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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 14 / 106





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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

widow, who set great store by him. He spoke so much of his mistress, and praised her so extravagantly, that I could soon see he was desperately in love with her. “She is no longer young,” he said: “and she was treated so badly by her former husband that she does not mean to marry again.” From his account it was so evident what incomparable charms she pos- sessed for him, and how ardently he wished she would select him to extinguish the recollection of her first husband’s mis- conduct, that I should have to repeat his own words in order to describe the depth of the poor fellow’s attachment, truth, and devotion. It would, in fact, require the gifts of a great poet to convey the expression of his features, the harmony of

life witnessed or fancied or conceived the possibility of such intense devotion, such ardent affections, united with so much purity. Do not blame me if I say that the recollection of this innocence and truth is deeply impressed upon my very soul; that this picture of fidelity and tenderness haunts me every- where; and that my own heart, as though enkindled by the flame, glows and burns within me.

I mean now to try and see her as soon as I can: or perhaps, on second thoughts, I had better not; it is better I should behold her through the eyes of her lover. To my sight, per- haps, she would not appear as she now stands before me; and why should I destroy so sweet a picture?

his voice, and the heavenly fire of his eye. No words can por-

tray the tenderness of his every movement and of every fea-


ture: no effort of mine could do justice to the scene. His alarm lest I should misconceive his position with regard to his mistress, or question the propriety of her conduct, touched me particularly. The charming manner with which he de- scribed her form and person, which, without possessing the graces of youth, won and attached him to her, is inexpress- ible, and must be left to the imagination. I have never in my

“WHY do I not write to you?” You lay claim to learning, and ask such a question. You should have guessed that I am well

  • that is to say —in a word, I have made an acquaintance

who has won my heart: I have —I know not. To give you a regular account of the manner in which I have become acquainted with the most amiable of women


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