And in that one line we have the whole human story: Consider it just one small step in figuring out the enigma known as the male species. The narrative certainly suggests that the lovers in the poem were very young, that they did not properly know what love was, and that their relationship was chaste: The pressure of nailing the best gift is enough to drive a man to tears. These miracles we did, but now, alas, All measure and all language I should pass, Should I tell what a miracle she was. The saintly relic which in traditional Catholic belief has miraculous powers seems to be contrasted with and blown away by the much bigger notion of the miracle.
The second stanza refers, of course, to a biblical miracle, Christ's banishment of seven devils from the repentant Mary Magdalene. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it! Donne isn't jokingly using hyperbole, though. Here's what they had to say. Superficial beauty catches our attention but natural beauty keeps it. And we, across the centuries, experience the "little stay" of his own human warmth. Unless we're at a comedy club or he's your father, there's no reason for that. The relationship of the young couple seems woven into the cadence of its lines, so we almost experience the meeting and parting, flirting and withdrawing. We already own it. And in that one line we have the whole human story: If his woman is a miracle she is also a warm-blooded human companion. Skippy light-heartedness prevails in the four four-beat lines and the following foreshortened trimeter, "And he that digs it, spies". But Donne keeps tugging at the word, and the result, disarmingly, is to secularise and totally modernise it. Their affair or the particular phase of it the poem celebrates is in the past, as the poem will describe it to posterity. If I want to be in a relationship with somebody, I need to have a deeper connection with them than just the physical. The "harmless lovers" themselves have wrought miracles - perhaps by the intensity of their love which remained unconsummated but which they faithfully maintained. What we do see and feel is a relationship. And We Like It. Consider it just one small step in figuring out the enigma known as the male species. Even the most manscaped guy in a Brooks Brothers suit is a caveman at heart. Even in the poet's 20s, his imagination was energised by meditation on "last things". Whether or not Donne is writing autobiographically, realised figures move in the poem, realised emotions infuse it. While you may envision most guys only think about sports, beer, and sex, believe it or not, they're actually thinking about you , too. Give us the benefit of the doubt once in a while! The paper relic of the poem itself is a miraculous demonstration of this love.
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