Elegy of Fr. Daniel O'Keeffe
(circa 1848 - September 18, 1895)
Alas, it my great and painful sorrow
Alas it is my sorrow as long as I will live, for it is painful tidings to me
The account of the beloved priest and messenger of the Trinity
Who left the clergy lamenting and his friends forever sorrowful.
My sorrow, woe is me for you are entombed in Kilcummin
Without vigour, lifeless, without strength o gentle priest
And choicest of men who acquired power and authority without delay
Carrying the flag of virtue - - - the priestly vestments.
Pious, charitable, friendly, great hearted,
Truly humble, responsible, resolute, refined
Gentle, temperate, vigorous and skillful,
Of that family* who generously gave priests to God.
Power and victory you got from Christ
A hundred times more than is mentioned in the life of Moses
Who divided The Red Sea and set free his people
And left Pharaoh cold and his troops weak and without strength.
Vigorous and sweet used to come from your sweet lips
And flawless every composition inspired by the Gospels,
Defeated was the corrupt and afflicted sinner
With the meaning of your teaching quivering with great hope.
Great is the grief that is in my heart
Mourning for the protector of the poor without fault who was loving and generous
Your silence used to move the cause of every want
And disciplined / punished every wrong that was done.
The way of the Apostles you followed bravely,
The law of the Church you practiced accurately and honestly
Not interested in the riches or grandeur of the world
But faithful and constant to your Heavenly Father.
For the glory of God you abandoned worldly behaviour,
For the glory of God you abandoned your friends and relatives,
For the glory of God you spent your life
Lovingly, gently, and honestly.
Crookedness or deceit were never your companions,
Nor were in your pure, Gaelic, beautiful, honourable heart
But generosity, humanity, piety and hope,
It is a great loss to the clergy your death while you were in your prime.
In strength, wisdom and intellectual ability
You were the choicest of learned mean, it is clear that you were great
Cheerfully, merrily, nobly and peacefully
With pen in hand you preformed you great deeds.
The Lord best knows about your charitable deeds,
Your kind acts you did without pride
'till the tide ebbed, your like we will not meet again,
Far and wide is tearful grief because of you.
Brave and strong from the Laune to Fermo
In power, in full sway, in authority as was natural to your relatives
In merry castles and in lime-white marble mansions
Your relatives lived who were the descendants of the gentle Oilill.
From Oilill Oluin, the supreme ruler and king of Ireland
Was begotten the gentle clan of the mighty O'Keeffes
The chosen leaders who were gentle and kind
The great and steady warriors who never caused a fight through surliness.
In fierce combat, when they had to, they never submitted,
Nor in the gap of danger, they never surrendered in war,
Routing the dishonest spirits and the plunderers
From the land of saints, my sorrow, he was descended from that noble tribe.
You were of them, alas you are lying with them
Oh modest priest, leader and gentle councilor,
Alas, my sorrow, sorrow to all Irishmen
The time when the leader of the honourable tribe died.
To the Order every day since he had reason and age
He gave the love and affection of his heart,
The gentle virgin of grace as his constant companion
It is certain because of that, Heaven is now his home.
Oh beloved priest, for a short time in this vale of tears
Is our journey and to Heaven where you traveled before me
The Father, Son and Mother ever Virgin
Pray my soul over the torrent of pain be in Your guidance.
*Note: Fr. O'Keeffes mother was Sheahan. Some if the Sheahan family were priests in the Kerry Diocese.
08 Sep 2018
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