Fri 18 Oct, 2002 01:04 pm
The Midnight Court was one of Merriman's Best Poems. Originally written in Gaelic, it was translated by Frank
0'Connor. It is over one thousand lines long! and it tells the story of a person who (in a dream) is invited to the Court
of the Queen of the Fairies to answer for his transgressions. I think it purports to analogize the Trial of the Dreamer and
his answers at the Midnight Court to that of the Occupation of Ireland by the English. Merriman lived in Ireland during a
time of great events - The United Irishmen, the l798 Rebellion and so on. Traumatic, exciting and dangerous times in
Again, like "The Reverie", it can be a bit trite in the metric sort of cadence.
As I said it's very long,
but I'll post the first verse here for now.
THE MIDNIGHT COURT
I liked to walk in
the river meadows
In the thick of the dew and the morning shadows,
At the edge of the woods in a deep defile
peace with myself in the first sunshine.
When I looked at Lough Graney my heart grew bright,
Ploughed lands and green
in the morning light,
Mountains in rows with crimson borders
Peering above their neighbours shoulders.
that never had known relief
In a lonesome old man distraught with grief,
Without money or home or friends or
Would quicken to glimpse beyond the trees
The ducks sail by on a mistless bay
And a swan before them leads the
A speckled trout that in their track
Splashed in the air with arching back;
The grey of the lake and the waves
That foamed at its edge with a hollow sound.
Birds in the trees sand merry and loud;
A fawn flashed out of
the shadowy wood;
The horns rang out with the huntsman's cry
And the belling of the hounds while the fox slipped