Verse > John Donne > The Poems of John Donne
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John Donne (1572–1631).  The Poems of John Donne.  1896.
 
Songs and Sonnets
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        5
A bracelet of bright hair about the bone,
        Will not he 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        10
Meet at this grave, and make a little stay?
 
      If this fall in a time, or land,
      Where mass-devotion 1 doth command,
      Then he that digs us up will bring
      Us to the bishop or the king, 2        15
        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,        20
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, 3        25
      No more 4 than guardian angels do;
        Coming and going we
Perchance might kiss, but not between 5 those meals;
  Our hands ne’er touch’d the seals,
Which nature, injured by late law, sets free. 6        30
These miracles we did; but now alas!
All measure, and all language, I should pass,
Should I tell what a miracle she was.
 
Note 1. l. 13. So 1669; 1633, mis-devotion [back]
Note 2. l. 15. So 1659; 1633, and the king [back]
Note 3. l. 25. So 1635; 1633, no more we knew [back]
Note 4. l. 26. So 1635; 1633, Than our [back]
Note 5. l. 28. 1669, yet between [back]
Note 6. l. 30. 1669, set free [back]
 
 
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