—Antisthenes, pupil of Gorgias, Stephen said, took the palm of beauty
from Kyrios Menelaus’ brooddam, Argive Helen, the wooden mare of Troy
in whom a score of heroes slept, and handed it to poor Penelope. Twenty
years he lived in London and, during part of that time, he drew a salary
equal to that of the lord chancellor of Ireland. His life was rich. His
art, more than the art of feudalism as Walt Whitman called it, is the
art of surfeit. Hot herringpies, green mugs of sack, honeysauces, sugar
of roses, marchpane, gooseberried pigeons, ringocandies. Sir Walter
Raleigh, when they arrested him, had half a million francs on his
back including a pair of fancy stays. The gombeenwoman Eliza Tudor had
underlinen enough to vie with her of Sheba. Twenty years he dallied
there between conjugial love and its chaste delights and scortatory love
and its foul pleasures. You know Manningham’s story of the burgher’s
wife who bade Dick Burbage to her bed after she had seen him in Richard
III and how Shakespeare, overhearing, without more ado about nothing,
took the cow by the horns and, when Burbage came knocking at the gate,
answered from the capon’s blankets: William the conqueror came before
Richard III. And the gay lakin, mistress Fitton, mount and cry O, and
his dainty birdsnies, lady Penelope Rich, a clean quality woman is
suited for a player, and the punks of the bankside, a penny a time.
Cours la Reine. Encore vingt sous. Nous ferons de petites cochonneries.
Minette? Tu veux?
—The height of fine society. And sir William Davenant of Oxford’s
mother with her cup of canary for any cockcanary.
Buck Mulligan, his pious eyes upturned, prayed:
—Blessed Margaret Mary Anycock!
—And Harry of six wives’ daughter. And other lady friends from
neighbour seats as Lawn Tennyson, gentleman poet, sings. But all those
twenty years what do you suppose poor Penelope in Stratford was doing
behind the diamond panes?