Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)

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Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)

Poem #68

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.
  • Amplified edition: By Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

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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 6

 Physical note

darker ink on “n,” final “r,” and (possibly) medial “r” suggests “er’e” corrected to “ne’er”; “n” and final “r” in different hand from main scribe
Line number 11

 Physical note

“T” appears written over “S”; subsequent illegible letters appear written over and/or erased
Line number 12

 Physical note

“l” appears corrected from imperfectly erased “f”.
Line number 15

 Physical note

tilde curled under on left, crossed diagonally at centre
Line number 18

 Physical note

in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “8:th Conſtancy” and, directly below, “9:th ffortitude”
Line number 19

 Physical note

in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “10:th ffaith” and, directly below, “11:th “Hope”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

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[Emblem 2]
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts). All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Building on the last lines of the previous emblem, which portray the speaker’s spiritual ascent up a staircase, Pulter imagines her children joining her in the arduous and difficult climb toward the shining heaven where her eight dead children now reside. In this poem, the speaker adopts the role of a spiritual teacher and revises the invitation genre, which Pulter uses elsewhere in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38]. She invites her children to learn the sequence of stages in which twelve personified virtues should be mastered as part of an ascent toward God. The guide for this journey is scripture, personified as the Greek figure Aletheia (or Truth), who lends a steady hand to keep the aspiring Christian from plunging headlong backwards (or to Hell). The speaker’s authority strikingly inheres in her position as a Christ-like mediator of Truth: “Even as I follow Christ, so follow me,” she states. In the manuscript, the didacticism of the poem is enhanced by a numbered list of the virtues inscribed in the left margin.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Pulter’s second emblem completes what can be read as a prefatory pair. The image of godly steps established in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] is pursued, as Pulter invokes a figurative sequence of steps via a list of twelve virtues, suggesting that, by following them exactly, one will achieve everlasting happiness. These steps are not only described in the poem, they are also outlined in the left-hand margin, and the presentation of this list in the manuscript deserves attention: the notes are written in the scribal hand, suggesting they are part of the original text, and they are carefully numbered. Because this suggests that the marginal notes are integral to the poem, we have retained them as part of the main text in this edition.
The visual effect of this marginal listing is striking, as it sets out in a clear sequence the virtuous steps that the didactic poem details. George Herbert’s pattern poems in The Temple (1633) are salient examples of giving language “visual and sacred significance”, and they would have been well known to Pulter. See “The Altar,” “Easter wings” and “The Church-floore” (Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 89-94, 143-149, 244). The last of these closely parallels this emblem; as we show in our Curation, “Blessed Steps”, Herbert aligns each step up “the gentle [rise]” to the quire with a specific virtue, visualizing these steps in the poem’s layout to aid his didactic preoccupation. Pulter similarly uses what Leah Marcus calls “visual punning”, a technique used by Herbert, which shows the poet “building words into a sacred game for the glory of his heavenly father” (Childhood and Cultural Despair [Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978], 110). Pulter therefore maintains her use of “naked” emblems while employing a visual representation, via the listing, of the steps she will “ascend” (Wilcox 110; Eardley 28).
In this emblem, Pulter explicitly addresses her children, engaging in a modified version of the invitation poem as she solicits them to learn and practice the sequential stages of virtue which must be followed to ascend God’s path to Heaven. (For more on Pulter’s use of the invitation genre, see note for line 1.) Combining Christian religion with classical mythology, Pulter draws on God and Aletheia, the Greek goddess of truth, as her guides along the path of virtue. The invitational aspects of this poem grant her a sense of authority, as she utilizes both her poetic and motherly status to enhance the moral didacticism of the emblem. This feminized rhetoric of instruction also draws on the ‘mother’s legacy’ genre, which was a popular genre women utilised to creative private, often posthumous, communication with their children. See Elizabeth Joscelin’s poetry in Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mothers’ Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin, and Elizabeth Richardson, ed. by Sylvia Brown [Stroud: Sutton, 1999]. Evidently conscious of her feminized position as a mother and woman writer, Pulter conveys a linear sense of moral education in her second emblem, as she finds guidance in “God’s word” and the hand of Aletheia, and then imparts this to her children. She becomes a mediator to guide them on the difficult path of virtue to avoid any “tumbl[ing] down” into Hell (line 29).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
2Come my Dear Children come and Happy bee
Come, my dear children, come and happy be;
Critical Note
Pulter plays with the conventions of the invitation poem, a genre which features the trope of rural retreat, or the act of drawing away from a political landscape into a space of devout meditation; see Pulter’s pastoral poems The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38] in which she implores her children to retreat with her to Broadfield, her country estate. In this emblem, Pulter’s invitation, while addressed to her children, diverges in that it asks them to “come” and be happy in faith. This edifying imperative is given by Christ in Matthew 11.28, as he implores “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (KJV). George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) also gives similar religious invitations: “The Invitation,” for instance, uses a refrain to solicit “all” (sinners) to “Come … hither” at communion (Helen Wilcox, ed., The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 625 n.1).
Come, my dear children
, come and happy be;
2
Even as I follow Christ Soe ffollow mee
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
3
Eight of your Number finiſhed have their Story
Gloss Note
Presumably this was written when eight of Pulter’s fifteen children had died; Pulter often uses the word “story” as a synonym for “life.”
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
Critical Note
Pulter references her eight children who have passed away. In Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], Pulter refers to her son John as being her fifteenth child, although Eardley only finds records of fourteen, suggesting either the parish registers are incomplete, the other child was baptized elsewhere, or Pulter included a miscarriage. Pulter’s children, in order of death, were: Mary (d.1631); Hester (1630-2); William (1634-9); Charles (d. 1640); Elizabeth (1641-2); Jane (1625-45); Penelope (1633-55); James (1627-59); Edward (1638-65); Ann (1635-66); Mary (d. 1674); John (1648-77); Arthur (1636-80); Margaret (1629-86) (Alice Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 41-42). This would therefore suggest this poem was written either after the death of Penelope in 1655, or James in 1659, depending on when the missing fifteenth child was born and died.
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
4
And now their Souls doe Shine in endles Glory
And now their souls do shine in endless glory.
And now their souls do shine in endless glory;
5
Then by these Bleſſed Steps let us Aſſend
Then by these blesséd steps let us ascend
Then by these
Critical Note
The principal image in this emblem is invoked here. Pulter expands on her first emblem’s image of “mount[ing]” God’s throne via his direction, using Emblem 2 as a figurative and visual representation of the virtuous steps which will, as her didactic message insists, lead us to “glory”. See Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] for a similar discussion of this theme; see also George Herbert’s poetry, which utilizes this trope of blessed steps and which possibly influenced not only Pulter’s thematic concerns, but the visualisation of the virtuous ladder via the marginal notations (see Headnote). Herbert’s The Temple is organised in a tripartite structure: “The Church-porch”, “The Church”, and “The Church Militant”. The architectonic nature of the collection evokes the site of a spiritual temple (symbolising God) and the process of entering it via certain steps; Herbert’s God is “Thy bounteous Lord”, providing “choise of paths” to which “no by-wayes” should be taken (“The Church-porch”, lines 13-14).
blessed steps
let us ascend
6
Unto that Joy that
Physical Note
darker ink on “n,” final “r,” and (possibly) medial “r” suggests “er’e” corrected to “ne’er”; “n” and final “r” in different hand from main scribe
ner’er
ſhall have end
Unto that joy that never shall have end.
Unto that joy that
Physical Note
“n” and “r” appear darker and “v” also appears to have been rewritten, possibly over “r”. This suggests that “e’re” was amended to “never".
never
shall have end.
Aletheia
Aletheia
Aletheia
7
ffirst let Gods Word Your Sole Director bee
Physical Note
Beginning with this line, twelve personified virtues are numbered and listed in the left margin in this order: Humility, Patience, Temperance, Chastity, Prudence, Just[ice], Contentation, Constancy, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity (which appears as the annotation for “Love”). Pulter’s ordering and selection seem to be her own design.
First
, let
Critical Note
In the margin is written “Aletheia” (the Greek personification of Truth), which glosses “God’s word” and thus fuses classical and Christian traditions. The “Truth” that directs the spiritual journey is biblical scripture but this phrase might refer to the representation of Christ as language. See John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
God’s word
your sole director be,
Physical Note
"Aletheia" written in left-hand margin in scribal hand
First
,
Critical Note
Written in the margin in the scribal hand is “Aletheia”, referring to the Greek goddess of truth. While Aletheia is not directly referenced until line 21, this marginal notation suggests a fusion of classical mythology with Christian religion, as Pulter aligns “God’s word” with the truth characterised by the classical goddess. See Aletheia’s Pearl [Poem 32], which gives an account of the speaker’s relationship with the personified figure of truth as Aletheia. In that poem, the speaker seeks to emphasise the fragility of truth, which she does via the metaphor of the pearl. See also Rachel Speght’s A Dreame, which similarly contains a personified Truth (though not identified explicitly as Aletheia) as guide for the speaker, offering encouragement in her pursuit of education: “Take courage, and be constant in thy course, / Though irksome be the path, which thou must tread” (“Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed”, in The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996], 55, lines 177-8). Elizabeth Melville is another female writer who invokes similar images of Christ as a guide leading the speaker of the poem up steps to heavenly truth: “On stately stepps, most stoutly I ascended. / Without his help I thought to enter there.” (A Godlie Dreame compiled by Elizabeth Melvill, Ladie Culros younger, at the request of a friend [Edinburgh, 1620], stanza 30). Pulter hence draws on a popular didactic invocation of God, often embodied through the value of a personified Truth, as the only guide one needs through life.
let God’s word your sole director be
,
1:st Humility
1st Humility
1st Humility
8
Which Sweetly Leads you to Humilitye
Which sweetly leads you to Humility,
Which sweetly leads you to
Physical Note
Beginning with “Humility”, the twelve virtues which are personified in the emblem are numbered and listed in the left-hand margin alongside the relevant lines of the poem. This marginal listing is written in the scribal hand. See Headnote for discussion.
Humility
,
9
Through whoſe Low Rooft Temple all did goe
Through whose low rooféd temple all did go
Critical Note
Beginning with this line, the emblem goes on to list twelve virtues, seven of which are identifiable as the Christian neo-Stoic virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. Pulter also personifies a further five virtues: Humility, Patience, Chastity, Grace, and Truth. These virtues are listed in the left margin, which has the effect of giving a visual representation of the methodical steps one must follow, figuratively and literally, to reach heaven; see Headnote for further discussion.
Through
whose
Critical Note
Pulter personifies “Humility” as being “low-roofed”, a conventional trope which emphasises modesty and humbleness, in comparison to grand extravagance. Joseph Hall writes of the humble man as “a true Temple of God built with a low roofe” (Characters of Virtues and Vices [1608], 31).This trope also appeared commonly in the country house poems of the 17th century; see Jonson’s To Penshurst, which depicts Robert Sidney’s estate as “not … built to envious show” (Fowler, The Country House Poem [Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994], 53, line 1); see also Marvell’s Upon Appleton House lines 1-72, which constructs Appleton House as a “sober frame” unlike those “columns … [which] so high be raised / To arch the brows that on them gazed” (Fowler 281. 1-8).
low-roofed
Critical Note
note the four main biblical meanings of the word “temple”; (1) the site of Jewish worship in the Old Testament; (2) a symbol of Christ in the New Testament; (3) the Christian Church and God’s dwelling place in the New Testament; and (4) the human body, which itself becomes a temple (Helen Wilcox. The English Poems of George Herbert [New York; Cambridge University Press, 2007], 39-40). Herbert’s The Temple (1633) uses the site of the religious temple, or Church, as a metaphor for God, serving a similar purpose as Pulter does here.
temple
all did go
10
That Worſhip’t Honour, Ethenicks this did know
That worshipped honor:
Gloss Note
heathens, pagans
ethnics
this did know.
That worshiped Honour;
Critical Note
In Pulter’s manuscript, it is difficult to interpret whether this word is spelt “Ethenicks” or “Elhenicks” due to the faintness of the letter that might be “l” or “t” and an ink blotting on the “h”. Alice Eardley (2014) and Knight and Wall (Elemental Edition) have modernised the word to “ethnic”, referring to a non-Christian, non-Jewish person; a heathen (OED 1). In her 2008 thesis, however, Eardley suggests that Pulter means “Hellenics”, which refers to Greek peoples during the period of Ancient Greece (“An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 14 n. 10; OED 1). This interpretation is interesting in comparison to the glossing of “God’s word” as the Greek goddess “Aletheia” in line 7, which would endorse Pulter’s notion that “Hellenics did … know” of the principles such as “Humility” and “Honour” that are linked to God, and thus to Aletheia.
ethnics
this did know.
2:d Patience
2nd Patience
2nd Patience
11
Next patience ffits you for the ffirey
Physical Note
“T” appears written over “S”; subsequent illegible letters appear written over and/or erased
Triall
Next, Patience fits you for the fiery trial;
Next, Patience fits you for
Critical Note
Eardley suggests this is in reference to the “trial in which Christian faith is forged through hardship” (188 n. 15). Given Pulter’s Protestant beliefs, this phrase lends itself to the ideas surrounding martyrdom introduced in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, which recounts counts the trials of Protestant figures who became martyrs during Catholic rule.
the fiery trial
;
12
Noe Goeing further w:thout
Physical Note
“l” appears corrected from imperfectly erased “f”.
Self
deniall
No going further without self-denial.
No going further without self-denial.
3: Temperance
3rd Temperance
3rd Temperance
13
Then Temperance be Sure you doe not Mis
Then, Temperance be sure you do not miss,
Then Temperance be sure you do not miss,
4:th Chastitie
4th Chastity
4th Chastity
14
That Chastities white hand you next may kiſs
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
5:th Prudence
5th Prudence
5th Prudence
15
Then Prudence that all
Physical Note
tilde curled under on left, crossed diagonally at centre
Acco͠ns
doth fforeſee
Then, Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
Then Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
6:th Just
6th Just
6th Just
16
Without Her, Just you canot poſſible bee
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
corrected from “possible” in the manuscript
possibly
be.
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
MS = possible
possibly
be.
7:th Contentation
7th Contentation
7th Contentation
17
Then bee Content or you your Self delude
Then, be Content, or you yourself delude,
Then be
Gloss Note
Contentation: the state of being content or satisfied (OED)
Content
, or you yourself delude,
8:th Conſtancy 9:th ffortitude
8th Constancy, 9th Fortitude
8th Constancy + 9th Fortitude
18
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “8:th Conſtancy” and, directly below, “9:th ffortitude”
And
Constantly goe on to ffortitude
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
10:th ffaith 11:th “Hope
10th Faith, 11th Hope
10th Faith + 11th Hope
19
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “10:th ffaith” and, directly below, “11:th “Hope”
By
ffaith and Hope wee then Shall mount above
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
Critical Note
In the Bible, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are addressed together by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13. He identifies that, while they are “three [virtues] that last forever”, it is Love that is “the greatest of them all”, because there is no limit to “its faith, its hope, and its endurance” (New English Bible 13: 7-13). Here, Love is not identified as a human Virtue, but instead with the Divine himself; see 1 John 4:8, “God is Love”. Pulter assures us it is “by Faith and Hope” we can reach “eternal Love”.
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
12:th Charitie
12th Charity
12th Charity
20
Into the Boſome of Eternall Love
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
21
Thy Hand dear Alithea least I miſs one Round
Gloss Note
Give me thy hand
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one
Gloss Note
here a step, but generally a link in a chain; the passage of time in cyclical periods; route, course, or circuit habitually used
round
;
Gloss Note
Pulter directly addresses Aletheia, the goddess of truth, to guide her methodically through each step so she does not “miss one”. See note to line 7.
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one round;
22
Who Skips but one Precipitates to Ground
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls suddenly or violently down
precipitates
to ground.
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls, plunges; descends steeply or vertically (OED 2b). Pulter is contrasting the fate of those who do not religiously follow each godly step with the image of herself and her children carefully “ascend[ing]” these steps of virtue (line 5).
precipitates
to ground.
23
Theſe were Got up, but yet you See they ffell
Gloss Note
the people who skipped necessary stages or steps
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
Gloss Note
those who ambitiously skip the necessary steps Pulter has outlined
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
24
Into thoſe Senſuall Wayes which leads to Hell
Into those
Gloss Note
involving enjoyment derived from the senses
sensual
ways, which leads to Hell.
Into those
Gloss Note
involving gratification of the senses; relating to physical (especially sexual) urges or desires and not the intellect or spirit (OED 1)
sensual
ways which
Physical Note
MS = “leads”
lead
to Hell.
Some

