Immense Fount of Truth

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Immense Fount of Truth

Poem 48

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 Elizabeth Scott-Baumann.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 14

 Physical note

Remaining third of page is blank.
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]
Immense Fount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
[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
With an undergraduate and graduate student audience in mind, this poem has been modernised in spelling and punctuation. Where modernisation would affect form, priority has been given to the integrity of the poem’s formal features (so, for instance, verb endings -est and -eth have been retained unmodernised; where the meter requires it, the verb ending -ed is accented, e.g., “Then shall thy blessèd influence”). Nouns have been capitalized only when there is clear personification. The notes provide information essential to understanding the poem, while the Headnote aims to stimulate readers’ own interpretations through suggesting literary or historical contexts, possible influences, comparable poems (by Pulter and by her predecessors and peers) and relevant critical arguments.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Alluding to love sonnets that promise to immortalize a beloved in writing, Pulter, like John Donne, creates a 14-line poem with God as its object of devotion. The speaker cements this association by concluding with a promise to inscribe God in verse that glorifies him not only on earth (as her own poem currently does) but beyond, in some vast and yet unknown eternity. In fact, the speaker’s pleading for an infusion of heavenly light into her soul becomes a type of contract, since it is phrased contingently: if she is “irradiated” with divine spirit, she will be resurrected and able to produce songs that amplify God’s name (a proper name interestingly withheld in this mortal poem). Pulter’s vision of transformation includes an elemental recycling of elements: her body’s dissolution at death converts to ascend what she uniquely and vividly terms “the stairs of revolution,” the restless motions necessary for salvation.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem explores one of Pulter’s key ideas, that life is circular (see “The Circle [1, 2, 3, 4]” (Poems 17, 21, 15, 36); “The Revolution” (Poem 16)). Renewed in death by God, we undergo a “revolution”, a transformation of body and soul. This use of “revolution” is fascinating in a period which saw the word appropriated politically by radicals, parliamentarians, and royalists. On the interconnected ideas, and rhymes, of revolution and dissolution, see also “The Eclipse” (Poem 1), “Universal Dissolution” (Poem 6), “The Revolution” (Poem 16), “My Soul, Why Art Thou Full of Trouble” (Poem 40) and “Why Art Thou Sad at the Approach of Night” (Poem 47). Pulter’s “stairs of revolution” is an unusual phrase and image. She imagines progress towards the Day of Judgment, when souls and bodies are reunited and can join God, as a kind of spiral staircase. Describing the stairs as “of revolution” suggests also an ongoing, or cyclical, transformation. The spiral staircase was already loaded with meanings related both to poetic form and faith. George Herbert used it to represent excessive ornamentation, “Is there in truth no beauty? / Is all good structure in a winding stair?” (“Jordan [1]”). Pulter’s usage is altogether more positive, though, imagining the winding stair as the path to resurrection and union with God. See also Pulter’s emblem poems where she uses the image of “steps” to represent both following in Christ’s footsteps and ascent to heaven (“Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1)” (Poem 67); “Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)” (Poem 68)).
While the poem is in couplets, its fourteen lines allude to sonnet form, and therefore the broader tradition of Petrarchan love poetry. Moreover, the promise of the final lines, to “magnify” the addressee’s name “Beyond the reach of all eternity”, evokes the promise (and boast) of immortality common to earlier sonnet sequences by Spenser and Shakespeare. In Sonnet 55, Shakespeare’s speaker had claimed “So, till the Judgement that yourself arise, / You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.” The beloved lives in “this”, the poem itself. While Shakespeare adopted the idea of the Day of Judgment for his secular love poem, Pulter places this theological concept at the heart of her poem. It is not the self-aggrandising poet who can “magnify” God’s name, but the resurrected believer: immortal, strong and glorious (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Immenſe, ffount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
Immense Fount of truth, life, love, joy, glory:
Critical Note
The syntax of Pulter’s first line nicely emphasizes its meaning: the phrase “Immense Fount of truth” initially seems to be a self-contained epithet for God, yet spills out (like God’s immensity) into a list of what he bestows: truth, life, love, joy, glory.
Immense Fount of truth
, life, love, joy, glory,
2
Irradiate my Soul in her dark Story
Gloss Note
illuminate, brighten spiritually
Irradiate
my soul in her dark
life
story
.
Gloss Note
to shine upon; to illuminate with spiritual light
Irradiate
my soul in her
Pulter refers to her “story” in several poems, and here the adjective “dark” may relate to 1 Corinthians 13.12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
dark story
;
3
Let not the erronious Shades of death and Night
Let not th’erroneous shades of death and night
Let not the
Gloss Note
straying from the proper course; full of error
erroneous
shades of death and night
4
Obſcure thy Love and Glory ffrom my Sight
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
5
Though this my Corps (untill my diſſolution
Though this my corpse (until my dissolution,
Though this my
Gloss Note
body (not necessarily dead, though of course Pulter suggests that here)
corpse
(until my
dissolving, here used metaphorically to mean death. See also Headnote.
dissolution
,
6
And then but by the Stairs of Revolution)
And then
Gloss Note
only
but
by the
Critical Note
in Christianity, the process by which souls will be restored to their bodies and spiritually raised in heaven at the “Second Coming of Christ” (also known as Resurrection Day or the Final Judgment); not usually figured as a “revolution,” with connotations of astronomical cyclical motions and political upheaval
stairs of revolution
)
And then
Gloss Note
only by
but by
the
Critical Note
an unusual image of upward transformation. See also Headnote.
stairs of revolution
)
7
Cannot attain thy Raidient Throne above
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
8
Yet bee thou pleaſed to infuſe thy Love
Yet be Thou pleaséd to infuse Thy love
Yet be Thou pleased to
Gloss Note
pour in, instil
infuse
Thy love
9
And Light unto my ^Sad deſerted Soul
And light unto my sad, deserted soul,
And light unto my sad deserted soul,
10
that in thy endleſs mercy I may Rowl
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
rotate, trust in God
roll
;
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
be enveloped; allow herself to be moved by, perhaps in the sense of a boat’s motion in the sea; rotate; to continue or go on; theologically, to hand over oneself, or a burden, to God.
roll
,
11
And when Death cloſeth up my Mortall eye
And when Death closeth up my mortal eye,
And when death closeth up my mortal eye
12
I then may Live and onely Sinn may die
I then may live and only Sin may die;
I then may live and only sin may die.
13
And then thy Bleſſed name I’le magniefie
And then Thy blessed name I’ll
Gloss Note
glorify, enlarge
magnify
And then Thy blessèd name I’ll magnify
14
Beyond the Reach of all
Physical Note
Remaining third of page is blank.
Eternity
.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
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

