。， I never felt happier, I never understood nature better, even downto the veriest stem or smallest blade of grass ; and yet I amunable to express myself: my powers of execution are so weak,everything seems to swim and float before me, so that I cannotmake a clear, bold outline. But I fancy I should succeed betterif I had some clay or wax to model. I shall try, if this stateof mind continues much longer, and will take to modelling, if Ionly knead dough.
"You were happy!" I exclaimed, as I returned quickly to thetown, "'as gay and contented as a man can be!'" God of heaven!and is this the destiny of man? Is he only happy before he hasacquired his reason, or after he has lost it? Unfortunate being!And yet I envy your fate: I envy the delusion to which you are avictim. You go forth with joy to gather flowers for your princess,-- in winter, -- and grieve when you can find none, and cannotunderstand why they do not grow. But I wander forth without joy,without hope, without design; and I return as I came. You fancywhat a man you would be if the states general paid you. Happymortal, who can ascribe your wretchedness to an earthly cause!You do not know, you do not feel, that in your own distractedheart and disordered brain dwells the source of that unhappinesswhich all the potentates on earth cannot relieve.。， Albert, who could not see the justice of the comparison, offeredsome further objections, and, amongst others, urged that I hadtaken the case of a mere ignorant girl. But how any man of sense,of more enlarged views and experience, could be excused, he wasunable to comprehend. "My friend!" I exclaimed, "man is but man;and, whatever be the extent of his reasoning powers, they are oflittle avail when passion rages within, and he feels himselfconfined by the narrow limits of nature. It were better, then --but we will talk of this some other time," I said, and caught upmy hat. Alas! my heart was full; and we parted without convictionon either side. How rarely in this world do men understand eachother!
"Past eleven o'clock! All is silent around me, and my soul iscalm. I thank thee, O God, that thou bestowest strength and courageupon me in these last moments! I approach the window, my dearestof friends; and through the clouds, which are at this moment drivenrapidly along by the impetuous winds, I behold the stars whichillumine the eternal heavens. No, you will not fall, celestialbodies: the hand of the Almighty supports both you and me! I havelooked for the last time upon the constellation of the GreaterBear: it is my favourite star; for when I bade you farewell atnight, Charlotte, and turned my steps from your door, it alwaysshone upon me. With what rapture have I at times beheld it! Howoften have I implored it with uplifted hands to witness my felicity!and even still -- But what object is there, Charlotte, which failsto summon up your image before me? Do you not surround me on allsides? and have I not, like a child, treasured up every triflewhich you have consecrated by your touch?。，
。， At one moment she felt anxious that the servant should remain inthe adjoining room, then she changed her mind. Werther, meanwhile,walked impatiently up and down. She went to the piano, anddetermined not to retire. She then collected her thoughts, andsat down quietly at Werther's side, who had taken his usual placeon the sofa.
Charlotte rose. It aroused me; but I continued sitting, and heldher hand. "Let us go," she said: "it grows late." She attemptedto withdraw her hand: I held it still. "We shall see each otheragain," I exclaimed: "we shall recognise each other under everypossible change! I am going," I continued, "going willingly; but,should I say for ever, perhaps I may not keep my word. Adieu,Charlotte; adieu, Albert. We shall meet again." "Yes: tomorrow,I think," she answered with a smile. Tomorrow! how I felt the word!Ah! she little thought, when she drew her hand away from mine.They walked down the avenue. I stood gazing after them in themoonlight. I threw myself upon the ground, and wept: I then sprangup, and ran out upon the terrace, and saw, under the shade of thelinden-trees, her white dress disappearing near the garden-gate.I stretched out my arms, and she vanished.。， My days are as happy as those reserved by God for his elect; and,whatever be my fate hereafter, I can never say that I have nottasted joy, -- the purest joy of life. You know Walheim. I amnow completely settled there. In that spot I am only half a leaguefrom Charlotte; and there I enjoy myself, and taste all the pleasurewhich can fall to the lot of man.
The other day I went to the fountain, and found a young servant-girl,who had set her pitcher on the lowest step, and looked around tosee if one of her companions was approaching to place it on herhead. I ran down, and looked at her. "Shall I help you, prettylass?" said I. She blushed deeply. "Oh, sir!" she exclaimed."No ceremony!" I replied. She adjusted her head-gear, and Ihelped her. She thanked me, and ascended the steps.。， It is as if a curtain had been drawn from before my eyes, and,instead of prospects of eternal life, the abyss of an ever opengrave yawned before me. Can we say of anything that it existswhen all passes away, when time, with the speed of a storm, carriesall things onward, -- and our transitory existence, hurried alongby the torrent, is either swallowed up by the waves or dashedagainst the rocks? There is not a moment but preys upon you, --and upon all around you, not a moment in which you do not yourselfbecome a destroyer. The most innocent walk deprives of lifethousands of poor insects: one step destroys the fabric of theindustrious ant, and converts a little world into chaos. No: itis not the great and rare calamities of the world, the floods whichsweep away whole villages, the earthquakes which swallow up ourtowns, that affect me. My heart is wasted by the thought of thatdestructive power which lies concealed in every part of universalnature. Nature has formed nothing that does not consume itself,and every object near it: so that, surrounded by earth and air,and all the active powers, I wander on my way with aching heart;and the universe is to me a fearful monster, for ever devouringits own offspring.
