The Relic

By John Donne

      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 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
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.


This poem is in the public domain.