by James Joyce (1882 - 1941)

You have asked me what I would do and...
Language: English 
You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do.
I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do.
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe,
whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church:
and I will try to express myself in some mode of life
or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can,
using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use,
silence, exile and cunning.

F. Rzewski sets lines 2-8

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1916, page 291.

Notes: Text is a prose selection. Line breaks added arbitrarily. Excerpt is a quote from Stephen.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-10-20
Line count: 8
Word count: 91