The Dubious Raven (Emblem 11)

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The Dubious Raven (Emblem 11)

Poem #77

Original Source

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

Versions

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

  • Transcription of manuscript: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.
  • Elemental edition: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.
  • Amplified edition: By Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross.

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

in left margin: “a: Pſalm :147.v:9 / Job: 38: 41. / Luke: 12: 24 / See Doctor / Sanderſon out / of Aristottle / his 6 Hist: / Anui 6 / And Plinie / Natural Hist / 10: 12”
Line number 8

 Physical note

in left margin: “b: 1st of Kings / chap: 17: v: 4th”
Line number 11

 Physical note

“s” appears blotted
Line number 12

 Physical note

“h” in different hand from main scribe and darker ink
Line number 18

 Physical note

in left margin: “d: Mallachi / chap: 2: v: 13”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 11]
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
As often in her emblems, Pulter turns from some odd zoological fact to offer a moral to an apparent plurality of listeners—here, an “us,” soon transmuted to a “thee”—before ending by addressing herself alone. But where other emblems seek a broad audience—such as the “parents” in The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]—here her “us” and “thee” seem, by poem’s end, identical with the speaker herself, or no more than herself and her “soul.” She counsels the latter against despair in the face of trying circumstances: dying friends and relations; parents bereft of comfort; her only love forsaking her. In the face of all this, the speaker proffers this little tidbit: did you know that God listens to raven mothers in their crises of faith–if only as to the parentage of their offspring? He does, by helpfully providing feathers that identify them as her own! So why should people worry? As if to forestall any number of easy comebacks, the speaker then rapidly changes the subject, while sticking with the general raven theme, by noting that God also deployed these birds, despite their hard hearts, to feed Elijah. How these matters interrelate (beyond their shared raven quotient) is unclear, but she links them loosely to a kind of lesson: “Thus God’s affections altereth every hour / To show to us His infinite love and power.” Is this … reassuring? Sometimes God likes ravens enough to have them feed his favorites; sometimes not so much, so they don’t even know their own babies. Uneasily, Pulter suggests that in the face of our uncertain (“dubious”) mortal circumstances, faith in God’s mercy—unpredictable yet infinite—is the only recourse, from ravens on up; and if ravens can handle it, so can she.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In Emblem 11, Pulter fuses natural history with biblical citation to reinforce her readers’ trust in God. She draws on Pliny’s description of the raven in his Natural History, reintroducing the theme of parental love that we see in other emblems, such as “The Manucodiats” (Emblem 5) [Poem 71] and The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]. Regarding the raven’s parental attitude as one of neglect and abandonment, Pulter disavows this behaviour. Her analogous treatment of another one of Pliny’s birds, the eagle, which appears in “The Indian Moose”, offers another instance of parental neglect.
The focus of Pulter’s attention in this emblem, however, is less on those who are neglectful parents than it is on those who are neglected. The “callow” ravens are left defenceless in their young age, and God becomes their surrogate parent, taking care of them despite the cultural stigma surrounding these carrion-eating birds (line 2). Pulter poses the question: if God can respond so generously to the needs of ravens, “Why should His children then so faint and fear?” (line 6). She could be offering this as a consolation to herself, or to her own children, assuring them that trust in God will protect them even when “thy father and thy mother be / In no capacity to comfort thee” (lines 15-6). Her message is one of faith, emphasising that no matter how dire the circumstances, “sorrow” and “fear” are wasted given that God’s love is the ultimate provision (line 17). In the final couplet, Pulter directs the emblematic message most clearly at herself, countering her own “despair” with the reassurance that, if she has patience, God will respond (line 20). Here, Pulter herself is the young raven in the face of neglect.
In establishing the raven as this emblem’s central image, Pulter draws on multiple depictions of the bird to justify her didactic portrayal of God as a carer for those without parents. Notes in the left-hand margin are keyed to specific words in the poem with a set of markers running “a” to “d”, explicitly indicating Pulter’s sources. These sources, which we detail in the line notes to the poem, include the biblical books of Psalms, Job, and Luke, Robert Sanderson’s Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, and Pliny’s Natural History. The source notes are in the scribe’s hand, and so form part of the original poem’s presentation in Pulter’s manuscript; however, we have chosen to treat them as marginal notes, rather than an integral part of the poem. This contrasts with the marginal material that accompanies our edition of Come, My Dear Children [Poem 68], which we have treated as essential to the main text. Pulter’s use of marginal annotations here in Emblem 11 could be compared to Lucy Hutchinson’s practice of including scriptural references in the margins of her biblical poem Order and Disorder: see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, “Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible and Order and Disorder” (The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women 1558-1680 [London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011], pp. 176-89).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
11The Dubious
Physical Note
in left margin: “a: Pſalm :147.v:9 / Job: 38: 41. / Luke: 12: 24 / See Doctor / Sanderſon out / of Aristottle / his 6 Hist: / Anui 6 / And Plinie / Natural Hist / 10: 12”
a
Raven doth her young forſake
The
Gloss Note
doubtful, uncertain
dubious
Critical Note
This poem features many marginal notes in the hand of the main scribe. Here, a marginal note cites sources for the raven: Psalm: 147:9 (“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”); Job: 38:41 (“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”); Luke: 12:24 (“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”); and “Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle … and Pliny,” which seems to be a reference to Robert Sanderson: “if God so sufficiently provide for the young ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when our fathers and mothers forsake us? Are not we (stamped with his own image) much more valuable with him than many ravens[?]” Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached (London, 1656), p.282. See the same author: “sometimes he [God] commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; a bird so unnatural to her young ones, that they might famish for her, if God did not otherwise provide for them; and therefore it is noted in the Scripture as a special argument of God’s providence, that he feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” Two Sermons Preached at Paul’s Cross London (London, 1628), p.115. Sanderson cites the same sources that appear in Pulter’s margin.
raven
doth her young forsake;
The
Critical Note
Pulter uses the figure of the raven and its changeable attitude towards its young to support her description of God’s aid to those parentless. Hence, dubious here means wavering or fluctuating in opinion (OED 2); and also of questionable character (OED 1d).
dubious
Critical Note
A marker “a” above this word links to a marginal note in the scribal hand, listing Pulter’s sources for her construction of this image as “Psalm 147. v.9, Job 38:41, Luke 12:24, See Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle his 6 Hist. Anui 6 and Pliny, Natural Hist. 10: 12”. Psalm 147.9 is: “He giveth to the beast his food: and to the young ravens which cry”. Job 38.41 is: “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat”. Luke 12.24 is: “Consider the raven, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls”. The Robert Sanderson note refers to a 1647 sermon preached at Woburn, where he states “He [God] feedeth the young ravens that call upon him”, noting that “ravens are observed soonest to forsake their yong ones”. He adds that, “whether the observation hold or no, it serveth to [his] purpose … for it God so sufficiently provide for the yong ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when not our Fathers and Mothers forsake us” (Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached [1656], 828). Both Pliny and Aristotle provide accounts indicative of this representation. Pliny describes “unluckie” ravens who, upon perceiving “their young … [as] strong, chase and drive them away farre off”, while Aristotle describes the raven “eject[ing]” its chicks from the nest (Pliny, The Historie of the World: Commonly Called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. Trans. Philemon Holland. Vol. 1 [1635], 276; Aristotle, Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck [London: William Heinemann, 1970], 6.6).
raven
doth her young forsake
2
Whil’st Callow Shee noe Care of them will Take
Whilst
Gloss Note
without feathers
callow
, she no care of them will take
Whilst
Critical Note
of a young bird; without feathers, unfledged (OED 3a). Our punctuation of lines 1-2 differs from the Elemental Edition and Eardley, emphasising that “callow” applies to the “young” of line one, rather than the maternal “she” of line 2. The lines are unpunctuated in the manuscript.
callow
; she no care of them will take
3
Till Shee peceives their Plumes of Sable hew
Till she perceives their plumes of sable hue,
Till she perceives their plumes of
Gloss Note
black; of a dark colour
sable hue
,
4
They beeing Nouriſhed with Celestiall Dew
They being nourished with
Gloss Note
i.e, God provides for the young ravens.
celestial dew
.
They being nourished with
Critical Note
pertaining to heaven as the abode of God (OED 2a); heavenly dew. Pulter suggests that it is God’s nourishment that provides the young ravens with the sustenance to grow. In the Bible, Elijah, whom Pulter references in line 8, condemns Ahab and Jezebel’s mutiny against God when he prophesizes that “there shall not be deaw nor raine these yeres”, possibly informing her use of the word “dew” as a provision by God given only to those deserving of it (KJV 1 Kings 17:1; see note for line 8). For another biblical representation of dew as a heavenly substance used by God as a signal to Prophet Gideon, see Judges 6:36-40.
celestial dew
.
5
If God the voice of Volliteeles doth hear
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
flying creatures
volatiles
doth hear,
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
birds, or winged creatures in general (OED 1, 2)
volatiles
doth hear,
6
Why Should his Children then Soe ffaint & ffear
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
7
T’was hee that theſe hard Hearted Birds did make
’Twas He that these hard-hearted birds did make
’Twas He that these
Critical Note
Alliteration here creates a hard sound to draw attention to the callous nature of the raven; this highlights the power of God to turn even the most uncaring birds into devoted servants.
hard-hearted birds
did make
8
Of his
Physical Note
in left margin: “b: 1st of Kings / chap: 17: v: 4th”
b
Eliah conſtant care to take
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4, where God declares, “And it shall be, that thou [Elijah] shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
Of
His Elijah constant care to take;
Of His
Gloss Note
A marker “b” above “Elijah” links to a marginal notation: “1st of Kings, chap. 17. V. 4”. 1 Kings 17.4 is: “And it shall bee, that thou shalt drinke of the brooke, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”. In the Bible, Elijah prophesizes that the Kingdom of Israel, led by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, will suffer a drought where no “dew nor rain” shall fall, as a punishment for their idolatry and disloyalty to Yahweh. To protect Elijah from their retaliation, God orders him to hide “by the brooke Cherith” where he promises to send ravens with food to him (1 Kings 17:3-4).
Elijah
constant care to take;
9
When hee involved was in want and Sorrow
When he involvéd was in want and sorrow,
When he involved was in want and sorrow,
10
They brought him Bread and ffleſh both E’ve & Morrow
Gloss Note
1 Kings 17:4: “And the ravens brought him [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.”
They brought him bread and flesh both eve and morrow.
They brought him bread and
Gloss Note
Ravens are known as flesh eating birds who feed on carrion.
flesh
both eve and morrow.
11
Thus
Physical Note
“s” appears blotted
Gods
affections altereth Every hower
Thus God’s affections altereth every hour
Thus
Gloss Note
Pulter contrasts the ravens’ “constant care” of Elijah, feeding him during the drought, with God’s apparently fluctuating affections, which she construes as a positive virtue. Divine inconstancy is a providential display of God’s superior love and power.
God’s affections altereth every hour
12
To Shew to us
Physical Note
“h” in different hand from main scribe and darker ink
his
infinite Love and Power
To show to us His infinite love and power.
To show to us His infinite love and power.
13
Then as thy ffreinds and near Relations Die
Then as thy friends and near relations die,
Then as thy friends and near relations die
14
To him alone (to him) for comfort fflie
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
15
ffor though thy ffather and thy Mother bee
For though thy father and thy mother be
For though thy father and thy mother be
16
In noe Capacitie to Comfort thee
In no capacity to comfort thee;
In no capacity to comfort thee,
17
And though Succeſſive Sorrows and new ffears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
18
Makes thee his
Physical Note
in left margin: “d: Mallachi / chap: 2: v: 13”
d
Alter cover or’e with Tears
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on the altar in Malachi 2:13: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”
Makes
thee His altar cover o’er with tears;
Makes thee His
Critical Note
A marker “d” above “altar” links to a marginal notation: “Malachi chap. 2. V. 13”. Malachi 2.13 is: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand”. This specific verse reiterates God’s disapproval of excessive displays of remorse and supplication, especially when these only occur after being punished. Pulter allusion here suggests that even when loved ones die, God will be there to provide the guidance and love one feels they have lost, hence excessive sadness is not necessary. Contextually, the book of Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, and it serves as a prophecy for the coming of Christ in the New Testament, suggesting that those who are good must persevere until he comes (Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 35). Thus, Pulter utilizes this to provide her own didactic message of respite: regardless of the bad that happens, God will give refuge to those in need.
altar
cover o’er with tears,
19
Nay though thy onely Love doth thee fforſake
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
20
Yet hee will then, thee to his Mercie take
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
21
Deſpaire not then my Soul but Patient bee
Despair not then my soul, but patient be,
Despair not then, my soul, but patient be,
22
ffor hee that hear’s Young Ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
ascending 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

