Die Lorelei

by Heinrich Heine

I know not the significance
Or the meaning of my sadness...
There's a fairy-tail from times past
A lingering portion of my madness.

The air is cool as light recedes
And calmly flows the Rhine;
The peak of a nearby mountain glows
In the gloaming sun's shine.

Above a chaste woman sits
Radiant and quite unaware;
With golden jewelry flashing
She combs her golden hair.

She strokes it with a glittering comb,
As she toils a song's befalling.
A mysterious song, an enchanting air
With a melody enthralling.

Her lay is heard by the boatmen near
Who are seized with woe and pain
And tho' there are dangerous rocks nearby
To her visage and song they strain.

So, the boat is lost and the boatmen, too
Engulfed, I do imply
By the beautiful face and enticing strain,
The song of the Lorelei.

translated by David Doggett, 2006