Phalaris and the Brazen Bull (Emblem 50)

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Phalaris and the Brazen Bull (Emblem 50)

Poem #115

Original Source

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

Versions

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

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

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 2

 Physical note

second “i” possibly corrected from “e”
Line number 18

 Physical note

"r" in double superscript
Line number 22

 Physical note

in darker ink than surrounding words
Line number 24

 Physical note

blot after “i”
Line number 28

 Physical note

first “i” is written over an “e”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 50]
Phalaris and the Brazen Bull
(Emblem 50)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
How terribly just to die in the very torture device one invented! Pulter canvasses classical history and myth for tales of lawless, tyrannical figures known for having baked, stretched, chopped, drowned, bashed, and torn their unsuspecting victims to death—only to suffer the same fate themselves. She both wishes for, and finally prophesies, the extension of this pattern of comeuppance to those she condemns as the lawless tyrants of her own day: primarily, the Civil War “regicides” who killed Charles I. Pulter’s fantasy of vengeance escalates from one of racial and national boundary-crossings (the punitive transformation of British Parliamentarians into West Indian slaves) into her enemies’ full descent into Hell. In the conclusion of this revenge fantasy, Pulter imagines their roars of eternal pain echoing the poem’s opening cries, such that, formally, the poem simulates the cycle of justice it describes.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
50When Phalaris for Tiranny Soe ffam’d
When
Gloss Note
Phalaris of Acragas (ca. 570-549 BCE) was a Sicilian tyrant famed for his cruelty generally, and especially for roasting enemies alive by enclosing them in a bronze bull with a fire burning underneath; victims’ screams sounded like the bull roaring.
Phalaris
, for tyranny so famed,
2
Had Seen the Braſen Bul
Physical Note
second “i” possibly corrected from “e”
Pirillus
ffram’d
Had seen
Gloss Note
The bull was invented (“framed”) by Perillus of Athens as a device for executing criminals; Phalaris admired the device and made Perillus its first victim.
the brazen bull Perillus framed
,
3
Hee made him ffirst the Horrid pain Explore
He made him first the horrid pain
Gloss Note
discover; examine; test
explore
,
4
And with his life his cunning out to Roar
And with his life his cunning
Gloss Note
figuratively, breathing out his life (and losing his cleverness) with a loud cry
out to roar
.
5
Thus as Pirillus in the Bull was put
Thus, as Perillus in the bull was put,
6
Procrustus to his Bed was Stretcht or Cutt
Gloss Note
In Greek myth, the innkeeper and robber Procrustes forced travelers onto a bed and made them fit it either by stretching or cutting off their limbs; he was finally killed by Theseus with his own invention.
Procrustes to his bed was stretched or cut
;
7
And hee that Kickd down People to the Seas
And
Gloss Note
In Greek myth, the robber Sciron forced passersby to wash his feet, then kicked them into the sea to be eaten by a sea monster. He was killed when Theseus threw him into the sea.
he that kicked down people to the seas
8
Receiv’d the like Ramnuſa to apeas
Received the like,
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of vengeance (also called Nemesis)
Rhamnusia
to appease.
9
Soe hee that with his fforhead daſh’d out Brains
So
Gloss Note
Termerus was a bandit in Greek myth who murdered passersby by ramming his head against theirs; he was murdered when Theseus smashed his skull (Eardley).
he that with his forehead dashed out brains
10
Had like for like, What alſoe was his gains
Had like for like. What also was
Gloss Note
In Greek mythology, Sinis robbed and dismembered travelers by fastening their limbs to pine branches, bending down the trees, and then suddenly letting them go (Eardley); Theseus kills Sinis in similar fashion (as the speaker suggests two lines later).
his
gains
11
That tween two Trees did Kill men Cruelly
That ’tween two trees did kill men cruelly?
12
Did hee not by the Self Same Tortour Die
Did he not by the self-same torture die?
13
Oh that all thoſe that fflatter Tiranny
O, that all those that flatter tyranny
14
Might first their own accursed projects trie
Might first their own accurséd projects try!
15
Then that ffell Tyrant that in Newburg Raignd
Then
Critical Note
Eardley suggests the manuscript’s “Newburg” might be Newbury, where in 1643 Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, led the army against the king; we have read “Newburg” in the manuscript as a transcription error for “Newbury” (pronounced, here, “Newb’ry,” to fit the meter).
that fell tyrant that in Newbury reigned
16
Should first unto the ffat’all Stag bin Chaind
Should first unto the
Gloss Note
This seems to be a Royalist wish that a Parliamentarian leader would have been subject to the fate that awaited Charles I, who was chained and executed on a platform in a venue used sometimes as a theatrical stage. The manuscript has “stag” instead of “stage.”
fatal stage been chained
;
17
Then thoſe that made the Engine to pull Down
Then those that made the
Gloss Note
tricky; contrivance; plot or snare; machine, especially of war but also in theater instrument of torture
engine
to pull down
18
His Sacred Head which wore ^
Physical Note
"r" in double superscript
o:r
Brittiſh Crown
Gloss Note
that of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649
His sacred head
which wore our British crown.
19
When Lamb like on that Alter hee did lie
When lamb-like on that altar he did lie,
20
Why did not Oliver that Pulley trie
Why did not
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell, who led the Parliamentarians in defeating and executing Charles I during the English Civil War
Oliver
that
Gloss Note
part of a gallows for hanging; “pulley” could allude to the use of such a device in torture
pulley
try?
21
Were Some Condemnd the Ax would moue alone
Gloss Note
Some are so villainous that no executioner would be needed, since the axe would be moved to act of its own accord.
Were some condemned, the axe would move alone
,
22
As Tyburn for
Physical Note
in darker ink than surrounding words
thoſe
Regicides doe groan
As
Gloss Note
a place of public execution in London
Tyburn
for those
Gloss Note
the king’s killers
regicides
do groan.
23
Then Should their Children to Jame’ca goe
Then should their children to
Gloss Note
Jamaica, captured by the British in 1655, was among the islands in the West Indies used to exile Royalists during the interregnum.
Jamaica
go;
24
Their
Physical Note
blot after “i”
Staits
Sequstred Widdow Eyes o’reflow
Gloss Note
regicides’ estates (properties) should be confiscated (or “sequestered”), as the Royalists’ goods were during and after the civil wars.
Their ’states sequestered
,
Gloss Note
regicides’ widows’ eyes should be overflowing with grief over their husbands’ deaths.
widow eyes o’erflow
.
25
Sure thoſe that doe their ffellow Chriſtians Sell
Sure
Gloss Note
the Parliamentarians who sold Royalists into slavery, as the lines above indicate (“to Jamaica go”), by sending them to the West Indies
those that do their fellow Christians sell
26
Will in their Conſcience feel the flames of Hell
Will in their conscience feel the flames of Hell.
27
That Worm will graw though for A time ’tis hid
That
Gloss Note
proverbial for something eating away at one’s conscience; also figuratively, the pains of Hell
worm will gnaw
, though for a time ’tis hid,
28
And make them Roar worſ then
Physical Note
first “i” is written over an “e”
Pirillus
did.
And make them roar worse than Perillus did.
horizontal straight 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