Alluding to love sonnets that promise to immortalize a beloved in writing, Pulter, like John Donne, creates a 14-line poem with God as its object of devotion. The speaker cements this association by concluding with a promise to inscribe God in verse that glorifies him not only on earth (as her own poem currently does) but beyond, in some vast and yet unknown eternity. In fact, the speaker’s pleading for an infusion of heavenly light into her soul becomes a type of contract, since it is phrased contingently: if she is “irradiated” with divine spirit, she will be resurrected and able to produce songs that amplify God’s name (a proper name interestingly withheld in this mortal poem). Pulter’s vision of transformation includes an elemental recycling of elements: her body’s dissolution at death converts to ascend what she uniquely and vividly terms “the stairs of revolution,” the restless motions necessary for salvation.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

illuminate, brighten spiritually
Line number 2
life
Line number 6

 Gloss note

only
Line number 6

 Critical note

in Christianity, the process by which souls will be restored to their bodies and spiritually raised in heaven at the “Second Coming of Christ” (also known as Resurrection Day or the Final Judgment); not usually figured as a “revolution,” with connotations of astronomical cyclical motions and political upheaval
Line number 10

 Gloss note

rotate, trust in God
Line number 13

 Gloss note

glorify, enlarge
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]
Immense Fount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
[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
With an undergraduate and graduate student audience in mind, this poem has been modernised in spelling and punctuation. Where modernisation would affect form, priority has been given to the integrity of the poem’s formal features (so, for instance, verb endings -est and -eth have been retained unmodernised; where the meter requires it, the verb ending -ed is accented, e.g., “Then shall thy blessèd influence”). Nouns have been capitalized only when there is clear personification. The notes provide information essential to understanding the poem, while the Headnote aims to stimulate readers’ own interpretations through suggesting literary or historical contexts, possible influences, comparable poems (by Pulter and by her predecessors and peers) and relevant critical arguments.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Alluding to love sonnets that promise to immortalize a beloved in writing, Pulter, like John Donne, creates a 14-line poem with God as its object of devotion. The speaker cements this association by concluding with a promise to inscribe God in verse that glorifies him not only on earth (as her own poem currently does) but beyond, in some vast and yet unknown eternity. In fact, the speaker’s pleading for an infusion of heavenly light into her soul becomes a type of contract, since it is phrased contingently: if she is “irradiated” with divine spirit, she will be resurrected and able to produce songs that amplify God’s name (a proper name interestingly withheld in this mortal poem). Pulter’s vision of transformation includes an elemental recycling of elements: her body’s dissolution at death converts to ascend what she uniquely and vividly terms “the stairs of revolution,” the restless motions necessary for salvation.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem explores one of Pulter’s key ideas, that life is circular (see “The Circle [1, 2, 3, 4]” (Poems 17, 21, 15, 36); “The Revolution” (Poem 16)). Renewed in death by God, we undergo a “revolution”, a transformation of body and soul. This use of “revolution” is fascinating in a period which saw the word appropriated politically by radicals, parliamentarians, and royalists. On the interconnected ideas, and rhymes, of revolution and dissolution, see also “The Eclipse” (Poem 1), “Universal Dissolution” (Poem 6), “The Revolution” (Poem 16), “My Soul, Why Art Thou Full of Trouble” (Poem 40) and “Why Art Thou Sad at the Approach of Night” (Poem 47). Pulter’s “stairs of revolution” is an unusual phrase and image. She imagines progress towards the Day of Judgment, when souls and bodies are reunited and can join God, as a kind of spiral staircase. Describing the stairs as “of revolution” suggests also an ongoing, or cyclical, transformation. The spiral staircase was already loaded with meanings related both to poetic form and faith. George Herbert used it to represent excessive ornamentation, “Is there in truth no beauty? / Is all good structure in a winding stair?” (“Jordan [1]”). Pulter’s usage is altogether more positive, though, imagining the winding stair as the path to resurrection and union with God. See also Pulter’s emblem poems where she uses the image of “steps” to represent both following in Christ’s footsteps and ascent to heaven (“Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1)” (Poem 67); “Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)” (Poem 68)).
