gysbert japicx, mathijs harings

This is Gysbert Japicx, aged 34. He was a schoolmaster but, more importantly, the founding father of Frisian literature. In his spare time he wrote poetry – in the Frisian language, which was remarkable, because hardly anybody wrote in Frisian in those days. His work Friesche Rymlerye (Frisian Verses), which was published after his death, became a great success.

Gysbert Japicx, Mathijs Harings, 1637


Gysbert Japicx, Mathijs Harings, 1637

Japicx wrote his poetry to existing melodies, so that it could be sung and was easy to remember. His work is still regularly performed. He is sometimes referred to as the Frisian Shakespeare, although from a quantitative point of view his oeuvre comes nowhere near this poet’s production.