Poems by Hans Christian Andersen

In Queen Caroline Amalie’s library a number of handwritten poems by prominent Danish poets of the time once lay between the many books. These include Adam Oehlenschläger, B.S. Ingemann, Carsten Hauch, H.P. Holst and N.F.S. Grundtvig, and – not least – Hans Christian Andersen.

As can be seen from her library, the Queen was interested in contemporary literature, and held, particularly after being widowed, literary salons in Christian VIII’s Palace. On Tuesdays a small number of invited guests met for readings and discussion, and it is without doubt from these gatherings that some of the poems found their way onto the shelves. Other poems are marked with place and date, from which it can be seen that they were written, for example, in Sorgenfri Palace, where Christian VIII and Caroline Amalie also counted the cultural personalities of the day among their guests.

Eight handwritten poems by Hans Christian Andersen are to be found in Caroline Amalie’s library. Several have been printed, either in the poet’s own lifetime or in later editions of his works, diaries and almanacs. Most of the poems stem from a stay with the royal family at the home of the Duke of Augustenburg, the queen’s brother, on the island of Föhr in 1844, and one of them from the journey on the steamship Kiel, which was the royal yacht at the time. Andersen entertained them with improvisations, composed off the top of his head, often on request.

Read more about H. C. Andersen’s poetry.