend Cranly tells him in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,“It is a curious thing, do you know, …  how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve.” Joyce seems to have understood well that ideological conditioning can be subtle, deep, and durable.

[37] “Skivvy” is a typical British slang term for a maid or other servant who does menial chores.

[38] Phrases such as this one from the Lord’s Prayer often pop up in Ulysses, indicating the extent to which the daily language even of unbelievers is permeated with Catholicism in 1904 Ireland.

[39] Ursula was a third century Christian martyr noted for her devotion to virginity.

[40] Caliban is, of course, the “savage” character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, sometimes thought to be based on Elizabethan visions of Native Americans. Here, though, as Thornton notes, the direct reference is to the Irish writer Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), who, in the preface to his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), wrote: “The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass” (Thornton 14). Mulligan here overtly calls attention to the source of his quip in Wilde.

[41] Mirrors have long been used as symbols of the accurate representation of reality in art, as when Hamlet argues that the purpose of drama should be “to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature.” Stephen here appears to suggest that Irish art tends to represent reality in a distorted form, though it might in fact be that it is reality itself that is distorted in Ireland—due to the impact of British colonialism and the Catholic Church. The usually dour Stephen definitely has his witty moments.

[42] Haines, who has come from Oxford University to study Irish culture and might, perhaps, be interested in collecting Irish witticisms such as Stephen’s.

[43] “Jalap” is a powerful purgative obtained from the dried tuberous root of a Mexican vine of the morning-glory family. Mulligan’s reference here is probably a facetious invention, but it does at least indicate his awareness of the British colonial enterprise in Africa and of the fact that this enterprise was far less altruistic than British propaganda would have us believe.

[44] Mulligan’s suggestion that Ireland could become more civilized by learning from ancient Greek civilization echoes the anti-Semitic writings of the prominent Victorian Matthew Arnold (1822–1888), who argued that English culture was far too “Hebraic” and needed to become more “Hellenic.” By 1904, however, Greek culture was coming to symbolize a sort of Bohemian freedom from conservative bourgeois morality, which is not what Arnold had in mind at all.

[45] Stephen here recalls a moment from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Stephen’s thoughts often draw upon his memories in ways that are only vaguely linked to what is actually going on in his life at the moment.

[46] Mulligan here appears to recall a moment of “ragging,” or hazing, that occurred while he was at Oxford with Haines.

[47] Apparently alludes to the popular song“Break the News to Mother” (1897). Stephen’s references are not always to lofty literary or philosophical texts, and Ulysses itself is pervaded with allusions to popular songs and other examples of contemporary popular culture.

[48] Magdalen College (pronounced “maudlin”) is one of the colleges that make up Oxford University.

[49] To have one’s pants pulled down as a playful joke. The equivalent American slang term would be “pantsed.”

[50] The reference here to Arnold suggests that Stephen understood Mulligan’s reference to “Hellenising” Ireland as a reference to Arnold.

[51] “Grasshalms” are simply blades of grass. In the two preceding paragraphs, Stephen (poet that he is) composes his own poetic description of Mulligan’s reference to the “ragging” of Kempthorpe. Stephen is given to such compositions.

[52] Joyce is the master of stream of consciousness. Here, Stephen runs through a sequence of seemingly unrelated thoughts, though all are reactions to Mulligan. “To ourselves” recalls the Irish Sinn Féin, and thus has nationalist and anticolonialist resonances. “New paganism” echoes Mulligan’s irreverence and suggests a new anti-bourgeois (and anti-Catholic) morality. “Omphalos,” which is Greek for “navel,” might partly suggest the appearance of the Martello Tower. It could also suggest Mulligan’s narcissistic sense of being at the center of the universe, as well as recalling the notion of “navel gazing,” which refers to an excessive concentration on oneself to the exclusion of everything else.

[53] Bray Head is a hill that is a prominent coastal landmark near Dublin. It would not, however, literally be visible from the tower.

[54] Mulligan here acknowledges his own insensitivity, suggesting that he remembers only empirical details, without emotion or any sense of moral judgment.

