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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 71 / 106

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Goethe

up a book; but, finding I could not read, I sat down to write. I heard them converse in an undertone: they spoke upon in- different topics, and retailed the news of the town. One was going to be married; another was ill, very ill, she had a dry cough, her face was growing thinner daily, and she had occa- sional fits. “N— is very unwell too,” said Charlotte. “His

make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most

forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart, of his beloved, there also he must perish, —vanish, —and that quickly.

limbs begin to swell already,” answered the other; and my lively imagination carried me at once to the beds of the in- firm. There I see them struggling against death, with all the agonies of pain and horror; and these women, Wilhelm, talk of all this with as much indifference as one would mention the death of a stranger. And when I look around the apart- ment where I now am —when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of fur- niture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using, —when I think what I am to this family

  • everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to

their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet —if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel — or how long would they feel the void which my loss would

OCTOBER 27

I COULD TEAR open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and, though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent.

OCTOBER 27: Evening

I POSSESS so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing.

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