How Long Shall My Dejected Soul

X (Close panel) Sources

How Long Shall My Dejected Soul

Poem 24

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 Lara Dodds.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

Index of Poems

(loading…)
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 4

 Physical note

blot over bottom of “t”
Line number 17

 Physical note

earlier “v” altered to “w” in darker ink and different hand from main scribe
Line number 24

 Physical note

cancelled “n” partly erased.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Untitled]
How Long Shall My Dejected Soul
[Untitled]
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
I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Servile vassal or heavenly monarch? The decision is God’s, the speaker states, in this poem that formally toys with creating and dissolving constraints. Pulter’s complaint about her spiritual abjection is described conventionally, as she confesses to being mere dust bound to a world of sin and pain. But the political vocabulary that she offers in muted form in Poem 20 (a verse in which the speaker similarly implores God for a heavenly crown) appears more overtly here. Unenfranchised, unfree, and in servitude, the speaker professes her readiness to “reign” with God in heaven. As in Poem 20, she offers the only gift to God that she feels she has at her disposal: the power to create songs of praise, which, in eternity, might take some new and unknown form. This is one of Pulter’s most intricate and experimental poems formally: one of only five in tercets, it uses rhyme to yoke stanzas into four pairs, each stanza concluding with a short dimeter line that visually stages contraction and deterioration on the page. This complex structure is offset, however, by extensive enjambment, which creates a breathless rush and a proliferation of clauses that refuses expected separations and terminations.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem describes a speaker who longs to be released from the “darkness” of her earthly situation. As in several other poems, the contrast between the speaker’s current and desired state is figured by an opposition between night and day and/or darkness and light. Whereas in some poems (e.g., To Aurora[1] [Poem 22]) the speaker addresses Aurora as a mediating figure between light and darkness, this poem enjoins God directly and offers her own verse as recompense for His decision to free her. She promises to praise God for eternity in “unknown lays,” a complex phrase that draws attention to the experimental form of this poem (8 stanzas of tercets; see also O, My Afflicted Solitary Soul [Poem 29] and Dear God, from Thy High Throne Look Down [Poem 63]) and opens meta-poetic questions about how Pulter imagined the nature of poetry and the audience for her work.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
How long Shall my dejected Soul,
How long shall my
Critical Note
downcast, lowered in estate, condition, or character; abased, humbled. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme and meter: eight stanzas of three lines, the first two in iambic tetrameter, the third in dimeter. The rhyme scheme, aabccb, creates a pairing of stanzas.
dejected
soul
How long shall my dejected soul,
2
(Deare God) in dust and Darknes Rowl,
(Dear God) in dust and darkness
Gloss Note
move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; also, to trust in God
roll
,
(Dear God) in
Critical Note
Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (AV) Here and in line 10 Pulter’s speaker refers to her body as dust that encloses her soul, in allusion to the description in Genesis 2 of the creation of the man (Hebrew: ha-adam) from dust (Hebrew: adamah).
dust
and darkness roll,
3
Without one Raie
Without one ray
Without one ray
4
Of thy eternall Love and
Physical Note
blot over bottom of “t”
Light
:
Of thy eternal love and light
Of thy eternal love and light
5
To Conquer theſe Sad Shades of Night.
To conquer these sad shades of night?
To conquer these sad shades of night?
6
That endles Day
Gloss Note
so that
That
endless day
That endless day
7
In my forſaken Soule may Shine,
In my
Gloss Note
abandoned
forsaken
soul may shine,
In my forsaken soul may shine,
8
The Haleluja Shall bee thine;
The
Gloss Note
song of divine praise
hallelujah
shall be Thine.
The
Gloss Note
A song of praise to God: “Praise (ye) the Lord (Jah or Jehovah).” See OED.
hallelujah
shall be thine;
9
Oh then look down
O then, look down
Oh then look down
10
Upon a Ruin’d heap of dust,
Upon a ruined heap of
Critical Note
elemental physical matter. See Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
dust
,
Upon a ruined heap of dust,
11
Slave to thoſe Tyrants, Death & Lust;
Slave to those tyrants, Death and Lust;
Slave to those tyrants,
Critical Note
James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (AV)
Death and Lust
;
12
My hopes oh Crown.
My hopes, O
Critical Note
reward, empower (with both political and religious meanings). See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
crown
.
My hopes, Oh
Critical Note
1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (AV)
crown
.
13
My God vouchſafe to infranchiſe mee,
My God,
Gloss Note
grant graciously or condescendingly
vouchsafe
t’
Gloss Note
to set free; release from debt of confinement (a meaning activated in the next line’s reference to “vassal”); invest with rights; admit to membership, with privileges
enfranchise
me;
My God vouchsafe to enfranchise me.
14
Let mee noe more A vaſſall bee
Let me no more a
Gloss Note
feudal slave; abject person
vassal
be
Let me no more a vassal be
15
To Sin and pain:
To sin and pain.
To sin and pain.
16
These Vanities I faine would leave,
These vanities I
Gloss Note
eagerly
fain
would leave;
These vanities I fain would leave,
17
Oh then my
Physical Note
earlier “v” altered to “w” in darker ink and different hand from main scribe
wery
Soul receive,
O then, my
Physical Note
or “very”; in the manuscript, “very” is altered to “wery”
weary
soul receive,
Oh then my weary soul receive,
18
With thee to Reign:
With Thee to reign
With Thee to reign
in