How terribly just to die in the very torture device one invented! Pulter canvasses classical history and myth for tales of lawless, tyrannical figures known for having baked, stretched, chopped, drowned, bashed, and torn their unsuspecting victims to death—only to suffer the same fate themselves. She both wishes for, and finally prophesies, the extension of this pattern of comeuppance to those she condemns as the lawless tyrants of her own day: primarily, the Civil War “regicides” who killed Charles I. Pulter’s fantasy of vengeance escalates from one of racial and national boundary-crossings (the punitive transformation of British Parliamentarians into West Indian slaves) into her enemies’ full descent into Hell. In the conclusion of this revenge fantasy, Pulter imagines their roars of eternal pain echoing the poem’s opening cries, such that, formally, the poem simulates the cycle of justice it describes.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Phalaris of Acragas (ca. 570-549 BCE) was a Sicilian tyrant famed for his cruelty generally, and especially for roasting enemies alive by enclosing them in a bronze bull with a fire burning underneath; victims’ screams sounded like the bull roaring.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

The bull was invented (“framed”) by Perillus of Athens as a device for executing criminals; Phalaris admired the device and made Perillus its first victim.
Line number 3

 Gloss note

discover; examine; test
Line number 4

 Gloss note

figuratively, breathing out his life (and losing his cleverness) with a loud cry
Line number 6

 Gloss note

In Greek myth, the innkeeper and robber Procrustes forced travelers onto a bed and made them fit it either by stretching or cutting off their limbs; he was finally killed by Theseus with his own invention.
Line number 7

