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LORELEY; A RHINE LEGEND. “From yon rock's topmost height,

Where sleeps the fair moonshine, Looks down a lady bright,

On the dark-flowing Rhine.

“She looketh down and over ;

She looketh far and wide, Where'er the white sails hover.

Youth, turn thine eyes aside !

Fair though her smiles be to thee,

Beware the spell she flings ; She smiles but to undo thee;

With siren heart she sings.

a youth was seated. The frail bark had nearly reached the Bank, a dangerous whirlpool in that part of the river, which calls forth all the art of the helmsman to avoid being carried down in it; but the beautiful youth, heedless, or unconscious of his danger, kept his eyes steadily fixed on the summit of a high rock, whence a lovely female form looked down and seemed to smile sweetly upon him.

The old huntsman raised his voice, when he beheld the young man's peril; but he heard not the warning. His lute, his oar, and his cross-bow had all dropped unnoticed into the stream, and nought remained to the entranced youth but his cap and swan-plume, which were fastened by a ribbon to his neck, while the increasing rush and roar of the waters rendered his situation more perilous, and the voice of the huntsman less audible. It was the lovely maiden who sat on the top of the rock that engrossed the youth's who e thought and sense. She seemed to gather glittering pebbles from the rock, and

She looketh on the river

As if she looked on thee; Heed not the false deceiver !

Be deaf, be blind, and flee!

“For thus she looks on strangers all,

With witching eyes and bright; Wbile her streaming locks around her fall

In a dance of golden light.

The light, it doth resemble

the youth, and drew him to its breast. household had ever seen her; and he often But the lovely Loreley only looked down warned them not to let themselves be led upon the scene as if it pleased her, and away by vain curiosity, remarking that smiling like a child from under her beau- he whom God preserved from all intertiful long hair, threw down fresh pebbles course with such phantoms of hell should into the boiling whirlpool.

rejoice in his mercy, and entertain no The huntsman raised his bugle-horn, wish that it were otherwise. and blew so wildly on it that his hounds But the son of the pfalzgraf, a beautibegan to howl around him, and some fish- ful youth, whom it seemed as if the spring ermen, who were occupied at a distance had chosen for its harbinger, and who catching salmon, rowed toward him; but changed all into spring wherever he lookthe youth was sunk beyond recovery, ed and smiled, had often turned his eyes deep, deep in the whirlpool. Then the wistfully toward the place from which huntsman said to the fishers, “ Did you came the wonderful tales of Loreley. see how the witch up yonder rejoiced over Yet he dared not go thither; for his fathe destruction of this poor youth ? - how ther and mother had become aware of his she bent her ear and listened to the roar feelings, having been told by his playfelof the waves whilst they sucked him in lows what a picture he had drawn of the and hissed over him, as if they mocked his fairy, and how all his thoughts and wishsilly love ?" But a young fisherman an- es were directed toward her. Whatever swered, “Is the maiden who sits up there came to his knowledge regarding her was on the ley * to blame if an imprudent boy never forgotten again, but stood forever should gaze on her with those eyes which in transparent beauty before his imagihe never should have turned away from nation, which would sometimes picture her the waters ? She did not send the whirl- seated high upon the rock, surrounded by pool to meet him; he himself rushed into party-colored snakes and green lizards, his own grave.” Then the fishermen told which crept about among the glittering the huntsman how, sometimes, in the still stones, and ants, which came in long troops, evenings, the beautiful fairy had appeared as if they were carrying gifts to her; to them, sitting quite close on the banks while the full moon showered down red gold of the river; and how she had beckoned into her lap. Sometimes, when all around them with friendly smiles to go hither the banks and the river was veiled in twiand thither with their nets; and how light, he thought he saw Loreley standing they always drew their nets up abundant- there in the rosy solitude, singing her monotly filled with fishes, when they followed onous song, while beneath her, the Rhine her directions. “ But if you venture to flowed on with lonely murmurings, and approach her," said they, — “and who the timid birds, awaking from time to would not desire to do so, she is so beau- time, flew up into the air, and the late tiful?—she gets angry, and vanishes like evening glow still hovered above the tops a mist. Whether she rises up into the of the mountains. air, or plunges down into the deep, no- The same evening on which the huntsbody can tell; and nobody knows who man came to Stahleek, Hagbert — for and what she is.”