[55] The “Mater” is the Mater Misericordiae, a Dublin hospital run by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy. In 1904, it contained a hospice ward, so death would commonly be observed there. It is located on Eccles Street, as is the home of Leopold and Molly Bloom, two crucial characters in Ulysses.

[56] The Richmond Lunatic Asylum, now known as St. Brendan’s Hospital.

[57] Mulligan suggests that Stephen applies the same intellectual style to his unbelief that Jesuits apply to their belief.

[58] The medical student Mulligan views the death of Stephen’s mother in the most callously mechanistic of terms.

[59] Sir Peter Teazle is a character in School for Scandal (1777), a play by the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. The implication of this entire sentence is that Stephen’s mother was out of touch with reality at the end and really didn’t understand what was going on around her. Mulligan suggests that it would have thus done no harm for Stephen to have prayed with her, but of course his argument also implies (inadvertently) that it did no harm for Stephen not to pray with her.

[60] Lalouette’s was a Dublin mortuary that, like many mortuaries of the time, employed professional mourners to help create the appropriate atmosphere of sadness and gloom. Wearing black mourning attire, they would simply stand around and look bereaved. Mulligan suggests that Stephen apparently wants him to act like one of these mourners; he also suggests that this would be ridiculous.

[61] Mulligan’s words are insensitive; but Stephen is clearly overreacting, as he often does.

[62] Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1566) was the founder of the Society of Jesus. Mulligan is suggesting that Stephen should stop brooding like a Jesuit and get on with his day.

[63] “Sassenach” is derived from the Irish word sasanach (meaning “English”). Itis a resentful term applied by the Irish to their English conquerors.

[64] A “rasher” is a slice of bacon.

[65] Inspired by his own reference to Stephen’s brooding, Mulligan quotes from Yeats’s 1893 poem “Who Goes with Fergus” as he descends the stairs. The fact that a medical student can quote Yeats suggests that poetry and other forms of literature were a prominent part of Irish culture in 1904.

[66] The next line of Yeats’s poem reads “And rules the shadows of the wood.” Stephen appears to recall it here, continuing Mulligan’s quotation. Stephen knows the poem well, having sung it to his dying mother—as we learn in the following paragraph. Joyce also knew it well (and admired it), having attended the premiere of the play.

[67] Stephen’s thoughts continue to dwell on “Who Goes with Fergus?,” from which the phrase “White breast of the dim sea” is taken directly.

[68] Stephen often thinks in poems, as he here poetically describes (in his own mind) the sea outside the tower.

[69] Stephen recalls the keepsakes locked away in his mother’s drawer. This recollection triggers others, as Stephen begins to recall his mother’s memories as if they were his own, going back to her childhood.

[70] Edward William Royce was a well-known performer associated with London’s Gaiety Theatre. He played the title role in the Dublin premiere of Turko the Terrible.

[71] The pantomime was a popular theatrical form in late-nineteenth-century England and Ireland. This form should not be confused with the silent pantomimes performed by mimes; such pantomimes featured a sequence of various types of performances, held together by the vague context of a well-known story or theme.

[72] Turko the Terrible was a popular pantomime performed in Dublin throughout the late nineteenth century. Thornton notes that the version performed in Dublin would have been the adaptation by the Irish author Edwin Hamilton of William Brough’s original English pantomime Turko the Terrible; or, The Fairy Roses, first performed in 1868 at London’s Gaiety Theatre (17). The adaptation was first performed in Dublin in 1873. The allusion to the pantomime represents one of a number of vaguely Orientalist references in Ulysses. Later in the novel, for example, Bloom will think of Turko as he imagines himself wandering through the streets of an exotic Middle Eastern city.

[73] Lines from Turko the Terrible, in which King Turko imagines the advantages of gaining the magial power to become invisible.

[74] The sudden shift from Turko the Terrible back to Yeats indicates the free intermixture of “high” and “low” culture that is typical of the entire text of Ulysses.

