Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
John Donne. 1573–1631
  
197. That Time and Absence proves
Rather helps than hurts to loves
  
ABSENCE, hear thou my protestation 
    Against thy strength, 
    Distance and length: 
Do what thou canst for alteration, 
    For hearts of truest mettle         5
    Absence doth join and Time doth settle. 
 
Who loves a mistress of such quality, 
    His mind hath found 
    Affection's ground 
Beyond time, place, and all mortality.  10
    To hearts that cannot vary 
    Absence is present, Time doth tarry. 
 
My senses want their outward motion 
    Which now within 
    Reason doth win,  15
Redoubled by her secret notion: 
    Like rich men that take pleasure 
    In hiding more than handling treasure. 
 
By Absence this good means I gain, 
    That I can catch her  20
    Where none can watch her, 
In some close corner of my brain: 
    There I embrace and kiss her, 
    And so enjoy her and none miss her. 
 
 
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