The Invitation into the Country

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The Invitation into the Country

Poem #2

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 Liza Blake.

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 4

 Physical note

Apparently this word was first written as “ffor.” The first “e” was inserted later, the “o” overwritten as “i,” and “ce” crowded before “Hydras.”
Line number 5

 Physical note

The “h” appears written over an earlier “l.”
Line number 6

 Physical note

The “g” corrects an earlier “d” by the addition of a descender.
Line number 8

 Physical note

“ief” appears written over “eaſ.”
Line number 15

 Physical note

The “i” (except the dot) is blotted.
Line number 16

 Physical note

This word is cancelled with scribbles; some letters are visible, including an initial “d,” possiblly an “ſ” in the third position, and possibly a concluding “ceive.”
Line number 17

 Physical note

This word is cancelled with multiple strike-throughs.
Line number 19

 Physical note

The “i” is erased and written over.
Line number 22

 Physical note

The top of the question mark is reversed and short; a mark, possibly a colon, resembles some other question marks in manuscript.
Line number 37

 Physical note

The “re” and apostrophe appear to be added later in thicker ink.
Line number 37

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased; the apostrophe appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Line number 38

 Physical note

The “re” appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Line number 42

 Physical note

There is a circle (possibly part of a letter) to the right, and several smeared “M”s.
Line number 54

 Physical note

These words appear on a slight ascension from the rest of the line, possibly in a different hand, or added later.
Line number 59

 Physical note

It appears that the word in question was first written as “both”; then the first letter was corrected, to read “doth”; then the whole word was struck-through twice, with “both” inserted above.
Line number 62

 Physical note

A final letter, possibly an “s,” is imperfectly erased and/or blotted.
Line number 65

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased.
Line number 66

 Physical note

The second “o” is imperfectly erased.
Line number 73

 Physical note

To the left, two poetic lines are inserted in H2, broken into four lines: “xThen lovely laſſes / com awaye / To cheere my heart / make noe delaye.” Slashes show line breaks in the manuscript.
Line number 73

 Physical note

The superscript “x” is in H2.
Line number 79

 Physical note

The “y” in “fleecy” is written in thicker inkover a previous letter, possibly “e”; the “o” in “flocks” is written over an earlier letter.
Line number 80

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased, replaced with an apostrophe.
Line number 91

 Physical note

Beneath the apostrophe is an illegible erased letter.
Line number 96

 Physical note

In the right margin, by a vertical line, appears this note in a third hand: “Been, Colne Lea, Mimmer, Stort, Ver, names of Rivers in Hartfordshire”
Line number 98

 Physical note

The insertion is in H2; “bear” is twice struck-through (except the final “e”).
Line number 106

 Physical note

The “i” appears written over an earlier letter, possibly “e.”
Line number 109

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “the river Pyr near Hitchin.”
Line number 117

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “The river, Ouſe.”
Line number 119

 Physical note

Although the manuscript seems to read “rereive,” the scribe uses a secretary form of “c” (unusual for this hand) that looks like a modern “r.” Thanks to Liza Blake for calling this to our attention.
Line number 123

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “a petrifying Spring at Bradfeld.”
Line number 138

 Physical note

This word is possibly corrected from “Weeſle.”
Line number 144

 Physical note

The “d” is possibly written over another letter; in the space after “And” an imperfectly erased “n” is visible; the “we” of “weepe” appears written over other letters.
Line number 146

 Physical note

In the left margin, in third hand: “T’immortaliſe”; in the main text, “\Im\” is inserted in H2.
Line number 151

 Physical note

The “u” in Cyprus is written over another letter, possibly an “e.”
Line number 151

 Physical note

The letters “ugh” are written over other illegible letters.
Line number 155

 Physical note

In the left margin, in third hand: “Nay”; the start of the struck-through word is “Na”; the remainder, scribbled out, is possibly “igh.”
Line number 163

 Physical note

this word could be “louely” or “lonely”; the third letter is obstructed by the “g” above and is ambiguous
Line number 188

 Physical note

A long ligature between “e” and “r” replaces an erased letter.
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
The Invitation into the Countrey to my D: D: M P: P P 1647 when his Sacred Maj:tie was at unhappy home
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, this short title continues, specifying first that the invitation is to two of Pulter’s “dear daughters” who lived in the city of London: Margaret and Penelope (identified by their initials). The long title also notes that 1647 was “when his Sacred Majesty was at unhappy home,” probably a reference to Holdenby or Holmby (in Northamptonshire) where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647. Pulter was, during this time, in residence at her estate of Broadfield in Hertfordshire.
The Invitation into the Country
, 1647
The Invitation into the Country,
Gloss Note
i.e., to my Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter and Penelope Pulter
Textual Note
(For more on these textual notes and for an explanation of abbreviations, please see the “Editorial Note.”)

AE: to My D.[ear] D.[aughters] M.[argaret] P.[ulter], P.[enelope] P.[ulter], 1647, when His Sacred Majesty Was at Unhappy [Holmby]

KW: 1647

RSB: to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour

The series of initials in the title stand for, most editors agree, “Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter [and] Penelope Pulter.” I have left the title abbreviated because the coyness of the initials prepares the reader for the poem to follow, which often refuses to directly name its subjects (e.g., Chloris and Amintas for the queen and king of England), and yet makes it easy for its readers to crack its “code.” See also the headnote to the poem for more on this coyness. The final word of the title is blotted in the manuscript, but is clearly “home,” which AE says may be “in reference to Holdenby or Holmby House in Northamptonshire where Charles was kept under house arrest from February 7 until June 4, 1647” (p. 48, n. 12).

to my D. D. M. P. P. P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Home
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
“The Invitation into the Country” is a glossing editor’s dream: filled with proper nouns, political figures, and references to mythological figures, local sites, rivers, birds, and plants, the poem positively and repeatedly cries out to be glossed. An early reader of the manuscript—whose hand is different from either the scribe’s or the correcting hand (most likely Pulter’s)—heard and responded to the poem’s cries for glossing, adding some notes in the margins showing that they had understood the references within (particularly, references to local rivers). The poem is not just an invitation for her daughters, inviting them to come into the country; it also invites you, its reader, to get lost in its specificities, in its proper nouns and lists of rivers and types of nymphs. But what is the political efficacy of getting so lost in details?
As an editor, I attempted to respect this particularity of the poem—its desire for and invocation of glosses—and to provide information about the rivers, plants, and mythological figures Pulter names within. After all, a modern reader may not immediately know that a Napaea is a nymph of mountains, or that Grey’s Spring was a spring thought to have petrifying properties. On the other hand, the poem is curious in that its many specific references do not seem to enhance its overall argument: having more than that minimal information about a Napaea, or about Grey’s Spring, doesn’t significantly change or deepen your understanding of the lines that mention them: she hits on these specific references in passing, then moves on to other things. Providing more information on these proper nouns seems like a distraction, in a poem that is so much about the relationship between politics and forms of distraction (literary and otherwise). (For more on the politics of distraction, see the Headnote to this poem.)
I have therefore implemented a two-tiered system of glossing. First, for each of the poem’s many references to proper nouns, mythological figures, English plants, etc., I have provided a short reference, headed as a “GLOSS NOTE.” These references I have kept minimal and short—which is all the attention I think readers should give them, and all that I think understanding the poem requires. The changing density of boxes (which appear around a word or phrase to indicate a note) will also help readers see at a quick glance where the poem’s sometimes desperate or compulsive iteration of objects, rivers, etc. becomes most intense, and where it abates (for example, there is an explosion of references after the poem’s great break or volta at line 73). Most of these gloss notes are supplied from the OED; other sources are documented in critical notes. Second, longer critical notes and textual notes, each labelled accordingly, explain editorial choices, paraphrase difficult words and sentences, provide references to echoes in Pulter’s works, and call attention to interesting textual and interpretive ambiguities.
This poem had two kinds of intervention even in its life as a manuscript poem. As mentioned above, there are at least three contributors to this poem: the scribe who initially copied it; a correcting hand, probably Pulter’s; and a later marginal annotator who provided some initial glosses. My textual notes record interesting interventions in the early manuscript; in addition, where the early marginal annotator has provided a gloss, I provide their gloss, and label it with “ORIGINAL GLOSS NOTE”.
Finally, perhaps because of the complicated history of editorial intervention in the manuscript, the text of this poem is somewhat unstable: different editors have seen different things in the manuscript, and have made different (sometimes silent) emendations. I have therefore included with the poem a textual apparatus, including information about the decisions that different transcriptions and editions have made around certain textual cruxes in the poem. These textual notes appear among my other notes. I refer to the manuscript in notes as MS. Previous editions cited in textual and other notes are abbreviated as follows:
SGC: an old-spelling annotated dissertation edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter (1605?–1678): An Annotated Edition,” ed. Stefan Graham Christian (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012).
AE: a modernized and annotated edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (Toronto: Iter, Inc. and the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2014).
KW: a modernized and annotated “Elemental Edition”: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, 1647” ed. Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.
RSB: a modernized and annotated edition of Poem 2 and a few others by Pulter: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 92–98.
With a few exceptions, I have modernized the text’s spelling and capitalization throughout to concur with the Oxford English Dictionary Online headwords; this includes both the poem and the marginal annotator. I have also modernized punctuation, and expanded poetic abbreviations where such expansions would not affect the meter for a modern reader. For example, I expanded “Dispis’d” into “Despised,” as a modern reader would naturally read that word with two syllables. In instances where a final “ed” in the manuscript seems to suggest an additional syllable, I have modernized as “èd” (for example, the manuscript’s “changed,” pronounced with two syllables for metrical purposes, became modernized as “changèd”).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this poem, Pulter invites two of her London-based daughters, Margaret and Penelope, to leave the city and join her at Broadfield, her country estate. The poem first presents an elegiac and pastoral complaint about the social, sexual, and natural decline of the city due to the fact that King Charles has been removed from London and imprisoned in Holmby House by parliamentary forces. Using iambic tetrameter couplets, the poem champions the virtues of the countryside and rural life using conventional pastoral motifs, but then moves away from the typical comparison of court and city to concede that all areas have been corrupted by political unrest. Blending mythological and horticultural references with allusions to the topography of her estate and the region, the poem offers a political pastoral that ends with the hope of the restoration of the monarchy. Events discussed in the poem suggest that Pulter wrote this poem earlier than most in the Pulter’s collection.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What is a political poem? There is no question that this poem is political insofar as it has political content: the title’s explicit date (in the midst of the English Civil War) and mention of the king at “Unhappy Home” clearly signals the political setting and occasion for the poem. However, the poem begins not as an address to the king, but as an address to her daughters. The title’s mysterious string of initials—D. D. M. P. P. P.—gives itself away, deciphers itself, from the very first line. “Dear daughters, come,” it says, addressing her D[ear] D[aughters] M[argaret] P[ulter and] P[enelope] P[ulter]; in the process, it shows the “mixture of revelation and concealment” common in Royalist writers,
Gloss Note
Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist literature 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 43.
1
using coded language not necessarily to hide a meaning, but to call attention to the thing being hidden. The contradictory impulses evident in the title—both boldly taking a political position (referring to the king as “his Sacred Majesty”) and using initials as an easily decoded encoding—also occur throughout the poem.
For example, it is difficult to say what genre this poem is. If the end of the title signals its desire to be a political poem, the start of the title, “An Invitation into the Country,” signals something very different. Students of Renaissance poetry may hear in the title an echo of Christopher Marlowe’s famous “Come live with me and be my love,” which invites a beloved into the country to enjoy simple, pastoral pleasures. Students of Pulter may hear in the poem itself echoes of her Emblem 20, This Poor Turtle Dove [Poem 85], which warns women about the evil temptations of London. Or readers may think of the seventeenth-century genre of the country house poem, which extols the virtues of country estates over crowded London streets. These poems of invitation and country-house poems themselves draw on the genre of the pastoral, which idealizes the country and the work of shepherds, and Pulter signals the pastoral nature of the poem not only by setting it in the countryside, but also by giving the King and Queen pastoral code names (Amintas and Chloris, respectively).
However, even as the beginning of the poem signals its generic affiliations, it also breaks them. “Invitation into the Country” begins, as promised, as a song of invitation, including a repeated refrain (with variations): “Then come, sweet virgins, come away; / What is it that invites your stay?” The song of invitation progresses logically: first she details the unhappinesses of city life, and then the virtues of country life. While the city has “shepherds that no flocks do keep” (l. 19), the country has “careful shepherds” whose gentle guidance protects their flocks (l. 49ff). Then things take a turn. Pulter’s poem is approximately 190 lines long, with the first 72 lines falling into discrete stanzas ending in the refrain; between lines 72 and 73, the poem suddenly swerves into pastoral elegy, listing rivers, birds, flowers, plants, and mythological creatures all mourning the loss (but not death) of the king. In this revised pastoral elegiac landscape, “since Amintas [King Charles] went away, / Shepherds and sheep go all astray” (ll. 75–76; emphasis added), and the lines right after the turn specifically catalogue the destruction of typical pastoral pleasures like maypoles and “lively lasses dancing round” (l. 86). Suddenly the poem is not a poem of invitation extolling country virtues, but is closer to John Milton’s pastoral elegy “Lycidas,” or closer still to Lucy Hutchinson’s political pastoral elegy “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” where trees and flowers “languish,” “drooping,” and “murmuring springs rise and complain / Then shrink into the earth again” (ll. 14, 13, 17–18).
Gloss Note
Lucy Hutchinson, “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 290–92.
2
This swerve also changes the poem formally: after line 72 there are no more stanza breaks, and the song’s refrain disappears until the very last lines, where it returns to end the poem:
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
Can my afflicted heart content
Until I see them both restored,
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
And place them in their shining spheres.
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
To comfort me make no delay.
The radical turn in the middle of the poem raises many questions. Generically and formally the poem is fascinating, establishing a clear pattern only to egregiously, flauntingly break it. The sudden turn at line 73 almost seems like the beginning of a new poem, and a new genre, though the repetition of the refrain at the end insists on the unity of the two disparate halves. How are we to interpret the sudden swerve from a song of invitation into pastoral elegy, an instance of the pathetic fallacy run deliberately (and politically) wild? How do the two parts fit together, and why has Pulter combined two different genres in such a way as to let the seams so obviously show? And what are the politics of this formal and poetic disjunction?
The final lines of the poem, quoted above, highlight the broader problem of this poem’s strange relationship to politics. It is not clear, in these lines, whose return it is that she desires: does the “them both” of line 185 refer to the king and queen of England (as most editors have assumed), or is she merely asking for her two daughters to return to her country estate at Broadfield to comfort her? The causal “then” of the refrain perhaps suggests the latter: “I will not be able to feel any comfort until I see them restored—so come, daughters, and comfort me.” If the “them both” is in fact King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria then these final lines are even more bizarre: “Nothing will comfort me until the king and queen are restored—so, come, daughters, and comfort me, though I have literally just said that no comfort but the restoration of the monarchy will be comforting.” What is the poem asking for? What does it want? What comfort does it imagine?
The final lines, then, seem to worry at the larger political and poetical problem of the relationship between agency and despair. Is this a private poem of a mother missing her daughters, hoping they can cure her (and the countryside’s) despair? Or is it, even obliquely, requesting political, public solutions for her private despair? “Nothing can comfort me,” the end may be saying, “except the restoration of the monarchy. With that in mind: I am asking you to comfort me.” Does the request for emotional comfort cancel the implicit request for political action, or prompt it?
This problem, of whether emotion is an invocation of political agency or an invitation to political retreat, runs through the poem as a whole. Consider, for example, the image of the “weeping” fanes or temples with which the poem begins; seeing moisture dripping down walls is both a projection of her own sadness onto damp marble, but also an exhortation to feeling in others: “Hard hearts, insensible of woe, / Whom marble walls in grief outgo!” (ll. 7–8). Even marble walls, she tells her readers, are showing their grief; how much harder is the matter of your heart, to not do the same? This same problem is a preoccupation of much Royalist poetry, which responded to defeats with images of closed circles: Richard Lovelace’s snail “within [its] own self curled,” Alexander Brome’s circle of imprisoned carousers, Andrew Marvell’s desire to retreat into “The Garden” and “transcend” worldly troubles, converting potentially political impulses instead to “a green thought in a green shade.” The second part of Pulter’s poem, especially, responds to this strand of Royalist writing, and this poem’s curation How to Do Things with Political Poetry provides examples both of some (beautiful) examples of Royalist poetic escapism, as well as examples of radical poems that mock the Royalists for retreating into verse, and are modelled instead on chants and calls to action.
Pulter’s “Invitation into the Country” situates itself among these political questions of pastoral poetry and agency, but it is striking that unlike some of her more explicitly topical political poems this poem offers not only commentary on a specific historical moment, but also a meta-reflection on the relationship between poetry and political agency; its formal problems—the questions of poetic form and genre—also become political problems.
(For more information on how these political questions inform the editorial practice for this amplified edition, see the Editorial Note.)


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Deare daughters come make hast away
Dear daughters, come, make haste away
Dear daughters, come, make haste, away!
2
from that Sad place make noe delay
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
; make no delay.
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
make no delay.
3
Hee’s gon that was the Citties Grace
Gloss Note
King Charles is gone
He’s gone
that was the city’s grace;
Gloss Note
King Charles
He’s
gone that was the city’s grace;
4
Physical Note
Apparently this word was first written as “ffor.” The first “e” was inserted later, the “o” overwritten as “i,” and “ce” crowded before “Hydras.”
ffeirce
Hydras now Uſurps his place
Gloss Note
The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was eventually defeated by Hercules. Here Pulter identifies parliamentarians and Cromwell as heads of state proliferating monstrously after Charles’s imprisonment. See Pulter’s reference to tyrannical power as a “hydra” in Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 71.
Fierce Hydras
now usurp his place.
Gloss Note
the Hydra was the many-headed snake of Lerna, whose heads regenerated; in classical mythology, killed by Hercules
Textual Note
SGC: Since Hydras now usurps
KW: Fierce Hydras now usurp
RSB: Five hydras now usurp

The MS has “Hydras,” which is either an alternate spelling of the name of the monster “Hydra,” or is a statement that London is filled with multiple hydras. I assumed it is an alternate spelling because of the singular verb “usurps,” though other editors read “hydras” as plural and emend the verb to “usurp.”

