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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 86 / 106





86 / 106

The Sorrows ofYoung Werther

have no desires —it were better I were gone.

Under the circumstances narrated above, a determination to quit this world had now taken fixed possession of Werther’s soul. Since Charlotte’s return, this thought had been the final object of all his hopes and wishes; but he had resolved that such a step should not be taken with precipitation, but with calm- ness and tranquillity, and with the most perfect deliberation.

His troubles and internal struggles may be understood from the following fragment, which was found, without any date, amongst his papers, and appears to have formed the begin-

ning of a letter to Wilhelm.

“Her presence, her fate, her sympathy for me, have power

still to extract tears from my withered brain.

“One lifts up the curtain, and passes to the other side, — that is all! And why all these doubts and delays? Because we know not what is behind —because there is no returning — and because our mind infers that all is darkness and confu- sion, where we have nothing but uncertainty.”

His appearance at length became quite altered by the effect of his melancholy thoughts; and his resolution was now fi- nally and irrevocably taken, of which the following ambigu-

ous letter, which he addressed to his friend, may appear to afford some proof.


I am grateful to your love, Wilhelm, for having repeated your advice so seasonably. Yes, you are right: it is undoubtedly bet- ter that I should depart. But I do not entirely approve your scheme of returning at once to your neighbourhood; at least, I should like to make a little excursion on the way, particu- larly as we may now expect a continued frost, and consequently good roads. I am much pleased with your intention of com- ing to fetch me; only delay your journey for a fortnight, and wait for another letter from me. One should gather nothing before it is ripe, and a fortnight sooner or later makes a great difference. Entreat my mother to pray for her son, and tell her I beg her pardon for all the unhappiness I have occasioned her. It has ever been my fate to give pain to those whose hap- piness I should have promoted. Adieu, my dearest friend. May every blessing of Heaven attend you! Farewell.



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