By Frederik N. Smith (auth.)
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Additional info for Beckett’s Eighteenth Century
Never the rose without the thorn,’” said the coroner. ” (p. 263)54 The lines which the coroner quotes come from “The Lass of Richmond Hill,” variously attributed: “On Richmond Hill there lives a lass . . ” Of course the poetic lines of the original hardly match the present situation; the “lass” here is Murphy, now only a corpse. And notice that in this passage the perfect rose of the poem becomes a thorny rose, as the original sentiments are completely reversed. Is the coroner in fact misremembering the lines?
He can cantab as chipper as any oxon I ever mooed with,” says Joyce. ” But is he not teasing Beckett for being too much of a follower of Swift? ” 7 Beckett was especially attracted to Swift’s life. In a 5 January  letter to Thomas MacGreevy he mentions a rainy bicycle ride out to the Portrane Lunatic Asylum north of Dublin (one of two mental institutions in the metropolitan area) and his conversation with a local resident about the ruin of a nearby old tower: “That’s where Dane Swift came to his motte” he said.
For example, the Modern argues that “If certain Ermins and Furs be placed in a certain Position, we stile them a Judge, and so, an apt Conjunction of Lawn and black Sattin, we intitle a Bishop” (p. 79). ” The same arbitrariness operates in Beckett’s novel, where we are told that “Watt’s need of semantic succour was at times so great that he would set to trying names on things, and on himself, almost as a woman hats” (p. 83). Words in both texts begin to come unglued from things, and words themselves begin to disintegrate.
Beckett’s Eighteenth Century by Frederik N. Smith (auth.)