by Carl S. Michael Bellman (1740 - 1795)
Translation © by David McCleery

Lilla Carl
Language: Swedish (Svenska) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE
Lilla Carl, sov sött i frid,
Du får tids nog vaka,
Tids nog se vår onda tid
Och hennes galla smaka.
Världen är en sorgeö,
Bäst man andas, skall man dö
Och bli mull tillbaka.

Så är med vår livstid fatt,
Och så försvinna åren:
Bäst man andas godt och gladt,
Så ligger man på båren.
Lilla charles skall tänka så,
När han se de blommer små,
Som bepryda våren.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David McCleery) , "Little Carl", copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Petit Carl", copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

This text was added to the website: 2006-10-03
Line count: 14
Word count: 70

Little Carl
Language: English  after the Swedish (Svenska) 
Little Carl, sleep sweetly in peace
For there will be plenty of time to watch,
Plenty of time to see our dark times
And savour their bitter taste.
The world is an island of sorrow,
In our prime we breathe, but we will die
And return to dust.

This is how our lives play out
As the years disappear:
In our prime, we breathe health and happiness,
But we will end up in a coffin.
Little Charles will think these thoughts
When he sees the small flowers
That adorn the springtime.


  • Translation from Swedish (Svenska) to English copyright © 2018 by David McCleery, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

Based on


This text was added to the website: 2018-09-19
Line count: 14
Word count: 91