Die 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

im Abendsonnenschein.


Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet

dort oben wunderbar;

ihr gold’nes Geschmeide blitzet,

sie kämmt ihr gold’nes Haar;

sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme

und singt ein Lied dabei,

das hat eine wundersame,

gewalt’ge Melodei.


Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe

ergreift es mit wildem Weh,

er sieht 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.

I don’t know what it could mean

that I’m so sad;

a fairy tale of old days,

I can’t get it out of my mind.

The air is cold, and it’s getting dark,

and the Rhine streams calmly,

the top of the mountain sparkles

in the setting sun.


The most beautiful virgin sits,

up there wonderfully;

her golden jewellery sparkles,

she combs her golden hair;

she combs it with a golden comb

and sings a song,

that has a wondrous,

grand melody.


The sailor in the small boat

is moved with wild emotions,

he doesn’t see the rocky reef,

he only looks up high.

I think the waves swallow,

in the end, the sailor and his boat,

and that has done

with her singing Loreley.

The Loreley rock can be found at the tightest and deepest point of the Rhine (at St. Goarshausen). In the past, many ships had an accident at that part of the river, and many people died. According to the legend, the wonderful Loreley always sat on top of the rock with her golden hair which she combed with a golden comb while singing bewitching melodies. The sailors were moved by this so much they got inattentive and forgot about steering their ships. This is how the numerous accidents were explained. Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) wrote his famous poem about this legend. 1838, Silcher composed the famous melody to it. If you take a tour on the Rhine as a tourist, of course, this song is played on the ship.