Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
176. Present in Absence
John Donne (1573–1631)
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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