As often in her emblems, Pulter turns from some odd zoological fact to offer a moral to an apparent plurality of listeners—here, an “us,” soon transmuted to a “thee”—before ending by addressing herself alone. But where other emblems seek a broad audience—such as the “parents” in The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]—here her “us” and “thee” seem, by poem’s end, identical with the speaker herself, or no more than herself and her “soul.” She counsels the latter against despair in the face of trying circumstances: dying friends and relations; parents bereft of comfort; her only love forsaking her. In the face of all this, the speaker proffers this little tidbit: did you know that God listens to raven mothers in their crises of faith–if only as to the parentage of their offspring? He does, by helpfully providing feathers that identify them as her own! So why should people worry? As if to forestall any number of easy comebacks, the speaker then rapidly changes the subject, while sticking with the general raven theme, by noting that God also deployed these birds, despite their hard hearts, to feed Elijah. How these matters interrelate (beyond their shared raven quotient) is unclear, but she links them loosely to a kind of lesson: “Thus God’s affections altereth every hour / To show to us His infinite love and power.” Is this … reassuring? Sometimes God likes ravens enough to have them feed his favorites; sometimes not so much, so they don’t even know their own babies. Uneasily, Pulter suggests that in the face of our uncertain (“dubious”) mortal circumstances, faith in God’s mercy—unpredictable yet infinite—is the only recourse, from ravens on up; and if ravens can handle it, so can she.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