 Gloss note

In Greek myth, the robber Sciron forced passersby to wash his feet, then kicked them into the sea to be eaten by a sea monster. He was killed when Theseus threw him into the sea.
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of vengeance (also called Nemesis)
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Termerus was a bandit in Greek myth who murdered passersby by ramming his head against theirs; he was murdered when Theseus smashed his skull (Eardley).
Line number 10

 Gloss note

In Greek mythology, Sinis robbed and dismembered travelers by fastening their limbs to pine branches, bending down the trees, and then suddenly letting them go (Eardley); Theseus kills Sinis in similar fashion (as the speaker suggests two lines later).
Line number 15

 Critical note

Eardley suggests the manuscript’s “Newburg” might be Newbury, where in 1643 Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, led the army against the king; we have read “Newburg” in the manuscript as a transcription error for “Newbury” (pronounced, here, “Newb’ry,” to fit the meter).
Line number 16

 Gloss note

This seems to be a Royalist wish that a Parliamentarian leader would have been subject to the fate that awaited Charles I, who was chained and executed on a platform in a venue used sometimes as a theatrical stage. The manuscript has “stag” instead of “stage.”
Line number 17

 Gloss note

tricky; contrivance; plot or snare; machine, especially of war but also in theater instrument of torture
Line number 18

 Gloss note

that of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell, who led the Parliamentarians in defeating and executing Charles I during the English Civil War
Line number 20

 Gloss note

part of a gallows for hanging; “pulley” could allude to the use of such a device in torture
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Some are so villainous that no executioner would be needed, since the axe would be moved to act of its own accord.
Line number 22

 Gloss note

a place of public execution in London
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the king’s killers
Line number 23

 Gloss note

Jamaica, captured by the British in 1655, was among the islands in the West Indies used to exile Royalists during the interregnum.
Line number 24

 Gloss note

regicides’ estates (properties) should be confiscated (or “sequestered”), as the Royalists’ goods were during and after the civil wars.
Line number 24

 Gloss note

regicides’ widows’ eyes should be overflowing with grief over their husbands’ deaths.
Line number 25

 Gloss note

the Parliamentarians who sold Royalists into slavery, as the lines above indicate (“to Jamaica go”), by sending them to the West Indies
Line number 27

