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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 24 / 106

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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

enough before, but that now Werther was completely ruin-

too, is an old story; and they train their children after their

ing them.

own image, etc.

Yes, my dear Wilhelm, nothing on this earth affects my heart so much as children. When I look on at their doings; when I mark in the little creatures the seeds of all those vir- tues and qualities which they will one day find so indispens- able; when I behold in the obstinate all the future firmness and constancy of a noble character; in the capricious, that levity and gaiety of temper which will carry them lightly over the dangers and troubles of life, their whole nature simple and unpolluted, —then I call to mind the golden words of the Great Teacher of mankind, “Unless ye become like one of these!” And now, my friend, these children, who are our equals, whom we ought to consider as our models, we treat them as though they were our subjects. They are allowed no will of their own. And have we, then, none ourselves? Whence comes our exclusive right? Is it because we are older and more expe- rienced? Great God! from the height of thy heaven thou beholdest great children and little children, and no others; and thy Son has long since declared which afford thee greatest pleasure. But they believe in him, and hear him not, —that,

Adieu, Wilhelm: I will not further bewilder myself with this subject.

JULY 1

THE CONSOLATION Charlotte can bring to an invalid I experi- ence from my own heart, which suffers more from her ab- sence than many a poor creature lingering on a bed of sick- ness. She is gone to spend a few days in the town with a very worthy woman, who is given over by the physicians, and wishes to have Charlotte near her in her last moments. I ac- companied her last week on a visit to the Vicar of S—, a small village in the mountains, about a league hence. We ar- rived about four o’clock: Charlotte had taken her little sister with her. When we entered the vicarage court, we found the good old man sitting on a bench before the door, under the shade of two large walnut-trees. At the sight of Charlotte he seemed to gain new life, rose, forgot his stick, and ventured to walk toward her. She ran to him, and made him sit down

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