doubtful, uncertain
Line number 1

 Critical note

This poem features many marginal notes in the hand of the main scribe. Here, a marginal note cites sources for the raven: Psalm: 147:9 (“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”); Job: 38:41 (“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”); Luke: 12:24 (“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”); and “Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle … and Pliny,” which seems to be a reference to Robert Sanderson: “if God so sufficiently provide for the young ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when our fathers and mothers forsake us? Are not we (stamped with his own image) much more valuable with him than many ravens[?]” Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached (London, 1656), p.282. See the same author: “sometimes he [God] commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; a bird so unnatural to her young ones, that they might famish for her, if God did not otherwise provide for them; and therefore it is noted in the Scripture as a special argument of God’s providence, that he feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” Two Sermons Preached at Paul’s Cross London (London, 1628), p.115. Sanderson cites the same sources that appear in Pulter’s margin.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

without feathers
Line number 4

 Gloss note

i.e, God provides for the young ravens.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

flying creatures
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A marginal note offers a source for this passage on Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4, where God declares, “And it shall be, that thou [Elijah] shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
Line number 10

 Gloss note

1 Kings 17:4: “And the ravens brought him [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.”
Line number 18

 Gloss note

A marginal note offers a source for this passage on the altar in Malachi 2:13: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”
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 11]
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
As often in her emblems, Pulter turns from some odd zoological fact to offer a moral to an apparent plurality of listeners—here, an “us,” soon transmuted to a “thee”—before ending by addressing herself alone. But where other emblems seek a broad audience—such as the “parents” in The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]—here her “us” and “thee” seem, by poem’s end, identical with the speaker herself, or no more than herself and her “soul.” She counsels the latter against despair in the face of trying circumstances: dying friends and relations; parents bereft of comfort; her only love forsaking her. In the face of all this, the speaker proffers this little tidbit: did you know that God listens to raven mothers in their crises of faith–if only as to the parentage of their offspring? He does, by helpfully providing feathers that identify them as her own! So why should people worry? As if to forestall any number of easy comebacks, the speaker then rapidly changes the subject, while sticking with the general raven theme, by noting that God also deployed these birds, despite their hard hearts, to feed Elijah. How these matters interrelate (beyond their shared raven quotient) is unclear, but she links them loosely to a kind of lesson: “Thus God’s affections altereth every hour / To show to us His infinite love and power.” Is this … reassuring? Sometimes God likes ravens enough to have them feed his favorites; sometimes not so much, so they don’t even know their own babies. Uneasily, Pulter suggests that in the face of our uncertain (“dubious”) mortal circumstances, faith in God’s mercy—unpredictable yet infinite—is the only recourse, from ravens on up; and if ravens can handle it, so can she.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In Emblem 11, Pulter fuses natural history with biblical citation to reinforce her readers’ trust in God. She draws on Pliny’s description of the raven in his Natural History, reintroducing the theme of parental love that we see in other emblems, such as “The Manucodiats” (Emblem 5) [Poem 71] and The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]. Regarding the raven’s parental attitude as one of neglect and abandonment, Pulter disavows this behaviour. Her analogous treatment of another one of Pliny’s birds, the eagle, which appears in “The Indian Moose”, offers another instance of parental neglect.
The focus of Pulter’s attention in this emblem, however, is less on those who are neglectful parents than it is on those who are neglected. The “callow” ravens are left defenceless in their young age, and God becomes their surrogate parent, taking care of them despite the cultural stigma surrounding these carrion-eating birds (line 2). Pulter poses the question: if God can respond so generously to the needs of ravens, “Why should His children then so faint and fear?” (line 6). She could be offering this as a consolation to herself, or to her own children, assuring them that trust in God will protect them even when “thy father and thy mother be / In no capacity to comfort thee” (lines 15-6). Her message is one of faith, emphasising that no matter how dire the circumstances, “sorrow” and “fear” are wasted given that God’s love is the ultimate provision (line 17). In the final couplet, Pulter directs the emblematic message most clearly at herself, countering her own “despair” with the reassurance that, if she has patience, God will respond (line 20). Here, Pulter herself is the young raven in the face of neglect.
In establishing the raven as this emblem’s central image, Pulter draws on multiple depictions of the bird to justify her didactic portrayal of God as a carer for those without parents. Notes in the left-hand margin are keyed to specific words in the poem with a set of markers running “a” to “d”, explicitly indicating Pulter’s sources. These sources, which we detail in the line notes to the poem, include the biblical books of Psalms, Job, and Luke, Robert Sanderson’s Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, and Pliny’s Natural History. The source notes are in the scribe’s hand, and so form part of the original poem’s presentation in Pulter’s manuscript; however, we have chosen to treat them as marginal notes, rather than an integral part of the poem. This contrasts with the marginal material that accompanies our edition of Come, My Dear Children [Poem 68], which we have treated as essential to the main text. Pulter’s use of marginal annotations here in Emblem 11 could be compared to Lucy Hutchinson’s practice of including scriptural references in the margins of her biblical poem Order and Disorder: see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, “Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible and Order and Disorder” (The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women 1558-1680 [London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011], pp. 176-89).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
11The Dubious
Physical Note
in left margin: “a: Pſalm :147.v:9 / Job: 38: 41. / Luke: 12: 24 / See Doctor / Sanderſon out / of Aristottle / his 6 Hist: / Anui 6 / And Plinie / Natural Hist / 10: 12”
a
Raven doth her young forſake
The
Gloss Note
doubtful, uncertain
dubious
Critical Note
This poem features many marginal notes in the hand of the main scribe. Here, a marginal note cites sources for the raven: Psalm: 147:9 (“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”); Job: 38:41 (“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”); Luke: 12:24 (“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”); and “Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle … and Pliny,” which seems to be a reference to Robert Sanderson: “if God so sufficiently provide for the young ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when our fathers and mothers forsake us? Are not we (stamped with his own image) much more valuable with him than many ravens[?]” Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached (London, 1656), p.282. See the same author: “sometimes he [God] commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; a bird so unnatural to her young ones, that they might famish for her, if God did not otherwise provide for them; and therefore it is noted in the Scripture as a special argument of God’s providence, that he feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” Two Sermons Preached at Paul’s Cross London (London, 1628), p.115. Sanderson cites the same sources that appear in Pulter’s margin.
