Deshil Holles Eamus

Joyce indicated that Oxen of the Sun would develop embryonically through a chronological succession of prose styles inspired by writers of English prose, but his opening sentences have little to do with English or with written prose. The first paragraph, which echoes hymns chanted in late Roman fertility rites, is made up of three repetitive, percussive, incantatory sentences compounded of three Celtic, English, and Latin words meaning something like "Let us go rightward to Holles Street." It is followed by two more incantatory paragraphs, each of them performing a tripling repetition of a threefold sentence. This exotic 3x3x3 linguistic structure forms a kind of sacred preamble to the drama of conception, gestation, and birth and a kind of pre-English frame for the evolution of English prose style.

John Hunt 2021

Marble head of a flamen (a pagan priest), ca. 250-260 AD, held in the Louvre, Paris. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Title page of vol. 2 of the 1913 Dublin (2nd) edition of P. W. Joyce's A Social History of Ancient Ireland. Source:

Marble portrait ca. 160 AD of the emperor Lucius Verus, with crown added later depicting him as an Arval Brother, held in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.