Fierce Hydra
now usurps his place.
5
The
Physical Note
The “h” appears written over an earlier “l.”
Phanes
are over Grown with moſs
The
Gloss Note
temples, shrines, or religious structures. The manuscript shows that the word was originally written as “planes,” which was then corrected to “phanes.” The original word is also viable since it refers to species of trees or natural landscapes.
fanes
are overgrown with moss,
The
Gloss Note
temples
Textual Note
SGC: Planes
RSB: planes

In the MS, the letter after the “P” is either an “l” or an “h”; one was written over the other, though it is difficult to discern which came first and which is the correction. While it is not impossible that plains (or plane trees) would be overgrown with moss, I chose “Phanes” or fanes, temples, because in line eight she suggests that even marble walls are weeping more than are (human) English subjects.

fanes
are overgrown with moss
6
With Shedding teares for
Physical Note
The “g” corrects an earlier “d” by the addition of a descender.
Englands
loſs
With shedding tears for England’s loss,
With shedding tears for England’s loss:
7
Hard hearts unſenceable of woe
Gloss Note
in the English people
Hard hearts
insensible of woe,
Hard hearts, insensible of woe,
8
Whom Marble Wals in
Physical Note
“ief” appears written over “eaſ.”
griefe
out goe
Whom marble walls, in grief, outgo.
Whom marble walls in grief outgo!
9
Then come Sweet virgins come away
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
10
What is it that invites your Stay
What is it that invites your stay?
What is it that invites your stay?
11
What can you learn there elce but pride
What can you learn there else but pride,
What can you learn there else but pride,
12
And what your bluſhes will not hide
And what your blushes will not hide?
And what your blushes will not hide?
13
There virgins lose theire Honour’ed name
There, virgins lose their honored name,
There virgins lose their honored name,
14
which doth for ever blur theire fame
Which doth forever blur their fame.
Which doth forever blur their fame.
15
Physical Note
The “i” (except the dot) is blotted.
Theire
Huſbands looke with Jealous eyes
There, husbands look with jealous eyes,
There husbands look with jealous eyes,
16
And wives
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with scribbles; some letters are visible, including an initial “d,” possiblly an “ſ” in the third position, and possibly a concluding “ceive.”
deſceive
^deceive them and theire Spies;
And wives deceive them, and their spies.
And wives deceive them and their spies.
17
To Inns of Court,
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with multiple strike-throughs.
whole
^and Armies goe
To
Gloss Note
Four London Inns of Court—Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple—served as law schools, where young men lived, were educated, and sought entertainment.
Inns of Court
and armies go
To
Gloss Note
buildings in London housing legal societies
Inns of Court
and armies go
18
Wiſe Children theire owne Dads to know
Wise children, their own dads to know.
Wise children, their own dads to know.
19
Physical Note
The “i” is erased and written over.
Theire
Shepherds, that noe fflocks doe keepe,
There, shepherds that no flocks do keep,
There shepherds that no flocks do keep
20
Like Butchers Mastives, worrie Sheepe
Gloss Note
A “butcher’s mastiff” was a breed of dog, associated with those kept by butchers to use in fighting and slaughtering animals. Here the analogy begun in the line before is to the pastoral overseers (clergymen) who threaten rather than protect their dependents.
Like butcher’s mastiffs, worry sheep.
Like butchers’
Gloss Note
large, powerful dogs
mastiffs
worry sheep.
21
Then Come Sweete Children come away
Then come, sweet children, come away;
Then come, sweet children, come away;
22
Physical Note
The top of the question mark is reversed and short; a mark, possibly a colon, resembles some other question marks in manuscript.
What?
can allure you yet to Stay.
What can allure you yet to stay?
What can allure you yet to stay?
23
Hide Parke a place of chiefe delight
Gloss Note
A private, royal deer park in London before Charles I opened it to the public; it became a popular gathering place, and was a site for fortifications during the civil war.
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight,
Gloss Note
a park in central London; as the rest of the line indicates, a place of chief delight
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight:
24
Her buſhes mourne like Jewes in white
Her bushes mourn like
Critical Note
In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206). It was more common to attribute white mourning clothes to various Asian cultures. See Pulter’s Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10], which mentions “Jews or Chinesses” mourning in clothes of “snowy white” (l. 10).
Jews in white
.
Critical Note
AE and KW note that this may be a confused reference to “Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement and repentance, during which it is traditional to wear white” (AE p. 49, n. 19; see also KW n. 7). SCG notes that the bushes dressed in white may also be a reference to the fact that after 1643, “Hyde Park was the scene of military encampment, its trees obscured by draped canvas” (p. 97, n. 56).
Her bushes mourn like Jews in white.
25
The Stately Deer doe weeping Stray
The stately deer do weeping stray,
The stately deer do weeping stray,
26
Anticipateing theire last day
Anticipating their last day.
Anticipating their last day.
Spring

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27
Spring Garden that ſuch pleaſures bred
Critical Note
A London public resort, associated with entertainment, dining, drinking, and bowling; it was ordered closed in 1635. Although there is a decorative capital “S” in “Spring Garden” and a word rhyming with “stay” in the previous line, we have not interpreted this line as beginning a new stanza because it would create an unusual four-line stanza above.
Spring Garden
, that such pleasures bred,
Gloss Note
a public pleasure garden
Spring Garden
that such pleasures bred
28
Lookes dull and ſad Since Cloris fled
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
goddess of the spring, and a common name for Charles I’s wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
Chloris
fled.
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
fled.
29
The Christall Thames her loss deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
river in England
Thames
her loss
Gloss Note
laments
deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
the major river running through London
Thames
her loss deplores,
30
And to the Sea her Griefe out Rores
And to the sea her grief
Gloss Note
The primary sense is “roars out,” but it carries a secondary sense of the river’s noise drowning out that of the sea.
outroars
.
And to the sea her grief outroars;
31
The Swans upon her Silver brest
The swans upon her silver breast
The swans upon her silver breast,
32
Though dieing yet can find noe Rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
33
but full of griefe crie wella-d-aye
But full of grief cry, “
Gloss Note
an exclamation of sorrow
welladay
,”
But full of grief cry, “Welladay!”
34
And Singing Sigh theire breath away
And,
Gloss Note
Swans were reputed to sing before dying.
singing, sigh their breath away
.
And,
Gloss Note
a reference to the “swan song” supposedly sung by swans before death
singing, sigh their breath away
.
35
Aye me then com make hast away
Ay me, then come, make haste away;
Ay me!—then come, make haste away;
36
ffrom that Sad place make noe delay
From that sad place make no delay.
From that sad place make no delay.
37
Physical Note
The “re” and apostrophe appear to be added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased; the apostrophe appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
fflow’ery
vales and Christall Springs
Here’s flow’ry
Gloss Note
valleys
vales
and crystal springs;
Here’s
Textual Note
SGC: Flowery
RSB: flowery

The MS originally read “Flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales and crystal springs;
38
Physical Note
The “re” appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
ſhadey Groves, here ever ſings
Here’s shady groves, here ever sings
Here’s shady groves; here ever sings
39
The Bulfinch Linnit Striving which
The
Gloss Note
both songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
The
Gloss Note
both birds known particularly as songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
40
The Auditours Shall most bewitch;
The auditors shall most bewitch.
The auditors shall most bewitch.
41
The early Larke long ere the Morne
The early lark, long
Gloss Note
before
ere
the morn
The early
Gloss Note
a songbird known for singing early in the day
lark
, long ere the morn
42
with Roſes can her head
Physical Note
There is a circle (possibly part of a letter) to the right, and several smeared “M”s.
Adorne
With roses can her head adorn,
With roses can her head adorn,
43
Sings Cheerfully a Roundelay
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
short simple song
roundelay
,
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
a bird’s song; a simple song with a refrain
roundelay
,
44
Telling this lower world ’tis day
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
45
Here Thruſhes, Wrens, and Red brests, ſing
Here thrushes, wrens, and redbreasts sing
Here thrushes, wrens, and
Gloss Note
robins
redbreasts
sing
46
To welcome in the gladſom Spring
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
47
Then come Sweet Maydens come away
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
48
to this Sweet place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
49
Here carefull Shepherds view there Sheepe
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
50
They him, and he theire Soules doth keepe
Critical Note
In this extended conceit, which encompasses the previous line as well, the speaker suggests that the literal shepherds figure the pastoral care of clergymen and of God; her switch from plural shepherds to the singular relationship of God to his people creates a tension in the analogy. “They,” the sheep or church members, trust their being to “him” (the shepherd or clergyman) who “keeps,” or safeguards, the flocks. See Psalms 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
They him, and he their souls doth keep.
Critical Note
Other editors have noted the contrast between the gentle country shepherd described here and the vicious city shepherd of lines 19–20; see also lines 75–76.
They him, and he their souls, doth keep.
51
Bleſſings flow on them from aboue
Blessings flow on them from above
Blessings flow on them from above
52
That are reciprocall in loue
That are reciprocal in love.
That are reciprocal in love.
53
he in his boſome bear’s the Lambs.
He in his bosom bears the lambs
He in his bosom bears the lambs,
54
And Gentlely leads the
Physical Note
These words appear on a slight ascension from the rest of the line, possibly in a different hand, or added later.
heavie Dams
And gently leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant sheep
heavy dams
;
And
Textual Note
The MS spells this word “Gentlely”; by modernizing I have removed a syllable and potentially altered the meter.
gently
leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant mothers
heavy dams
;
55
He whistles those that goe Astray
He whistles those that go astray
He whistles those that go astray,
56
By which meanes none runs quite away
By which means, none runs quite away.
Textual Note
Between lines 56 and 57 is a page break in the manuscript; KW include a stanza break here (AE and RSB do not). I have not added a stanza break as other breaks occur only after refrains.
By which means none runs quite away.
here

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57
Here Husbands free from Jealous eye
Critical Note
This line begins after a page break in the manuscript so it it hard to determine whether it begins a new stanza or not. We have interpreted a stanza break here based on the repetition of the opening word “Here” (which begins the stanzas above and below), the fact that the scribe often uses more decorative capitals at the beginning of stanzas, and new stanzas begin after the refrain marked by rhyming words “stay” or “delay.”
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
58
Haue wives as full of modesty
Have wives as full of modesty;
Have wives as full of modesty.
59
They in theire Children
Physical Note
It appears that the word in question was first written as “both”; then the first letter was corrected, to read “doth”; then the whole word was struck-through twice, with “both” inserted above.
dothboth
rejoyce
They, in their children, both rejoice,
They in their children
Textual Note
SGC: doth
AE: [doth]

The MS originally read “both”; this was replaced with “doth,” and then changed back, finally, to “both.”

both
rejoice,
60
Commending still theire happy choyce
Commending still their happy choice:
Commending still their happy choice,
61
Most kind, and free from all debate;
Most kind and free from all debate,
Most kind, and free from all debate,
62
Physical Note
A final letter, possibly an “s,” is imperfectly erased and/or blotted.
That[?]
noe true loue, can ever hate.
That no true love can ever hate.
Textual Note
The MS originally read “That’s,” which would have made line 62 its own independent clause: It is no true love that could ever hate.
That
no true love can ever hate.
63
Then come my Children come away
Then come, my children, come away;
Then come, my children, come away;
64
To this Sweete place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
65
Here virgins Sit in
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased.
flow’ery
Vales
Here virgins sit in flow’ry vales,
Here virgins sit in
Textual Note
SGC: flow’ery
KW: flowery

The MS originally read “flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales,
66
refresht by Sweet
Physical Note
The second “o” is imperfectly erased.
ffavonious
gales
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
Latin name for the west wind, which was associated with springtime (also known as Zephyrus)
Favonius’s
Gloss Note
strong winds
gales
,
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
the west wind
Textual Note
AE: favorious
RSB: favorious
Favonious’
gales,
67
Makeing them Anadems and poſes
Making
Gloss Note
themselves
them
Gloss Note
“Anadems” were wreaths of flowers for the head; “poses” refers to posies, which were bunches of flowers as well as collections of short poems, devices or emblems
anadems and poses
,
Making them
Gloss Note
Anadems are floral wreaths or crowns; poses are small bunches of flowers.
Textual Note
SGC: Diadems and poses
RSB: anadems and posies
anadems and poses
,
68
Crowning theire Heads with new blowne Roses
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
blossoming
new-blown
roses.
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
newly bloomed or opened roses
new-blown roses
.
69
In woods and Dales faire Maidens may
In woods and
Gloss Note
valleys
dales
fair maidens may,
In woods and dales fair maidens may,
70
Unfrighted freely gather May
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
Hawthorn blossom; the ritual of gathering may was often done on May Day, as the stanza later suggests.
may
.
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
hawthorn blossoms
may
.
71
Then lovely lasses, come away!
Then, lovely lasses, come away;
72
Critical Note
This and the prior line are inserted in the margin, probably in Pulter’s hand. We have inserted a stanza break after them, on the model of earlier stanzas which end after similar refrains.
To cheer my heart make no delay.
Textual Note

Lines 71–72 were inserted in the margin after the fact; I have embedded them in the poem as they offer the last refrain before the poem shifts into another mode (the refrain will occur again only at the very end). I have also inserted a stanza break after these lines, to match the stanza breaks that occur after other instances of the refrain in the poem. However, without these lines and without the stanza break, the shift is much more subtle, as the poem originally transitioned from song of invitation to dark lament on the state of the world with no formal or visual cues.

Every other editor inserts these lines, with the following changes: SGC puts the inserted lines in brackets and adds a stanza break afterwards; AE does not add a stanza break, and emphasizes their continuity with what follows by adding a comma at the end of line 72; KW and RSB add a stanza break after.

To cheer my heart make no delay.
73
Physical Note
To the left, two poetic lines are inserted in H2, broken into four lines: “xThen lovely laſſes / com awaye / To cheere my heart / make noe delaye.” Slashes show line breaks in the manuscript.
But
oh thoſe times now changed
Physical Note
The superscript “x” is in H2.
beex
But O, those times now
Gloss Note
The poem shifts at this point from comparing the city to the country, to showing the devastation that infiltrates even the pastoral landscape.
changéd be
;
But O, those times now changèd be!
74
Sad Metamorphosis wee See
Sad metamorphosis we see.
Sad metamorphosis we see.
75
ffor Since Amintas went away
For since
Gloss Note
pastoral name for Charles I
Amintas
went away,
For since
Gloss Note
King Charles I
Amintas
went away,
76
Shepherds and Sheepe goe all aſtray
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
77
Those that deſerved whole Groves of Bayes
Gloss Note
Writers who deserved the sign of poetic achievement, the wearing of the wreath made of laurel or bay leaves (as in poet laureate).
Those that deserved whole groves of bays
Those that deserved whole groves of
Gloss Note
wreaths of bay or laurel branches were used to reward poetic or martial achievements
bays
78
In Sighs conſume theire youthfull dayes
In
Gloss Note
laments, but especially those in the form of poems, since it refers back to the title of the collection, Sighs Breathed Forth by the Noble Haddassas
sighs
consume their youthful days;
In sighs consume their youthful days,
79
And that faire
Physical Note
The “y” in “fleecy” is written in thicker inkover a previous letter, possibly “e”; the “o” in “flocks” is written over an earlier letter.
fleecy flocks
did keepe
And
Gloss Note
those that
that
fair fleecy flocks did keep,
And that fair fleecy flocks did keep,
80
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased, replaced with an apostrophe.
Diſpiſ’d
in corners ſit and weepe
Despised in corners sit and weep.
Despised in corners, sit and weep.
81
Since Cloris went both wife and Maid
Since Chloris went, both wife and maid
Since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
went, both wife and maid
82
In loue and be^avty hath Decayed
In love and beauty hath decayed.
In love and beauty hath decayed.
83
Where May poles shewed theire fe^athered head
Where
Gloss Note
tall poles, decorated with paint, flowers and greenery, which served as the centerpiece for May Day dances and celebrations; this ritual was opposed by some factions who were also hostile to Charles I.
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
Where
Gloss Note
poles decorated with flowers, to celebrate May Day
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
84
Theire colour’d Inſign’s now are ſpread
There, colored
Gloss Note
military banners
ensigns
now are spread;
Textual Note
Though I have modernized this word as “There,” if we are meant to imagine the maypoles being repurposed as flagpoles it could instead have been modernized as “Their.”
There
colored
Gloss Note
military banners or flags
ensigns
now are spread:
85
Inſtead of Muſicks pleaſant ſound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
86
And lively laſſes danceing round
And lively lasses dancing round,
And lively lasses dancing round,
87
Tumultuous Drums make Deafe our eares
Tumultuous
Gloss Note
military instruments
drums
make deaf our ears
Tumultuous drums make deaf our ears
88
And Trumpets fill our hearts w:th feares
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
89
In Shades where Nimphs did uſe to walke
In shades where nymphs did use to walk
In shades where
Gloss Note
semi-divine spirits inhabiting natural objects
nymphs
did use to walk,
90
There Sons of Mars in Armour Stalke
There sons of
Gloss Note
god of war
Mars
in armor stalk.
There
Gloss Note
Mars is the god of war; the sons of Mars are soldiers.
sons of Mars
in armor stalk.
in

