This is a very popular German folk song. Heinrich Heine wrote the lyrics in 1824, Friedrich Silcher composed the melody in 1837. According to an old fairy tale a beautiful maiden (a kind of Teutonic siren) sat on the top of the Loreley rock on the bank of the Rhine river, combed her golden hair in the sunshine and sang such a powerful song, that the fascinated river pilot, raising his eyes to her, forgot his tiller and was wrecked on the reefs.
The picture at the beginning is a file from the Wikimedia Commons and is used here under the terms of GDFL.
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