Page:1880. A Tramp Abroad.djvu/154

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142
A SERIOUS MISTAKE.

youth to betake himself to the camp. Obedience was promised. Garnham says:

"It was on the evening before his departure, as he wished still once to visit the Lei and offer to the Nymph of the Rhine his Sighs, the tones of his Zither, and his Songs. He went, in his boat, this time accompanied by a faithful squire, down the stream. The moon shed her silvery light over the whole Country; the steep bank mountains appeared in the most fantastical shapes, and the high oaks on either side bowed their Branches on Hermann's passing. As soon as he approached the Lei, and was aware of the surf-waves, his attendant was seized with an inexpressible Anxiety and he begged permission to land; but the Knight swept the strings of his Guitar and sang:


"Once I saw thee in dark night,
 In supernatural Beauty bright;
"Of Light-rays, was the Figure wove,
 To share its light, locked-hair strove.

"Thy Garment color wave-dove.
 By thy hand the sign of love,
"Thy eyes sweet enchantment.
 Raying to me, oh! entrancement.

"O, wert thou but my sweetheart,
 How willingly thy love to part!
"With delight I should be bound
 To thy rocky house in deep ground."

That Hermann should have gone to that place at all, was not wise; that he should have gone with such a song as that in his mouth was a most serious mistake. The Lorelei did not "call his name in unutterable sweet Whispers" this time. No, that song naturally worked an instant and thorough "changement" in her; and not only that, but it stirred the bowels of the whole afflicted region round about there,— for,—

"Scarcely had these tones sounded, everywhere there began tumult and sound, as if voices above and below the water. On the Lei rose flames, the Fairy stood above, as