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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 74 / 106





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The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

a remembrance of the past, like a flash of lightning, will illu- minate the dark gulf of futurity, when everything shall dis- solve around me, and the whole world vanish away? Is not this the voice of a creature oppressed beyond all resource, self- deficient, about to plunge into inevitable destruction, and groaning deeply at its inadequate strength, “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” And should I feel ashamed to

Yesterday, when I took leave she seized me by the hand, and said, “Adieu, dear Werther.” Dear Werther! It was the first time she ever called me dear: the sound sunk deep into my heart. I have repeated it a hundred times; and last night, on going to bed, and talking to myself of various things, I sud- denly said, “Good night, dear Werther!” and then could not but laugh at myself.

utter the same expression? Should I not shudder at a prospect which had its fears, even for him who folds up the heavens like a garment?




SHE DOES NOT FEEL, she does not know, that she is preparing a poison which will destroy us both; and I drink deeply of the draught which is to prove my destruction. What mean those looks of kindness with which she often —often? no, not of- ten, but sometimes, regards me, that complacency with which she hears the involuntary sentiments which frequently escape me, and the tender pity for my sufferings which appears in her countenance?

I CANNOT PRAY, “Leave her to me !” and yet she often seems to belong to me. I cannot pray, “Give her to me!” for she is another’s. In this way I affect mirth over my troubles; and, if I had time, I could compose a whole litany of antitheses.


SHE IS SENSIBLE of my sufferings.This morning her look pierced my very soul. I found her alone, and she was silent: she stead- fastly surveyed me. I no longer saw in her face the charms of beauty or the fire of genius: these had disappeared. But I was

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