While the poem is in couplets, its fourteen lines allude to sonnet form, and therefore the broader tradition of Petrarchan love poetry. Moreover, the promise of the final lines, to “magnify” the addressee’s name “Beyond the reach of all eternity”, evokes the promise (and boast) of immortality common to earlier sonnet sequences by Spenser and Shakespeare. In Sonnet 55, Shakespeare’s speaker had claimed “So, till the Judgement that yourself arise, / You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.” The beloved lives in “this”, the poem itself. While Shakespeare adopted the idea of the Day of Judgment for his secular love poem, Pulter places this theological concept at the heart of her poem. It is not the self-aggrandising poet who can “magnify” God’s name, but the resurrected believer: immortal, strong and glorious (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Immenſe, ffount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
Immense Fount of truth, life, love, joy, glory:
Critical Note
The syntax of Pulter’s first line nicely emphasizes its meaning: the phrase “Immense Fount of truth” initially seems to be a self-contained epithet for God, yet spills out (like God’s immensity) into a list of what he bestows: truth, life, love, joy, glory.
Immense Fount of truth
, life, love, joy, glory,
2
Irradiate my Soul in her dark Story
Gloss Note
illuminate, brighten spiritually
Irradiate
my soul in her dark
life
story
.
Gloss Note
to shine upon; to illuminate with spiritual light
Irradiate
my soul in her
Pulter refers to her “story” in several poems, and here the adjective “dark” may relate to 1 Corinthians 13.12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
dark story
;
3
Let not the erronious Shades of death and Night
Let not th’erroneous shades of death and night
Let not the
Gloss Note
straying from the proper course; full of error
erroneous
shades of death and night
4
Obſcure thy Love and Glory ffrom my Sight
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
5
Though this my Corps (untill my diſſolution
Though this my corpse (until my dissolution,
Though this my
Gloss Note
body (not necessarily dead, though of course Pulter suggests that here)
corpse
(until my
dissolving, here used metaphorically to mean death. See also Headnote.
dissolution
,
6
And then but by the Stairs of Revolution)
And then
Gloss Note
only
but
by the
Critical Note
in Christianity, the process by which souls will be restored to their bodies and spiritually raised in heaven at the “Second Coming of Christ” (also known as Resurrection Day or the Final Judgment); not usually figured as a “revolution,” with connotations of astronomical cyclical motions and political upheaval
stairs of revolution
)
And then
Gloss Note
only by
but by
the
Critical Note
an unusual image of upward transformation. See also Headnote.
stairs of revolution
)
7
Cannot attain thy Raidient Throne above
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
8
Yet bee thou pleaſed to infuſe thy Love
Yet be Thou pleaséd to infuse Thy love
Yet be Thou pleased to
Gloss Note
pour in, instil
infuse
Thy love
9
And Light unto my ^Sad deſerted Soul
And light unto my sad, deserted soul,
And light unto my sad deserted soul,
10
that in thy endleſs mercy I may Rowl
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
rotate, trust in God
roll
;
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
be enveloped; allow herself to be moved by, perhaps in the sense of a boat’s motion in the sea; rotate; to continue or go on; theologically, to hand over oneself, or a burden, to God.
roll
,
11
And when Death cloſeth up my Mortall eye
And when Death closeth up my mortal eye,
And when death closeth up my mortal eye
12
I then may Live and onely Sinn may die
I then may live and only Sin may die;
I then may live and only sin may die.
13
And then thy Bleſſed name I’le magniefie
And then Thy blessed name I’ll
Gloss Note
glorify, enlarge
magnify
And then Thy blessèd name I’ll magnify
14
Beyond the Reach of all
Physical Note
Remaining third of page is blank.
Eternity
.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