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25
Some that theſe Steps too Tedious are doe Say
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
26
Therefore they Climeber up a nearer way
Therefore they
Gloss Note
obsolete form of “clamber”: to climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to climb with difficulty and effort
climber
up a
Gloss Note
more direct, immediate, or unimpeded
nearer
way,
Therefore they
Physical Note
MS = “Climeber”
clamber
up a nearer way,
27
Leaving ffair Truth and her Celestiall Train
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
28
Beeing guided by the Spirit as they ffain
Being guided by the
Gloss Note
in Christianity, the Holy Spirit
Spirit
as
Critical Note
“they” refers to those who are taking shortcuts, and being guided by the Holy Spirit only intermittently, as they are inclined or disposed. Given that “fain” might also imply its homophone “feign” (meaning “to shirk or avoid a duty; dissemble; or believe erroneously”), the line might also suggest that the non-virtuous deceptively imagine their errors to be divinely directed.
they fain
.
Being guided by the spirit as they
Critical Note
obligated; inclined or disposed to (OED 2b, 3a); also could imply the homophone “feign”, meaning to shirk or to avoid one’s duty by false pretense; or to believe erroneously (OED 13a, 4b)
fain
.
29
But See my Children how they Tumble Down
But see, my children, how they tumble down
But see, my children, how they tumble down,
30
And for their own Chimera loſe a Crown
And for their own
Gloss Note
unreal creature of the imagination, a term derived from the fabled fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology, who had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail
chimera
lose a crown.
And for their own
Gloss Note
in Greek mythology, a fabled fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Milton draws on this creature in his description of Hell and the “Abominable, unutterable” monsters that inhabit it (Paradise Lost, 2.624-628)
chimera
lose a crown.
31
Let Grace and Truth then guid us in our Story
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
32
By theſe degrees wee Shall ariſe to Glory
By these
Gloss Note
steps in an ascent or descent; steps or rungs of a ladder; stages in a process. See also Pulter’s View But This Flower (Emblem 40) [Poem 105]: “Dust is but four degrees removed from glory.”
degrees
we shall arise to glory.
By these degrees we
Critical Note
Pulter’s conclusion to this poem resonates with the conclusion of Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67]: “Then by his steps I’ll mount his glorious throne”. The change from first pronoun “I’ll” to second pronoun “we”, observes the role Pulter decides to take on as teacher and mediator, while also highlighting her children as the specific audience of her emblems. Hence, it serves to emphasizes the didactic message which the prefatory pair of emblems introduce, as the godly steps of virtue become an extended metaphor for the moral trajectory the collection of emblems embarks on.
shall arise to glory
.
curled line
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

Building on the last lines of the previous emblem, which portray the speaker’s spiritual ascent up a staircase, Pulter imagines her children joining her in the arduous and difficult climb toward the shining heaven where her eight dead children now reside. In this poem, the speaker adopts the role of a spiritual teacher and revises the invitation genre, which Pulter uses elsewhere in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38]. She invites her children to learn the sequence of stages in which twelve personified virtues should be mastered as part of an ascent toward God. The guide for this journey is scripture, personified as the Greek figure Aletheia (or Truth), who lends a steady hand to keep the aspiring Christian from plunging headlong backwards (or to Hell). The speaker’s authority strikingly inheres in her position as a Christ-like mediator of Truth: “Even as I follow Christ, so follow me,” she states. In the manuscript, the didacticism of the poem is enhanced by a numbered list of the virtues inscribed in the left margin.
Line number 3

 Gloss note

Presumably this was written when eight of Pulter’s fifteen children had died; Pulter often uses the word “story” as a synonym for “life.”
Line number 7

 Physical note

Beginning with this line, twelve personified virtues are numbered and listed in the left margin in this order: Humility, Patience, Temperance, Chastity, Prudence, Just[ice], Contentation, Constancy, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity (which appears as the annotation for “Love”). Pulter’s ordering and selection seem to be her own design.
Line number 7

 Critical note

In the margin is written “Aletheia” (the Greek personification of Truth), which glosses “God’s word” and thus fuses classical and Christian traditions. The “Truth” that directs the spiritual journey is biblical scripture but this phrase might refer to the representation of Christ as language. See John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Line number 10

 Gloss note

heathens, pagans
Line number 16

 Physical note

corrected from “possible” in the manuscript
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Give me thy hand
Line number 21

 Gloss note

here a step, but generally a link in a chain; the passage of time in cyclical periods; route, course, or circuit habitually used
Line number 22

 Gloss note

falls suddenly or violently down
Line number 23

 Gloss note

the people who skipped necessary stages or steps
Line number 24

 Gloss note

involving enjoyment derived from the senses
Line number 26

 Gloss note

obsolete form of “clamber”: to climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to climb with difficulty and effort
Line number 26