raven
doth her young forsake;
The
Critical Note
Pulter uses the figure of the raven and its changeable attitude towards its young to support her description of God’s aid to those parentless. Hence, dubious here means wavering or fluctuating in opinion (OED 2); and also of questionable character (OED 1d).
dubious
Critical Note
A marker “a” above this word links to a marginal note in the scribal hand, listing Pulter’s sources for her construction of this image as “Psalm 147. v.9, Job 38:41, Luke 12:24, See Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle his 6 Hist. Anui 6 and Pliny, Natural Hist. 10: 12”. Psalm 147.9 is: “He giveth to the beast his food: and to the young ravens which cry”. Job 38.41 is: “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat”. Luke 12.24 is: “Consider the raven, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls”. The Robert Sanderson note refers to a 1647 sermon preached at Woburn, where he states “He [God] feedeth the young ravens that call upon him”, noting that “ravens are observed soonest to forsake their yong ones”. He adds that, “whether the observation hold or no, it serveth to [his] purpose … for it God so sufficiently provide for the yong ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when not our Fathers and Mothers forsake us” (Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached [1656], 828). Both Pliny and Aristotle provide accounts indicative of this representation. Pliny describes “unluckie” ravens who, upon perceiving “their young … [as] strong, chase and drive them away farre off”, while Aristotle describes the raven “eject[ing]” its chicks from the nest (Pliny, The Historie of the World: Commonly Called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. Trans. Philemon Holland. Vol. 1 [1635], 276; Aristotle, Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck [London: William Heinemann, 1970], 6.6).
raven
doth her young forsake
2
Whil’st Callow Shee noe Care of them will Take
Whilst
Gloss Note
without feathers
callow
, she no care of them will take
Whilst
Critical Note
of a young bird; without feathers, unfledged (OED 3a). Our punctuation of lines 1-2 differs from the Elemental Edition and Eardley, emphasising that “callow” applies to the “young” of line one, rather than the maternal “she” of line 2. The lines are unpunctuated in the manuscript.
callow
; she no care of them will take
3
Till Shee peceives their Plumes of Sable hew
Till she perceives their plumes of sable hue,
Till she perceives their plumes of
Gloss Note
black; of a dark colour
sable hue
,
4
They beeing Nouriſhed with Celestiall Dew
They being nourished with
Gloss Note
i.e, God provides for the young ravens.
celestial dew
.
They being nourished with
Critical Note
pertaining to heaven as the abode of God (OED 2a); heavenly dew. Pulter suggests that it is God’s nourishment that provides the young ravens with the sustenance to grow. In the Bible, Elijah, whom Pulter references in line 8, condemns Ahab and Jezebel’s mutiny against God when he prophesizes that “there shall not be deaw nor raine these yeres”, possibly informing her use of the word “dew” as a provision by God given only to those deserving of it (KJV 1 Kings 17:1; see note for line 8). For another biblical representation of dew as a heavenly substance used by God as a signal to Prophet Gideon, see Judges 6:36-40.
celestial dew
.
5
If God the voice of Volliteeles doth hear
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
flying creatures
volatiles
doth hear,
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
birds, or winged creatures in general (OED 1, 2)
volatiles
doth hear,
6
Why Should his Children then Soe ffaint & ffear
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
7
T’was hee that theſe hard Hearted Birds did make
’Twas He that these hard-hearted birds did make
’Twas He that these
Critical Note
Alliteration here creates a hard sound to draw attention to the callous nature of the raven; this highlights the power of God to turn even the most uncaring birds into devoted servants.
hard-hearted birds
did make
8
Of his
Physical Note
in left margin: “b: 1st of Kings / chap: 17: v: 4th”
b
Eliah conſtant care to take
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4, where God declares, “And it shall be, that thou [Elijah] shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
Of
His Elijah constant care to take;
Of His
Gloss Note
A marker “b” above “Elijah” links to a marginal notation: “1st of Kings, chap. 17. V. 4”. 1 Kings 17.4 is: “And it shall bee, that thou shalt drinke of the brooke, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”. In the Bible, Elijah prophesizes that the Kingdom of Israel, led by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, will suffer a drought where no “dew nor rain” shall fall, as a punishment for their idolatry and disloyalty to Yahweh. To protect Elijah from their retaliation, God orders him to hide “by the brooke Cherith” where he promises to send ravens with food to him (1 Kings 17:3-4).
Elijah
constant care to take;
9
When hee involved was in want and Sorrow
When he involvéd was in want and sorrow,
When he involved was in want and sorrow,
10
They brought him Bread and ffleſh both E’ve & Morrow
Gloss Note
1 Kings 17:4: “And the ravens brought him [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.”
They brought him bread and flesh both eve and morrow.
They brought him bread and
Gloss Note
Ravens are known as flesh eating birds who feed on carrion.
flesh
both eve and morrow.
11
Thus
Physical Note
“s” appears blotted
Gods
affections altereth Every hower
Thus God’s affections altereth every hour
Thus
Gloss Note
Pulter contrasts the ravens’ “constant care” of Elijah, feeding him during the drought, with God’s apparently fluctuating affections, which she construes as a positive virtue. Divine inconstancy is a providential display of God’s superior love and power.
God’s affections altereth every hour
12
To Shew to us
Physical Note
“h” in different hand from main scribe and darker ink
his
infinite Love and Power
To show to us His infinite love and power.
To show to us His infinite love and power.
13
Then as thy ffreinds and near Relations Die
Then as thy friends and near relations die,
Then as thy friends and near relations die
14
To him alone (to him) for comfort fflie
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
15
ffor though thy ffather and thy Mother bee
For though thy father and thy mother be
For though thy father and thy mother be
16
In noe Capacitie to Comfort thee
In no capacity to comfort thee;
In no capacity to comfort thee,
17
And though Succeſſive Sorrows and new ffears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
18
Makes thee his
Physical Note
in left margin: “d: Mallachi / chap: 2: v: 13”
d
Alter cover or’e with Tears
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on the altar in Malachi 2:13: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”
Makes
thee His altar cover o’er with tears;
Makes thee His
Critical Note
A marker “d” above “altar” links to a marginal notation: “Malachi chap. 2. V. 13”. Malachi 2.13 is: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand”. This specific verse reiterates God’s disapproval of excessive displays of remorse and supplication, especially when these only occur after being punished. Pulter allusion here suggests that even when loved ones die, God will be there to provide the guidance and love one feels they have lost, hence excessive sadness is not necessary. Contextually, the book of Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, and it serves as a prophecy for the coming of Christ in the New Testament, suggesting that those who are good must persevere until he comes (Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 35). Thus, Pulter utilizes this to provide her own didactic message of respite: regardless of the bad that happens, God will give refuge to those in need.
altar
cover o’er with tears,
19
Nay though thy onely Love doth thee fforſake
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
20
Yet hee will then, thee to his Mercie take
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
21
Deſpaire not then my Soul but Patient bee
Despair not then my soul, but patient be,
Despair not then, my soul, but patient be,
22
ffor hee that hear’s Young Ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
ascending straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

