—Then MacCann is a sulphur-yellow liar, said Lynch energetically.
—There remains another way out, said Stephen, laughing.
—To wit? said Lynch.
—This hypothesis, Stephen began.
A long dray laden with old iron came round the corner of Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital covering the end of Stephen’s speech with the harsh roar of jangled and rattling metal. Lynch closed his ears and gave out oath after oath till the dray had passed. Then he turned on his heel rudely. Stephen turned also and waited for a few moments till his companion’s ill-humour had had its vent.
—This hypothesis, Stephen repeated, is the other way out: that, though the same object may not seem beautiful to all people, all people who admire a beautiful object find in it certain relations which satisfy and coincide with the stages themselves of all esthetic apprehension. These relations of the sensible, visible to you through one form and to me through another, must be therefore the necessary qualities of beauty. Now, we can return to our old friend saint Thomas for another pennyworth of wisdom.
—It amuses me vastly, he said, to hear you quoting him time after time like a jolly round friar. Are you laughing in your sleeve?
—MacAlister, answered Stephen, would call my esthetic theory applied Aquinas. So far as this side of esthetic philosophy extends, Aquinas will carry me all along the line. When we come to the phenomena of artistic conception, artistic gestation, and artistic reproduction I require a new terminology and a new personal experience.
—Of course, said Lynch. After all Aquinas, in spite of his intellect, was exactly a good round friar. But you will tell me about the new personal experience and new terminology some other day. Hurry up and finish the first part.
—Who knows? said Stephen, smiling. Perhaps Aquinas would understand me better than you. He was a poet himself. He wrote a hymn for Maundy Thursday. It begins with the words PANGE LINGUA GLORIOSI. They say it is the highest glory of the hymnal. It is an intricate and soothing hymn. I like it; but there is no hymn that can be put beside that mournful and majestic processional song, the VEXILLA REGIS of Venantius Fortunatus.
Lynch began to sing softly and solemnly in a deep bass voice:
IMPLETA SUNT QUAE CONCINIT
DAVID FIDELI CARMINE
REGNAVIT A LIGNO DEUS.
—That’s great! he said, well pleased. Great music!
They turned into Lower Mount Street. A few steps from the corner a fat young man, wearing a silk neckcloth, saluted them and stopped.
—Did you hear the results of the exams? he asked. Griffin was plucked. Halpin and O’Flynn are through the home civil. Moonan got fifth place in the Indian. O’Shaughnessy got fourteenth. The Irish fellows in Clark’s gave them a feed last night. They all ate curry.
His pallid bloated face expressed benevolent malice and, as he had advanced through his tidings of success, his small fat-encircled eyes vanished out of sight and his weak wheezing voice out of hearing.