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Early drafts of the Tristan and Isolde vignette of Finnegans Wake

edited by Jorn Barger

Here are four layers of a controversial early vignette for FW, dating from March-August 1923. The first two layers are fragments that didn't survive in the later drafts. For more info, see: [earliest] (100k) and [later] (150k)

If your browser supports frames, you can compare two copies of this page using this simple page.

Or you can try to find its final form, madly szchattered thru the published text of FW II.4, here.

Bedier's version of the Tristan legend is now online.


March 1923

...strewing, the strikingly shining, the twittingly twinkling, and (as he truly remarked) the lamplights of lovers.

Up they gazed, skyward, while in her ear that loveless lover breathed:

Gaunt in gloom
The pale stars their torches
Enshrouded wave
Ghostfires from heaven's far verges faint illume
Arches on soaring arches,
Night's sindark nave

Seraphim
The pale stars awaken
To service till
In muted gloom each lapses, muted, dim
Raised when she has and shaken
Her thurible

And long and loud
To night's nave upsoaring
A starknell tolls
As the bleak incense surges, cloud on cloud,
Voidward from the adoring
Waste of souls

-- Go away from me instantly, she cried.

-- Perfect, he said.

He took leave of her and went before many instants had passed.

-- No, come back, she cried. I can't live without you.

-- It's important, he said, stopped and circulated at walker's pace in an opposed direction.


June 1923

...strewing, the strikingly shining, the twittingly twinkling, our true home and (as he uranographically remarked) the lamplights of lovers in the Beyond.

Up they gazed, skyward to stardom, while in his girleen's ear that loveless lover, sinless sinner breathed:

-- How gentle and kind I am, Issy. I never hurt the feelings of another. And I say, what a lovely nature is mine!

It wasn't exactly anything he said or it wasn't anything he exactly did but all the same it was something about him like the way he was always sticking his finger into his trousers pocket and then sticking it into his eyes like a borny baby, the great big slob that she let out a whistle or the once she dropped her ittle hankyfuss and the way so graceful he picked it up with his hoof and footed it up politefully to her ittle nibblenose.

-- Go away from me instantly you thing, she roared. Curse your stinking putrid soul and all belonged to you, you scum. Forget me not!

-- Perfect, you bloody bitch, he said.

He took leave of her and circulated as bidden. Hearing his name called before many instants had passed he most sagaciously ceased to walk about and turned, his look now charged with purpose.

-- No, come back, she cried. How sweetly you have responded to us. I so want you!

-- It's important, her nephew, who was very continental, said, stopped and circulated at walker's pace in an opposed direction.


August 1923

The handsome sixfoottwo rugger and soccer champion and the belle of Chapelizod in her ocean blue brocade bunnyhugged scrumptiously in the dark behind the chief steward's cabin while with sinister dexterity he alternately rightandlefthandled fore and aft her palpable rugby and association bulbs. She murmurously asked for some but not too much of the best poetry reflecting on the situation her reason being that by the light of the moon of the silvery moon she loved to spoon before her honeymoomoon. He promptly then elocutioned to her in decasyllabic iambic hexameter: Roll on, thou deep and darkblue ocean, roll!

It was a gorgeous sensation he being exactly the right man in the right place and the weather conditions could not possibly have been improved. Her role was to roll on the darkblue ocean roll that rolled on round the round roll Robert Roly rolled round. She gazed while his deepsea peepers gazed O gazed O dazedcrazedgazed into her darkblue rolling ocean eyes.

He then having dephlegmatised his throat uttered as follows from his voicebox:

-- Isolde!

By elevation of eyelids that she addressed insinuated desideration of his declaration.

-- Isolde, O Isolde, when theeupon I oculise my most inmost Ego most vaguely senses the profundity of multimathematical immaterialities whereby in the pancosmic urge the Allimmanence of That Which Is Itself exteriorates on this here our plane of disunited solid liquid and gaseous bodies in pearlwhite passionpanting intuitions of reunited Selfhood in the higher dimensional Selflessness.

Hear, O hear, all ye caller herrings! Silent be, O Moyle! Milky Way, strew dim light!

