Watches of the night (1)
Hark! Twelve two eleven four cater ten six seix sax. eigh Hark! seven eight Eight seven Pedwar pemp. Five three. Twelve. Methought 'twas the peal of midnight bells midnight's chime from out the belfry of the cute old speckled church, sounding so faintly faint a twelve as darkness rendered all British objects invisible nonviewable to human watcher save perchance anon some glittery gleam adown the surface of the fluvial flowandflow or again it might be sundry articles of laundry reposing upon the sward greensward hard by in full expectation. And methought broadmouth was heard and all vociferated, Shaun echoating: Shaun! Shaun! Post the post! And lo methought somewhat was seemed to move amove amongst the murk, now 'twas as a clump, now t'was mayhap. When lo there was light and in it approached now 'twas a flasher anon more as the glow. Ah, it was 'twas, in verity 'twas, his belted lamp. And he who swayed before me, [will o' the wisp, coat on shoulder,] was none other than (the blessing of God & Mary & Patrick be on all over him) other than (may his hundred thousand welcome letters multiply & plultiply) Shaun himself.
1) These words, which Joyce
placed in the left-hand margin of the page, originally served as a title for
Book III. It will be noticed that the first two chapters were written as a unit
though Joyce from the start envisaged four watches for Shaun, paralleling the
four watches of Buddha. Given the consecutive quality of the narrative and the
proximity of this version to the completed structure, it does not seem necessary
to fill in the gaps left in the scantily developed central portion of III, ii,
where Jaun-Shaun's rich-textured monologue and Isy's less rich but very
characteristic reply are only brushed in by Joyce. On the other hand, the two
major vides left by the omission of the fable of the "Ondt and the
Gracehoper" in III, i and the interlude with "Dave the Dancekerl" in iii, ii
command our attention.
David Hayman: Joyce, James / A first-draft version of Finnegans wake