["The Rhine"] [essay]
Tbe traditions of the Rhine have long since been celebrated, and I
hope long will be so, for the terror and amusement, if not the benefit, of
the rising generation. The two districts of the Rhine and the Hartz 1
have been selected from time immemorial as fitting theatres for the
gambols of brownies, fairies, gnomes, and all other fashionable hobgoblins
of every shape, sort, and size; and the consequence is, that a midnight
walk through the forests of the Hartz, or the vaulted chambers of
Rheinfels, 2 would be considered, by many persons possessʼd of considerable
strength of nerve in the day‐time and in places not haunted, as a very
disagreeable, if not positively dangerous affair. Marvel not, therefore,
reader, if I inform you that I considered myself upon suspicious, if not
enchanted, or even haunted ground, as soon as we came in sight of the
crags of Drachenfels 3 , and that my thirst for ancient rhyme or story
became considerably augmented as we advanced farther into that wilder‐
ness of rock and fortress, which must be traversed by the voyageur who
passes between Ehrenbreitstein and St. Goar. 4 I could not hope for much
true dictionary a lore from most of the personages whom we encountered
on any of our perambulations, judging from their countenances, at least.
I do not, at present, remember any physiognomies which exhibit so much
of, let me see, a combination of the stupidity, lifelessness, and laziness of
the owl, with the ugliness of the monkey, as do those of the generality of
the German peasantry and lower classes; 5 and I was therefore not particu‐
larly tempted to interrogate any of them upon the subject before alluded
to, until at length Fortune threw an individual in my way who appeared
likely to be able to answer any inquiries which I might make, entirely to
my own satisfaction. 6