An Old Man, a Stripling, and an Ass (Emblem 54)

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An Old Man, a Stripling, and an Ass (Emblem 54)

Poem 119

Original Source

Hester Pulter, Poems breathed forth by the nobel Hadassas, University of Leeds Library, Brotherton Collection, MS Lt q 32

Versions

  • Facsimile of manuscript: Photographs provided by University of Leeds, Brotherton Collection

  • Transcription of manuscript: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.
  • Elemental edition: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

  • Created by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
  • Encoded by Katherine Poland, Matthew Taylor, Elizabeth Chou, and Emily Andrey, Northwestern University
  • Website designed by Sergei Kalugin, Northwestern University
  • IT project consultation by Josh Honn, Northwestern University
  • Project sponsored by Northwestern University, Brock University, and University of Leeds
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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 1

 Physical note

Unlike surrounding poems in the “Emblems” section, no number precedes this poem.
Line number 36

 Physical note

poem followed by blank page
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 54]
An Old Man, a Stripling, and an Ass
(Emblem 54)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
The aim of the elemental edition is to make the poems accessible to the largest variety of readers, which involves modernizing spelling and punctuation as well as adding basic glosses. Spelling and punctuation reflect current standard American usage; punctuation highlights syntax which might otherwise be obscure. Outmoded but still familiar word forms (“thou,” “‘tis,” “hold’st”) are not modernized, and we do not modernize grammar when the sense remains legible. After a brief headnote aimed at offering a “way in” to the poem’s unique qualities and connections with other verse by Pulter or her contemporaries, the edition features a minimum of notes and interpretative framing to allow more immediate engagement with the poem. Glosses clarify synonyms or showcase various possible meanings in Pulter’s time. Other notes identify named people and places or clarify obscure material. We rely (without citation) primarily on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the Oxford Reference database, and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. When we rely on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s work, we cite her text generally (“Eardley”); other sources are cited in full. The result is an edition we consider a springboard for further work on Pulter’s poetry. See full conventions for this edition here.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
You can’t please all of the people all of the time: Pulter transforms that truism into both political history and prophecy in a poem which begins as a light-hearted fable before taking a darkly murderous turn. The villain here is the instability and inconstancy of public opinion, figured commonly as a multi-headed Hydra. Pulter uses the Aesopian tale of how people mercilessly mock any choice made by a man riding through town to threaten Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power with him in the aftermath of the civil war: Cromwell will undoubtedly be hoisted on his own petard and suffer the violent fates of others in history who relied on popular acclamation to overthrow sovereignty.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Physical Note
Unlike surrounding poems in the “Emblems” section, no number precedes this poem.
An
old Man through a Town did often paſs
An old man through a town did often pass;
2
With him a pretty Stripling and an Aſs
With him, a pretty
Gloss Note
a youth
stripling
and an ass.
3
The Man did Ride, the Boy was Pedester
The man did ride; the boy was
Gloss Note
on foot
pedester
,
4
As fit it was, he wait upon his Master
Gloss Note
since it was suitable for him to serve his master
As fit it was, he wait upon his master
.
5
At this the people Laughed out alowd
At this, the people laughéd out aloud,
6
Saying the Man was mercieles or proud
Saying the man was merciless or proud
7
To let the pretty Child goe Swetting by
To let the pretty child go sweating by,
8
Whils’t hee Rode Ambling in his Majestie
Whilst he rode, ambling in his majesty.
9
The boy Rode next the Man did trudg a foot
Gloss Note
That is, the man dismounted and the boy mounted the horse.
The boy rode next
; the man did trudge afoot:
10
But then the people did Soe laugh and Shout
But then, the people did so laugh and shout
11
Becauſe the Man did favour Soe the Lad
Because the man did favor so the lad
12
To goe a foot whilst hee Rode on his Pad
To go afoot whilst he rode on his
Gloss Note
usually, a riding horse; here, the ass; alternatively, a saddle or saddle pad
pad
.
13
Next time this poor Man through ye Town did Paſs
Next time this poor man through the town did pass,
14
The Man and Boy got both upon the Aſs
The man and boy got both upon the ass;
15
But then the People bad him lite for Shame
But then the people bade him
Gloss Note
“light” as in alight or dismount; “for shame” ventriloquizes the people’s admonition, as does the next line.
light, for shame
;
16
Hee’d Spoyl the Aſs or make him Sick or Lame
He’d
Gloss Note
injure
spoil
the ass, or make him sick, or lame.
17
Next time beſide the Aſs they both did walk
Next time, beside the ass they both did walk;
18
But then they were the Town and Countreys talk
But then they were the town and county’s talk.
19
The people laughd and made the Welken Ring
The people laughed and
Gloss Note
an expression indicative of a loud noise (with “welkin” meaning the sky)
made the welkin ring
;
20
Children their ffolly up and down did Sing
Children their folly up and down did sing.
21
Once more the Man Reſolvd the Road to paſs
Once more the man resolved the road to pass,
22
And then the Youth and hee did bear the Aſs
And then the youth and he did
Gloss Note
carry
bear
the ass,
at

