The Anathemata

Rite and Fore-time (continued)

These, at the sagging end and chapter’s close, standing humbly before the tables spread, in the apsidala houses, who intend life:

between the sterile ornaments

under the pasteboard baldachinsb

as, in the young-time, in the sap-years:

between the living floriationsc

under the leaping arches.

David Jones notes

additional notes

a The apse was first used in connection with Roman public buildings, which were built and laid out with provision for a presiding magistrate, altar etc. at one end; so once Rome converted to Christianity, the pagan basilica could easily be adapted to the Christian ecclesia.


‘These’ may refer to the priest and congregation or just to the celebrant and acolytes (servers). Some commentators think that the ‘sagging end and chapter’s close’ may refer to the age of the congregation or priest(s) (e.g. Hague); but a another possible interpretation is that since we know that DJ was influenced by Spengler’s book The Decline of the West (1923) (in which it is argued that as seen by Spengler, the Western world is ending and we are witnessing the last season –‘winter time’– of the so-called Faustian or intellectual civilization), the text is referring to the end of that particular Western world-view.

It is obviously not a grand medieval cathedral but a more utilitarian place; the contrast between the ‘sterile ornaments and pasteboard baldechins’ and ‘living floriations and leaping arches’ is the contrast beween the utile and the gratuitous.

semantic structures


b baldechin: a canopy over an altar or throne

c floriation: floral decoration