Somnus, Why Art Thou Still to Me Unkind?

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Somnus, Why Art Thou Still to Me Unkind?

Poem #120

Original Source

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

Versions

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

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

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

 Editorial note

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

 Physical note

on loose sheet, in folder associated with manuscript; hand appears same as in “The Weepeinge Wishe”
Line number 6

 Physical note

single letter, possibly “d,” blotted on bottom half
Line number 8

 Physical note

blotted only on top half
Line number 10

 Physical note

directly over “did”
Line number 12

 Physical note

second “o” blotted on right half
Line number 14

 Physical note

“+” in left margin
Line number 16

 Physical note

directly over “change”
Line number 17

 Physical note

blot immediately after may obscure final “s”
Line number 18

 Physical note

“bad” may have read “bid” originally, or reverse; “blu” appears written over “buw”
Line number 20

 Physical note

“ſea \” written directly atop “great
Line number 21

 Physical note

“t” appears to correct earlier “o”
Line number 25

 Physical note

final part of “h” appears added to earlier “l,” crowded between surrounding letters
Line number 25

 Physical note

“a” appears to correct earlier “ei”
Line number 30

 Physical note

twice struck-through
Line number 33

 Physical note

diagonally struck-through text, possibly “ff[?]”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription



[Untitled]
Somnus, Why Art Thou Still to Me Unkind?
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
This fragment of a poem, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, appears on a loose sheet in a folder associated with the bound volume in which her other poems are found. Although a complete copy might someday be found, Pulter appears not to have finished this experimental dream vision about a relatively recent event: the 1667 battle, known as the Raid on the Medway, which ended in the destruction by the Dutch navy of the fort and shipyard at Sheerness, on England’s east coast. Part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, this was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British navy, which saw many warships destroyed or captured and the hasty arrangement by Charles II of an unfavorable treaty. The few extant verses of what promises an epic treatment of these events are framed by the speaker’s recurrent nightmare visions which mingle her distress with an incongruous perception of Sheerness remaining “unconquered” despite the “purple gore” that sprinkles the sea. The speaker’s horrified amazement joins that of the powerful and resplendent water gods and goddesses, mustering (too late, it must be said) as British reinforcements under Saturn’s command. Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Doris: the speaker, perched on a rock above the fray, witnesses a catalogue of mythic powerhouses whom she has imaginatively installed into current political events. What dreamy counterfactual scenario might have ensued, if the poem continued past its opening catalogue and into the martial action one might expect to follow? We will only know if the poem’s continuation one day comes to light.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Physical Note
on loose sheet, in folder associated with manuscript; hand appears same as in “The Weepeinge Wishe”
ſomnus
why art thou ſtill to mee unkinde?
Gloss Note
Roman god of sleep
Somnus
, why art thou still to me unkind?
2
Why doe all els ſuch comfort finde
Why do all else such comfort find
3
In thy imbrace? but I and only I
In thy embrace? But I, and only I,
4
Allternately (aye mee) doe live and die
Alternately (ay me) do
Gloss Note
wake and sleep; sleep was commonly referred to as the image of death; for instance, John Donne calls rest and sleep Death’s “pictures” (“Death Be Not Proud,” l. 5).
live and die
.
5
Thy fellow Morphius too doth ſhew his ſpite
Thy fellow
Gloss Note
son of Somnus and Roman god of dreams
Morpheus
too doth show his spite
6
When from his Horney gate
Physical Note
single letter, possibly “d,” blotted on bottom half
[?]
hee doth affright
When from his
Gloss Note
The gates of horn and ivory is a literary image (originally from The Odyssey) distinguishing two kinds of dreams: those passing through the gate of horn are true, while those passing through the gate of ivory are deceptive. Many writers used the term “horny gate” to describe Morpheus’s dream invasions. See, for instance, Du Bartas His Divine Weeks and Works, trans. Josuah Sylvester (London, 1641), p. 249.
horny gate
he doth affright
7
My troubled ſoul, as hee did t’hother night
My troubled soul, as he did th’other night.
8
Oh
Physical Note
blotted only on top half
y
my ſad hart would itt might prove a dream
