Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
Absent Yet Present
By Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803–1873)
 
AS the flight of a river
  That flows to the sea
My soul rushes ever
  In tumult to thee.
 
A twofold existence        5
  I am where thou art;
My heart in the distance
  Beats close to thy heart.
 
Look up, I am near thee,
  I gaze on thy face;        10
I see thee, I hear thee,
  I feel thine embrace.
 
As a magnet’s control on
  The steel it draws to it,
Is the charm of thy soul on        15
  The thoughts that pursue it.
 
And absence but brightens
  The eyes that I miss,
And custom but heightens
  The spell of thy kiss.        20
 
It is not from duty,
  Though that may be owed,—
It is not from beauty,
  Though that be bestow’d;
 
But all that I care for,        25
  And all that I know,
Is that, without wherefore,
  I worship thee so.
 
Through granite it breaketh
  A tree to the ray;        30
As a dreamer forsaketh
  The grief of the day,
 
My soul in its fever
  Escapes unto thee;
O dream to the griever!        35
  O light to the tree!
 
A twofold existence
  I am where thou art;
Hark, hear in the distance
  The beat of my heart!        40
 
 
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