Absence, Hear thou my Protestation

Original Text: 
Francis Davison, A poetical rhapsody containing diverse sonnets, odes, [etc.] (V. S. for J. Baily, 1602). STC 6373. Ed. H. E. Rollins. Harvard University Press, 1931-32. PR 1 D299p VUPX 1-2.
2           Against thy strength,
3           Distance and length:
4Do what thou canst for alteration;
5      For hearts of truest mettle
6      Absence doth join, and time doth settle.
7Who loves a mistress of such quality,
8           He soon hath found
9           Affection's ground
10Beyond time, place, and all mortality.
11      To hearts that cannot vary
12      Absence is present, time doth tarry.
13My senses want their outward motions,
14           Which now within
15           Reason doth win
16Redoubl'd in her secret notions;
17      Like rich men that take pleasure
18      In hiding, more than handling, treasure.
19By absence this good means I gain,
20That I can catch her
21Where none can watch her,
22In some close corner of my brain.
23There I embrace and kiss her,
24And so I both enjoy and miss her.


1] Printed anonymously in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, 1602. Cf. Donne, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning. This poem has been attributed to Donne because of its presence in several Donne MSS. But Grierson argues convincingly on the authority of a Hawthornden MS, as well as on the basis of style, that its author is John Hoskins, who was a scholar, lawyer, and minor poet. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.152.