Sweeney Astray: a Version from the Irish by Seamus Heaney is an 85-page softcover published first in 1983 by Farrar Straus Giroux. This copy is the stated second American printing of 1985. The jacket show surface rubbing. Inside, there are some dog-eared pages and an old sticker to the title page.
Sweeney Astray is Seamus Heaney’s version of the medieval Irish work Buile Suibhne-- the first complete translation since 1913. It's hero, Mad Sweeney, undergoes a series of purgatorial adventures after he is cursed by a saint in exile to the trees at the Battle of Moira. The poetry spoken by this mad king is among the richest and most immediately appealing in the whole canon of Gaelic literature. It is animated by love of place and exposure to elemental nature these pristine images undoubtedly first drew Heaney to the original, along with Sweeney's attraction is a model of the poetic imagination itself--displaced, hurt, valuable, resourceful.
Sweeney Astray not only restores to us a work of historical and literary importance but offers the genius of one of our best living poets to reinforce its claims on the reader of contemporary literature.