 Gloss note

proverbial for something eating away at one’s conscience; also figuratively, the pains of Hell
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 50]
Phalaris and the Brazen Bull
(Emblem 50)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
How terribly just to die in the very torture device one invented! Pulter canvasses classical history and myth for tales of lawless, tyrannical figures known for having baked, stretched, chopped, drowned, bashed, and torn their unsuspecting victims to death—only to suffer the same fate themselves. She both wishes for, and finally prophesies, the extension of this pattern of comeuppance to those she condemns as the lawless tyrants of her own day: primarily, the Civil War “regicides” who killed Charles I. Pulter’s fantasy of vengeance escalates from one of racial and national boundary-crossings (the punitive transformation of British Parliamentarians into West Indian slaves) into her enemies’ full descent into Hell. In the conclusion of this revenge fantasy, Pulter imagines their roars of eternal pain echoing the poem’s opening cries, such that, formally, the poem simulates the cycle of justice it describes.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
50When Phalaris for Tiranny Soe ffam’d
When
Gloss Note
Phalaris of Acragas (ca. 570-549 BCE) was a Sicilian tyrant famed for his cruelty generally, and especially for roasting enemies alive by enclosing them in a bronze bull with a fire burning underneath; victims’ screams sounded like the bull roaring.
Phalaris
, for tyranny so famed,
2
Had Seen the Braſen Bul
Physical Note
second “i” possibly corrected from “e”
Pirillus
ffram’d
Had seen
Gloss Note
The bull was invented (“framed”) by Perillus of Athens as a device for executing criminals; Phalaris admired the device and made Perillus its first victim.
the brazen bull Perillus framed
,
3
Hee made him ffirst the Horrid pain Explore
He made him first the horrid pain
Gloss Note
discover; examine; test
explore
,
4
And with his life his cunning out to Roar
And with his life his cunning
Gloss Note
figuratively, breathing out his life (and losing his cleverness) with a loud cry
out to roar
.
5
Thus as Pirillus in the Bull was put
Thus, as Perillus in the bull was put,
6
Procrustus to his Bed was Stretcht or Cutt
Gloss Note
In Greek myth, the innkeeper and robber Procrustes forced travelers onto a bed and made them fit it either by stretching or cutting off their limbs; he was finally killed by Theseus with his own invention.
Procrustes to his bed was stretched or cut
;
7
And hee that Kickd down People to the Seas
And
Gloss Note
In Greek myth, the robber Sciron forced passersby to wash his feet, then kicked them into the sea to be eaten by a sea monster. He was killed when Theseus threw him into the sea.
he that kicked down people to the seas
8
Receiv’d the like Ramnuſa to apeas
Received the like,
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of vengeance (also called Nemesis)
Rhamnusia
to appease.
9
Soe hee that with his fforhead daſh’d out Brains
So
Gloss Note
Termerus was a bandit in Greek myth who murdered passersby by ramming his head against theirs; he was murdered when Theseus smashed his skull (Eardley).
he that with his forehead dashed out brains
10
Had like for like, What alſoe was his gains
Had like for like. What also was
Gloss Note
In Greek mythology, Sinis robbed and dismembered travelers by fastening their limbs to pine branches, bending down the trees, and then suddenly letting them go (Eardley); Theseus kills Sinis in similar fashion (as the speaker suggests two lines later).
his
gains
11
That tween two Trees did Kill men Cruelly
That ’tween two trees did kill men cruelly?
12
Did hee not by the Self Same Tortour Die
Did he not by the self-same torture die?
13
Oh that all thoſe that fflatter Tiranny
O, that all those that flatter tyranny
14
Might first their own accursed projects trie
Might first their own accurséd projects try!
15
Then that ffell Tyrant that in Newburg Raignd
Then
Critical Note
Eardley suggests the manuscript’s “Newburg” might be Newbury, where in 1643 Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, led the army against the king; we have read “Newburg” in the manuscript as a transcription error for “Newbury” (pronounced, here, “Newb’ry,” to fit the meter).
that fell tyrant that in Newbury reigned
16
Should first unto the ffat’all Stag bin Chaind
Should first unto the
Gloss Note
This seems to be a Royalist wish that a Parliamentarian leader would have been subject to the fate that awaited Charles I, who was chained and executed on a platform in a venue used sometimes as a theatrical stage. The manuscript has “stag” instead of “stage.”
fatal stage been chained
;
17
Then thoſe that made the Engine to pull Down
Then those that made the
Gloss Note
tricky; contrivance; plot or snare; machine, especially of war but also in theater instrument of torture
engine
to pull down
18
His Sacred Head which wore ^
Physical Note
"r" in double superscript
o:r
Brittiſh Crown
Gloss Note
that of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649
His sacred head
which wore our British crown.
19
When Lamb like on that Alter hee did lie
When lamb-like on that altar he did lie,
20
Why did not Oliver that Pulley trie
Why did not
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell, who led the Parliamentarians in defeating and executing Charles I during the English Civil War
Oliver
that
Gloss Note
part of a gallows for hanging; “pulley” could allude to the use of such a device in torture
pulley
try?
21
Were Some Condemnd the Ax would moue alone
Gloss Note
Some are so villainous that no executioner would be needed, since the axe would be moved to act of its own accord.
Were some condemned, the axe would move alone
,
22
As Tyburn for
Physical Note
in darker ink than surrounding words
thoſe
Regicides doe groan
As
Gloss Note
a place of public execution in London
Tyburn
for those
Gloss Note
the king’s killers
regicides
do groan.
23
Then Should their Children to Jame’ca goe
Then should their children to
Gloss Note
Jamaica, captured by the British in 1655, was among the islands in the West Indies used to exile Royalists during the interregnum.
Jamaica
go;
24
Their
Physical Note
blot after “i”
Staits
Sequstred Widdow Eyes o’reflow
Gloss Note
regicides’ estates (properties) should be confiscated (or “sequestered”), as the Royalists’ goods were during and after the civil wars.
Their ’states sequestered
,
Gloss Note
regicides’ widows’ eyes should be overflowing with grief over their husbands’ deaths.
widow eyes o’erflow
.
25
Sure thoſe that doe their ffellow Chriſtians Sell
Sure
Gloss Note
the Parliamentarians who sold Royalists into slavery, as the lines above indicate (“to Jamaica go”), by sending them to the West Indies
those that do their fellow Christians sell
26
Will in their Conſcience feel the flames of Hell
Will in their conscience feel the flames of Hell.
27
That Worm will graw though for A time ’tis hid
That
Gloss Note
proverbial for something eating away at one’s conscience; also figuratively, the pains of Hell
worm will gnaw
, though for a time ’tis hid,
28
And make them Roar worſ then
Physical Note
first “i” is written over an “e”
Pirillus
did.
And make them roar worse than Perillus did.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

