The Midnight Verdict (1993)
Book ID: 64867
The Midnight Verdict. Dublin: Gallery Books, 1993. Limited Edition of 1000 Copies. Pp, 42. Black cloth boards with dust jacket featuring illustration by Tony O’Malley. Jacket lightly faded with a few small stains to upper cover, otherwise a fine copy.
The Three translations included here were all part of a single impulse. ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’ was done in June 1993, just before Heaney began to prepare a lecture on Cuirt an mhean oiche(1780) for the Merriman Summer School. In order to get to closer grips with the original, he started to put bits of the Irish into couplets and, in doing so, gradually came to think of the Merriman poem as another aspect of the story of Orpheus’s death. It seemed in particular that the end of The midnight Court took on a new resonance if it was read within the acoustic of the classical myth; and out of this came the idea of juxtaposing the Irish poem (however drastically abridged) with the relevant passages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Seamus Heaney)