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Så lunka vi så småningom
Så lunka vi så småningom (So we gradually amble) is one of the Swedish poet and performer Carl Michael Bellman's best-known and best-loved songs, from his 1791 collection, Fredman's Songs, where it is No. 21. The song portrays a pair of gravediggers discussing whether the grave is too deep, while taking swigs from a bottle of brandy.
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.
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. 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, 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. The juxtaposition of elegant and low life is humorous, sometimes burlesque, but always graceful and sympathetic. The songs are "most ingeniously" set to their music, which is nearly always borrowed and skilfully adapted.
Melody and verse form
The song is in 2
4 time and is marked Marche. It has 8 verses, each of 8 lines, with a 4-line chorus repeated after every verse. The rhyming pattern of each verse is the alternating ABAB-CDCD, while the chorus has the pattern EEFF.
The song makes light of death, urging youths to "heed my word, and take the prettiest Nymph who smiles at you under your arm". The chorus runs "Do you think the grave is too deep? Well, take a swig, take another, ditto two, ditto three, so you'll die happier."
|Carl Michael Bellman, 1791||Paul Britten Austin, 1977||John Irons, 2014|
Du vid din remmare och präss,
And thou who standest to thy glass,
You at your dram and rummer glass,
Bellman's biographer Lars Lönnroth writes that Bellman takes an existential look at life in the song, comparing the tone to the monologue in Hamlet Act 5, scene 1 where the prince laments, holding Yorick's skull in his hands. All the same, he writes, Bellman still turns in the end "to his usual role as the drinking-companion full of gallows humour".
Students of Swedish literature are expected to study Fredman's Songs and Epistles."
- "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.
- Britten Austin 1967, pp. 60–61.
- Britten Austin 1967, p. 39.
- Britten Austin 1967, pp. 81–83, 108.
- Britten Austin 1967, p. 63.
- Bellman, 1791.
- Bellman 1989, p. 205.
- Britten Austin 1977, p. 118.
- Irons, John. "Time for a Bellman!". John Irons. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
- Lönnroth 2005, p. 354.
- "LITTERATURLISTA V15 LV1150 Moment 2: Klassiker ur Sveriges litteratur". Gothenburg University. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Hassler, page 285
- Britten Austin, Paul (1967). The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman: Genius of the Swedish Rococo. New York: Allhem, Malmö American-Scandinavian Foundation. ISBN 978-3-932759-00-0.
- Britten Austin, Paul (1977). Fredman's Epistles and Songs. Stockholm: Reuter and Reuter. OCLC 5059758.
- Bellman, Carl Michael (1989). Bellman – en antologi [Bellman – an anthology]. illustrated by Dahl, Peter; contributors : Hassler, Göran and Bagge, Ulf. En bok för alla. ISBN 91-7448-742-6.
- Bellman, Carl Michael (1984). Kleveland, Åse (ed.). Fredmans epistlar & sånger [The songs and epistles of Fredman]. Illustrated by Ehrén, Svenolov. Stockholm: Informationsförlaget. ISBN 91-7736-059-1. (with facsimiles of sheet music from first editions in 1790, 1791)
- Lönnroth, Lars (2005). Ljuva karneval! : om Carl Michael Bellmans diktning [Lovely Carnival! : about Carl Michael Bellman's Verse]. Stockholm: Albert Bonniers Förlag. ISBN 978-91-0-057245-7. OCLC 61881374.
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