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91
Physical Note
Beneath the apostrophe is an illegible erased letter.
Inamell’d
vales and Cristall Streames
Enameled vales and crystal streams
Critical Note
In these next few lines, the rivers of England mourn the loss of the king and queen. Lines 94–95 say, roughly, that the rivers Mimram and Stort wear “mourning weeds,” which usually means dark clothes of mourning, but in this case may literally mean they “wear” vegetal weeds in their waters or on their banks.
Enameled vales and crystal streams
92
Proue now alas poore Bradfields dreames
Gloss Note
turn out to be
Prove
now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate
Broadfield’s
dreams.
Prove now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate in Hertfordshire (AE, p. 52, n. 38)
Broadfield’s
dreams.
93
Leas drooping Swans now Sadly Sing
Gloss Note
As an eighteenth-century reader notes in the margin, Lea, Beane, Mimram and Stort (all mentioned in this and the next lines) are all local rivers in Hertfordshire. The imagery suggests that the natural flow and crossing of the rivers register their attempt to express sorrow and find sympathy in shared tears.
Lea’s
drooping swans now sadly sing
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Leas’
drooping swans now sadly sing,
94
And Beane comes weeping from her Spring
And Beane comes weeping from her spring.
And
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Beane
comes weeping from her spring;
95
Mimmer and Sturt in mourning weeds
Mimram and Stort in mourning
Gloss Note
clothes or plants
weeds
,
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Mimram
and
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Stort
in mourning weeds,
96
Shewing theire hearts for griefe en’e
Physical Note
In the right margin, by a vertical line, appears this note in a third hand: “Been, Colne Lea, Mimmer, Stort, Ver, names of Rivers in Hartfordshire”
bleeds
Showing their hearts for grief e’en bleeds.
Showing their hearts for grief e’en
Textual Note
The word “bleeds” should, grammatically, be “bleed” (to agree with the plural subject “hearts”), but I have preserved “bleeds” to preserve the rhyme.
bleeds
:
97
All run to Lea for ſome Reliefe
All run to Lea for some relief,
All run to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Lea
for some relief,
98
And in her boſome
Physical Note
The insertion is in H2; “bear” is twice struck-through (except the final “e”).
pourbeare
there griefe
And in her bosom pour their grief.
And in her bosom
Gloss Note
All the rivers mentioned in these lines empty into the Lea.
Textual Note
The MS originally had “bear,” which was replaced with “pour.”
pour their grief
.
99
Thus Shee and they all weeping goe
Thus she and they all weeping go
Thus she and they all weeping go
100
To tell the Thames theire grievous woe
To tell the Thames their grievous woe.
Gloss Note
The river Lea empties, eventually, into the Thames.
To tell the Thames
their grievous woe.
101
Vir lookes and ſees this Shire ^looke ſad
Gloss Note
local river
Ver
looks and sees
Gloss Note
Hertfordshire
this shire
look sad;
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Ver
looks and sees this shire look sad;
102
Shee whirls about as Shee were mad
She whirls about
Gloss Note
as if
as
she were mad.
She whirls about as she were mad,
103
Round Verulam his ruin’d Stones
Round
Gloss Note
Veralum’s; Veralum was the abbreviated name for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium in Hertfordshire, the ruins of which were visible.
Verulam his
ruinéd stones
Round
Gloss Note
Verulamium, a Roman British town, in ruins
Textual Note
SGC: Verulamium
Verulam
his ruined stones
104
Shee Runs and tells to Colne her mones
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note
larger river, tributary of the Thames
Colne
her moans;
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Colne
her moans,
105
ffor Since her Saint his blood was ſhed
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, a resident of Verulamium, was the first British Christian martyr; he was converted by a fugitive priest whom he sheltered, and condemned to death by the pagan Emperor. The town was named St. Albans in his honor. Pulter alludes to the specifics of his martyrdom in The Complaint of Thames, 1647 [Poem 4].
her saint
his blood was shed,
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, British martyr associated with the nearby town St. Albans
her saint
his blood was shed,
106
Shee never grieved ſoe as ſhee
Physical Note
The “i” appears written over an earlier letter, possibly “e.”
ſaid
She never grieved so, as she said.
She never grieved so, as she said.
107
Colne Simpathiſed with her in woe
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
108
And to the Thames Resolved to goe
And to the
Gloss Note
main river in south England
Thames
resolved to go,
And to the Thames resolved to go.
109
Cleare Purvall too came
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “the river Pyr near Hitchin.”
bubling out
Clear
Gloss Note
a nearby river; the eighteenth-century annotator of the manuscript defined Purwell as “the river Pyr near Hitchin”
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
Clear
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Pyr, near Hitchin
Critical Note
“Purwell” has perhaps changed names multiple times; the MS reads “Purvall,” and the marginal annotation reads “Pyr.” This line begins a long, winding sentence that runs from lines 109–122—perhaps mirroring the winding of the river Pyr?
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
110
But long Shee did not Stand in doubt
But long she did not stand in doubt;
But long she did not stand in doubt;
111
Seeing our Halcion dayes were dun
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful, calm
halcyon
days were done,
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful or calm days
halcyon days
were done,
112
Shee loathed (ſhee Said) to ſee the Sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
113
As he purſued the Chearfull day
As he pursued the cheerful day,
As he pursued the cheerful day,
114
But turn’d her course another way
But turned her course another way.
But turned her course another way,
115
And Sighing Shed forth tear’s as cleare
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
116
as pearles and ran to Bedfordſhire
As pearls, and ran to Bedfordshire—
As pearls, and ran to
Gloss Note
the county northeast of Hertfordshire
Bedfordshire
,
117
To Owes, who was So full of
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “The river, Ouſe.”
Griefe
To
Critical Note
The Purwell river follows this route, flowing toward Bedfordshire and into one of the longest British rivers, the Ouse. Pulter offers an origin myth in which the Purwell bends its natural course to the west, because her eastward view of the sun offended her grief.
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
To
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Ouse
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
118
That Shee her Selfe did want Reliefe
That she herself did want relief—
That she herself did want relief,
119
And ſaid would any place
Physical Note
Although the manuscript seems to read “rereive,” the scribe uses a secretary form of “c” (unusual for this hand) that looks like a modern “r.” Thanks to Liza Blake for calling this to our attention.
receive
And said, would any place receive
And said, would any place receive
120
Her teares, She would her channell leave
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
121
As when King Richards Reigne had date
As when
Gloss Note
In the English medieval War of the Roses, the Duke of Buckingham led a rebellion against Richard III, but was defeated, in part, due to the flooding of the Severn River.
King Richard’s
reign had date;
Gloss Note
The Ouse river flooded during Richard III’s reign (AE p. 53, n. 49).
Critical Note
Eardley also notes that the flood famously stopped an invasion against the king; the image that this reference conjures, of a river coming to the assistance of the monarchy, may be deliberate here—though it is immediately undercut by the assertion that Ouse cannot perform such actions now.
As when King Richard’s reign had date—
122
But this Shee was denied by fate
But this she was denied by fate.
But this she was denied by fate.
123
Grayes Spring too Sadly makes her
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “a petrifying Spring at Bradfeld.”
moane
,
Gloss Note
As the next line indicates, an eighteenth-century annotator identifies Gray’s Spring as a “petrifying spring” on Pulter’s estate of Broadfield. These springs slowly coat anything in them with minerals that harden and encrust them, thus seeming to petrify.
Gray’s Spring
too sadly makes her moan,
Gloss Note (Original)
a petrifying spring at Bradfeld
Gray’s Spring
,
Textual Note
Though I have taken “too” to mean “also,” it may also modify sadly as an intensifier, in which case there should be a comma after “sadly,” not “too” (or no comma at all).
too
, sadly makes her moan,
124
and with her teares turns moſs to Stone
And with her tears turns moss to stone;
And with her tears turns moss to stone,

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125
And Seeing delight with Cloris fled
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
126
Shee Sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed, and murmuring hid her head
127
Within her womb that gave her breath
Within her womb that gave her breath,
Within her womb that gave her
Textual Note
SGC: breath
AE: breath
KW: breath

Though the MS reads “breath,” I have followed RSB and emended to “birth” to rhyme with “earth.”

birth
,
128
Venting her griefe below the Earth
Venting her grief below the earth.
Venting her grief below the earth.
129
The Nayedes here ſit in Rankes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were nymphs inhabiting rivers and lakes, or female personifications of bodies of water.
Naiades
here sit in
Gloss Note
rows
ranks
,
The
Gloss Note
river nymphs
Textual Note
In the MS, “naiads” is spelled “Nayedes”; I have spelled it “naïads” in an attempt to both modernize and restore the third syllable removed in modernization. It should be pronounced Ni-ee-adds.
naïads
here
Gloss Note
sit in rows
sit in ranks
,
130
fforelorne upon our withered bankes
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
131
And Garlands make of Willow Boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
trees associated with mourning
willow
boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
a tree associated with grief and loss of a mate
willow
boughs
132
To hide theire teares and Shade theire browes
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
133
Since Cloris went our flowers fade
Since Chloris went, our flowers fade;
Since Chloris went our flowers fade;
134
Noe pleaſure is in Hill or Shade
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
135
Poore Phillomele doth ſit alone
Poor
Gloss Note
In mythology, Tereus rapes Philomela and cuts out her tongue; after she takes revenge, she is turned into a nightingale, known for her sorrowful song.
Philomel
doth sit alone,
Poor
Gloss Note
the nightingale, once a woman raped and mutilated
Philomel
doth sit alone,
136
To Senceles trees now makes her mone
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
137
Our Woods theire Choristers now lack
Our woods their
Gloss Note
singing birds
choristers
now lack:
Our woods their choristers now lack:
138
The Woozles
Physical Note
This word is possibly corrected from “Weeſle.”
Whiſle
clad in black
The
Gloss Note
Eardley interprets “woozle” as an “ouzel” or blackbird.
woozles
whistle, clad in black,
The
Gloss Note
blackbirds
ouzels
whistle, clad in black,
139
And the forſaken Turtle Dove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
140
Bewayles her owne and Cloris love
Bewails her own and Chloris’s love.
Bewails her own and Chloris’ love,
141
The Hamadriades invokes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were the nymphs of trees, whose lives were coterminous with their trees.
Hamadryades
invokes
The
Gloss Note
wood nymphs that lived and died with the trees they inhabited
Textual Note
Properly modernized, this would be spelled “hamadryads”; I have retained the Latin form to maintain the original’s meter.
hamadryades
invokes:
142
The Goddeses inſhrin’d in Oakes
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
143
Who fold theire yielding Armes a croſs
Who fold their yielding arms across
Who fold their yielding arms across,
144
Physical Note
The “d” is possibly written over another letter; in the space after “And” an imperfectly erased “n” is visible; the “we” of “weepe” appears written over other letters.
And weepe
with them Aminta’s loſs
And weep with them Amintas’s loss.
And weep with them Amintas’ loss.
145
Som trees drop Gumm from theire ſad eyes
Gloss Note
Various species of trees oozed a gum with medicinal benefits (which could “give relief,” as the next line suggests), gums that were, in poetic tradition, often construed as tears; some petrified as amber and could preserve flies.
Some trees drop gum from their sad eyes
Some trees drop
Gloss Note
amber
gum
from their sad eyes
146
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “T’immortaliſe”; in the main text, “\Im\” is inserted in H2.
T’\Im\Mortaliſe
ambitious fflyes
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
147
Tho they can give us noe reliefe
Though
Gloss Note
the trees
they
can give us no relief,
Though they can give us no relief,
148
The’le Simpathise with us in griefe
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
Critical Note
This couplet nicely captures the central problem of the poem: what kind of “relief” is sympathy?
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
149
The Oriads Sport and play noe more
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs, in classical mythology
Oreads
sport and play no more,
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs
oreads
sport and play no more,
150
But great Amintas loſs deplore
But great Amintas’s loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
.
But great Amintas’ loss deplore;
151
Inſted of Roſes
Physical Note
The “u” in Cyprus is written over another letter, possibly an “e.”
Cyprus
Physical Note
The letters “ugh” are written over other illegible letters.
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
a tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
152
Pearld ov’er with Tears doth Shade theire browes
Pearled o’er with tears doth shade their brows.
Pearled
Textual Note
MS had “ov’er”; I take this to mean she wished to drop a syllable from the word to make the line more regular, and so have modernized as “o’er.”
o’er
with tears doth shade their brows;
153
Diſſhevel’d torne neglected haire
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
154
Hang ore theire throbing boſome bare
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
155
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “Nay”; the start of the struck-through word is “Na”; the remainder, scribbled out, is possibly “igh.”
Na[igh]
the Na’peas from theire Hills
Nay, the
Critical Note
mythological nymphs of woods, mountains, and rivers; Thomas Elyot defined them as “Goddesses of floures and woodes or rather elfes, hauntynge woodes” (Bibliotheca Eliotae, 1542, sig. Y4v). Many contemporary writers identified them as nymphs whose domain was specifically the moisture of flowers (See, for instance, Vives’s commentary on St. Augustine, Of the City of God [1610], p. 182).
Napeae
from their hills,
Nay, the
Gloss Note
nymphs of the woods, mountains, or rivers
Textual Note
SGC: Napeas
AE: Napaeae
KW: Napeae
RSB: Napaeae
Napaeas
from their hills,
156
Diſſolved with tears weepe Cristall rils
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
small streams
rills
.
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
streams
rills
.
157
Those flowers which the Valleys Crown
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
158
Or’e Charged with griefe theire Heads hang downe
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down.
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down;
ſince

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159
Since louely Cloris frighted fled
Since lovely Chloris frighted fled,
Since lovely Chloris, frighted, fled,
160
The crown Imperiall hangs his head
Critical Note
a flower; early modern books on plants described its different blooms or bells as each containing six droplets of water which mysteriously reappeared if removed (see John Gerard, Herbal, 1633, p. 202). Pulter refers to this legendary account in Upon the Crown Imperial [Poem 53].
The crown imperial
hangs his head;
The
Gloss Note
a flower associated with royalty
crown imperial
hangs his head,
161
His Princely breast or’ewhelm’d with feares
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
162
Weeping at once Six Cristall teares
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
163
To
Physical Note
this word could be “louely” or “lonely”; the third letter is obstructed by the “g” above and is ambiguous
lovely
Shades pale vi-letts creepe
To lovely shades pale vi’lets creep,
To
Textual Note
SGC: lovely
AE: lovely
KW: lovely
RSB: lovely

In early modern handwriting, “u” and “n” are written identically, so for the word I have given as “lonely” the MS could read either “lonely” or “louely” (lovely). I have interpreted the third graph (or letter) as an “n” as it makes more sense to me, in this dismal landscape, that the violet should creep into a lonely shade for its weeping. Further, that the violet is unpitied (l. 164) is perhaps because, in the lonely shade, there is no one else around to pity it. The MS’s ambiguity, however, is an interesting one, especially given that there is an identically written word (lonely / louely) only four lines earlier that almost certainly means “lovely.”

lonely
shades pale violets creep,
164
And ther unpittied Sit and weepe
And there, unpitied, sit and weep.
And
Textual Note
SGC: that
there
unpitied sit and weep.
165
The Royall Roſe that nere would yield
The royal rose that ne’er would yield,
The
Gloss Note
the Tudor rose; also playing on love poetry’s convention of blushes as “roses” in cheeks
royal rose
that ne’er would yield,
166
But Stroue for Mast’ry in the field
But strove for mast’ry in the
Gloss Note
battlefield; the fifteenth-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster were represented by white and red roses respectively.
field
,
But strove for mast’ry in the field,
167
And, Cloris Cheeke neglected, fades
And Chloris’s cheek, neglected, fades
And Chloris’ cheek neglected, fades
168
In Silent Solitary Shades.
In silent, solitary shades.
In silent solitary shades.
169
The lilly and the July flower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
carnation
gillyflower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
gillyflower or carnation
Textual Note
KW: gillyflower
July flower
170
Doe wiſh it were within theire power
Do wish it were within their power
Do wish it were within their power
171
To Sleepe for ever in theire Caves
To sleep forever in their
Gloss Note
original, formative elements
cause
;
To sleep for ever in their
Textual Note
SGC: Caves
RSB: caves

The manuscript reads “caves,” but the letters “u” and “v” were interchangeable in the period, so I have read it as “caues” to rhyme with “laws” and modernized as “cause.” The image of flowers “sleeping in their causes”—returning to their first principles, or existing as latent potentiality—is a common one in Pulter’s work; see also Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 14, and The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge [Poem 39], l. 5.

cause
,
172
But ti’s denide by Natures Lawes.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
173
Th’. Auricola that Cures the giddy braine
Critical Note
a flower, also called Bear’s-ear, named for the shape of its leaves. In his book, The Herbal, or General History of Plants, John Gerard observes that the roots have beneficial effects for those who hike in high mountains (1633, p. 787).
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
Gloss Note
a flower, also called Bear’s Ear, thought to cure dizziness at altitudes (AE p. 55, n. 63)
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
174
Dizie with griefe hangs downe her head againe
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
175
Then Shall not wee with griefe or’e flow
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
176
Shall Vegetables us out goe
Shall vegetables us outgo?
Critical Note
Pulter ends her catalogue of unhappy plants by suggesting that we (humans) should be ashamed to fall behind plants in pity. For this line to scan metrically, the word “vegetables” needs to be pronounced with four syllables.
Shall vegetables us outgo?
177
Thus neither Woods nor ffields nor Hills
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
178
Inamel’d Vales nor Cristall rills
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
179
nor birds nor Trees nor flowers of Scent
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent:
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent,
180
But doe this kingdomes loss reſent
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
181
Then let us Still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
182
Till heaven in mercie doth Relieve
Till Heaven, in mercy, doth relieve.
Till heaven in mercy doth relieve.
183
Tis neither ſight nor odours ſent
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
’Tis neither sight nor
Critical Note
The MS reads “odours sent”; I have modernized as “odor’s scent” (no sights or smells can make me happy), but it could also be “odors sent,” with odors the direct object of sending, in which case these lines would say something like: no sights or odors sent to me could make me happy. In this case, she may be driving home to her daughters that they should not, e.g., send letters or flowers, but come themselves to the country.
odor’s scent
184
can my aflicted heart content
Can my afflicted heart content,
Can my afflicted heart content
185
Untill I ſee them both Reſtored
Until I see them both restored,
Critical Note
The “them” in question is almost certainly Chloris and Amintas, the queen and king of England. However, the return of the refrain at the end of the poem also introduces an ambiguity: perhaps she yearns not, or not only, for Chloris and Amintas, but also for the return of her two daughters, M. P. and P. P.
Until I see them both restored,
186
Whoſe abſence hath been ſoe deplored
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
187
Just Heaven heare our prayers and teares
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
188
And place them in theire Shineing
Physical Note
A long ligature between “e” and “r” replaces an erased letter.
Spheres
And place them in their
Gloss Note
the form of the heavens
shining spheres
.
And place them in their shining spheres.
189
Then come Sweete Daughters come away
Then come, sweet daughters, come away;
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
190
To comfort me make noe delaye.
To comfort me make no delay.
To comfort me make no delay.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

In the manuscript, this short title continues, specifying first that the invitation is to two of Pulter’s “dear daughters” who lived in the city of London: Margaret and Penelope (identified by their initials). The long title also notes that 1647 was “when his Sacred Majesty was at unhappy home,” probably a reference to Holdenby or Holmby (in Northamptonshire) where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647. Pulter was, during this time, in residence at her estate of Broadfield in Hertfordshire.

