Loreley is the name of a rock mountain over looking the River Rhine in Germany.The sound of the gurgling water echoes off the rocks which line the shores of the Rhine giving this section of the river an enchanted feeling.
The gurgling river creates a humming sound which when heard can be mistaken for that of a soft ghostly voice. It is an essential part of the mystic behind the legend of the Loreley (Lorelei).
The Lorelei is often depicted as a siren or mermaid and there is a tale that is told of her. It is a tale which has with the passing of time grown into a legend.
It is a tale of a ghostly woman who beckons sailors to come closer to her and to the rocks on which sits. If they do they are doomed to lose their ship to the craggy coast and their lives to the cold waters that surround it.
I Was Young When the Legend Came to me
I was in early elementary school when my new grade teacher singled me out from the rest of the class. I was always very shy so having a teacher direct their attention to me was an event that I dreaded.
I remember him looking at me and my feeling very dismayed knowing what was to follow. His steadfast look in my direction let me know in no uncertain terms that he was going to focus all his attention directly on me.
He asked if my name was Lorelei, and when I nodded, he asked if I had heard the legend of the Loreley. I shook my head no and he began to tell me the magical tale of the river Rhine and of a beautiful woman who would later transform into a ghostly siren there.
It is funny because I do not recall the teacher's name or exactly what grade I was in at the time. I was quite impressed with the tale however and loved the thought that I might somehow have a magical ghostly mermaid lady connected to me.
The Loreley on the River Rhine in Germany
The rock hill known as the Loreley sits on the east shore of the Rhine river within the Rhine Gorge.
The Rhine Gorge is a section of the river which is historically recognized as a treacherous waterway to maneuver through. The channel is lined with rocky hills and the waters hide dangerous rocks and strong undercurrents.
The Rhine's history of luring men to their death by capsizing their ships was forever romanticized when in 1801 Clemens Brentano wrote "Zu Bacharach am Rheine" the ballad of the Lore Ley.
The Haunting Song of the Loreley
Zu Bacharach am Rheine by Clemens Brentano
Clemens Brentano's Zu Bacharach am Rheine told a poetic tale of the river Rhine involving a woman named Lore Ley.Lore Ley is a beautiful woman, but when betrayed by her lover, extracts her revenge on all men.
Accused by the clergy of bewitching and murdering men she is sentenced to death. As Lore Ley is lead away she beseeches to once more look down over the river Rhine. Able to climb the rock to look down upon the river, she throws herself down into the Rhine, and to her death.
Loreley's tale is one of enchantment, romance, disappointment, and heartbreak.
The sound of the waters of the Rhine echoing throughout the gorge increase the romantic mystical theme of the lovely siren Lore Ley singing upon the rocks. From that day onward the rocks echo her song.
The Ballad of the Lore Ley by Clemens Brentano
Heinrich Heine Poem: Die Loreley
Heinrich Heine brings the image of Lorelei to life even further within his poem Die Loreley. In her death Loreley becomes a ghostly siren and within her death lie the death of many men.
She sits high upon the rock softly singing a song which lures passing seamen toward her and into the unyielding rock upon which she sits.
Siren, ghost, or mermaid, the Loreley through time becomes a legend which flows as deep as the Rhine itself.
Her name is forever destined to remain connected to this river and the rock which bears her name.From the barren rock of Loreley the image of a woman is formed.
From the haunted waters where ships of yesteryear pass her voice rings out into the sky over the river Rhine.
Heinrich Heine: The Poem of Loreley Translated
Beautifully Enticing as Only a Creature of the Deep can be.
If you are fascinated by mermaids you are not alone. Many of us hold their image within our heart. These creatures are enchanting and the possibility of their being a reality just naturally attracts our imagination.
I grew up within walking distance to a beach so my siblings and I often walked to the lake. Swimming as a child I can remember my sister and I pretending to be mermaids as we swam at the local beach.
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