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
19
In those Celestiall Joyes aboue,
In those celestial joys above,
In those celestial joys above,
20
Involv’d with Glory, Life and Love,
Gloss Note
entangled, enveloped
Involved
with glory, life and love,
Involved with glory, life and love,
21
And then thy praiſe:
And then Thy praise
And then Thy praise
22
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
23
To all eternity I’le Sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing
24
Physical Note
cancelled “n” partly erased.
Innunknown
Layes.
In unknown
Gloss Note
short songs
lays
.
In
Critical Note
“unknown” may have the sense of not known or comprehended (OED adj. 1.); something unfamiliar, strange, or unprecedented (OED adj. 2.c); or not famous, obscure (OED adj. 2.d.). Pulter’s speaker promises to sing “unknown lays” (i.e. songs) in recompense for God’s glory; these imagined songs are analogous to, but also, because unrealized and unrealizable, distinct from, the poems collected in her manuscript.
unknown lays
.
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

Servile vassal or heavenly monarch? The decision is God’s, the speaker states, in this poem that formally toys with creating and dissolving constraints. Pulter’s complaint about her spiritual abjection is described conventionally, as she confesses to being mere dust bound to a world of sin and pain. But the political vocabulary that she offers in muted form in Poem 20 (a verse in which the speaker similarly implores God for a heavenly crown) appears more overtly here. Unenfranchised, unfree, and in servitude, the speaker professes her readiness to “reign” with God in heaven. As in Poem 20, she offers the only gift to God that she feels she has at her disposal: the power to create songs of praise, which, in eternity, might take some new and unknown form. This is one of Pulter’s most intricate and experimental poems formally: one of only five in tercets, it uses rhyme to yoke stanzas into four pairs, each stanza concluding with a short dimeter line that visually stages contraction and deterioration on the page. This complex structure is offset, however, by extensive enjambment, which creates a breathless rush and a proliferation of clauses that refuses expected separations and terminations.
Line number 1

 Critical note

downcast, lowered in estate, condition, or character; abased, humbled. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme and meter: eight stanzas of three lines, the first two in iambic tetrameter, the third in dimeter. The rhyme scheme, aabccb, creates a pairing of stanzas.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; also, to trust in God
Line number 6

 Gloss note

so that
Line number 7

 Gloss note

abandoned
Line number 8

 Gloss note

song of divine praise
Line number 10

 Critical note

elemental physical matter. See Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Line number 12

 Critical note

reward, empower (with both political and religious meanings). See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Line number 13

 Gloss note

grant graciously or condescendingly
Line number 13

 Gloss note

to set free; release from debt of confinement (a meaning activated in the next line’s reference to “vassal”); invest with rights; admit to membership, with privileges
Line number 14