 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

In this poem, Pulter invites two of her London-based daughters, Margaret and Penelope, to leave the city and join her at Broadfield, her country estate. The poem first presents an elegiac and pastoral complaint about the social, sexual, and natural decline of the city due to the fact that King Charles has been removed from London and imprisoned in Holmby House by parliamentary forces. Using iambic tetrameter couplets, the poem champions the virtues of the countryside and rural life using conventional pastoral motifs, but then moves away from the typical comparison of court and city to concede that all areas have been corrupted by political unrest. Blending mythological and horticultural references with allusions to the topography of her estate and the region, the poem offers a political pastoral that ends with the hope of the restoration of the monarchy. Events discussed in the poem suggest that Pulter wrote this poem earlier than most in the Pulter’s collection.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

London
Line number 3

 Gloss note

King Charles is gone
Line number 4

 Gloss note

The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was eventually defeated by Hercules. Here Pulter identifies parliamentarians and Cromwell as heads of state proliferating monstrously after Charles’s imprisonment. See Pulter’s reference to tyrannical power as a “hydra” in Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 71.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

temples, shrines, or religious structures. The manuscript shows that the word was originally written as “planes,” which was then corrected to “phanes.” The original word is also viable since it refers to species of trees or natural landscapes.
Line number 7

 Gloss note

in the English people
Line number 17

 Gloss note

Four London Inns of Court—Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple—served as law schools, where young men lived, were educated, and sought entertainment.
Line number 20

 Gloss note

A “butcher’s mastiff” was a breed of dog, associated with those kept by butchers to use in fighting and slaughtering animals. Here the analogy begun in the line before is to the pastoral overseers (clergymen) who threaten rather than protect their dependents.
Line number 23

 Gloss note

A private, royal deer park in London before Charles I opened it to the public; it became a popular gathering place, and was a site for fortifications during the civil war.
Line number 24

 Critical note

In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206). It was more common to attribute white mourning clothes to various Asian cultures. See Pulter’s Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10], which mentions “Jews or Chinesses” mourning in clothes of “snowy white” (l. 10).
Line number 27

 Critical note

A London public resort, associated with entertainment, dining, drinking, and bowling; it was ordered closed in 1635. Although there is a decorative capital “S” in “Spring Garden” and a word rhyming with “stay” in the previous line, we have not interpreted this line as beginning a new stanza because it would create an unusual four-line stanza above.
Line number 28

 Gloss note

goddess of the spring, and a common name for Charles I’s wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
Line number 29

 Gloss note

river in England
Line number 29

 Gloss note

laments
Line number 30

 Gloss note

The primary sense is “roars out,” but it carries a secondary sense of the river’s noise drowning out that of the sea.
Line number 33

 Gloss note

an exclamation of sorrow
Line number 34

 Gloss note

Swans were reputed to sing before dying.
Line number 37

 Gloss note

valleys
Line number 39

 Gloss note

both songbirds
Line number 41

 Gloss note

before
Line number 43

 Gloss note

short simple song
Line number 50

 Critical note

In this extended conceit, which encompasses the previous line as well, the speaker suggests that the literal shepherds figure the pastoral care of clergymen and of God; her switch from plural shepherds to the singular relationship of God to his people creates a tension in the analogy. “They,” the sheep or church members, trust their being to “him” (the shepherd or clergyman) who “keeps,” or safeguards, the flocks. See Psalms 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Line number 54

 Gloss note

pregnant sheep
Line number 57

 Critical note

This line begins after a page break in the manuscript so it it hard to determine whether it begins a new stanza or not. We have interpreted a stanza break here based on the repetition of the opening word “Here” (which begins the stanzas above and below), the fact that the scribe often uses more decorative capitals at the beginning of stanzas, and new stanzas begin after the refrain marked by rhyming words “stay” or “delay.”
Line number 66

 Gloss note

Latin name for the west wind, which was associated with springtime (also known as Zephyrus)
Line number 66

 Gloss note

strong winds
Line number 67

 Gloss note

themselves
Line number 67

 Gloss note

“Anadems” were wreaths of flowers for the head; “poses” refers to posies, which were bunches of flowers as well as collections of short poems, devices or emblems
Line number 68

 Gloss note

blossoming
Line number 69

 Gloss note

valleys
Line number 70

 Gloss note

Hawthorn blossom; the ritual of gathering may was often done on May Day, as the stanza later suggests.
Line number 72

 Critical note

This and the prior line are inserted in the margin, probably in Pulter’s hand. We have inserted a stanza break after them, on the model of earlier stanzas which end after similar refrains.
Line number 73

 Gloss note

The poem shifts at this point from comparing the city to the country, to showing the devastation that infiltrates even the pastoral landscape.
Line number 75

 Gloss note

pastoral name for Charles I
Line number 77

 Gloss note

Writers who deserved the sign of poetic achievement, the wearing of the wreath made of laurel or bay leaves (as in poet laureate).
Line number 78

 Gloss note

laments, but especially those in the form of poems, since it refers back to the title of the collection, Sighs Breathed Forth by the Noble Haddassas
Line number 79

 Gloss note

those that
Line number 83

 Gloss note

tall poles, decorated with paint, flowers and greenery, which served as the centerpiece for May Day dances and celebrations; this ritual was opposed by some factions who were also hostile to Charles I.
Line number 84

 Gloss note

military banners
Line number 87

 Gloss note

military instruments
Line number 90

 Gloss note

god of war
Line number 92

 Gloss note

turn out to be
Line number 92

 Gloss note

Pulter’s estate
Line number 93

 Gloss note

As an eighteenth-century reader notes in the margin, Lea, Beane, Mimram and Stort (all mentioned in this and the next lines) are all local rivers in Hertfordshire. The imagery suggests that the natural flow and crossing of the rivers register their attempt to express sorrow and find sympathy in shared tears.
Line number 95

 Gloss note

clothes or plants
Line number 101

 Gloss note

local river
Line number 101

 Gloss note

Hertfordshire
Line number 102

 Gloss note

as if
Line number 103

 Gloss note

Veralum’s; Veralum was the abbreviated name for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium in Hertfordshire, the ruins of which were visible.
Line number 104

 Gloss note

larger river, tributary of the Thames
Line number 105

 Gloss note

St. Alban, a resident of Verulamium, was the first British Christian martyr; he was converted by a fugitive priest whom he sheltered, and condemned to death by the pagan Emperor. The town was named St. Albans in his honor. Pulter alludes to the specifics of his martyrdom in The Complaint of Thames, 1647 [Poem 4].
Line number 108

 Gloss note

main river in south England
Line number 109

 Gloss note

a nearby river; the eighteenth-century annotator of the manuscript defined Purwell as “the river Pyr near Hitchin”
Line number 111

 Gloss note

peaceful, calm
Line number 117

 Critical note

The Purwell river follows this route, flowing toward Bedfordshire and into one of the longest British rivers, the Ouse. Pulter offers an origin myth in which the Purwell bends its natural course to the west, because her eastward view of the sun offended her grief.
Line number 121

 Gloss note

In the English medieval War of the Roses, the Duke of Buckingham led a rebellion against Richard III, but was defeated, in part, due to the flooding of the Severn River.
Line number 123

 Gloss note

As the next line indicates, an eighteenth-century annotator identifies Gray’s Spring as a “petrifying spring” on Pulter’s estate of Broadfield. These springs slowly coat anything in them with minerals that harden and encrust them, thus seeming to petrify.
Line number 129

 Gloss note

In classical mythology, these were nymphs inhabiting rivers and lakes, or female personifications of bodies of water.
Line number 129

 Gloss note

rows
Line number 131

 Gloss note

trees associated with mourning
Line number 135

 Gloss note

In mythology, Tereus rapes Philomela and cuts out her tongue; after she takes revenge, she is turned into a nightingale, known for her sorrowful song.
Line number 137

 Gloss note

singing birds
Line number 138

 Gloss note

Eardley interprets “woozle” as an “ouzel” or blackbird.
Line number 139

 Gloss note

a bird known for its affection for its mate
Line number 141

 Gloss note

In classical mythology, these were the nymphs of trees, whose lives were coterminous with their trees.
Line number 145

 Gloss note

Various species of trees oozed a gum with medicinal benefits (which could “give relief,” as the next line suggests), gums that were, in poetic tradition, often construed as tears; some petrified as amber and could preserve flies.
Line number 147

 Gloss note

the trees
Line number 149

 Gloss note

mountain nymphs, in classical mythology
Line number 150

 Gloss note

lament
Line number 151

 Gloss note

tree associated with mourning
Line number 155

 Critical note

mythological nymphs of woods, mountains, and rivers; Thomas Elyot defined them as “Goddesses of floures and woodes or rather elfes, hauntynge woodes” (Bibliotheca Eliotae, 1542, sig. Y4v). Many contemporary writers identified them as nymphs whose domain was specifically the moisture of flowers (See, for instance, Vives’s commentary on St. Augustine, Of the City of God [1610], p. 182).
Line number 156

 Gloss note

small streams
Line number 160

 Critical note

a flower; early modern books on plants described its different blooms or bells as each containing six droplets of water which mysteriously reappeared if removed (see John Gerard, Herbal, 1633, p. 202). Pulter refers to this legendary account in Upon the Crown Imperial [Poem 53].
Line number 166

 Gloss note

battlefield; the fifteenth-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster were represented by white and red roses respectively.
Line number 169

 Gloss note

carnation
Line number 171

 Gloss note

original, formative elements
Line number 173

 Critical note

a flower, also called Bear’s-ear, named for the shape of its leaves. In his book, The Herbal, or General History of Plants, John Gerard observes that the roots have beneficial effects for those who hike in high mountains (1633, p. 787).
Line number 188

 Gloss note

the form of the heavens
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Elemental Edition

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The Invitation into the Countrey to my D: D: M P: P P 1647 when his Sacred Maj:tie was at unhappy home
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, this short title continues, specifying first that the invitation is to two of Pulter’s “dear daughters” who lived in the city of London: Margaret and Penelope (identified by their initials). The long title also notes that 1647 was “when his Sacred Majesty was at unhappy home,” probably a reference to Holdenby or Holmby (in Northamptonshire) where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647. Pulter was, during this time, in residence at her estate of Broadfield in Hertfordshire.
The Invitation into the Country
, 1647
The Invitation into the Country,
Gloss Note
i.e., to my Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter and Penelope Pulter
Textual Note
(For more on these textual notes and for an explanation of abbreviations, please see the “Editorial Note.”)

AE: to My D.[ear] D.[aughters] M.[argaret] P.[ulter], P.[enelope] P.[ulter], 1647, when His Sacred Majesty Was at Unhappy [Holmby]

KW: 1647

RSB: to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour

The series of initials in the title stand for, most editors agree, “Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter [and] Penelope Pulter.” I have left the title abbreviated because the coyness of the initials prepares the reader for the poem to follow, which often refuses to directly name its subjects (e.g., Chloris and Amintas for the queen and king of England), and yet makes it easy for its readers to crack its “code.” See also the headnote to the poem for more on this coyness. The final word of the title is blotted in the manuscript, but is clearly “home,” which AE says may be “in reference to Holdenby or Holmby House in Northamptonshire where Charles was kept under house arrest from February 7 until June 4, 1647” (p. 48, n. 12).

to my D. D. M. P. P. P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Home
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
“The Invitation into the Country” is a glossing editor’s dream: filled with proper nouns, political figures, and references to mythological figures, local sites, rivers, birds, and plants, the poem positively and repeatedly cries out to be glossed. An early reader of the manuscript—whose hand is different from either the scribe’s or the correcting hand (most likely Pulter’s)—heard and responded to the poem’s cries for glossing, adding some notes in the margins showing that they had understood the references within (particularly, references to local rivers). The poem is not just an invitation for her daughters, inviting them to come into the country; it also invites you, its reader, to get lost in its specificities, in its proper nouns and lists of rivers and types of nymphs. But what is the political efficacy of getting so lost in details?
As an editor, I attempted to respect this particularity of the poem—its desire for and invocation of glosses—and to provide information about the rivers, plants, and mythological figures Pulter names within. After all, a modern reader may not immediately know that a Napaea is a nymph of mountains, or that Grey’s Spring was a spring thought to have petrifying properties. On the other hand, the poem is curious in that its many specific references do not seem to enhance its overall argument: having more than that minimal information about a Napaea, or about Grey’s Spring, doesn’t significantly change or deepen your understanding of the lines that mention them: she hits on these specific references in passing, then moves on to other things. Providing more information on these proper nouns seems like a distraction, in a poem that is so much about the relationship between politics and forms of distraction (literary and otherwise). (For more on the politics of distraction, see the Headnote to this poem.)
I have therefore implemented a two-tiered system of glossing. First, for each of the poem’s many references to proper nouns, mythological figures, English plants, etc., I have provided a short reference, headed as a “GLOSS NOTE.” These references I have kept minimal and short—which is all the attention I think readers should give them, and all that I think understanding the poem requires. The changing density of boxes (which appear around a word or phrase to indicate a note) will also help readers see at a quick glance where the poem’s sometimes desperate or compulsive iteration of objects, rivers, etc. becomes most intense, and where it abates (for example, there is an explosion of references after the poem’s great break or volta at line 73). Most of these gloss notes are supplied from the OED; other sources are documented in critical notes. Second, longer critical notes and textual notes, each labelled accordingly, explain editorial choices, paraphrase difficult words and sentences, provide references to echoes in Pulter’s works, and call attention to interesting textual and interpretive ambiguities.
This poem had two kinds of intervention even in its life as a manuscript poem. As mentioned above, there are at least three contributors to this poem: the scribe who initially copied it; a correcting hand, probably Pulter’s; and a later marginal annotator who provided some initial glosses. My textual notes record interesting interventions in the early manuscript; in addition, where the early marginal annotator has provided a gloss, I provide their gloss, and label it with “ORIGINAL GLOSS NOTE”.
Finally, perhaps because of the complicated history of editorial intervention in the manuscript, the text of this poem is somewhat unstable: different editors have seen different things in the manuscript, and have made different (sometimes silent) emendations. I have therefore included with the poem a textual apparatus, including information about the decisions that different transcriptions and editions have made around certain textual cruxes in the poem. These textual notes appear among my other notes. I refer to the manuscript in notes as MS. Previous editions cited in textual and other notes are abbreviated as follows:
SGC: an old-spelling annotated dissertation edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter (1605?–1678): An Annotated Edition,” ed. Stefan Graham Christian (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012).
AE: a modernized and annotated edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (Toronto: Iter, Inc. and the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2014).
KW: a modernized and annotated “Elemental Edition”: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, 1647” ed. Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.
RSB: a modernized and annotated edition of Poem 2 and a few others by Pulter: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 92–98.
With a few exceptions, I have modernized the text’s spelling and capitalization throughout to concur with the Oxford English Dictionary Online headwords; this includes both the poem and the marginal annotator. I have also modernized punctuation, and expanded poetic abbreviations where such expansions would not affect the meter for a modern reader. For example, I expanded “Dispis’d” into “Despised,” as a modern reader would naturally read that word with two syllables. In instances where a final “ed” in the manuscript seems to suggest an additional syllable, I have modernized as “èd” (for example, the manuscript’s “changed,” pronounced with two syllables for metrical purposes, became modernized as “changèd”).


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this poem, Pulter invites two of her London-based daughters, Margaret and Penelope, to leave the city and join her at Broadfield, her country estate. The poem first presents an elegiac and pastoral complaint about the social, sexual, and natural decline of the city due to the fact that King Charles has been removed from London and imprisoned in Holmby House by parliamentary forces. Using iambic tetrameter couplets, the poem champions the virtues of the countryside and rural life using conventional pastoral motifs, but then moves away from the typical comparison of court and city to concede that all areas have been corrupted by political unrest. Blending mythological and horticultural references with allusions to the topography of her estate and the region, the poem offers a political pastoral that ends with the hope of the restoration of the monarchy. Events discussed in the poem suggest that Pulter wrote this poem earlier than most in the Pulter’s collection.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What is a political poem? There is no question that this poem is political insofar as it has political content: the title’s explicit date (in the midst of the English Civil War) and mention of the king at “Unhappy Home” clearly signals the political setting and occasion for the poem. However, the poem begins not as an address to the king, but as an address to her daughters. The title’s mysterious string of initials—D. D. M. P. P. P.—gives itself away, deciphers itself, from the very first line. “Dear daughters, come,” it says, addressing her D[ear] D[aughters] M[argaret] P[ulter and] P[enelope] P[ulter]; in the process, it shows the “mixture of revelation and concealment” common in Royalist writers,
Gloss Note
Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist literature 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 43.
1
using coded language not necessarily to hide a meaning, but to call attention to the thing being hidden. The contradictory impulses evident in the title—both boldly taking a political position (referring to the king as “his Sacred Majesty”) and using initials as an easily decoded encoding—also occur throughout the poem.
For example, it is difficult to say what genre this poem is. If the end of the title signals its desire to be a political poem, the start of the title, “An Invitation into the Country,” signals something very different. Students of Renaissance poetry may hear in the title an echo of Christopher Marlowe’s famous “Come live with me and be my love,” which invites a beloved into the country to enjoy simple, pastoral pleasures. Students of Pulter may hear in the poem itself echoes of her Emblem 20, This Poor Turtle Dove [Poem 85], which warns women about the evil temptations of London. Or readers may think of the seventeenth-century genre of the country house poem, which extols the virtues of country estates over crowded London streets. These poems of invitation and country-house poems themselves draw on the genre of the pastoral, which idealizes the country and the work of shepherds, and Pulter signals the pastoral nature of the poem not only by setting it in the countryside, but also by giving the King and Queen pastoral code names (Amintas and Chloris, respectively).
However, even as the beginning of the poem signals its generic affiliations, it also breaks them. “Invitation into the Country” begins, as promised, as a song of invitation, including a repeated refrain (with variations): “Then come, sweet virgins, come away; / What is it that invites your stay?” The song of invitation progresses logically: first she details the unhappinesses of city life, and then the virtues of country life. While the city has “shepherds that no flocks do keep” (l. 19), the country has “careful shepherds” whose gentle guidance protects their flocks (l. 49ff). Then things take a turn. Pulter’s poem is approximately 190 lines long, with the first 72 lines falling into discrete stanzas ending in the refrain; between lines 72 and 73, the poem suddenly swerves into pastoral elegy, listing rivers, birds, flowers, plants, and mythological creatures all mourning the loss (but not death) of the king. In this revised pastoral elegiac landscape, “since Amintas [King Charles] went away, / Shepherds and sheep go all astray” (ll. 75–76; emphasis added), and the lines right after the turn specifically catalogue the destruction of typical pastoral pleasures like maypoles and “lively lasses dancing round” (l. 86). Suddenly the poem is not a poem of invitation extolling country virtues, but is closer to John Milton’s pastoral elegy “Lycidas,” or closer still to Lucy Hutchinson’s political pastoral elegy “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” where trees and flowers “languish,” “drooping,” and “murmuring springs rise and complain / Then shrink into the earth again” (ll. 14, 13, 17–18).
Gloss Note
Lucy Hutchinson, “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 290–92.
2
This swerve also changes the poem formally: after line 72 there are no more stanza breaks, and the song’s refrain disappears until the very last lines, where it returns to end the poem:
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
Can my afflicted heart content
Until I see them both restored,
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
And place them in their shining spheres.
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
To comfort me make no delay.
The radical turn in the middle of the poem raises many questions. Generically and formally the poem is fascinating, establishing a clear pattern only to egregiously, flauntingly break it. The sudden turn at line 73 almost seems like the beginning of a new poem, and a new genre, though the repetition of the refrain at the end insists on the unity of the two disparate halves. How are we to interpret the sudden swerve from a song of invitation into pastoral elegy, an instance of the pathetic fallacy run deliberately (and politically) wild? How do the two parts fit together, and why has Pulter combined two different genres in such a way as to let the seams so obviously show? And what are the politics of this formal and poetic disjunction?
The final lines of the poem, quoted above, highlight the broader problem of this poem’s strange relationship to politics. It is not clear, in these lines, whose return it is that she desires: does the “them both” of line 185 refer to the king and queen of England (as most editors have assumed), or is she merely asking for her two daughters to return to her country estate at Broadfield to comfort her? The causal “then” of the refrain perhaps suggests the latter: “I will not be able to feel any comfort until I see them restored—so come, daughters, and comfort me.” If the “them both” is in fact King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria then these final lines are even more bizarre: “Nothing will comfort me until the king and queen are restored—so, come, daughters, and comfort me, though I have literally just said that no comfort but the restoration of the monarchy will be comforting.” What is the poem asking for? What does it want? What comfort does it imagine?
The final lines, then, seem to worry at the larger political and poetical problem of the relationship between agency and despair. Is this a private poem of a mother missing her daughters, hoping they can cure her (and the countryside’s) despair? Or is it, even obliquely, requesting political, public solutions for her private despair? “Nothing can comfort me,” the end may be saying, “except the restoration of the monarchy. With that in mind: I am asking you to comfort me.” Does the request for emotional comfort cancel the implicit request for political action, or prompt it?
This problem, of whether emotion is an invocation of political agency or an invitation to political retreat, runs through the poem as a whole. Consider, for example, the image of the “weeping” fanes or temples with which the poem begins; seeing moisture dripping down walls is both a projection of her own sadness onto damp marble, but also an exhortation to feeling in others: “Hard hearts, insensible of woe, / Whom marble walls in grief outgo!” (ll. 7–8). Even marble walls, she tells her readers, are showing their grief; how much harder is the matter of your heart, to not do the same? This same problem is a preoccupation of much Royalist poetry, which responded to defeats with images of closed circles: Richard Lovelace’s snail “within [its] own self curled,” Alexander Brome’s circle of imprisoned carousers, Andrew Marvell’s desire to retreat into “The Garden” and “transcend” worldly troubles, converting potentially political impulses instead to “a green thought in a green shade.” The second part of Pulter’s poem, especially, responds to this strand of Royalist writing, and this poem’s curation How to Do Things with Political Poetry provides examples both of some (beautiful) examples of Royalist poetic escapism, as well as examples of radical poems that mock the Royalists for retreating into verse, and are modelled instead on chants and calls to action.
Pulter’s “Invitation into the Country” situates itself among these political questions of pastoral poetry and agency, but it is striking that unlike some of her more explicitly topical political poems this poem offers not only commentary on a specific historical moment, but also a meta-reflection on the relationship between poetry and political agency; its formal problems—the questions of poetic form and genre—also become political problems.
(For more information on how these political questions inform the editorial practice for this amplified edition, see the Editorial Note.)


