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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 85 / 106

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Goethe

tion of apprehension and delight. With extended arms I looked down into the yawning abyss, and cried, “Plunge!’” For a

prolong for a few days a miserable existence which she is un- willing to resign.

moment my senses forsook me, in the intense delight of end- ing my sorrows and my sufferings by a plunge into that gulf! And then I felt as if I were rooted to the earth, and incapable of seeking an end to my woes! But my hour is not yet come: I feel it is not. O Wilhelm, how willingly could I abandon my existence to ride the whirlwind, or to embrace the tor- rent! and then might not rapture perchance be the portion of this liberated soul?

I turned my sorrowful eyes toward a favourite spot, where I was accustomed to sit with Charlotte beneath a willow after a fatiguing walk. Alas! it was covered with water, and with difficulty I found even the meadow. And the fields around the hunting-lodge, thought I. Has our dear bower been de- stroyed by this unpitying storm? And a beam of past happi- ness streamed upon me, as the mind of a captive is illumined by dreams of flocks and herds and bygone joys of home! But I am free from blame. I have courage to die! Perhaps I have,

  • but I still sit here, like a wretched pauper, who collects

fagots, and begs her bread from door to door, that she may

DECEMBER 15

What is the matter with me, dear Wilhelm? I am afraid of myself! Is not my love for her of the purest, most holy, and most brotherly nature? Has my soul ever been sullied by a single sensual desire? but I will make no protestations. And now, ye nightly visions, how truly have those mortals under- stood you, who ascribe your various contradictory effects to some invincible power! This night I tremble at the avowal— I held her in my arms, locked in a close embrace: I pressed her to my bosom, and covered with countless kisses those dear lips which murmured in reply soft protestations of love. My sight became confused by the delicious intoxication of her eyes. Heavens! is it sinful to revel again in such happiness, to recall once more those rapturous moments with intense de- light? Charlotte! Charlotte! I am lost! My senses are bewil- dered, my recollection is confused, mine eyes are bathed in tears—I am ill; and yet I am well—I wish for nothing—I

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