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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe



November 3.

HOW often, when I have lain down in my bed, have I wished never to wake again! and in the morning I open my eyes, I again behold the sun, and I am wretched. Oh! why am I not fanciful and hypochondriacal? why cannot I attribute my woes to intemperate seasons, to disappointed ambition, to the persecutions of an enemy? for then this insupportable load of discontent would not rest wholly upon myself. But, wretched that I am! I feel it but too sensibly, I alone am the cause of my unhappiness; this same bosom, which formerly contained a source of delight, is now the source of all my torments. Am I not the same man who formerly felt only agreeable sensations? who, every step he took, saw paradise before him, and whose heart was ex- {160} panded, and full of benevolence to the whole world. But this heart is now dead, dead to all sentiment: my eyes are dry, and my senses, no longer refreshed by lost tears, wither away, and perish, and consume my brain. I have lost the only charm of my life; that active sacred power, which created worlds around me; it is no more. From my window I see the distant hills; the rising sun breaks through the mists, opens wide the prospect, and illuminates the country. I see the soft stream gently winding through the willows stripped of their leaves. Nature displays all her beauties before me, exhibits the most enchanting scenes, and my heart is unmoved; I remain blind, inseparable, petrified. Often have I implored Heaven for tears, as the labourer prays for dews to moisten the parched corn.

But, I feel it, God does not grant sunshine or rain to importunate entreaties. Those times, the memory of which now {161} torments me, why were they so fortunate? I t was because I then waited for the blessings of the Eternal with patience, and received them with a grateful and feeling heart.