[75] Stephen here might be thinking of the theosophical notion of a universal memory to which each person’s individual memories are added after death. Theosophy had a significant following in Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century, with writers such as A.E. and Yeats showing a particular interest in the spiritualist movement.

[76] Stephen’s ruminations on his dead mother often recall the encounter of Hamlet with the ghost of his father.

[77] Latin: “May the troop of confessors, glowing like lilies, surround you. May the choir of virgins, jubilant, take you in.” The words are from a Catholic prayer for the dying, intended to be said by a layman in the absence of a priest. The prayer will be referenced at several points in Ulysses.

[78] In Stephen’s often lurid imagination, his dead mother has been transformed into a sort of supernatural monster.

[79] Stephen seems to be a bit heartened by this sunlight, which he “hears” in an example of the synesthesia that he experiences at several points in Joyce’s work. Many people experience this effect, in which a stimulus to one sense is experienced in a different sense, but it seems to be an especially valuable ability for a poet.

[80] “Quid” is a slang term for a British pound sterling, as represented by a paper note. It is worth 20 shillings. A “guinea” is also a pound, but it is represented by a coin; in the complex British monetary system, a guinea is actually worth 21 shillings. Mulligan is thus here suggesting that they should try to squeeze every possible shilling out of Haines. Money is mentioned quite often in Ulysses, providing a reminder of the centrality of capitalist economics to the phenomenon of modernity.

[81] Stephen is currently working as a teacher and is due to be paid on this day. We will see him on the job in Chapter 2, “Nestor.”

[82] In typical Irish slang, a “kip” is an unattractive or messy place. Mulligan appears to use the term here to indicate the unpleasantness of Stephen’s job. Mulligan also uses the term in a general negative sense, much as an “American” might use the term “crap.”

[83] Still another slang term for a British pound. A sovereign is equivalent to a quid.

[84] London’s working-class inhabitants, especially on the East End, are widely referred to as “cockneys.” They are known for their distinctive accents.

[85] Mulligan here quotes from “Coronation Day,” a popular song, widely sung in the streets of England in anticipation of the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria. Mulligan here jokingly equates Stephen’s payday to Edward’s coronation day, though the joke involves an appropriate pun, given that a “crown” is also a unit of English currency, worth 5 shillings.

[86] We know from Portrait that Stephen sometimes enjoys smells that others find unpleasant.

[87] Clongowes Wood College is a Jesuit boys’ boarding school attended by both Stephen and Joyce from ages 6–9, until declining family financial circumstances made it necessary to seek a less expensive school.

[88] Stephen often muses on the question of just what constitutes human identity. In “Scylla and Charybdis,” for example, he ponders the notion that all molecules in the body are periodically replaced, yet we maintain a consistent sense of identity.

[89] Stephen resents the notion of being in a subaltern position—as are all colonial subjects. In Portrait, he adopts the personal motto “non serviam” (Latin: “I will not serve.”) The phrase echoes that traditionally attribute to Lucifer as he begins his rebellion in heaven.

[90] In this context, a barbacan would appear to be a hole in the wall of the tower, through which those occupying it could look out or perhaps fire upon attackers.

[91] More poetic imagery forming in Stephen’s mind. The extended views we have of the interiors of the minds of Joyce’s characters tells us a great deal about what discourses (such as poetry and religion for Stephen or business and science for Bloom) have helped to shape their thinking.

[92] Mulligan’s reaction to the smoke is less poetic than Stephen’s.

[93] “Janey Mack” is a mild oath used in Ireland, roughly equivalent to “gosh.”

[94] Mulligan here coyly interrupts himself in the midst of an obscene joke about the use of candles as dildoes. Given the prominence of candles in Catholicism, the joke has special resonances in Ireland, where this sort of joke is often particularly made about nuns.

[95] Likely another oath. Mulligan probably here means “Jesus,” often pronounced in Ireland as “Jaysus.”

[96] “Pet” = a moment of anger or exasperation.

[97] Latin: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The Catholic invocation of the Holy Trinity.

[98] Mulligan here makes one of his typical scatological jokes. “To make water” is common slang for “to urinate.”