 Gloss note

feudal slave; abject person
Line number 16

 Gloss note

eagerly
Line number 17

 Physical note

or “very”; in the manuscript, “very” is altered to “wery”
Line number 20

 Gloss note

entangled, enveloped
Line number 24

 Gloss note

short songs
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Untitled]
How Long Shall My Dejected Soul
[Untitled]
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
I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Servile vassal or heavenly monarch? The decision is God’s, the speaker states, in this poem that formally toys with creating and dissolving constraints. Pulter’s complaint about her spiritual abjection is described conventionally, as she confesses to being mere dust bound to a world of sin and pain. But the political vocabulary that she offers in muted form in Poem 20 (a verse in which the speaker similarly implores God for a heavenly crown) appears more overtly here. Unenfranchised, unfree, and in servitude, the speaker professes her readiness to “reign” with God in heaven. As in Poem 20, she offers the only gift to God that she feels she has at her disposal: the power to create songs of praise, which, in eternity, might take some new and unknown form. This is one of Pulter’s most intricate and experimental poems formally: one of only five in tercets, it uses rhyme to yoke stanzas into four pairs, each stanza concluding with a short dimeter line that visually stages contraction and deterioration on the page. This complex structure is offset, however, by extensive enjambment, which creates a breathless rush and a proliferation of clauses that refuses expected separations and terminations.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem describes a speaker who longs to be released from the “darkness” of her earthly situation. As in several other poems, the contrast between the speaker’s current and desired state is figured by an opposition between night and day and/or darkness and light. Whereas in some poems (e.g., To Aurora[1] [Poem 22]) the speaker addresses Aurora as a mediating figure between light and darkness, this poem enjoins God directly and offers her own verse as recompense for His decision to free her. She promises to praise God for eternity in “unknown lays,” a complex phrase that draws attention to the experimental form of this poem (8 stanzas of tercets; see also O, My Afflicted Solitary Soul [Poem 29] and Dear God, from Thy High Throne Look Down [Poem 63]) and opens meta-poetic questions about how Pulter imagined the nature of poetry and the audience for her work.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
How long Shall my dejected Soul,
How long shall my
Critical Note
downcast, lowered in estate, condition, or character; abased, humbled. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme and meter: eight stanzas of three lines, the first two in iambic tetrameter, the third in dimeter. The rhyme scheme, aabccb, creates a pairing of stanzas.
dejected
soul
How long shall my dejected soul,
2
(Deare God) in dust and Darknes Rowl,
(Dear God) in dust and darkness
Gloss Note
move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; also, to trust in God
roll
,
(Dear God) in
Critical Note
Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (AV) Here and in line 10 Pulter’s speaker refers to her body as dust that encloses her soul, in allusion to the description in Genesis 2 of the creation of the man (Hebrew: ha-adam) from dust (Hebrew: adamah).
dust
and darkness roll,
3
Without one Raie
Without one ray
Without one ray
4
Of thy eternall Love and
Physical Note
blot over bottom of “t”
Light
:
Of thy eternal love and light
Of thy eternal love and light
5
To Conquer theſe Sad Shades of Night.
To conquer these sad shades of night?
To conquer these sad shades of night?
6
That endles Day
Gloss Note
so that
That
endless day
That endless day
7
In my forſaken Soule may Shine,
In my
Gloss Note
abandoned
forsaken
soul may shine,
In my forsaken soul may shine,
8
The Haleluja Shall bee thine;
The
Gloss Note
song of divine praise
hallelujah
shall be Thine.
The
Gloss Note
A song of praise to God: “Praise (ye) the Lord (Jah or Jehovah).” See OED.
hallelujah
shall be thine;
9
Oh then look down
O then, look down
Oh then look down
10
Upon a Ruin’d heap of dust,
Upon a ruined heap of
Critical Note
elemental physical matter. See Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
dust
,
Upon a ruined heap of dust,
11
Slave to thoſe Tyrants, Death & Lust;
Slave to those tyrants, Death and Lust;
Slave to those tyrants,
Critical Note
James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (AV)
Death and Lust
;
12
My hopes oh Crown.
My hopes, O
Critical Note
reward, empower (with both political and religious meanings). See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
crown
.
My hopes, Oh
Critical Note
1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (AV)
crown
.
13
My God vouchſafe to infranchiſe mee,
My God,
Gloss Note
grant graciously or condescendingly
vouchsafe
t’
Gloss Note
to set free; release from debt of confinement (a meaning activated in the next line’s reference to “vassal”); invest with rights; admit to membership, with privileges
enfranchise
me;
My God vouchsafe to enfranchise me.
14
Let mee noe more A vaſſall bee
Let me no more a
Gloss Note
feudal slave; abject person
vassal
be
Let me no more a vassal be
15
To Sin and pain:
To sin and pain.
To sin and pain.
16
These Vanities I faine would leave,
These vanities I
Gloss Note
eagerly
fain
would leave;
These vanities I fain would leave,
17
Oh then my
Physical Note
earlier “v” altered to “w” in darker ink and different hand from main scribe
wery
Soul receive,
O then, my
Physical Note
or “very”; in the manuscript, “very” is altered to “wery”
weary
soul receive,
Oh then my weary soul receive,
18
With thee to Reign:
With Thee to reign
With Thee to reign
in

