Back

THE LORELEY

(Song of the Rhine) I cannot divine what it meaneth
This haunting nameless pain:
A tale of the bygone ages
Weeps brooding through my brain.
The faint air cools in the gloaming,
And peaceful flows the Rhine,
The thirsty summits are drinking
The sunsetís flooding wine.



The loveliest maiden is sitting
High-thrones in yon blue air,
Her golden jewels are shining
She combs her golden hair;
She combs with a comb that is golden,
And sings a weird refrain;
That steeps in a deadly enchantment
The listenerís ravished brain.



The doomed in the drifting shallop
Is entranced with the sad sweet tone,
He sees not the yawning breakers,
He sees but the maid alone.
The pitiless billows engulf him,
So perish sailor and bark,
And this, with her baleful singing,
Is the Loreleyís gruesome work.


Translated by Mark Twain

The Loreley-Rock is a high, almost upright rising slate rock on the right shore of the Rhine at St. Goarshausen.
According to the saga, a beautiful water-nymph bewitched passing boatmen with her golden hair flowing down the rock.