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Molly reveals the ostensible purpose of Boylan’s visit: to bring her materials for her upcoming singing tour. Both of these pieces, “La ci darem la mano” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” are very important for the novel, and they recur throughout the book, especially in snippets of lyrics. “La ci darem” is a seduction song, a duet between Don Giovanni and the innocent Zerlina, the fiancee of another man; “Love’s Old Sweet Song” is a song from 1884 by J. L. Molloy, nostalgic and sentimental but quite moving. The two songs counterpoint each other, with one telling the story of a woman caught in a seduction, and the other recalling a poignant love. Both are necessary pieces of the Blooms’ story.
This counterpoint is captured nicely in the two upper left-hand panels: Molly is silhouetted darkly smiling as she tells Bloom she’ll be singing “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” while his eyes grow anxious and he thinks of “foul flowerwater,” something sweet that grows stale with time.
The page ends with Bloom poking through her soiled drawers and gray garters (again, kind of echoing the “foul flowerwater,” and a contrast to the violet garters of his vision earlier) to retrieve a book…she has a question.