With an undergraduate and graduate student audience in mind, this poem has been modernised in spelling and punctuation. Where modernisation would affect form, priority has been given to the integrity of the poem’s formal features (so, for instance, verb endings -est and -eth have been retained unmodernised; where the meter requires it, the verb ending -ed is accented, e.g., “Then shall thy blessèd influence”). Nouns have been capitalized only when there is clear personification. The notes provide information essential to understanding the poem, while the Headnote aims to stimulate readers’ own interpretations through suggesting literary or historical contexts, possible influences, comparable poems (by Pulter and by her predecessors and peers) and relevant critical arguments.

 Headnote

This poem explores one of Pulter’s key ideas, that life is circular (see “The Circle [1, 2, 3, 4]” (Poems 17, 21, 15, 36); “The Revolution” (Poem 16)). Renewed in death by God, we undergo a “revolution”, a transformation of body and soul. This use of “revolution” is fascinating in a period which saw the word appropriated politically by radicals, parliamentarians, and royalists. On the interconnected ideas, and rhymes, of revolution and dissolution, see also “The Eclipse” (Poem 1), “Universal Dissolution” (Poem 6), “The Revolution” (Poem 16), “My Soul, Why Art Thou Full of Trouble” (Poem 40) and “Why Art Thou Sad at the Approach of Night” (Poem 47). Pulter’s “stairs of revolution” is an unusual phrase and image. She imagines progress towards the Day of Judgment, when souls and bodies are reunited and can join God, as a kind of spiral staircase. Describing the stairs as “of revolution” suggests also an ongoing, or cyclical, transformation. The spiral staircase was already loaded with meanings related both to poetic form and faith. George Herbert used it to represent excessive ornamentation, “Is there in truth no beauty? / Is all good structure in a winding stair?” (“Jordan [1]”). Pulter’s usage is altogether more positive, though, imagining the winding stair as the path to resurrection and union with God. See also Pulter’s emblem poems where she uses the image of “steps” to represent both following in Christ’s footsteps and ascent to heaven (“Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1)” (Poem 67); “Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)” (Poem 68)).
While the poem is in couplets, its fourteen lines allude to sonnet form, and therefore the broader tradition of Petrarchan love poetry. Moreover, the promise of the final lines, to “magnify” the addressee’s name “Beyond the reach of all eternity”, evokes the promise (and boast) of immortality common to earlier sonnet sequences by Spenser and Shakespeare. In Sonnet 55, Shakespeare’s speaker had claimed “So, till the Judgement that yourself arise, / You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.” The beloved lives in “this”, the poem itself. While Shakespeare adopted the idea of the Day of Judgment for his secular love poem, Pulter places this theological concept at the heart of her poem. It is not the self-aggrandising poet who can “magnify” God’s name, but the resurrected believer: immortal, strong and glorious (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44).
Line number 1

