Songs of Fredman

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Songs of Fredman or Freman's Songs (Swedish: Fredmans sånger) is a collection of 65 poems and songs published in 1791 by the Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman.[1]

As a follow-up of Epistles of Fredman from the previous year, the book contains songs from a longer period. There are bible travesties ("Gubben Noak", "Gubben Loth och hans gamla Fru", "Joachim uti Babylon"), drinking songs ("Bacchi Proclama", "Til buteljen") and lyrical passages ("Haga (Fjäriln vingad)").

Grouping of the songs[edit]

The Order of Bacchi[edit]

Bellman had public performances known as the Bacchus Orden ("Order of Bacchi"). These consisted largely of travesties of the chivalric and society orders of the time, some of which Bellman himself was a member.[2] These orders held strict ceremonials, and members were often expected to live a decent and "christian life". To be knighted in the Order of Bacchi, it was required to at least twice have been observed publicly lying stupor in the gutter. Several of the songs from these performances are collected in Songs of Fredman (songs 1–6).[2]


A common theme for songs 18–21 is Death.

Biblical travesties[edit]

Bellman wrote drinking songs and bible travesties, and also mixed the two genres. The holy men from the Old Testament were portrayed as drunken bums. The travesties became popular all over the country, being spread (anonymously) by broadsheets and transcripts. Some of Bellman's bible travesties offended the church authorities. As shown in a 1768 letter from the Lund chapter, the church attempted to collect all prints and transcripts in circulation of the most popular song, "Gubben Noach", as well as other songs.[3][2] "Gubben Noak" and eight other biblical travesties are included in Fredmans Sånger as songs number 35–43.[2]

Bacchus' bankruptcy[edit]

The songs 47–54 are part of a song play about "Bacchus' bankruptcy" (Bacchi konkurs).[2]


The other songs in the book are not naturally grouped by theme.[2]


The songs portray a series of persons, mostly people lapsed into heavy drinking.[4] Named persons are Kolmodin (treasurer), Holmström, Nystedt (pub owner), Meissner (brewer), Steindecker (royal kettledrummer), Lundholm (brewer and distiller), Appelstubbe (customs officer), Österman (workshop owner), Halling (baker), Agrell (customs officer), Kämpendal, Nybom, Planberg, Joseph Israelson (student and poet) and Knapen (musician). In addition to these are the biblical figures, and also Bacchus and Venus, plus a few more.


  1. ^ Carl Michael Bellman (1791). "Fredmans sånger". Project Runeberg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bellman. Verken" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  3. ^ Domkapitlet i Lund (1768). "Som til Consistorium blifwit inlemnade ..." (in 18th-century Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  4. ^ "Personerna i Fredmans Epistlar och Sånger" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2008-10-17.