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The Athenians Answer.

1 AH! Bright Unknown! you know not what you ask!
2 Angels wou'd bend beneath the unequal Task.
3 Were that bless'd World disclos'd, 'twou'd seem so fair,
4 Who wou'd not leap Lifes Barriers to be there?
5 Yet see a Glimpse, all, Heav'n permits to see,
6 And learn the rest from Faith and Extasie.
7 The Paradise of God, those happy seats which cost
8 Far more than that fair Eden we have lost;
9 Exceeds luxuriant Fancies richest dress,
10 And Beggers Rhime and Numbers self t' express.
11 No, were we lost in that primaeval Grove
12 Where Father Adam with his New-born Bride
13 Walkt careless, walkt and lov'd, nor Want, nor Sin,
14 Nor jealous Rage, nor curst tormenting Hopes
15 Their Sacred Verge approaching cou'd we pierce
16 As the blind Bard, with intellectual sight
17 Thro' those first happy Mortals Sylvan shade,
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18 Thro'clust'ring Vines whose swelling Purple Grapes
19 With generous Juice invited the bless'd Pair
20 To taste, nor fear to dye; were all the Springs
21 That from some easie Mountains mossy side
22 Or hoary Rock ran gently murmuring,
23 A thousand Flour's upon the bending Banks,
24 A thousand Birds upon the fragrant Trees,
25 And Eve her self all smiling ioyn'd the Quire,
26 With blissful Hymns of chast and holy Love
27 Were these and more united to compose
28 A Poets Heaven to the true Heaven 'twou'd be
29 A Barren Wilderness, nay worse, a World.
30 Not Reasons self, a Ray of the divine
31 Off-spring, and Friend of God, when manacled
32 In sinful mortal mold, altho' it trace,
33 No Sister Truth thro' each Dedalean maze,
34 And builds on Sense with well poiz'd Argument,
35 Not that can tell us what we there shall see,
36 Or have or know, or do, or ever be.
37 Nay tho' with nobler Faiths more perfect Glass,
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38 We look beyond the Christal starry Worlds,
39 We know but part, sunk in our darksom selves,
40 And from Life's dungeon wish the glim'ring Light,
41 Coasters of Heav'n we beat along the shore,
42 Some Creeks and Landmarks found, but know no more.
43 The Inland Country's undiscover d still,
44 The glorious City of th' eternal King,
45 Yet of coelestial Growth we bear away,
46 Some rich immortal Fruit, Joy, Peace and Love,
47 Knowledge and Praise, Vision and pure Delight,
48 Rivers of Bliss, ay-dwelling from the Throne
49 Of the most high, exhaustless Fund of Light.
50 There, there is Heav'n, 'tis he who makes it so,
51 The Soul can hold no more, for God is all,
52 He only equalls its capacious Grasp,
53 He only o're fills to spaces infinite,
54 Ah! who can follow? That shall only those
55 Who with intrepid Breasts the World oppose.
56 Tear out the glitt'ring Snake, tho' ne're so close it twine,
57 And part with mortal Ioys for Ioys Divine.

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Title (in Source Edition): The Athenians Answer.
Themes: God
Genres: answer/reply

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Source edition

Poems on several occasions. Written by Philomela. London: Printed for John Dunton at the Raven in Jewen-street, 1696, pp. 3-5. [24],72,69,[11]p.; 8⁰ (ESTC R7317; OTA A57734)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Elizabeth Rowe (née Singer)