O my sad heart, would it might prove a dream!
9
In that uncounquerd sheere wher Thameses ſtreame
In that
Gloss Note
At Sheerness (on England’s eastern coast) the river Medway (mentioned in the next line) joins with the estuary of the Thames river; it is presumably called “unconquered” here in relation to the 1667 Dutch attack there in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, despite the fact that both contemporary and later accounts consider the battle there to have been a resounding defeat of the English navy.
unconquered Sheer, when Thames’s stream
10
Joyened with faire Medwaye did,
Physical Note
directly over “did”
doth
their tribute paye
Joined with fair Medway doth their
Gloss Note
an offering paid as a duty, here also alluding to the the fact that a “tributary” is a stream flowing into a river
tribute
pay,
11
Thar on a lofty rock mee thought I laye
There on a lofty rock me thought I lay;
12
Then on the tremblinge
Physical Note
second “o” blotted on right half
booſome
of the deepe
Then, on the trembling bosom of the deep,
13
Huge floods of tears poore Thames did weepe
Huge floods of tears poor Thames did weep
14
Physical Note
“+” in left margin
To
ſee the ſea ſprinc’led with purple gore
Physical Note
A mark (“+”) appears in the left margin, as though to signal an insertion of a phrase which is not present in the manuscript.
To
see the sea sprinkled with purple gore.
15
The ſad Nereades did much deplore
The sad
Gloss Note
in Greek legend, the fifty daughters of Doris and Nereus; sea nymphs
Nereides
did much
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
16
This change,
Physical Note
directly over “change”
omen
great Neptune was amazed
This omen. Great
Gloss Note
Roman god of water and the sea
Neptune
was amazed
17
As hee upon those blooddy
Physical Note
blot immediately after may obscure final “s”
billow
gaz’d
As he upon those bloody billows gazed;
18
Then instantly hee
Physical Note
“bad” may have read “bid” originally, or reverse; “blu” appears written over “buw”
bad blu
Triton ſound
Then, instantly he bid blue
Gloss Note
son of Neptune, represented as a fish with a human head, who makes the ocean roar by blowing through his shell
Triton
sound
19
His wrethed Trumpe t’was hard the Oceane rownd
His wreathéd
Gloss Note
trumpet
trump
—’twas heard the ocean round—
20
To ſummun each
Physical Note
“ſea \” written directly atop “great
greatſea \
God, and Godes faire
To summon each sea god and goddess fair,
21
That
Physical Note
“t” appears to correct earlier “o”
to
our narrough ſeas they should repaire
That to our narrow seas they should
Gloss Note
return
repair
.
22
Then did they come from every ſea and strand
Then did they come from every sea and
Gloss Note
shore, coast
strand
23
To heer their kinge ſaturnius dread command
To hear their king
Gloss Note
Latin for Saturn, the Roman god associated by the Romans with the Greek god Kronos, the father of the first-generation Olympians
Saturnus’s
dread command.
24
ſome did bestride Philanthropes broad backe
Some did bestride
Gloss Note
The name (etymologically, “lover of humanity”) refers in classical literature to the dolphin; it is based on the animal’s alleged friendliness to people, which in some cases included allowing people to ride (“bestride”) them.
Philanthrope’s
broad back;
25
The
Physical Note
final part of “h” appears added to earlier “l,” crowded between surrounding letters
Nimphes
in Perley ſhells, not one
Physical Note
“a” appears to correct earlier “ei”
thar
lacks
The
Gloss Note
semi-divine spirits in the form of maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees; often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a god
nymphs
in pearly shells, not one there lacks
26
Of all great Oceanus watry traine
Of all great
Gloss Note
in Greek mythology, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth); the personification of the great river believed to encircle the world
Oceanus’s
wat’ry
Gloss Note
a body of attendants or followers
train
,
27
But floteinge came upon the frothey maine
But floating came upon the frothy
Gloss Note
open sea
main
.
Nereus 1
Nereus 1
28
Emperiall Nereus frist did lead the waye
Imperial
Gloss Note
an old sea god, father of the Nereides
Nereus
first did lead the way,
29
Who o’ur the tumed waves bares cheeffest ſwaye
Who o’er the
Gloss Note
swelling; puffed with wind
tumid
waves bears chiefest sway;
30
Rich
Physical Note
twice struck-through
purple
orient gemms his purple robe adorninge
Rich
Gloss Note
possibly, pearls, especially those from near India; alternatively, any jewel from or associated with the Orient, the part of the globe east of Europe; “orient” could refer to a bright red color (like sunrise in the east), to the color or lustre of the best pearls (understood to come from the East), or to anything brilliant or resplendent.
orient gems
his purple robe adorning,
31
Which cast a luster like the blusheinge morninge
Which cast a luster like the blushing morning.