 Headnote

In Emblem 11, Pulter fuses natural history with biblical citation to reinforce her readers’ trust in God. She draws on Pliny’s description of the raven in his Natural History, reintroducing the theme of parental love that we see in other emblems, such as “The Manucodiats” (Emblem 5) [Poem 71] and The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]. Regarding the raven’s parental attitude as one of neglect and abandonment, Pulter disavows this behaviour. Her analogous treatment of another one of Pliny’s birds, the eagle, which appears in “The Indian Moose”, offers another instance of parental neglect.
The focus of Pulter’s attention in this emblem, however, is less on those who are neglectful parents than it is on those who are neglected. The “callow” ravens are left defenceless in their young age, and God becomes their surrogate parent, taking care of them despite the cultural stigma surrounding these carrion-eating birds (line 2). Pulter poses the question: if God can respond so generously to the needs of ravens, “Why should His children then so faint and fear?” (line 6). She could be offering this as a consolation to herself, or to her own children, assuring them that trust in God will protect them even when “thy father and thy mother be / In no capacity to comfort thee” (lines 15-6). Her message is one of faith, emphasising that no matter how dire the circumstances, “sorrow” and “fear” are wasted given that God’s love is the ultimate provision (line 17). In the final couplet, Pulter directs the emblematic message most clearly at herself, countering her own “despair” with the reassurance that, if she has patience, God will respond (line 20). Here, Pulter herself is the young raven in the face of neglect.
In establishing the raven as this emblem’s central image, Pulter draws on multiple depictions of the bird to justify her didactic portrayal of God as a carer for those without parents. Notes in the left-hand margin are keyed to specific words in the poem with a set of markers running “a” to “d”, explicitly indicating Pulter’s sources. These sources, which we detail in the line notes to the poem, include the biblical books of Psalms, Job, and Luke, Robert Sanderson’s Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, and Pliny’s Natural History. The source notes are in the scribe’s hand, and so form part of the original poem’s presentation in Pulter’s manuscript; however, we have chosen to treat them as marginal notes, rather than an integral part of the poem. This contrasts with the marginal material that accompanies our edition of Come, My Dear Children [Poem 68], which we have treated as essential to the main text. Pulter’s use of marginal annotations here in Emblem 11 could be compared to Lucy Hutchinson’s practice of including scriptural references in the margins of her biblical poem Order and Disorder: see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, “Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible and Order and Disorder” (The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women 1558-1680 [London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011], pp. 176-89).
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter uses the figure of the raven and its changeable attitude towards its young to support her description of God’s aid to those parentless. Hence, dubious here means wavering or fluctuating in opinion (OED 2); and also of questionable character (OED 1d).
Line number 1

 Critical note

A marker “a” above this word links to a marginal note in the scribal hand, listing Pulter’s sources for her construction of this image as “Psalm 147. v.9, Job 38:41, Luke 12:24, See Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle his 6 Hist. Anui 6 and Pliny, Natural Hist. 10: 12”. Psalm 147.9 is: “He giveth to the beast his food: and to the young ravens which cry”. Job 38.41 is: “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat”. Luke 12.24 is: “Consider the raven, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls”. The Robert Sanderson note refers to a 1647 sermon preached at Woburn, where he states “He [God] feedeth the young ravens that call upon him”, noting that “ravens are observed soonest to forsake their yong ones”. He adds that, “whether the observation hold or no, it serveth to [his] purpose … for it God so sufficiently provide for the yong ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when not our Fathers and Mothers forsake us” (Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached [1656], 828). Both Pliny and Aristotle provide accounts indicative of this representation. Pliny describes “unluckie” ravens who, upon perceiving “their young … [as] strong, chase and drive them away farre off”, while Aristotle describes the raven “eject[ing]” its chicks from the nest (Pliny, The Historie of the World: Commonly Called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. Trans. Philemon Holland. Vol. 1 [1635], 276; Aristotle, Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck [London: William Heinemann, 1970], 6.6).
Line number 2

 Critical note

of a young bird; without feathers, unfledged (OED 3a). Our punctuation of lines 1-2 differs from the Elemental Edition and Eardley, emphasising that “callow” applies to the “young” of line one, rather than the maternal “she” of line 2. The lines are unpunctuated in the manuscript.
Line number 3

 Gloss note

black; of a dark colour
Line number 4

 Critical note

pertaining to heaven as the abode of God (OED 2a); heavenly dew. Pulter suggests that it is God’s nourishment that provides the young ravens with the sustenance to grow. In the Bible, Elijah, whom Pulter references in line 8, condemns Ahab and Jezebel’s mutiny against God when he prophesizes that “there shall not be deaw nor raine these yeres”, possibly informing her use of the word “dew” as a provision by God given only to those deserving of it (KJV 1 Kings 17:1; see note for line 8). For another biblical representation of dew as a heavenly substance used by God as a signal to Prophet Gideon, see Judges 6:36-40.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

birds, or winged creatures in general (OED 1, 2)
Line number 7

 Critical note

Alliteration here creates a hard sound to draw attention to the callous nature of the raven; this highlights the power of God to turn even the most uncaring birds into devoted servants.
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A marker “b” above “Elijah” links to a marginal notation: “1st of Kings, chap. 17. V. 4”. 1 Kings 17.4 is: “And it shall bee, that thou shalt drinke of the brooke, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”. In the Bible, Elijah prophesizes that the Kingdom of Israel, led by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, will suffer a drought where no “dew nor rain” shall fall, as a punishment for their idolatry and disloyalty to Yahweh. To protect Elijah from their retaliation, God orders him to hide “by the brooke Cherith” where he promises to send ravens with food to him (1 Kings 17:3-4).
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Ravens are known as flesh eating birds who feed on carrion.
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Pulter contrasts the ravens’ “constant care” of Elijah, feeding him during the drought, with God’s apparently fluctuating affections, which she construes as a positive virtue. Divine inconstancy is a providential display of God’s superior love and power.
Line number 18