 Gloss note

more direct, immediate, or unimpeded
Line number 28

 Gloss note

in Christianity, the Holy Spirit
Line number 28

 Critical note

“they” refers to those who are taking shortcuts, and being guided by the Holy Spirit only intermittently, as they are inclined or disposed. Given that “fain” might also imply its homophone “feign” (meaning “to shirk or avoid a duty; dissemble; or believe erroneously”), the line might also suggest that the non-virtuous deceptively imagine their errors to be divinely directed.
Line number 30

 Gloss note

unreal creature of the imagination, a term derived from the fabled fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology, who had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail
Line number 32

 Gloss note

steps in an ascent or descent; steps or rungs of a ladder; stages in a process. See also Pulter’s View But This Flower (Emblem 40) [Poem 105]: “Dust is but four degrees removed from glory.”
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X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

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[Emblem 2]
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts). All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Building on the last lines of the previous emblem, which portray the speaker’s spiritual ascent up a staircase, Pulter imagines her children joining her in the arduous and difficult climb toward the shining heaven where her eight dead children now reside. In this poem, the speaker adopts the role of a spiritual teacher and revises the invitation genre, which Pulter uses elsewhere in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38]. She invites her children to learn the sequence of stages in which twelve personified virtues should be mastered as part of an ascent toward God. The guide for this journey is scripture, personified as the Greek figure Aletheia (or Truth), who lends a steady hand to keep the aspiring Christian from plunging headlong backwards (or to Hell). The speaker’s authority strikingly inheres in her position as a Christ-like mediator of Truth: “Even as I follow Christ, so follow me,” she states. In the manuscript, the didacticism of the poem is enhanced by a numbered list of the virtues inscribed in the left margin.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Pulter’s second emblem completes what can be read as a prefatory pair. The image of godly steps established in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] is pursued, as Pulter invokes a figurative sequence of steps via a list of twelve virtues, suggesting that, by following them exactly, one will achieve everlasting happiness. These steps are not only described in the poem, they are also outlined in the left-hand margin, and the presentation of this list in the manuscript deserves attention: the notes are written in the scribal hand, suggesting they are part of the original text, and they are carefully numbered. Because this suggests that the marginal notes are integral to the poem, we have retained them as part of the main text in this edition.
The visual effect of this marginal listing is striking, as it sets out in a clear sequence the virtuous steps that the didactic poem details. George Herbert’s pattern poems in The Temple (1633) are salient examples of giving language “visual and sacred significance”, and they would have been well known to Pulter. See “The Altar,” “Easter wings” and “The Church-floore” (Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 89-94, 143-149, 244). The last of these closely parallels this emblem; as we show in our Curation, “Blessed Steps”, Herbert aligns each step up “the gentle [rise]” to the quire with a specific virtue, visualizing these steps in the poem’s layout to aid his didactic preoccupation. Pulter similarly uses what Leah Marcus calls “visual punning”, a technique used by Herbert, which shows the poet “building words into a sacred game for the glory of his heavenly father” (Childhood and Cultural Despair [Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978], 110). Pulter therefore maintains her use of “naked” emblems while employing a visual representation, via the listing, of the steps she will “ascend” (Wilcox 110; Eardley 28).
In this emblem, Pulter explicitly addresses her children, engaging in a modified version of the invitation poem as she solicits them to learn and practice the sequential stages of virtue which must be followed to ascend God’s path to Heaven. (For more on Pulter’s use of the invitation genre, see note for line 1.) Combining Christian religion with classical mythology, Pulter draws on God and Aletheia, the Greek goddess of truth, as her guides along the path of virtue. The invitational aspects of this poem grant her a sense of authority, as she utilizes both her poetic and motherly status to enhance the moral didacticism of the emblem. This feminized rhetoric of instruction also draws on the ‘mother’s legacy’ genre, which was a popular genre women utilised to creative private, often posthumous, communication with their children. See Elizabeth Joscelin’s poetry in Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mothers’ Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin, and Elizabeth Richardson, ed. by Sylvia Brown [Stroud: Sutton, 1999]. Evidently conscious of her feminized position as a mother and woman writer, Pulter conveys a linear sense of moral education in her second emblem, as she finds guidance in “God’s word” and the hand of Aletheia, and then imparts this to her children. She becomes a mediator to guide them on the difficult path of virtue to avoid any “tumbl[ing] down” into Hell (line 29).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
2Come my Dear Children come and Happy bee
Come, my dear children, come and happy be;
Critical Note
Pulter plays with the conventions of the invitation poem, a genre which features the trope of rural retreat, or the act of drawing away from a political landscape into a space of devout meditation; see Pulter’s pastoral poems The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38] in which she implores her children to retreat with her to Broadfield, her country estate. In this emblem, Pulter’s invitation, while addressed to her children, diverges in that it asks them to “come” and be happy in faith. This edifying imperative is given by Christ in Matthew 11.28, as he implores “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (KJV). George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) also gives similar religious invitations: “The Invitation,” for instance, uses a refrain to solicit “all” (sinners) to “Come … hither” at communion (Helen Wilcox, ed., The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 625 n.1).
Come, my dear children
, come and happy be;
2
Even as I follow Christ Soe ffollow mee
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
3
Eight of your Number finiſhed have their Story
Gloss Note
Presumably this was written when eight of Pulter’s fifteen children had died; Pulter often uses the word “story” as a synonym for “life.”
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
Critical Note
Pulter references her eight children who have passed away. In Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], Pulter refers to her son John as being her fifteenth child, although Eardley only finds records of fourteen, suggesting either the parish registers are incomplete, the other child was baptized elsewhere, or Pulter included a miscarriage. Pulter’s children, in order of death, were: Mary (d.1631); Hester (1630-2); William (1634-9); Charles (d. 1640); Elizabeth (1641-2); Jane (1625-45); Penelope (1633-55); James (1627-59); Edward (1638-65); Ann (1635-66); Mary (d. 1674); John (1648-77); Arthur (1636-80); Margaret (1629-86) (Alice Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 41-42). This would therefore suggest this poem was written either after the death of Penelope in 1655, or James in 1659, depending on when the missing fifteenth child was born and died.
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
4
And now their Souls doe Shine in endles Glory
And now their souls do shine in endless glory.
And now their souls do shine in endless glory;
5
Then by these Bleſſed Steps let us Aſſend
Then by these blesséd steps let us ascend
Then by these
Critical Note
The principal image in this emblem is invoked here. Pulter expands on her first emblem’s image of “mount[ing]” God’s throne via his direction, using Emblem 2 as a figurative and visual representation of the virtuous steps which will, as her didactic message insists, lead us to “glory”. See Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] for a similar discussion of this theme; see also George Herbert’s poetry, which utilizes this trope of blessed steps and which possibly influenced not only Pulter’s thematic concerns, but the visualisation of the virtuous ladder via the marginal notations (see Headnote). Herbert’s The Temple is organised in a tripartite structure: “The Church-porch”, “The Church”, and “The Church Militant”. The architectonic nature of the collection evokes the site of a spiritual temple (symbolising God) and the process of entering it via certain steps; Herbert’s God is “Thy bounteous Lord”, providing “choise of paths” to which “no by-wayes” should be taken (“The Church-porch”, lines 13-14).
blessed steps
let us ascend
6
Unto that Joy that
Physical Note
darker ink on “n,” final “r,” and (possibly) medial “r” suggests “er’e” corrected to “ne’er”; “n” and final “r” in different hand from main scribe
ner’er
ſhall have end
Unto that joy that never shall have end.
Unto that joy that
Physical Note
“n” and “r” appear darker and “v” also appears to have been rewritten, possibly over “r”. This suggests that “e’re” was amended to “never".
never
shall have end.
Aletheia
Aletheia
Aletheia
7
ffirst let Gods Word Your Sole Director bee
Physical Note
Beginning with this line, twelve personified virtues are numbered and listed in the left margin in this order: Humility, Patience, Temperance, Chastity, Prudence, Just[ice], Contentation, Constancy, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity (which appears as the annotation for “Love”). Pulter’s ordering and selection seem to be her own design.
First
, let
Critical Note
In the margin is written “Aletheia” (the Greek personification of Truth), which glosses “God’s word” and thus fuses classical and Christian traditions. The “Truth” that directs the spiritual journey is biblical scripture but this phrase might refer to the representation of Christ as language. See John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
God’s word
your sole director be,
Physical Note
"Aletheia" written in left-hand margin in scribal hand
First
,
Critical Note
Written in the margin in the scribal hand is “Aletheia”, referring to the Greek goddess of truth. While Aletheia is not directly referenced until line 21, this marginal notation suggests a fusion of classical mythology with Christian religion, as Pulter aligns “God’s word” with the truth characterised by the classical goddess. See Aletheia’s Pearl [Poem 32], which gives an account of the speaker’s relationship with the personified figure of truth as Aletheia. In that poem, the speaker seeks to emphasise the fragility of truth, which she does via the metaphor of the pearl. See also Rachel Speght’s A Dreame, which similarly contains a personified Truth (though not identified explicitly as Aletheia) as guide for the speaker, offering encouragement in her pursuit of education: “Take courage, and be constant in thy course, / Though irksome be the path, which thou must tread” (“Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed”, in The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996], 55, lines 177-8). Elizabeth Melville is another female writer who invokes similar images of Christ as a guide leading the speaker of the poem up steps to heavenly truth: “On stately stepps, most stoutly I ascended. / Without his help I thought to enter there.” (A Godlie Dreame compiled by Elizabeth Melvill, Ladie Culros younger, at the request of a friend [Edinburgh, 1620], stanza 30). Pulter hence draws on a popular didactic invocation of God, often embodied through the value of a personified Truth, as the only guide one needs through life.
let God’s word your sole director be
,
1:st Humility
1st Humility
1st Humility
8
Which Sweetly Leads you to Humilitye
Which sweetly leads you to Humility,
Which sweetly leads you to
Physical Note
Beginning with “Humility”, the twelve virtues which are personified in the emblem are numbered and listed in the left-hand margin alongside the relevant lines of the poem. This marginal listing is written in the scribal hand. See Headnote for discussion.
Humility
,
9
Through whoſe Low Rooft Temple all did goe
Through whose low rooféd temple all did go
Critical Note
Beginning with this line, the emblem goes on to list twelve virtues, seven of which are identifiable as the Christian neo-Stoic virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. Pulter also personifies a further five virtues: Humility, Patience, Chastity, Grace, and Truth. These virtues are listed in the left margin, which has the effect of giving a visual representation of the methodical steps one must follow, figuratively and literally, to reach heaven; see Headnote for further discussion.
Through
whose
Critical Note
Pulter personifies “Humility” as being “low-roofed”, a conventional trope which emphasises modesty and humbleness, in comparison to grand extravagance. Joseph Hall writes of the humble man as “a true Temple of God built with a low roofe” (Characters of Virtues and Vices [1608], 31).This trope also appeared commonly in the country house poems of the 17th century; see Jonson’s To Penshurst, which depicts Robert Sidney’s estate as “not … built to envious show” (Fowler, The Country House Poem [Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994], 53, line 1); see also Marvell’s Upon Appleton House lines 1-72, which constructs Appleton House as a “sober frame” unlike those “columns … [which] so high be raised / To arch the brows that on them gazed” (Fowler 281. 1-8).
low-roofed
Critical Note
note the four main biblical meanings of the word “temple”; (1) the site of Jewish worship in the Old Testament; (2) a symbol of Christ in the New Testament; (3) the Christian Church and God’s dwelling place in the New Testament; and (4) the human body, which itself becomes a temple (Helen Wilcox. The English Poems of George Herbert [New York; Cambridge University Press, 2007], 39-40). Herbert’s The Temple (1633) uses the site of the religious temple, or Church, as a metaphor for God, serving a similar purpose as Pulter does here.
temple
all did go
10
That Worſhip’t Honour, Ethenicks this did know
That worshipped honor:
Gloss Note
heathens, pagans
ethnics
this did know.
That worshiped Honour;
Critical Note
In Pulter’s manuscript, it is difficult to interpret whether this word is spelt “Ethenicks” or “Elhenicks” due to the faintness of the letter that might be “l” or “t” and an ink blotting on the “h”. Alice Eardley (2014) and Knight and Wall (Elemental Edition) have modernised the word to “ethnic”, referring to a non-Christian, non-Jewish person; a heathen (OED 1). In her 2008 thesis, however, Eardley suggests that Pulter means “Hellenics”, which refers to Greek peoples during the period of Ancient Greece (“An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 14 n. 10; OED 1). This interpretation is interesting in comparison to the glossing of “God’s word” as the Greek goddess “Aletheia” in line 7, which would endorse Pulter’s notion that “Hellenics did … know” of the principles such as “Humility” and “Honour” that are linked to God, and thus to Aletheia.
ethnics
this did know.
2:d Patience
2nd Patience
2nd Patience
11
Next patience ffits you for the ffirey
Physical Note
“T” appears written over “S”; subsequent illegible letters appear written over and/or erased
Triall
Next, Patience fits you for the fiery trial;
Next, Patience fits you for
Critical Note
Eardley suggests this is in reference to the “trial in which Christian faith is forged through hardship” (188 n. 15). Given Pulter’s Protestant beliefs, this phrase lends itself to the ideas surrounding martyrdom introduced in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, which recounts counts the trials of Protestant figures who became martyrs during Catholic rule.
the fiery trial
;
12
Noe Goeing further w:thout
Physical Note
“l” appears corrected from imperfectly erased “f”.
Self
deniall
No going further without self-denial.
No going further without self-denial.
3: Temperance
3rd Temperance
3rd Temperance
13
Then Temperance be Sure you doe not Mis
Then, Temperance be sure you do not miss,
Then Temperance be sure you do not miss,
4:th Chastitie
4th Chastity
4th Chastity
14
That Chastities white hand you next may kiſs
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
5:th Prudence
5th Prudence
5th Prudence
15
Then Prudence that all
Physical Note
tilde curled under on left, crossed diagonally at centre
Acco͠ns
doth fforeſee
Then, Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
Then Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
6:th Just
6th Just
6th Just
16
Without Her, Just you canot poſſible bee
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
corrected from “possible” in the manuscript
possibly
be.
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
MS = possible
possibly
be.
7:th Contentation
7th Contentation
7th Contentation
17
Then bee Content or you your Self delude
Then, be Content, or you yourself delude,
Then be
Gloss Note
Contentation: the state of being content or satisfied (OED)
Content
, or you yourself delude,
8:th Conſtancy 9:th ffortitude
8th Constancy, 9th Fortitude
8th Constancy + 9th Fortitude
18
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “8:th Conſtancy” and, directly below, “9:th ffortitude”
And
Constantly goe on to ffortitude
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
10:th ffaith 11:th “Hope
10th Faith, 11th Hope
10th Faith + 11th Hope
19
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “10:th ffaith” and, directly below, “11:th “Hope”
By
ffaith and Hope wee then Shall mount above
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
Critical Note
In the Bible, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are addressed together by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13. He identifies that, while they are “three [virtues] that last forever”, it is Love that is “the greatest of them all”, because there is no limit to “its faith, its hope, and its endurance” (New English Bible 13: 7-13). Here, Love is not identified as a human Virtue, but instead with the Divine himself; see 1 John 4:8, “God is Love”. Pulter assures us it is “by Faith and Hope” we can reach “eternal Love”.
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
12:th Charitie
12th Charity
12th Charity
20
Into the Boſome of Eternall Love
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
21
Thy Hand dear Alithea least I miſs one Round
Gloss Note
Give me thy hand
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one
Gloss Note
here a step, but generally a link in a chain; the passage of time in cyclical periods; route, course, or circuit habitually used
round
;
Gloss Note
Pulter directly addresses Aletheia, the goddess of truth, to guide her methodically through each step so she does not “miss one”. See note to line 7.
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one round;
22
Who Skips but one Precipitates to Ground
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls suddenly or violently down
precipitates
to ground.
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls, plunges; descends steeply or vertically (OED 2b). Pulter is contrasting the fate of those who do not religiously follow each godly step with the image of herself and her children carefully “ascend[ing]” these steps of virtue (line 5).
precipitates
to ground.
23
Theſe were Got up, but yet you See they ffell
Gloss Note
the people who skipped necessary stages or steps
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
Gloss Note
those who ambitiously skip the necessary steps Pulter has outlined
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
24
Into thoſe Senſuall Wayes which leads to Hell
Into those
Gloss Note
involving enjoyment derived from the senses
sensual
ways, which leads to Hell.
Into those
Gloss Note
involving gratification of the senses; relating to physical (especially sexual) urges or desires and not the intellect or spirit (OED 1)
sensual
ways which
Physical Note
MS = “leads”
lead
to Hell.
Some

