Here washing their sheer pedestals of rock,
There, 'twixt the mountains and its rapid run,
A little chapel, shepherding a flock
Of humble homes, o'erlooks the dust-white road,
Where with loud whip the blue-bloused peasant drives
His mild, strong oxen : bearing a like load
Both man and beast wear out their lowly lives.
And round the homes sweet lawny levels lie,
Shady with fruit-trees, green with mountain rills,
And there beyond stands dark against the sky
The pathos of the labour-mantled hills,
Whose every ledge and crag is clad in vines,
From out the rock with brave toil hardly won,
That now await amid their tiny shrines
In earnest patience for the ripening sun.
|Courtesy of German Wine Institute|
"Anyone who has stayed long enough in the Mosel country must have felt the beauty of the vineyards. Seen, as they always are first seen by the traveller, from the river, terrace rises orderly above terrace, save where the hill-side becomes sheer cliff of rock. Even there there is no waste if courage and industry can help it, for ever least pocket and ledge has been redeemed from savagery and must grant foothold for an isolated group of vines. Here and there a path gleams white through the green : one, as nearly sheer as will still leave human going possible, for this is a Kreuzweg leading to the imaged Calvary on the highest headland above the stream ; another more indulgent in its slope, by which folk go to church to Our Lady of the Vineyards.
Beilstein on the Mosel,
Charles Rowbothan from WikiGallery.org
"That blue or brown speck up there among the vines is little man at his work, and never very far from him is the sign of his comfort and hope; for these labour-mantled hills are set with tiny shrines like jewels. The traveller who would see both man and work nearer will be rewarded if he leave the tourist-boat and climb the hill. Up and down the steep ways they go, on toil or devotion bent, the grave laborious decent men and women with their back-baskets and big cotton umbrellas, and the jolly crop-headed little boys and two plaited little maidens - all of them glad to extend to the stranger the old benedictory greeting, "Gruss Gott," that they exchange among neighbours. Even if he cannot wait for the vintage, he will find the labour that preludes it - the keen-eyed watch that is kept for disease or insect attack, and all the skilful care whose every detail is a bit of ancient earth-craft - very good to see and think about. He will be glad but hardly surprised to learn that here among others is grown that good wine that once won for itself the proud name of Doklor because it healed the Kaiser Maxmilian when all his learned physicians failed him."
|Mosel from the hillside at Pallien|