The Anathemata

Angle-land (continued)

Spey of the Symbol stonesa and Ness from the serpentineb mere

all mingle Rhenus-flow

and are oned with him

in Cronos-meer.

I speak of before the whale-roads or the keel-paths were from Orcades to the fiord-havens, or the greyed green wastes that they strictly grid

quadrate and number on the sea-green Quadratkarte

one eight six one G

for the fratricides

of the latter-day, from east-shore of Iceland

bis Norwegen1

(O Balin O Balan!2

how blood you both

the Brudersee

toward the last pháse

of our dear West.)


David Jones notes

1 I had in mind a squared chart issued for special service requirements by the German Naval Command, described as Europäisches Nordmeer. Ostküste von Island bis Norweqen, 1861 G., on which the grid, numerals and other markings are imposed in green on a large-scale map of that area. Date c. 1940.

2 Cf. Malory Bk. II, Cp, 18. How Balin met with his brother Balan and how each slew other unknown.

additional notes

a The Spey valley is noted for its Pictish stones with remarkable carvings. A recently discovered example may also be found here.


The ship is drawn on, far away from the continental shelf, past the mouths of the rivers mentioned (which would all have flowed into the former northbound Rhine), all the way to the Arctic ocean (Cronos-meer, see page 97) and Thulê and (who knows?) perhaps even Oceanus. [In ancient Greek cosmology the Okeanus was a great fresh-water stream which circled the flat earth. It was the source of all of the earth’s fresh water.]

Meanwhile, back on this earth one and a half millennia later, the descendants of those invaders we have met in this section have come to blows with the descendants of those of their brethren who remained in their native land.

The last line refers, of course, to Spengler’s Decline of the West which –at least for a time– greatly influenced DJ.

semantic structures

b A very neat pun. DJ was a Londoner. [The river Ness is the outflow of Loch Ness, famed for its legendary serpent-like monster. The Serpentine is a well-known pond in a famous London park.]