Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Hvila vid denna källa

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Hvila vid denna källa

Hvila vid denna källa (or in modern Swedish "Vila ...", Rest by this spring), is one of the Swedish poet and performer Carl Michael Bellman's best-known and best-loved songs, from his 1790 collection, Fredman's Epistles, where it is No. 82. A pastoral, it depicts the Rococo muse Ulla Winblad, as the narrator offers a "little breakfast" of "red wine with burnet, and a newly-shot snipe" in the Stockholm countryside.

Contents

The epistle is subtitled "eller Oförmodade avsked, förkunnat vid Ulla Winblads frukost en sommarmorgon i det gröna. Pastoral dedicerad till Kgl. Sekreteraren Leopoldt" (or unexpected parting, proclaimed at Ulla Winblad's breakfast one summer morning in the countryside. Pastoral dedicated to Royal Secretary Leopoldt).

Context

Carl Michael Bellman is the central figure in Swedish song, known for his 1790 Fredman's Epistles and his 1791 Fredman's Songs. He played the cittern, accompanying himself as he performed his songs at the royal court.

Jean Fredman is a fictional character and the supposed narrator in Bellman's epistles and songs, based on a real watchmaker of Bellman's Stockholm. The epistles paint a picture of the demimonde life of the city during the eighteenth century, where strong drink and beautiful "nymphs" like Ulla Winblad create a rococo picture of life, blending classical allusion and pastoral description with harsh reality.

Song

The song has six verses, each of 13 lines, the end of the last line being repeated after a Corno interlude. The verses have the rhyming pattern AABB-CCCB-BABAB. The origin of the melody is disputed, and it may well have been one of the very few (perhaps the only one) composed by Bellman himself. Afzelius noted that the melody resembles that of Epistle 25, "Blåsen nu alla"; this would involve a change from 3/4 time to 2/4 time, something Bellman is known to have been skilful at. Hildebrand argued that the melody was Bellman's; Olof Åhlström that it must have been borrowed, though the source is unknown.

The song is in 2/4 time, marked Andante.

Reception

Epistle 82 has been recorded by Fred Åkerström, where it forms the title track of his third album of Bellman interpretations, as well as by Sven-Bertil Taube. It has been translated into English by Eva Toller.

The song has featured in at least 16 Swedish films from 1929 onwards.

Lars Lönnroth, writing in Svenska Dagbladet, suggests that the "spring" in the Epistle was in fact not a stream in summer meadows but a fashionable spa, perhaps Djurgårsbrunn on what was in Bellman's time the edge of Stockholm.

Henrik Mickos, in the 2011 Bellman lecture, discussed what the "pimpinella" of the first verse might be, concluding that salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) was quite likely, given it was known at the time as pimpinella, and was more common in Sweden then than it is now.

References

Hvila vid denna källa Wikipedia


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