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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe


February 17.

OUR minister and I don't seem as if we should continue much longer together: his manner of treating a subject, and of doing business, is so absurd, that I cannot help contradicting him very often, and doing things my own way; and then, of course, he thinks them very ill done. {124} He mentioned something of this kind lately in a letter to court, and I had a reprimand from the minister there -- very gentle indeed -- but still it was a reprimand; and I had resolved to resign, when I received a private letter, before which I humbled myself, and adored the wise, the noble, the exalted genius which dictated it -- which endeavoured to soothe my painful sensibility -- expressed an approbation of my schemes, and an opinion of their weight and influence -- condescending to inquire into business, as well as to examine the ideas of an impetuous young man. How I am exhorted, not to extinguish this fire, but to soften it, and keep it within due bounds, that it may be productive of good! So now I am no longer at variance with myself, but settled, determined -- at least for a week to come. Content and peace of mind are valuable things, my dear friend; but if they are precious, they are also transitory.