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Deare daughters come make hast away
Dear daughters, come, make haste away
Dear daughters, come, make haste, away!
2
from that Sad place make noe delay
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
; make no delay.
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
make no delay.
3
Hee’s gon that was the Citties Grace
Gloss Note
King Charles is gone
He’s gone
that was the city’s grace;
Gloss Note
King Charles
He’s
gone that was the city’s grace;
4
Physical Note
Apparently this word was first written as “ffor.” The first “e” was inserted later, the “o” overwritten as “i,” and “ce” crowded before “Hydras.”
ffeirce
Hydras now Uſurps his place
Gloss Note
The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was eventually defeated by Hercules. Here Pulter identifies parliamentarians and Cromwell as heads of state proliferating monstrously after Charles’s imprisonment. See Pulter’s reference to tyrannical power as a “hydra” in Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 71.
Fierce Hydras
now usurp his place.
Gloss Note
the Hydra was the many-headed snake of Lerna, whose heads regenerated; in classical mythology, killed by Hercules
Textual Note
SGC: Since Hydras now usurps
KW: Fierce Hydras now usurp
RSB: Five hydras now usurp

The MS has “Hydras,” which is either an alternate spelling of the name of the monster “Hydra,” or is a statement that London is filled with multiple hydras. I assumed it is an alternate spelling because of the singular verb “usurps,” though other editors read “hydras” as plural and emend the verb to “usurp.”

Fierce Hydra
now usurps his place.
5
The
Physical Note
The “h” appears written over an earlier “l.”
Phanes
are over Grown with moſs
The
Gloss Note
temples, shrines, or religious structures. The manuscript shows that the word was originally written as “planes,” which was then corrected to “phanes.” The original word is also viable since it refers to species of trees or natural landscapes.
fanes
are overgrown with moss,
The
Gloss Note
temples
Textual Note
SGC: Planes
RSB: planes

In the MS, the letter after the “P” is either an “l” or an “h”; one was written over the other, though it is difficult to discern which came first and which is the correction. While it is not impossible that plains (or plane trees) would be overgrown with moss, I chose “Phanes” or fanes, temples, because in line eight she suggests that even marble walls are weeping more than are (human) English subjects.

fanes
are overgrown with moss
6
With Shedding teares for
Physical Note
The “g” corrects an earlier “d” by the addition of a descender.
Englands
loſs
With shedding tears for England’s loss,
With shedding tears for England’s loss:
7
Hard hearts unſenceable of woe
Gloss Note
in the English people
Hard hearts
insensible of woe,
Hard hearts, insensible of woe,
8
Whom Marble Wals in
Physical Note
“ief” appears written over “eaſ.”
griefe
out goe
Whom marble walls, in grief, outgo.
Whom marble walls in grief outgo!
9
Then come Sweet virgins come away
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
10
What is it that invites your Stay
What is it that invites your stay?
What is it that invites your stay?
11
What can you learn there elce but pride
What can you learn there else but pride,
What can you learn there else but pride,
12
And what your bluſhes will not hide
And what your blushes will not hide?
And what your blushes will not hide?
13
There virgins lose theire Honour’ed name
There, virgins lose their honored name,
There virgins lose their honored name,
14
which doth for ever blur theire fame
Which doth forever blur their fame.
Which doth forever blur their fame.
15
Physical Note
The “i” (except the dot) is blotted.
Theire
Huſbands looke with Jealous eyes
There, husbands look with jealous eyes,
There husbands look with jealous eyes,
16
And wives
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with scribbles; some letters are visible, including an initial “d,” possiblly an “ſ” in the third position, and possibly a concluding “ceive.”
deſceive
^deceive them and theire Spies;
And wives deceive them, and their spies.
And wives deceive them and their spies.
17
To Inns of Court,
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with multiple strike-throughs.
whole
^and Armies goe
To
Gloss Note
Four London Inns of Court—Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple—served as law schools, where young men lived, were educated, and sought entertainment.
Inns of Court
and armies go
To
Gloss Note
buildings in London housing legal societies
Inns of Court
and armies go
18
Wiſe Children theire owne Dads to know
Wise children, their own dads to know.
Wise children, their own dads to know.
19
Physical Note
The “i” is erased and written over.
Theire
Shepherds, that noe fflocks doe keepe,
There, shepherds that no flocks do keep,
There shepherds that no flocks do keep
20
Like Butchers Mastives, worrie Sheepe
Gloss Note
A “butcher’s mastiff” was a breed of dog, associated with those kept by butchers to use in fighting and slaughtering animals. Here the analogy begun in the line before is to the pastoral overseers (clergymen) who threaten rather than protect their dependents.
Like butcher’s mastiffs, worry sheep.
Like butchers’
Gloss Note
large, powerful dogs
mastiffs
worry sheep.
21
Then Come Sweete Children come away
Then come, sweet children, come away;
Then come, sweet children, come away;
22
Physical Note
The top of the question mark is reversed and short; a mark, possibly a colon, resembles some other question marks in manuscript.
What?
can allure you yet to Stay.
What can allure you yet to stay?
What can allure you yet to stay?
23
Hide Parke a place of chiefe delight
Gloss Note
A private, royal deer park in London before Charles I opened it to the public; it became a popular gathering place, and was a site for fortifications during the civil war.
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight,
Gloss Note
a park in central London; as the rest of the line indicates, a place of chief delight
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight:
24
Her buſhes mourne like Jewes in white
Her bushes mourn like
Critical Note
In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206). It was more common to attribute white mourning clothes to various Asian cultures. See Pulter’s Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10], which mentions “Jews or Chinesses” mourning in clothes of “snowy white” (l. 10).
Jews in white
.
Critical Note
AE and KW note that this may be a confused reference to “Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement and repentance, during which it is traditional to wear white” (AE p. 49, n. 19; see also KW n. 7). SCG notes that the bushes dressed in white may also be a reference to the fact that after 1643, “Hyde Park was the scene of military encampment, its trees obscured by draped canvas” (p. 97, n. 56).
Her bushes mourn like Jews in white.
25
The Stately Deer doe weeping Stray
The stately deer do weeping stray,
The stately deer do weeping stray,
26
Anticipateing theire last day
Anticipating their last day.
Anticipating their last day.
Spring

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27
Spring Garden that ſuch pleaſures bred
Critical Note
A London public resort, associated with entertainment, dining, drinking, and bowling; it was ordered closed in 1635. Although there is a decorative capital “S” in “Spring Garden” and a word rhyming with “stay” in the previous line, we have not interpreted this line as beginning a new stanza because it would create an unusual four-line stanza above.
Spring Garden
, that such pleasures bred,
Gloss Note
a public pleasure garden
Spring Garden
that such pleasures bred
28
Lookes dull and ſad Since Cloris fled
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
goddess of the spring, and a common name for Charles I’s wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
Chloris
fled.
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
fled.
29
The Christall Thames her loss deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
river in England
Thames
her loss
Gloss Note
laments
deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
the major river running through London
Thames
her loss deplores,
30
And to the Sea her Griefe out Rores
And to the sea her grief
Gloss Note
The primary sense is “roars out,” but it carries a secondary sense of the river’s noise drowning out that of the sea.
outroars
.
And to the sea her grief outroars;
31
The Swans upon her Silver brest
The swans upon her silver breast
The swans upon her silver breast,
32
Though dieing yet can find noe Rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
33
but full of griefe crie wella-d-aye
But full of grief cry, “
Gloss Note
an exclamation of sorrow
welladay
,”
But full of grief cry, “Welladay!”
34
And Singing Sigh theire breath away
And,
Gloss Note
Swans were reputed to sing before dying.
singing, sigh their breath away
.
And,
Gloss Note
a reference to the “swan song” supposedly sung by swans before death
singing, sigh their breath away
.
35
Aye me then com make hast away
Ay me, then come, make haste away;
Ay me!—then come, make haste away;
36
ffrom that Sad place make noe delay
From that sad place make no delay.
From that sad place make no delay.
37
Physical Note
The “re” and apostrophe appear to be added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased; the apostrophe appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
fflow’ery
vales and Christall Springs
Here’s flow’ry
Gloss Note
valleys
vales
and crystal springs;
Here’s
Textual Note
SGC: Flowery
RSB: flowery

The MS originally read “Flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales and crystal springs;
38
Physical Note
The “re” appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
ſhadey Groves, here ever ſings
Here’s shady groves, here ever sings
Here’s shady groves; here ever sings
39
The Bulfinch Linnit Striving which
The
Gloss Note
both songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
The
Gloss Note
both birds known particularly as songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
40
The Auditours Shall most bewitch;
The auditors shall most bewitch.
The auditors shall most bewitch.
41
The early Larke long ere the Morne
The early lark, long
Gloss Note
before
ere
the morn
The early
Gloss Note
a songbird known for singing early in the day
lark
, long ere the morn
42
with Roſes can her head
Physical Note
There is a circle (possibly part of a letter) to the right, and several smeared “M”s.
Adorne
With roses can her head adorn,
With roses can her head adorn,
43
Sings Cheerfully a Roundelay
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
short simple song
roundelay
,
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
a bird’s song; a simple song with a refrain
roundelay
,
44
Telling this lower world ’tis day
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
45
Here Thruſhes, Wrens, and Red brests, ſing
Here thrushes, wrens, and redbreasts sing
Here thrushes, wrens, and
Gloss Note
robins
redbreasts
sing
46
To welcome in the gladſom Spring
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
47
Then come Sweet Maydens come away
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
48
to this Sweet place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
49
Here carefull Shepherds view there Sheepe
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
50
They him, and he theire Soules doth keepe
Critical Note
In this extended conceit, which encompasses the previous line as well, the speaker suggests that the literal shepherds figure the pastoral care of clergymen and of God; her switch from plural shepherds to the singular relationship of God to his people creates a tension in the analogy. “They,” the sheep or church members, trust their being to “him” (the shepherd or clergyman) who “keeps,” or safeguards, the flocks. See Psalms 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
They him, and he their souls doth keep.
Critical Note
Other editors have noted the contrast between the gentle country shepherd described here and the vicious city shepherd of lines 19–20; see also lines 75–76.
They him, and he their souls, doth keep.
51
Bleſſings flow on them from aboue
Blessings flow on them from above
Blessings flow on them from above
52
That are reciprocall in loue
That are reciprocal in love.
That are reciprocal in love.
53
he in his boſome bear’s the Lambs.
He in his bosom bears the lambs
He in his bosom bears the lambs,
54
And Gentlely leads the
Physical Note
These words appear on a slight ascension from the rest of the line, possibly in a different hand, or added later.
heavie Dams
And gently leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant sheep
heavy dams
;
And
Textual Note
The MS spells this word “Gentlely”; by modernizing I have removed a syllable and potentially altered the meter.
gently
leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant mothers
heavy dams
;
55
He whistles those that goe Astray
He whistles those that go astray
He whistles those that go astray,
56
By which meanes none runs quite away
By which means, none runs quite away.
Textual Note
Between lines 56 and 57 is a page break in the manuscript; KW include a stanza break here (AE and RSB do not). I have not added a stanza break as other breaks occur only after refrains.
By which means none runs quite away.
here

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57
Here Husbands free from Jealous eye
Critical Note
This line begins after a page break in the manuscript so it it hard to determine whether it begins a new stanza or not. We have interpreted a stanza break here based on the repetition of the opening word “Here” (which begins the stanzas above and below), the fact that the scribe often uses more decorative capitals at the beginning of stanzas, and new stanzas begin after the refrain marked by rhyming words “stay” or “delay.”
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
58
Haue wives as full of modesty
Have wives as full of modesty;
Have wives as full of modesty.
59
They in theire Children
Physical Note
It appears that the word in question was first written as “both”; then the first letter was corrected, to read “doth”; then the whole word was struck-through twice, with “both” inserted above.
dothboth
rejoyce
They, in their children, both rejoice,
They in their children
Textual Note
SGC: doth
AE: [doth]

The MS originally read “both”; this was replaced with “doth,” and then changed back, finally, to “both.”

both
rejoice,
60
Commending still theire happy choyce
Commending still their happy choice:
Commending still their happy choice,
61
Most kind, and free from all debate;
Most kind and free from all debate,
Most kind, and free from all debate,
62
Physical Note
A final letter, possibly an “s,” is imperfectly erased and/or blotted.
That[?]
noe true loue, can ever hate.
That no true love can ever hate.
Textual Note
The MS originally read “That’s,” which would have made line 62 its own independent clause: It is no true love that could ever hate.
That
no true love can ever hate.
63
Then come my Children come away
Then come, my children, come away;
Then come, my children, come away;
64
To this Sweete place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
65
Here virgins Sit in
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased.
flow’ery
Vales
Here virgins sit in flow’ry vales,
Here virgins sit in
Textual Note
SGC: flow’ery
KW: flowery

The MS originally read “flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales,
66
refresht by Sweet
Physical Note
The second “o” is imperfectly erased.
ffavonious
gales
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
Latin name for the west wind, which was associated with springtime (also known as Zephyrus)
Favonius’s
Gloss Note
strong winds
gales
,
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
the west wind
Textual Note
AE: favorious
RSB: favorious
Favonious’
gales,
67
Makeing them Anadems and poſes
Making
Gloss Note
themselves
them
Gloss Note
“Anadems” were wreaths of flowers for the head; “poses” refers to posies, which were bunches of flowers as well as collections of short poems, devices or emblems
anadems and poses
,
Making them
Gloss Note
Anadems are floral wreaths or crowns; poses are small bunches of flowers.
Textual Note
SGC: Diadems and poses
RSB: anadems and posies
anadems and poses
,
68
Crowning theire Heads with new blowne Roses
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
blossoming
new-blown
roses.
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
newly bloomed or opened roses
new-blown roses
.
69
In woods and Dales faire Maidens may
In woods and
Gloss Note
valleys
dales
fair maidens may,
In woods and dales fair maidens may,
70
Unfrighted freely gather May
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
Hawthorn blossom; the ritual of gathering may was often done on May Day, as the stanza later suggests.
may
.
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
hawthorn blossoms
may
.
71
Then lovely lasses, come away!
Then, lovely lasses, come away;
72
Critical Note
This and the prior line are inserted in the margin, probably in Pulter’s hand. We have inserted a stanza break after them, on the model of earlier stanzas which end after similar refrains.
To cheer my heart make no delay.
Textual Note

Lines 71–72 were inserted in the margin after the fact; I have embedded them in the poem as they offer the last refrain before the poem shifts into another mode (the refrain will occur again only at the very end). I have also inserted a stanza break after these lines, to match the stanza breaks that occur after other instances of the refrain in the poem. However, without these lines and without the stanza break, the shift is much more subtle, as the poem originally transitioned from song of invitation to dark lament on the state of the world with no formal or visual cues.

Every other editor inserts these lines, with the following changes: SGC puts the inserted lines in brackets and adds a stanza break afterwards; AE does not add a stanza break, and emphasizes their continuity with what follows by adding a comma at the end of line 72; KW and RSB add a stanza break after.