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25
Some that theſe Steps too Tedious are doe Say
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
26
Therefore they Climeber up a nearer way
Therefore they
Gloss Note
obsolete form of “clamber”: to climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to climb with difficulty and effort
climber
up a
Gloss Note
more direct, immediate, or unimpeded
nearer
way,
Therefore they
Physical Note
MS = “Climeber”
clamber
up a nearer way,
27
Leaving ffair Truth and her Celestiall Train
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
28
Beeing guided by the Spirit as they ffain
Being guided by the
Gloss Note
in Christianity, the Holy Spirit
Spirit
as
Critical Note
“they” refers to those who are taking shortcuts, and being guided by the Holy Spirit only intermittently, as they are inclined or disposed. Given that “fain” might also imply its homophone “feign” (meaning “to shirk or avoid a duty; dissemble; or believe erroneously”), the line might also suggest that the non-virtuous deceptively imagine their errors to be divinely directed.
they fain
.
Being guided by the spirit as they
Critical Note
obligated; inclined or disposed to (OED 2b, 3a); also could imply the homophone “feign”, meaning to shirk or to avoid one’s duty by false pretense; or to believe erroneously (OED 13a, 4b)
fain
.
29
But See my Children how they Tumble Down
But see, my children, how they tumble down
But see, my children, how they tumble down,
30
And for their own Chimera loſe a Crown
And for their own
Gloss Note
unreal creature of the imagination, a term derived from the fabled fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology, who had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail
chimera
lose a crown.
And for their own
Gloss Note
in Greek mythology, a fabled fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Milton draws on this creature in his description of Hell and the “Abominable, unutterable” monsters that inhabit it (Paradise Lost, 2.624-628)
chimera
lose a crown.
31
Let Grace and Truth then guid us in our Story
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
32
By theſe degrees wee Shall ariſe to Glory
By these
Gloss Note
steps in an ascent or descent; steps or rungs of a ladder; stages in a process. See also Pulter’s View But This Flower (Emblem 40) [Poem 105]: “Dust is but four degrees removed from glory.”
degrees
we shall arise to glory.
By these degrees we
Critical Note
Pulter’s conclusion to this poem resonates with the conclusion of Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67]: “Then by his steps I’ll mount his glorious throne”. The change from first pronoun “I’ll” to second pronoun “we”, observes the role Pulter decides to take on as teacher and mediator, while also highlighting her children as the specific audience of her emblems. Hence, it serves to emphasizes the didactic message which the prefatory pair of emblems introduce, as the godly steps of virtue become an extended metaphor for the moral trajectory the collection of emblems embarks on.
shall arise to glory
.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts). All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

 Headnote

Pulter’s second emblem completes what can be read as a prefatory pair. The image of godly steps established in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] is pursued, as Pulter invokes a figurative sequence of steps via a list of twelve virtues, suggesting that, by following them exactly, one will achieve everlasting happiness. These steps are not only described in the poem, they are also outlined in the left-hand margin, and the presentation of this list in the manuscript deserves attention: the notes are written in the scribal hand, suggesting they are part of the original text, and they are carefully numbered. Because this suggests that the marginal notes are integral to the poem, we have retained them as part of the main text in this edition.
The visual effect of this marginal listing is striking, as it sets out in a clear sequence the virtuous steps that the didactic poem details. George Herbert’s pattern poems in The Temple (1633) are salient examples of giving language “visual and sacred significance”, and they would have been well known to Pulter. See “The Altar,” “Easter wings” and “The Church-floore” (Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 89-94, 143-149, 244). The last of these closely parallels this emblem; as we show in our Curation, “Blessed Steps”, Herbert aligns each step up “the gentle [rise]” to the quire with a specific virtue, visualizing these steps in the poem’s layout to aid his didactic preoccupation. Pulter similarly uses what Leah Marcus calls “visual punning”, a technique used by Herbert, which shows the poet “building words into a sacred game for the glory of his heavenly father” (Childhood and Cultural Despair [Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978], 110). Pulter therefore maintains her use of “naked” emblems while employing a visual representation, via the listing, of the steps she will “ascend” (Wilcox 110; Eardley 28).
In this emblem, Pulter explicitly addresses her children, engaging in a modified version of the invitation poem as she solicits them to learn and practice the sequential stages of virtue which must be followed to ascend God’s path to Heaven. (For more on Pulter’s use of the invitation genre, see note for line 1.) Combining Christian religion with classical mythology, Pulter draws on God and Aletheia, the Greek goddess of truth, as her guides along the path of virtue. The invitational aspects of this poem grant her a sense of authority, as she utilizes both her poetic and motherly status to enhance the moral didacticism of the emblem. This feminized rhetoric of instruction also draws on the ‘mother’s legacy’ genre, which was a popular genre women utilised to creative private, often posthumous, communication with their children. See Elizabeth Joscelin’s poetry in Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mothers’ Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin, and Elizabeth Richardson, ed. by Sylvia Brown [Stroud: Sutton, 1999]. Evidently conscious of her feminized position as a mother and woman writer, Pulter conveys a linear sense of moral education in her second emblem, as she finds guidance in “God’s word” and the hand of Aletheia, and then imparts this to her children. She becomes a mediator to guide them on the difficult path of virtue to avoid any “tumbl[ing] down” into Hell (line 29).
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter plays with the conventions of the invitation poem, a genre which features the trope of rural retreat, or the act of drawing away from a political landscape into a space of devout meditation; see Pulter’s pastoral poems The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38] in which she implores her children to retreat with her to Broadfield, her country estate. In this emblem, Pulter’s invitation, while addressed to her children, diverges in that it asks them to “come” and be happy in faith. This edifying imperative is given by Christ in Matthew 11.28, as he implores “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (KJV). George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) also gives similar religious invitations: “The Invitation,” for instance, uses a refrain to solicit “all” (sinners) to “Come … hither” at communion (Helen Wilcox, ed., The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 625 n.1).
Line number 3