such was the name of the son of the pfalzShaking his head, the old huntsman graf — was seated, with his sister, Wana, went away, in the darkling evening, to on the declivity of the neighboring Kuhlthe other side, toward Bacharach. Člose berg, opposite the Voightsberg, upon to this town stood Stahleek, a castle where whose sunny sides the costly vine prosthe pfalzgraft resided. Many tales had pers. They saw the boats passing over been told, at the castle, of the marvellous the water, and many beautiful spots relady who sometimes, in the twilight, or filected on the river like the looks of love when the moon shone, would appear on and of longing. Many a tale they had the rock; but none of the pfalzgraf's told to one another; and now the brother * On the Rhine, a slate rock is called a ley.

and sister sat holding each other's hand + A judge.

in silence. Wana was Hagbert's confi

dante, and she knew wherefore he sighed, her to me, and she shall be my own and breathed so ardently toward the dis- love." tant vapor, under whose golden and blue Hereat, all who were present laughed veil the mountains seemed to heave like aloud; but the pfalzgraf answered, a bosom in which many a sweet and many “People say Loreley is a cunning fisha painful secret is concealed. All around cr. She spreads out a glittering, wily was silent. The trees moved as if they net; but as for you, my son, you are a were lulling one another to sleep; the young, inexperienced little fish, and had odorous pinks and violets near the rock better keep at a distance from her. Cushut their eyes; the little brooks alone riosity and the forbidden fruit often excite continued to beat and murmur like the youth to wish for a thing which they veins of life in a dream. · Behind the throw away as soon as it is in their posdarkling trees and bushes, the tops of the session. If even the ghostly lady should gilded forest shot up, and a shower of red be no monster, she is most probably a sparkles seemed to fall upon the grass mermaid; and a man shall hold no comand to inflame it. Suddenly the moon munion with such creatures. God has rose behind the mountains, and all at once placed them in another house of nature, everything seemed to burn in clear and and their enmity visibly appears as soon enchanted light.

as man approaches that which nature has “ There is Loreley !” said Hagbert. designed should remain at a distance from *She smiles to us. Do you hear how him.” she calls ?”

" There are plenty of tales told,” reIt was only a bird screaming through plied Ruthard, “ from which it seems that the red moonlight night; but Wana drew such intercourse has brought harm and her brother up from his seat, and said, perdition over both; and it seems to me trembling,

no guilt to kill such a creature, who tries " It is time, my brother, that you to ensnare men with siren love." bring me home to my mother. Let us * One may quietly pass by," said the not again be seated here so late and alone countess ; “for the water-nymph is said on the declivity; for the charm draws to be a creature without reason ; but man you down, down, and I tremble for you ought not to follow blind instinct, if he and for myself."

does not wish to do so." At the castle, they were talking of "I shall not lend you my cross-bow, what had lately been said of the beauti- Ruthard,” exclaimed Hagbert, “if your ful Loreley, when Wana, in the hand of speeches are meant for the poor, fair her brother, and a little afraid of the re- Loreley !” proof of her mother, entered the hall “We have talked enough,” interrupted where her parents were seated together, as the palatine, desiring the priest to say was their custom at night-time. The youth the evening prayers. But Hagbert slept listened in silence to every word which uneasily the whole night. It seemed was spoken.

certain to him that they would attack "If she is a witch, this wild Lore Loreley; and he fancied he saw the arley," exclaimed Ruthard, a knight of the row in her breast, and her blood flowing palatine, — " she must be thrown into like a coral string down the dark rock the fire, were she even as beautiful as the into the deep Rhine. evening star yonder.”

