Page:Ulysses, 1922.djvu/182

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179
 

                               Bound thee forth, my booklet, quick
                               To greet the callous public.
                               Writ, I ween, ′twas not my wish
                               In lean unlovely English.

        The peatsmoke is going to his head, John Eglinton opined.
       We feel in England. Penitent thief. Gone. I smoked his baccy. Green
twinkling stone. An emerald set in the ring of the sea.
        People do not know how dangerous lovesongs can be, the auric egg
of Russell warned occultly. The movements which work revolutions in the world
are born out of the dreams and visions in a peasant’s heart on the hillside. For
them the earth is not an exploitable ground but the living mother. The rarefied
air of the academy and the arena produce the sixshilling novel, the music-
hall song, France produces the finest flower of corruption in Mallarmé but the
desirable life is revealed only to the poor of heart, the life of Homer’s
Phæacians.
       From these words Mr Best turned an unoffending face to Stephen.
        Mallarmé, don’t you know, he said, has written those wonderful prose
poems Stephen MacKenna used to read to me in Paris. The one about
Hamlet. He says : il se promène, lisant au livre de lui-même, don’t you know,
reading the book of himself. He describes Hamlet given in a French town, don’t
you know, a provincial town. They advertised it.
       His free hand graciously wrote tiny signs in air.

                                                     Hamlet
                                                        ou
                                                   Le Distrait
                                             Pièce de Shakespeare

       He repeated to John Eglinton’s newgathered frown :
        Pièce de Shakespeare, don’t you know. It’s so French, the French point
of view. Hamlet ou...
        The absentminded beggar, Stephen ended.
       John Eglinton laughed.
        Yes, I suppose it would be, he said. Excellent people, no doubt, but
distressingly shortsighted in some matters.
       Sumptuous and stagnant exaggeration of murder.