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The Golden Peace

January 19, 2013

Dining with the Swedish Academy

den gyldene freden    image2550

Dinner last night at Den Gyldene Freden, the Stockholm restaurant where the eighteen members of the Swedish Academy meet every Thursday to discuss, and once a year to pick the next Nobel prizewinner for literature. The restaurant, in the old town, goes back well before the prize was instituted, or even the Academy founded.

It was a favourite drinking houses of Carl Michael Bellman, the 18th century poet and composer, who is so loved in Sweden that children tell unfunny “Bellman” jokes. Here’s one.

A Norwegian, a Dane and Bellman decided to swim the Atlantic. The Norwegian swam a mile and drowned. The Dane swam ten miles and drowned. Bellman got almost to America but turned back because he was tired.

And here’s his song to Den Gyldene Freden

To the Golden Peace,
hold the lines,
the patrol is off!
Ale in the head,
now at the Star,
The Commander cheers.
The peril we see, but fear her not,
Hither now to the left at the Dutch Moor,
First platoon of the Battalion
drink your cups!

Carl Michael Bellman from Fredman’s Song No. 3

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