Sunday, April 28, 2013


James Joyce



There is nothing so deceptive and for [all] that so alluring as a good surface. The sea, when beheld in the warm sunlight of a summer's day; the sky, blue in the faint and amber glimmer of an Autumn sun, are pleasing to the eye: but, how different the scene, when the wild anger of the elements has waked again the discord of Confusion, how different the ocean, choking with froth & foam, to the calm, placid sea, that glanced and rippled merrily in the sun. But the best examples of the fickleness of appearances are: — Man and Fortune. The cringing, servile look; the high and haughty mien alike conceal the worthlessness of the character. Fortune that glittering bauble, whose brilliant shimmer has allured and trifled with both proud and poor, is as wavering as the wind. Still however, there is a 'something' that tells us the character of man. It is the eye. The only traitor that even the sternest will of a fiendish villian [sic] cannot overcome. It is the eye that reveals to man the guilt or innocence, the vices or the virtues of the soul. This is the only exception to the proverb. 'Trust not appearances'. In every other case the real worth has to be searched for. The garb of royalty or of democracy are but the shadow that a 'man' leaves behind him. 'Oh! how unhappy is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours'. The fickle tide of ever-changing Fortune brings with it — good and evil. How beautiful it seems as the harbinger of good and how cruel as the messenger of ill! The man who waits on the temper of a King is but a tiny craft in that great ocean. Thus we see the hallowness of appearances. The hypocrite is the worst kind of villian [sic] yet under the appearance of virtue he conceals the worst of vices. The friend, who is but the fane of fortune, fawns and grovells [sic] at the feet of wealth. But the man, who has no ambition, no wealth, no luxury save Contentment cannot hide the joy of happiness that flows from a clear conscience & an easy mind.



AMDG:  Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: 'To the greater glory of God', the Jesuit motto conventionally placed at the beginning of a pupil's essay, along with LDS, Laus Deo Semper: Please to God forever', at its end.

(This dates from Joyce's student years at Belvedere College, 1893-8. The college is a private Jesuit secondary school for boys located on Great Denmark Street, Dublin, Ireland)