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Poem by John Donne


The Relic


            WHEN my grave is broke up again
            Some second guest to entertain,
            ЧFor graves have learn'd that woman-head,
            To be to more than one a bedЧ
                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. 



John Donne


John Donne's other poems:
  1. The Will
  2. Temple
  3. The Indifferent
  4. Fall of a Wall
  5. Crucifying


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