Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
Appendix A. Doubtful Poems
        That time and absence proves
Rather helps than hurts to loves.

ABSENCE, hear thou my protestation 1
    Against thy strength,
    Distance, and length;
Do what thou canst 2 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 3
    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, 4
    Which now within
    Reason doth win,        15
Redoubled by her secret notion; 5
    Like rich men that take pleasure
    In hiding 6 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. 7
Note 1. l. 1. So Poet. Rh., Harvey MS.; Sim., Cott. MS. hear my protestation; St. MS. hear this my protestation [back]
Note 2. l. 4. Poet. Rh. ed. 2, you can [back]
Note 3. l. 8. Poet. Rh. He soon hath found [back]
Note 4. l. 13. Sim. Thy senses; Poet. Rh. motions. [back]
Note 5. l. 16. Poet. Rh. Redoubled in her secret notions. [back]
Note 6. l. 18. Cotton MS. In finding. [back]
Note 7. ll. 23, 24. Cotton MS. while none miss her.
Poet. Rh. And so I both enjoy and miss her.
  Sim.  There I embrace her and there kiss her,
        And so enjoy her and so miss her.

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