- Thomas Hansen Kingo
Thomas Hansen Kingo (
December 15, 1634– October 14, 1703 Odense) was a Danish bishop, poet and hymn-writer born at Slangerup, near Copenhagen. His work marked the high point of Danish baroquepoetry.
He belonged to a rather poor family partly of Scottish origin and was educated a
clergyman. In his youth, Kingo wrote a series of poems picturing humorous scenes in village life and a pastoral love poem, "Chrysillis". He studied theologyat the University of Copenhagen, graduating in 1654, and for some time acted as private tutor. In 1661 he was appointed vicar to the pastor at Kirke Helsinge, and in 1668 he was ordained a minister at his native town, where his poetic activity began.
At first he essayed patriotic poems, but later devoted himself almost entirely to writing hymns, and in 1674 the first part of his "Aandelige Siunge-Koor" ("Spiritual Song Choir") appeared; followed in 1681 by a second part. This work consists of a collection of beautiful hymns several of which are still popular in the Danish Church.
In 1677 Kingo was appointed bishop of
Funen. Charged by the government with the compilation of a new hymn-book, he edited (1699) the so-called "Kingo's Psalmebog" which contains eighty-five of his own compositions, and which is still used is various parts of Denmark and Norway. Some parts of the Danish rural population were firmly sticking to his hymns during the pietistand rationalistperiod contributing to their survival.
Though not the first Danish hymn writer Kingo must be considered the first real important one and also among the Danish poets of the 17th Century he is generally a leading figure. His hymns are born by a forceful and often
Old Testamentalwrath and renunciation of the world switching with Christianmildness and confidence. Both elements are thrown in relief by his private thrift and fighting nature. His worldly poems and patrioticsongs are often long-winded and marked by outer effects but in short version he is unequalled, as in his both plain and worthy commemorative poemof the naval hero Niels Juel.
* [http://www.ccel.org Entry at Christian Classics Etherial Library]
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