The Brahman (Emblem 44)

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The Brahman (Emblem 44)

Poem #109

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

poem begins two-thirds down the page; previous poem concludes at top of the page followed by blank space
Line number 5

 Physical note

“le” written over other letters
Line number 8

 Physical note

second “i” in different ink over earlier “e”; final “e” appears added later, in different ink
Line number 13

 Physical note

“re” written over other letters, possibly “er
Line number 22

 Physical note

imperfectly erased descender below “c”
Line number 31

 Physical note

erased descender under the “k”
Line number 31

 Physical note

“yo” written over other letters, in darker ink; two following letters scribbled out in same ink
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 44]
The Brahman
(Emblem 44)
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
“Who would not such a blessed change explore?” asks the speaker in this poem, contemplating a transformative suicide that will purify the soul. After all, the first two examples she conjures up suggest a glorious, if painful, rebirth: the philosopher Calanus, in frying himself on his own funeral pyre, renders his soul “pristine,” and the mythological Phoenix’s death preserves an essence that reassumes extravagantly splendid feathered form. Although she rejects the actions of two non-Christian examples, Pulter proclaims a willingness to shed her mortality like a well-worn set of clothes or a theatrical costume, with faith that God will gather up her deteriorated bits of flesh at the Last Judgment and reunite her body with her soul in eternal heaven. The poem uses the prospect of death to reflect on Pulter’s role as a writer, first in her reference to herself as Hadassah, the biblical Queen Esther whom Pulter chose as her authorial pseudonym (one of the manuscript’s titles is Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas). Second, it is telling that her future vision of death and salvation involves a re-enactment of the Word’s (God’s) creation of the world that ends in artistic production. When God will “reinspire” or breathe into her scattered mortal remains, they will convert into ascending atoms and burst forth in poetic hymns of praise.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
44
Physical Note
poem begins two-thirds down the page; previous poem concludes at top of the page followed by blank space
The
Brackman Th’angrie Deities to appeas
The
Gloss Note
Hindu priest, here referring to the legendary philosopher and gymnosophist Calanus (or Kalanus) who self-immolated in the presence of Alexander the Great. See Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (London, 1579), p. 759.
Brahman
, th’angry deities to appease,
2
Hee being afflicted with a Sad diſeaſe
He being afflicted with a sad disease,
3
Unwilling to bee grated thus aſunder
Unwilling to be
Gloss Note
scraped, pulverized; figuratively, irritated (here, by an intestinal disorder)
grated
thus asunder,
4
Hee did an Act made Alexander wonder
He did an act made Alexander wonder:
5
ffor on his ffunerall, fllagrant,
Physical Note
“le” written over other letters
Pile
hee lies
For on his funeral
Gloss Note
burning
flagrant
Gloss Note
that is, the heap of fuel, or pyre, for his cremation
pile
he lies,
6
Becoming thus both Priest and Sacrifice
Becoming thus both priest and sacrifice.
7
What was Corporeall the ffire Conſumes
What was corporeal, the fire consumes;
8
His Soul its
Physical Note
second “i” in different ink over earlier “e”; final “e” appears added later, in different ink
Priſtine
Glory Reaſſumes
His soul its pristine glory reassumes.
9
Soe doth the Phœnix ffan her guilded Wings
So doth the
Gloss Note
the Egyptian bird who was reborn from her ashes after burning in a sacrificial fire
Phœnix
fan her gilded wings
10
Till Phœbus Raiſe her Gaudy ffeathers Sings
Till
Gloss Note
the sun god’s
Phœbus’s
rays her gaudy feathers
Gloss Note
a northern British form of “singes,” pronounced to rhyme with “wings”
sings
;
then

