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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe


August 8.

BELIEVE me, my dear friend, when I talked of the people who might advise me to reconcile myself to this event, and said, "Away with such advisers!" I was very far from thinking you could be one of them: but, in fact, you are in the right. I will only make one objection. Of two opposite methods which are proposed, one seldom takes either. There are as many various lines of conduct and opinion, as there are turns of feature between an aquiline nose and a flat one.

{72} Give me leave then to grant all your conclusions, and contrive a middle way for myself, to slip between them.

You say to me, that I either have hopes of obtaining Charlotte, or that I have not. In the first case, I ought to follow my point, and press forward to the accomplishment of my wishes: In the second case, you tell me to act as a man, and throw aside the unfortunate affection, which will consume all my strength. This is very justly said, my dear friend, and very easy too to say.

Would you require of a feeble man, oppressed by a low and languid disease, which is wearing out his constitution by degrees, that he should put an end to his miseries by a pistol or dagger? Does not the same disease, which is consuming his life, at the same time deprive him of the resolution to put an end to it?

You might, in return, send me a simile of the same kind. -- Who would not have an arm cut off, rather than risk his life by {73} deferring the operation? Perhaps many would. -- But let us leave these comparisons.

There are times in which I have resolution, and should perhaps go away, if I knew where to go.