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English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

John Donne

176. Present in Absence

ABSENCE, hear thou my protestation

Against thy strength,

Distance, and length;

Do what thou canst for alteration:

For hearts of truest mettle

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.

To hearts that cannot vary

Absence is present, Time doth tarry.

My senses want their outward motion

Which now within

Reason doth win,

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,

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.