Beuty – A Hero by James Joyce

Beuty is an Irish/ Scots surname and the spelling is Beuth. Beuty is a knight who usually wears a shield, generally a blue one, on the left breast with the name of the bearer on the shield. This would be typical for a male knight in the court of King Arthur, the famous king of Britain.


Beuty was a loyalist of the British crown during the Edwardian period of the 17th century. He served as aide de camp to the then Lord Protector, Sir Walter Ralegh. He was also in command of the palace prison in Stormholme where prisoners were executed. A prisoner of the castle who escaped was named Beuty after him. The name could mean father of the brave or just as well as the strong. It is said that Beuty galloped through the moat with the prisoner, who had been forgiven for his offence.

A well-known work by Beuty depicts him leading a group of rebels against the English while being pelted by stones. Another famous scene shows Beuty leading his men into battle against the archers of King Richard. This would have been a dangerous task for the loyalist, as it was expected that Richard would surround Stormont and attack the rebel leaders.

On the day of the battle, he was seen to be leading his men in a frontal charge. He was credited with leading his men to victory. The poem entitled “Beauty and the Bells” written by John Blythe is one of the most famous of all time. It is often quoted as an example of Irish national literature.

Many modern writers such as David Morrell have claimed that Beuty really did lead his men into battle. His reputation seems to rest mainly on one account. A general who was in command of a column of tanks, Beuty’s command was to ensure that the tanks turned towards the middle of the battlefield rather than to cover the rear. It is this action that is supposed to have inspired the poem. Many soldiers who fought on both sides say that Beuty’s actions actually saved their lives and that they would have fought much longer if it had not been for him. In a battle which cost over four thousand lives, there is no doubt that Beuty deserves at least some measure of the credit.

Today, many people are of the opinion that indeed Beuty truly was a great and exceptional leader. In fact, many consider him to be a model Irish soldier who showed great bravery in a time when it was not always easy for the Irish. Indeed, many Irish people feel that the great poet and writer, James Joyce, was right when he said that Beuty epitomizes the struggle of the Irish people in modern days. He was indeed a true Irish hero, as he showed himself to be in this poem. It is a shame that so few have ever read his poetry.