 Critical note

The syntax of Pulter’s first line nicely emphasizes its meaning: the phrase “Immense Fount of truth” initially seems to be a self-contained epithet for God, yet spills out (like God’s immensity) into a list of what he bestows: truth, life, love, joy, glory.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

to shine upon; to illuminate with spiritual light
Line number 2
Pulter refers to her “story” in several poems, and here the adjective “dark” may relate to 1 Corinthians 13.12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Line number 3

 Gloss note

straying from the proper course; full of error
Line number 5

 Gloss note

body (not necessarily dead, though of course Pulter suggests that here)
Line number 5
dissolving, here used metaphorically to mean death. See also Headnote.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

only by
Line number 6

 Critical note

an unusual image of upward transformation. See also Headnote.
Line number 8

 Gloss note

pour in, instil
Line number 10

 Gloss note

be enveloped; allow herself to be moved by, perhaps in the sense of a boat’s motion in the sea; rotate; to continue or go on; theologically, to hand over oneself, or a burden, to God.
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]
Immense Fount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
[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.

— Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
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.

— Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
With an undergraduate and graduate student audience in mind, this poem has been modernised in spelling and punctuation. Where modernisation would affect form, priority has been given to the integrity of the poem’s formal features (so, for instance, verb endings -est and -eth have been retained unmodernised; where the meter requires it, the verb ending -ed is accented, e.g., “Then shall thy blessèd influence”). Nouns have been capitalized only when there is clear personification. The notes provide information essential to understanding the poem, while the Headnote aims to stimulate readers’ own interpretations through suggesting literary or historical contexts, possible influences, comparable poems (by Pulter and by her predecessors and peers) and relevant critical arguments.

— Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
Alluding to love sonnets that promise to immortalize a beloved in writing, Pulter, like John Donne, creates a 14-line poem with God as its object of devotion. The speaker cements this association by concluding with a promise to inscribe God in verse that glorifies him not only on earth (as her own poem currently does) but beyond, in some vast and yet unknown eternity. In fact, the speaker’s pleading for an infusion of heavenly light into her soul becomes a type of contract, since it is phrased contingently: if she is “irradiated” with divine spirit, she will be resurrected and able to produce songs that amplify God’s name (a proper name interestingly withheld in this mortal poem). Pulter’s vision of transformation includes an elemental recycling of elements: her body’s dissolution at death converts to ascend what she uniquely and vividly terms “the stairs of revolution,” the restless motions necessary for salvation.

— Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
This poem explores one of Pulter’s key ideas, that life is circular (see “The Circle [1, 2, 3, 4]” (Poems 17, 21, 15, 36); “The Revolution” (Poem 16)). Renewed in death by God, we undergo a “revolution”, a transformation of body and soul. This use of “revolution” is fascinating in a period which saw the word appropriated politically by radicals, parliamentarians, and royalists. On the interconnected ideas, and rhymes, of revolution and dissolution, see also “The Eclipse” (Poem 1), “Universal Dissolution” (Poem 6), “The Revolution” (Poem 16), “My Soul, Why Art Thou Full of Trouble” (Poem 40) and “Why Art Thou Sad at the Approach of Night” (Poem 47). Pulter’s “stairs of revolution” is an unusual phrase and image. She imagines progress towards the Day of Judgment, when souls and bodies are reunited and can join God, as a kind of spiral staircase. Describing the stairs as “of revolution” suggests also an ongoing, or cyclical, transformation. The spiral staircase was already loaded with meanings related both to poetic form and faith. George Herbert used it to represent excessive ornamentation, “Is there in truth no beauty? / Is all good structure in a winding stair?” (“Jordan [1]”). Pulter’s usage is altogether more positive, though, imagining the winding stair as the path to resurrection and union with God. See also Pulter’s emblem poems where she uses the image of “steps” to represent both following in Christ’s footsteps and ascent to heaven (“Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1)” (Poem 67); “Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)” (Poem 68)).
While the poem is in couplets, its fourteen lines allude to sonnet form, and therefore the broader tradition of Petrarchan love poetry. Moreover, the promise of the final lines, to “magnify” the addressee’s name “Beyond the reach of all eternity”, evokes the promise (and boast) of immortality common to earlier sonnet sequences by Spenser and Shakespeare. In Sonnet 55, Shakespeare’s speaker had claimed “So, till the Judgement that yourself arise, / You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.” The beloved lives in “this”, the poem itself. While Shakespeare adopted the idea of the Day of Judgment for his secular love poem, Pulter places this theological concept at the heart of her poem. It is not the self-aggrandising poet who can “magnify” God’s name, but the resurrected believer: immortal, strong and glorious (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44).


