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Short poem

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Sorrows of Werther

              1Werther had a love for Charlotte
              2    Such as words could never utter;
              3Would you know how first he met her?
              4    She was cutting bread and butter.

              5Charlotte was a married lady,
              6    And a moral man was Werther,
              7And, for all the wealth of Indies,
              8    Would do nothing for to hurt her.

              9So he sighed and pined and ogled,
            10    And his passion boiled and bubbled,
            11Till he blew his silly brains out,
            12    And no more was by it troubled.

            13Charlotte, having seen his body
            14    Borne before her on a shutter,
            15Like a well-conducted person,
            16    Went on cutting bread and butter.


1] Werther: a semi-autobiographical romance by Johann Wolfgang Goethe about a young man who falls in love with Charlotte and who, after a brief spell of happiness in her company, commits suicide in love-despair following her marriage to Albert.

14] shutter: a litter or stretcher for moving someone ill.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Complete Poems of W. M. Thackeray (New York: White, Stokes, and Allen, 1883): 70-71. PR 5602 W5 Robarts Library.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/24

Rhyme: abcb

Other poems by William Makepeace Thackeray