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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Digital Library-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

-Yes, father.

-Hm!

The girl came back making signs to him to be quick and go out quietly by the back. Stephen laughed and said:

-He has a curious idea of genders if he thinks a bitch is masculine.

-Ah, itís a scandalous shame for you, Stephen, said his mother, and youíll live to rue the day you set your foot in that place. I know how it has changed you.

-Good morning, everybody, said Stephen, smiling and kissing the tips of his fingers in adieu.

The lane behind the terrace was waterlogged and as he went down it slowly, choosing his steps amid heaps of wet rubbish, he heard a mad nun screeching in the nunsí madhouse beyond the wall.

-Jesus! O Jesus! Jesus!

He shook the sound out of his ears by an angry toss of his head and hurried on, stumbling through the mouldering offal, his heart already bitten by an ache of loathing and bitterness. His fatherís whistle, his motherís mutterings, the screech of an unseen maniac were to him now so many voices offending and threatening to humble the pride of his youth. He drove their echoes even out of his heart with an execration: but, as he walked down the avenue and felt the grey morning light falling about him through the dripping trees and smelt the strange wild smell of the wet leaves and bark, his soul was loosed of her miseries.

The rainladen trees of the avenue evoked in him, as always, memories of the girls and women in the plays of Gerhart Hauptmann; and the memory of their pale sorrows and the fragrance falling from the wet branches mingled in a mood of quiet joy. His morning walk across the city had begun, and he foreknew that as he passed the sloblands of Fairview he would think of the cloistral silverveined prose of Newman, that as he walked along the North Strand Road, glancing idly at the windows of the provision shops, he would recall the dark humour of Guido Cavalcanti and smile, that as he went by Bairdís stonecutting works in Talbot Place the spirit of Ibsen would blow through him like a keen wind, a spirit of wayward boyish beauty, and that passing a grimy marinedealerís shop beyond the Liffey he would repeat the song by Ben Jonson which begins:

I was not wearier where I lay.

His mind, when wearied of its search for the essence of beauty amid the spectral words of Aristotle or Aquinas, turned often for its pleasure to the dainty songs of the Elizabethans. His mind, in the vesture of a doubting monk, stood often in shadow under the windows of that age, to hear the grave and mocking music of the lutenists or the frank laughter of waistcoateers until a laugh too low, a phrase, tarnished by time, of chambering and false honour, stung his monkish pride and drove him on from his lurkingplace.

The lore which he was believed to pass his days brooding upon so that it had rapt him from the companionships of youth was only a garner of slender sentences from Aristotleís poetics and psychology and a Synopsis Philosophiae Scholasticae ad mentem divi Thomae. His thinking was a dusk of doubt and selfmistrust lit up at moments by the lightnings of intuition, but lightnings of so


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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Digital Library-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce



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