The Ballad of Joking Jesus

“The Song of the Cheerful (but slightly Sarcastic) Jesus” was a poem written by a man named Oliver Gogarty, a friend of Joyce. The poem was initially published fully under this name and later in Ulysses as a little tune Buck Mulligan (one of the characters in the first three sections of the book) sings.

“The Song of the Cheerful (but slightly Sarcastic) Jesus” can be found here. This is probably the best source for the poem on the web.

The Ballad of Joking Jesus has been reprinted here:

I’m the queerest young fellow that ever you heard
My mother’s a Jew, my father’s a bird.
With Joseph the Joiner I cannot agree
So here’s to disciples and Calvary.
If anyone things thinks that I amn’t divine
He’ll get no free drinks when I’m making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That I make when the wine becomes water again.
Goodbye, now, goodbye! Write down all that I said
And tell Tom, Dick, and Harry I rose from the dead.
What’s bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly
And Olivet’s breezy… Goodbye, now, goodbye!

I included this little rhyme in my blog because it’s one of the earliest and easily recognizable allusions, and is one of the first instances of James Joyce basing a character off of somebody he knew in real life; literature isn’t the only thing the book alludes to. Furthermore, it displays the irreverence of James Joyce well.

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This entry was posted in Ulysses.

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