Here is the text as dictated. In going through it beneath, I'll quote Joyce's revised version.
THE FOUR WAVES OF ERIN
Saltsea widowers all four, they had been many ages before summarily divorced by their respective spouses (with whom they had parted on the best of terms) by a decree absolute issued by Mrs Justice Smashman in the married male offenders court at Bohernabreena, one for inefficiency in backscratching, two for having broken wind without having first made a request in writing on stamped foolscap paper, three for having attempted hunnish familiarities after a meal of decomposed crab, four on account of his general cast of countenance.
Yet were they fettlesome anon, lured by beauty often would they cling to the sides of the Northwall and Holyhead boats and the Isle of Man tourist steamers, peering with glaucomatose eyes through the cataractic portholes of honeymoon cabins or saloon ladies' toilet apartments.
Highchanted the elderly Waves of Erin in four-part Palestrian melody, four for all, all one in glee of grief of loneliness of age but with a bardic license, there being about of birds and stars quite a sufficient number.
Low in the west
And thou, poor heart, loves image, faint and far,
Her clear cold eyes and her soft lifted brown
And fragrant hair,
Falling as through the silence falleth now
Dusk from the air.
A why wilt thou,
A why wilt thou remember these,
Poor heart, repine,
If the dear love she yielded with a sigh
Was never thine!'
THE FOUR WAVES OF ERIN
‘The Three Tonns or Waves of Erin are much celebrated in Irish romantic literature. They were Tonn Cleena in Glandore harbour in Cork; Tonn Tuaithe outside the mouth of the Bann in Derry; and Tonn Rudraidhe in Dundrum Bay off the County Down. In stormy weather, when the wind blows in certain directions, the sea at these places, as it tumbles over the sandbanks, or among the caves and fissures of the rocks, utters an unusually loud and solemn roar, which excited the imagination of our ancestors. They believed that these sounds had a supernatural origin, that they gave warning of the deadly danger, or foreboded the approaching death, of kings or chieftains, or bewailed a king's or a great chief's death.’
Joyce later told Eugene Jolas that his aim was 'to build many planes of narrative with a single esthetic purpose'. This creation of old Irishmen who are also waves was the first piece he composed with multiple planes.
|I drew the map was I was a student in 1983. |
JOYCE CREATES 1132
|The darker penci is James' Joyce's handwriting. National Library of Ireland|
The old men may have muddled his horse-drawn cab with the pharaoh's chariot. I think the Red Sea is 'proleptic' (anticipatory) because its name anticipates bloodshed – the stabbing of Burke and Cavendish in the park.
F.A.Bridgman, Pharaoh's Army Engulfed in the Red Sea
'His own domestic life was not very happy. People had great sympathy with him, for it was known that he had married an unpresentable woman who was an incurable drunkard. He had set up house for her six times; and each time she had pawned the furniture on him.
Everyone had respect for poor Martin Cunningham.'
When Joyce rewrote the passage, he used the fictional name, and brought in the pharaoh's Red Sea:
'and then poor Martin Cunningham out of the castle on pension when he was completely drowned off Dunleary at that time in the red sea'
Here's the final transformation of the passage in Finnegans Wake, where he has become Merkin Cornyngwham - combining Martin Cunningham with Mark of Cornwall.
See also Casement's transformation into a Lady Jales Casemate and the reappearance of those Dublin auctioneers, now Queen Baltersby off the White Ship, wrecked in 1120.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
The final decree ending a marriage after a decree nisi showing legal requirements have been met.
cf Bloom in Eumaeus: ' Then the decree nisi and the King's Proctor to show cause why and, he failing to quash it, nisi was made absolute.'
This passage reminds me of the 'several highly respectable Dublin ladies' accusing Leopold Bloom of sending them improper letters.
'MRS BELLINGHAM Tan his breech well, the upstart! Write the stars and stripes on it!
MRS YELVERTON BARRY Disgraceful! There's no excuse for him! A married man!'
William Domville Handock', History of Tallaght, 1899
'If a Struldbrug happen to marry one of his own kind, the marriage is dissolved of course, by the courtesy of the kingdom, as soon as the younger of the two comes to be fourscore; for the law thinks it a reasonable indulgence, that those who are condemned, without any fault of their own, to a perpetual continuance in the world, should not have their misery doubled by the load of a wife.'
Letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 23 October 1923, Letters Vol I
FOUR BEAUTIFUL SISTERS
'O, come all ye sea nymphs of Dingle beach to cheer Brinabride queen from Sybil surfriding'. 399.03
'An auburn mayde, o’brine a’bride, to be desarted' 13.26
Brinabride, goodbye! Brinabride! I sold!' 500.21
'the bride of the Bryne' 595.05
'And after that so glad they had their night tentacles and there they used to be, flapping and cycling, and a dooing a doonloop, panementically, around the waists of the ship...'394.12
THE WAIL OF OLD MEN'S PLANXTY
Highchanted the elderly Waves of Erin in four-part Palestrian melody, four for all, all one in glee of grief of loneliness of age but with a bardic license, there being about of birds and stars and noise quite a sufficient quantity.
The pervert in 'An Encounter' is called a 'queer old josser' and he also has green eyes.
Joyce loved the music of Giovanni da Palestrina (1525-1594), who wrote many motets, hymns and madrigals for four voices. He told Frank Budgen, 'In writing the mass for Pope Marcellus, Palestrina did more than surpass himself as a musician....He saved music for the Church.'
'This was their way' became 'This plashed their wavechant' - sadly lost in the final version.