One of the following days, several Then Hagbert sighed, and leaning on strangers came to visit the castle; and his father's chair, bent over his neck, and Hagbert and his hunting companions consaid,

ducted the merry sportsmen through ra" Let me catch her, father. I do not vines covered with vines into the green fear. If she is a witch, I will bring her foliage of the forest of beeches; but the to you; but if there can be found no pfalzgraf had secretly ordered Ruthard guilt in her, and if she does not willingly to pay attention to Hagbert, lest his curido harm to any one, you will give osity should lead him after more witching

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game. Nevertheless, it so happened that voice resounded. There stood the maidHagbert got out of sight of his compan- en, gleaming all silver white in the light ion, and suddenly disappeared. He yet of the moon, and twining in her golden heard the bugle-horns calling him back; hair a wreath of water-flowers and reeds but the sounds came from a great dis- which she had gathered in the Rhine, tance, and Hagbert's heart beat violently, while, ever as her hands moved, she kept like the young eagle's, when he no longer singing, - "Loreley - Loreley - Lorehears the wings of the old one around ley!” him. Without thinking of what he in- “ Row me thither! low me thither ! tended to do, he hastened on as quickly exclaimed Hagbert. as he could. Sometimes it seemed to But the helmsman kept at a distance, him as if he truly intended to catch the and said, “It would be the death of mermaid, and thus accomplish the will of you!” his father; and sometimes he fancied him- Then Hagbert replied, “ Well, be thou self called upon to protect her, as if he my death, or I catch thee alive, my lovehad long ago seen her and loved her. He ly maiden; and never shall I part with now stepped down a ravine. It was at thee again, nor thou with me! What! the bending of the river, where it turns do you delay ?” called he again to the into the silent rocky solitude; the turrets young man. “Do you not know my faof Oberwesel and the watch-towers of ther has sent me to catch the mermaid? Schonberg glittered behind him; the last Therefore I came with my bow and light of day, like a dying flame, played arrows.” around their tops; whilst over the moun- The rowers bent to their oars, and the tains the first rosy beams of moonlight old steep rock soon threw its shadow over appeared like as on that evening when the boat; but again the boatmen paused, Hagbert and Wana looked down from the and warned the rash youth of his danKuhlberg.

ger. But from beyond, a wonderful sound The fair Loreley had opened her bright was heard, incessantly repeated, which eyes; her long, luxuriant ringlets fell those who deeply listened to did not per- undulating down her shoulders, as if longceive was always the same note, and ing to leap with her into the waters to sweet tunes seemed to float in the air entangle the youth; she remained standaround him, like the distant and enchant- ing at the edge, her song was silenced, ing call of love. Hagbert looked around; and she looked as if partially revealed and when he saw nothing, he thought how from a dim mist. The young men now that bird could be called which sings called on Hagbert to place his arrow on sweeter than a nightingale. Some young the string, as the witch was just standing people from Oberwesel were now close by fair for a mark; but he took off his him. The water sparkled beneath their weapons and threw them into the Rhine, oars around the boat, and Hagbert heard calling out, them say, “That is Loreley.”

“Be not afraid, lovely maid ; no harm He then cried to them, “I am the shall be done to you; but mine you must son of the pfalzgraf, and would like to be be, and I am yours forever!” rowed a little in the light of the moon. At these words, those who held the Will you ferry me over?”. With these oars shuddered, and began to be afraid words, he sprung

into the boat with his lest they also should lose their senses, bow and his arrow, his locks streaming like the son of the pfalzgraf, and so all of loosely in the wind around his temples them find their death on the spot. Thereand his neck.

fore they held off the rock as much as Now, row me over to the rock where they could, and bent their oars stoutly Loreley sings !” exclaimed he; “pull off ; against the waters. But Hagbert, enshow me the fair Loreley!”

deavoring to spring over to the edge of The young men rowed on, and soon the rock, missed his step and sunk down showed him the rock whence the sweet into the waters, and after him, with a

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