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its broad black shadow across the boat. Once more the rowers paused, and essayed to divert the youth from his purpose. The song had now ceased, and the beautiful Loreley stood at the edge of the water, looking out as if through a mist, with her eyes beaming brightly, and her long hair descend. ing to her feet. The young men urged Hubert to profit by so favourable an opportunity, and take aim at the sorceress, but he seized on his bow and dashed it from him into the water, calling out, Fear not, thou sweet one, that aught shall harm thee, for thou shalt be my own true love, and I will be thine.'
A sudden apprehension came upon all those who were with him, and dreading lest they too might become infatuated, like the Palatine's son, and encounter their death upon this rock, they turned the boat hastily round, and struggled hard to regain the shore. Hubert sprang up and tried to leap upon the rock, but his efforts were vain, and he sank into the Rhine; and after him, with a soft melancholy cry, rushed down the syren, and it seemed like the flashing of a silvery ray from the rock into the water. The youths, in dismay, rowed away faster and faster, intent only upon their own safety. • How shall we dare to confess that the Palatine's son has perished upon this spot? And yet, if we tell it not, and keep aloof from his father's wrath, what injurious suspicious will light upon us, whenever it comes to be known. We will tell the truth as it really happened ; how he entreated and commanded us to bring him here, and made us believe that our Lord, the Count, had sent him to kill the wicked sorceress, and how he was bewitched at the very moment when he ought to have taken aim at her.'
When Hubert unclosed his eyes, he felt as awakening in the middle of winter. Green and blue icicles, of gigantic size, appeared to enclose him on every side, but a soft spring air seemed to play through the clefts, thawing his frozen limbs, and kissing his cold forehead. These icicles, however, were spars and bright crystals, and the soft air was the breath of Loreley, which floated around him like a whispering wave. Thickets of tall sedge and various water-plants rustled around the cave, and there was a perpetual singing and sighing, as the crystal waves rose and fell in plaintive murmurs.
In the stillness of this deep world, Hubert now found himself alone with the water-fairy. Yet he felt not at rest in this mysterious solitude ; and with the same impatience which he had manifested in leaping into the flood, he now longed to return to the regions of upper air, and felt that there alone he could gaze with real delight on his lovely Lory. • Take me where the sun shines, that I may rejoice in thy beauty,' cried he, as her waving hair and dazzling arms were twining around him, and she took him by the hand, and led him further into the recesses of the rock. At every step the light became fainter, and the flowers that trembled in the water seemed at an unmeasurable depth below them. The mountains and valleys are sleeping,' said Loreley, while the eyes of Heaven are open. Dost thou not see them looking down upon us ? Take care that thou slip not,' added she, as Hubert seemed bewildered with the wild rush of the waters, sit down beside me here, and we will wait for the rising sun.'
A tall white cliff glimmered in the faint light, and seemed as if borne along by the impetuous waves which rolled close to Hubert's feet. He could now distinguish, through the still air, dark outlines of rocks and towers. Where are we?' asked he, almost shrinking from Loreley's embrace; for he sometimes felt as if it were a spirit that sat beside him, and that, perhaps, the next moment he might be plunged into the abyss from which they had emerged. We are in the middle of the Rhine,'
replied the nymph, these are the old mountains, the children of the giants, and at the foot of one of them we are now sitting : though it has stretched its proud head so long out of the water, it is but brittle white stone, and with it I can angle for the ships that sail so merrily up and down the Rhine; for by that rock they sink, and yonder, where I look down the river, the fragments come to light again *; but nothing ever returns from that dark gulf alive.
Far across the water now shone a glimmering light-it was a lamp just beginning to burn before one of the altars of St. Clement’s church, on the opposite shore; and as the feeble flame slowly illuminated the spot, shedding here and there a flickering ray, Hubert thought he could distinguish the Mänsethurm at a little distance, and several of the well-known towers which crowned the neighbouring heights. See,' said Loreley, who seemed aware of his mistrust and alarm, I have led thee up the river, though the waters would fain have carried thee down ; but had they done so, my own fairy people would never have let thee depart out of their crystal courts, and now thou shalt be mine, and mine only. For thy sake have I quitted our beautiful palace—there is no happiness for me without thee.'
"Loreley,' said Hubert, looking in her face, (and as the light shone out, it smiled as sweetly as ever through the locks that waved in the night wind), they say that thou wert wont to rejoice upon thy rock, whenever one of the human race was swallowed up by thy own wild waters. And Loreley sighed and answered, Sweet youth, it may, indeed, be true, for I know no better; I thought it must be a delight to them to sport and love as we do, in cool crystal grottoes, with the waves singing about them.' And they say too, said Hubert, that thou wouldst sit and sing to allure the sons of men to their destruction.'
