The Anathemata

The Lady of the Pool (continued)

by tax-chandler’s Black Exchecky Book1 nor yet thumbed Archie’s piscopal Ordoa to figure out the moon of it.

From the Two Sticks an’ a’ Apple2 to Bride o’ the Shandies’ Well3 over the Fleet; from Hallows-on-Wall to the keel-haws4; from the ditch without the Vicinal Gate5 to Lud’s hill; within and extra the fending circuit, both banks the wide and demarking middle-brook that waters, from the midst of the street of it,6 our twin-hilled Urbs7. At Martin milesb in the Pomarary8 (where the Roman pippins grow) at winged Marmor miles,9 gilt-lorica’d on his wheat-hill, sticking the Laidly Worm as threats to coil us all.

At the Lady-at-Hill

above Romeland’s wharf-lanes10

at the Great Mother’s newer chapelle

at New Heva’s Old Crepel.11

(Chthonic matres under the croft:

springan a Maye’s Aves to clerestories.

Delphi in sub-crypt:

luce flowers to steeple.)c

At Paul’s and faiths under Paul


so Iuppiter me succour!

they do garland them with Roman roses and do have stitched on their zoomorphic apparels and vest ’em gay for Artemis.

When is brought in her stag to be pierced, when is bowed his meek head between the porch and the altar, when is blowed his sweet death at the great door, on the day before the calends o’ Quintilis.12

At the tunicledd martyr’s13

from where prillse the seeding under-stream.

At Mary of the Birth14

by her long bourn of sweet water.

In where she mothers

her painters an’ limners

David Jones notes

1 Cf. the Black Book of the Exchequer and the ecclesiastical Ordo books which together provide a cross-check on dates of events when there was no universal method of dating but many local uses.

2 St Mary Whitechapel.

3 St Bride’s, Fleet Street and the Bridewell. Cf. the association of Bride or Brigit with candles and fire as in her shrines at Kildare and elsewhere.

4 All Hallows, London Wall, was at the City’s farthest extent north from the river-front.

5 Houndsditch; the Vicinal Way entered Roman London at Aldgate.

6 Cf. Apocalypse xii, 2.

7 1t is important to recall that the site of London consisted of two hills separated by a wide stream (the Walbrook), that the Fleet and waters running into it skirted the west side, that the whole site was well watered with springs and that, like Rome, London was famous for its fresh water. The early accounts of the city suggest that the wells, rills, shares, bourns, streamlets, ponds, apart from the great tidal river, impressed the imagination of the writers.

8 St Martin’s, near Cheapside, called Martin Pomary, whether for a proper name or from an orchard or from the pomoerium of the Roman city has been much debated.

9 St Michael, Cornhill. Marmor, an earlier form of Mars, who was a god of corn as well as, or rather before, he was, like Michael, a leader of armies.

10 St Mary-at-Hill from which the city lanes sloped down to the wharves of Billingsgate. This district was called ‘Romeland’; another ‘Romeland’ was around the Dowgate, where Cannon Street Station now is.

11 Mary le Bow and Mary Aldermary. The latter was so called because it was the oldest site dedicated to our Lady in London; the former, by way of contrast, was known as Mary Newchurch. Crepel, covered or arched way. Cf. cripple-gap, and (U.S.) cripple, a supporting framework.

12 The discovery of skulls and other bones of oxen under St Paul’s in 1316 assisted a traditional belief that the site had been sacred to Iuppiter, or Diana. On the feast of the Commemoration of St Paul, June 30, the dean and chapter, zoomorphically vested and crowned with roses, received a buck from the deerpark of Curingham in Essex; the animal was oblated and put to death; then the antlered head was carried in procession to the west door, where a forester ‘blowed the death of the buck’.

13 St Stephen-super-Walbrook, the church of Stephen, deacon and first martyr, originally stood on the west bank of the brook and literally ‘upon’ it; its present site is much farther east.

14 St Mary Woolnoth; properly called St Mary of the Nativity, in Langbourn Ward. ‘So-called,’ says Stow, ‘of a long bourne of sweet water which of old time ... ran down to the west end of St Mary Woolnoth church . . . breaking into small shares, rills and streams.’

additional notes

The original text has an image facing this page: Roma caput orbis. Inscription in coloured crayon and water-colour, 1949. The text reads

ROMA CAPUT ORBIS SPLENDOR SPES AUREA ROMA (Rome, the capital of the world, splendour, hope, golden Rome). This is part of an inscription over the Porta San Pellegrino, a gate in the wall surrounding the Vatican City rebuilt in 1492. I have not been able to find an adequate reproduction.

a Ordo: It was then and is still the custom for every Catholic diocese to have a ‘Directory’ or ‘Ordo recitandi’ printed each year for the use of all the clergy. It consists simply of a calendar for the year, in which there are printed against each day concise directions concerning the Office and Mass to be said on that day. In this case it was distributed by the archbishop. Some festivals (e.g. Easter) are governed by a lunar calendar.

c I find this is a puzzling parenthesis. It is best taken as an anticipation of St Paul’s in view of DJ note 12 (matres = mothers or matrons, whose skulls were found). Maye’s Aves will be May Day hymns (Ave Maria). ‘luce flowers’ are, I think, fleurs-de-lys which rise from the crypt up to the steeple;, so the sense is that the Aves rise up to the clerestory fron the chthonic matres in the same way that fleurs-de-lys rise up from the ‘Delphi’ in the subcrypt to the carved floriation that decorates the ribs of the steeple. (Remember that the reference is to the old St Paul’s which was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, not the Wren masterpiece we now see.) ‘Delphic’ I do not understand, unless DJ guesses the existence in pre-Roman times of a prophetess or priestess at the place on which St Paul’s was to be built.

DJ note 4: the keel-haws (shipyards) are on the river, which formed the southern boundary of the city. St Mary Whitechapel is in the extreme eastern suburbs and St Bride’s is at the western end of the city. Hence all the churches in the city. It is also reminiscent of the Roman surveyor’s method of laying out a new camp or city (see page 87).

DJ note 6: for ‘xii’ read ‘xxii’: ‘[1] Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb [2] through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’

DJ note 8: pomoerium: space left free from buildings round the walls of a Roman or Etruscan town.

DJ note 9: St Michael is also credited with killing the Loathly (or Laidly) Worm (dragon) of Apocalypse xii.

DJ note 12: calends o’ Quintilis: in the Roman calendar, the calends is the first day of the month. Quintilis = the fifth month (counting from March, as the Romans did); hence the day before the 1st July. It was Julius Caesar who changed the name of the month to July in his own honour when he reformed the calendar.


Elen mentions some of the London churches in which the feast will be celebrated together with some legends associated with them. Her use of Cockney rhyming slang (e.g. Apple/Whitechapel) should be noted but will not always be glossed.

I am not convinced by the reference to the Laidly Worm. I know the Northumbrian legend of such a beast, but I doubt that Elen would (though DJ would probably have known it, since he was a frequent visitor to Helen Sutherland's house at Rock, very close to the creature's lair at Spindlestone Heugh); but the Northumbrian worm was a dragon, not a ('coiled') serpent.

semantic structures

note the semantic square in the parentheses.


b miles: soldier (Latin).

d tunicle: The tunicle or dalmatic is a long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic churches. It is worn by a deacon at Mass or other services.

e prill: a small stream of running water; can also be used as a verb.