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
23
At which the people did Soe laugh & Rore
At which the people did so laugh and roar
24
That the poor Man would never more explore
That the poor man would ne’er more
Gloss Note
attempt
explore
25
The Hidrian monſtossity to pleaſe
The
Gloss Note
The Hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; the adjective can be used to refer to anything similarly destructive, multi-headed, or hard to kill.
Hydrian monstrosity
to please,
26
But Sadly ^flung his Aſs into the Seas
But sadly flung his ass into the seas.
27
By this you See they doe themſelvs delude
By this you see they do themselves delude
28
That think to pleas the giddy multitude
That think to please the
Gloss Note
flighty, inconstant; whirling with bewildering speed
giddy
multitude.
29
Andronicus did make this Story good
Gloss Note
Andronicus had his joint emperor of Greece, Alexius, killed; the people then revolted against and tortured Andronicus.
Andronicus
did make this story good;
30
Even hee y:t Shed his Royall Soverraigns blood
Even he that shed his royal sovereign’s blood,
31
Sejanus Soe by popular breath up born
Gloss Note
an influential officer in ancient Rome who was arrested and executed (with his body was torn to pieces by the crowd) on suspicion of intent to kill the emperor Tiberius
Sejanus
, so by pop’lar breath up borne,
32
By Barrierus was in peeces Torn
By
Gloss Note
The manuscript reads “Barrierus,” which Eardley interprets as Briareus, a monster in ancient Greek mythology with a hundred arms and fifty heads.
Briareus
was in pieces torn.
33
Soe Some alive the Hidras love will Rue
So
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power in his regime, supported by popular opinion
some alive
the Hydra’s love will rue
34
When as to them they give to theſe their due
Gloss Note
When
Whenas
Gloss Note
When people rely on popular opinion (referred to in the line above as the “Hydra’s love”); to give someone their due is to pay respect to them.
to them they give to these their due
.
35
ffor certainly ’twill one day come to paſs
For certainly ’twill one day come to pass
36
They’l have the death and Buriall of this
Physical Note
poem followed by blank page
Aſs
They’ll have the death and burial of
Gloss Note
Cromwell, whom the speaker hopes will be rejected and destroyed like the ass in the fable
this ass
.
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

The aim of the elemental edition is to make the poems accessible to the largest variety of readers, which involves modernizing spelling and punctuation as well as adding basic glosses. Spelling and punctuation reflect current standard American usage; punctuation highlights syntax which might otherwise be obscure. Outmoded but still familiar word forms (“thou,” “‘tis,” “hold’st”) are not modernized, and we do not modernize grammar when the sense remains legible. After a brief headnote aimed at offering a “way in” to the poem’s unique qualities and connections with other verse by Pulter or her contemporaries, the edition features a minimum of notes and interpretative framing to allow more immediate engagement with the poem. Glosses clarify synonyms or showcase various possible meanings in Pulter’s time. Other notes identify named people and places or clarify obscure material. We rely (without citation) primarily on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the Oxford Reference database, and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. When we rely on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s work, we cite her text generally (“Eardley”); other sources are cited in full. The result is an edition we consider a springboard for further work on Pulter’s poetry. See full conventions for this edition here.