'I recked not of the sons of men,' answered Loreley, somewhat scornfully. “I sang because it amused me, and gazed about me for my own pleasure; I neither called them, nor looked at them, nor thought of them, and often I smiled within myself to see how they fancied I was making signs and sporting with them. But now all this is changed, and such pastimes will amuse me no longer. Thee have I chosen for myself, and thee will I carry down with me to the deep, and follow all over the world.'
The ruddy glow of morning now illumined the heights, and the white pinnacles were lighted up like so many beacons in the ray. The fair Loreley was leaning her head on Hubert's bosom, when all at once she started up in alarm, as the crowing of a cock was heard from the shore. 'I must away,' cried she, at eventide thou wilt find me again, by my accustomed rock. Forget thou not the hour of meeting.' Having said this, she threw a pebble into the water, the waves grew troubled and foaming, and a little boat was seen working its way out of their swelling bosom. •Spring into this bark,' said Loreley, 'and fear nothing—that loose plank will serve for an oar. Fare thee well, Hubert, fare thee well!' With these words she sank into the flood, and Hubert, who had already stepped into the boat, saw her no longer ; but below him a soft mournful voice sang • Loreley, Loreley,' and it seemed at last as if the melancholy notes were choked by tears.
* There is a saying on the Rhine,
that the vessels which sink at the Bingerloch, are thrown up again at the place called Die Bank, near St. Godr.
The dancing bark conveyed Hubert as trustily as though he had been a heedless child, incapable of making any exertion for himself, past the dangerous current to the opposite shore, where the Castle of Ehrenfels, looking down on its joyous vineyards, glittered in the morning ray. Beneath the bright sunbeams, Hubert began to shake off the bewildering vision of the night, and as they gradually unravelled themselves before him, he scarce knew what to think, or what course to pursue. Doubt and confidence, tenderness and repugnance, struggled in his bosom, as night and day had lately done before his eyes. Sometimes he fancied he saw the gentle face of Loreley, as it had smiled in the light of that lamp from the altar, and he thought if he could only have brought her into day-light, that all doubt and dread would have been dispelled at once. Then, again, when he remembered how she started in affright at the crowing of the cock, an indefinite feeling of horror arose in his mind, and he felt once more as if it had been a ghost that had accompanied him through the darkness, and only wondered that he had escaped alive from his fearful adventure. Wearied with idle conjectures, he hastened to the hut of a neighbouring vine-dresser, and craving a morning's repast, took off his wet garments, and clothed himself in those of one of the young peasants.
What course to adopt he found it difficult to determine. At first he was tempted to return forthwith to Stahleck, in the hope, that since his life had been so wonderfully preserved, the anger occasioned to his family, by his disobedience, might be appeased, and his mother and sister might, perhaps, be persuaded to join their entreaties with his, in behalf of the beautiful Loreley. Then, if a tender yearning would arise in his bosom, to fly once more to the nymph of the rock, and live for her, and her alone, an involuntary shudder would again overtake him, and his love would be changed into a vague feeling of horror and repugnance.
After thus dreaming away a great part of the morning upon the shore, he at length came to the determination of proceeding to Stahleck, without further delay; to avert, if possible, any evil which might be impending over the fairy maiden.
His heart grew heavier at every step which brought him nearer to his father's castle. He ascended a staircase hewn out of the rock, which led, by a shorter passage, to a side portal ; and, as he lifted the hammer to announce his approach, he perceived, for the first time, that the ring from his left hand was missing; and it instantly occurred to him, that the nymph must have secretly withdrawn it from his finger, and retained it as an irrevocable pledge of betrothment.
It was already evening—the Palatine, informed of the death of his son, had sent forth Ruthard, with a numerous troop of followers, to carry off Loreley, living or dead. As these fierce intruders approached, the maiden stood on her rock, gazing up the stream towards Hubert's castle, and warbling her wonted notes of Loreley, Loreley.' As soon as they arrived opposite the rock, Ruthard called out, in a deceitful tone.
· We bring thee a greeting from thy true love Hubert-he sends thee a bridal kiss, which will make thee his wife. Come down, then, and receive it, or tell us how we may reach thee in safety. Loreley raised her white hand, and with her delicate finger pointed out a path by which they might climb the rock, and here and there a shrub which would assist them in their ascent; for she believed that they were bringing her a greeting from Hubert. Several of his companions tried to dissuade the daring Ruthard from this perilous attempt; but he laughed at their fears, and selected two of the most determined of his followers, to clamber with him up the cliff. •Now take your cords, and bind her,' cried he, when they had reached the summit.
