Monday, December 21, 2009

Werther: " I shall never be myself again"




NOVEMBER 24


She is sensible of my sufferings. This morning her look pierced my very soul. I found her alone, and she was silent: she steadfastly surveyed me. I no longer saw in her face the charms of beauty or the fire of genius: these had disappeared. But I was affected by an expression much more touching, a look of the deepest sympathy and of the softest pity. Why was I afraid to 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 recourse 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 instrument, and return the heavenly vibration from her lovely mouth. Oh! who can express my sensations? I was quite overcome, 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 my own heart. I have so much to endure! Have men before me ever been so wretched?


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!

December 6

How her image haunts me! Waking or asleep, she fills my entire soul! Soon as I close my eyes, here, in my brain, where 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.


Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Nathen Haskell Dole, translation by R.D. Boyla

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