Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga

Music of Carl Michael Bellman's song "Fjäril'n vingad syns på Haga" from Fredman's Songs, 1791

Fjäril'n vingad syns på Haga (The butterfly wingèd is seen in Haga) is one of the most popular of Carl Michael Bellman's collection of songs called Fredmans sånger, published in 1791, where it is No. 64. Many Swedes know the song by heart.


Carl Michael Bellman is a central figure in the Swedish song tradition and a powerful influence in Swedish music, known for his 1790 Fredman's Epistles and his 1791 Fredman's Songs. A solo entertainer, he played the cittern, accompanying himself as he performed his songs at the royal court.[1]

Jean Fredman (1712 or 1713 – 1767) was a real watchmaker of Bellman's Stockholm. The fictional Fredman, alive after 1767, but without employment, is the supposed narrator in Bellman's epistles and songs.[2] The epistles, written and performed in different styles, paint a complex picture of the life of the city during the eighteenth century. A frequent theme is the demimonde, with Fredman's cheerfully drunk Order of Bacchus,[3] a loose company of ragged men who favour strong drink and prostitutes. At the same time as depicting this reality, Bellman creates a rococo picture of life, full of classical allusion, following the French post-baroque poets; the women, including the beautiful Ulla Winblad, are "nymphs", and Neptune's festive troop of followers and sea-creatures sport in Stockholm's waters.[4] The juxtaposition of elegant and low life is humorous, sometimes burlesque, but always graceful and sympathetic.[1] The songs are "most ingeniously" set to their music, which is nearly always borrowed and skilfully adapted.[5]


Fjäril'n vingad describes King Gustav III's Haga Park

Music and verse form

Fjäriln vingad is in 4
and is marked Andante. The rhyming pattern is the alternating ABAB-CDCD.[6] Richard Engländer writes that unlike in Bellman's parody songs, the melody is of his own composition.[7]


The song, Bellman's best known, is dedicated to Captain Adolf Ulrik Kirstein who at the time was Bellman's landlord in Klarabergsgatan, Stockholm.[8] Bellman's biographer Lars Lönnroth states that it was originally a verse petition to baron Armfelt to get a job for Bellman's wife Lovisa in Haga Palace, and describes it as a "royalistic praise text".[9]

The later version of the song omits the Lovisa petition, and describes Haga Park, the attractive natural setting of King Gustav III's never-completed Haga Palace just north of Stockholm.[10]

Versions of the first stanza of song 64
Carl Michael Bellman, 1791[11] Henry Grafton Chapman, 1904[12] Charles Wharton Stork, 1917[13] Paul Britten Austin, 1977[14]

Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga
mellan dimmors frost och dun
sig sitt gröna skjul tillaga
och i blomman sin paulun.
Minsta kräk i kärr och syra,
nyss av solens värma väckt,
till en ny högtidlig yra
eldas vid sefirens fläkt.

O, a butterfly at Haga,
In the frosty mist was seen,
As it sought a flow'ry parlor,
Where to make its nest of green.
Thus the tiniest of creatures
With the sun's bright warmth awakes
To a new-found day of rapture,
In the wind its joy it takes.

Butterflies to Haga faring,
When the frosts and fogs are spent,
Find the woods their home preparing,
Flower-enwrought their pleasure-tent.
Insects from their winter trances
Newly wakened by the sun
O'er the marsh hold festal dances
And along the dock-leaves run.

O'er the misty park of Haga
In the frosty morning air,
To her green and fragile dwelling
See the butterfly repair.
E'en the least of tiny creatures,
By the sun and zephyrs warm'd,
Wakes to new and solemn raptures
In a bed of flowers form'd.


"Fjäriln vingad syns på Haga" performed by Sune Bohlin

Fjäriln vingad remains popular in Sweden, and is one of the best-known and most often sung of Bellman's songs. It is included in a list of songs that "nearly all [Swedes] can sing unaided".[15] A chime of bells in Solna, near the Haga park described in the song, rings out the melody every hour.[16][17]

An early recording was made by Gustaf Adolf Lund in Stockholm in 1904.[18] Johanna Grüssner and Mika Pohjola recorded it in a medley with "Glimmande nymf" on their song album Nu blir sommar in 2006.[19] In the Zecchino d'Oro in 2005 it was recorded with the Italian title Il mio cuore è un gran pallone.[20]

The song has been translated into English by Henry Grafton Chapman III,[12] Charles Wharton Stork,[13] Helen Asbury,[21] Noel Wirén,[22] and Paul Britten Austin.[23] It has been recorded in English by William Clauson,[24] Martin Best,[25][26] Barbro Strid,[27] and Martin Bagge.[28]


  1. ^ a b "Carl Michael Bellmans liv och verk. En minibiografi (The Life and Works of Carl Michael Bellman. A Short Biography)" (in Swedish). The Bellman Society. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ Britten Austin 1967, pp. 60–61.
  3. ^ Britten Austin 1967, p. 39.
  4. ^ Britten Austin 1967, pp. 81–83, 108.
  5. ^ Britten Austin 1967, p. 63.
  6. ^ Hassler and Dahl, 1989, pages 232–233
  7. ^ Engländer, Richard (1956). "Bellmans musikalisk-poetiska teknik" [Bellman's Musical-Poetic Technique] (PDF). Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning (in Swedish): 143–154.
  8. ^ Riksarkivet - "Fjäril'n vingad" av Carl Michael Bellman Publicerad: 2006-07-01
  9. ^ Lönnroth 2005, pp. 221, 339, 343–348.
  10. ^ "Haga rustas för kungligt familjeliv" (in Swedish). Popular Historia. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  11. ^ Hassler & Dahl 1989, p. 233.
  12. ^ a b Chapman 1904, pp. 88–89.
  13. ^ a b Anthology of Swedish Lyrics, 1750-1915, trans. by Charles Wharton Stork, (New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation, 1917). Pages 14–15
  14. ^ Britten Austin 1977, p. 142.
  15. ^ Berglund, Anders. "100 sånger - som (nästan) alla kan utantill!" (PDF). Musik att minnas. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  16. ^ Couldry, Nick; McCarthy, Anna (23 November 2004). MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. Routledge. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-134-43635-4.
  17. ^ Rundkvist, Martin (25 August 2007). "Carl Michael Bellman's Butterfly". Aardvarchaeology. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  19. ^ "Swedish Traditional Songs - Svenska visor - Nu blir sommar". Blue Music Group. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  20. ^ "48° Zecchino d'Oro dal 22 al 26 Novembre 2005: Il Mio Cuore e' un Gran Pallone (Fjäriln)". Zecchino d'Oro. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  21. ^ Scandinavian Songs and Ballads, trans. by Helen Asbury, Martin S. Allwood et al., (Mullsjö: Anglo-American Center, 1950).
  22. ^ Sweden Sings, trans. by Noel Wirén, (Stockholm: Nordiska Musikförlaget, 1955).
  23. ^ Fredman's epistles & songs, trans. by Paul Britten Austin, (Stockholm: Reuter & Reuter, 1977).
  24. ^ Summer in Sweden (Stockholm: Sveriges radio, c. 1962).
  25. ^ To Carl Michael With Love (Stockholm: HMV, 1975).
  26. ^ Songs of Carl Michael Bellman (Monmouth, Great Britain: Nimbus Records, 1983).
  27. ^ Listen to Carl Michael Bellman! (Stockholm: Proprius, 1999).
  28. ^ Fredman's epistles and songs (Stockholm: Proprius, 2002).


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