32
This glistringe Charott drawn with Cro pranceinge fishe
This
Gloss Note
for “glistering,” meaning sparkling or glittering
glist’ring
chariot drawn with prancing fish,
33
Which would have ſatisfied prowed
Physical Note
diagonally struck-through text, possibly “ff[?]”
[?]
Phaetons wishe
Which would have satisfied proud
Gloss Note
Phaeton was the rash son of Helios, the Greek sun god, who, when riding his father’s chariot, lost control of it and almost destroyed the world by fire (had Zeus not killed Phaeton and restored order).
Phaeton’s
wish.
Doris 2
Doris 2
34
Just by his ſide faire fruetfull Doris came
Just by his side, fair fruitful
Gloss Note
a sea goddess, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereides
Doris
came,
35
Whos numeros iſsew doth inlarge her fame
Whose numerous
Gloss Note
offspring
issue
doth enlarge her fame;
36
Riche Orient Perls her ſnowey neck did grace
Rich orient pearls her snowy neck did grace;
37
Her ſparklinge Crowne gave luster to her face
Her sparkling crown gave luster to her face;
38
Between her brests a rich Carbuncle ſhone
Between her breasts a rich
Gloss Note
a large precious stone of a red or fiery color; a mythical jewel reputed to emit light in darkness
carbuncle
shone;
39
The univerce afforded not a ſtone
The universe afforded not a stone
40
That equal’d itt for ſplendentie of light
That equalled it for
Gloss Note
splendor, brilliance
splendency
of light.
41
Itt rul’d the rest as Cinthia doth the night
It ruled the rest as
Gloss Note
the personification of the moon
Cynthia
doth the
Gloss Note
The poem breaks off here and is unfinished.
night
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

This fragment of a poem, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, appears on a loose sheet in a folder associated with the bound volume in which her other poems are found. Although a complete copy might someday be found, Pulter appears not to have finished this experimental dream vision about a relatively recent event: the 1667 battle, known as the Raid on the Medway, which ended in the destruction by the Dutch navy of the fort and shipyard at Sheerness, on England’s east coast. Part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, this was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British navy, which saw many warships destroyed or captured and the hasty arrangement by Charles II of an unfavorable treaty. The few extant verses of what promises an epic treatment of these events are framed by the speaker’s recurrent nightmare visions which mingle her distress with an incongruous perception of Sheerness remaining “unconquered” despite the “purple gore” that sprinkles the sea. The speaker’s horrified amazement joins that of the powerful and resplendent water gods and goddesses, mustering (too late, it must be said) as British reinforcements under Saturn’s command. Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Doris: the speaker, perched on a rock above the fray, witnesses a catalogue of mythic powerhouses whom she has imaginatively installed into current political events. What dreamy counterfactual scenario might have ensued, if the poem continued past its opening catalogue and into the martial action one might expect to follow? We will only know if the poem’s continuation one day comes to light.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Roman god of sleep
Line number 4

 Gloss note

wake and sleep; sleep was commonly referred to as the image of death; for instance, John Donne calls rest and sleep Death’s “pictures” (“Death Be Not Proud,” l. 5).
Line number 5

 Gloss note

son of Somnus and Roman god of dreams
Line number 6

 Gloss note

The gates of horn and ivory is a literary image (originally from The Odyssey) distinguishing two kinds of dreams: those passing through the gate of horn are true, while those passing through the gate of ivory are deceptive. Many writers used the term “horny gate” to describe Morpheus’s dream invasions. See, for instance, Du Bartas His Divine Weeks and Works, trans. Josuah Sylvester (London, 1641), p. 249.
Line number 9

 Gloss note

At Sheerness (on England’s eastern coast) the river Medway (mentioned in the next line) joins with the estuary of the Thames river; it is presumably called “unconquered” here in relation to the 1667 Dutch attack there in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, despite the fact that both contemporary and later accounts consider the battle there to have been a resounding defeat of the English navy.
Line number 10