To cheer my heart make no delay.
73
Physical Note
To the left, two poetic lines are inserted in H2, broken into four lines: “xThen lovely laſſes / com awaye / To cheere my heart / make noe delaye.” Slashes show line breaks in the manuscript.
But
oh thoſe times now changed
Physical Note
The superscript “x” is in H2.
beex
But O, those times now
Gloss Note
The poem shifts at this point from comparing the city to the country, to showing the devastation that infiltrates even the pastoral landscape.
changéd be
;
But O, those times now changèd be!
74
Sad Metamorphosis wee See
Sad metamorphosis we see.
Sad metamorphosis we see.
75
ffor Since Amintas went away
For since
Gloss Note
pastoral name for Charles I
Amintas
went away,
For since
Gloss Note
King Charles I
Amintas
went away,
76
Shepherds and Sheepe goe all aſtray
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
77
Those that deſerved whole Groves of Bayes
Gloss Note
Writers who deserved the sign of poetic achievement, the wearing of the wreath made of laurel or bay leaves (as in poet laureate).
Those that deserved whole groves of bays
Those that deserved whole groves of
Gloss Note
wreaths of bay or laurel branches were used to reward poetic or martial achievements
bays
78
In Sighs conſume theire youthfull dayes
In
Gloss Note
laments, but especially those in the form of poems, since it refers back to the title of the collection, Sighs Breathed Forth by the Noble Haddassas
sighs
consume their youthful days;
In sighs consume their youthful days,
79
And that faire
Physical Note
The “y” in “fleecy” is written in thicker inkover a previous letter, possibly “e”; the “o” in “flocks” is written over an earlier letter.
fleecy flocks
did keepe
And
Gloss Note
those that
that
fair fleecy flocks did keep,
And that fair fleecy flocks did keep,
80
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased, replaced with an apostrophe.
Diſpiſ’d
in corners ſit and weepe
Despised in corners sit and weep.
Despised in corners, sit and weep.
81
Since Cloris went both wife and Maid
Since Chloris went, both wife and maid
Since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
went, both wife and maid
82
In loue and be^avty hath Decayed
In love and beauty hath decayed.
In love and beauty hath decayed.
83
Where May poles shewed theire fe^athered head
Where
Gloss Note
tall poles, decorated with paint, flowers and greenery, which served as the centerpiece for May Day dances and celebrations; this ritual was opposed by some factions who were also hostile to Charles I.
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
Where
Gloss Note
poles decorated with flowers, to celebrate May Day
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
84
Theire colour’d Inſign’s now are ſpread
There, colored
Gloss Note
military banners
ensigns
now are spread;
Textual Note
Though I have modernized this word as “There,” if we are meant to imagine the maypoles being repurposed as flagpoles it could instead have been modernized as “Their.”
There
colored
Gloss Note
military banners or flags
ensigns
now are spread:
85
Inſtead of Muſicks pleaſant ſound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
86
And lively laſſes danceing round
And lively lasses dancing round,
And lively lasses dancing round,
87
Tumultuous Drums make Deafe our eares
Tumultuous
Gloss Note
military instruments
drums
make deaf our ears
Tumultuous drums make deaf our ears
88
And Trumpets fill our hearts w:th feares
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
89
In Shades where Nimphs did uſe to walke
In shades where nymphs did use to walk
In shades where
Gloss Note
semi-divine spirits inhabiting natural objects
nymphs
did use to walk,
90
There Sons of Mars in Armour Stalke
There sons of
Gloss Note
god of war
Mars
in armor stalk.
There
Gloss Note
Mars is the god of war; the sons of Mars are soldiers.
sons of Mars
in armor stalk.
in

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91
Physical Note
Beneath the apostrophe is an illegible erased letter.
Inamell’d
vales and Cristall Streames
Enameled vales and crystal streams
Critical Note
In these next few lines, the rivers of England mourn the loss of the king and queen. Lines 94–95 say, roughly, that the rivers Mimram and Stort wear “mourning weeds,” which usually means dark clothes of mourning, but in this case may literally mean they “wear” vegetal weeds in their waters or on their banks.
Enameled vales and crystal streams
92
Proue now alas poore Bradfields dreames
Gloss Note
turn out to be
Prove
now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate
Broadfield’s
dreams.
Prove now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate in Hertfordshire (AE, p. 52, n. 38)
Broadfield’s
dreams.
93
Leas drooping Swans now Sadly Sing
Gloss Note
As an eighteenth-century reader notes in the margin, Lea, Beane, Mimram and Stort (all mentioned in this and the next lines) are all local rivers in Hertfordshire. The imagery suggests that the natural flow and crossing of the rivers register their attempt to express sorrow and find sympathy in shared tears.
Lea’s
drooping swans now sadly sing
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Leas’
drooping swans now sadly sing,
94
And Beane comes weeping from her Spring
And Beane comes weeping from her spring.
And
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Beane
comes weeping from her spring;
95
Mimmer and Sturt in mourning weeds
Mimram and Stort in mourning
Gloss Note
clothes or plants
weeds
,
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Mimram
and
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Stort
in mourning weeds,
96
Shewing theire hearts for griefe en’e
Physical Note
In the right margin, by a vertical line, appears this note in a third hand: “Been, Colne Lea, Mimmer, Stort, Ver, names of Rivers in Hartfordshire”
bleeds
Showing their hearts for grief e’en bleeds.
Showing their hearts for grief e’en
Textual Note
The word “bleeds” should, grammatically, be “bleed” (to agree with the plural subject “hearts”), but I have preserved “bleeds” to preserve the rhyme.
bleeds
:
97
All run to Lea for ſome Reliefe
All run to Lea for some relief,
All run to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Lea
for some relief,
98
And in her boſome
Physical Note
The insertion is in H2; “bear” is twice struck-through (except the final “e”).
pourbeare
there griefe
And in her bosom pour their grief.
And in her bosom
Gloss Note
All the rivers mentioned in these lines empty into the Lea.
Textual Note
The MS originally had “bear,” which was replaced with “pour.”
pour their grief
.
99
Thus Shee and they all weeping goe
Thus she and they all weeping go
Thus she and they all weeping go
100
To tell the Thames theire grievous woe
To tell the Thames their grievous woe.
Gloss Note
The river Lea empties, eventually, into the Thames.
To tell the Thames
their grievous woe.
101
Vir lookes and ſees this Shire ^looke ſad
Gloss Note
local river
Ver
looks and sees
Gloss Note
Hertfordshire
this shire
look sad;
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Ver
looks and sees this shire look sad;
102
Shee whirls about as Shee were mad
She whirls about
Gloss Note
as if
as
she were mad.
She whirls about as she were mad,
103
Round Verulam his ruin’d Stones
Round
Gloss Note
Veralum’s; Veralum was the abbreviated name for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium in Hertfordshire, the ruins of which were visible.
Verulam his
ruinéd stones
Round
Gloss Note
Verulamium, a Roman British town, in ruins
Textual Note
SGC: Verulamium
Verulam
his ruined stones
104
Shee Runs and tells to Colne her mones
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note
larger river, tributary of the Thames
Colne
her moans;
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Colne
her moans,
105
ffor Since her Saint his blood was ſhed
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, a resident of Verulamium, was the first British Christian martyr; he was converted by a fugitive priest whom he sheltered, and condemned to death by the pagan Emperor. The town was named St. Albans in his honor. Pulter alludes to the specifics of his martyrdom in The Complaint of Thames, 1647 [Poem 4].
her saint
his blood was shed,
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, British martyr associated with the nearby town St. Albans
her saint
his blood was shed,
106
Shee never grieved ſoe as ſhee
Physical Note
The “i” appears written over an earlier letter, possibly “e.”
ſaid
She never grieved so, as she said.
She never grieved so, as she said.
107
Colne Simpathiſed with her in woe
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
108
And to the Thames Resolved to goe
And to the
Gloss Note
main river in south England
Thames
resolved to go,
And to the Thames resolved to go.
109
Cleare Purvall too came
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “the river Pyr near Hitchin.”
bubling out
Clear
Gloss Note
a nearby river; the eighteenth-century annotator of the manuscript defined Purwell as “the river Pyr near Hitchin”
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
Clear
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Pyr, near Hitchin
Critical Note
“Purwell” has perhaps changed names multiple times; the MS reads “Purvall,” and the marginal annotation reads “Pyr.” This line begins a long, winding sentence that runs from lines 109–122—perhaps mirroring the winding of the river Pyr?
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
110
But long Shee did not Stand in doubt
But long she did not stand in doubt;
But long she did not stand in doubt;
111
Seeing our Halcion dayes were dun
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful, calm
halcyon
days were done,
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful or calm days
halcyon days
were done,
112
Shee loathed (ſhee Said) to ſee the Sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
113
As he purſued the Chearfull day
As he pursued the cheerful day,
As he pursued the cheerful day,
114
But turn’d her course another way
But turned her course another way.
But turned her course another way,
115
And Sighing Shed forth tear’s as cleare
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
116
as pearles and ran to Bedfordſhire
As pearls, and ran to Bedfordshire—
As pearls, and ran to
Gloss Note
the county northeast of Hertfordshire
Bedfordshire
,
117
To Owes, who was So full of
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “The river, Ouſe.”
Griefe
To
Critical Note
The Purwell river follows this route, flowing toward Bedfordshire and into one of the longest British rivers, the Ouse. Pulter offers an origin myth in which the Purwell bends its natural course to the west, because her eastward view of the sun offended her grief.
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
To
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Ouse
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
118
That Shee her Selfe did want Reliefe
That she herself did want relief—
That she herself did want relief,
119
And ſaid would any place
Physical Note
Although the manuscript seems to read “rereive,” the scribe uses a secretary form of “c” (unusual for this hand) that looks like a modern “r.” Thanks to Liza Blake for calling this to our attention.
receive
And said, would any place receive
And said, would any place receive
120
Her teares, She would her channell leave
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
121
As when King Richards Reigne had date
As when
Gloss Note
In the English medieval War of the Roses, the Duke of Buckingham led a rebellion against Richard III, but was defeated, in part, due to the flooding of the Severn River.
King Richard’s
reign had date;
Gloss Note
The Ouse river flooded during Richard III’s reign (AE p. 53, n. 49).
Critical Note
Eardley also notes that the flood famously stopped an invasion against the king; the image that this reference conjures, of a river coming to the assistance of the monarchy, may be deliberate here—though it is immediately undercut by the assertion that Ouse cannot perform such actions now.
As when King Richard’s reign had date—
122
But this Shee was denied by fate
But this she was denied by fate.
But this she was denied by fate.
123
Grayes Spring too Sadly makes her
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “a petrifying Spring at Bradfeld.”
moane
,
Gloss Note
As the next line indicates, an eighteenth-century annotator identifies Gray’s Spring as a “petrifying spring” on Pulter’s estate of Broadfield. These springs slowly coat anything in them with minerals that harden and encrust them, thus seeming to petrify.
Gray’s Spring
too sadly makes her moan,
Gloss Note (Original)
a petrifying spring at Bradfeld
Gray’s Spring
,
Textual Note
Though I have taken “too” to mean “also,” it may also modify sadly as an intensifier, in which case there should be a comma after “sadly,” not “too” (or no comma at all).
too
, sadly makes her moan,
124
and with her teares turns moſs to Stone
And with her tears turns moss to stone;
And with her tears turns moss to stone,

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125
And Seeing delight with Cloris fled
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
126
Shee Sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed, and murmuring hid her head
127
Within her womb that gave her breath
Within her womb that gave her breath,
Within her womb that gave her
Textual Note
SGC: breath
AE: breath
KW: breath

Though the MS reads “breath,” I have followed RSB and emended to “birth” to rhyme with “earth.”

birth
,
128
Venting her griefe below the Earth
Venting her grief below the earth.
Venting her grief below the earth.
129
The Nayedes here ſit in Rankes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were nymphs inhabiting rivers and lakes, or female personifications of bodies of water.
Naiades
here sit in
Gloss Note
rows
ranks
,
The
Gloss Note
river nymphs
Textual Note
In the MS, “naiads” is spelled “Nayedes”; I have spelled it “naïads” in an attempt to both modernize and restore the third syllable removed in modernization. It should be pronounced Ni-ee-adds.
naïads
here
Gloss Note
sit in rows
sit in ranks
,
130
fforelorne upon our withered bankes
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
131
And Garlands make of Willow Boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
trees associated with mourning
willow
boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
a tree associated with grief and loss of a mate
willow
boughs
132
To hide theire teares and Shade theire browes
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
133
Since Cloris went our flowers fade
Since Chloris went, our flowers fade;
Since Chloris went our flowers fade;
134
Noe pleaſure is in Hill or Shade
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
135
Poore Phillomele doth ſit alone
Poor
Gloss Note
In mythology, Tereus rapes Philomela and cuts out her tongue; after she takes revenge, she is turned into a nightingale, known for her sorrowful song.
Philomel
doth sit alone,
Poor
Gloss Note
the nightingale, once a woman raped and mutilated
Philomel
doth sit alone,
136
To Senceles trees now makes her mone
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
137
Our Woods theire Choristers now lack
Our woods their
Gloss Note
singing birds
choristers
now lack:
Our woods their choristers now lack:
138
The Woozles
Physical Note
This word is possibly corrected from “Weeſle.”
Whiſle
clad in black
The
Gloss Note
Eardley interprets “woozle” as an “ouzel” or blackbird.
woozles
whistle, clad in black,
The
Gloss Note
blackbirds
ouzels
whistle, clad in black,
139
And the forſaken Turtle Dove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
140
Bewayles her owne and Cloris love
Bewails her own and Chloris’s love.
Bewails her own and Chloris’ love,
141
The Hamadriades invokes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were the nymphs of trees, whose lives were coterminous with their trees.
Hamadryades
invokes
The
Gloss Note
wood nymphs that lived and died with the trees they inhabited
Textual Note
Properly modernized, this would be spelled “hamadryads”; I have retained the Latin form to maintain the original’s meter.
hamadryades
invokes:
142
The Goddeses inſhrin’d in Oakes
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
143
Who fold theire yielding Armes a croſs
Who fold their yielding arms across
Who fold their yielding arms across,
144
Physical Note
The “d” is possibly written over another letter; in the space after “And” an imperfectly erased “n” is visible; the “we” of “weepe” appears written over other letters.
And weepe
with them Aminta’s loſs
And weep with them Amintas’s loss.
And weep with them Amintas’ loss.
145
Som trees drop Gumm from theire ſad eyes
Gloss Note
Various species of trees oozed a gum with medicinal benefits (which could “give relief,” as the next line suggests), gums that were, in poetic tradition, often construed as tears; some petrified as amber and could preserve flies.
Some trees drop gum from their sad eyes
Some trees drop
Gloss Note
amber
gum
from their sad eyes
146
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “T’immortaliſe”; in the main text, “\Im\” is inserted in H2.
T’\Im\Mortaliſe
ambitious fflyes
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
147
Tho they can give us noe reliefe
Though
Gloss Note
the trees
they
can give us no relief,
Though they can give us no relief,
148
The’le Simpathise with us in griefe
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
Critical Note
This couplet nicely captures the central problem of the poem: what kind of “relief” is sympathy?
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
149
The Oriads Sport and play noe more
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs, in classical mythology
Oreads
sport and play no more,
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs
oreads
sport and play no more,
150
But great Amintas loſs deplore
But great Amintas’s loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
.
But great Amintas’ loss deplore;
151
Inſted of Roſes
Physical Note
The “u” in Cyprus is written over another letter, possibly an “e.”
Cyprus
Physical Note
The letters “ugh” are written over other illegible letters.
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
a tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
152
Pearld ov’er with Tears doth Shade theire browes
Pearled o’er with tears doth shade their brows.
Pearled
Textual Note
MS had “ov’er”; I take this to mean she wished to drop a syllable from the word to make the line more regular, and so have modernized as “o’er.”
o’er
with tears doth shade their brows;
153
Diſſhevel’d torne neglected haire
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
154
Hang ore theire throbing boſome bare
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
155
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “Nay”; the start of the struck-through word is “Na”; the remainder, scribbled out, is possibly “igh.”
Na[igh]
the Na’peas from theire Hills
Nay, the
Critical Note
mythological nymphs of woods, mountains, and rivers; Thomas Elyot defined them as “Goddesses of floures and woodes or rather elfes, hauntynge woodes” (Bibliotheca Eliotae, 1542, sig. Y4v). Many contemporary writers identified them as nymphs whose domain was specifically the moisture of flowers (See, for instance, Vives’s commentary on St. Augustine, Of the City of God [1610], p. 182).
Napeae
from their hills,
Nay, the
Gloss Note
nymphs of the woods, mountains, or rivers
Textual Note
SGC: Napeas
AE: Napaeae
KW: Napeae
RSB: Napaeae
Napaeas
from their hills,
156
Diſſolved with tears weepe Cristall rils
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
small streams
rills
.
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
streams
rills
.
157
Those flowers which the Valleys Crown
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
158
Or’e Charged with griefe theire Heads hang downe
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down.
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down;
ſince

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Facsimile Image Placeholder

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159
Since louely Cloris frighted fled
Since lovely Chloris frighted fled,
Since lovely Chloris, frighted, fled,
160
The crown Imperiall hangs his head
Critical Note
a flower; early modern books on plants described its different blooms or bells as each containing six droplets of water which mysteriously reappeared if removed (see John Gerard, Herbal, 1633, p. 202). Pulter refers to this legendary account in Upon the Crown Imperial [Poem 53].
The crown imperial
hangs his head;
The
Gloss Note
a flower associated with royalty
crown imperial
hangs his head,
161
His Princely breast or’ewhelm’d with feares
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
162
Weeping at once Six Cristall teares
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
163
To
Physical Note
this word could be “louely” or “lonely”; the third letter is obstructed by the “g” above and is ambiguous
lovely
Shades pale vi-letts creepe
To lovely shades pale vi’lets creep,
To
Textual Note
SGC: lovely
AE: lovely
KW: lovely
RSB: lovely

In early modern handwriting, “u” and “n” are written identically, so for the word I have given as “lonely” the MS could read either “lonely” or “louely” (lovely). I have interpreted the third graph (or letter) as an “n” as it makes more sense to me, in this dismal landscape, that the violet should creep into a lonely shade for its weeping. Further, that the violet is unpitied (l. 164) is perhaps because, in the lonely shade, there is no one else around to pity it. The MS’s ambiguity, however, is an interesting one, especially given that there is an identically written word (lonely / louely) only four lines earlier that almost certainly means “lovely.”

lonely
shades pale violets creep,
164
And ther unpittied Sit and weepe
And there, unpitied, sit and weep.
And
Textual Note
SGC: that
there
unpitied sit and weep.
165
The Royall Roſe that nere would yield
The royal rose that ne’er would yield,
The
Gloss Note
the Tudor rose; also playing on love poetry’s convention of blushes as “roses” in cheeks
royal rose
that ne’er would yield,
166
But Stroue for Mast’ry in the field
But strove for mast’ry in the
Gloss Note
battlefield; the fifteenth-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster were represented by white and red roses respectively.
field
,
But strove for mast’ry in the field,
167
And, Cloris Cheeke neglected, fades
And Chloris’s cheek, neglected, fades
And Chloris’ cheek neglected, fades
168
In Silent Solitary Shades.
In silent, solitary shades.
In silent solitary shades.
169
The lilly and the July flower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
carnation
gillyflower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
gillyflower or carnation
Textual Note
KW: gillyflower
July flower
170
Doe wiſh it were within theire power
Do wish it were within their power
Do wish it were within their power
171
To Sleepe for ever in theire Caves
To sleep forever in their
Gloss Note
original, formative elements
cause
;
To sleep for ever in their
Textual Note
SGC: Caves
RSB: caves