 Headnote

You can’t please all of the people all of the time: Pulter transforms that truism into both political history and prophecy in a poem which begins as a light-hearted fable before taking a darkly murderous turn. The villain here is the instability and inconstancy of public opinion, figured commonly as a multi-headed Hydra. Pulter uses the Aesopian tale of how people mercilessly mock any choice made by a man riding through town to threaten Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power with him in the aftermath of the civil war: Cromwell will undoubtedly be hoisted on his own petard and suffer the violent fates of others in history who relied on popular acclamation to overthrow sovereignty.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

a youth
Line number 3

 Gloss note

on foot
Line number 4

 Gloss note

since it was suitable for him to serve his master
Line number 9

 Gloss note

That is, the man dismounted and the boy mounted the horse.
Line number 12

 Gloss note

usually, a riding horse; here, the ass; alternatively, a saddle or saddle pad
Line number 15

 Gloss note

“light” as in alight or dismount; “for shame” ventriloquizes the people’s admonition, as does the next line.
Line number 16

 Gloss note

injure
Line number 19

 Gloss note

an expression indicative of a loud noise (with “welkin” meaning the sky)
Line number 22

 Gloss note

carry
Line number 24

 Gloss note

attempt
Line number 25

 Gloss note

The Hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; the adjective can be used to refer to anything similarly destructive, multi-headed, or hard to kill.
Line number 28

 Gloss note

flighty, inconstant; whirling with bewildering speed
Line number 29

 Gloss note

Andronicus had his joint emperor of Greece, Alexius, killed; the people then revolted against and tortured Andronicus.
Line number 31

 Gloss note

an influential officer in ancient Rome who was arrested and executed (with his body was torn to pieces by the crowd) on suspicion of intent to kill the emperor Tiberius
Line number 32

 Gloss note

The manuscript reads “Barrierus,” which Eardley interprets as Briareus, a monster in ancient Greek mythology with a hundred arms and fifty heads.
Line number 33

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power in his regime, supported by popular opinion
Line number 34

 Gloss note

When
Line number 34

 Gloss note

When people rely on popular opinion (referred to in the line above as the “Hydra’s love”); to give someone their due is to pay respect to them.
Line number 36

