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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 75 / 106

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Goethe

affected by an expression much more touching, a look of the deepest sympathy and of the softest pity. Why was I afraid to

my own heart. I have so much to endure! Have men before me ever been so wretched?

throw myself at her feet? Why did I not dare to take her in my arms, and answer her by a thousand kisses? She had re- course to her piano for relief, and in a low and sweet voice accompanied the music with delicious sounds. Her lips never appeared so lovely: they seemed but just to open, that they might imbibe the sweet tones which issued from the instru- ment, and return the heavenly vibration from her lovely mouth. Oh! who can express my sensations? I was quite over- come, and, bending down, pronounced this vow: “Beautiful lips, which the angels guard, never will I seek to profane your purity with a kiss.” And yet, my friend, oh, I wish —but my heart is darkened by doubt and indecision —could I but taste felicity, and then die to expiate the sin! What sin?

NOVEMBER 26

OFTENTIMES I say to myself, “Thou alone art wretched: all other mortals are happy, none are distressed like thee!” Then I read a passage in an ancient poet, and I seem to understand

NOVEMBER 30

I SHALL NEVER be myself again! Wherever I go, some fatality occurs to distract me. Even to-day alas —for our destiny! alas for human nature!

About dinner-time I went to walk by the river-side, for I had no appetite. Everything around seemed gloomy: a cold and damp easterly wind blew from the mountains, and black, heavy clouds spread over the plain. I observed at a distance a man in a tattered coat: he was wandering among the rocks, and seemed to be looking for plants. When I approached, he turned round at the noise; and I saw that he had an interesting countenance in which a settled melancholy, strongly marked by benevolence, formed the principal feature. His long black hair was divided, and flowed over his shoulders. As his garb betokened a person of the lower order, I thought he would not take it ill if I inquired about his business; and I therefore asked what he was seeking. He replied, with a deep sigh, that

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