The Relic


The Relic

Title establishes central conceit:  The lyric is based on a tension between spiritual and physical love and the tension is not resolved. 

Is a celebration of platonic love and compliment

  • The notion of his grave being emptied, ‘some second guest to entertain’, is expressed in wryly ironic terms, and without any horror or indignation which such a prospect might arouse. 
  • ‘how to be more than one a bed’, which although not very complimentary to the mistress, proves that Donne’s mood is less sombre than his subject
  • The speaker in “The Relic” celebrates a long-enduring, chaste love that is comforting but too mystical to be fully understood.
  • AO3ii: Some have said that Donne in this poem lashes at women for their superstition in worshipping the bracelet of bright hair as a relic—”All women shall adore us.” He thinks that men are not so foolish or superstitious as women. Therefore, the relic will be adored by ‘some men’.
  • The idea of death is emphasised by the grave and the Day of Judgment. Religion is brought in through the Bishop, “the last busy day’, ‘Mary Magdalen’ and ‘guardian angels’. The worship of the poet and his beloved as


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