“Where Ehrenbreitstein walled his side / . . . / Join the two brothers, the Moselle, / Greeting the Rhine in friendly guise” (MS VIII; MS IX; Poems [1850]; Poems [1891]; Works [1903])—Opposite Koblenz, the hill of Ehrenbreitstein stands at the confluence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle.

“Beneath the brow of yon dark fell / . . . / To mingle with his current flies” (Poems [1850]; Poems [1891])—In one pattern of revision unique to the poem, “Ehrenbreitstein”, since this poem was selected for publication in Poems (1850), changes appear for the first time in the 1850 version. Revisions of lines 27 and 30, which had been consistent in their earlier form from MS VIII draft through MS IX fair copy (“Beneath the sweep of yon dark fell, / . . . / To join his headlong current flies”), in 1850 substitute “brow” for “sweep” and “mingle with” for “join his headlong”. The responsibility for the changes is unknown. The revised 1850 text is followed in 1891 (in keeping with W. G. Collingwoodʼs practice of using published versions as copytext); and the 1850 text is ostensibly followed in 1903, but the version in the Library Edition is in fact an eclectic text, opting here to revert to lines 27, 30 as they stood in MS VIII and MS IX (see Ruskin, Works, 2:355 n. 1, 356 nn. 1–2). Additional revisions of this kind:
  • Line 71, hot MS VIII, MS IX, 1903] swift 1850, 1891.
  • Line 80, bends MS VIII, MS IX, 1903] bends] stems 1850, 1891

“They pass together playfully / . . . / The torrent tosses by” (MS VIII; Poems [1850]; Poems [1891]; Works [1903])—In a second pattern of revision peculiar to the poem, “Ehrenbreitstein”, lines 35–38 introduced changes in the 1850 text, but the revision is based on a version of these lines as they had been altered using deletion and addition in the MS VIII draft, alterations that were abandoned for the original version in the MS IX fair copy. That is, in MS VIII Ruskin originally composed “The rivers pass full playfully, / . . . / The river tosses by”; and in MS IX he fair‐copied those lines. But MS VIII also shows an alteration of these lines to “They pass together playfully / . . . / The torrent tosses by”; and this version is what appears in the 1850 and 1903 texts. Thus, we have evidence that the compilers of the Poems (1850), John James Ruskin and W. H. Harrison, were interested in Ruskinʼs earlier rough drafts of poetry. Alternatively, it is possible that the revisions in MS VIII were not ignored in 1833–34 when fair‐copying the “Account”, but rather were made years later, prompted by the editing of the Poems (1850). The hand in which the changes are made in MS VIII does appear to be that of the younger Ruskin, but such small changes allow meager basis for analysis.
Additional revisions of this kind:
  • Line 42, And far beneath in misty night revised to While far beneath in misty night MS VIII] And far beneath, in misty night, MS IX] While, far beneath in misty night, 1850, 1891] And, far beneath in misty night 1903
  • Line 46, Till broadening into brighter day revised to Then broadening into brighter day MS VIII] Till broadening into brighter day, MS IX] Then, broadening into brighter day, 1850, 1891] Till, broadening into brighter day, 1903
While it might appear that the Library Edition exhibits a preference for the MS VIII version, in at least one instance that text opts for a variant in MS IX that is authorized by no other witness, manuscript or print:
  • Line 91, tall MS VIII, 1850, 1891] long MS IX, 1903

“The morning came, and rosy light, / Blushed oer the bastions, and the height, / Where traitor never stood” (MS VIII; MS IX; Poems [1850]; Poems [1891]; Works [1903])—On top of the hill of Ehrenbreitstein, fortifications of the same name had been erected from Roman through medieval times. In 1833, scarce any vestige remained of the ancient architecture, the fortress having been destroyed by French troops in 1801 and rebuilt by Prussia after 1815, as a practical enforcement of its power in post‐Napoleonic Europe. Despite the now utilitarian character of the works, artists and tourists persisted in romanticizing the site (Taylor, Castles of the Rhine, 98–111). Lord Byron helped to popularize the site by commemorating the recent conflict over the fortress in canto 3 (1816), stanza 58, of Childe Haroldʼs Pilgrimage (Byron, Complete Poetical Works, ed. McGann, 2:98, 305–6). Writing in mid‐1830s, the English artist and teacher, James Mathews Leigh (1808–60), admitted no illusions about the regrettable loss of the antique ruins, but could still perceive the artistic appeal of the site: “The whole surface of the rock glowed with the richest hues of sunset; its naturally deep‐toned and richly‐coloured form assuming an endless diversity of tints, combined into a focus of harmonious light, and relieved by the broad shadows of the surrounding objects. A multitude of beautiful parts subdued to a general breadth of effect will be the description best understood by the learned in art. . . . Beautiful as it is, crowned by the pride of modern masonry, and the intricate contrivances of modern engineering, it possessed far more romantic beauty in the former dismantled state of the shattered fortress bearing the picturesque traces of ruthless violence” (Leigh, Rhenish Album, 169–70).