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
11
Then in that Light in which Shee lives Shee ffryes
Then, in that light in which she lives, she fries—
12
A glorious Virgin Victim, thus Shee Dies
A glorious virgin victim; thus she dies.
13
Thus though the
Physical Note
“re” written over other letters, possibly “er
ffire
her groſſer part conſumes
Thus though the fire her
Gloss Note
more material, substantial, dense (than, by implication, the spirit or soul); more perceptible to the senses
grosser
part consumes,
14
A principle is left which Reaſſumes
A principle is left which reassumes
15
The Azure, Purple, Skarlet, Golden Plumes
The
Gloss Note
blue
azure
, purple, scarlet, golden
Gloss Note
feathers
plumes
16
Which did Adorn, her Gorgious gaudy Mother
Which did adorn her gorgeous
Gloss Note
highly ornate, showy (not, at this time, necessarily in a negative sense, as now)
gaudy
mother;
17
Thus they ſucceed and Still exceed each other
Thus they succeed and still exceed each other.
18
Who would not ſuch a bleſſed change explore
Who would not such a blessed change
Gloss Note
investigate, consider
explore
?
19
Or who would Such a change as this deplore
Or who would such a change as this
Gloss Note
lament, regret
deplore
?
20
Although I cannot in Sols ffulgour ffrie
Although I cannot in
Gloss Note
the sun’s dazzling brightness
Sol’s fulgor
fry,
21
Nor dare not like this Gymnoſophist die
Nor dare not like this
Gloss Note
ancient Hindu mystical contemplative sect whose members wore very little clothing, ate no meat, and practiced asceticism and self-inflected hardships
Gymnosophist
die
22
Such
Physical Note
imperfectly erased descender below “c”
Stoicall
tricks a Chriſtian Spirit loaths
(Such
Gloss Note
traits of those practicing the philosophy of Stoicism, commonly identified as austerity, indifference to pleasure and pain, acceptance of suffering, and repression of feeling
Stoical
tricks a Christian spirit loathes),
23
Yet as old Aaron did put of his Cloaths
Yet as old
Gloss Note
On God’s command, Moses stripped his brother Aaron of his clothes before Aaron’s death (Aaron died for disobeying God). See Numbers 20: 23-29.
Aaron did put off his clothes
,
24
Soe I being Worn with Sorrow, Sin, and Age,
So I, being worn with sorrow, sin, and age,
25
Quite tird with Acting in this Scene and Stage
Quite tired with acting in this scene and stage,
26
Would gladly my Mortality lay by
Would gladly my mortality lay by.
27
Who then can Say Hadaſſah here doth Lie
Who then can say, “
Gloss Note
Pulter’s chosen pseudonym, the Hebrew form of the name of the heroic biblical Queen Esther (Esther being a variant of Hester)
Hadassah
here doth
Gloss Note
to remain in a recumbent position or posture of subjection; to dwell or be quartered in; be passive, tell an untruth
lie
,”
28
When as my Soul ſhall Reaſſend above
Gloss Note
seeing that; at a time which
Whenas
my soul shall reascend above
29
To God the ffount of Life, Light, Joy, and Love.
To God, the fount of life, light, joy, and love?
30
Nor Shall my Scattred dust forgotten Rest
Nor shall my scattered dust forgotten rest,
31
But
Physical Note
erased descender under the “k”
like
the
Physical Note
“yo” written over other letters, in darker ink; two following letters scribbled out in same ink
Embryo[?]
in the Phœnix Nest
But like the embryo in the Phœnix nest,
32
That Word that Nothing did create in vain
Gloss Note
God’s word as creative force: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1: 103)
That Word that nothing did create in vain
33
Shall Reinſpire my Dormient Duſt again
Shall reinspire my
Gloss Note
in biblical accounts, the dormant (slumbering, inert) material from which life derives to and to which it will return; see Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
dormant dust
again;
34
And from obſcurity my Atomes Raiſe
And from obscurity my atoms raise
35
To ſing in Joy his Everlasting praiſe
To sing in joy His everlasting praise,
36
And Reunite my Body to my Spirit
Gloss Note
a reference to the Christian belief in the reunion of the dead body and spirit in heaven at the Final Judgment or end of the world. The next lines link such salvation to Christ’s sacrifice.
And reunite my body to my spirit
,
37
That wee may thoſe Eternall Joys inherit
That we may those eternal joys inherit,
38
Which I may claim by my dear Saviours Merrit.
Which I may claim by my dear Savior’s merit.
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

“Who would not such a blessed change explore?” asks the speaker in this poem, contemplating a transformative suicide that will purify the soul. After all, the first two examples she conjures up suggest a glorious, if painful, rebirth: the philosopher Calanus, in frying himself on his own funeral pyre, renders his soul “pristine,” and the mythological Phoenix’s death preserves an essence that reassumes extravagantly splendid feathered form. Although she rejects the actions of two non-Christian examples, Pulter proclaims a willingness to shed her mortality like a well-worn set of clothes or a theatrical costume, with faith that God will gather up her deteriorated bits of flesh at the Last Judgment and reunite her body with her soul in eternal heaven. The poem uses the prospect of death to reflect on Pulter’s role as a writer, first in her reference to herself as Hadassah, the biblical Queen Esther whom Pulter chose as her authorial pseudonym (one of the manuscript’s titles is Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas). Second, it is telling that her future vision of death and salvation involves a re-enactment of the Word’s (God’s) creation of the world that ends in artistic production. When God will “reinspire” or breathe into her scattered mortal remains, they will convert into ascending atoms and burst forth in poetic hymns of praise.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Hindu priest, here referring to the legendary philosopher and gymnosophist Calanus (or Kalanus) who self-immolated in the presence of Alexander the Great. See Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (London, 1579), p. 759.
Line number 3

