. . . the errears and erroriboose of combarative embottled history. . . .
Finnegans Wake (F140)
. . . Even facial characteristics may be distinguished, and most visitors are particularly impressed by the well-preserved features of "The Nun", whose corpse is said to be three hundred years old. Even more interesting is the corpse of "The Crusader", which lies alongside the former. The leather-like hands of the Crusader have become shiny from the custom, which most visitors honour, of "shaking hands" with the corpse.
IN Dublin guidebooks tourists are directed to "the largest brewery in the world". Most Dubliners will guide the stranger to their city and its past through the open door of a public house. There talk and alcohol preserve the Seventh City in Christendom, Dublin a European capital for two thousand years, Dublin which had its present charter from Henry II, Dublin to which Handel, whom Johnson's London disappointed, presented his Messiah"to offer this generous and polished nation something new". Within memory of the bartender's father, the descent of the Irish Kings from Adam and of their language from the unbabelized true names of the creatures in Eden was written out, with tables, in a thick green volume by a pious citizen. Someone remembers his book. He sent a copy to Queen Victoria, whose secretary acknowledged it. Within a mile the Dane dwelt who discovered Florida a thousand years ago and called it "Greater Ireland". The soda-water dashed into a stranger's whiskey is bottled from a miraculous healing spring called forth from the rock by St Patrick. The locutions of barflies echo the aristocratic gestures of eighteenth-century Europe. There, turns of phrase remind us, Jonathan Swift preached and Edmund Burke inquired into the Sublime and the Beautiful, and Bishop Berkeley refuted the visible world. Their names are bywords. Oral tradition, lubricated by gin, preserves the ballads of half a dozen . . .