 Critical note

A marker “d” above “altar” links to a marginal notation: “Malachi chap. 2. V. 13”. Malachi 2.13 is: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand”. This specific verse reiterates God’s disapproval of excessive displays of remorse and supplication, especially when these only occur after being punished. Pulter allusion here suggests that even when loved ones die, God will be there to provide the guidance and love one feels they have lost, hence excessive sadness is not necessary. Contextually, the book of Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, and it serves as a prophecy for the coming of Christ in the New Testament, suggesting that those who are good must persevere until he comes (Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 35). Thus, Pulter utilizes this to provide her own didactic message of respite: regardless of the bad that happens, God will give refuge to those in need.
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[Emblem 11]
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
The Dubious Raven
(Emblem 11)
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
As often in her emblems, Pulter turns from some odd zoological fact to offer a moral to an apparent plurality of listeners—here, an “us,” soon transmuted to a “thee”—before ending by addressing herself alone. But where other emblems seek a broad audience—such as the “parents” in The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]—here her “us” and “thee” seem, by poem’s end, identical with the speaker herself, or no more than herself and her “soul.” She counsels the latter against despair in the face of trying circumstances: dying friends and relations; parents bereft of comfort; her only love forsaking her. In the face of all this, the speaker proffers this little tidbit: did you know that God listens to raven mothers in their crises of faith–if only as to the parentage of their offspring? He does, by helpfully providing feathers that identify them as her own! So why should people worry? As if to forestall any number of easy comebacks, the speaker then rapidly changes the subject, while sticking with the general raven theme, by noting that God also deployed these birds, despite their hard hearts, to feed Elijah. How these matters interrelate (beyond their shared raven quotient) is unclear, but she links them loosely to a kind of lesson: “Thus God’s affections altereth every hour / To show to us His infinite love and power.” Is this … reassuring? Sometimes God likes ravens enough to have them feed his favorites; sometimes not so much, so they don’t even know their own babies. Uneasily, Pulter suggests that in the face of our uncertain (“dubious”) mortal circumstances, faith in God’s mercy—unpredictable yet infinite—is the only recourse, from ravens on up; and if ravens can handle it, so can she.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
In Emblem 11, Pulter fuses natural history with biblical citation to reinforce her readers’ trust in God. She draws on Pliny’s description of the raven in his Natural History, reintroducing the theme of parental love that we see in other emblems, such as “The Manucodiats” (Emblem 5) [Poem 71] and The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]. Regarding the raven’s parental attitude as one of neglect and abandonment, Pulter disavows this behaviour. Her analogous treatment of another one of Pliny’s birds, the eagle, which appears in “The Indian Moose”, offers another instance of parental neglect.
The focus of Pulter’s attention in this emblem, however, is less on those who are neglectful parents than it is on those who are neglected. The “callow” ravens are left defenceless in their young age, and God becomes their surrogate parent, taking care of them despite the cultural stigma surrounding these carrion-eating birds (line 2). Pulter poses the question: if God can respond so generously to the needs of ravens, “Why should His children then so faint and fear?” (line 6). She could be offering this as a consolation to herself, or to her own children, assuring them that trust in God will protect them even when “thy father and thy mother be / In no capacity to comfort thee” (lines 15-6). Her message is one of faith, emphasising that no matter how dire the circumstances, “sorrow” and “fear” are wasted given that God’s love is the ultimate provision (line 17). In the final couplet, Pulter directs the emblematic message most clearly at herself, countering her own “despair” with the reassurance that, if she has patience, God will respond (line 20). Here, Pulter herself is the young raven in the face of neglect.
In establishing the raven as this emblem’s central image, Pulter draws on multiple depictions of the bird to justify her didactic portrayal of God as a carer for those without parents. Notes in the left-hand margin are keyed to specific words in the poem with a set of markers running “a” to “d”, explicitly indicating Pulter’s sources. These sources, which we detail in the line notes to the poem, include the biblical books of Psalms, Job, and Luke, Robert Sanderson’s Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, and Pliny’s Natural History. The source notes are in the scribe’s hand, and so form part of the original poem’s presentation in Pulter’s manuscript; however, we have chosen to treat them as marginal notes, rather than an integral part of the poem. This contrasts with the marginal material that accompanies our edition of Come, My Dear Children [Poem 68], which we have treated as essential to the main text. Pulter’s use of marginal annotations here in Emblem 11 could be compared to Lucy Hutchinson’s practice of including scriptural references in the margins of her biblical poem Order and Disorder: see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, “Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible and Order and Disorder” (The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women 1558-1680 [London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011], pp. 176-89).


— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
1
11The Dubious
Physical Note
in left margin: “a: Pſalm :147.v:9 / Job: 38: 41. / Luke: 12: 24 / See Doctor / Sanderſon out / of Aristottle / his 6 Hist: / Anui 6 / And Plinie / Natural Hist / 10: 12”
a
Raven doth her young forſake
The
Gloss Note
doubtful, uncertain
dubious
Critical Note
This poem features many marginal notes in the hand of the main scribe. Here, a marginal note cites sources for the raven: Psalm: 147:9 (“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”); Job: 38:41 (“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”); Luke: 12:24 (“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”); and “Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle … and Pliny,” which seems to be a reference to Robert Sanderson: “if God so sufficiently provide for the young ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when our fathers and mothers forsake us? Are not we (stamped with his own image) much more valuable with him than many ravens[?]” Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached (London, 1656), p.282. See the same author: “sometimes he [God] commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; a bird so unnatural to her young ones, that they might famish for her, if God did not otherwise provide for them; and therefore it is noted in the Scripture as a special argument of God’s providence, that he feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” Two Sermons Preached at Paul’s Cross London (London, 1628), p.115. Sanderson cites the same sources that appear in Pulter’s margin.
raven
doth her young forsake;
The
Critical Note
Pulter uses the figure of the raven and its changeable attitude towards its young to support her description of God’s aid to those parentless. Hence, dubious here means wavering or fluctuating in opinion (OED 2); and also of questionable character (OED 1d).
dubious
Critical Note
A marker “a” above this word links to a marginal note in the scribal hand, listing Pulter’s sources for her construction of this image as “Psalm 147. v.9, Job 38:41, Luke 12:24, See Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle his 6 Hist. Anui 6 and Pliny, Natural Hist. 10: 12”. Psalm 147.9 is: “He giveth to the beast his food: and to the young ravens which cry”. Job 38.41 is: “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat”. Luke 12.24 is: “Consider the raven, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls”. The Robert Sanderson note refers to a 1647 sermon preached at Woburn, where he states “He [God] feedeth the young ravens that call upon him”, noting that “ravens are observed soonest to forsake their yong ones”. He adds that, “whether the observation hold or no, it serveth to [his] purpose … for it God so sufficiently provide for the yong ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when not our Fathers and Mothers forsake us” (Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached [1656], 828). Both Pliny and Aristotle provide accounts indicative of this representation. Pliny describes “unluckie” ravens who, upon perceiving “their young … [as] strong, chase and drive them away farre off”, while Aristotle describes the raven “eject[ing]” its chicks from the nest (Pliny, The Historie of the World: Commonly Called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. Trans. Philemon Holland. Vol. 1 [1635], 276; Aristotle, Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck [London: William Heinemann, 1970], 6.6).
raven
doth her young forsake
2
Whil’st Callow Shee noe Care of them will Take
Whilst
Gloss Note
without feathers
callow
, she no care of them will take
Whilst
Critical Note
of a young bird; without feathers, unfledged (OED 3a). Our punctuation of lines 1-2 differs from the Elemental Edition and Eardley, emphasising that “callow” applies to the “young” of line one, rather than the maternal “she” of line 2. The lines are unpunctuated in the manuscript.
callow
; she no care of them will take
3
Till Shee peceives their Plumes of Sable hew
Till she perceives their plumes of sable hue,
Till she perceives their plumes of
Gloss Note
black; of a dark colour
sable hue
,
4
They beeing Nouriſhed with Celestiall Dew
They being nourished with
Gloss Note
i.e, God provides for the young ravens.
celestial dew
.
They being nourished with
Critical Note
pertaining to heaven as the abode of God (OED 2a); heavenly dew. Pulter suggests that it is God’s nourishment that provides the young ravens with the sustenance to grow. In the Bible, Elijah, whom Pulter references in line 8, condemns Ahab and Jezebel’s mutiny against God when he prophesizes that “there shall not be deaw nor raine these yeres”, possibly informing her use of the word “dew” as a provision by God given only to those deserving of it (KJV 1 Kings 17:1; see note for line 8). For another biblical representation of dew as a heavenly substance used by God as a signal to Prophet Gideon, see Judges 6:36-40.
celestial dew
.
5
If God the voice of Volliteeles doth hear
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
flying creatures
volatiles
doth hear,
If God the voice of
Gloss Note
birds, or winged creatures in general (OED 1, 2)
volatiles
doth hear,
6
Why Should his Children then Soe ffaint & ffear
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
Why should His children then so faint and fear?
7
T’was hee that theſe hard Hearted Birds did make
’Twas He that these hard-hearted birds did make
’Twas He that these
Critical Note
Alliteration here creates a hard sound to draw attention to the callous nature of the raven; this highlights the power of God to turn even the most uncaring birds into devoted servants.
hard-hearted birds
did make
8
Of his
Physical Note
in left margin: “b: 1st of Kings / chap: 17: v: 4th”
b
Eliah conſtant care to take
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4, where God declares, “And it shall be, that thou [Elijah] shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
Of
His Elijah constant care to take;
Of His
Gloss Note
A marker “b” above “Elijah” links to a marginal notation: “1st of Kings, chap. 17. V. 4”. 1 Kings 17.4 is: “And it shall bee, that thou shalt drinke of the brooke, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”. In the Bible, Elijah prophesizes that the Kingdom of Israel, led by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, will suffer a drought where no “dew nor rain” shall fall, as a punishment for their idolatry and disloyalty to Yahweh. To protect Elijah from their retaliation, God orders him to hide “by the brooke Cherith” where he promises to send ravens with food to him (1 Kings 17:3-4).
Elijah
constant care to take;
9
When hee involved was in want and Sorrow
When he involvéd was in want and sorrow,
When he involved was in want and sorrow,
10
They brought him Bread and ffleſh both E’ve & Morrow
Gloss Note
1 Kings 17:4: “And the ravens brought him [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.”
They brought him bread and flesh both eve and morrow.
They brought him bread and
Gloss Note
Ravens are known as flesh eating birds who feed on carrion.
flesh
both eve and morrow.
11
Thus
Physical Note
“s” appears blotted
Gods
affections altereth Every hower
Thus God’s affections altereth every hour
Thus
Gloss Note
Pulter contrasts the ravens’ “constant care” of Elijah, feeding him during the drought, with God’s apparently fluctuating affections, which she construes as a positive virtue. Divine inconstancy is a providential display of God’s superior love and power.
God’s affections altereth every hour
12
To Shew to us
Physical Note
“h” in different hand from main scribe and darker ink
his
infinite Love and Power
To show to us His infinite love and power.
To show to us His infinite love and power.
13
Then as thy ffreinds and near Relations Die
Then as thy friends and near relations die,
Then as thy friends and near relations die
14
To him alone (to him) for comfort fflie
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly;
15
ffor though thy ffather and thy Mother bee
For though thy father and thy mother be
For though thy father and thy mother be
16
In noe Capacitie to Comfort thee
In no capacity to comfort thee;
In no capacity to comfort thee,
17
And though Succeſſive Sorrows and new ffears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
And though successive sorrows and new fears
18
Makes thee his
Physical Note
in left margin: “d: Mallachi / chap: 2: v: 13”
d
Alter cover or’e with Tears
Gloss Note
A marginal note offers a source for this passage on the altar in Malachi 2:13: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”
Makes
thee His altar cover o’er with tears;
Makes thee His
Critical Note
A marker “d” above “altar” links to a marginal notation: “Malachi chap. 2. V. 13”. Malachi 2.13 is: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand”. This specific verse reiterates God’s disapproval of excessive displays of remorse and supplication, especially when these only occur after being punished. Pulter allusion here suggests that even when loved ones die, God will be there to provide the guidance and love one feels they have lost, hence excessive sadness is not necessary. Contextually, the book of Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, and it serves as a prophecy for the coming of Christ in the New Testament, suggesting that those who are good must persevere until he comes (Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 35). Thus, Pulter utilizes this to provide her own didactic message of respite: regardless of the bad that happens, God will give refuge to those in need.
altar
cover o’er with tears,
19
Nay though thy onely Love doth thee fforſake
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
Nay, though thy only love doth thee forsake,
20
Yet hee will then, thee to his Mercie take
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.
21
Deſpaire not then my Soul but Patient bee
Despair not then my soul, but patient be,
Despair not then, my soul, but patient be,
22
ffor hee that hear’s Young Ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.
ascending straight line
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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

