Thursday, March 3, 2016


I know not if there is a reason
Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.

The air is cool under nightfall.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening's final ray.

The fairest of maidens is sitting
So marvelous up there,
Her golden jewels are shining,
She's combing her golden hair.

She combs with a comb also golden,
And sings a song as well
Whose melody binds a wondrous
And overpowering spell.

In his little boat, the boatman
Is seized with a savage woe,
He'd rather look up at the mountain
Than down at the rocks below.

I think that the waves will devour
The boatman and boat as one;
And this by her song's sheer power
Fair Lorelei has done.
- Heinrich Heine, "Lorelei" (Translated by A.Z. Foreman)
Ship accident near the Lorelei, January 2011

from Wikipedia

The name comes from the old German words lureln, Rhine dialect for "murmuring", and the Celtic term ley "rock". The translation of the name would therefore be: "murmur rock" or "murmuring rock". The heavy currents, and a small waterfall in the area (still visible in the early 19th century) created a murmuring sound, and this combined with the special echo the rock produces to act as a sort of amplifier, giving the rock its name. The murmuring is hard to hear today owing to the urbanization of the area. Other theories attribute the name to the many accidents, by combining the German verb "lauern" (to lurk, lie in wait) with the same "ley" ending, with the translation "lurking rock".

By the German language orthographic reform of 1903, in almost all German terms letter "y" was changed for letter "i", but in some German names the letter "y" was kept, such as Speyer, Spay, (Rheinberg-)Orsoy, and including Loreley, which is thus the correct spelling in German.

Original folklore and the creation of the modern myth

The rock and the murmur it creates have inspired various tales. An old legend envisioned dwarfs living in caves in the rock.

In 1801, German author Clemens Brentano composed his ballad Zu Bacharach am Rheine as part of a fragmentary continuation of his novel Godwi oder Das steinerne Bild der Mutter. It first told the story of an enchanting female associated with the rock. In the poem, the beautiful Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is accused of bewitching men and causing their death. Rather than sentence her to death, the bishop consigns her to a nunnery. On the way thereto, accompanied by three knights, she comes to the Lorelei rock. She asks permission to climb it and view the Rhine once again. She does so and thinking that she sees her love in the Rhine, falls to her death; the rock still retained an echo of her name afterwards. Brentano had taken inspiration from Ovid and the Echo myth.

In 1824, Heinrich Heine seized on and adapted Brentano's theme in one of his most famous poems, Die Lorelei. It describes the eponymous female as a sort of siren who, sitting on the cliff above the Rhine and combing her golden hair, unwittingly distracted shipmen with her beauty and song, causing them to crash on the rocks. In 1837 Heine's lyrics were set to music by Friedrich Silcher in the art song Lorelei that became well known in German-speaking lands. A setting by Franz Liszt was also favored and over a score of other musicians have set the poem to music.

The Lorelei character, although originally imagined by Brentano, passed into German popular culture in the form described in the Heine–Silcher song and is commonly but mistakenly believed to have originated in an old folk tale. The French writer Guillaume Apollinaire took up the theme again in his poem "La Loreley", from the collection Alcools which is later cited in Symphony No. 14 (3rd movement) of Dmitri Shostakovich.


FreeThinke said...

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings "Waldesgespräch"

from Liederkreis after poems by Joseph von Eichendorff
by Robert Schumann

Günther Weissenborn, piano


Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt,

Was reitest du einsam durch den Wald?

Der Wald ist lang, du bist allein,

Du schöne Braut! Ich führ dich heim!

"Groß ist der Männer Trug und List,

Vor Schmerz mein Herz gebrochen ist,

Wohl irrt das Waldhorn her und hin,

O flieh! Du weißt nicht, wer ich bin."

So reich geschmückt ist Roß und Weib,

So wunderschön der junge Leib,

Jetzt kenn ich dich - Gott steht mir bei!

Du bist die Hexe Lorelei. -

"Du kennst mich wohl - vom hohen Stein

Schaut still mein Schloß tief in den Rhein.

Es ist schon spät, es ist schon kalt,

Kommst nimmermehr aus diesem Wald."

~ Joseph von Eichendorff


It's already late, it's already cold,

Why are you riding alone through the wood?

The forest is vast, you are alone,

You lovely maid, I'll lead you home!

"Man's deceit and guile are great,

My heart is sick with pain;

The hunter's horn wanders here and there,

Oh flee - you don't know who I am."

Horse and rider, so richly adorned,

The rider's young body, so beguiling,

Now I recognize you, God help me,
You are the witch Lorelei.

"So you do know me –– from ragged heights

My castle surveys the Rhine.

It's already late, it's already cold,

You'll never leave this wood again.

-FJ said...

Great voice!

beamish said...

be there by 8

FreeThinke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Conservative said...


FreeThinke said...

_____ COLLOQUY at SEA _____

Aboard a ship in dark of night
A form veiled darkly shed no light

Approached me on the vessel's prow
'Twas but a slimy old Sea Cow

Who took me without my consent
Her grasping claws would not relent

Down a dark companionway
'Twas there her spell led me astray

"You don't know who I am," she cried
Appalled I saw I'd been belied

“Thou art the arch fiend HILLARLIE!"
Said I as terror filled my sigh.

She shrieked, "It truly saddens me
“You cannot ever leave the sea.

“All who've smelt my rancid breath
Are doomed, Alas! to certain death.”

~ Freidenke von Pukenkopf - 3/4/16

-FJ said...

Hillary! Ach du lieber Himmel!

FreeThinke said...

Frau Klintonsteinhart ist genug jeder Mann Blut zu scheissen. Wirklich Sie ist Ungeheuer.

Thersites said...

Sie ist alles das und mehr!

FreeThinke said...