 Gloss note

Cromwell, whom the speaker hopes will be rejected and destroyed like the ass in the fable
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 54]
An Old Man, a Stripling, and an Ass
(Emblem 54)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
The aim of the elemental edition is to make the poems accessible to the largest variety of readers, which involves modernizing spelling and punctuation as well as adding basic glosses. Spelling and punctuation reflect current standard American usage; punctuation highlights syntax which might otherwise be obscure. Outmoded but still familiar word forms (“thou,” “‘tis,” “hold’st”) are not modernized, and we do not modernize grammar when the sense remains legible. After a brief headnote aimed at offering a “way in” to the poem’s unique qualities and connections with other verse by Pulter or her contemporaries, the edition features a minimum of notes and interpretative framing to allow more immediate engagement with the poem. Glosses clarify synonyms or showcase various possible meanings in Pulter’s time. Other notes identify named people and places or clarify obscure material. We rely (without citation) primarily on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the Oxford Reference database, and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. When we rely on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s work, we cite her text generally (“Eardley”); other sources are cited in full. The result is an edition we consider a springboard for further work on Pulter’s poetry. See full conventions for this edition here.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
You can’t please all of the people all of the time: Pulter transforms that truism into both political history and prophecy in a poem which begins as a light-hearted fable before taking a darkly murderous turn. The villain here is the instability and inconstancy of public opinion, figured commonly as a multi-headed Hydra. Pulter uses the Aesopian tale of how people mercilessly mock any choice made by a man riding through town to threaten Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power with him in the aftermath of the civil war: Cromwell will undoubtedly be hoisted on his own petard and suffer the violent fates of others in history who relied on popular acclamation to overthrow sovereignty.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Physical Note
Unlike surrounding poems in the “Emblems” section, no number precedes this poem.
An
old Man through a Town did often paſs
An old man through a town did often pass;
2
With him a pretty Stripling and an Aſs
With him, a pretty
Gloss Note
a youth
stripling
and an ass.
3
The Man did Ride, the Boy was Pedester
The man did ride; the boy was
Gloss Note
on foot
pedester
,
4
As fit it was, he wait upon his Master
Gloss Note
since it was suitable for him to serve his master
As fit it was, he wait upon his master
.
5
At this the people Laughed out alowd
At this, the people laughéd out aloud,
6
Saying the Man was mercieles or proud
Saying the man was merciless or proud
7
To let the pretty Child goe Swetting by
To let the pretty child go sweating by,
8
Whils’t hee Rode Ambling in his Majestie
Whilst he rode, ambling in his majesty.
9
The boy Rode next the Man did trudg a foot
Gloss Note
That is, the man dismounted and the boy mounted the horse.
The boy rode next
; the man did trudge afoot:
10
But then the people did Soe laugh and Shout
But then, the people did so laugh and shout
11
Becauſe the Man did favour Soe the Lad
Because the man did favor so the lad
12
To goe a foot whilst hee Rode on his Pad
To go afoot whilst he rode on his
Gloss Note
usually, a riding horse; here, the ass; alternatively, a saddle or saddle pad
pad
.
13
Next time this poor Man through ye Town did Paſs
Next time this poor man through the town did pass,
14
The Man and Boy got both upon the Aſs
The man and boy got both upon the ass;
15
But then the People bad him lite for Shame
But then the people bade him
Gloss Note
“light” as in alight or dismount; “for shame” ventriloquizes the people’s admonition, as does the next line.
light, for shame
;
16
Hee’d Spoyl the Aſs or make him Sick or Lame
He’d
Gloss Note
injure
spoil
the ass, or make him sick, or lame.
17
Next time beſide the Aſs they both did walk
Next time, beside the ass they both did walk;
18
But then they were the Town and Countreys talk
But then they were the town and county’s talk.
19
The people laughd and made the Welken Ring
The people laughed and
Gloss Note
an expression indicative of a loud noise (with “welkin” meaning the sky)
made the welkin ring
;
20
Children their ffolly up and down did Sing
Children their folly up and down did sing.
21
Once more the Man Reſolvd the Road to paſs
Once more the man resolved the road to pass,
22
And then the Youth and hee did bear the Aſs
And then the youth and he did
Gloss Note
carry
bear
the ass,
at

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
23
At which the people did Soe laugh & Rore
At which the people did so laugh and roar
24
That the poor Man would never more explore
That the poor man would ne’er more
Gloss Note
attempt
explore
25
The Hidrian monſtossity to pleaſe
The
Gloss Note
The Hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; the adjective can be used to refer to anything similarly destructive, multi-headed, or hard to kill.
Hydrian monstrosity
to please,
26
But Sadly ^flung his Aſs into the Seas
But sadly flung his ass into the seas.
27
By this you See they doe themſelvs delude
By this you see they do themselves delude
28
That think to pleas the giddy multitude
That think to please the
Gloss Note
flighty, inconstant; whirling with bewildering speed
giddy
multitude.
29
Andronicus did make this Story good
Gloss Note
Andronicus had his joint emperor of Greece, Alexius, killed; the people then revolted against and tortured Andronicus.
Andronicus
did make this story good;
30
Even hee y:t Shed his Royall Soverraigns blood
Even he that shed his royal sovereign’s blood,
31
Sejanus Soe by popular breath up born
Gloss Note
an influential officer in ancient Rome who was arrested and executed (with his body was torn to pieces by the crowd) on suspicion of intent to kill the emperor Tiberius
Sejanus
, so by pop’lar breath up borne,
32
By Barrierus was in peeces Torn
By
Gloss Note
The manuscript reads “Barrierus,” which Eardley interprets as Briareus, a monster in ancient Greek mythology with a hundred arms and fifty heads.
Briareus
was in pieces torn.
33
Soe Some alive the Hidras love will Rue
So
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power in his regime, supported by popular opinion
some alive
the Hydra’s love will rue
34
When as to them they give to theſe their due
Gloss Note
When
Whenas
Gloss Note
When people rely on popular opinion (referred to in the line above as the “Hydra’s love”); to give someone their due is to pay respect to them.
to them they give to these their due
.
35
ffor certainly ’twill one day come to paſs
For certainly ’twill one day come to pass
36
They’l have the death and Buriall of this
Physical Note
poem followed by blank page
Aſs
They’ll have the death and burial of
Gloss Note
Cromwell, whom the speaker hopes will be rejected and destroyed like the ass in the fable
this ass
.
X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

