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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe



July 18.

WHAT is the whole world to our hearts without love? It is the optic machine of the Savoyards without light. As soon as the little lamp appears, the figures shine on the whitened wall; and if love only shews us shadows which pass away, yet still we are happy, when, like children, we are transported with the splendid phantoms.

I shall not see Charlotte to-day; company, which I could not avoid, hinders me. What do you think I have done? I sent the little boy who waits upon me, that I might at least see somebody that had been near her. With what impatience I waited for his return, and with what pleasure I saw him! I should certainly have taken him in my arms if I had not been ashamed.

The Bologna stone, when placed in the {64} sun attracts the rays, and retains them so long as to give light a considerable time after it is removed into the dark. The boy was just this to me. The idea that Charlotte's eyes had dwelt on his features, the buttons of his coat, the cape, made all of them so interesting, so dear to me -- I would not at that moment have taken a thousand crowns for him, I was so happy to see him! Beware of laughing at me, my good friend: nothing which makes us happy is an illusion.