 Critical note

Pulter references her eight children who have passed away. In Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], Pulter refers to her son John as being her fifteenth child, although Eardley only finds records of fourteen, suggesting either the parish registers are incomplete, the other child was baptized elsewhere, or Pulter included a miscarriage. Pulter’s children, in order of death, were: Mary (d.1631); Hester (1630-2); William (1634-9); Charles (d. 1640); Elizabeth (1641-2); Jane (1625-45); Penelope (1633-55); James (1627-59); Edward (1638-65); Ann (1635-66); Mary (d. 1674); John (1648-77); Arthur (1636-80); Margaret (1629-86) (Alice Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 41-42). This would therefore suggest this poem was written either after the death of Penelope in 1655, or James in 1659, depending on when the missing fifteenth child was born and died.
Line number 5

 Critical note

The principal image in this emblem is invoked here. Pulter expands on her first emblem’s image of “mount[ing]” God’s throne via his direction, using Emblem 2 as a figurative and visual representation of the virtuous steps which will, as her didactic message insists, lead us to “glory”. See Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] for a similar discussion of this theme; see also George Herbert’s poetry, which utilizes this trope of blessed steps and which possibly influenced not only Pulter’s thematic concerns, but the visualisation of the virtuous ladder via the marginal notations (see Headnote). Herbert’s The Temple is organised in a tripartite structure: “The Church-porch”, “The Church”, and “The Church Militant”. The architectonic nature of the collection evokes the site of a spiritual temple (symbolising God) and the process of entering it via certain steps; Herbert’s God is “Thy bounteous Lord”, providing “choise of paths” to which “no by-wayes” should be taken (“The Church-porch”, lines 13-14).
Line number 6

 Physical note

“n” and “r” appear darker and “v” also appears to have been rewritten, possibly over “r”. This suggests that “e’re” was amended to “never".
Line number 7

 Physical note

"Aletheia" written in left-hand margin in scribal hand
Line number 7

 Critical note

Written in the margin in the scribal hand is “Aletheia”, referring to the Greek goddess of truth. While Aletheia is not directly referenced until line 21, this marginal notation suggests a fusion of classical mythology with Christian religion, as Pulter aligns “God’s word” with the truth characterised by the classical goddess. See Aletheia’s Pearl [Poem 32], which gives an account of the speaker’s relationship with the personified figure of truth as Aletheia. In that poem, the speaker seeks to emphasise the fragility of truth, which she does via the metaphor of the pearl. See also Rachel Speght’s A Dreame, which similarly contains a personified Truth (though not identified explicitly as Aletheia) as guide for the speaker, offering encouragement in her pursuit of education: “Take courage, and be constant in thy course, / Though irksome be the path, which thou must tread” (“Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed”, in The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996], 55, lines 177-8). Elizabeth Melville is another female writer who invokes similar images of Christ as a guide leading the speaker of the poem up steps to heavenly truth: “On stately stepps, most stoutly I ascended. / Without his help I thought to enter there.” (A Godlie Dreame compiled by Elizabeth Melvill, Ladie Culros younger, at the request of a friend [Edinburgh, 1620], stanza 30). Pulter hence draws on a popular didactic invocation of God, often embodied through the value of a personified Truth, as the only guide one needs through life.
Line number 8

 Physical note

Beginning with “Humility”, the twelve virtues which are personified in the emblem are numbered and listed in the left-hand margin alongside the relevant lines of the poem. This marginal listing is written in the scribal hand. See Headnote for discussion.
Line number 9

 Critical note

Beginning with this line, the emblem goes on to list twelve virtues, seven of which are identifiable as the Christian neo-Stoic virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. Pulter also personifies a further five virtues: Humility, Patience, Chastity, Grace, and Truth. These virtues are listed in the left margin, which has the effect of giving a visual representation of the methodical steps one must follow, figuratively and literally, to reach heaven; see Headnote for further discussion.
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter personifies “Humility” as being “low-roofed”, a conventional trope which emphasises modesty and humbleness, in comparison to grand extravagance. Joseph Hall writes of the humble man as “a true Temple of God built with a low roofe” (Characters of Virtues and Vices [1608], 31).This trope also appeared commonly in the country house poems of the 17th century; see Jonson’s To Penshurst, which depicts Robert Sidney’s estate as “not … built to envious show” (Fowler, The Country House Poem [Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994], 53, line 1); see also Marvell’s Upon Appleton House lines 1-72, which constructs Appleton House as a “sober frame” unlike those “columns … [which] so high be raised / To arch the brows that on them gazed” (Fowler 281. 1-8).
Line number 9

 Critical note

note the four main biblical meanings of the word “temple”; (1) the site of Jewish worship in the Old Testament; (2) a symbol of Christ in the New Testament; (3) the Christian Church and God’s dwelling place in the New Testament; and (4) the human body, which itself becomes a temple (Helen Wilcox. The English Poems of George Herbert [New York; Cambridge University Press, 2007], 39-40). Herbert’s The Temple (1633) uses the site of the religious temple, or Church, as a metaphor for God, serving a similar purpose as Pulter does here.
Line number 10

 Critical note

In Pulter’s manuscript, it is difficult to interpret whether this word is spelt “Ethenicks” or “Elhenicks” due to the faintness of the letter that might be “l” or “t” and an ink blotting on the “h”. Alice Eardley (2014) and Knight and Wall (Elemental Edition) have modernised the word to “ethnic”, referring to a non-Christian, non-Jewish person; a heathen (OED 1). In her 2008 thesis, however, Eardley suggests that Pulter means “Hellenics”, which refers to Greek peoples during the period of Ancient Greece (“An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 14 n. 10; OED 1). This interpretation is interesting in comparison to the glossing of “God’s word” as the Greek goddess “Aletheia” in line 7, which would endorse Pulter’s notion that “Hellenics did … know” of the principles such as “Humility” and “Honour” that are linked to God, and thus to Aletheia.
Line number 11

 Critical note

Eardley suggests this is in reference to the “trial in which Christian faith is forged through hardship” (188 n. 15). Given Pulter’s Protestant beliefs, this phrase lends itself to the ideas surrounding martyrdom introduced in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, which recounts counts the trials of Protestant figures who became martyrs during Catholic rule.
Line number 16

 Physical note

MS = possible
Line number 17

 Gloss note

Contentation: the state of being content or satisfied (OED)
Line number 19

 Critical note

In the Bible, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are addressed together by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13. He identifies that, while they are “three [virtues] that last forever”, it is Love that is “the greatest of them all”, because there is no limit to “its faith, its hope, and its endurance” (New English Bible 13: 7-13). Here, Love is not identified as a human Virtue, but instead with the Divine himself; see 1 John 4:8, “God is Love”. Pulter assures us it is “by Faith and Hope” we can reach “eternal Love”.
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Pulter directly addresses Aletheia, the goddess of truth, to guide her methodically through each step so she does not “miss one”. See note to line 7.
Line number 22

 Gloss note

falls, plunges; descends steeply or vertically (OED 2b). Pulter is contrasting the fate of those who do not religiously follow each godly step with the image of herself and her children carefully “ascend[ing]” these steps of virtue (line 5).
Line number 23

 Gloss note

those who ambitiously skip the necessary steps Pulter has outlined
Line number 24

 Gloss note

involving gratification of the senses; relating to physical (especially sexual) urges or desires and not the intellect or spirit (OED 1)
Line number 24

 Physical note

MS = “leads”
Line number 26

 Physical note

MS = “Climeber”
Line number 28

 Critical note

obligated; inclined or disposed to (OED 2b, 3a); also could imply the homophone “feign”, meaning to shirk or to avoid one’s duty by false pretense; or to believe erroneously (OED 13a, 4b)
Line number 30

 Gloss note

in Greek mythology, a fabled fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Milton draws on this creature in his description of Hell and the “Abominable, unutterable” monsters that inhabit it (Paradise Lost, 2.624-628)
Line number 32

 Critical note

Pulter’s conclusion to this poem resonates with the conclusion of Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67]: “Then by his steps I’ll mount his glorious throne”. The change from first pronoun “I’ll” to second pronoun “we”, observes the role Pulter decides to take on as teacher and mediator, while also highlighting her children as the specific audience of her emblems. Hence, it serves to emphasizes the didactic message which the prefatory pair of emblems introduce, as the godly steps of virtue become an extended metaphor for the moral trajectory the collection of emblems embarks on.
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[Emblem 2]
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
Come, My Dear Children
(Emblem 2)
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts). All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Building on the last lines of the previous emblem, which portray the speaker’s spiritual ascent up a staircase, Pulter imagines her children joining her in the arduous and difficult climb toward the shining heaven where her eight dead children now reside. In this poem, the speaker adopts the role of a spiritual teacher and revises the invitation genre, which Pulter uses elsewhere in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38]. She invites her children to learn the sequence of stages in which twelve personified virtues should be mastered as part of an ascent toward God. The guide for this journey is scripture, personified as the Greek figure Aletheia (or Truth), who lends a steady hand to keep the aspiring Christian from plunging headlong backwards (or to Hell). The speaker’s authority strikingly inheres in her position as a Christ-like mediator of Truth: “Even as I follow Christ, so follow me,” she states. In the manuscript, the didacticism of the poem is enhanced by a numbered list of the virtues inscribed in the left margin.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Pulter’s second emblem completes what can be read as a prefatory pair. The image of godly steps established in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] is pursued, as Pulter invokes a figurative sequence of steps via a list of twelve virtues, suggesting that, by following them exactly, one will achieve everlasting happiness. These steps are not only described in the poem, they are also outlined in the left-hand margin, and the presentation of this list in the manuscript deserves attention: the notes are written in the scribal hand, suggesting they are part of the original text, and they are carefully numbered. Because this suggests that the marginal notes are integral to the poem, we have retained them as part of the main text in this edition.
The visual effect of this marginal listing is striking, as it sets out in a clear sequence the virtuous steps that the didactic poem details. George Herbert’s pattern poems in The Temple (1633) are salient examples of giving language “visual and sacred significance”, and they would have been well known to Pulter. See “The Altar,” “Easter wings” and “The Church-floore” (Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 89-94, 143-149, 244). The last of these closely parallels this emblem; as we show in our Curation, “Blessed Steps”, Herbert aligns each step up “the gentle [rise]” to the quire with a specific virtue, visualizing these steps in the poem’s layout to aid his didactic preoccupation. Pulter similarly uses what Leah Marcus calls “visual punning”, a technique used by Herbert, which shows the poet “building words into a sacred game for the glory of his heavenly father” (Childhood and Cultural Despair [Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978], 110). Pulter therefore maintains her use of “naked” emblems while employing a visual representation, via the listing, of the steps she will “ascend” (Wilcox 110; Eardley 28).
In this emblem, Pulter explicitly addresses her children, engaging in a modified version of the invitation poem as she solicits them to learn and practice the sequential stages of virtue which must be followed to ascend God’s path to Heaven. (For more on Pulter’s use of the invitation genre, see note for line 1.) Combining Christian religion with classical mythology, Pulter draws on God and Aletheia, the Greek goddess of truth, as her guides along the path of virtue. The invitational aspects of this poem grant her a sense of authority, as she utilizes both her poetic and motherly status to enhance the moral didacticism of the emblem. This feminized rhetoric of instruction also draws on the ‘mother’s legacy’ genre, which was a popular genre women utilised to creative private, often posthumous, communication with their children. See Elizabeth Joscelin’s poetry in Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mothers’ Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin, and Elizabeth Richardson, ed. by Sylvia Brown [Stroud: Sutton, 1999]. Evidently conscious of her feminized position as a mother and woman writer, Pulter conveys a linear sense of moral education in her second emblem, as she finds guidance in “God’s word” and the hand of Aletheia, and then imparts this to her children. She becomes a mediator to guide them on the difficult path of virtue to avoid any “tumbl[ing] down” into Hell (line 29).


— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
1
2Come my Dear Children come and Happy bee
Come, my dear children, come and happy be;
Critical Note
Pulter plays with the conventions of the invitation poem, a genre which features the trope of rural retreat, or the act of drawing away from a political landscape into a space of devout meditation; see Pulter’s pastoral poems The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38] in which she implores her children to retreat with her to Broadfield, her country estate. In this emblem, Pulter’s invitation, while addressed to her children, diverges in that it asks them to “come” and be happy in faith. This edifying imperative is given by Christ in Matthew 11.28, as he implores “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (KJV). George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) also gives similar religious invitations: “The Invitation,” for instance, uses a refrain to solicit “all” (sinners) to “Come … hither” at communion (Helen Wilcox, ed., The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 625 n.1).
Come, my dear children
, come and happy be;
2
Even as I follow Christ Soe ffollow mee
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
Even as I follow Christ, so follow me.
3
Eight of your Number finiſhed have their Story
Gloss Note
Presumably this was written when eight of Pulter’s fifteen children had died; Pulter often uses the word “story” as a synonym for “life.”
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
Critical Note
Pulter references her eight children who have passed away. In Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], Pulter refers to her son John as being her fifteenth child, although Eardley only finds records of fourteen, suggesting either the parish registers are incomplete, the other child was baptized elsewhere, or Pulter included a miscarriage. Pulter’s children, in order of death, were: Mary (d.1631); Hester (1630-2); William (1634-9); Charles (d. 1640); Elizabeth (1641-2); Jane (1625-45); Penelope (1633-55); James (1627-59); Edward (1638-65); Ann (1635-66); Mary (d. 1674); John (1648-77); Arthur (1636-80); Margaret (1629-86) (Alice Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 41-42). This would therefore suggest this poem was written either after the death of Penelope in 1655, or James in 1659, depending on when the missing fifteenth child was born and died.
Eight of your number finished have their story
,
4
And now their Souls doe Shine in endles Glory
And now their souls do shine in endless glory.
And now their souls do shine in endless glory;
5
Then by these Bleſſed Steps let us Aſſend
Then by these blesséd steps let us ascend
Then by these
Critical Note
The principal image in this emblem is invoked here. Pulter expands on her first emblem’s image of “mount[ing]” God’s throne via his direction, using Emblem 2 as a figurative and visual representation of the virtuous steps which will, as her didactic message insists, lead us to “glory”. See Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] for a similar discussion of this theme; see also George Herbert’s poetry, which utilizes this trope of blessed steps and which possibly influenced not only Pulter’s thematic concerns, but the visualisation of the virtuous ladder via the marginal notations (see Headnote). Herbert’s The Temple is organised in a tripartite structure: “The Church-porch”, “The Church”, and “The Church Militant”. The architectonic nature of the collection evokes the site of a spiritual temple (symbolising God) and the process of entering it via certain steps; Herbert’s God is “Thy bounteous Lord”, providing “choise of paths” to which “no by-wayes” should be taken (“The Church-porch”, lines 13-14).
blessed steps
let us ascend
6
Unto that Joy that
Physical Note
darker ink on “n,” final “r,” and (possibly) medial “r” suggests “er’e” corrected to “ne’er”; “n” and final “r” in different hand from main scribe
ner’er
ſhall have end
Unto that joy that never shall have end.
Unto that joy that
Physical Note
“n” and “r” appear darker and “v” also appears to have been rewritten, possibly over “r”. This suggests that “e’re” was amended to “never".
never
shall have end.
Aletheia
Aletheia
Aletheia
7
ffirst let Gods Word Your Sole Director bee
Physical Note
Beginning with this line, twelve personified virtues are numbered and listed in the left margin in this order: Humility, Patience, Temperance, Chastity, Prudence, Just[ice], Contentation, Constancy, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity (which appears as the annotation for “Love”). Pulter’s ordering and selection seem to be her own design.
First
, let
Critical Note
In the margin is written “Aletheia” (the Greek personification of Truth), which glosses “God’s word” and thus fuses classical and Christian traditions. The “Truth” that directs the spiritual journey is biblical scripture but this phrase might refer to the representation of Christ as language. See John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
God’s word
your sole director be,
Physical Note
"Aletheia" written in left-hand margin in scribal hand
First
,
Critical Note
Written in the margin in the scribal hand is “Aletheia”, referring to the Greek goddess of truth. While Aletheia is not directly referenced until line 21, this marginal notation suggests a fusion of classical mythology with Christian religion, as Pulter aligns “God’s word” with the truth characterised by the classical goddess. See Aletheia’s Pearl [Poem 32], which gives an account of the speaker’s relationship with the personified figure of truth as Aletheia. In that poem, the speaker seeks to emphasise the fragility of truth, which she does via the metaphor of the pearl. See also Rachel Speght’s A Dreame, which similarly contains a personified Truth (though not identified explicitly as Aletheia) as guide for the speaker, offering encouragement in her pursuit of education: “Take courage, and be constant in thy course, / Though irksome be the path, which thou must tread” (“Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed”, in The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996], 55, lines 177-8). Elizabeth Melville is another female writer who invokes similar images of Christ as a guide leading the speaker of the poem up steps to heavenly truth: “On stately stepps, most stoutly I ascended. / Without his help I thought to enter there.” (A Godlie Dreame compiled by Elizabeth Melvill, Ladie Culros younger, at the request of a friend [Edinburgh, 1620], stanza 30). Pulter hence draws on a popular didactic invocation of God, often embodied through the value of a personified Truth, as the only guide one needs through life.
let God’s word your sole director be
,
1:st Humility
1st Humility
1st Humility
8
Which Sweetly Leads you to Humilitye
Which sweetly leads you to Humility,
Which sweetly leads you to
Physical Note
Beginning with “Humility”, the twelve virtues which are personified in the emblem are numbered and listed in the left-hand margin alongside the relevant lines of the poem. This marginal listing is written in the scribal hand. See Headnote for discussion.
Humility
,
9
Through whoſe Low Rooft Temple all did goe
Through whose low rooféd temple all did go
Critical Note
Beginning with this line, the emblem goes on to list twelve virtues, seven of which are identifiable as the Christian neo-Stoic virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. Pulter also personifies a further five virtues: Humility, Patience, Chastity, Grace, and Truth. These virtues are listed in the left margin, which has the effect of giving a visual representation of the methodical steps one must follow, figuratively and literally, to reach heaven; see Headnote for further discussion.
Through
whose
Critical Note
Pulter personifies “Humility” as being “low-roofed”, a conventional trope which emphasises modesty and humbleness, in comparison to grand extravagance. Joseph Hall writes of the humble man as “a true Temple of God built with a low roofe” (Characters of Virtues and Vices [1608], 31).This trope also appeared commonly in the country house poems of the 17th century; see Jonson’s To Penshurst, which depicts Robert Sidney’s estate as “not … built to envious show” (Fowler, The Country House Poem [Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994], 53, line 1); see also Marvell’s Upon Appleton House lines 1-72, which constructs Appleton House as a “sober frame” unlike those “columns … [which] so high be raised / To arch the brows that on them gazed” (Fowler 281. 1-8).
low-roofed
Critical Note
note the four main biblical meanings of the word “temple”; (1) the site of Jewish worship in the Old Testament; (2) a symbol of Christ in the New Testament; (3) the Christian Church and God’s dwelling place in the New Testament; and (4) the human body, which itself becomes a temple (Helen Wilcox. The English Poems of George Herbert [New York; Cambridge University Press, 2007], 39-40). Herbert’s The Temple (1633) uses the site of the religious temple, or Church, as a metaphor for God, serving a similar purpose as Pulter does here.
temple
all did go
10
That Worſhip’t Honour, Ethenicks this did know
That worshipped honor:
Gloss Note
heathens, pagans
ethnics
this did know.
That worshiped Honour;
Critical Note
In Pulter’s manuscript, it is difficult to interpret whether this word is spelt “Ethenicks” or “Elhenicks” due to the faintness of the letter that might be “l” or “t” and an ink blotting on the “h”. Alice Eardley (2014) and Knight and Wall (Elemental Edition) have modernised the word to “ethnic”, referring to a non-Christian, non-Jewish person; a heathen (OED 1). In her 2008 thesis, however, Eardley suggests that Pulter means “Hellenics”, which refers to Greek peoples during the period of Ancient Greece (“An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 14 n. 10; OED 1). This interpretation is interesting in comparison to the glossing of “God’s word” as the Greek goddess “Aletheia” in line 7, which would endorse Pulter’s notion that “Hellenics did … know” of the principles such as “Humility” and “Honour” that are linked to God, and thus to Aletheia.
ethnics
this did know.
2:d Patience
2nd Patience
2nd Patience
11
Next patience ffits you for the ffirey
Physical Note
“T” appears written over “S”; subsequent illegible letters appear written over and/or erased
Triall
Next, Patience fits you for the fiery trial;
Next, Patience fits you for
Critical Note
Eardley suggests this is in reference to the “trial in which Christian faith is forged through hardship” (188 n. 15). Given Pulter’s Protestant beliefs, this phrase lends itself to the ideas surrounding martyrdom introduced in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, which recounts counts the trials of Protestant figures who became martyrs during Catholic rule.
the fiery trial
;
12
Noe Goeing further w:thout
Physical Note
“l” appears corrected from imperfectly erased “f”.
Self
deniall
No going further without self-denial.
No going further without self-denial.
3: Temperance
3rd Temperance
3rd Temperance
13
Then Temperance be Sure you doe not Mis
Then, Temperance be sure you do not miss,
Then Temperance be sure you do not miss,
4:th Chastitie
4th Chastity
4th Chastity
14
That Chastities white hand you next may kiſs
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
That Chastity’s white hand you next may kiss.
5:th Prudence
5th Prudence
5th Prudence
15
Then Prudence that all
Physical Note
tilde curled under on left, crossed diagonally at centre
Acco͠ns
doth fforeſee
Then, Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
Then Prudence that all actions doth foresee;
6:th Just
6th Just
6th Just
16
Without Her, Just you canot poſſible bee
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
corrected from “possible” in the manuscript
possibly
be.
Without her, Just you cannot
Physical Note
MS = possible
possibly
be.
7:th Contentation
7th Contentation
7th Contentation
17
Then bee Content or you your Self delude
Then, be Content, or you yourself delude,
Then be
Gloss Note
Contentation: the state of being content or satisfied (OED)
Content
, or you yourself delude,
8:th Conſtancy 9:th ffortitude
8th Constancy, 9th Fortitude
8th Constancy + 9th Fortitude
18
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “8:th Conſtancy” and, directly below, “9:th ffortitude”
And
Constantly goe on to ffortitude
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
And Constantly go on to Fortitude.
10:th ffaith 11:th “Hope
10th Faith, 11th Hope
10th Faith + 11th Hope
19
Physical Note
in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “10:th ffaith” and, directly below, “11:th “Hope”
By
ffaith and Hope wee then Shall mount above
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
Critical Note
In the Bible, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are addressed together by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13. He identifies that, while they are “three [virtues] that last forever”, it is Love that is “the greatest of them all”, because there is no limit to “its faith, its hope, and its endurance” (New English Bible 13: 7-13). Here, Love is not identified as a human Virtue, but instead with the Divine himself; see 1 John 4:8, “God is Love”. Pulter assures us it is “by Faith and Hope” we can reach “eternal Love”.
By Faith and Hope we then shall mount above
12:th Charitie
12th Charity
12th Charity
20
Into the Boſome of Eternall Love
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
Into the bosom of eternal Love.
21
Thy Hand dear Alithea least I miſs one Round
Gloss Note
Give me thy hand
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one
Gloss Note
here a step, but generally a link in a chain; the passage of time in cyclical periods; route, course, or circuit habitually used
round
;
Gloss Note
Pulter directly addresses Aletheia, the goddess of truth, to guide her methodically through each step so she does not “miss one”. See note to line 7.
Thy hand
, dear Aletheia, lest I miss one round;
22
Who Skips but one Precipitates to Ground
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls suddenly or violently down
precipitates
to ground.
Who skips but one
Gloss Note
falls, plunges; descends steeply or vertically (OED 2b). Pulter is contrasting the fate of those who do not religiously follow each godly step with the image of herself and her children carefully “ascend[ing]” these steps of virtue (line 5).
precipitates
to ground.
23
Theſe were Got up, but yet you See they ffell
Gloss Note
the people who skipped necessary stages or steps
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
Gloss Note
those who ambitiously skip the necessary steps Pulter has outlined
These
were got up, but yet you see they fell
24
Into thoſe Senſuall Wayes which leads to Hell
Into those
Gloss Note
involving enjoyment derived from the senses
sensual
ways, which leads to Hell.
Into those
Gloss Note
involving gratification of the senses; relating to physical (especially sexual) urges or desires and not the intellect or spirit (OED 1)
sensual
ways which
Physical Note
MS = “leads”
lead
to Hell.
Some