 Gloss note

scraped, pulverized; figuratively, irritated (here, by an intestinal disorder)
Line number 5

 Gloss note

burning
Line number 5

 Gloss note

that is, the heap of fuel, or pyre, for his cremation
Line number 9

 Gloss note

the Egyptian bird who was reborn from her ashes after burning in a sacrificial fire
Line number 10

 Gloss note

the sun god’s
Line number 10

 Gloss note

a northern British form of “singes,” pronounced to rhyme with “wings”
Line number 13

 Gloss note

more material, substantial, dense (than, by implication, the spirit or soul); more perceptible to the senses
Line number 15

 Gloss note

blue
Line number 15

 Gloss note

feathers
Line number 16

 Gloss note

highly ornate, showy (not, at this time, necessarily in a negative sense, as now)
Line number 18

 Gloss note

investigate, consider
Line number 19

 Gloss note

lament, regret
Line number 20

 Gloss note

the sun’s dazzling brightness
Line number 21

 Gloss note

ancient Hindu mystical contemplative sect whose members wore very little clothing, ate no meat, and practiced asceticism and self-inflected hardships
Line number 22

 Gloss note

traits of those practicing the philosophy of Stoicism, commonly identified as austerity, indifference to pleasure and pain, acceptance of suffering, and repression of feeling
Line number 23

 Gloss note

On God’s command, Moses stripped his brother Aaron of his clothes before Aaron’s death (Aaron died for disobeying God). See Numbers 20: 23-29.
Line number 27

 Gloss note

Pulter’s chosen pseudonym, the Hebrew form of the name of the heroic biblical Queen Esther (Esther being a variant of Hester)
Line number 27

 Gloss note

to remain in a recumbent position or posture of subjection; to dwell or be quartered in; be passive, tell an untruth
Line number 28

 Gloss note

seeing that; at a time which
Line number 32

 Gloss note

God’s word as creative force: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1: 103)
Line number 33

 Gloss note

in biblical accounts, the dormant (slumbering, inert) material from which life derives to and to which it will return; see Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Line number 36

 Gloss note

a reference to the Christian belief in the reunion of the dead body and spirit in heaven at the Final Judgment or end of the world. The next lines link such salvation to Christ’s sacrifice.
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 44]
The Brahman
(Emblem 44)
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
“Who would not such a blessed change explore?” asks the speaker in this poem, contemplating a transformative suicide that will purify the soul. After all, the first two examples she conjures up suggest a glorious, if painful, rebirth: the philosopher Calanus, in frying himself on his own funeral pyre, renders his soul “pristine,” and the mythological Phoenix’s death preserves an essence that reassumes extravagantly splendid feathered form. Although she rejects the actions of two non-Christian examples, Pulter proclaims a willingness to shed her mortality like a well-worn set of clothes or a theatrical costume, with faith that God will gather up her deteriorated bits of flesh at the Last Judgment and reunite her body with her soul in eternal heaven. The poem uses the prospect of death to reflect on Pulter’s role as a writer, first in her reference to herself as Hadassah, the biblical Queen Esther whom Pulter chose as her authorial pseudonym (one of the manuscript’s titles is Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas). Second, it is telling that her future vision of death and salvation involves a re-enactment of the Word’s (God’s) creation of the world that ends in artistic production. When God will “reinspire” or breathe into her scattered mortal remains, they will convert into ascending atoms and burst forth in poetic hymns of praise.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
44
Physical Note
poem begins two-thirds down the page; previous poem concludes at top of the page followed by blank space
The
Brackman Th’angrie Deities to appeas
The
Gloss Note
Hindu priest, here referring to the legendary philosopher and gymnosophist Calanus (or Kalanus) who self-immolated in the presence of Alexander the Great. See Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (London, 1579), p. 759.
Brahman
, th’angry deities to appease,
2
Hee being afflicted with a Sad diſeaſe
He being afflicted with a sad disease,
3
Unwilling to bee grated thus aſunder
Unwilling to be
Gloss Note
scraped, pulverized; figuratively, irritated (here, by an intestinal disorder)
grated
thus asunder,
4
Hee did an Act made Alexander wonder
He did an act made Alexander wonder:
5
ffor on his ffunerall, fllagrant,
Physical Note
“le” written over other letters
Pile
hee lies
For on his funeral
Gloss Note
burning
flagrant
Gloss Note
that is, the heap of fuel, or pyre, for his cremation
pile
he lies,
6
Becoming thus both Priest and Sacrifice
Becoming thus both priest and sacrifice.
7
What was Corporeall the ffire Conſumes
What was corporeal, the fire consumes;
8
His Soul its
Physical Note
second “i” in different ink over earlier “e”; final “e” appears added later, in different ink
Priſtine
Glory Reaſſumes
His soul its pristine glory reassumes.
9
Soe doth the Phœnix ffan her guilded Wings
So doth the
Gloss Note
the Egyptian bird who was reborn from her ashes after burning in a sacrificial fire
Phœnix
fan her gilded wings
10
Till Phœbus Raiſe her Gaudy ffeathers Sings
Till
Gloss Note
the sun god’s
Phœbus’s
rays her gaudy feathers
Gloss Note
a northern British form of “singes,” pronounced to rhyme with “wings”
sings
;
then

