A bitter winter it was when these verses were composed by the
side of my Sister, in our lodgings at a draper's house in the
romantic imperial town of Goslar, on the edge of the Hartz Forest.
In this town the German emperors of the Franconian line were
accustomed to keep their court, and it retains vestiges of ancient
splendour. So severe was the cold of this winter, that when we
passed out of the parlour warmed by the stove, our cheeks were
struck by the air as by cold iron. I slept in a room over a
passage which was not ceiled. The people of the house used to say,
rather unfeelingly, that they expected I should be frozen to death
some night; but, with the protection of a pelisse lined with fur,
and a dog's-skin bonnet, such as was worn by the peasants, I
walked daily on the ramparts, or in a sort of public ground or
garden, in which was a pond. Here, I had no companion but a
kingfisher, a beautiful creature, that used to glance by me. I
consequently became much attached to it. During these walks I
composed the poem that follows.
The Reader must be apprised, that the Stoves in North-Germany
generally have the impression of a galloping horse upon them, this
being part of the Brunswick Arms.