Unknown Poem by 17th Century Writer Discovered Skip to content

Unknown Poem by 17th Century Writer Discovered

A previously unknown poem by beloved Icelandic pastor and psalm writer Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-1674), after whom Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík is named, was discovered in the Ihreska collection of manuscripts in Uppsala, Sweden.


From Iceland Review 49.01.

Literary scholar and project manager at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Thórunn Sigurdardóttir, who discovered the poem, told Morgunbladid this is exciting news: “The poem is among the oldest memorial poems written by Hallgrímur.”

It was written in the memory of Vigfús Gíslason, the district commissioner at Stórólfshvoll. “It was written in 1647, around the time he wrote the poem about his daughter Steinunn,” she stated, adding that these two poems are somewhat similar, especially the beginning of the last stanza.

Sigurdardóttir found the poem when she was browsing through a registry of manuscripts in Uppsala. The poem was copied in 1665, one decade before Pétursson passed away, and the manuscript where it was found is among the oldest manuscripts containing his work.

Pétursson wrote his most famous work, The Hymns of Passion, in 1656-1659 when he served as pastor at Saurbaer in Hvalfjördur. Sigurdardóttir said no other 17th century poet has been studied as much as he has.

Click here to read more about Hallgrímur Pétursson and The Hymns of Passion.

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