Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Posted by Elyse Bruce on March 18, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder … or so they say.

But who first spoke these words and why? Some think it was first written by T. H. Bayly Isle in 1844 in his poem “Isle of Beauty” that appeared in his two-volume publication “Songs, Ballads, and Other Poems.”

While it’s true that Bayly¬†used the line, it’s even older than that. Even before Bayly, in 1650, James Howell’s “Familiar Letters” observed that “Distance sometimes endears friendship, and absence sweeteneth it.”

Shakespeare spoke of this very thing in his 1604 play “Othello” (Act 1, scene ii), when Desdemona confessed, “I dote upon his very absence.”

But originally the first line of an anonymous poem which appeared in Francis Davison’s “Poetical Rhapsody” in 1602 read: “”Absence makes the heart grow fonder — of somebody else!”

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One Response to “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”

  1. […] Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder March 2010 4 […]

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