Saturday, 4 June 2011



22 August

It is quite disastrous, Wilhelm: all my active energies have been cast down into restless listlessness, and I can neither be idle nor accomplish anything. My imagination has deserted me, my feeling for nature gone, and books nauseate me. Once we are lost unto ourselves, everything else is lost to us. I swear there are times when I wish I could be a day labourer, simply in order to have something to look forward to in the day ahead, a sense of purpose, hope. I often envy Albert when I see him up to his ears in paperwork, and I fancy I should be content if I were in his position! I have repeatedly been on the point of writing to you and the minister, applying for the embassy appointment which you assure me I would obtain. I too believe I would do so; the minister has a long-standing regard for me, and has often urged me to devote myself to some business; and for one brief hour I am on the brink of going ahead. But then, when I consider it anew, and the story of the horse that grew weary of freedom, had itself saddled and bridled, and was ridden into the ground occurs to me –I do not know what to do. What is more, dear friend! May not my yearning for change be a restless impatience within me, which will pursue me everywhere?


Diary extract from the Penguin Classics edition of Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther"

1 comment:

Richmonde said...

A clear candidate for ordinary-job therapy. But then there wouldn't have been a novel.