· Alas! what would you?' exclaimed Loreley. Thou sorceress!' answered Ruthard, 'know that I am come to avenge the death of the fair young Hubert.' * Hubert Hubert, come hither,' cried Loreley, in a plaintive voice across, the mountain. Alas! I am no sorceress I am Hubert's own betrothed.' Spirit of evil,' answered Ruthard, thou knowest that Hubert lies low beneath the Rhine.' But Loreley protested again and again, that Hubert was safe at Stahleck, and wringing her snowy hands, and embracing Ruthard's knees, exclaimed unceasingly, in a piteous tone of voice, “Oh! let me not die, Hubert, Hubert, forsake me not in this extremity.'
Her grief and beauty softened the hearts of all those who had remained below; and one of them called out to the knight, Prithee spare her awhile, and I will gallop back to Strahleck, and see if what she says be true. If the young Count be really at the castle, and she has been the means of saving his life, she has surely a claim to be set at liberty.'
But Ruthard laughed him to scorn, and rejoined, · Wilt thou not bring a priest with thee also, and try to convert the evil one ? Even, if Hubert were yet alive, this Loreley would still be deserving of death, if only for having led him astray from his duty. Loreley, however, seemed inspired with fresh courage, as she gazed after her champion, who was already scouring away on his foaming steed. After a brief space he returned, bringing with him the news of Hubert's safety, but added, addressing Loreley, “Thou must give back the ring that thou tookest from the Palatine's son, or thy life will not even yet be spared. Our Lord the Count, however, promises thee his protection on this condition.'
• I have no ring, no ring,' answered Loreley in a piteous accent_he had none on his hand to give me Ah! Hubert, Hubert, why comest thou not to save me. Carry me to him in these bonds, and he will unloose them.' Dost thou see now,' cried Ruthard, she will not give up the
And Loreley wept like the pleading roe, when the cruel huntsman stands over it, and called on Hubert again and again, and maintained unceasingly, that she knew nothing of any ring. It was then that some of the rugged men, who stood below, were melted into compassion for her, for Ruthard declared he would allow no further delay. A huge fragment of the rock was hung round her tender neck, and the fierce executioners were about to commence their sacrifice. Loreley looked on them, and exclaimed, “My lover has betrayed me; none shall lay hands upon me;'and once more gazing up the river, and leaning forward, as though to descry the castle of Stahleck, she rushed to the edge of the rock, and plunged into the water. Ruthard and his murderous assistants stood, as if metamorphosed into stone. Loreley was avenged. They were unable to find the path down the rock, and perished miserably on its summit.
The next day, a man from Oberwesel carried to the castle a large draught of fish, which he had netted in the Rhine; and as they were preparing for the table, within one of them was found the young Count's ring, which must have slipped from his finger as as he sank into the river.
Hubert, whom his father had at first detained prisoner, could be withheld no longer, when he heard the fate of Loreley: but in vain did he traverse the Rhine from side to side: the fair form, and gentle face, of the maiden never more met his eyes, She was never seen again. Her voice, however,
might still at times be heard-no longer singing as before, but softly answering those who spoke to her; and the tones were half choked by tears and sighs, and became lower and lower at every word : it seemed as if she were saying, Why do you waste your breath on me, and invite me to sport as I was wont to do? Thine is not Hubert's voice, I have lost him, lost him for ever.'
One day Hubert himself called to her, and she answered him, and gave him back his own greeting ; but the tones were more than he could bear, and he turned to hide his face on the bosom of his sister Una, who stood mournfully beside him. Then, from his outstretched hand, he dropped the ring into the water, and sat listening anxiously between the strokes of the oars; and they were fain to row him away in his anguish; for, if his sister had not restrained him, he would most assuredly have plunged into the Rhine.
From the time of his dropping the ring upon the rock, (which to this day bears the name of the Water Fairy), Hubert began to pine, as if something were preying on his heart; and, with a yearning grief for Loreley, his young life melted away, like the faint tones of the huntsman's horu, dying in the distance.
ON SEEING THE ENDYMION OF ALBANO
SLEEPING ON MOUNT LATMOS, GUARDED BY CHERUBS.
The very music of his name has gone into my being.-KEATS.
I NEVER would have drawn Endymion thus-