On pages 611-613 of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, St. Patrick meets the archdruid Balkelly:
Tunc. Bymeby, bullocky vampas tappany bobs topside joss pidgin fella Balkelly, archdruid of islish chinchinjoss in the his heptachromatic sevenhued septicoloured roranyellgreenlindigan mantle finish he show along the his mister guest Patholic with alb belongahim the whose throat hum with of sametime all the his cassock groaner fellas of greysfriaryfamily he fast all time what time all him monkafellas with Same Patholic, quoniam, speeching, yeh not speeching noh man liberty is, he drink up words, scilicet, tomorrow till recover will not, all too many much illusiones through photoprismic velamina of hueful panepiphanal world spectacurum of Lord Joss, the of which zoantholitic furniture, from mineral through vegetal to animal, not appear to full up to-gether fallen man than under but one photoreflection of the several iridals gradationes of solar light, that one which that part of it (furnit of heupanepi world) had shown itself (part of fur of huepanwor) unable to absorbere, whereas for numpa one pura —— duxed seer in seventh degree of wisdom of Entis–Onton he savvy inside true inwardness of reality, the Ding hvad in idself id est, all objects (of panepiwor) allside showed themselves in trues coloribus resplendent with sextuple gloria of light actually re-tained, untisintus, inside them (obs of epiwo). Rumnant Patholic, stareotypopticus, no catch all that preachybook, utpiam, tomorrow recover thing even is not, bymeby vampsybobsy tap — panasbullocks topside joss pidginfella Bilkilly–Belkelly say pat — fella, ontesantes, twotime hemhaltshealing, with other words verbigratiagrading from murmurulentous till stridulocelerious in a hunghoranghoangoly tsinglontseng while his comprehen-durient, with diminishing claractinism, augumentationed himself in caloripeia to vision so throughsighty, you anxioust melan-cholic, High Thats Hight Uberking Leary his fiery grassbelong- head all show colour of sorrelwood herbgreen, again, nigger- blonker, of the his essixcoloured holmgrewnworsteds costume the his fellow saffron pettikilt look same hue of boiled spinasses,other thing, voluntary mutismuser, he not compyhandy the his golden twobreasttorc look justsamelike curlicabbis, moreafter, to pace negativisticists, verdant readyrainroof belongahim Exuber High Ober King Leary very dead, what he wish to say, spit of superexuberabundancy plenty laurel leaves, after that com-mander bulopent eyes of Most Highest Ardreetsar King same thing like thyme choppy upon parsley, alongsidethat, if please-sir, nos displace tauttung, sowlofabishospastored, enamel Indian gem in maledictive fingerfondler of High High Siresultan Em-peror all same like one fellow olive lentil, onthelongsidethat, by undesendas, kirikirikiring, violaceous warwon contusiones of facebuts of Highup Big Cockywocky Sublissimime Autocrat, for that with pure hueglut intensely saturated one, tinged uniformly, allaroundside upinandoutdown, very like you seecut chowchow of plentymuch sennacassia Hump cumps Ebblybally! Sukkot?
Punc. Bigseer, refrects the petty padre, whackling it out, a tumble to take, tripeness to call thing and to call if say is good while, you pore shiroskuro blackinwhitepaddynger, by thiswis aposterioprismically apatstrophied and paralogically periparo-lysed, celestial from principalest of Iro’s Irismans ruinboon pot before, (for beingtime monkblinkers timeblinged completamen-tarily murkblankered in their neutrolysis between the possible viriditude of the sager and the probable eruberuption of the saint), as My tappropinquish to Me wipenmeselps gnosegates a handcaughtscheaf of synthetic shammyrag to hims hers, seeming-such four three two agreement cause heart to be might, saving to Balenoarch (he kneeleths), to Great Balenoarch (he kneeleths down) to Greatest Great Balenoarch (he kneeleths down quite-somely), the sound salse sympol in a weedwayedwold of the firethere the sun in his halo cast. Onmen.
That was thing, bygotter, the thing, bogcotton, the very thing, begad! Even to uptoputty Bilkilly–Belkelly-Balkally. Who was for shouting down the shatton on the lamp of Jeeshees. Sweating on to stonker and throw his seven. As he shuck his thumping fore features apt the hoyhop of His Ards.
Good safe firelamp! hailed the heliots. Goldselforelump! Halled they. Awed. Where thereon the skyfold high, trampa-trampatramp. Adie. Per ye comdoom doominoom noonstroom. Yeasome priestomes. Fullyhum toowhoom.
This meeting between sage and saint was one of the earliest sections Jocye composed for Finnegans Wake. Here’s Joseph Campbell explicating the scene. From his book A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake:
The grand national meeting is introduced as a colorful, rhythmical, fashionable horse race (611) during the course of which Patrick and the druid chat.
And here are the details of their debate.
Balkelly, archdruid: “The phenomenal forms beheld by mortal eye are comparable to the refracted hues into which sunlight is broken by a prism. The mineral, vegetable, animal, and common-man inhabitants of the world are incapable of experiencing the whole source-light. But the true seer, in the seventh degree of the Wisdom of Being, knows the inwardness of reality, the Ding an sich, the essence of each thing: and for him all objects shine with that gloria of seed light which is within them. The entire world, for him, is an epiphany.”
Patrick, however, did not quite follow the drift. While the druid waxed in eolquence, the saint’s eyes wandered to High King Leary, whom, by way of passing the time, he tried to envision as King Harvest: with kilt like spinach, (612) torc like cauliflowers, eyes like thyme chopped with parsley, stone of ring like an olive lentil, war scars on face like chopped senna: Hump cumps Ebblybally: a veritable Feast of Tabernacles.
Patrick’s reply [begins with “Punc”]: “It is a mistake to say that knowledge a posteriori, even for a seer, can attain to the celestial. When you speak of the essential knowledge of the true seer, it is as though, by a paralogism and circumlocution, ‘My’ were to be spoken of as ‘Me’ or a handkerchief were to be taken for the owner of the handkerchief. If we are to permit to you such seeming 4-3-2 agreement, then we may also accept for common man the Sacred Heart as adequate sound-sense symbol for the fire cast therein by the sunlight of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
That was the very thing, begad. The druid was completely nonplussed. His throw had lost. Thud.
(614) “God save Ireland!” hailed the populace, awed. And the heavens resounded: “Per eundem Dominimum Nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum.”
And the entire company, saints and sages, kings and earls, was moved.
Read more about the St. Patrick and the Druid passage here, here, and here; read Finnegans Wake online here, and download a musical adaptation here.
1 thought on “St. Patrick and the Druid, an episode from Finnegans Wake (with explication from Joseph Campbell)”
Think I would do better with this if my ear was attuned to the Irish speech.