The aim of the elemental edition is to make the poems accessible to the largest variety of readers, which involves modernizing spelling and punctuation as well as adding basic glosses. Spelling and punctuation reflect current standard American usage; punctuation highlights syntax which might otherwise be obscure. Outmoded but still familiar word forms (“thou,” “‘tis,” “hold’st”) are not modernized, and we do not modernize grammar when the sense remains legible. After a brief headnote aimed at offering a “way in” to the poem’s unique qualities and connections with other verse by Pulter or her contemporaries, the edition features a minimum of notes and interpretative framing to allow more immediate engagement with the poem. Glosses clarify synonyms or showcase various possible meanings in Pulter’s time. Other notes identify named people and places or clarify obscure material. We rely (without citation) primarily on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the Oxford Reference database, and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. When we rely on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s work, we cite her text generally (“Eardley”); other sources are cited in full. The result is an edition we consider a springboard for further work on Pulter’s poetry. See full conventions for this edition here.
Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

Elemental Edition

 Headnote

You can’t please all of the people all of the time: Pulter transforms that truism into both political history and prophecy in a poem which begins as a light-hearted fable before taking a darkly murderous turn. The villain here is the instability and inconstancy of public opinion, figured commonly as a multi-headed Hydra. Pulter uses the Aesopian tale of how people mercilessly mock any choice made by a man riding through town to threaten Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power with him in the aftermath of the civil war: Cromwell will undoubtedly be hoisted on his own petard and suffer the violent fates of others in history who relied on popular acclamation to overthrow sovereignty.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

Unlike surrounding poems in the “Emblems” section, no number precedes this poem.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

a youth
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

on foot
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

since it was suitable for him to serve his master
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

That is, the man dismounted and the boy mounted the horse.
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

usually, a riding horse; here, the ass; alternatively, a saddle or saddle pad
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

“light” as in alight or dismount; “for shame” ventriloquizes the people’s admonition, as does the next line.
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

injure
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

an expression indicative of a loud noise (with “welkin” meaning the sky)
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

carry
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

attempt
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Gloss note

The Hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; the adjective can be used to refer to anything similarly destructive, multi-headed, or hard to kill.
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

flighty, inconstant; whirling with bewildering speed
Elemental Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

Andronicus had his joint emperor of Greece, Alexius, killed; the people then revolted against and tortured Andronicus.
Elemental Edition
Line number 31

 Gloss note

an influential officer in ancient Rome who was arrested and executed (with his body was torn to pieces by the crowd) on suspicion of intent to kill the emperor Tiberius
Elemental Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

The manuscript reads “Barrierus,” which Eardley interprets as Briareus, a monster in ancient Greek mythology with a hundred arms and fifty heads.
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell and those who came to power in his regime, supported by popular opinion
Elemental Edition
Line number 34

 Gloss note

When
Elemental Edition
Line number 34

 Gloss note

When people rely on popular opinion (referred to in the line above as the “Hydra’s love”); to give someone their due is to pay respect to them.
Transcription
Line number 36

 Physical note

poem followed by blank page
Elemental Edition
Line number 36

 Gloss note

Cromwell, whom the speaker hopes will be rejected and destroyed like the ass in the fable
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
ManuscriptX (Close panel)
image
ManuscriptX (Close panel)
image