Elemental Edition

 Headnote

How terribly just to die in the very torture device one invented! Pulter canvasses classical history and myth for tales of lawless, tyrannical figures known for having baked, stretched, chopped, drowned, bashed, and torn their unsuspecting victims to death—only to suffer the same fate themselves. She both wishes for, and finally prophesies, the extension of this pattern of comeuppance to those she condemns as the lawless tyrants of her own day: primarily, the Civil War “regicides” who killed Charles I. Pulter’s fantasy of vengeance escalates from one of racial and national boundary-crossings (the punitive transformation of British Parliamentarians into West Indian slaves) into her enemies’ full descent into Hell. In the conclusion of this revenge fantasy, Pulter imagines their roars of eternal pain echoing the poem’s opening cries, such that, formally, the poem simulates the cycle of justice it describes.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Phalaris of Acragas (ca. 570-549 BCE) was a Sicilian tyrant famed for his cruelty generally, and especially for roasting enemies alive by enclosing them in a bronze bull with a fire burning underneath; victims’ screams sounded like the bull roaring.
Transcription
Line number 2

 Physical note

second “i” possibly corrected from “e”
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

The bull was invented (“framed”) by Perillus of Athens as a device for executing criminals; Phalaris admired the device and made Perillus its first victim.
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

discover; examine; test
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

figuratively, breathing out his life (and losing his cleverness) with a loud cry
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

In Greek myth, the innkeeper and robber Procrustes forced travelers onto a bed and made them fit it either by stretching or cutting off their limbs; he was finally killed by Theseus with his own invention.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

In Greek myth, the robber Sciron forced passersby to wash his feet, then kicked them into the sea to be eaten by a sea monster. He was killed when Theseus threw him into the sea.
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of vengeance (also called Nemesis)
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Termerus was a bandit in Greek myth who murdered passersby by ramming his head against theirs; he was murdered when Theseus smashed his skull (Eardley).
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

In Greek mythology, Sinis robbed and dismembered travelers by fastening their limbs to pine branches, bending down the trees, and then suddenly letting them go (Eardley); Theseus kills Sinis in similar fashion (as the speaker suggests two lines later).
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

Eardley suggests the manuscript’s “Newburg” might be Newbury, where in 1643 Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, led the army against the king; we have read “Newburg” in the manuscript as a transcription error for “Newbury” (pronounced, here, “Newb’ry,” to fit the meter).
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

This seems to be a Royalist wish that a Parliamentarian leader would have been subject to the fate that awaited Charles I, who was chained and executed on a platform in a venue used sometimes as a theatrical stage. The manuscript has “stag” instead of “stage.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

tricky; contrivance; plot or snare; machine, especially of war but also in theater instrument of torture
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

"r" in double superscript
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

that of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell, who led the Parliamentarians in defeating and executing Charles I during the English Civil War
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

part of a gallows for hanging; “pulley” could allude to the use of such a device in torture
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Some are so villainous that no executioner would be needed, since the axe would be moved to act of its own accord.
Transcription
Line number 22

 Physical note

in darker ink than surrounding words
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

a place of public execution in London
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the king’s killers
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

Jamaica, captured by the British in 1655, was among the islands in the West Indies used to exile Royalists during the interregnum.
Transcription
Line number 24

 Physical note

blot after “i”
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

regicides’ estates (properties) should be confiscated (or “sequestered”), as the Royalists’ goods were during and after the civil wars.
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

regicides’ widows’ eyes should be overflowing with grief over their husbands’ deaths.
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Gloss note

the Parliamentarians who sold Royalists into slavery, as the lines above indicate (“to Jamaica go”), by sending them to the West Indies
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

proverbial for something eating away at one’s conscience; also figuratively, the pains of Hell
Transcription
Line number 28

 Physical note

first “i” is written over an “e”
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