The Lorelei

By: Heinrich Heine

The Lorelei Poem

I cannot explain the sadness
That's fallen on my breast.
An old, old fable haunts me,
And will not let me rest.

The air grows cool in the twilight,
And softly the Rhine flows on;
The peak of a mountain sparkles
Beneath the setting sun.

More lovely than a vision,
A girl sits high up there;
Her golden jewelry glistens,
She combs her golden hair.

With a comb of gold she combs it,
And sings an evensong;
The wonderful melody reaches
A boat, as it sails along.

The boatman hears, with an anguish
More wild than was ever known;
He's blind to the rocks around him;
His eyes are for her alone.

--At last the waves devoured
The boat, and the boatman's cry;
And this did with her singing,
The golden Lorelei.
Big image

About Heinrich Heine

Born in Düsseldorf, Germany in 1797 to a Jewish family, Heine was sent to Hamburg as a young man to work for his rich uncle. He studied at the universities at Bonn, Berlin and Göttingen, and got a law degree in 1825; he also changed his name to Heinrich Heine to ease his integration into German society. In 1821 he published his poem "Gedichte", but after a spat with another poet damaged his reputation, he moved to Paris to be a journalist. There he met an illiterate shopgirl named Crecence Eugénie Mirat, whom he married in 1841. Heine's criticism of Germany won him censorship from his native land, and he retired permanently to France.

He died in Paris on February 17 1856. Heine was controversial in Germany, and because of his Jewish origins, his poems had to be marked as 'author unknown' under the Nazi regime. He influenced many poets and composers, including Rainer Maria Rilke, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy,Franz Schubert, Karl Marx, and Robert Schumann.
Big image

What is a "Lorelei"?

The name comes from the old German words "lureln" (murmuring) and "ley" (rock). It is a is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine, which soars some 120 meters above the water line. It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. A very strong current and rocks below the waterline have caused many boat accidents there. It is also the name of one of the Rhine Maidens.
Big image