[99] Mulligan offers his joke to Haines for his collection of Irish folk culture. He does so, of course, in a way that mocks the entire Nationalist project of glorifying such culture.

[100] The Mabinogian is a medieval compendium of Celtic legend, though it is Welsh, rather than Irish. The Upanishads constitute a Sanskrit text that contains many of the central ideas of Hinduism. As usual, Mulligan is being facetious, though his target seems to be both the Irish Nationalist anticolonial project and Haines’ colonialist project of cultural appropriation.

[101] Mother Grogan, Stephen suggests, is a character who belongs not in lofty texts such as the Mabinogian, but in vulgar Irish street songs like the one Mulligan is about to sing, thanks to Stephen’s inspiration.

[102] In one version (probably the one Mulligan has in mind), the next line of the song, here judiciously omitted, is “She pisses like a man.”

[103] Mulligan speaks to Haines in mock anthropological jargon, referring to the Irish as “the islanders,” as if they are a primitive tribe on a remote Pacific island. In calling God the “collector of prepuces,” he refers to the Old Testament injunction that all Jewish men should be circumcised. “Prepuce” is a technical medical term for “foreskin,” again showing Mulligan’s status as a medical student.

[104] Stephen’s vision of the milk woman derives from the central role played by such country women in Irish folk culture.

[105] Mulligan complains about unhealthy living conditions in Ireland in such terms that even the old woman can tell he is a medical student.

[106] Feeling left out of Mulligan’s patter with the old woman, Stephen’s thoughts drift into a very Catholic misogynistic vision of women as inherently unclean and impure, as when Eve, tempted by Satan (the serpent) led Adam into trouble.

[107] In 1904, the only place one might find Irish routinely spoken was in isolated rural pockets in the western part of the island.

[108] Joyce here has some fun at the expense of the Irish Nationalist promotion of the Irish language by creating a scene in which, not only does the old country woman not speak Irish, but none of the Irish characters do. Only the Englishman, studying Ireland from a rather condescending perspective, can speak Irish.

[109] The old woman’s math is another example of the highlighting of financial transactions in Ulysses.

[110] A florin in a two-shilling coin.

[111] Mulligan again quotes Swinburne, this time from a poem called “The Oblation” (1871), which opens with this line.

[112] Mulligan continues to quote from Swinburne’s “The Oblation.” His knowledge of English poetry seems quite good.

[113] “Stony” = broke, lacking money.

[114] Mulligan mockingly adapts the famous call to battle of Great Britain’s great naval leader, Admiral Horatio Nelson, who will figure later in Ulysses as well. Mulligan, however, here suggests that the main duty of Irish men is the drink and “junket,” i.e., carouse.

[115] We know from Portrait that Stephen has an aversion to bathing.

[116] Apparently Haines is impressed by Stephen’s witticisms.

[117] “The again-biting of in-wit,” the inward turn of a mind gnawing on itself in guilt. Stephen here accuses Haines of being interested in studying Irish culture as a way of assuaging his sense of guilt over centuries of English oppression in England. But of course Stephen himself is wracked with guilt over his mother, giving the phrase an extra resonance.

[118] Stephen continues his rumination on guilt by invoking the “damned spot” of Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth, one of the most famous images of guilt in all of literature.

[119] Readers of Ulysses will encounter Stephen’s full discourse on Hamlet in “Scylla and Charybdis,” where he argues that the play was inspired by events in Shakespeare’s own life.

[120] Stephen succinctly states the central problem of life under capitalism.

[121] His priestly garments. Mulligan is still playing the role of priest.

[122] Mulligan now quotes Walt Whitman to describe his choices in clothing. One of the ironies of Ulysses is that Mulligan openly quotes poetry more than does Stephen, who tends to think inwardly about poetry. Mulligan’s knowledge of poetry is broad, though superficial.

[123] Stephen’s hat is of a kind that one might find in the Latin Quarter in Paris, frequented by artsy types.

[124] Mulligan jokes on the Biblical passage “And going forth, he wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). Joyce himself was a master of such warped quotations, which are used to particularly good effect in Finnegans Wake.

