"The Rhine" [essay]
The traditions of the Rhine 1 have long 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, 2 have been selected, from time immem
orial, 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 cham
bers of Rheinfels, 3 would be considered, by many persons
possessʼd of considerable strength of nerve in the daytime &
in places not haunted, as a very disagreeable, if not pos
itively dangerous affair, a Marvel not therefore reader
if I inform you, that I considered myself upon sus
picious, if not enchanted, or even haunted ground, as
soon as we came in sight of the crags of Drachenfels, 4
and that my thirst for ancient rhyme or story became
considerably augmented, as we advanced farther into
that wilderness of rock and fortress, which must be
traversed by the voyageur, who passes between Ehrenbreit
stein
, and St Goar. 5 I could not hope for much tra
ditionary b lore from most of the personages whome we en
countered
i
o
n any of our perambulations, judging from
their countenances at least. I do not, at present,
exhibit remember any phisiognomies, which exhibit so
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 pea
santry, and lower classes, 6 and I was therefore not partic
ularly tempted to interrogate any of them, upon the sub
jects before alluded to, until at length Fortune threw an in
dividual in my way who appeared likely to be able to
answer any inquiries which I might make, entirely to my
own satisfaction. 7