1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Engelbrechtsdatter, Dorthe

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ENGELBRECHTSDATTER, DORTHE (1634–1716), Norwegian poet, was born at Bergen on the 16th of January 1634; her father, Engelbrecht Jörgensen, was originally rector of the high school in that city, and afterwards dean of the cathedral. In 1652 she married Ambrosius Hardenbech, a theological writer famous for his flowery funeral sermons, who succeeded her father at the cathedral in 1659. They had five sons and four daughters. In 1678 her first volume appeared, Sjaelens aandelige Sangoffer (“The Soul’s Spiritual Offering of Song”) published at Copenhagen. This volume of hymns and devotional pieces, very modestly brought out, had an unparalleled success. The fortunate poetess was invited to Denmark, and on her arrival at Copenhagen was presented at Court. She was also introduced to Thomas Kingo, the father of Danish poetry, and the two greeted one another with improvised couplets, which have been preserved, and of which the poetess’s reply is incomparably the neater. In 1683 her husband died, and before 1698 she had buried all her nine children. In the midst of her troubles appeared her second work, the Taareoffer (“Sacrifice of Tears”), which is a continuous religious poem in four books. This was combined with the Sangoffer, and no fewer than three editions of the united works were published before her death, and many after it. In 1698 she brought out a third volume of sacred verse, Et kristeligt Valet fra Verden (“A Christian Farewell to the World”), a very tame production. She died on the 19th of February 1716. The first verses of Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter are the best; her Sangoffer was dedicated to Jesus, the Taareoffer to Queen Charlotte Amalia; this is significant of her changed position in the eyes of the world.