— Elizabeth Scott-Baumann
1
Immenſe, ffount of Truth, Life, Love, Joy, Glory
Immense Fount of truth, life, love, joy, glory:
Critical Note
The syntax of Pulter’s first line nicely emphasizes its meaning: the phrase “Immense Fount of truth” initially seems to be a self-contained epithet for God, yet spills out (like God’s immensity) into a list of what he bestows: truth, life, love, joy, glory.
Immense Fount of truth
, life, love, joy, glory,
2
Irradiate my Soul in her dark Story
Gloss Note
illuminate, brighten spiritually
Irradiate
my soul in her dark
life
story
.
Gloss Note
to shine upon; to illuminate with spiritual light
Irradiate
my soul in her
Pulter refers to her “story” in several poems, and here the adjective “dark” may relate to 1 Corinthians 13.12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
dark story
;
3
Let not the erronious Shades of death and Night
Let not th’erroneous shades of death and night
Let not the
Gloss Note
straying from the proper course; full of error
erroneous
shades of death and night
4
Obſcure thy Love and Glory ffrom my Sight
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
Obscure Thy love and glory from my sight.
5
Though this my Corps (untill my diſſolution
Though this my corpse (until my dissolution,
Though this my
Gloss Note
body (not necessarily dead, though of course Pulter suggests that here)
corpse
(until my
dissolving, here used metaphorically to mean death. See also Headnote.
dissolution
,
6
And then but by the Stairs of Revolution)
And then
Gloss Note
only
but
by the
Critical Note
in Christianity, the process by which souls will be restored to their bodies and spiritually raised in heaven at the “Second Coming of Christ” (also known as Resurrection Day or the Final Judgment); not usually figured as a “revolution,” with connotations of astronomical cyclical motions and political upheaval
stairs of revolution
)
And then
Gloss Note
only by
but by
the
Critical Note
an unusual image of upward transformation. See also Headnote.
stairs of revolution
)
7
Cannot attain thy Raidient Throne above
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
Cannot attain Thy radiant throne above,
8
Yet bee thou pleaſed to infuſe thy Love
Yet be Thou pleaséd to infuse Thy love
Yet be Thou pleased to
Gloss Note
pour in, instil
infuse
Thy love
9
And Light unto my ^Sad deſerted Soul
And light unto my sad, deserted soul,
And light unto my sad deserted soul,
10
that in thy endleſs mercy I may Rowl
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
rotate, trust in God
roll
;
That in Thy endless mercy I may
Gloss Note
be enveloped; allow herself to be moved by, perhaps in the sense of a boat’s motion in the sea; rotate; to continue or go on; theologically, to hand over oneself, or a burden, to God.
roll
,
11
And when Death cloſeth up my Mortall eye
And when Death closeth up my mortal eye,
And when death closeth up my mortal eye
12
I then may Live and onely Sinn may die
I then may live and only Sin may die;
I then may live and only sin may die.
13
And then thy Bleſſed name I’le magniefie
And then Thy blessed name I’ll
Gloss Note
glorify, enlarge
magnify
And then Thy blessèd name I’ll magnify
14
Beyond the Reach of all
Physical Note
Remaining third of page is blank.
Eternity
.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
Beyond the reach of all eternity.
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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