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

As often in her emblems, Pulter turns from some odd zoological fact to offer a moral to an apparent plurality of listeners—here, an “us,” soon transmuted to a “thee”—before ending by addressing herself alone. But where other emblems seek a broad audience—such as the “parents” in The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]—here her “us” and “thee” seem, by poem’s end, identical with the speaker herself, or no more than herself and her “soul.” She counsels the latter against despair in the face of trying circumstances: dying friends and relations; parents bereft of comfort; her only love forsaking her. In the face of all this, the speaker proffers this little tidbit: did you know that God listens to raven mothers in their crises of faith–if only as to the parentage of their offspring? He does, by helpfully providing feathers that identify them as her own! So why should people worry? As if to forestall any number of easy comebacks, the speaker then rapidly changes the subject, while sticking with the general raven theme, by noting that God also deployed these birds, despite their hard hearts, to feed Elijah. How these matters interrelate (beyond their shared raven quotient) is unclear, but she links them loosely to a kind of lesson: “Thus God’s affections altereth every hour / To show to us His infinite love and power.” Is this … reassuring? Sometimes God likes ravens enough to have them feed his favorites; sometimes not so much, so they don’t even know their own babies. Uneasily, Pulter suggests that in the face of our uncertain (“dubious”) mortal circumstances, faith in God’s mercy—unpredictable yet infinite—is the only recourse, from ravens on up; and if ravens can handle it, so can she.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

In Emblem 11, Pulter fuses natural history with biblical citation to reinforce her readers’ trust in God. She draws on Pliny’s description of the raven in his Natural History, reintroducing the theme of parental love that we see in other emblems, such as “The Manucodiats” (Emblem 5) [Poem 71] and The Indian Moose (Emblem 7) [Poem 73]. Regarding the raven’s parental attitude as one of neglect and abandonment, Pulter disavows this behaviour. Her analogous treatment of another one of Pliny’s birds, the eagle, which appears in “The Indian Moose”, offers another instance of parental neglect.
The focus of Pulter’s attention in this emblem, however, is less on those who are neglectful parents than it is on those who are neglected. The “callow” ravens are left defenceless in their young age, and God becomes their surrogate parent, taking care of them despite the cultural stigma surrounding these carrion-eating birds (line 2). Pulter poses the question: if God can respond so generously to the needs of ravens, “Why should His children then so faint and fear?” (line 6). She could be offering this as a consolation to herself, or to her own children, assuring them that trust in God will protect them even when “thy father and thy mother be / In no capacity to comfort thee” (lines 15-6). Her message is one of faith, emphasising that no matter how dire the circumstances, “sorrow” and “fear” are wasted given that God’s love is the ultimate provision (line 17). In the final couplet, Pulter directs the emblematic message most clearly at herself, countering her own “despair” with the reassurance that, if she has patience, God will respond (line 20). Here, Pulter herself is the young raven in the face of neglect.
In establishing the raven as this emblem’s central image, Pulter draws on multiple depictions of the bird to justify her didactic portrayal of God as a carer for those without parents. Notes in the left-hand margin are keyed to specific words in the poem with a set of markers running “a” to “d”, explicitly indicating Pulter’s sources. These sources, which we detail in the line notes to the poem, include the biblical books of Psalms, Job, and Luke, Robert Sanderson’s Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached, and Pliny’s Natural History. The source notes are in the scribe’s hand, and so form part of the original poem’s presentation in Pulter’s manuscript; however, we have chosen to treat them as marginal notes, rather than an integral part of the poem. This contrasts with the marginal material that accompanies our edition of Come, My Dear Children [Poem 68], which we have treated as essential to the main text. Pulter’s use of marginal annotations here in Emblem 11 could be compared to Lucy Hutchinson’s practice of including scriptural references in the margins of her biblical poem Order and Disorder: see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, “Lucy Hutchinson, the Bible and Order and Disorder” (The Intellectual Culture of Puritan Women 1558-1680 [London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011], pp. 176-89).
Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