[125] Walking stick.

[126] Stephen calls attention to the military/colonial background of the tower.

[127] The government of Prime Minister William Pitt (1759–1806) oversaw the building of the Martello towers in Ireland in 1803–1806 as a protection against possible French invasion.

[128] See note 52. Mulligan suggests that their tower is the center of the universe.

[129] Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was a distinguished medieval Catholic scholar. Mulligan suggests that he can’t handle Stephen’s pedantry until he has had a few drinks.

[130] Oscar Wilde was known for his witticisms, which were often paradoxical.

[131] Mulligan lampoons Stephen’s theory, throwing in a jab at the Catholic notion of the oneness of God and His Son.

[132] Japhet in Search of a Father is the title of an 1836 novel by Capt. Frederick Marryat, an English naval officer. It involves the attempt of an abandoned child to locate his father. Throughout Ulysses, Stephen isrepresented as being in search of a father figure, his own father being a rather inadequate one. Bloom will ultimately fill that role, but largely in an ironic way.

[133] Elsinore Castle, home of Hamlet.

[134] Mulligan here cites a passage from Hamlet in which Horatio warns Hamlet against possible treachery on the part of the ghost. It is essentially a warning against false fathers.

[135] A rocky coastal landmark near Sandycove tower.

[136] Mulligan’s irreverent poem strives to be as offensive as possible to Catholic sensibilities. What he quotes here is the opening stanza of an actual ballad, “The Ballad of Japing Jesus,” composed by Gogarty. Stephen later gets the title slightly wrong.

[137] As Mulligan continues with the ballad, he seems to have promoted himself from a priest figure to a Christ figure.

[138] Mount Olivet is a ridge in East Jerusalem from which Christ is supposed to have ascended to heaven.

[139] Mulligan closes with the final stanza of the ballad, having skipped several others.

[140] Stephen apparently finds Mulligan’s performances as tiresome as Mulligan finds Stephen’s.

[141] For Stephen, Catholicism is a complete system. You either believe it or you don’t.

[142] Free thinkers believe that all questions should be approached with logic and reason, without limitations placed on thought by religious dogma.

[143] The metal tip on Stephen’s wooden walking stick.

[144] A familiar is an animal-like spirit that accompanies a magician or wizard, enhancing his power. Stephen here playfully imagines his walking stick having magical powers, like a magic wand.

[145] “Now I eat his salt bread.” From a passage in Dante’s Paradiso in which Dante learns from his ancestor Cacciaguida that he (Dante) will soon be exiled from his beloved Florence. Cacciaguida essentially warns Dante not to count on the hospitality of others, as Stephen feels he cannot count on the hospitality of Mulligan.

[146] In this famous line, Stephen complains of the domination of Ireland by both the British Empire and the Catholic Church (which is headquartered at the Vatican in Rome, Italy). Stephen will soon make this clear.

[147] Displaying a typical British attitude, Haines both expresses regret for the treatment of Ireland by England and refuses to accept responsibility, blaming it all on “history.” But men, Marx reminds us, make their own history.

[148] Stephen repeats his earlier identification of the Catholic Church as one of Ireland’s oppressors by citing the Nicene Creed of 325 AD in Latin: “et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam”: one holy catholic and apostolic church.

[149] Stephen launches into a reverie on Church history, beginning with an evocation of. Famous piece of Renaissance music, Missa Papae Marcelli (Mass for Pope Marcellus, c. 1562), by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594).

[150] Photius I of Constantinople (c. 810–883) is a great figure in Church history but was also known for his involvement in a number of controversies and conflicts. Ultimately, he was a key figure in splitting the Church into Western (Roman Catholic) and Eastern Orthodox segments. He was subsequently revered in the Eastern Church and condemned in the Western one.

[151] Stephen identifies Mulligan with the history of heresy in the Church

[152] Arius (c. 250-336) was an early religious thinker whose elevation of God the Father over Christ the Son ran contrary to the ultimately orthodox vision of the unity, or consubstantiality, of the two.

