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The Sirens
Episode 11
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Synopsis by Gerry O'Flaherty

It is nearly 4 o'clock. As Bloom walks along by the Liffey he decides to answer Martha Clifford's letter and buys some stationery. From the shop he sees Boylan and wonders if he is going to see Molly after all.

Bloom goes into the Ormond Hotel with Richie Goulding to have lunch and to watch Boylan who has come there to meet Lenehan. Boylan leaves to keep his appointment with Molly at four o'clock without seeing Bloom.

  Simon Dedalus is persuaded to sing 'M'appari' from the opera Martha. It is a song of lost love and Bloom, who is about to reply to Martha, is miserable as he thinks of Molly. As he writes he realises that Martha is of no interest to him.
The Ormond Hotel

His meal finished he stays to hear Ben Dollard sing The Croppy Boy, a ballad of betrayal. By this time Bloom is aware that Boylan would have arrived at Molly's house.

In Homer, Odysseus/Bloom has himself tied to the mast and the ears of his crew closed with wax so that the songs of the Sirens/Barmaids cannot seduce them.

   Episode 11 The Sirens    Listen to the show >>


Martha, O return love! from Martha
Words by Charles Jeffrys
Music by Friedrich von Flotow
M'appari, sung by Lyonel in Act III of Flotow's opera Martha, plays a major role in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. Simon Dedalus, who has a fine tenor voice, is prevailed upon to sing it in the Ormond Hotel. He sits at the piano and begins to play, but not in the original key of F major. Bob Cowley shifts him and plays it in the original key. But the words sung are in English in a parlour song version by Charles Jeffrys. The last high B flat on the word "come" is paralled in Bloom's thoughts, which race in ecstatic prose echoing an orgasmic climax at the hour when Molly and Blazes Boylan consummate their tryst. Though the opera was written in German it was often sung in Italian, hence the usual title M'Appari, curiously, this famous aria was taken over from Flotow's previous opera Lâme en Peine.

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My Girl's a Yorkshire Girl
Words by CW Murphy
Music by Dan Lipton
In the Wandering Rocks episode of Ulysses a band of Highland Soldiers play this tune in College Park as Blazes Boylan walks by the Provost's house at Trinity College. It later appears in the Nighttown episode Circe. It is associated with Boylan, Bloom and Molly. This song was used by Joyce in Ulysses even though it was not published until 1908, four years after the events of the book.
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The Minstrel Boy
Words by Thomas Moore
Music: a traditional air, arranged by Karl Ronan
Thomas Moore's song is alluded to twice in Ulysses: in the Sirens and Circe episodes. Its words echo a theme of betrayal, which is one of the main themes of Ulysses. Both Joyce and his son Giorgio sang this song.
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The Shade of the Palm
Words and music by Leslie Stuart
This song, which is sung by Frank Abercoed in Stuart's operetta Floradora, plays a big part in the Sirens episode of Ulysses. A fragment of it is sung, inaccurately, by Lydia Douce, one of the barmaids also known as the Sirens in the Ormond Hotel. The words of the song allude to the situations of both Boylan and Bloom as well as Molly who, in Bloom's eyes, has associations with the East.
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'Twas Rank and Fame from The Rose of Castille
Words by Augustus Harris and Edmund Falconer
Music by Michael Balfe
This aria is sung by Manuel in Act III of Balfe's opera The Rose of Castille. It features in both the Aeolus and Sirens episodes in Ulysses. In Sirens, Bloom listens while Ritchie Goulding fonding remembers his brother-in-law Simon Dedalus' singing of the aria. Another song of betrayal, its relevance lies in the fact that Simon treats Ritchie with contempt.
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