The manuscript reads “caves,” but the letters “u” and “v” were interchangeable in the period, so I have read it as “caues” to rhyme with “laws” and modernized as “cause.” The image of flowers “sleeping in their causes”—returning to their first principles, or existing as latent potentiality—is a common one in Pulter’s work; see also Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 14, and The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge [Poem 39], l. 5.

cause
,
172
But ti’s denide by Natures Lawes.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
173
Th’. Auricola that Cures the giddy braine
Critical Note
a flower, also called Bear’s-ear, named for the shape of its leaves. In his book, The Herbal, or General History of Plants, John Gerard observes that the roots have beneficial effects for those who hike in high mountains (1633, p. 787).
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
Gloss Note
a flower, also called Bear’s Ear, thought to cure dizziness at altitudes (AE p. 55, n. 63)
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
174
Dizie with griefe hangs downe her head againe
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
175
Then Shall not wee with griefe or’e flow
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
176
Shall Vegetables us out goe
Shall vegetables us outgo?
Critical Note
Pulter ends her catalogue of unhappy plants by suggesting that we (humans) should be ashamed to fall behind plants in pity. For this line to scan metrically, the word “vegetables” needs to be pronounced with four syllables.
Shall vegetables us outgo?
177
Thus neither Woods nor ffields nor Hills
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
178
Inamel’d Vales nor Cristall rills
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
179
nor birds nor Trees nor flowers of Scent
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent:
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent,
180
But doe this kingdomes loss reſent
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
181
Then let us Still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
182
Till heaven in mercie doth Relieve
Till Heaven, in mercy, doth relieve.
Till heaven in mercy doth relieve.
183
Tis neither ſight nor odours ſent
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
’Tis neither sight nor
Critical Note
The MS reads “odours sent”; I have modernized as “odor’s scent” (no sights or smells can make me happy), but it could also be “odors sent,” with odors the direct object of sending, in which case these lines would say something like: no sights or odors sent to me could make me happy. In this case, she may be driving home to her daughters that they should not, e.g., send letters or flowers, but come themselves to the country.
odor’s scent
184
can my aflicted heart content
Can my afflicted heart content,
Can my afflicted heart content
185
Untill I ſee them both Reſtored
Until I see them both restored,
Critical Note
The “them” in question is almost certainly Chloris and Amintas, the queen and king of England. However, the return of the refrain at the end of the poem also introduces an ambiguity: perhaps she yearns not, or not only, for Chloris and Amintas, but also for the return of her two daughters, M. P. and P. P.
Until I see them both restored,
186
Whoſe abſence hath been ſoe deplored
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
187
Just Heaven heare our prayers and teares
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
188
And place them in theire Shineing
Physical Note
A long ligature between “e” and “r” replaces an erased letter.
Spheres
And place them in their
Gloss Note
the form of the heavens
shining spheres
.
And place them in their shining spheres.
189
Then come Sweete Daughters come away
Then come, sweet daughters, come away;
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
190
To comfort me make noe delaye.
To comfort me make no delay.
To comfort me make no delay.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

i.e., to my Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter and Penelope Pulter
Title note

 Textual note

(For more on these textual notes and for an explanation of abbreviations, please see the “Editorial Note.”)

AE: to My D.[ear] D.[aughters] M.[argaret] P.[ulter], P.[enelope] P.[ulter], 1647, when His Sacred Majesty Was at Unhappy [Holmby]

KW: 1647

RSB: to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour

The series of initials in the title stand for, most editors agree, “Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter [and] Penelope Pulter.” I have left the title abbreviated because the coyness of the initials prepares the reader for the poem to follow, which often refuses to directly name its subjects (e.g., Chloris and Amintas for the queen and king of England), and yet makes it easy for its readers to crack its “code.” See also the headnote to the poem for more on this coyness. The final word of the title is blotted in the manuscript, but is clearly “home,” which AE says may be “in reference to Holdenby or Holmby House in Northamptonshire where Charles was kept under house arrest from February 7 until June 4, 1647” (p. 48, n. 12).


 Editorial note

“The Invitation into the Country” is a glossing editor’s dream: filled with proper nouns, political figures, and references to mythological figures, local sites, rivers, birds, and plants, the poem positively and repeatedly cries out to be glossed. An early reader of the manuscript—whose hand is different from either the scribe’s or the correcting hand (most likely Pulter’s)—heard and responded to the poem’s cries for glossing, adding some notes in the margins showing that they had understood the references within (particularly, references to local rivers). The poem is not just an invitation for her daughters, inviting them to come into the country; it also invites you, its reader, to get lost in its specificities, in its proper nouns and lists of rivers and types of nymphs. But what is the political efficacy of getting so lost in details?
As an editor, I attempted to respect this particularity of the poem—its desire for and invocation of glosses—and to provide information about the rivers, plants, and mythological figures Pulter names within. After all, a modern reader may not immediately know that a Napaea is a nymph of mountains, or that Grey’s Spring was a spring thought to have petrifying properties. On the other hand, the poem is curious in that its many specific references do not seem to enhance its overall argument: having more than that minimal information about a Napaea, or about Grey’s Spring, doesn’t significantly change or deepen your understanding of the lines that mention them: she hits on these specific references in passing, then moves on to other things. Providing more information on these proper nouns seems like a distraction, in a poem that is so much about the relationship between politics and forms of distraction (literary and otherwise). (For more on the politics of distraction, see the Headnote to this poem.)
I have therefore implemented a two-tiered system of glossing. First, for each of the poem’s many references to proper nouns, mythological figures, English plants, etc., I have provided a short reference, headed as a “GLOSS NOTE.” These references I have kept minimal and short—which is all the attention I think readers should give them, and all that I think understanding the poem requires. The changing density of boxes (which appear around a word or phrase to indicate a note) will also help readers see at a quick glance where the poem’s sometimes desperate or compulsive iteration of objects, rivers, etc. becomes most intense, and where it abates (for example, there is an explosion of references after the poem’s great break or volta at line 73). Most of these gloss notes are supplied from the OED; other sources are documented in critical notes. Second, longer critical notes and textual notes, each labelled accordingly, explain editorial choices, paraphrase difficult words and sentences, provide references to echoes in Pulter’s works, and call attention to interesting textual and interpretive ambiguities.
This poem had two kinds of intervention even in its life as a manuscript poem. As mentioned above, there are at least three contributors to this poem: the scribe who initially copied it; a correcting hand, probably Pulter’s; and a later marginal annotator who provided some initial glosses. My textual notes record interesting interventions in the early manuscript; in addition, where the early marginal annotator has provided a gloss, I provide their gloss, and label it with “ORIGINAL GLOSS NOTE”.
Finally, perhaps because of the complicated history of editorial intervention in the manuscript, the text of this poem is somewhat unstable: different editors have seen different things in the manuscript, and have made different (sometimes silent) emendations. I have therefore included with the poem a textual apparatus, including information about the decisions that different transcriptions and editions have made around certain textual cruxes in the poem. These textual notes appear among my other notes. I refer to the manuscript in notes as MS. Previous editions cited in textual and other notes are abbreviated as follows:
SGC: an old-spelling annotated dissertation edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter (1605?–1678): An Annotated Edition,” ed. Stefan Graham Christian (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012).
AE: a modernized and annotated edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (Toronto: Iter, Inc. and the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2014).
KW: a modernized and annotated “Elemental Edition”: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, 1647” ed. Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.
RSB: a modernized and annotated edition of Poem 2 and a few others by Pulter: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 92–98.
With a few exceptions, I have modernized the text’s spelling and capitalization throughout to concur with the Oxford English Dictionary Online headwords; this includes both the poem and the marginal annotator. I have also modernized punctuation, and expanded poetic abbreviations where such expansions would not affect the meter for a modern reader. For example, I expanded “Dispis’d” into “Despised,” as a modern reader would naturally read that word with two syllables. In instances where a final “ed” in the manuscript seems to suggest an additional syllable, I have modernized as “èd” (for example, the manuscript’s “changed,” pronounced with two syllables for metrical purposes, became modernized as “changèd”).

 Headnote

What is a political poem? There is no question that this poem is political insofar as it has political content: the title’s explicit date (in the midst of the English Civil War) and mention of the king at “Unhappy Home” clearly signals the political setting and occasion for the poem. However, the poem begins not as an address to the king, but as an address to her daughters. The title’s mysterious string of initials—D. D. M. P. P. P.—gives itself away, deciphers itself, from the very first line. “Dear daughters, come,” it says, addressing her D[ear] D[aughters] M[argaret] P[ulter and] P[enelope] P[ulter]; in the process, it shows the “mixture of revelation and concealment” common in Royalist writers,
Gloss Note
Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist literature 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 43.
1
using coded language not necessarily to hide a meaning, but to call attention to the thing being hidden. The contradictory impulses evident in the title—both boldly taking a political position (referring to the king as “his Sacred Majesty”) and using initials as an easily decoded encoding—also occur throughout the poem.
For example, it is difficult to say what genre this poem is. If the end of the title signals its desire to be a political poem, the start of the title, “An Invitation into the Country,” signals something very different. Students of Renaissance poetry may hear in the title an echo of Christopher Marlowe’s famous “Come live with me and be my love,” which invites a beloved into the country to enjoy simple, pastoral pleasures. Students of Pulter may hear in the poem itself echoes of her Emblem 20, This Poor Turtle Dove [Poem 85], which warns women about the evil temptations of London. Or readers may think of the seventeenth-century genre of the country house poem, which extols the virtues of country estates over crowded London streets. These poems of invitation and country-house poems themselves draw on the genre of the pastoral, which idealizes the country and the work of shepherds, and Pulter signals the pastoral nature of the poem not only by setting it in the countryside, but also by giving the King and Queen pastoral code names (Amintas and Chloris, respectively).
However, even as the beginning of the poem signals its generic affiliations, it also breaks them. “Invitation into the Country” begins, as promised, as a song of invitation, including a repeated refrain (with variations): “Then come, sweet virgins, come away; / What is it that invites your stay?” The song of invitation progresses logically: first she details the unhappinesses of city life, and then the virtues of country life. While the city has “shepherds that no flocks do keep” (l. 19), the country has “careful shepherds” whose gentle guidance protects their flocks (l. 49ff). Then things take a turn. Pulter’s poem is approximately 190 lines long, with the first 72 lines falling into discrete stanzas ending in the refrain; between lines 72 and 73, the poem suddenly swerves into pastoral elegy, listing rivers, birds, flowers, plants, and mythological creatures all mourning the loss (but not death) of the king. In this revised pastoral elegiac landscape, “since Amintas [King Charles] went away, / Shepherds and sheep go all astray” (ll. 75–76; emphasis added), and the lines right after the turn specifically catalogue the destruction of typical pastoral pleasures like maypoles and “lively lasses dancing round” (l. 86). Suddenly the poem is not a poem of invitation extolling country virtues, but is closer to John Milton’s pastoral elegy “Lycidas,” or closer still to Lucy Hutchinson’s political pastoral elegy “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” where trees and flowers “languish,” “drooping,” and “murmuring springs rise and complain / Then shrink into the earth again” (ll. 14, 13, 17–18).
Gloss Note
Lucy Hutchinson, “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 290–92.
2
This swerve also changes the poem formally: after line 72 there are no more stanza breaks, and the song’s refrain disappears until the very last lines, where it returns to end the poem:
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
Can my afflicted heart content
Until I see them both restored,
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
And place them in their shining spheres.
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
To comfort me make no delay.
The radical turn in the middle of the poem raises many questions. Generically and formally the poem is fascinating, establishing a clear pattern only to egregiously, flauntingly break it. The sudden turn at line 73 almost seems like the beginning of a new poem, and a new genre, though the repetition of the refrain at the end insists on the unity of the two disparate halves. How are we to interpret the sudden swerve from a song of invitation into pastoral elegy, an instance of the pathetic fallacy run deliberately (and politically) wild? How do the two parts fit together, and why has Pulter combined two different genres in such a way as to let the seams so obviously show? And what are the politics of this formal and poetic disjunction?
The final lines of the poem, quoted above, highlight the broader problem of this poem’s strange relationship to politics. It is not clear, in these lines, whose return it is that she desires: does the “them both” of line 185 refer to the king and queen of England (as most editors have assumed), or is she merely asking for her two daughters to return to her country estate at Broadfield to comfort her? The causal “then” of the refrain perhaps suggests the latter: “I will not be able to feel any comfort until I see them restored—so come, daughters, and comfort me.” If the “them both” is in fact King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria then these final lines are even more bizarre: “Nothing will comfort me until the king and queen are restored—so, come, daughters, and comfort me, though I have literally just said that no comfort but the restoration of the monarchy will be comforting.” What is the poem asking for? What does it want? What comfort does it imagine?
The final lines, then, seem to worry at the larger political and poetical problem of the relationship between agency and despair. Is this a private poem of a mother missing her daughters, hoping they can cure her (and the countryside’s) despair? Or is it, even obliquely, requesting political, public solutions for her private despair? “Nothing can comfort me,” the end may be saying, “except the restoration of the monarchy. With that in mind: I am asking you to comfort me.” Does the request for emotional comfort cancel the implicit request for political action, or prompt it?
This problem, of whether emotion is an invocation of political agency or an invitation to political retreat, runs through the poem as a whole. Consider, for example, the image of the “weeping” fanes or temples with which the poem begins; seeing moisture dripping down walls is both a projection of her own sadness onto damp marble, but also an exhortation to feeling in others: “Hard hearts, insensible of woe, / Whom marble walls in grief outgo!” (ll. 7–8). Even marble walls, she tells her readers, are showing their grief; how much harder is the matter of your heart, to not do the same? This same problem is a preoccupation of much Royalist poetry, which responded to defeats with images of closed circles: Richard Lovelace’s snail “within [its] own self curled,” Alexander Brome’s circle of imprisoned carousers, Andrew Marvell’s desire to retreat into “The Garden” and “transcend” worldly troubles, converting potentially political impulses instead to “a green thought in a green shade.” The second part of Pulter’s poem, especially, responds to this strand of Royalist writing, and this poem’s curation How to Do Things with Political Poetry provides examples both of some (beautiful) examples of Royalist poetic escapism, as well as examples of radical poems that mock the Royalists for retreating into verse, and are modelled instead on chants and calls to action.
Pulter’s “Invitation into the Country” situates itself among these political questions of pastoral poetry and agency, but it is striking that unlike some of her more explicitly topical political poems this poem offers not only commentary on a specific historical moment, but also a meta-reflection on the relationship between poetry and political agency; its formal problems—the questions of poetic form and genre—also become political problems.
(For more information on how these political questions inform the editorial practice for this amplified edition, see the Editorial Note.)
Line number 2

 Gloss note

London
Line number 3

 Gloss note

King Charles
Line number 4

 Gloss note

the Hydra was the many-headed snake of Lerna, whose heads regenerated; in classical mythology, killed by Hercules
Line number 4

 Textual note

SGC: Since Hydras now usurps
KW: Fierce Hydras now usurp
RSB: Five hydras now usurp

The MS has “Hydras,” which is either an alternate spelling of the name of the monster “Hydra,” or is a statement that London is filled with multiple hydras. I assumed it is an alternate spelling because of the singular verb “usurps,” though other editors read “hydras” as plural and emend the verb to “usurp.”

Line number 5

 Gloss note

temples
Line number 5

 Textual note

SGC: Planes
RSB: planes

In the MS, the letter after the “P” is either an “l” or an “h”; one was written over the other, though it is difficult to discern which came first and which is the correction. While it is not impossible that plains (or plane trees) would be overgrown with moss, I chose “Phanes” or fanes, temples, because in line eight she suggests that even marble walls are weeping more than are (human) English subjects.

Line number 17

 Gloss note

buildings in London housing legal societies
Line number 20

 Gloss note

large, powerful dogs
Line number 23

 Gloss note

a park in central London; as the rest of the line indicates, a place of chief delight
Line number 24

 Critical note

AE and KW note that this may be a confused reference to “Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement and repentance, during which it is traditional to wear white” (AE p. 49, n. 19; see also KW n. 7). SCG notes that the bushes dressed in white may also be a reference to the fact that after 1643, “Hyde Park was the scene of military encampment, its trees obscured by draped canvas” (p. 97, n. 56).
Line number 27

 Gloss note

a public pleasure garden
Line number 28

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Line number 29

 Gloss note

the major river running through London
Line number 34

 Gloss note

a reference to the “swan song” supposedly sung by swans before death
Line number 37

 Textual note

SGC: Flowery
RSB: flowery

The MS originally read “Flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

Line number 39

 Gloss note

both birds known particularly as songbirds
Line number 41

 Gloss note

a songbird known for singing early in the day
Line number 43

 Gloss note

a bird’s song; a simple song with a refrain
Line number 45

 Gloss note

robins
Line number 50

 Critical note

Other editors have noted the contrast between the gentle country shepherd described here and the vicious city shepherd of lines 19–20; see also lines 75–76.
Line number 54

 Textual note

The MS spells this word “Gentlely”; by modernizing I have removed a syllable and potentially altered the meter.
Line number 54

 Gloss note

pregnant mothers
Line number 56

 Textual note

Between lines 56 and 57 is a page break in the manuscript; KW include a stanza break here (AE and RSB do not). I have not added a stanza break as other breaks occur only after refrains.
Line number 59

 Textual note

SGC: doth
AE: [doth]

The MS originally read “both”; this was replaced with “doth,” and then changed back, finally, to “both.”

Line number 62

 Textual note

The MS originally read “That’s,” which would have made line 62 its own independent clause: It is no true love that could ever hate.
Line number 65

 Textual note

SGC: flow’ery
KW: flowery

The MS originally read “flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

Line number 66

 Gloss note

the west wind
Line number 66

 Textual note

AE: favorious
RSB: favorious
Line number 67

 Gloss note

Anadems are floral wreaths or crowns; poses are small bunches of flowers.
Line number 67

 Textual note

SGC: Diadems and poses
RSB: anadems and posies
Line number 68

 Gloss note

newly bloomed or opened roses
Line number 70

 Gloss note

hawthorn blossoms
Line number 72

 Textual note


Lines 71–72 were inserted in the margin after the fact; I have embedded them in the poem as they offer the last refrain before the poem shifts into another mode (the refrain will occur again only at the very end). I have also inserted a stanza break after these lines, to match the stanza breaks that occur after other instances of the refrain in the poem. However, without these lines and without the stanza break, the shift is much more subtle, as the poem originally transitioned from song of invitation to dark lament on the state of the world with no formal or visual cues.

Every other editor inserts these lines, with the following changes: SGC puts the inserted lines in brackets and adds a stanza break afterwards; AE does not add a stanza break, and emphasizes their continuity with what follows by adding a comma at the end of line 72; KW and RSB add a stanza break after.