[153] Valentine (died c. 166) was an early gnostic thinker later regarded as a heretic by the Catholic Church for his views that the world was created not by God, but by a demon, and for his belief that Christ was pure spirit and had no physical (“terrene”) body.

[154] Sabellius, a famous third century thinker regarded as a heretic for his view that “Father,” “Son, and “Holy Spirit” were not three different entities but merely three different names for the same entity.

[155] The Archangel Michael leads God’s armies against the forces of Satan in the Book of Revelation. Stephen thus here aligns Mulligan with Satan, though he sometimes thinks of himself as a rebel in the mode of the Miltonic Satan as well.

[156] Stephen’s knowledge of the history of heresy is impressive, while his focus on relatively arcane issues of theology is also telling.

[157] French: “Damn! In the name of God!” Stephen imagines (with self-deprecating humor) a crowd reacting with enthusiasm to the mental performance he has just completed inside his head.

[158] Haines is virulently anti-Semitic, not a particularly unusual attitude in England at the time. (note that Haines’ name in French means “hate.”) The protagonist of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, is the son of a Jewish father. He experiences considerable anti-Semitism in Ireland as well, even though he is not technically Jewish himself.

[159] A manmade harbor near Sandycove.

[160] Stephen’s imagination again turns morbid as he imagines a man who has recently drowned offshore.

[161] Alec Bannon will later appear as a minor character in the novel.

[162] We will learn later in Ulysses that the “sweet young thing” is Bloom’s daughter Milly, who has just turned fifteen. She has recently taken a job in a photographer’s shop in Mullingar, the main town in country Westmeath, forty miles or so from Dublin, where she is spending the summer.

[163] Mulligan continues his mock enactment of piety.

[164] Ireland was a key source of recruits for the British army, especially for its campaigns of conquest in Africa. Joyce, in Ulysses, is intensely aware of the irony of Irish soldiers, colonial subjects themselves, being used to help the English colonize others.

[165] “Stew” = “work,” especially at a menial job.

[166] Lily Carlisle does not appear again in Ulysses. This mention is all we know of her.

[167] Rotten.

[168] Pregnant.

[169] In popular legend, red-headed people are often associated with treachery and wantonness. One version of this particular superstition holds that red-headed women are sexually profligate and particularly wild during sex.

[170] Friedrich Nietzsche’s superman, envisioned as a new step in the evolution of humanity, overcoming the slave mentality that is the legacy of Christianity. Mulligan pretends to have suddenly discovers that he is the Übermensch.

[171] Money again. “Twopence” (pronounced “tuppence”) is a two-penny coin. Twelve pennies make a shilling, so a pound is worth 240 pence. Keep in mind that the sums mentioned in Ulysses are in terms of 1904 currency. The same amount of money in 1904 would be worth far more today. The exact conversion is complicated to calculate, but the difference would be more than two orders of magnitude.

[172] Mulligan’s parodies the Biblical language of Proverbs 19:17 (“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord”), followed by a reference to Nietzsche’s key text on the Übermensch, Also Sprach Zarathustra (1883–1891).

[173] The English developed many racist stereotypes concerning the Irish over their long colonial occupation of the island, many of which emphasized the wild and uncivilized nature of the Irish.

[174] Stephen regards Haines and lists to himself things that should be avoided.

[175] Mulligan reminds Stephen that they are supposed to meet up at The Ship tavern at 12:30.

[176] Stephen again recalls the prayer. See note 77.

[177] Stephen resolves not to return either to the tower or to his family home after this day. He is often associated with the motif of exile in Joyce’s work.

[178] The swimming Mulligan calls to Stephen.

[179] Stephen responds, in his own mind, by calling Mulligan a “usurper.” Both Odysseus and Hamlet have problems with usurpers to the throne they consider rightfully theirs. The reasons why Stephen regards Mulligan as a usurper seem complex and a bit obscure, though it is clear that Mulligan regards himself as the lord of the tower. His frequent quotations from poetry also usurp Stephen’s authority in that realm.