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Relic , The Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Donne Type: Poetry Views: 2546

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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 mis-devotion doth command,

Then he, that digs us up, will bring

Us to the bishop, and 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 lov'd well and faithfully,

Yet knew not what we lov'd, nor why;

Difference of sex no more we knew

Than our 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, injur'd 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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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem displays the religious side of Donne's works, as well as being a love poem. As with other poems of his, he describes love using a very unromantic image: two corpses in a grave. Yet he attempts to make this image romantic, suggesting the grave-digger will not disturb them when he sees 'a bracelet of bright hair about the bone' because this love token will make him think 'there a loving couple lies'.
The most important thing is that the poem is not about death or just love in general, but undying love. Donne suggests that even when they are long dead, their love will live on. Perhaps when they are discovered one day, they will be thought of as 'relics': 'thou shalt be a Mary Magdelen, and I/ A something else thereby'. They will be taken to 'the Bishop, and the King' and 'all women shall adore' them.

| Posted on 2009-05-24 | by a guest

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