 Gloss note

an offering paid as a duty, here also alluding to the the fact that a “tributary” is a stream flowing into a river
Line number 14

 Physical note

A mark (“+”) appears in the left margin, as though to signal an insertion of a phrase which is not present in the manuscript.
Line number 15

 Gloss note

in Greek legend, the fifty daughters of Doris and Nereus; sea nymphs
Line number 15

 Gloss note

lament
Line number 16

 Gloss note

Roman god of water and the sea
Line number 18

 Gloss note

son of Neptune, represented as a fish with a human head, who makes the ocean roar by blowing through his shell
Line number 19

 Gloss note

trumpet
Line number 21

 Gloss note

return
Line number 22

 Gloss note

shore, coast
Line number 23

 Gloss note

Latin for Saturn, the Roman god associated by the Romans with the Greek god Kronos, the father of the first-generation Olympians
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The name (etymologically, “lover of humanity”) refers in classical literature to the dolphin; it is based on the animal’s alleged friendliness to people, which in some cases included allowing people to ride (“bestride”) them.
Line number 25

 Gloss note

semi-divine spirits in the form of maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees; often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a god
Line number 26

 Gloss note

in Greek mythology, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth); the personification of the great river believed to encircle the world
Line number 26

 Gloss note

a body of attendants or followers
Line number 27

 Gloss note

open sea
Line number 28

 Gloss note

an old sea god, father of the Nereides
Line number 29

 Gloss note

swelling; puffed with wind
Line number 30

 Gloss note

possibly, pearls, especially those from near India; alternatively, any jewel from or associated with the Orient, the part of the globe east of Europe; “orient” could refer to a bright red color (like sunrise in the east), to the color or lustre of the best pearls (understood to come from the East), or to anything brilliant or resplendent.
Line number 32

 Gloss note

for “glistering,” meaning sparkling or glittering
Line number 33

 Gloss note

Phaeton was the rash son of Helios, the Greek sun god, who, when riding his father’s chariot, lost control of it and almost destroyed the world by fire (had Zeus not killed Phaeton and restored order).
Line number 34

 Gloss note

a sea goddess, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereides
Line number 35

 Gloss note

offspring
Line number 38

 Gloss note

a large precious stone of a red or fiery color; a mythical jewel reputed to emit light in darkness
Line number 40

 Gloss note

splendor, brilliance
Line number 41

 Gloss note

the personification of the moon
Line number 41

 Gloss note

The poem breaks off here and is unfinished.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition



[Untitled]
Somnus, Why Art Thou Still to Me Unkind?
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
This fragment of a poem, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, appears on a loose sheet in a folder associated with the bound volume in which her other poems are found. Although a complete copy might someday be found, Pulter appears not to have finished this experimental dream vision about a relatively recent event: the 1667 battle, known as the Raid on the Medway, which ended in the destruction by the Dutch navy of the fort and shipyard at Sheerness, on England’s east coast. Part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, this was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British navy, which saw many warships destroyed or captured and the hasty arrangement by Charles II of an unfavorable treaty. The few extant verses of what promises an epic treatment of these events are framed by the speaker’s recurrent nightmare visions which mingle her distress with an incongruous perception of Sheerness remaining “unconquered” despite the “purple gore” that sprinkles the sea. The speaker’s horrified amazement joins that of the powerful and resplendent water gods and goddesses, mustering (too late, it must be said) as British reinforcements under Saturn’s command. Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Doris: the speaker, perched on a rock above the fray, witnesses a catalogue of mythic powerhouses whom she has imaginatively installed into current political events. What dreamy counterfactual scenario might have ensued, if the poem continued past its opening catalogue and into the martial action one might expect to follow? We will only know if the poem’s continuation one day comes to light.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Physical Note
on loose sheet, in folder associated with manuscript; hand appears same as in “The Weepeinge Wishe”
ſomnus
why art thou ſtill to mee unkinde?
Gloss Note
Roman god of sleep
Somnus
, why art thou still to me unkind?
2
Why doe all els ſuch comfort finde
Why do all else such comfort find
3
In thy imbrace? but I and only I
In thy embrace? But I, and only I,
4
Allternately (aye mee) doe live and die
Alternately (ay me) do
Gloss Note
wake and sleep; sleep was commonly referred to as the image of death; for instance, John Donne calls rest and sleep Death’s “pictures” (“Death Be Not Proud,” l. 5).
live and die
.
5
Thy fellow Morphius too doth ſhew his ſpite
Thy fellow
Gloss Note
son of Somnus and Roman god of dreams
Morpheus
too doth show his spite
6
When from his Horney gate
Physical Note
single letter, possibly “d,” blotted on bottom half
[?]
hee doth affright
When from his
Gloss Note
The gates of horn and ivory is a literary image (originally from The Odyssey) distinguishing two kinds of dreams: those passing through the gate of horn are true, while those passing through the gate of ivory are deceptive. Many writers used the term “horny gate” to describe Morpheus’s dream invasions. See, for instance, Du Bartas His Divine Weeks and Works, trans. Josuah Sylvester (London, 1641), p. 249.
horny gate
he doth affright
7
My troubled ſoul, as hee did t’hother night
My troubled soul, as he did th’other night.
8
Oh
Physical Note
blotted only on top half
y
my ſad hart would itt might prove a dream
O my sad heart, would it might prove a dream!
9
In that uncounquerd sheere wher Thameses ſtreame
In that
Gloss Note
At Sheerness (on England’s eastern coast) the river Medway (mentioned in the next line) joins with the estuary of the Thames river; it is presumably called “unconquered” here in relation to the 1667 Dutch attack there in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, despite the fact that both contemporary and later accounts consider the battle there to have been a resounding defeat of the English navy.
unconquered Sheer, when Thames’s stream
10
Joyened with faire Medwaye did,
Physical Note
directly over “did”
doth
their tribute paye
Joined with fair Medway doth their
Gloss Note
an offering paid as a duty, here also alluding to the the fact that a “tributary” is a stream flowing into a river
tribute
pay,
11
Thar on a lofty rock mee thought I laye
There on a lofty rock me thought I lay;
12
Then on the tremblinge
Physical Note
second “o” blotted on right half
booſome
of the deepe
Then, on the trembling bosom of the deep,
13
Huge floods of tears poore Thames did weepe
Huge floods of tears poor Thames did weep
14
Physical Note
“+” in left margin
To
ſee the ſea ſprinc’led with purple gore
Physical Note
A mark (“+”) appears in the left margin, as though to signal an insertion of a phrase which is not present in the manuscript.
To
see the sea sprinkled with purple gore.
15
The ſad Nereades did much deplore
The sad
Gloss Note
in Greek legend, the fifty daughters of Doris and Nereus; sea nymphs
Nereides
did much
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
16
This change,
Physical Note
directly over “change”
omen
great Neptune was amazed
This omen. Great
Gloss Note
Roman god of water and the sea
Neptune
was amazed
17
As hee upon those blooddy
Physical Note
blot immediately after may obscure final “s”
billow
gaz’d
As he upon those bloody billows gazed;
18
Then instantly hee
Physical Note
“bad” may have read “bid” originally, or reverse; “blu” appears written over “buw”
bad blu
Triton ſound
Then, instantly he bid blue
Gloss Note
son of Neptune, represented as a fish with a human head, who makes the ocean roar by blowing through his shell
Triton
sound
19
His wrethed Trumpe t’was hard the Oceane rownd
His wreathéd
Gloss Note
trumpet
trump
—’twas heard the ocean round—
20
To ſummun each
Physical Note
“ſea \” written directly atop “great
greatſea \
God, and Godes faire
To summon each sea god and goddess fair,
21
That
Physical Note
“t” appears to correct earlier “o”
to
our narrough ſeas they should repaire
That to our narrow seas they should
Gloss Note
return
repair
.
22
Then did they come from every ſea and strand
Then did they come from every sea and
Gloss Note
shore, coast
strand
23
To heer their kinge ſaturnius dread command
To hear their king
Gloss Note
Latin for Saturn, the Roman god associated by the Romans with the Greek god Kronos, the father of the first-generation Olympians
Saturnus’s
dread command.
24
ſome did bestride Philanthropes broad backe
Some did bestride
Gloss Note
The name (etymologically, “lover of humanity”) refers in classical literature to the dolphin; it is based on the animal’s alleged friendliness to people, which in some cases included allowing people to ride (“bestride”) them.
Philanthrope’s
broad back;
25
The
Physical Note
final part of “h” appears added to earlier “l,” crowded between surrounding letters
Nimphes
in Perley ſhells, not one
Physical Note
“a” appears to correct earlier “ei”
thar
lacks
The
Gloss Note
semi-divine spirits in the form of maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees; often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a god
nymphs
in pearly shells, not one there lacks
26
Of all great Oceanus watry traine
Of all great
Gloss Note
in Greek mythology, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth); the personification of the great river believed to encircle the world
Oceanus’s
wat’ry
Gloss Note
a body of attendants or followers
train
,
27
But floteinge came upon the frothey maine
But floating came upon the frothy
Gloss Note
open sea
main
.
Nereus 1
Nereus 1
28
Emperiall Nereus frist did lead the waye
Imperial
Gloss Note
an old sea god, father of the Nereides
Nereus
first did lead the way,
29
Who o’ur the tumed waves bares cheeffest ſwaye
Who o’er the
Gloss Note
swelling; puffed with wind
tumid
waves bears chiefest sway;
30
Rich
Physical Note
twice struck-through
purple
orient gemms his purple robe adorninge
Rich
Gloss Note
possibly, pearls, especially those from near India; alternatively, any jewel from or associated with the Orient, the part of the globe east of Europe; “orient” could refer to a bright red color (like sunrise in the east), to the color or lustre of the best pearls (understood to come from the East), or to anything brilliant or resplendent.
orient gems
his purple robe adorning,
31
Which cast a luster like the blusheinge morninge
Which cast a luster like the blushing morning.



