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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.


John Donne (1572–1631)

  • 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

    Absence doth join and Time doth settle.

    Who loves a mistress of such quality,

    He soon 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 in her secret notion:

    Like rich that take pleasure

    In hiding more than handling treasure.

    By Absence this good means I gain,

    That I can catch her

    Where none doth watch her,

    In some close corner of my brain:

    There I embrace and kiss her,

    And so I both enjoy and miss her.