The directory «Plots»
Wallin Johan Olof
Johan Olof Wallin was a Swedish minister, orator, poet and later Archbishop of Uppsala, Sweden. He is most remember today for his hymns.
He was born in Stora Tuna i Dalarna, Sweden, as the oldest son in a large family, and went to school in Falun. His parents did not have much money, but because he was a bright student he managed to get enrolled at the University of Uppsala in 1799. Four years later he obtained his Master of Arts, and after another three years he was ordained minister.
While he was studying, he got his first poem published in Upsala tidningar (1802). The following years he wrote and translated several other poetic works, and received several awards from the Swedish Academy for his work. Among his awarded works were translatations of Horatio and Virgil; and for a song about Gustav III he was awarded the high sum of 200 ducats. His poetry was however by some considered too rhetorical and out-dated compared to the then flourishing Romantic poets. Wallin did not take the criticism light-hearted, and adapted to the new style which was more emotional and less influenced by the Latin poets.
During the remainder of the 19th century he was highly beloved and praised by writers and intellectuals in Sweden. In some places his 100th anniversary was celebrated in 1879. A monument of him was also erected in his hometown, and a bust of him was unveiled in Falun in 1917. During the 20th century, the harsh Lutheranism was being increasingly scorned in Sweden as being oppressive and guilt strucken, and this in combination with the ongoing secularization has diminished his reputation, and today he is only remembered for those hymns still in use in Swedish Churches. Among them the traditional christmashymn Var hälsad, sköna morgonstund.
Wallin wrote several poems highly praised in his time, not only Christian, and several sermons and speeches; and of his hymns several are still in use in Swedish hymnbooks today. A few of them have also been translated into English and have been published in hymnals such as the Lutheran Book of Worship. Among them are Var hälsad sköna morgonstund (Translated as: All Hail to you, O blessed morn), a hymn used at christmas; Du som fromma hjärtan vårdar (Translated as: Christians, while on Earth abiding); and Vi lova Dig, O Store Gud (Translated as: We worship you, O God of might).
His style is described as melancholic but ravishing, often dealing with death, with frequent references and quotes from the Bible. His grand work was the long poem Angel of Death, finished only about year before his death. Compared to contemporary poets, he is considered second only to Esaias Tegnér.
Sweden, 1979, Johan Olof Wallin