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
19
In those Celestiall Joyes aboue,
In those celestial joys above,
In those celestial joys above,
20
Involv’d with Glory, Life and Love,
Gloss Note
entangled, enveloped
Involved
with glory, life and love,
Involved with glory, life and love,
21
And then thy praiſe:
And then Thy praise
And then Thy praise
22
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
23
To all eternity I’le Sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing
24
Physical Note
cancelled “n” partly erased.
Innunknown
Layes.
In unknown
Gloss Note
short songs
lays
.
In
Critical Note
“unknown” may have the sense of not known or comprehended (OED adj. 1.); something unfamiliar, strange, or unprecedented (OED adj. 2.c); or not famous, obscure (OED adj. 2.d.). Pulter’s speaker promises to sing “unknown lays” (i.e. songs) in recompense for God’s glory; these imagined songs are analogous to, but also, because unrealized and unrealizable, distinct from, the poems collected in her manuscript.
unknown lays
.
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

 Headnote

This poem describes a speaker who longs to be released from the “darkness” of her earthly situation. As in several other poems, the contrast between the speaker’s current and desired state is figured by an opposition between night and day and/or darkness and light. Whereas in some poems (e.g., To Aurora[1] [Poem 22]) the speaker addresses Aurora as a mediating figure between light and darkness, this poem enjoins God directly and offers her own verse as recompense for His decision to free her. She promises to praise God for eternity in “unknown lays,” a complex phrase that draws attention to the experimental form of this poem (8 stanzas of tercets; see also O, My Afflicted Solitary Soul [Poem 29] and Dear God, from Thy High Throne Look Down [Poem 63]) and opens meta-poetic questions about how Pulter imagined the nature of poetry and the audience for her work.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (AV) Here and in line 10 Pulter’s speaker refers to her body as dust that encloses her soul, in allusion to the description in Genesis 2 of the creation of the man (Hebrew: ha-adam) from dust (Hebrew: adamah).
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A song of praise to God: “Praise (ye) the Lord (Jah or Jehovah).” See OED.
Line number 11

 Critical note

James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (AV)
Line number 12

 Critical note

1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (AV)
Line number 24

 Critical note

“unknown” may have the sense of not known or comprehended (OED adj. 1.); something unfamiliar, strange, or unprecedented (OED adj. 2.c); or not famous, obscure (OED adj. 2.d.). Pulter’s speaker promises to sing “unknown lays” (i.e. songs) in recompense for God’s glory; these imagined songs are analogous to, but also, because unrealized and unrealizable, distinct from, the poems collected in her manuscript.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Untitled]
How Long Shall My Dejected Soul
[Untitled]
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.

— Lara Dodds
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.

— Lara Dodds
I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Lara Dodds
Servile vassal or heavenly monarch? The decision is God’s, the speaker states, in this poem that formally toys with creating and dissolving constraints. Pulter’s complaint about her spiritual abjection is described conventionally, as she confesses to being mere dust bound to a world of sin and pain. But the political vocabulary that she offers in muted form in Poem 20 (a verse in which the speaker similarly implores God for a heavenly crown) appears more overtly here. Unenfranchised, unfree, and in servitude, the speaker professes her readiness to “reign” with God in heaven. As in Poem 20, she offers the only gift to God that she feels she has at her disposal: the power to create songs of praise, which, in eternity, might take some new and unknown form. This is one of Pulter’s most intricate and experimental poems formally: one of only five in tercets, it uses rhyme to yoke stanzas into four pairs, each stanza concluding with a short dimeter line that visually stages contraction and deterioration on the page. This complex structure is offset, however, by extensive enjambment, which creates a breathless rush and a proliferation of clauses that refuses expected separations and terminations.