She reunited milkymouthily his hers and their disunited lips and quick as greased lightning the Breton champion drove the advance messenger of love with one virile tonguethrust past the double line of ivoryclad forwards fullback rightjingbangshot into the goal of her gullet.

Now what do you candidly suppose she, a strapping young Irish princess scaling nine stone twelve in her pelt, cared at that precise physiological moment about tiresome old King Mark, that tiresome old pantaloon in his tiresome old twentytwoandsixpenny shepherd's plaid trousers? Not as much as a pinch of henshit and that's the meanest thing that was ever known. No, on the contrary, if the truth must be told lovingly she lovegulped his pulpous propeller and both together in the most fashionable weather they both went all of a shiveryshaky quiveryquaky mixumgatherum yumyumyum. After which before the traditional ten seconds were up Tristan considerately allowed his farfamed chokegrip to relax and precautiously withdrew the instrument of rational speech from the procathedral of amorous seductiveness.

-- I'm real glad to have run on to you, Trist, you fascinator, you! she said, awfully bucked by her gratifying experience of the love embrace from a bigtimer like him with an interesting tallow complexion from whom great things were expected as he was evidently a notoriety in the poetry department as well for he never saw an orange but he thought of a porringer and to cut a long story short taking him by and large he meant everything to her just then, her beau ideal of a true girl's friend neither big ugly nor small nice.




August 1923

As slow their ship, the sea being slight, upon the face of waters moved by courtesy of God that handsome brineburnt sixfooter Gaelic, rugger and soccer champion and the dinkum belle of Lucalizod quite charming in her oceanblue brocade and an overdress of net darned with gold well in advance of the newest fashion exhibits bunnyhugged scrumptiously when it was dark whilst they dissimulated themself on the eighteen inch loveseat behind the chieftaness stewardess's cabin whilst also with sinister dexterity he alternately rightandlefthandled fore and aft, on and offside her palpable rugby and association bulbs. She, after a cough, murmurously then gave her firm order for tootsweet if he wouldn't please mind some though not too much of the six best national poetry quotations reflecting on the situation so long as it was a stroke or two above it's a fine night and yon moon shines bright and all to that, the plain fact of the matter being that being a natural born lover of nature in all her moods and senses, by the light of the moon, of the silvery moon she longed to spoon before her honeyoldmoon at the same time drinking in long draughts of purest air serene and revelling in the great outdoors. That mouth of mandibles vowed to pure beauty promptly elocutionised to her a favourite lyrical bloom bellclear in iambic decasyllabic hexameter:

-- Rollon thoudeep andamp anddark blueo ceanroll!

Lady, it was just too gorgeous for words, the whole sensation. The sea, of a lovely tint embellished by the best charms of nature, with its wellmannered wavelets (the dirty horrid rude ones from the Belfast and Lagan Lough neighbourhood being very properly locked up in cubbyhole) looked really awfully pretty at the mid hour of night and more especially he being emphatically the right man in the right place, the weather conditions could not possibly have been improved upon. Praises be to fair sea. Her rôle was to roll onthedark blueo ceanroll that rolled on round the round roll that Robert Roly rolled round. Breathtaking beauty, Ireland's bonniest, she did but gaze while from his altitude of onehundredandthirtytwo lines his deepseapeepers gazed O gazed O dazedcrazedgazed into her darkblue rolling ocean orbs.

-- Thanks ever so much she sighed, thrilled by that olive throb of his nude neck, and ever so much again for that tiny quote. It sort of made everything ever so much more delightful. How perfectly sweet of you!

Nothing if not amorous, he, rosecrumpler, thrilldriver, sighinspirer, having prealably dephlegmatised his guttur of that ticklish frog in the throat, his useful arm getting busy on the touchline due south of her western shoulder, uttered what was to follow with grand passion from his toploftical voicebox:

-- Isolde!

By elevation of eyelids t'ward her dear coolun that She invoked insinuated desideration of more declaration.

He was instant and he declared:

-- Isolde! O Isolde! Sister soul and hand! When theeuponthus Sir Tristan binoculises his most unwitting ego most subconsciously senses the deprofundity of multimathematical immaterialities whereby in the pancosmic urge the allimmanence of That Which Itself is Itself Alone exteriorates on this here our plane in disunited solid, liquid and gaseous bodies in pearlwhite passionpanting intuitions of reunited selfhood in the higherdimensional selfless Allself.

