Carolus Rex album cover

1648 (English)


While Europe speak of peace, all other battles cease
There’s a man who aims for more than he can reach
All over
On fire
All of Bohemia set ablaze
Stand on their own

The road to the city has been blocked
(They’re denied)
To enter the gates
Though they tried
(Though they tried)
When Prague was called to arms
They fought them on the bridge
Their freedom was at stake

Stand and fight, the city is burning
Königsmarck lost, stopped him at Karluv Most.
Stained by blood, their brothers die side by side
Did what they could
Died where they stood

Their city has been besieged, all hell on Prague unleashed
As the cannons crush the walls, the city shakes
Is spreading
And pain is all that Sweden brought
Rise and strike back

The walls of the city has been breached
(They’re reclaimed)
On that very night
They did it on their own
They fought them on the bridge
Their freedom was at stake

Unconquered city on Vltavas shore
Start of the conflict and end of the war
Unconquered city on Vltavas shore
Is protected by its people
And thirty years ago the war begun
It has returned to where it started

Lyrics:Brodén / Sundström
Historic Fact
Europe had grown weary of war by the summer of 1648 and after much deliberation, peace talks in Westphalia had reached their final stages. Warlords across the entire continent were preparing for peace but not all of them agreed. The exceptionally ruthless German-Swedish General Königsmarck advanced into Bohemia with 3,000 men and took Malá Strana (the Lesser Side), a district of Prague that was home to many noble palaces. His troops took much war treasure, including the Codex Argenteus – the Silver Bible, which remains in Swedish hands. However, Königsmarck wanted more and intended to complete the conquest of Prague, tempted by its reputation as impregnable. The people of Prague put up brave resistance, despite their lack of weapons and military experience. Ferocious battles were fought along the Charles Bridge. A troop of 745 students, led by a Jesuit professor managed to block the Swedes’ way across the bridge. Journeymen and brewery hands formed themselves into improvised, independent companies of soldiers and the city’s Jews organised a fire brigade to disarm mines and put out fires. Prague held out. On 24th September Charles Gustav, the Swedish General in charge of the army in Germany and his 6,000 men joined Königsmarck’s attack. Königsmarck had written in a letter that he promised “not to leave this town before the officers have spilled their last drop of blood and turned the city into a graveyard”.The siege of Prague intensified, as the Swedes continuously bombarded the east side of the city, turning large parts of the city wall into rubble. At this point, the Swedish troops stormed across the temporary wooden bridge and slaughtered hundreds of defenders. The armed residents of Prague didn’t give up though and managed to drive away the invaders during the night. Shortly afterward, Charles Gustav received news from the peace talks in Westphalia which forced him to halt the hostilities. The Thirty Years War was over. Six years later, Charles Gustav became king of Sweden, following the abdication of his cousin, Queen Christina (daughter of Gustavus Adolphus). His reign was brief and warlike but successful. In 1658 he took his men across the unstable ice of the Belts and took one third of Denmark, even threatening Copenhagen. Charles X Gustav died of pneumonia at the age of 38 in Sweden in 1660.