in left margin: “a: Pſalm :147.v:9 / Job: 38: 41. / Luke: 12: 24 / See Doctor / Sanderſon out / of Aristottle / his 6 Hist: / Anui 6 / And Plinie / Natural Hist / 10: 12”
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

doubtful, uncertain
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

This poem features many marginal notes in the hand of the main scribe. Here, a marginal note cites sources for the raven: Psalm: 147:9 (“He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”); Job: 38:41 (“Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”); Luke: 12:24 (“Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”); and “Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle … and Pliny,” which seems to be a reference to Robert Sanderson: “if God so sufficiently provide for the young ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when our fathers and mothers forsake us? Are not we (stamped with his own image) much more valuable with him than many ravens[?]” Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached (London, 1656), p.282. See the same author: “sometimes he [God] commanded the ravens to feed Elijah; a bird so unnatural to her young ones, that they might famish for her, if God did not otherwise provide for them; and therefore it is noted in the Scripture as a special argument of God’s providence, that he feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.” Two Sermons Preached at Paul’s Cross London (London, 1628), p.115. Sanderson cites the same sources that appear in Pulter’s margin.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter uses the figure of the raven and its changeable attitude towards its young to support her description of God’s aid to those parentless. Hence, dubious here means wavering or fluctuating in opinion (OED 2); and also of questionable character (OED 1d).
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

A marker “a” above this word links to a marginal note in the scribal hand, listing Pulter’s sources for her construction of this image as “Psalm 147. v.9, Job 38:41, Luke 12:24, See Doctor Sanderson out of Aristotle his 6 Hist. Anui 6 and Pliny, Natural Hist. 10: 12”. Psalm 147.9 is: “He giveth to the beast his food: and to the young ravens which cry”. Job 38.41 is: “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat”. Luke 12.24 is: “Consider the raven, for they neither sow nor reap, which neither have storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls”. The Robert Sanderson note refers to a 1647 sermon preached at Woburn, where he states “He [God] feedeth the young ravens that call upon him”, noting that “ravens are observed soonest to forsake their yong ones”. He adds that, “whether the observation hold or no, it serveth to [his] purpose … for it God so sufficiently provide for the yong ravens, when the dams forsake them: will he not much more take care of us, when not our Fathers and Mothers forsake us” (Twenty Sermons Formerly Preached [1656], 828). Both Pliny and Aristotle provide accounts indicative of this representation. Pliny describes “unluckie” ravens who, upon perceiving “their young … [as] strong, chase and drive them away farre off”, while Aristotle describes the raven “eject[ing]” its chicks from the nest (Pliny, The Historie of the World: Commonly Called, the Naturall Historie of C. Plinius Secundus. Trans. Philemon Holland. Vol. 1 [1635], 276; Aristotle, Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck [London: William Heinemann, 1970], 6.6).
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

without feathers
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

of a young bird; without feathers, unfledged (OED 3a). Our punctuation of lines 1-2 differs from the Elemental Edition and Eardley, emphasising that “callow” applies to the “young” of line one, rather than the maternal “she” of line 2. The lines are unpunctuated in the manuscript.
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

black; of a dark colour
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

i.e, God provides for the young ravens.
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Critical note

pertaining to heaven as the abode of God (OED 2a); heavenly dew. Pulter suggests that it is God’s nourishment that provides the young ravens with the sustenance to grow. In the Bible, Elijah, whom Pulter references in line 8, condemns Ahab and Jezebel’s mutiny against God when he prophesizes that “there shall not be deaw nor raine these yeres”, possibly informing her use of the word “dew” as a provision by God given only to those deserving of it (KJV 1 Kings 17:1; see note for line 8). For another biblical representation of dew as a heavenly substance used by God as a signal to Prophet Gideon, see Judges 6:36-40.
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

flying creatures
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

birds, or winged creatures in general (OED 1, 2)
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

Alliteration here creates a hard sound to draw attention to the callous nature of the raven; this highlights the power of God to turn even the most uncaring birds into devoted servants.
Transcription
Line number 8

 Physical note

in left margin: “b: 1st of Kings / chap: 17: v: 4th”
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A marginal note offers a source for this passage on Elijah in 1 Kings 17:4, where God declares, “And it shall be, that thou [Elijah] shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

A marker “b” above “Elijah” links to a marginal notation: “1st of Kings, chap. 17. V. 4”. 1 Kings 17.4 is: “And it shall bee, that thou shalt drinke of the brooke, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”. In the Bible, Elijah prophesizes that the Kingdom of Israel, led by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, will suffer a drought where no “dew nor rain” shall fall, as a punishment for their idolatry and disloyalty to Yahweh. To protect Elijah from their retaliation, God orders him to hide “by the brooke Cherith” where he promises to send ravens with food to him (1 Kings 17:3-4).
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

1 Kings 17:4: “And the ravens brought him [Elijah] bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Ravens are known as flesh eating birds who feed on carrion.
Transcription
Line number 11

 Physical note

“s” appears blotted
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Pulter contrasts the ravens’ “constant care” of Elijah, feeding him during the drought, with God’s apparently fluctuating affections, which she construes as a positive virtue. Divine inconstancy is a providential display of God’s superior love and power.
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“h” in different hand from main scribe and darker ink
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

in left margin: “d: Mallachi / chap: 2: v: 13”
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

A marginal note offers a source for this passage on the altar in Malachi 2:13: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

A marker “d” above “altar” links to a marginal notation: “Malachi chap. 2. V. 13”. Malachi 2.13 is: “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand”. This specific verse reiterates God’s disapproval of excessive displays of remorse and supplication, especially when these only occur after being punished. Pulter allusion here suggests that even when loved ones die, God will be there to provide the guidance and love one feels they have lost, hence excessive sadness is not necessary. Contextually, the book of Malachi is the final book in the Old Testament, and it serves as a prophecy for the coming of Christ in the New Testament, suggesting that those who are good must persevere until he comes (Eardley, “An Edition of Lady Hester Pulter’s Book of ‘Emblemes’”. PhD diss., University of Warwick [2008], 35). Thus, Pulter utilizes this to provide her own didactic message of respite: regardless of the bad that happens, God will give refuge to those in need.
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