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Hired to tutor a countess’s daughter in French, Guillaume Apollinaire spent 1901–02 in the Rhineland, which inspired him to write a new kind of verse influenced by French Symbolism and German Romanticism. “Nuit rhénane,” composed during this period, has long delighted—and puzzled—readers of Alcools. Sitting on the bank of the Rhine, the poet listens to a mysterious boatman, whose song casts a supernatural spell over the river, the countryside, and eventually the universe. At the end, for no apparent reason, his wine glass shatters. This article synthesizes previous scholarship, analyzes the poem, and offers a new interpretation.