Her Divine Breath

How my heart beats when by accident I touch her finger, or my feet meet hers under the table! I draw back as from a flame, but a secret force impels me forward again, and I begin to feel faint. Oh! Her innocent, pure heart never knows what agony these little familiarities inflict on me. Sometimes when we are talking she lays her hand on mine and in the eagerness of conversation comes closer to me, and her divine breath brushes my lips—I feel as if lightning had struck me, and I could sink into the earth. And yet, Wilhelm, with all this heavenly intimacy— if I should ever dare—you understand. No! my heart is not so depraved; it is weak, weak enough—but isn’t that a kind of depravity?

She is sacred to me. All desire is silenced in her presence; I don’t know what I feel when I’m near her. It is as if my soul beat in every nerve of my body. There is a melody which she plays on the piano with the touch of an angel—so simple is it, and yet so lofty! It’s her favorite song, and when she strikes the first note all my worry and sorrow disappear in a moment.

I believe every word that is said of the ancient magic of music. How her simple song enchants me! And how she knows when to play it! Sometimes, when I feel like shooting a bullet into my head, she begins to sing. The gloom and madness are dispersed, and I breathe freely again.

Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther

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