Nolle Timere, Don't Be Afraid: The last words of Seamus Heaney who texted them to his wife.
At his funeral, his son Michael revealed
Michael spoke briefly at the end of the service to thank those who cared for his father, who died on Friday aged 74, and those who have offered support and praise since his death.
'His last few words in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away were in his beloved Latin and they read - "nolle timere" ("don't be afraid"),' he said.
Among those packing the pews of the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart for his funeral were Irish government leaders, poets and novelists, Bono and The Edge from rock band U2, and former Lebanese hostage Brian Keenan.
Ireland's foremost uilleann piper, Liam O'Flynn, played a wailing lament before family members and friends offered a string of readings from the Bible and their own often-lyrical remembrances of the country's most celebrated writer of the late 20th century.
The legendary wordsmith won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995.
Mourners at his funeral were led by his widow Marie and children Michael, Christopher and Catherine Ann.
Chief celebrant of the Mass, Monsignor Brendan Devlin, opened the service with the remark that Heaney might have liked to have his funeral celebrated by someone with a Northern accent.
He was a snowy-haired, craggy mountain of a man; a man who radiated granite integrity and deep kindness. He was a poet, among the greatest of our era, and the first of his nation to win the Nobel prize since Yeats.
Seamus Heaney, who has died in hospital in Dublin, aged 74, leaves family, friends and readers in Ireland and beyond "feeling personally bereaved", in the words of his longtime friend, the poet Michael Longley. "Just as his presence filled a room, his marvellous poems filled the hearts of generations of readers."
Heaney, who died Friday in Dublin at age 74, was powerful and widely read, receiving countless honors, including the Nobel Prize. With stunningly fresh language, his poetry dug deep into the roots of human attachments but also of human violence. The author of the stunning pastorals "The Glanmore Sonnets" also created the haunting Dantean poems of "Station Island." His versions of Sophocles, "The Cure at Troy" and "The Burial at Thebes," reached to the heart of human suffering and alienation. His work embraced a vision of hope and the possibility of seeing, as he titled one poem, "From the Republic of Conscience." And he made a fool of Woody Allen ("Never take a course where they make you read 'Beowulf'") by making his version of the Old English epic a bestseller.
But Heaney was that rare thing, an unofficial international poet laureate who had become an ambassador for the entire institution of poetry.
Harvard Gazette. Heaney’s death caught ‘the heart off guard’ Noted Irish poet had long and deep ties to HarvardPosted by Jill Fallon at September 4, 2013 12:36 PM | Permalink