(GJ) Canto XXVII (p.10, ll. 1-18).

Haec dicit Dominus: in tribulatione sua mane consurgent ad me. Venite et revertamur ad Dominum. 

(The Lord says, “For they will rise early to me.” Come, let us return to the Lord.)

Joyce, drunk or sober, weaves home through a cold, pale yellow pre-dawn, contemplating both the crucifix and the gargoyle. He is neither alone nor in Amalia’s company. He is in Trieste and Paris, walking through both time past and time future.

The reading for the mass celebrated in Jim’s quantum cathedral is God’s command to Hosea to marry an unfaithful wife. Hosea’s wife, Gomer, will symbolize the unfaithful Israelites. Her children represent the loss of God’s favor but, ultimately, Yahweh’s forgiveness too. Joyce’s consideration of an adulterous spouse may lead him to think of his weakening fidelity toward Nora, or he might be assuaging his guilt by jealously revisiting infidelity that Nora never committed. 

In the “sindark nave” Joyce imagines standing elbow to elbow with Amalia, daughter of Jerusalem, dreaming that she would cry about his pain. Joyce borrows his words from Christ’s cold warning to the women who cry for Him on His way to Golgatha. Joyce makes himself the Christ and promises Amalia will suffer for her role in his pain.

Turning to them, Jesus said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children.” (Luke 23:28)

The artist’s musing in Giacomo again will become art in Ulysses. A more perfect and selfless love emerges there. Molly’s infidelity curiously will reinforce her bond with Bloom. She won’t need readmittance into her lord’s tent. She will rule the tent. Bloom will never turn away from her, and despite her physicality, Molly will never betray Poldy in her heart. The Israelites’ covenant passes from a god of justice to a god of forgiveness. Evolving further, the love of Molly and Bloom transcends even forgiveness. It accepts human failing.

Finally, a few words about the first Latin quote of the canto. Quia frigus erato is normally translated, “It was cold.” There is a long-standing debate over Virgil’s use of frigus in a similar sentence in The Aeneid. The question is whether Virgil intends frigus to indicate cold or fear. Expect Joyce to know every allusion. Is he afraid of his passion as well as shivering in the coldIt’s amusing to note that if you search for the phrase, you will find it in an exercise in Scanlon and Scanlon’s Latin Grammar: Grammar Vocabularies and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of the Missal and Breviary studied ironically during a priest’s education.

don ward September 3, 2020

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