— Lara Dodds
This poem describes a speaker who longs to be released from the “darkness” of her earthly situation. As in several other poems, the contrast between the speaker’s current and desired state is figured by an opposition between night and day and/or darkness and light. Whereas in some poems (e.g., To Aurora[1] [Poem 22]) the speaker addresses Aurora as a mediating figure between light and darkness, this poem enjoins God directly and offers her own verse as recompense for His decision to free her. She promises to praise God for eternity in “unknown lays,” a complex phrase that draws attention to the experimental form of this poem (8 stanzas of tercets; see also O, My Afflicted Solitary Soul [Poem 29] and Dear God, from Thy High Throne Look Down [Poem 63]) and opens meta-poetic questions about how Pulter imagined the nature of poetry and the audience for her work.

— Lara Dodds
1
How long Shall my dejected Soul,
How long shall my
Critical Note
downcast, lowered in estate, condition, or character; abased, humbled. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme and meter: eight stanzas of three lines, the first two in iambic tetrameter, the third in dimeter. The rhyme scheme, aabccb, creates a pairing of stanzas.
dejected
soul
How long shall my dejected soul,
2
(Deare God) in dust and Darknes Rowl,
(Dear God) in dust and darkness
Gloss Note
move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; also, to trust in God
roll
,
(Dear God) in
Critical Note
Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (AV) Here and in line 10 Pulter’s speaker refers to her body as dust that encloses her soul, in allusion to the description in Genesis 2 of the creation of the man (Hebrew: ha-adam) from dust (Hebrew: adamah).
dust
and darkness roll,
3
Without one Raie
Without one ray
Without one ray
4
Of thy eternall Love and
Physical Note
blot over bottom of “t”
Light
:
Of thy eternal love and light
Of thy eternal love and light
5
To Conquer theſe Sad Shades of Night.
To conquer these sad shades of night?
To conquer these sad shades of night?
6
That endles Day
Gloss Note
so that
That
endless day
That endless day
7
In my forſaken Soule may Shine,
In my
Gloss Note
abandoned
forsaken
soul may shine,
In my forsaken soul may shine,
8
The Haleluja Shall bee thine;
The
Gloss Note
song of divine praise
hallelujah
shall be Thine.
The
Gloss Note
A song of praise to God: “Praise (ye) the Lord (Jah or Jehovah).” See OED.
hallelujah
shall be thine;
9
Oh then look down
O then, look down
Oh then look down
10
Upon a Ruin’d heap of dust,
Upon a ruined heap of
Critical Note
elemental physical matter. See Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
dust
,
Upon a ruined heap of dust,
11
Slave to thoſe Tyrants, Death & Lust;
Slave to those tyrants, Death and Lust;
Slave to those tyrants,
Critical Note
James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (AV)
Death and Lust
;
12
My hopes oh Crown.
My hopes, O
Critical Note
reward, empower (with both political and religious meanings). See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
crown
.
My hopes, Oh
Critical Note
1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (AV)
crown
.
13
My God vouchſafe to infranchiſe mee,
My God,
Gloss Note
grant graciously or condescendingly
vouchsafe
t’
Gloss Note
to set free; release from debt of confinement (a meaning activated in the next line’s reference to “vassal”); invest with rights; admit to membership, with privileges
enfranchise
me;
My God vouchsafe to enfranchise me.
14
Let mee noe more A vaſſall bee
Let me no more a
Gloss Note
feudal slave; abject person
vassal
be
Let me no more a vassal be
15
To Sin and pain:
To sin and pain.
To sin and pain.
16
These Vanities I faine would leave,
These vanities I
Gloss Note
eagerly
fain
would leave;
These vanities I fain would leave,
17
Oh then my
Physical Note
earlier “v” altered to “w” in darker ink and different hand from main scribe
wery
Soul receive,
O then, my
Physical Note
or “very”; in the manuscript, “very” is altered to “wery”
weary
soul receive,
Oh then my weary soul receive,
18
With thee to Reign:
With Thee to reign
With Thee to reign
in

