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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 70 / 106





70 / 106

The Sorrows ofYoung Werther


OSSIAN has superseded Homer in my heart. To what a world does the illustrious bard carry me! To wander over pathless wilds, surrounded by impetuous whirlwinds, where, by the feeble light of the moon, we see the spirits of our ancestors; to hear from the mountain-tops, mid the roar of torrents, their plaintive sounds issuing from deep caverns, and the sor- rowful lamentations of a maiden who sighs and expires on the mossy tomb of the warrior by whom she was adored. I meet this bard with silver hair; he wanders in the valley; he seeks the footsteps of his fathers, and, alas! he finds only their tombs. Then, contemplating the pale moon, as she sinks be- neath the waves of the rolling sea, the memory of bygone days strikes the mind of the hero, days when approaching danger invigorated the brave, and the moon shone upon his bark laden with spoils, and returning in triumph. When I read in his countenance deep sorrow, when I see his dying glory sink exhausted into the grave, as he inhales new and heart-thrilling delight from his approaching union with his beloved, and he casts a look on the cold earth and the tall

grass which is so soon to cover him, and then exclaims, “The traveller will come, —he will come who has seen my beauty, and he will ask, ‘Where is the bard, where is the illustrious son of Fingal?’ He will walk over my tomb, and will seek me in vain!” Then, O my friend, I could instantly, like a true and noble knight, draw my sword, and deliver my prince from the long and painful languor of a living death, and dismiss my own soul to follow the demigod whom my hand had set free!


ALAS! the void the fearful void, which I feel in my bosom! Sometimes I think, if I could only once but once, press her to my heart, this dreadful void would be filled.


YES, I FEEL CERTAIN, Wilhelm, and every day I become more certain, that the existence of any being whatever is of very little consequence. A friend of Charlotte’s called to see her just now. I withdrew into a neighbouring apartment, and took


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