Lorelei

Many poets wrote about geographic locations. Christian Johann Heinrich Heine is no exception. He wrote a poem about rock Lorelei in Germany. His poem, “Lorelei” is all about this famous geographic location.

About the Lorelei

The Lorelei – Image source: Pixabay

About the Lorelei

The Lorelei (Loreley) is a 132 m (433 ft) high rock on the right bank of the Rhine in Germany, near Sankt Goarhausen. There is a myth associated with this rock. According to this myth, dwarfs live in caves in this rock.

This location in the Rhine is dangerous. Many ships shipwrecked here.

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine

Heine and his prediction

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), often referred to as Heinrich Heine, lived long before the rise of Adolf Hitler and the nazis. Famous is his quote about burning books. He believed that burning books would lead to burning people. The nazis burned books and a part of the Endlösung was to burn people.

“Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.”

When translating this sentence to English, it will be:

“That was but a prelude, where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well.”

Lorelei

Lorelei

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten,
Daß ich so traurig bin;
Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten,
Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.
Die Luft ist kühl, und es dunkelt,
Und ruhig fließt der Rhein;
Der Gipfel des Berges funkelt
In Abendsonnenschein.
Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet
Dort oben wunderbar,
Ihr goldenes Geschmeide blitzet,
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar.
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme
Und singt ein Lied dabei;
Das hat eine wundersame,
Gewaltige Melodei.
Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe
Ergreift es mit wildem Weh;
Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe,
Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh’.
Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen
Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn;
Und das hat mit ihrem Singen
Die Lorelei getan.

— Christian Johann Heinrich Heine

Lorelei

Lorelei

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.

— Christian Johann Heinrich Heine

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