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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 48 / 106





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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

ment when the fear of our cruel separation filled my heart? “And oh! do those departed ones know how we are em- ployed here? do they know when we are well and happy? do they know when we recall their memories with the fondest love? In the silent hour of evening the shade of my mother hovers around me; when seated in the midst of my children, I see them assembled near me, as they used to assemble near her; and then I raise my anxious eyes to heaven, and wish she could look down upon us, and witness how I fulfil the promise I made to her in her last moments, to be a mother to her children. With what emotion do I then exclaim, ‘Pardon, dear- est of mothers, pardon me, if I do not adequately supply your place! Alas! I do my utmost. They are clothed and fed; and, still better, they are loved and educated. Could you but see, sweet saint! the peace and harmony that dwells amongst us, you would glorify God with the warmest feelings of grati- tude, to whom, in your last hour, you addressed such fervent prayers for our happiness.’” Thus did she express herself; but

  • O

    Wilhelm! who can do justice to her language? how can

cold and passionless words convey the heavenly expressions of the spirit? Albert interrupted her gently. “This affects you

too deeply, my dear Charlotte. I know your soul dwells on such recollections with intense delight; but I implore —“ “O Albert!” she continued, “I am sure you do not forget the eve- nings when we three used to sit at the little round table, when papa was absent, and the little ones had retired. You often had a good book with you, but seldom read it; the conversation of that noble being was preferable to everything, —that beau- tiful, bright, gentle, and yet ever-toiling woman. God alone knows how I have supplicated with tears on my nightly couch, that I might be like her.”

I threw myself at her feet, and, seizing her hand, bedewed it with a thousand tears. “Charlotte!” I exclaimed, “God’s bless- ing and your mother’s spirit are upon you.” “Oh! that you had known her,” she said, with a warm pressure of the hand. “She was worthy of being known to you.” I thought I should have fainted: never had I received praise so flattering. She con- tinued, “And yet she was doomed to die in the flower of her youth, when her youngest child was scarcely six months old. Her illness was but short, but she was calm and resigned; and it was only for her children, especially the youngest, that she felt unhappy. When her end drew nigh, she bade me bring


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