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
11
Then in that Light in which Shee lives Shee ffryes
Then, in that light in which she lives, she fries—
12
A glorious Virgin Victim, thus Shee Dies
A glorious virgin victim; thus she dies.
13
Thus though the
Physical Note
“re” written over other letters, possibly “er
ffire
her groſſer part conſumes
Thus though the fire her
Gloss Note
more material, substantial, dense (than, by implication, the spirit or soul); more perceptible to the senses
grosser
part consumes,
14
A principle is left which Reaſſumes
A principle is left which reassumes
15
The Azure, Purple, Skarlet, Golden Plumes
The
Gloss Note
blue
azure
, purple, scarlet, golden
Gloss Note
feathers
plumes
16
Which did Adorn, her Gorgious gaudy Mother
Which did adorn her gorgeous
Gloss Note
highly ornate, showy (not, at this time, necessarily in a negative sense, as now)
gaudy
mother;
17
Thus they ſucceed and Still exceed each other
Thus they succeed and still exceed each other.
18
Who would not ſuch a bleſſed change explore
Who would not such a blessed change
Gloss Note
investigate, consider
explore
?
19
Or who would Such a change as this deplore
Or who would such a change as this
Gloss Note
lament, regret
deplore
?
20
Although I cannot in Sols ffulgour ffrie
Although I cannot in
Gloss Note
the sun’s dazzling brightness
Sol’s fulgor
fry,
21
Nor dare not like this Gymnoſophist die
Nor dare not like this
Gloss Note
ancient Hindu mystical contemplative sect whose members wore very little clothing, ate no meat, and practiced asceticism and self-inflected hardships
Gymnosophist
die
22
Such
Physical Note
imperfectly erased descender below “c”
Stoicall
tricks a Chriſtian Spirit loaths
(Such
Gloss Note
traits of those practicing the philosophy of Stoicism, commonly identified as austerity, indifference to pleasure and pain, acceptance of suffering, and repression of feeling
Stoical
tricks a Christian spirit loathes),
23
Yet as old Aaron did put of his Cloaths
Yet as old
Gloss Note
On God’s command, Moses stripped his brother Aaron of his clothes before Aaron’s death (Aaron died for disobeying God). See Numbers 20: 23-29.
Aaron did put off his clothes
,
24
Soe I being Worn with Sorrow, Sin, and Age,
So I, being worn with sorrow, sin, and age,
25
Quite tird with Acting in this Scene and Stage
Quite tired with acting in this scene and stage,
26
Would gladly my Mortality lay by
Would gladly my mortality lay by.
27
Who then can Say Hadaſſah here doth Lie
Who then can say, “
Gloss Note
Pulter’s chosen pseudonym, the Hebrew form of the name of the heroic biblical Queen Esther (Esther being a variant of Hester)
Hadassah
here doth
Gloss Note
to remain in a recumbent position or posture of subjection; to dwell or be quartered in; be passive, tell an untruth
lie
,”
28
When as my Soul ſhall Reaſſend above
Gloss Note
seeing that; at a time which
Whenas
my soul shall reascend above
29
To God the ffount of Life, Light, Joy, and Love.
To God, the fount of life, light, joy, and love?
30
Nor Shall my Scattred dust forgotten Rest
Nor shall my scattered dust forgotten rest,
31
But
Physical Note
erased descender under the “k”
like
the
Physical Note
“yo” written over other letters, in darker ink; two following letters scribbled out in same ink
Embryo[?]
in the Phœnix Nest
But like the embryo in the Phœnix nest,
32
That Word that Nothing did create in vain
Gloss Note
God’s word as creative force: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1: 103)
That Word that nothing did create in vain
33
Shall Reinſpire my Dormient Duſt again
Shall reinspire my
Gloss Note
in biblical accounts, the dormant (slumbering, inert) material from which life derives to and to which it will return; see Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
dormant dust
again;
34
And from obſcurity my Atomes Raiſe
And from obscurity my atoms raise
35
To ſing in Joy his Everlasting praiſe
To sing in joy His everlasting praise,
36
And Reunite my Body to my Spirit
Gloss Note
a reference to the Christian belief in the reunion of the dead body and spirit in heaven at the Final Judgment or end of the world. The next lines link such salvation to Christ’s sacrifice.
And reunite my body to my spirit
,
37
That wee may thoſe Eternall Joys inherit
That we may those eternal joys inherit,
38
Which I may claim by my dear Saviours Merrit.
Which I may claim by my dear Savior’s merit.
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

