Jonas Hallgrimsson

(1807-1845 / Iceland)

Biography of Jonas Hallgrimsson

Jónas Hallgrímsson (November 16, 1807 – May 26, 1845) was an Icelandic poet, author and naturalist. He was one of the founders of the Icelandic journal Fjölnir, which was first published in Copenhagen in 1835. The magazine was used by Jónas and other nationalistic poets to invoke patriotic feeling in the hearts of the Icelandic people, in the hopes of inciting popular resistance against Danish rule. Jónas remains one of Iceland's most beloved poets, and composed some of the best-known Icelandic poems about land and nation.

Jónas is considered one of the founding fathers, and best examples, of romanticism in Iceland. The imagery in his poetry was strongly influenced by the Icelandic landscape. He is also known for introducing foreign metres, such as pentameter, to Icelandic poetry.

Charming and fair is the land,

and snow-white the peaks of the jokuls [glaciers],

Cloudless and blue is the sky,

the ocean is shimmering bright,

But high on the lave fields, where

still Osar river is flowing

Down into Almanna gorge,

Althing no longer is held,

Now Snorri's booth serves as a sheepfold,

the ling upon Logberg the sacred

Is blue with berries every year,

for children, s and ravens, delight.

Oh, ye juvenile host

and full-grown manhood of Iceland!

Thus is our forefathers' fame

forgotten and dormant withal." Updates

A Ship Comes In, 1830

Can the bard descry a schooner
scudding landward, sails expanded?
Hear what's said beside the cod-stacks?
See the merchants strut like peacocks?
'Shorebound breezes shove the weary
ship along! The boys are thronging!
Packs of people crowd the sidewalks!
Perky shop-clerks stop and goggle!'

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