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An ancient legend of the Rhine

The legend of the Loreley says about a blondes long hairs girl who sat evenings on the Rocks of Rhine. Her beauty and songs were so distracted so many sailors with her beautiful singing - made understandable the phenomenon of the boats colliding or getting in trouble, which people at the time had no better explanation for.

The story itself is quite sad, Her beauty was her undoing. Loreley was not willfully seductive, but men could not resist her charms, and she could not resist their advances. She was bringing scandal and disgrace to the respectable town of Bacharach-on-the-Rhine. 

There was even talk that she must be a witch or a woman possessed of the devil. The bishop, however, would not hear of an execution without due process, and he summoned her to his court. His questions were at first stern and severe. Her answers were simple and sincere. The bishop's severity, his piety, and his priesthood, however, did not prevail, and in the end he pronounced her free of all guilt.

"I cannot continue like this!" she cried. "My eyes are the destruction of every man who looks into them. I have loved only one man, and he abandoned me and left for a distant land. Please let me die!"

But the good bishop could not bring himself to pronounce a death sentence. Instead, he proposed that she dedicate herself to God, and called three knights to accompany her to the convent. Arrangements were made forthwith, and the three knights were soon underway with their beautiful ward.

When their path led them past a high cliff overlooking the Rhine, Lorelei had one last request of her escorts. "Please," she said, "let me climb the cliff and have one last look into the Rhine." Unable to deny her this wish, the three knights tethered their horses, and the four of them climbed to the top of the cliff.

Standing at the edge of the precipice, Lorelei said, "See that boat on the Rhine. The boatman is my lover!" And with no further warning, she jumped from the cliff into the Rhine.

The three knights also met their death there, without a priest and without a grave.Who is the singer of this song? A boatman on the Rhine, And we always hear the echo Of the Three-Knight-Stone:

Loreley!!   Loreley!!  Loreley  As though there were three of us.


Heinrich Heine

 Germany's most famous poets, who composed the following charming verses of the Loreley

I cannot divine what it meaneth,
This haunting nameless pain:
A tale of the bygone ages
Keeps brooding through my brain.
  She combs with a comb that is golden,
  And sings a weird refrain
  That steps in deadly enchantment
  The listener's ravished brain:
The faint air cools in the gloaming,
And peaceful flows the Rhine,
the thirsty summits are drinking
The sunset's flooding wine;
  The doomed in his drifting shallop,
  Is tranced with the sweet tone,
  He sees not the yawning breakers,
  He sees but the maid alone:
The loveliest maiden is sitting
High-throned in yon blue air,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She combs her golden hair;
  The pitiless billows engulf him!-
  So perish sailor and bark;
  And this, with her baleful singing,
  Is the Loreley's gruesome work.

Poem by HEINRICH HEINE (1823), translated by MARK TWAIN (1880)

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