32
This glistringe Charott drawn with Cro pranceinge fishe
This
Gloss Note
for “glistering,” meaning sparkling or glittering
glist’ring
chariot drawn with prancing fish,
33
Which would have ſatisfied prowed
Physical Note
diagonally struck-through text, possibly “ff[?]”
[?]
Phaetons wishe
Which would have satisfied proud
Gloss Note
Phaeton was the rash son of Helios, the Greek sun god, who, when riding his father’s chariot, lost control of it and almost destroyed the world by fire (had Zeus not killed Phaeton and restored order).
Phaeton’s
wish.
Doris 2
Doris 2
34
Just by his ſide faire fruetfull Doris came
Just by his side, fair fruitful
Gloss Note
a sea goddess, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereides
Doris
came,
35
Whos numeros iſsew doth inlarge her fame
Whose numerous
Gloss Note
offspring
issue
doth enlarge her fame;
36
Riche Orient Perls her ſnowey neck did grace
Rich orient pearls her snowy neck did grace;
37
Her ſparklinge Crowne gave luster to her face
Her sparkling crown gave luster to her face;
38
Between her brests a rich Carbuncle ſhone
Between her breasts a rich
Gloss Note
a large precious stone of a red or fiery color; a mythical jewel reputed to emit light in darkness
carbuncle
shone;
39
The univerce afforded not a ſtone
The universe afforded not a stone
40
That equal’d itt for ſplendentie of light
That equalled it for
Gloss Note
splendor, brilliance
splendency
of light.
41
Itt rul’d the rest as Cinthia doth the night
It ruled the rest as
Gloss Note
the personification of the moon
Cynthia
doth the
Gloss Note
The poem breaks off here and is unfinished.
night
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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

Elemental Edition

 Headnote

This fragment of a poem, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, appears on a loose sheet in a folder associated with the bound volume in which her other poems are found. Although a complete copy might someday be found, Pulter appears not to have finished this experimental dream vision about a relatively recent event: the 1667 battle, known as the Raid on the Medway, which ended in the destruction by the Dutch navy of the fort and shipyard at Sheerness, on England’s east coast. Part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, this was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British navy, which saw many warships destroyed or captured and the hasty arrangement by Charles II of an unfavorable treaty. The few extant verses of what promises an epic treatment of these events are framed by the speaker’s recurrent nightmare visions which mingle her distress with an incongruous perception of Sheerness remaining “unconquered” despite the “purple gore” that sprinkles the sea. The speaker’s horrified amazement joins that of the powerful and resplendent water gods and goddesses, mustering (too late, it must be said) as British reinforcements under Saturn’s command. Neptune, Triton, Nereus, Doris: the speaker, perched on a rock above the fray, witnesses a catalogue of mythic powerhouses whom she has imaginatively installed into current political events. What dreamy counterfactual scenario might have ensued, if the poem continued past its opening catalogue and into the martial action one might expect to follow? We will only know if the poem’s continuation one day comes to light.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

on loose sheet, in folder associated with manuscript; hand appears same as in “The Weepeinge Wishe”
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Roman god of sleep
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

wake and sleep; sleep was commonly referred to as the image of death; for instance, John Donne calls rest and sleep Death’s “pictures” (“Death Be Not Proud,” l. 5).
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

son of Somnus and Roman god of dreams
Transcription
Line number 6

 Physical note

single letter, possibly “d,” blotted on bottom half
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