With an undergraduate and graduate student audience in mind, this poem has been modernised in spelling and punctuation. Where modernisation would affect form, priority has been given to the integrity of the poem’s formal features (so, for instance, verb endings -est and -eth have been retained unmodernised; where the meter requires it, the verb ending -ed is accented, e.g., “Then shall thy blessèd influence”). Nouns have been capitalized only when there is clear personification. The notes provide information essential to understanding the poem, while the Headnote aims to stimulate readers’ own interpretations through suggesting literary or historical contexts, possible influences, comparable poems (by Pulter and by her predecessors and peers) and relevant critical arguments.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Alluding to love sonnets that promise to immortalize a beloved in writing, Pulter, like John Donne, creates a 14-line poem with God as its object of devotion. The speaker cements this association by concluding with a promise to inscribe God in verse that glorifies him not only on earth (as her own poem currently does) but beyond, in some vast and yet unknown eternity. In fact, the speaker’s pleading for an infusion of heavenly light into her soul becomes a type of contract, since it is phrased contingently: if she is “irradiated” with divine spirit, she will be resurrected and able to produce songs that amplify God’s name (a proper name interestingly withheld in this mortal poem). Pulter’s vision of transformation includes an elemental recycling of elements: her body’s dissolution at death converts to ascend what she uniquely and vividly terms “the stairs of revolution,” the restless motions necessary for salvation.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This poem explores one of Pulter’s key ideas, that life is circular (see “The Circle [1, 2, 3, 4]” (Poems 17, 21, 15, 36); “The Revolution” (Poem 16)). Renewed in death by God, we undergo a “revolution”, a transformation of body and soul. This use of “revolution” is fascinating in a period which saw the word appropriated politically by radicals, parliamentarians, and royalists. On the interconnected ideas, and rhymes, of revolution and dissolution, see also “The Eclipse” (Poem 1), “Universal Dissolution” (Poem 6), “The Revolution” (Poem 16), “My Soul, Why Art Thou Full of Trouble” (Poem 40) and “Why Art Thou Sad at the Approach of Night” (Poem 47). Pulter’s “stairs of revolution” is an unusual phrase and image. She imagines progress towards the Day of Judgment, when souls and bodies are reunited and can join God, as a kind of spiral staircase. Describing the stairs as “of revolution” suggests also an ongoing, or cyclical, transformation. The spiral staircase was already loaded with meanings related both to poetic form and faith. George Herbert used it to represent excessive ornamentation, “Is there in truth no beauty? / Is all good structure in a winding stair?” (“Jordan [1]”). Pulter’s usage is altogether more positive, though, imagining the winding stair as the path to resurrection and union with God. See also Pulter’s emblem poems where she uses the image of “steps” to represent both following in Christ’s footsteps and ascent to heaven (“Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1)” (Poem 67); “Come, My Dear Children (Emblem 2)” (Poem 68)).
While the poem is in couplets, its fourteen lines allude to sonnet form, and therefore the broader tradition of Petrarchan love poetry. Moreover, the promise of the final lines, to “magnify” the addressee’s name “Beyond the reach of all eternity”, evokes the promise (and boast) of immortality common to earlier sonnet sequences by Spenser and Shakespeare. In Sonnet 55, Shakespeare’s speaker had claimed “So, till the Judgement that yourself arise, / You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.” The beloved lives in “this”, the poem itself. While Shakespeare adopted the idea of the Day of Judgment for his secular love poem, Pulter places this theological concept at the heart of her poem. It is not the self-aggrandising poet who can “magnify” God’s name, but the resurrected believer: immortal, strong and glorious (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44).
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

The syntax of Pulter’s first line nicely emphasizes its meaning: the phrase “Immense Fount of truth” initially seems to be a self-contained epithet for God, yet spills out (like God’s immensity) into a list of what he bestows: truth, life, love, joy, glory.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

illuminate, brighten spiritually
Elemental Edition
Line number 2
life
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

to shine upon; to illuminate with spiritual light
Amplified Edition
Line number 2
Pulter refers to her “story” in several poems, and here the adjective “dark” may relate to 1 Corinthians 13.12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

straying from the proper course; full of error
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

body (not necessarily dead, though of course Pulter suggests that here)
Amplified Edition
Line number 5
dissolving, here used metaphorically to mean death. See also Headnote.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

only
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

in Christianity, the process by which souls will be restored to their bodies and spiritually raised in heaven at the “Second Coming of Christ” (also known as Resurrection Day or the Final Judgment); not usually figured as a “revolution,” with connotations of astronomical cyclical motions and political upheaval
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

only by
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

an unusual image of upward transformation. See also Headnote.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

pour in, instil
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

rotate, trust in God
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

be enveloped; allow herself to be moved by, perhaps in the sense of a boat’s motion in the sea; rotate; to continue or go on; theologically, to hand over oneself, or a burden, to God.
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

glorify, enlarge
Transcription
Line number 14

 Physical note

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