A later author, one Niemann, Esq., who has written a Guide to the Harz in which the height of the hills, variations of the compass, town finances, and similar matters are described with praiseworthy accuracy, asserts, however, that “what is narrated of the Princess Ilse belongs entirely to the realm of fable.” Thus do all men speak to whom a beautiful princess has never appeared; but we who have been especially favored by fair ladies know better. And the Emperor Henry knew it too! It was not without cause that the Old Saxon emperors were so attached to their native Harz. Let any one only turn over the leaves of the fair Lueneburg Chronicle, where the good old gentlemen are represented in wondrously true-hearted woodcuts sitting in full armor on their mailed war-steeds, the holy imperial crown on their beloved heads, sceptre and sword in firm hands; and then in their dear mustachiod faces he can plainly read how they often longed for the sweet hearts of their Harz princesses, and for the familiar rustling of the Harz forests, when they sojourned in distant lands—yes, even when in Italy, so rich in oranges and poisons, whither they, with their followers, were often enticed by the desire of being called Roman emperors, a genuine German lust for title, which finally destroyed emperor and empire.
I, however, advise every one who may hereafter stand on the summit of the Ilsenstein to think neither of emperor nor empire nor of the fair Ilse, but simply of his own feet. For as I stood there, lost in thought, I suddenly heard the subterranean music of the enchanted castle, and saw the mountains around begin to stand on their heads, while the red-tiled roofs of Ilsenburg were dancing, and green trees flew through the air, until all was green and blue before my eyes, and I, overcome by giddiness, would assuredly have fallen into the abyss, had I not, in the dire need of my soul, clung fast to the iron cross. No one who reflects on the critically ticklish situation in which I was then placed can possibly find fault with me for having done this.
[Illustration: VIEW FROM ST. ANDREASBERG]
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By Heinrich Heine
Translated by Charles Godfrey Leland
The town of Duesseldorf is very beautiful, and if you think of it when far away, and happen at the same time to have been born there, strange feelings come over your soul. I was born there, and feel as if I must go straight home. And when I say home I mean the Bolkerstrasse and the house in which I was born. This house will some day be a great curiosity, and I have sent word to the old lady who owns it that she must not for her life sell it. For the whole house she would now hardly get as much as the tips which the distinguished green-veiled English ladies will one day give the servant girl when she shows them the room where I was born, and the hen-house wherein my father generally imprisoned me for stealing grapes, and also the brown door on which my mother taught me to write with chalk—O Lord! Madame, should I ever become a famous author, it has cost my poor mother trouble enough.