The gates of horn and ivory is a literary image (originally from The Odyssey) distinguishing two kinds of dreams: those passing through the gate of horn are true, while those passing through the gate of ivory are deceptive. Many writers used the term “horny gate” to describe Morpheus’s dream invasions. See, for instance, Du Bartas His Divine Weeks and Works, trans. Josuah Sylvester (London, 1641), p. 249.
Transcription
Line number 8

 Physical note

blotted only on top half
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

At Sheerness (on England’s eastern coast) the river Medway (mentioned in the next line) joins with the estuary of the Thames river; it is presumably called “unconquered” here in relation to the 1667 Dutch attack there in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, despite the fact that both contemporary and later accounts consider the battle there to have been a resounding defeat of the English navy.
Transcription
Line number 10

 Physical note

directly over “did”
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

an offering paid as a duty, here also alluding to the the fact that a “tributary” is a stream flowing into a river
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

second “o” blotted on right half
Transcription
Line number 14

 Physical note

“+” in left margin
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Physical note

A mark (“+”) appears in the left margin, as though to signal an insertion of a phrase which is not present in the manuscript.
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

in Greek legend, the fifty daughters of Doris and Nereus; sea nymphs
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

lament
Transcription
Line number 16

 Physical note

directly over “change”
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

Roman god of water and the sea
Transcription
Line number 17

 Physical note

blot immediately after may obscure final “s”
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

“bad” may have read “bid” originally, or reverse; “blu” appears written over “buw”
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

son of Neptune, represented as a fish with a human head, who makes the ocean roar by blowing through his shell
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

trumpet
Transcription
Line number 20

 Physical note

“ſea \” written directly atop “great
Transcription
Line number 21

 Physical note

“t” appears to correct earlier “o”
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

return
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

shore, coast
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

Latin for Saturn, the Roman god associated by the Romans with the Greek god Kronos, the father of the first-generation Olympians
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The name (etymologically, “lover of humanity”) refers in classical literature to the dolphin; it is based on the animal’s alleged friendliness to people, which in some cases included allowing people to ride (“bestride”) them.
Transcription
Line number 25

 Physical note

final part of “h” appears added to earlier “l,” crowded between surrounding letters
Transcription
Line number 25

 Physical note

“a” appears to correct earlier “ei”
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Gloss note

semi-divine spirits in the form of maidens inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees; often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a god
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

in Greek mythology, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth); the personification of the great river believed to encircle the world
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

a body of attendants or followers
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

open sea
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

an old sea god, father of the Nereides
Elemental Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

swelling; puffed with wind
Transcription
Line number 30

 Physical note

twice struck-through
Elemental Edition
Line number 30

 Gloss note

possibly, pearls, especially those from near India; alternatively, any jewel from or associated with the Orient, the part of the globe east of Europe; “orient” could refer to a bright red color (like sunrise in the east), to the color or lustre of the best pearls (understood to come from the East), or to anything brilliant or resplendent.
Elemental Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

for “glistering,” meaning sparkling or glittering
Transcription
Line number 33

 Physical note

diagonally struck-through text, possibly “ff[?]”
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

Phaeton was the rash son of Helios, the Greek sun god, who, when riding his father’s chariot, lost control of it and almost destroyed the world by fire (had Zeus not killed Phaeton and restored order).
Elemental Edition
Line number 34

 Gloss note

a sea goddess, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereides
Elemental Edition
Line number 35

 Gloss note

offspring
Elemental Edition
Line number 38

 Gloss note

a large precious stone of a red or fiery color; a mythical jewel reputed to emit light in darkness
Elemental Edition
Line number 40

 Gloss note

splendor, brilliance
Elemental Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

the personification of the moon
Elemental Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

The poem breaks off here and is unfinished.
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