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“Mourning his loss as a man and a king”

Irish poet Seamus Heaney has passed away today at the age of 74. Seamus HeaneyThe Nobel laureate is considered one of the greatest Irish poets, and his work is felt by many to capture the essence of Ireland and the Irish condition. Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, and was also awarded the Golden Wreath of Poetry, the E.M. Forster Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize twice over the course of his career.

Heaney’s poetry collections include Death of a Naturalist, Door into the DarkNorth, Seeing Things, The Spirit Level, and Electric Light, among others. He also wrote prose and plays, as well as did extensive work translating poetry.

Along with his incredible body of poetry, Heaney is also famous for his excellent translation of the Old English epic Beowulf, from which I offer the final lines in his memory:

young Heaney“They extolled his heroic nature and exploits

and gave thanks for his greatness; which is the proper thing,

for a man should praise a prince whom he holds dear

and cherish his memory when that moment comes

when he has to be conveyed from his bodily home.”

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