“Who would not such a blessed change explore?” asks the speaker in this poem, contemplating a transformative suicide that will purify the soul. After all, the first two examples she conjures up suggest a glorious, if painful, rebirth: the philosopher Calanus, in frying himself on his own funeral pyre, renders his soul “pristine,” and the mythological Phoenix’s death preserves an essence that reassumes extravagantly splendid feathered form. Although she rejects the actions of two non-Christian examples, Pulter proclaims a willingness to shed her mortality like a well-worn set of clothes or a theatrical costume, with faith that God will gather up her deteriorated bits of flesh at the Last Judgment and reunite her body with her soul in eternal heaven. The poem uses the prospect of death to reflect on Pulter’s role as a writer, first in her reference to herself as Hadassah, the biblical Queen Esther whom Pulter chose as her authorial pseudonym (one of the manuscript’s titles is Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas). Second, it is telling that her future vision of death and salvation involves a re-enactment of the Word’s (God’s) creation of the world that ends in artistic production. When God will “reinspire” or breathe into her scattered mortal remains, they will convert into ascending atoms and burst forth in poetic hymns of praise.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

poem begins two-thirds down the page; previous poem concludes at top of the page followed by blank space
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Hindu priest, here referring to the legendary philosopher and gymnosophist Calanus (or Kalanus) who self-immolated in the presence of Alexander the Great. See Plutarch, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (London, 1579), p. 759.
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

scraped, pulverized; figuratively, irritated (here, by an intestinal disorder)
Transcription
Line number 5

 Physical note

“le” written over other letters
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

burning
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

that is, the heap of fuel, or pyre, for his cremation
Transcription
Line number 8

 Physical note

second “i” in different ink over earlier “e”; final “e” appears added later, in different ink
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

the Egyptian bird who was reborn from her ashes after burning in a sacrificial fire
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

the sun god’s
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

a northern British form of “singes,” pronounced to rhyme with “wings”
Transcription
Line number 13

 Physical note

“re” written over other letters, possibly “er
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

more material, substantial, dense (than, by implication, the spirit or soul); more perceptible to the senses
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

blue
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

feathers
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

highly ornate, showy (not, at this time, necessarily in a negative sense, as now)
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

investigate, consider
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

lament, regret
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

the sun’s dazzling brightness
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

ancient Hindu mystical contemplative sect whose members wore very little clothing, ate no meat, and practiced asceticism and self-inflected hardships
Transcription
Line number 22

 Physical note

imperfectly erased descender below “c”
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

traits of those practicing the philosophy of Stoicism, commonly identified as austerity, indifference to pleasure and pain, acceptance of suffering, and repression of feeling
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

On God’s command, Moses stripped his brother Aaron of his clothes before Aaron’s death (Aaron died for disobeying God). See Numbers 20: 23-29.
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

Pulter’s chosen pseudonym, the Hebrew form of the name of the heroic biblical Queen Esther (Esther being a variant of Hester)
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

to remain in a recumbent position or posture of subjection; to dwell or be quartered in; be passive, tell an untruth
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

seeing that; at a time which
Transcription
Line number 31

 Physical note

erased descender under the “k”
Transcription
Line number 31

 Physical note

“yo” written over other letters, in darker ink; two following letters scribbled out in same ink
Elemental Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

God’s word as creative force: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1: 103)
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

in biblical accounts, the dormant (slumbering, inert) material from which life derives to and to which it will return; see Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 36

 Gloss note

a reference to the Christian belief in the reunion of the dead body and spirit in heaven at the Final Judgment or end of the world. The next lines link such salvation to Christ’s sacrifice.
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