2016年2月1日 星期一

Alone. Ecce Puer. A Flower Given to My Daughter. The Dead By James Joyce

poet James JoyceAlone/At That Hour - Poem by James Joyce

At that hour when all things have repose,
O lonely watcher of the skies,
Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
The pale gates of sunrise?

When all things repose, do you alone
Awake to hear the sweet harps play
To Love before him on his way,
And the night wind answering in antiphon
Till night is overgone?

Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
Whose way in heaven is aglow
At that hour when soft lights come and go,
Soft sweet music in the air above
And in the earth below. 

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evidently prison was good for him.

    An antiphon (Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") in Christian music and ritual is a responsory by a choir or congregation, usually in the form of a Gregorian chant, to a psalm or other text in a religious service or musical work.

    Antiphon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Poem of the week: Ecce Puer by James Joyce
The death of his father and birth of his grandson prompted a return to poetry for Joyce – and perhaps his finest work in the medium

'Young life is breathed/ On the glass' … Ecce Puer, a tribute by James Joyce to his grandson. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Carol Rumens

Monday 16 June 2014 12.44 BSTLast modified on Sunday 10 January 201620.28 GMT

Bloomsday is 16 June, and what better poem to bring to a celebration of James Joyce's Ulysses, with its son-haunted protagonist Leopold Bloom, than Joyce's powerful lyric, Ecce Puer?

Though a collection of romantic, song-like short poems, Chamber Music (1907), was Joyce's first published book, he soon rejected poetry's sentimental temptations in favour of the objective prose style of Dubliners. Chamber Music, he rightly declared, was a young man's book. There was a later collection, Pomes Penyeach, after which Joyce published only occasional poems; many of them comic or satirical, some touched by a cruder form of the exuberant wordplay associated with his mature fiction. Ecce Puer, written in February 1932, is the outstanding achievement among them.

Literally translated as Behold the Young Boy, Ecce Puer celebrates the birth of Joyce's grandson, Stephen James Joyce, in February 1932, and mourns the death of his father, John Stanislaus Joyce, the previous December. The plea for forgiveness at the end of the poem springs from Joyce's guilt over failing to return from the continent to Ireland when John Joyce lay dying. The writer had drawn much of his literary inspiration from his father, crediting him, in fact, with the paternity of Ulysses: "The humour… is his: its people are his friends. It's his spittin' image," he told Louis Gillet.

From the poem's first line, ambiguity is registered. The child is born "Of the dark past", and the speaker acknowledges the grief accompanying his joy. The simple, idiomatic statement "My heart is torn" recalls the echoes of folk-song and ballad in some of the Chamber Music lyrics. The cliche is redeemed, as the poem expands the "tearing" metaphor to twist between correspondences that only underline the utter difference of life from death. The imperative "Unclose his eyes" summons the reverse - the ritual closing of the eyes of the newly dead. "Young life is breathed/ On the glass" reminds us that the dead leave no such imprint. The mist made by the child's healthy breathing evokes the moistureless glass of death.

While Joyce's dimeter lines and simple ABCB rhyme-scheme reinforce the title by suggesting a hymn, Ecce Puer remains a secular nativity. The biblical language appropriated in the last two lines of the third verse measures a human miracle, the birth of "a world that was not" in the form of an ordinary child. The last stanza seems to complete the imagery of antithesis in the heightened context of the crucifixion. Only here, it's not the Son (Christ) who feels forsaken by his father (God), but the father who has been forsaken by his son. At this point the poem becomes a desperate prayer – though one to a mortal God.

The tone and music of Ecce Puer are tender. The fact of death is never sentimentalised, neither is it allowed to overwhelm the joy and freshness of new life. The child asleep and the "old man gone" tear the heart of the grandfather-and-son in opposite directions, but, in the poem, as in the world, they co-exist on terms of uncompromise. Joyce has brought maturity of style and experience to bear on the lyricism he too easily relished in his youth. In those four quatrains, it seems that Joyce the poet is fully born.

Ecce Puer

Of the dark past
A child is born.
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.

Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!

Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.

A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son!

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濫用大詞已經削弱了“偉大”這個詞的分量,所以我們要慎用。去年,我重讀了《哈姆雷特》(Hamlet)。我認為那個劇本是一座歷史的豐碑——它描 繪了一個完全醒悟了的、懷有疑心的人,他的內心活動完全袒露在我們面前,供我們思考。即使如此,我還是非常不敬地在想:後兩幕好像不如前三幕那麼精彩,哈姆雷特從英國回來之後,那種生死攸關的緊張氣氛好像消失了。我最近重讀的另一本書是喬伊斯的《逝者》(The Dead),這本書我讀了很多遍。它應該被看作是一部中篇小說,一部完美的中篇小說,跟《都柏林人》(Dubliners)這部小說集里的其他小說完全不 同。一年一度的冬季聚會;之後在旅館房間里夫妻二人的誤會與坦白;雪花飄落,睡意朦朧,對死亡的思考——我願意用《逝者》的最後十幾頁與《尤利西斯》中的任何十幾頁相交換。通常,小說都會枝枝蔓蔓,不可能完美。它也不需要完美,也不想完美。詩歌則可以達到完美的境地,讓你一個詞兒都不想改,但是在極少數情 況下,中篇小說也能達到這種境地。


By James Joyce


     The Sisters
     An Encounter
     After the Race
     Two Gallants
     The Boarding House
     A Little Cloud
     A Painful Case
     Ivy Day in the Committee Room
     A Mother
     The Dead