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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 79 / 106





79 / 106


all the nerves of vision are concentrated, her dark eyes are imprinted. Here—I do not know how to describe it; but, if I shut my eyes, hers are immediately before me: dark as an abyss they open upon me, and absorb my senses.

And what is man—that boasted demigod? Do not his pow- ers fail when he most requires their use? And whether he soar in joy, or sink in sorrow, is not his career in both inevitably arrested? And, whilst he fondly dreams that he is grasping at infinity, does he not feel compelled to return to a conscious- ness of his cold, monotonous existence?

The Editor to the Reader

IT IS A MATTER OF EXTREME REGRET that we want original evi- dence of the last remarkable days of our friend; and we are, therefore, obliged to interrupt the progress of his correspon- dence, and to supply the deficiency by a connected narration. I have felt it my duty to collect accurate information from the mouths of persons well acquainted with his history. The story is simple; and all the accounts agree, except in some un- important particulars. It is true, that, with respect to the char- acters of the persons spoken of, opinions and judgments vary. We have only, then, to relate conscientiously the facts which our diligent labour has enabled us to collect, to give the let-

ters of the deceased, and to pay particular attention to the slightest fragment from his pen, more especially as it is so difficult to discover the real and correct motives of men who are not of the common order.

Sorrow and discontent had taken deep root in Werther’s soul, and gradually imparted their character to his whole be- ing. The harmony of his mind became completely disturbed; a perpetual excitement and mental irritation, which weak-


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