The Anathemata

The Lady of the Pool (continued)

for a pretty boatswain’s boy. There’s a poor curly-—and fairish for a Wog—not a’ afreet but a’ elfin!

Plucked with his jack bucket from

the Punic foreshore b’ a bollocky great Bocco procurer,a  or I weren’t christed Elen Monica in Papey Juxta Muram. ’V’a mind to sign him Austin Gregorians in Thames-water, an’ ransom him with m’own woman’s body.1 


Spare him the rope’s end, captain, for love of the Mistress of Lodemanage whose storm-quelling Son made crost Belin’s drink2 as though he walked the solid causey over m’ dancin’ Lady Lea;3 Him as the Senate and People of Rome, for fear of the synagogue and people o’ Moses, had roved quick to the Blesséd Yardb  afore Eight Bellsc  on the Friday

or, captain

though I wish no harm to y’r lawful occasions

David Jones notes

1 See the parish, long extinct, of St Augustine Papey or St Augustine-in-the-Wall, Aldgate Ward; the dedication was to Augustine of Hippo; Papey, possibly ‘of Pavia’, where were relics of that saint. Cf. also the conversation of the latter with the child on the seashore and also Botticelli’s painting of that scene. Cf., further, the story of the Angle slave-children and St Gregory, Pope, who sent the other Augustine to England.

Pronounce ‘Juxta’ as an English word.

2 In an early Welsh englyn the sea is called ‘Beli’s liquor’. This Celtic sky-god had water-associations, hence his legendary eponymous connection, by way of Cuno-Belin (Cymbeline) with Billingsgate fish-market and water-gate. Lud, the other supposedly eponymous figure, is the same god as Nudd or Nodens and is also associated with rivers and estuaries. London is both Urbs and Ostia and, however much etymology may invalidate the old opinion that connected such London names as Ludgate and Billingsgate with figures from a Celtic past, that tradition nevertheless shows a sure grasp of the mythological requirements vis-a-vis the site and in that sense has a permanent validity.

3 From Aldgate the Roman road to Colchester was built across the marshy fiats of the Lea River.

Cf. the song, London Bridge is broken down
Dance my lady Lea

additional notes

DJ note 1: the Botticelli may be seen here. The child is holding a spoon or small (‘jack’, a diminutive) bucket.

The St Gregory story will be found in my note to page 144.

St Monica of Hippo was St Augustine’s mother; hence Elen’s choice of second baptismal name.

DJ note 2: englyn: a traditional Welsh and Cornish short poem form.

Ostia: the harbour city of ancient Rome (Urbs Roma being the city itself).

DJ note 3: the second line is actually ‘Dance o’er my lady Lea’. The full text may be found here.

a Cf. one unexpurgated version of Barnacle Bill the Sailor (there are also others in the same vein).

Bocco: Buccaneer. This is ahistorical because the buccaneers sailed the Caribbean in the 18th century, not the Mediterranean in the 16th; but Elen personifies London and Britain throughout the ages, so ‘buccaneer’ is just fine here.

b Yard: cf. yardarm, the horizontal crosspiece on the mast. The likeness to the cross is a very common visual metaphor.

c  Eight Bells = 4pm.; though I would have expected Six Bells (the time of Christ’s death), to match page 96, though see also page 239.


Elen offers a bunch of lavender to an African (‘afreet’) Negro boy. Her feminine instincts are to baptise him and exercise her profession to buy out (‘ransom’) his place on the ship. She begs the captain not to abuse him, physically or homosexually (cf. the next page: ‘fund of amusements’, as compared with heterosexual ‘lawful occasions’).

semantic structures