“An island driveth down, / . . . / They come, they come, the long pine floats / Unchain the bridge, throw loose the boats / Lest by the raft so rudely driven, / The iron bolts be burst and riven” (MS VIII; MS IX; Poems [1850]; Poems [1891]; Works [1903])—The approach of one of these massive timber rafts to a bridge of boats was described by the artist James Mathews Leigh, writing from Cologne at about the same time as the Ruskinsʼ journey: “I was . . . startled at the cries which accompanied the apparent destruction of the bridge of boats, fragments of which were floating away from the main body. . . . A majestic raft of the largest dimensions was floating down the river to its ultimate destination. The measured voices of the innumerable rowers who laboured at either end of the enormous mass had an imposing effect as they mingled with the splashings of their ample paddles. The deck was covered with their cabins, and at different points were elevated stations from which the word of command was given by tongue of trumpet. No notion can be formed of the quantity of timber employed in these rafts from a sight of their extended forms on the water. . . . [T]here are sometimes from seven to nine hundred workmen and rowers employed. The largest rafts are generally from seven to nine hundred feet long and seventy broad, and are composed of the produce of Switzerland, the Black Forest, and the fir forests of the Murg, which is brought to Dordrecht, there to be distributed and conveyed to the various foreign and domestic markets. . . . This striking object passed majestically through the gap in the bridge, and in a very short time the barges were rejoined and the promenaders resumed their stations [on the bridge]” (Leigh, Rhenish Album, 99–100).

“Cramp” (MS VIII; MS IX; Works [1903])—The editors of the Library Edition comment: “A favourite word with Ruskin in his juvenilia. He uses it of his own handwriting (Ruskin, Works, 1:455), and of the style of Thucydides (Ruskin, Works, 2:395); and here extends it to a contracted, strait, narrow hill. In the “Tour” of 1835 (canto i. stanza 11), he uses it of the statues on Rouen Cathedral” (Ruskin, Works, 2:400).

“Wishing to see the interior of Ehrenbreitstein, we got a young German guide, and coming to a place where two roads met considered him to be going the wrong way . . . so we went back and took the other path” (MS VIII; MS IX; Works [1903])—In an entry for 30 May 1833 in her travel diary, Ruskinʼs cousin, Mary Richardson, explains: “after mounting for a little way we found ourselves stopped by a church. Asked a little boy way to fortress, and after taking us to a little hill first a little higher than the church, we at last found ourselves on right road to fort; there is a good carriage road at top, view most splendid” (Diary of Mary Richardson, 1833, 23).
As in Ruskinʼs essay, difficulty gaining admittance to the interior of the fortress poses the first in a series of embarrassments for an English tourist in the story “Recollections of Ehrenbreitstein” by the politician and art collector, R. Bernal (1783–1854), which accompanies the engraving Ehrenbreitstein after J. M. W. Turner that Ruskin copied for his headpiece vignette (Reynolds, ed., Keepsake for MDCCCXXXIII, 84–102; and see Ehrenbreitstein Hill and Fortress at Confluence of Rhine and Moselle).

“[T]he stupidity of all German brains” (MS VIII; MS IX; Works [1903])—Ruskinʼs prose narrator flashes out with invective against German culture in the essays, “It is said that French will carry you over all Europe” [“Ehrenbreitstein”] and “The traditions of the Rhine have long been celebrated” [“The Rhine”]. For the background of this prejudice, see The Ruskinsʼ Attitudes toward Germany.

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