Charley, you're my darling
Charley, you're my darling
A classic Scottish folk song shows up in Hades when
Joe Hynes refers to C. P. M'Coy as "Charley" and recalls that
he "was on the Freeman once." Bloom
thinks, "So he was before he got the job in the morgue under
Louis Byrne. . . . Got the run. Levanted with the cash of a
few ads. Charley, you're my darling.
That was why he asked me to." Bloom's association of two
Charleys may be purely superficial, but more likely—given the
endless significations in Joyce's writing—it reflects his
hunch that the dishonest M'Coy is avoiding contact with the
newspaper that once employed him.
M'Coy not only steals people's
suitcases. When he held the job that Bloom now holds, it
seems that he made off with some money that businessmen had
given him to pay for ads in the Freeman. To "levant,"
according to the OED, is to steal away, to abscond,
often used in connection with bettors who don't intend to pay
up. M'Coy, then, may have wanted to avoid Paddy Dignam's
funeral because that event was likely to be covered by someone
from the newspaper (and, indeed, Joe Hynes is there). M'Coy is
playing the same trick as Tom
Kernan, mentioned a bit earlier in Hades as
avoiding contact with the grocer Fogarty who has allowed him
to run up a tab: "Though lost to sight, Mr Dedalus said, to
The song commemorates the 1745 return to Scotland of Charles
Edward Stuart, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie, a.k.a."The Young
Pretender" or "The Young Chevalier." Charles was the grandson
of King James II of England (King James VII of Scotland),
whose alleged Catholic sympathies prompted the Revolution of
1688 that put William and Mary in power, and who was
decisively defeated by "King
Billy" at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. Raised in
Rome as a Catholic and a believer in the "Jacobite" cause,
Charles returned to Scotland at the age of 25 to return his
family to power, and his military campaign was initially
successful. But after a crushing defeat at the Battle of
Culloden in 1746 he went into hiding on the Scottish moors and
then fled to the Isle of Skye—an action romanticized in
another great Scottish air, The Skye Boat Song. The
flight from Scotland is the part of his story that seems
relevant to Ulysses, though perhaps Charles Stuart's
ignominious subsequent existence as a continental exile
addicted to love affairs (he had many darlings), alcohol, and
Jacobite intrigues hovers about the edges of the comparison.
The effect of Bloom's alluding to the song, then, may be to
suggest that Charley M'Coy is a failed and exiled pretender. As Zack Bowen
puts it, "The Stuarts were after the throne in the same way
that M'Coy was after the Freeman funds. As Charley
M'Coy was banished from the Freeman, so the Pretender
was banished from England, and neither dared show his face. .
. . Prince Charlie was banished to France under Louis XV,
while Charley M'Coy was banished to the morgue under Louis
The song itself contains no dismal anticipations of Charles
Stuart's dismal end. It caught on in Ireland because it
breathed a spirit of hope to a disenfranchised Catholic
Twas on a Monday morning,
Right early in the year,
When Charlie came to our town
The young chevalier.
Charlie is my darling, my darling, my darling.
Charlie is my darling, the young Chevalier.
As he came marchin' up the street,
The pipes played loud and clear.
And a' the folk came rinnin' out
To meet the Chevalier.
Wi' highland bonnets on their heads
And claymores bright and clear,
They came to fight for Scotland's right
And the young Chevalier.
They've left their bonnie highland hills,
Their wives and bairnies dear,
To draw the sword for Scotland's lord,
The young Chevalier.
Oh, there were many beating hearts,
And mony a hope and fear,
And mony were the pray'rs put up,
For the young Chevalier.
The original patriotic words, reproduced here, were penned to a traditional tune in 1745 by Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, the talented songwriter who also composed "Will ye no' come back again?," another moving song about the Bonnie Prince. In 1794 Robert Burns wrote a new version, celebrating Charlie's conquests between the sheets. Burns' lines have become as well known as Lady Nairne's, and they are sung in the two performances featured here.