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25
Some that theſe Steps too Tedious are doe Say
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
Some that these steps too tedious are do say;
26
Therefore they Climeber up a nearer way
Therefore they
Gloss Note
obsolete form of “clamber”: to climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to climb with difficulty and effort
climber
up a
Gloss Note
more direct, immediate, or unimpeded
nearer
way,
Therefore they
Physical Note
MS = “Climeber”
clamber
up a nearer way,
27
Leaving ffair Truth and her Celestiall Train
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
Leaving fair Truth and her celestial train,
28
Beeing guided by the Spirit as they ffain
Being guided by the
Gloss Note
in Christianity, the Holy Spirit
Spirit
as
Critical Note
“they” refers to those who are taking shortcuts, and being guided by the Holy Spirit only intermittently, as they are inclined or disposed. Given that “fain” might also imply its homophone “feign” (meaning “to shirk or avoid a duty; dissemble; or believe erroneously”), the line might also suggest that the non-virtuous deceptively imagine their errors to be divinely directed.
they fain
.
Being guided by the spirit as they
Critical Note
obligated; inclined or disposed to (OED 2b, 3a); also could imply the homophone “feign”, meaning to shirk or to avoid one’s duty by false pretense; or to believe erroneously (OED 13a, 4b)
fain
.
29
But See my Children how they Tumble Down
But see, my children, how they tumble down
But see, my children, how they tumble down,
30
And for their own Chimera loſe a Crown
And for their own
Gloss Note
unreal creature of the imagination, a term derived from the fabled fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology, who had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail
chimera
lose a crown.
And for their own
Gloss Note
in Greek mythology, a fabled fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Milton draws on this creature in his description of Hell and the “Abominable, unutterable” monsters that inhabit it (Paradise Lost, 2.624-628)
chimera
lose a crown.
31
Let Grace and Truth then guid us in our Story
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
Let Grace and Truth then guide us in our story;
32
By theſe degrees wee Shall ariſe to Glory
By these
Gloss Note
steps in an ascent or descent; steps or rungs of a ladder; stages in a process. See also Pulter’s View But This Flower (Emblem 40) [Poem 105]: “Dust is but four degrees removed from glory.”
degrees
we shall arise to glory.
By these degrees we
Critical Note
Pulter’s conclusion to this poem resonates with the conclusion of Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67]: “Then by his steps I’ll mount his glorious throne”. The change from first pronoun “I’ll” to second pronoun “we”, observes the role Pulter decides to take on as teacher and mediator, while also highlighting her children as the specific audience of her emblems. Hence, it serves to emphasizes the didactic message which the prefatory pair of emblems introduce, as the godly steps of virtue become an extended metaphor for the moral trajectory the collection of emblems embarks on.
shall arise to glory
.
curled line
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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

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts). All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Building on the last lines of the previous emblem, which portray the speaker’s spiritual ascent up a staircase, Pulter imagines her children joining her in the arduous and difficult climb toward the shining heaven where her eight dead children now reside. In this poem, the speaker adopts the role of a spiritual teacher and revises the invitation genre, which Pulter uses elsewhere in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38]. She invites her children to learn the sequence of stages in which twelve personified virtues should be mastered as part of an ascent toward God. The guide for this journey is scripture, personified as the Greek figure Aletheia (or Truth), who lends a steady hand to keep the aspiring Christian from plunging headlong backwards (or to Hell). The speaker’s authority strikingly inheres in her position as a Christ-like mediator of Truth: “Even as I follow Christ, so follow me,” she states. In the manuscript, the didacticism of the poem is enhanced by a numbered list of the virtues inscribed in the left margin.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Pulter’s second emblem completes what can be read as a prefatory pair. The image of godly steps established in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] is pursued, as Pulter invokes a figurative sequence of steps via a list of twelve virtues, suggesting that, by following them exactly, one will achieve everlasting happiness. These steps are not only described in the poem, they are also outlined in the left-hand margin, and the presentation of this list in the manuscript deserves attention: the notes are written in the scribal hand, suggesting they are part of the original text, and they are carefully numbered. Because this suggests that the marginal notes are integral to the poem, we have retained them as part of the main text in this edition.
The visual effect of this marginal listing is striking, as it sets out in a clear sequence the virtuous steps that the didactic poem details. George Herbert’s pattern poems in The Temple (1633) are salient examples of giving language “visual and sacred significance”, and they would have been well known to Pulter. See “The Altar,” “Easter wings” and “The Church-floore” (Wilcox, The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 89-94, 143-149, 244). The last of these closely parallels this emblem; as we show in our Curation, “Blessed Steps”, Herbert aligns each step up “the gentle [rise]” to the quire with a specific virtue, visualizing these steps in the poem’s layout to aid his didactic preoccupation. Pulter similarly uses what Leah Marcus calls “visual punning”, a technique used by Herbert, which shows the poet “building words into a sacred game for the glory of his heavenly father” (Childhood and Cultural Despair [Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1978], 110). Pulter therefore maintains her use of “naked” emblems while employing a visual representation, via the listing, of the steps she will “ascend” (Wilcox 110; Eardley 28).
In this emblem, Pulter explicitly addresses her children, engaging in a modified version of the invitation poem as she solicits them to learn and practice the sequential stages of virtue which must be followed to ascend God’s path to Heaven. (For more on Pulter’s use of the invitation genre, see note for line 1.) Combining Christian religion with classical mythology, Pulter draws on God and Aletheia, the Greek goddess of truth, as her guides along the path of virtue. The invitational aspects of this poem grant her a sense of authority, as she utilizes both her poetic and motherly status to enhance the moral didacticism of the emblem. This feminized rhetoric of instruction also draws on the ‘mother’s legacy’ genre, which was a popular genre women utilised to creative private, often posthumous, communication with their children. See Elizabeth Joscelin’s poetry in Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mothers’ Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin, and Elizabeth Richardson, ed. by Sylvia Brown [Stroud: Sutton, 1999]. Evidently conscious of her feminized position as a mother and woman writer, Pulter conveys a linear sense of moral education in her second emblem, as she finds guidance in “God’s word” and the hand of Aletheia, and then imparts this to her children. She becomes a mediator to guide them on the difficult path of virtue to avoid any “tumbl[ing] down” into Hell (line 29).
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter plays with the conventions of the invitation poem, a genre which features the trope of rural retreat, or the act of drawing away from a political landscape into a space of devout meditation; see Pulter’s pastoral poems The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2] and To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield [Poem 38] in which she implores her children to retreat with her to Broadfield, her country estate. In this emblem, Pulter’s invitation, while addressed to her children, diverges in that it asks them to “come” and be happy in faith. This edifying imperative is given by Christ in Matthew 11.28, as he implores “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (KJV). George Herbert’s The Temple (1633) also gives similar religious invitations: “The Invitation,” for instance, uses a refrain to solicit “all” (sinners) to “Come … hither” at communion (Helen Wilcox, ed., The English Poems of George Herbert [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007], 625 n.1).
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

