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The Sorrows of Werter

By Johann Wolfgang Goethe



November 24.

CHARLOTTE is sensible of my sufferings. I found her alone, and was silent: she looked stedfastly at me: the fire of genius, the charms of beauty were fled. But I saw in her countenance an expression much more touching: -- the expression of soft pity, and the tenderest concern. -- Why was I withheld from throwing myself at her feet? Why did I not dare to take her in my arms, and answer her by a thousand kisses? -- She had recourse to her harpsichord, and in a low and sweet voice accompanied it with melodious sounds. Her lips never appeared so lovely; they seemed but just to open to receive the notes of the instrument, and return half the vibration. -- But who could express such sensations! I was soon overcome, and, bending down, I pronounced this vow: "Beautiful lips, which celes- {166} tial spirits guard, never will I seek to profane you." And yet I wish -- oh! my friend, 'tis like drawing a curtain before my heart -- only to taste this felicity, and die and expiate my crimes. -- My crimes!