A translation of Cúirt An Mhéan Oíche by Brian Merriman. An outstanding poet, Ciaran Carson has also proved himself an adept and adventurous translator.
Now he turns to a masterpiece perfectly suited to his abundant gifts, the eighteenth-century Irish ‘Cúirt an Mhéan Oíche’. Brian Merriman’s classic debate on marriage and the plight of young women culminates in the fairy goddess Aoibheall’s judgement against men. Carson echoes Merriman’s mix of high rhetoric and rude colloquial wit and replicates his probing analysis of sexuality and social mores.
The acrobatics of his couplets quicken the poem’s passionate argument, capturing its nudges and winks in earthy, contemporary idiom. What he calls Merriman’s ‘abundant lexicon of vilification . . . numerous double entendres and gorgeousness of verbal music’ comes alive in his brilliant recreation. This Midnight Court unfolds with a spring — and a surprise — in every step.