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
19
In those Celestiall Joyes aboue,
In those celestial joys above,
In those celestial joys above,
20
Involv’d with Glory, Life and Love,
Gloss Note
entangled, enveloped
Involved
with glory, life and love,
Involved with glory, life and love,
21
And then thy praiſe:
And then Thy praise
And then Thy praise
22
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
(My everlasting God and King)
23
To all eternity I’le Sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing,
To all eternity I’ll sing
24
Physical Note
cancelled “n” partly erased.
Innunknown
Layes.
In unknown
Gloss Note
short songs
lays
.
In
Critical Note
“unknown” may have the sense of not known or comprehended (OED adj. 1.); something unfamiliar, strange, or unprecedented (OED adj. 2.c); or not famous, obscure (OED adj. 2.d.). Pulter’s speaker promises to sing “unknown lays” (i.e. songs) in recompense for God’s glory; these imagined songs are analogous to, but also, because unrealized and unrealizable, distinct from, the poems collected in her manuscript.
unknown lays
.
X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Servile vassal or heavenly monarch? The decision is God’s, the speaker states, in this poem that formally toys with creating and dissolving constraints. Pulter’s complaint about her spiritual abjection is described conventionally, as she confesses to being mere dust bound to a world of sin and pain. But the political vocabulary that she offers in muted form in Poem 20 (a verse in which the speaker similarly implores God for a heavenly crown) appears more overtly here. Unenfranchised, unfree, and in servitude, the speaker professes her readiness to “reign” with God in heaven. As in Poem 20, she offers the only gift to God that she feels she has at her disposal: the power to create songs of praise, which, in eternity, might take some new and unknown form. This is one of Pulter’s most intricate and experimental poems formally: one of only five in tercets, it uses rhyme to yoke stanzas into four pairs, each stanza concluding with a short dimeter line that visually stages contraction and deterioration on the page. This complex structure is offset, however, by extensive enjambment, which creates a breathless rush and a proliferation of clauses that refuses expected separations and terminations.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This poem describes a speaker who longs to be released from the “darkness” of her earthly situation. As in several other poems, the contrast between the speaker’s current and desired state is figured by an opposition between night and day and/or darkness and light. Whereas in some poems (e.g., To Aurora[1] [Poem 22]) the speaker addresses Aurora as a mediating figure between light and darkness, this poem enjoins God directly and offers her own verse as recompense for His decision to free her. She promises to praise God for eternity in “unknown lays,” a complex phrase that draws attention to the experimental form of this poem (8 stanzas of tercets; see also O, My Afflicted Solitary Soul [Poem 29] and Dear God, from Thy High Throne Look Down [Poem 63]) and opens meta-poetic questions about how Pulter imagined the nature of poetry and the audience for her work.
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

downcast, lowered in estate, condition, or character; abased, humbled. This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme and meter: eight stanzas of three lines, the first two in iambic tetrameter, the third in dimeter. The rhyme scheme, aabccb, creates a pairing of stanzas.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; also, to trust in God
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (AV) Here and in line 10 Pulter’s speaker refers to her body as dust that encloses her soul, in allusion to the description in Genesis 2 of the creation of the man (Hebrew: ha-adam) from dust (Hebrew: adamah).
Transcription
Line number 4

 Physical note

blot over bottom of “t”
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

so that
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

abandoned
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

song of divine praise
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A song of praise to God: “Praise (ye) the Lord (Jah or Jehovah).” See OED.
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

elemental physical matter. See Genesis 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Critical note

James 1:15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (AV)
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Critical note

reward, empower (with both political and religious meanings). See 1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Critical note

1 Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (AV)
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

grant graciously or condescendingly
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

to set free; release from debt of confinement (a meaning activated in the next line’s reference to “vassal”); invest with rights; admit to membership, with privileges
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

feudal slave; abject person
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

eagerly
Transcription
Line number 17

 Physical note

earlier “v” altered to “w” in darker ink and different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Physical note

or “very”; in the manuscript, “very” is altered to “wery”
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

entangled, enveloped
Transcription
Line number 24

 Physical note

cancelled “n” partly erased.
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

short songs
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Critical note

“unknown” may have the sense of not known or comprehended (OED adj. 1.); something unfamiliar, strange, or unprecedented (OED adj. 2.c); or not famous, obscure (OED adj. 2.d.). Pulter’s speaker promises to sing “unknown lays” (i.e. songs) in recompense for God’s glory; these imagined songs are analogous to, but also, because unrealized and unrealizable, distinct from, the poems collected in her manuscript.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
ManuscriptX (Close panel)
image
ManuscriptX (Close panel)
image