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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 54 / 106





54 / 106

The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

at the table. Not that such persons would otherwise want employment: on the contrary, they give themselves much trouble by neglecting important business for such petty trifles. Last week a question of precedence arose at a sledging-party, and all our amusement was spoiled.

The silly creatures cannot see that it is not place which con- stitutes real greatness, since the man who occupies the first place but seldom plays the principal part. How many kings are governed by their ministers —how many ministers by their secretaries? Who, in such cases, is really the chief? He, as it seems to me, who can see through the others, and possesses strength or skill enough to make their power or passions sub- servient to the execution of his own designs.

est inclination to correspond with you; but in this cottage, in this retirement, in this solitude, with the snow and hail beat- ing against my lattice-pane, you are my first thought. The

instant I entered, your figure rose up before me, and the re- membrance! O my Charlotte, the sacred, tender remembrance! Gracious Heaven! restore to me the happy moment of our first acquaintance.

Could you but see me, my dear Charlotte, in the whirl of dissipation, —how my senses are dried up, but my heart is at

no time full. I enjoy no single moment of happiness: all is vain —nothing touches me. I stand, as it were, before the raree-show: I see the little puppets move, and I ask whether it is not an optical illusion. I am amused with these puppets, or,


I MUST WRITE to you from this place, my dear Charlotte, from a small room in a country inn, where I have taken shelter from a severe storm. During my whole residence in that wretched place D—, where I lived amongst strangers, —strang- ers, indeed, to this heart, —I never at any time felt the small-

rather, I am myself one of them: but, when I sometimes grasp my neighbour’s hand, I feel that it is not natural; and I with- draw mine with a shudder. In the evening I say I will enjoy the next morning’s sunrise, and yet I remain in bed: in the day I promise to ramble by moonlight; and I, nevertheless, re- main at home. I know not why I rise, nor why I go to sleep. The leaven which animated my existence is gone: the charm which cheered me in the gloom of night, and aroused me


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