To Mrs. M. A. Upon Absence

By Katherine Philips 1631–1664 Katherine Philips
’Tis now since I began to die
    Four months, yet still I gasping live;
Wrapp’d up in sorrow do I lie,
    Hoping, yet doubting a reprieve.
Adam from Paradise expell’d
Just such a wretched being held.

’Tis not thy love I fear to lose,
    That will in spite of absence hold;
But ’tis the benefit and use
    Is lost, as in imprison’d gold:
Which though the sum be ne’er so great,
Enriches nothing but conceit.

What angry star then governs me
    That I must feel a double smart,
Prisoner to fate as well as thee;
    Kept from thy face, link’d to thy heart?
Because my love all love excels,
Must my grief have no parallels?

Sapless and dead as Winter here
    I now remain, and all I see
Copies of my wild state appear,
    But I am their epitome.
Love me no more, for I am grown
Too dead and dull for thee to own.

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Poet Katherine Philips 1631–1664


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love

 Katherine  Philips


One of the first women to acquire fame as a writer in England, Katherine Philips addressed poems of love and companionship to the women in her circle, called “Society of Friendship.” She was known as “The Matchless Orinda” for the pseudonym she adopted within the group and as “the English Sappho” for her similarities to the ancient Greek poetess of Lesbos.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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