Thomas Carew




To My Mistress in Absence


Though I must live here, and by force

Of your command suffer divorce;

Though I am parted, yet my mind

(That's more myself) still stays behind.

I breathe in you, you keep my heart:

'Twas but a carcass that did part.

Then, though our bodies are disjoined,

As things that are to place confined,

Yet let our boundless spirits meet,

And in love's sphere each other greet.

There let us work a mystic wreath,

Unknown to the world beneath:

There let our clasped loves sweetly twin;

There let our secret thoughts unseen

Like nets be weaved and intertwined,

Wherewith we'll catch each other's mind;

There, whilst our souls do sit and kiss

Tasting a sweet and subtle bliss

(Such as gross lovers cannot know,

Whose hands and lips meet here below)

Let us look down, and mark what pain

Our absent bodies here sustain,

And smile to see how far away

The one doth from the other stray:

Yet burn and languish with desire

To join, and quench their mutual fire.

There let us joy to see from far

Our emulous flames at loving war,

Whilst both with equal lustre shine,

Mine bright as yours, yours bright as mine.

There seated in those heavenly bowers

We'll cheat the lag and lingering hours,

Making our bitter absence sweet,

Till souls, and bodies both, may meet.