。， "Sad I am! nor small is my cause of woe! Carmor, thou hast lostno son; thou hast lost no daughter of beauty. Colgar the valiantlives, and Annira, fairest maid. The boughs of thy house ascend,O Carmor! but Armin is the last of his race. Dark is thy bed, ODaura! deep thy sleep in the tomb! When shalt thou wake with thysongs? with all thy voice of music?
His appearance at length became quite altered by the effect ofhis melancholy thoughts; and his resolution was now finally andirrevocably taken, of which the following ambiguous letter, whichhe addressed to his friend, may appear to afford some proof.。， "Star of descending night! fair is thy light in the west! thouliftest thy unshorn head from thy cloud; thy steps are stately onthy hill. What dost thou behold in the plain? The stormy windsare laid. The murmur of the torrent comes from afar. Roaringwaves climb the distant rock. The flies of evening are on theirfeeble wings: the hum of their course is on the field. What dostthou behold, fair light? But thou dost smile and depart. Thewaves come with joy around thee: they bathe thy lovely hair.Farewell, thou silent beam! Let the light of Ossian's soul arise!
But when, in spite of weakness and disappointments, we set to workin earnest, and persevere steadily, we often find, that, thoughobliged continually to tack, we make more way than others who havethe assistance of wind and tide; and, in truth, there can be nogreater satisfaction than to keep pace with others or outstripthem in the race.。，
"This speech," replied Werther with a cold smile, "this speechshould be printed, for the benefit of all teachers. My dearCharlotte, allow me but a short time longer, and all will be well.""But however, Werther," she added, "do not come again beforeChristmas." He was about to make some answer, when Albert came in.They saluted each other coldly, and with mutual embarrassment pacedup and down the room. Werther made some common remarks; Albertdid the same, and their conversation soon dropped. Albert askedhis wife about some household matters; and, finding that hiscommissions were not executed, he used some expressions which, toWerther's ear, savoured of extreme harshness. He wished to go,but had not power to move; and in this situation he remained tilleight o'clock, his uneasiness and discontent continually increasing.At length the cloth was laid for supper, and he took up his hatand stick. Albert invited him to remain; but Werther, fancyingthat he was merely paying a formal compliment, thanked him coldly,amd left the house.。， AUGUST 21.
。， As I contemplated the mountains which lay stretched out before me,I thought how often they had been the object of my dearest desires.Here used I to sit for hours together with my eyes bent upon them,ardently longing to wander in the shade of those woods, to losemyself in those valleys, which form so delightful an object in thedistance. With what reluctance did I leave this charming spot;when my hour of recreation was over, and my leave of absenceexpired! I drew near to the village: all the well-known oldsummerhouses and gardens were recognised again; I disliked the newones, and all other alterations which had taken place. I enteredthe village, and all my former feelings returned. I cannot, mydear friend, enter into details, charming as were my sensations:they would be dull in the narration. I had intended to lodge inthe market-place, near our old house. As soon as I entered, Iperceived that the schoolroom, where our childhood had been taughtby that good old woman, was converted into a shop. I called tomind the sorrow, the heaviness, the tears, and oppression of heart,which I experienced in that confinement. Every step produced someparticular impression. A pilgrim in the Holy Land does not meetso many spots pregnant with tender recollections, and his soul ishardly moved with greater devotion. One incident will serve forillustration. I followed the course of a stream to a farm, formerlya delightful walk of mine, and paused at the spot, where, whenboys, we used to amuse ourselves making ducks and drakes upon thewater. I recollected so well how I used formerly to watch thecourse of that same stream, following it with inquiring eagerness,forming romantic ideas of the countries it was to pass through;but my imagination was soon exhausted: while the water continuedflowing farther and farther on, till my fancy became bewilderedby the contemplation of an invisible distance. Exactly such, mydear friend, so happy and so confined, were the thoughts of ourgood ancestors. Their feelings and their poetry were fresh aschildhood. And, when Ulysses talks of the immeasurable sea andboundless earth, his epithets are true, natural, deeply felt, andmysterious. Of what importance is it that I have learned, withevery schoolboy, that the world is round? Man needs but littleearth for enjoyment, and still less for his final repose.
， The affection and simplicity with which this was uttered so charmedme, that I sought to express my feelings by catching up the childand kissing her heartily. She was frightened, and began to cry."You should not do that," said Charlotte: I felt perplexed. "Come,Jane," she continued, taking her hand, and leading her down thesteps again, "it is no matter: wash yourself quickly in the freshwater." I stood and watched them; and when I saw the little dearrubbing her cheeks with her wet hands, in full belief that allthe impurities contracted from my ugly beard would be washed offby the miraculous water, and how, though Charlotte said it woulddo, she continued still to wash with all her might, as though shethought too much were better than too little, I assure you, Wilhelm,I never attended a baptism with greater reverence; and, whenCharlotte came up from the well, I could have prostrated myselfas before the prophet of an Eastern nation.。， The vain attempt Werther had made to save the unhappy murderer wasthe last feeble glimmering of a flame about to be extinguished.He sank almost immediately afterward into a state of gloom andinactivity, until he was at length brought to perfect distractionby learning that he was to be summoned as a witness against theprisoner, who asserted his complete innocence.