Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Appendix A. Doubtful Poems
Absence
 
        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.
 [back]
 
 
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