The Relic


 WHEN my grave is broke up again
 Some second guest to entertain,
 —For graves have learn'd that woman-head,
 To be to more than one a bed—
 And he that digs it, spies
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone,
 Will he not let us alone,
And think that there a loving couple lies,
Who thought that this device might be some way
To make their souls at the last busy day
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?

 If this fall in a time, or land,
 Where mass-devotion doth command,
 Then he that digs us up will bring
 Us to the bishop or the king,
 To make us relics; then
Thou shalt be a Mary Magdalen, and I
 A something else thereby;
All women shall adore us, and some men.
And, since at such time miracles are sought,
I would have that age by this paper taught
What miracles we harmless lovers wrought.

 First we loved well and faithfully,
 Yet knew not what we loved, nor why;
 Difference of sex we never knew,
 No more than guardian angels do;
 Coming and going we
Perchance might kiss, but not between those meals;
 Our hands ne'er touch'd the seals,
Which nature, injured by late law, sets free.
These miracles we did; but now alas!
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.


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Return to the John Donne library , or . . . Read the next poem; The Sun Rising

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