Presumably this was written when eight of Pulter’s fifteen children had died; Pulter often uses the word “story” as a synonym for “life.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Critical note

Pulter references her eight children who have passed away. In Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], Pulter refers to her son John as being her fifteenth child, although Eardley only finds records of fourteen, suggesting either the parish registers are incomplete, the other child was baptized elsewhere, or Pulter included a miscarriage. Pulter’s children, in order of death, were: Mary (d.1631); Hester (1630-2); William (1634-9); Charles (d. 1640); Elizabeth (1641-2); Jane (1625-45); Penelope (1633-55); James (1627-59); Edward (1638-65); Ann (1635-66); Mary (d. 1674); John (1648-77); Arthur (1636-80); Margaret (1629-86) (Alice Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 41-42). This would therefore suggest this poem was written either after the death of Penelope in 1655, or James in 1659, depending on when the missing fifteenth child was born and died.
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

The principal image in this emblem is invoked here. Pulter expands on her first emblem’s image of “mount[ing]” God’s throne via his direction, using Emblem 2 as a figurative and visual representation of the virtuous steps which will, as her didactic message insists, lead us to “glory”. See Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] for a similar discussion of this theme; see also George Herbert’s poetry, which utilizes this trope of blessed steps and which possibly influenced not only Pulter’s thematic concerns, but the visualisation of the virtuous ladder via the marginal notations (see Headnote). Herbert’s The Temple is organised in a tripartite structure: “The Church-porch”, “The Church”, and “The Church Militant”. The architectonic nature of the collection evokes the site of a spiritual temple (symbolising God) and the process of entering it via certain steps; Herbert’s God is “Thy bounteous Lord”, providing “choise of paths” to which “no by-wayes” should be taken (“The Church-porch”, lines 13-14).
Transcription
Line number 6

 Physical note

darker ink on “n,” final “r,” and (possibly) medial “r” suggests “er’e” corrected to “ne’er”; “n” and final “r” in different hand from main scribe
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Physical note

“n” and “r” appear darker and “v” also appears to have been rewritten, possibly over “r”. This suggests that “e’re” was amended to “never".
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Physical note

Beginning with this line, twelve personified virtues are numbered and listed in the left margin in this order: Humility, Patience, Temperance, Chastity, Prudence, Just[ice], Contentation, Constancy, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, and Charity (which appears as the annotation for “Love”). Pulter’s ordering and selection seem to be her own design.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

In the margin is written “Aletheia” (the Greek personification of Truth), which glosses “God’s word” and thus fuses classical and Christian traditions. The “Truth” that directs the spiritual journey is biblical scripture but this phrase might refer to the representation of Christ as language. See John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Physical note

"Aletheia" written in left-hand margin in scribal hand
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

Written in the margin in the scribal hand is “Aletheia”, referring to the Greek goddess of truth. While Aletheia is not directly referenced until line 21, this marginal notation suggests a fusion of classical mythology with Christian religion, as Pulter aligns “God’s word” with the truth characterised by the classical goddess. See Aletheia’s Pearl [Poem 32], which gives an account of the speaker’s relationship with the personified figure of truth as Aletheia. In that poem, the speaker seeks to emphasise the fragility of truth, which she does via the metaphor of the pearl. See also Rachel Speght’s A Dreame, which similarly contains a personified Truth (though not identified explicitly as Aletheia) as guide for the speaker, offering encouragement in her pursuit of education: “Take courage, and be constant in thy course, / Though irksome be the path, which thou must tread” (“Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed”, in The Polemics and Poems of Rachel Speght, ed. Barbara Kiefer Lewalski [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996], 55, lines 177-8). Elizabeth Melville is another female writer who invokes similar images of Christ as a guide leading the speaker of the poem up steps to heavenly truth: “On stately stepps, most stoutly I ascended. / Without his help I thought to enter there.” (A Godlie Dreame compiled by Elizabeth Melvill, Ladie Culros younger, at the request of a friend [Edinburgh, 1620], stanza 30). Pulter hence draws on a popular didactic invocation of God, often embodied through the value of a personified Truth, as the only guide one needs through life.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Physical note

Beginning with “Humility”, the twelve virtues which are personified in the emblem are numbered and listed in the left-hand margin alongside the relevant lines of the poem. This marginal listing is written in the scribal hand. See Headnote for discussion.
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

Beginning with this line, the emblem goes on to list twelve virtues, seven of which are identifiable as the Christian neo-Stoic virtues of Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. Pulter also personifies a further five virtues: Humility, Patience, Chastity, Grace, and Truth. These virtues are listed in the left margin, which has the effect of giving a visual representation of the methodical steps one must follow, figuratively and literally, to reach heaven; see Headnote for further discussion.
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter personifies “Humility” as being “low-roofed”, a conventional trope which emphasises modesty and humbleness, in comparison to grand extravagance. Joseph Hall writes of the humble man as “a true Temple of God built with a low roofe” (Characters of Virtues and Vices [1608], 31).This trope also appeared commonly in the country house poems of the 17th century; see Jonson’s To Penshurst, which depicts Robert Sidney’s estate as “not … built to envious show” (Fowler, The Country House Poem [Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994], 53, line 1); see also Marvell’s Upon Appleton House lines 1-72, which constructs Appleton House as a “sober frame” unlike those “columns … [which] so high be raised / To arch the brows that on them gazed” (Fowler 281. 1-8).
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

note the four main biblical meanings of the word “temple”; (1) the site of Jewish worship in the Old Testament; (2) a symbol of Christ in the New Testament; (3) the Christian Church and God’s dwelling place in the New Testament; and (4) the human body, which itself becomes a temple (Helen Wilcox. The English Poems of George Herbert [New York; Cambridge University Press, 2007], 39-40). Herbert’s The Temple (1633) uses the site of the religious temple, or Church, as a metaphor for God, serving a similar purpose as Pulter does here.
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

heathens, pagans
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

In Pulter’s manuscript, it is difficult to interpret whether this word is spelt “Ethenicks” or “Elhenicks” due to the faintness of the letter that might be “l” or “t” and an ink blotting on the “h”. Alice Eardley (2014) and Knight and Wall (Elemental Edition) have modernised the word to “ethnic”, referring to a non-Christian, non-Jewish person; a heathen (OED 1). In her 2008 thesis, however, Eardley suggests that Pulter means “Hellenics”, which refers to Greek peoples during the period of Ancient Greece (“An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 14 n. 10; OED 1). This interpretation is interesting in comparison to the glossing of “God’s word” as the Greek goddess “Aletheia” in line 7, which would endorse Pulter’s notion that “Hellenics did … know” of the principles such as “Humility” and “Honour” that are linked to God, and thus to Aletheia.
Transcription
Line number 11

 Physical note

“T” appears written over “S”; subsequent illegible letters appear written over and/or erased
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Critical note

Eardley suggests this is in reference to the “trial in which Christian faith is forged through hardship” (188 n. 15). Given Pulter’s Protestant beliefs, this phrase lends itself to the ideas surrounding martyrdom introduced in John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, which recounts counts the trials of Protestant figures who became martyrs during Catholic rule.
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“l” appears corrected from imperfectly erased “f”.
Transcription
Line number 15

 Physical note

tilde curled under on left, crossed diagonally at centre
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Physical note

corrected from “possible” in the manuscript
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Physical note

MS = possible
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

Contentation: the state of being content or satisfied (OED)
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “8:th Conſtancy” and, directly below, “9:th ffortitude”
Transcription
Line number 19

 Physical note

in left margin, two words enclosed by bracket to right: “10:th ffaith” and, directly below, “11:th “Hope”
Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Critical note

In the Bible, the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are addressed together by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13. He identifies that, while they are “three [virtues] that last forever”, it is Love that is “the greatest of them all”, because there is no limit to “its faith, its hope, and its endurance” (New English Bible 13: 7-13). Here, Love is not identified as a human Virtue, but instead with the Divine himself; see 1 John 4:8, “God is Love”. Pulter assures us it is “by Faith and Hope” we can reach “eternal Love”.
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Give me thy hand
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

here a step, but generally a link in a chain; the passage of time in cyclical periods; route, course, or circuit habitually used
Amplified Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Pulter directly addresses Aletheia, the goddess of truth, to guide her methodically through each step so she does not “miss one”. See note to line 7.
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

falls suddenly or violently down
Amplified Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

falls, plunges; descends steeply or vertically (OED 2b). Pulter is contrasting the fate of those who do not religiously follow each godly step with the image of herself and her children carefully “ascend[ing]” these steps of virtue (line 5).
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

the people who skipped necessary stages or steps
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

those who ambitiously skip the necessary steps Pulter has outlined
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

involving enjoyment derived from the senses
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

involving gratification of the senses; relating to physical (especially sexual) urges or desires and not the intellect or spirit (OED 1)
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Physical note

MS = “leads”
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

obsolete form of “clamber”: to climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to climb with difficulty and effort
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

more direct, immediate, or unimpeded
Amplified Edition
Line number 26

 Physical note

MS = “Climeber”
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

in Christianity, the Holy Spirit
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Critical note

“they” refers to those who are taking shortcuts, and being guided by the Holy Spirit only intermittently, as they are inclined or disposed. Given that “fain” might also imply its homophone “feign” (meaning “to shirk or avoid a duty; dissemble; or believe erroneously”), the line might also suggest that the non-virtuous deceptively imagine their errors to be divinely directed.
Amplified Edition
Line number 28

 Critical note

obligated; inclined or disposed to (OED 2b, 3a); also could imply the homophone “feign”, meaning to shirk or to avoid one’s duty by false pretense; or to believe erroneously (OED 13a, 4b)
Elemental Edition
Line number 30

 Gloss note

unreal creature of the imagination, a term derived from the fabled fire-breathing monster of Greek mythology, who had a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail
Amplified Edition
Line number 30

 Gloss note

in Greek mythology, a fabled fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Milton draws on this creature in his description of Hell and the “Abominable, unutterable” monsters that inhabit it (Paradise Lost, 2.624-628)
Elemental Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

steps in an ascent or descent; steps or rungs of a ladder; stages in a process. See also Pulter’s View But This Flower (Emblem 40) [Poem 105]: “Dust is but four degrees removed from glory.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 32

 Critical note

Pulter’s conclusion to this poem resonates with the conclusion of Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67]: “Then by his steps I’ll mount his glorious throne”. The change from first pronoun “I’ll” to second pronoun “we”, observes the role Pulter decides to take on as teacher and mediator, while also highlighting her children as the specific audience of her emblems. Hence, it serves to emphasizes the didactic message which the prefatory pair of emblems introduce, as the godly steps of virtue become an extended metaphor for the moral trajectory the collection of emblems embarks on.
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