Hear, O hear, all ye caller herring! Silent be, O Moyle! Milky Way, strew dim light!

Right here a pretty thing happened. When her flattering hand of pure diversion mayhap had jessaminely at the just right moment shut his duckhouse the vivid girl, deaf with love, (you know her, that angel being, one of passion's fadeless wonderwomen! You dote on her! You love her to death!) with a queer little cry reunited milkymouthily his her then their disunited lips when, tonguetasting the golden opportunity of a lifetime, quick as greased pigskin the Armorican champion with one virile tonguethrust drove the advance messenger of love flash past the double line of eburnean forwards rightjingbangshot into the goal of her gullet.

Now, I am just putting it direct to you as one manowoman to another, what the blankety blank diggings do you for example candidly suppose that she, a strapping young modern old ancient Irish princess a good eighteen hands high and scaling nine stone twelve paddock weight in her madapolam smock with nothing under her hat but red hair and solid ivory not forgetting a firstrate pair of bedroom eyes of most unholy hazel cared at that precise psychoanalytical moment about tiresome old King Mark that tiresome old milkless ram with his duty peck and his bronchial tubes, the tiresome old ourangoutan beaver in his tiresome old twentytwoandsixpenny shepherd's plaid trousers? Not as much as a pinch of henshit and that's the meanest thing now was ever known since Adam was in the boy's navy. No, heaven knows, far from it, if the unvarnished truth must be told at the very first blush lovingly she lovegulped her American's pulpous propeller and both together in the most fashionable weather they all went off a lulliloving a dither me die me dandy O after which, believing in safety first, before the regulation ten seconds were up volatile Brittany considerately allowed his farfamed sparking plug chokegrip to relax and precautiously withdrew the instrument of rational speech from the procathedral of amorous seductiveness.

-- I'm right glad I ran on to you, Tris, you fascinator you! Miss Erin said, when she had won free, laughing at the same time delightfully in dimpling bliss, being awfully bucked by her gratifying experience of the love embrace from a highly continental bigtimer the like of him possessed of a handsome face well worth watching with an interesting tallow complexion from which great things very expected as a film star for she fully realised that he was evidently a notoriety in the poetry department as well for he never saw her to drink an orange but he offered to bring her a porringer and to cut a long story short taking him by and large the onliest boy of her choice meant pretty well everything to her just then, her beau ideal of a true girl's friend with red blood in his veins neither big ugly nor small nice.

Over them the winged ones screamed shrill glee: seahawk, seagull, curlew and plover, kestrel and capercailzie. All the birds of the sea they trolled out rightbold when they smacked the big kuss of Trustan with Usolde.

So sang seaswans:

-- Three quarks for Muster Mark
Sure he hasn't got much of a bark
And sure any he has it's all beside the mark
But O Wreneagle Highflighty wouldn't un be a sky of a lark
To see that old buzzard whooping about for uns shirt in the dark
And un hunting round for uns speckled trousers around by Palmerston Park.
Hohohoho moulty Mark
You're the rummest old rooster ever flopped out of a Noah's ark
And you think you're cock of the wark.
Fowls, up! Tristy's the spry young spark
That'll tread her and wed her and bed her and red her
Without even winking the tail of a feather
And that's how that chap's going to make his money and mark!


The full published chapter (FW II.4) is here.

Moore's Silent, O Moyle: [RealAud]

Caller Herrin: [RealAudio]


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FW reference: main : thunderwords : Quinet : ALP translations : search console : archetypes : digest : WakeOS
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Shorter FW: contents : I.1-4 : I.5-8 : II.1 : II.2 : II.3-4 : III.1-2 : III.3 : III.4 : IV

Portrait:
etext: 1 2 3 4 5a 5b; main : ch1 notes : friends : Pinamonti : Stephen Hero : symmetry : prices

Ulysses:
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notes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
reference: Bloom : clocktime : prices : schemata : Tower : riddles : errors : Homeric parallels : [B-L Odyssey] : Eolus tropes : parable : Oxen : Circe : 1904 : Thom's : Gold Cup : Seaside Girls : M'appari : acatalectic : search
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