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Einar Benediktsson

Einar Benediktsson (1864-1940) is one of Iceland’s most revered poets. He was an influential figure in the independence movement of Iceland, a lawyer and a highly ambitious entrepeneur. His poetry has been classified as neo-romantic, collected in five books during his lifetime.

Höfði was built for the French consul Jean-Paul Brillouin in Iceland and was the exclusive residence of poet and businessman Einar Benediktsson (1864-1940) for the years 1914-1917 and has his name been linked to Höfði ever since.


Mighty heartbeat of the ocean‘s cold depthts,
my strenght and peace I drink from your sound.
Within your ephimeral, trembling waves
I hear time‘s onward-marching steps
and my blood races as the surf pounds.

I turn my soul to the ocean that enslaves,
that beyond the sun drinks from my life‘s stream.
I see my own sky with its sunlit drapes
blend at the horizon in the shadow‘s caves
and I plunge into my mind‘s deepest dream.

I plunge into the surf that sucks at the shore
and propel my soul to where recollection stops.
I feel an affinity with the cold waves
as one of the measured and counted drops,
as a snatch of sound in the eternal ocean‘s roar.

Translation: Bernard Scudder from ‘Icelandic Poetry in the translation of Bernard Scudder’. Saga forlag, 2012