He became a Salian priest at the age of eight, and soon knew by heart all the forms and liturgical order of the official worship, and even the sacred music. In the earliest statue we have he is a youth offering incense; he is a priest at the sacrificial altar in the latest triumphal reliefs.
His songs are mostly written in the medieval quatrains (ferskeytla), and are generally of a humorous and satirical character; his convivial songs are known by heart by every modern Icelander; and although some of the poets of the present day are more admired, there is none who is more loved by the people.
Jean de Masles, who annotated a portion of his verse, has recorded how the pages and young gentlemen of that epoch were required daily to learn by heart passages of his Breviaire des nobles.
Voltaire makes an interesting observation on the technical difference between an English and a French sermon in the 18th century; the former, he says, is a solid and somewhat dry dissertation which the preacher reads to the congregation without a gesture and without any inflection of his voice; the latter is a long declamation, scrupulously divided into three points, and recited by heart with enthusiasm.
Without boasting, you know, I may say that I know the Army Orders by heart and know the Regulations as well as I do the Lord's Prayer.