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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe


August 23.

IF my ills could admit of any cure, they would certainly be cured here. -- This is my birth-day -- Very early in the morning I received a little parcel from Albert: upon opening it, I found one of the knots which Charlotte had on her sleeve the first time I saw her, and which I had several times asked her to give me. Albert had added two volumes in 12mo. of Wetstein's Homer, which I had wanted for some time, the Ernesti edition being inconvenient to carry with me when I walked out. You see how they prevent my wishes, how well they understand all those {96} little attentions of friendship, so superior to the magnificent presents of the great, which are humiliating. I kissed the sleeve-knot a thousand times, and every time I breathed delight from the memory of happy days -- days which will never return. Such, my friend, is our fate -- I do not murmur at it. -- The flowers of life do but just show themselves. -- How many pass away and leave no trace behind! how few are succeeded by fruit, and the fruit how rarely does it ripen! -- Alas! is it not strange, my dear friend, that we should suffer to perish and to decay, the little which remains and ripens? -- Adieu!

It is the finest weather in the world. -- In Charlotte's orchard I often climb into a tree, and choose pears for her; she stands under it, and takes them from me as I gather them.