Weilyn’s interpretations of the Epistles of Fredman

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    My plan is to use this thread for my new HeroMachine project (because I desperately need another one of those..).
    The basic idea is that I will make illustrations for all 82 Epistles of Fredman, by Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795).

    “What the hell are the Epistles of Fredman?”, you may ask, and you would be asking a perfectly justified question. The Epistles of Fredman are a collection of songs witten by Bellman, a Swedish 18th century bard. The collection also happens to be my personal favourite literary work of, like, ever.

    Now, why would I clog up the forum with illustrations of poems that nobody outside of Sweden has ever heard of? Mainly because I absolutely love them, but also because I, and many Swedish scholars with me, think that the collection is severely underappreciated, both nationally and internationally, and if I can spread any sort of awereness of them to an international such as this, where many memebers seem to enjoy good literature, then I will shamelessly jump at the opportunity.

    “Well, what’s so great about these old poems?”, may be your second question. Well, in short, they are episodic stories about a cast of characters, who are all friends, and who find themselves in often humurous situations in 18th century Stockholm. The tone of the Epistles range from melancholic to comedic to sensual, but most of them are just plain funny with profound undertones, presented through poetry and jaunty tunes.

    It’s an 18th century sitcom, basically.

    And it’s a really good sitcom. The jokes are hilarious, but there is always a serious, often somewhat satirical, undertone. You see the characters evolve, some times for the better and sometimes for the worse, and the works present a unique window into the inner workings of 18th century Stockholm.

    You know… if you had any particular need to look through that window.

    Now, the reason the Epistles haven’t spread much outside of Sweden is probably because they have never been translated into English. Occasional musicians have taken a stab at it (Martin Best is one of them) but a full translation has never been made. Therefore I will provide my own crappy translations when I come across a piece that hasn’t been worked over by someone who has a greater grasp of the language than me.

    So, if any of this sounds vaguely interesting, then please stay tuned for the illustration of Fredman’s Epistle # 1: To Cajsa Stina, which will be coming shortly.

    Thank you for your time, and have a great evening http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-smileys/sf-smile.gif



    Well you have the Green light from me on this one. While I assumed these poems were in the public domain based on age, I doubled checked to be certain and have confirm it.



    @Kaldath said:

    Well you have the Green light from me on this one. While I assumed these poems were in the public domain based on age, I doubled checked to be certain and have confirm it.

    Oh, thank you very much, both for your approval, and for your double checking! http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-smileys/sf-smile.gif

    While the poems themselves contain a lot of sexual content and profanities, I promise will make sure not to overstep any of the forum rules.



    Fredmans Epistle # 1: To Cajsa Stina

    Introducing our main character, Jean Fredman, as well as a few other characters, who will not be expanded upon in this particular song.
    Fredman is a charismatic watchmaker (without any workshop, work capital or watches). He is based on one of Bellman’s friends, as are most of his characters, and he usually narrates the epistles.
    In this song he is at the Wismar Inn and he makes a toast to the barmaid Cajsa Stina, and to his friends and drinking buddies.
    As he rambles on, however, it becomes clear that nobody is really paying any attention to what he’s saying, as they are more occupied with tending to the patrons, drinking their sorrows away or passing out.


    My horrible translation (note that I will ignore the rhyming and rythms, and concentrate more on getting the intent of the lyrics across. Italics are sung, the rest is supposed to be spoken):

    Truly, no one is drinking. Drink, dear brothers! Behold the glasses on the tables at this inn! See the tankards on the shelves in the cupboards! Note how the shining tin tankards that Cajsa Stina is holding seem to speak to you, thusly: Hello, dear friends! Drown your sins!
    Indeed, dear sisters, indeed, dear brothers: Do you know how it appears to me?

    *dead silence*

    Well, it appears to me, that nothing will appear to us until we take ourselves a sip.

    What was that!?


    Err… Cheers, dear souls!

    A toast to both day and night!
    New pleasures, new delights!
    Dampen your sins,
    Bring forth the liquor,
    And follow the commandments of Bacchus.
    A toast to both day and night!
    Behold our sister, Cajsa Stina,
    See her bottles shine.
    My dear, bring me the tankard, and smile.
    Smile, swallow and drink, like me!

    It is I who will empty the glasses, and it is you who will fill them up, and it is we, dear brothers, who will order more beer, and make sure that there is an abundance of the sweet juices. Such is the order of the world, I believe. Cheers! More cheers! How many beers?

    … err…

    Legion, for we are many.

    Cheers, Jergen Puckel! Cheers, Benjamin Schwalbe! At your service, Eric Bergström! Do you have anything to drink, Wingmark? Cheers, brother Berg and Cristian Samuel Bredström, who are laying under your table! Don’t bother the barmaids! Play louder, fiddlers! Beat on the drums! Hold on to your glasses!

    A toast to that which we hold dear!
    Days of sorrow may come forth,
    But so will also the bottles.
    Listen to the the music!
    Have a drink!
    Days of sorrow will come soon enough.
    As Cajsa Stina fills up the glasses,
    She makes my heart beat faster.
    As long as none of you tries to steal my drink
    I will sing all of your praises!



    I really love it. Does it take place in Wismar? Because Wismar is a German city which was under Swedish rule from 1632 to 1803. And it is close to where I live.


    Herr D

    @Weilyn said:

    he rambles

    Alcohol does seem to have that effect. I think the main reason I don’t like to be in bars is the volume. I forget why intoxicants cause people to be unaware of how loud they and their surroundings are.

    Considering the implied content, are you going to wind up zypping on blushes?

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