Line number 75

 Gloss note

King Charles I
Line number 77

 Gloss note

wreaths of bay or laurel branches were used to reward poetic or martial achievements
Line number 81

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Line number 83

 Gloss note

poles decorated with flowers, to celebrate May Day
Line number 84

 Textual note

Though I have modernized this word as “There,” if we are meant to imagine the maypoles being repurposed as flagpoles it could instead have been modernized as “Their.”
Line number 84

 Gloss note

military banners or flags
Line number 89

 Gloss note

semi-divine spirits inhabiting natural objects
Line number 90

 Gloss note

Mars is the god of war; the sons of Mars are soldiers.
Line number 91

 Critical note

In these next few lines, the rivers of England mourn the loss of the king and queen. Lines 94–95 say, roughly, that the rivers Mimram and Stort wear “mourning weeds,” which usually means dark clothes of mourning, but in this case may literally mean they “wear” vegetal weeds in their waters or on their banks.
Line number 92

 Gloss note

Pulter’s estate in Hertfordshire (AE, p. 52, n. 38)
Line number 93

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 93

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 94

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 94

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 95

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 95

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 95

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 95

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 96

 Textual note

The word “bleeds” should, grammatically, be “bleed” (to agree with the plural subject “hearts”), but I have preserved “bleeds” to preserve the rhyme.
Line number 97

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 97

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 98

 Gloss note

All the rivers mentioned in these lines empty into the Lea.
Line number 98

 Textual note

The MS originally had “bear,” which was replaced with “pour.”
Line number 100

 Gloss note

The river Lea empties, eventually, into the Thames.
Line number 101

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 101

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 103

 Gloss note

Verulamium, a Roman British town, in ruins
Line number 103

 Textual note

SGC: Verulamium
Line number 104

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Line number 104

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Line number 105

 Gloss note

St. Alban, British martyr associated with the nearby town St. Albans
Line number 109

 Original gloss note

the river Pyr, near Hitchin
Line number 109

 Critical note

“Purwell” has perhaps changed names multiple times; the MS reads “Purvall,” and the marginal annotation reads “Pyr.” This line begins a long, winding sentence that runs from lines 109–122—perhaps mirroring the winding of the river Pyr?
Line number 111

 Gloss note

peaceful or calm days
Line number 116

 Gloss note

the county northeast of Hertfordshire
Line number 117

 Original gloss note

the river Ouse
Line number 121

 Gloss note

The Ouse river flooded during Richard III’s reign (AE p. 53, n. 49).
Line number 121

 Critical note

Eardley also notes that the flood famously stopped an invasion against the king; the image that this reference conjures, of a river coming to the assistance of the monarchy, may be deliberate here—though it is immediately undercut by the assertion that Ouse cannot perform such actions now.
Line number 123

 Original gloss note

a petrifying spring at Bradfeld
Line number 123

 Textual note

Though I have taken “too” to mean “also,” it may also modify sadly as an intensifier, in which case there should be a comma after “sadly,” not “too” (or no comma at all).
Line number 127

 Textual note

SGC: breath
AE: breath
KW: breath

Though the MS reads “breath,” I have followed RSB and emended to “birth” to rhyme with “earth.”

Line number 129

 Gloss note

river nymphs
Line number 129

 Textual note

In the MS, “naiads” is spelled “Nayedes”; I have spelled it “naïads” in an attempt to both modernize and restore the third syllable removed in modernization. It should be pronounced Ni-ee-adds.
Line number 129

 Gloss note

sit in rows
Line number 131

 Gloss note

a tree associated with grief and loss of a mate
Line number 135

 Gloss note

the nightingale, once a woman raped and mutilated
Line number 138

 Gloss note

blackbirds
Line number 139

 Gloss note

a bird known for its affection for its mate
Line number 141

 Gloss note

wood nymphs that lived and died with the trees they inhabited
Line number 141

 Textual note

Properly modernized, this would be spelled “hamadryads”; I have retained the Latin form to maintain the original’s meter.
Line number 145

 Gloss note

amber
Line number 148

 Critical note

This couplet nicely captures the central problem of the poem: what kind of “relief” is sympathy?
Line number 149

 Gloss note

mountain nymphs
Line number 151

 Gloss note

a tree associated with mourning
Line number 152

 Textual note

MS had “ov’er”; I take this to mean she wished to drop a syllable from the word to make the line more regular, and so have modernized as “o’er.”
Line number 155

 Gloss note

nymphs of the woods, mountains, or rivers
Line number 155

 Textual note

SGC: Napeas
AE: Napaeae
KW: Napeae
RSB: Napaeae
Line number 156

 Gloss note

streams
Line number 160

 Gloss note

a flower associated with royalty
Line number 163

 Textual note

SGC: lovely
AE: lovely
KW: lovely
RSB: lovely

In early modern handwriting, “u” and “n” are written identically, so for the word I have given as “lonely” the MS could read either “lonely” or “louely” (lovely). I have interpreted the third graph (or letter) as an “n” as it makes more sense to me, in this dismal landscape, that the violet should creep into a lonely shade for its weeping. Further, that the violet is unpitied (l. 164) is perhaps because, in the lonely shade, there is no one else around to pity it. The MS’s ambiguity, however, is an interesting one, especially given that there is an identically written word (lonely / louely) only four lines earlier that almost certainly means “lovely.”

Line number 164

 Textual note

SGC: that
Line number 165

 Gloss note

the Tudor rose; also playing on love poetry’s convention of blushes as “roses” in cheeks
Line number 169

 Gloss note

gillyflower or carnation
Line number 169

 Textual note

KW: gillyflower
Line number 171

 Textual note

SGC: Caves
RSB: caves

The manuscript reads “caves,” but the letters “u” and “v” were interchangeable in the period, so I have read it as “caues” to rhyme with “laws” and modernized as “cause.” The image of flowers “sleeping in their causes”—returning to their first principles, or existing as latent potentiality—is a common one in Pulter’s work; see also Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 14, and The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge [Poem 39], l. 5.

Line number 173

 Gloss note

a flower, also called Bear’s Ear, thought to cure dizziness at altitudes (AE p. 55, n. 63)
Line number 176

 Critical note

Pulter ends her catalogue of unhappy plants by suggesting that we (humans) should be ashamed to fall behind plants in pity. For this line to scan metrically, the word “vegetables” needs to be pronounced with four syllables.
Line number 183

 Critical note

The MS reads “odours sent”; I have modernized as “odor’s scent” (no sights or smells can make me happy), but it could also be “odors sent,” with odors the direct object of sending, in which case these lines would say something like: no sights or odors sent to me could make me happy. In this case, she may be driving home to her daughters that they should not, e.g., send letters or flowers, but come themselves to the country.
Line number 185

 Critical note

The “them” in question is almost certainly Chloris and Amintas, the queen and king of England. However, the return of the refrain at the end of the poem also introduces an ambiguity: perhaps she yearns not, or not only, for Chloris and Amintas, but also for the return of her two daughters, M. P. and P. P.
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The Invitation into the Countrey to my D: D: M P: P P 1647 when his Sacred Maj:tie was at unhappy home
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, this short title continues, specifying first that the invitation is to two of Pulter’s “dear daughters” who lived in the city of London: Margaret and Penelope (identified by their initials). The long title also notes that 1647 was “when his Sacred Majesty was at unhappy home,” probably a reference to Holdenby or Holmby (in Northamptonshire) where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647. Pulter was, during this time, in residence at her estate of Broadfield in Hertfordshire.
The Invitation into the Country
, 1647
The Invitation into the Country,
Gloss Note
i.e., to my Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter and Penelope Pulter
Textual Note
(For more on these textual notes and for an explanation of abbreviations, please see the “Editorial Note.”)

AE: to My D.[ear] D.[aughters] M.[argaret] P.[ulter], P.[enelope] P.[ulter], 1647, when His Sacred Majesty Was at Unhappy [Holmby]

KW: 1647

RSB: to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour

The series of initials in the title stand for, most editors agree, “Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter [and] Penelope Pulter.” I have left the title abbreviated because the coyness of the initials prepares the reader for the poem to follow, which often refuses to directly name its subjects (e.g., Chloris and Amintas for the queen and king of England), and yet makes it easy for its readers to crack its “code.” See also the headnote to the poem for more on this coyness. The final word of the title is blotted in the manuscript, but is clearly “home,” which AE says may be “in reference to Holdenby or Holmby House in Northamptonshire where Charles was kept under house arrest from February 7 until June 4, 1647” (p. 48, n. 12).

to my D. D. M. P. P. P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Home
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.

— Liza Blake
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.

— Liza Blake
“The Invitation into the Country” is a glossing editor’s dream: filled with proper nouns, political figures, and references to mythological figures, local sites, rivers, birds, and plants, the poem positively and repeatedly cries out to be glossed. An early reader of the manuscript—whose hand is different from either the scribe’s or the correcting hand (most likely Pulter’s)—heard and responded to the poem’s cries for glossing, adding some notes in the margins showing that they had understood the references within (particularly, references to local rivers). The poem is not just an invitation for her daughters, inviting them to come into the country; it also invites you, its reader, to get lost in its specificities, in its proper nouns and lists of rivers and types of nymphs. But what is the political efficacy of getting so lost in details?
As an editor, I attempted to respect this particularity of the poem—its desire for and invocation of glosses—and to provide information about the rivers, plants, and mythological figures Pulter names within. After all, a modern reader may not immediately know that a Napaea is a nymph of mountains, or that Grey’s Spring was a spring thought to have petrifying properties. On the other hand, the poem is curious in that its many specific references do not seem to enhance its overall argument: having more than that minimal information about a Napaea, or about Grey’s Spring, doesn’t significantly change or deepen your understanding of the lines that mention them: she hits on these specific references in passing, then moves on to other things. Providing more information on these proper nouns seems like a distraction, in a poem that is so much about the relationship between politics and forms of distraction (literary and otherwise). (For more on the politics of distraction, see the Headnote to this poem.)
I have therefore implemented a two-tiered system of glossing. First, for each of the poem’s many references to proper nouns, mythological figures, English plants, etc., I have provided a short reference, headed as a “GLOSS NOTE.” These references I have kept minimal and short—which is all the attention I think readers should give them, and all that I think understanding the poem requires. The changing density of boxes (which appear around a word or phrase to indicate a note) will also help readers see at a quick glance where the poem’s sometimes desperate or compulsive iteration of objects, rivers, etc. becomes most intense, and where it abates (for example, there is an explosion of references after the poem’s great break or volta at line 73). Most of these gloss notes are supplied from the OED; other sources are documented in critical notes. Second, longer critical notes and textual notes, each labelled accordingly, explain editorial choices, paraphrase difficult words and sentences, provide references to echoes in Pulter’s works, and call attention to interesting textual and interpretive ambiguities.
This poem had two kinds of intervention even in its life as a manuscript poem. As mentioned above, there are at least three contributors to this poem: the scribe who initially copied it; a correcting hand, probably Pulter’s; and a later marginal annotator who provided some initial glosses. My textual notes record interesting interventions in the early manuscript; in addition, where the early marginal annotator has provided a gloss, I provide their gloss, and label it with “ORIGINAL GLOSS NOTE”.
Finally, perhaps because of the complicated history of editorial intervention in the manuscript, the text of this poem is somewhat unstable: different editors have seen different things in the manuscript, and have made different (sometimes silent) emendations. I have therefore included with the poem a textual apparatus, including information about the decisions that different transcriptions and editions have made around certain textual cruxes in the poem. These textual notes appear among my other notes. I refer to the manuscript in notes as MS. Previous editions cited in textual and other notes are abbreviated as follows:
SGC: an old-spelling annotated dissertation edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter (1605?–1678): An Annotated Edition,” ed. Stefan Graham Christian (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012).
AE: a modernized and annotated edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (Toronto: Iter, Inc. and the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2014).
KW: a modernized and annotated “Elemental Edition”: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, 1647” ed. Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.
RSB: a modernized and annotated edition of Poem 2 and a few others by Pulter: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 92–98.
With a few exceptions, I have modernized the text’s spelling and capitalization throughout to concur with the Oxford English Dictionary Online headwords; this includes both the poem and the marginal annotator. I have also modernized punctuation, and expanded poetic abbreviations where such expansions would not affect the meter for a modern reader. For example, I expanded “Dispis’d” into “Despised,” as a modern reader would naturally read that word with two syllables. In instances where a final “ed” in the manuscript seems to suggest an additional syllable, I have modernized as “èd” (for example, the manuscript’s “changed,” pronounced with two syllables for metrical purposes, became modernized as “changèd”).


— Liza Blake
In this poem, Pulter invites two of her London-based daughters, Margaret and Penelope, to leave the city and join her at Broadfield, her country estate. The poem first presents an elegiac and pastoral complaint about the social, sexual, and natural decline of the city due to the fact that King Charles has been removed from London and imprisoned in Holmby House by parliamentary forces. Using iambic tetrameter couplets, the poem champions the virtues of the countryside and rural life using conventional pastoral motifs, but then moves away from the typical comparison of court and city to concede that all areas have been corrupted by political unrest. Blending mythological and horticultural references with allusions to the topography of her estate and the region, the poem offers a political pastoral that ends with the hope of the restoration of the monarchy. Events discussed in the poem suggest that Pulter wrote this poem earlier than most in the Pulter’s collection.

— Liza Blake
What is a political poem? There is no question that this poem is political insofar as it has political content: the title’s explicit date (in the midst of the English Civil War) and mention of the king at “Unhappy Home” clearly signals the political setting and occasion for the poem. However, the poem begins not as an address to the king, but as an address to her daughters. The title’s mysterious string of initials—D. D. M. P. P. P.—gives itself away, deciphers itself, from the very first line. “Dear daughters, come,” it says, addressing her D[ear] D[aughters] M[argaret] P[ulter and] P[enelope] P[ulter]; in the process, it shows the “mixture of revelation and concealment” common in Royalist writers,
Gloss Note
Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist literature 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 43.
1
using coded language not necessarily to hide a meaning, but to call attention to the thing being hidden. The contradictory impulses evident in the title—both boldly taking a political position (referring to the king as “his Sacred Majesty”) and using initials as an easily decoded encoding—also occur throughout the poem.
For example, it is difficult to say what genre this poem is. If the end of the title signals its desire to be a political poem, the start of the title, “An Invitation into the Country,” signals something very different. Students of Renaissance poetry may hear in the title an echo of Christopher Marlowe’s famous “Come live with me and be my love,” which invites a beloved into the country to enjoy simple, pastoral pleasures. Students of Pulter may hear in the poem itself echoes of her Emblem 20, This Poor Turtle Dove [Poem 85], which warns women about the evil temptations of London. Or readers may think of the seventeenth-century genre of the country house poem, which extols the virtues of country estates over crowded London streets. These poems of invitation and country-house poems themselves draw on the genre of the pastoral, which idealizes the country and the work of shepherds, and Pulter signals the pastoral nature of the poem not only by setting it in the countryside, but also by giving the King and Queen pastoral code names (Amintas and Chloris, respectively).
However, even as the beginning of the poem signals its generic affiliations, it also breaks them. “Invitation into the Country” begins, as promised, as a song of invitation, including a repeated refrain (with variations): “Then come, sweet virgins, come away; / What is it that invites your stay?” The song of invitation progresses logically: first she details the unhappinesses of city life, and then the virtues of country life. While the city has “shepherds that no flocks do keep” (l. 19), the country has “careful shepherds” whose gentle guidance protects their flocks (l. 49ff). Then things take a turn. Pulter’s poem is approximately 190 lines long, with the first 72 lines falling into discrete stanzas ending in the refrain; between lines 72 and 73, the poem suddenly swerves into pastoral elegy, listing rivers, birds, flowers, plants, and mythological creatures all mourning the loss (but not death) of the king. In this revised pastoral elegiac landscape, “since Amintas [King Charles] went away, / Shepherds and sheep go all astray” (ll. 75–76; emphasis added), and the lines right after the turn specifically catalogue the destruction of typical pastoral pleasures like maypoles and “lively lasses dancing round” (l. 86). Suddenly the poem is not a poem of invitation extolling country virtues, but is closer to John Milton’s pastoral elegy “Lycidas,” or closer still to Lucy Hutchinson’s political pastoral elegy “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” where trees and flowers “languish,” “drooping,” and “murmuring springs rise and complain / Then shrink into the earth again” (ll. 14, 13, 17–18).
Gloss Note
Lucy Hutchinson, “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 290–92.
2
This swerve also changes the poem formally: after line 72 there are no more stanza breaks, and the song’s refrain disappears until the very last lines, where it returns to end the poem:
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
Can my afflicted heart content
Until I see them both restored,
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
And place them in their shining spheres.
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
To comfort me make no delay.
The radical turn in the middle of the poem raises many questions. Generically and formally the poem is fascinating, establishing a clear pattern only to egregiously, flauntingly break it. The sudden turn at line 73 almost seems like the beginning of a new poem, and a new genre, though the repetition of the refrain at the end insists on the unity of the two disparate halves. How are we to interpret the sudden swerve from a song of invitation into pastoral elegy, an instance of the pathetic fallacy run deliberately (and politically) wild? How do the two parts fit together, and why has Pulter combined two different genres in such a way as to let the seams so obviously show? And what are the politics of this formal and poetic disjunction?
The final lines of the poem, quoted above, highlight the broader problem of this poem’s strange relationship to politics. It is not clear, in these lines, whose return it is that she desires: does the “them both” of line 185 refer to the king and queen of England (as most editors have assumed), or is she merely asking for her two daughters to return to her country estate at Broadfield to comfort her? The causal “then” of the refrain perhaps suggests the latter: “I will not be able to feel any comfort until I see them restored—so come, daughters, and comfort me.” If the “them both” is in fact King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria then these final lines are even more bizarre: “Nothing will comfort me until the king and queen are restored—so, come, daughters, and comfort me, though I have literally just said that no comfort but the restoration of the monarchy will be comforting.” What is the poem asking for? What does it want? What comfort does it imagine?
The final lines, then, seem to worry at the larger political and poetical problem of the relationship between agency and despair. Is this a private poem of a mother missing her daughters, hoping they can cure her (and the countryside’s) despair? Or is it, even obliquely, requesting political, public solutions for her private despair? “Nothing can comfort me,” the end may be saying, “except the restoration of the monarchy. With that in mind: I am asking you to comfort me.” Does the request for emotional comfort cancel the implicit request for political action, or prompt it?
This problem, of whether emotion is an invocation of political agency or an invitation to political retreat, runs through the poem as a whole. Consider, for example, the image of the “weeping” fanes or temples with which the poem begins; seeing moisture dripping down walls is both a projection of her own sadness onto damp marble, but also an exhortation to feeling in others: “Hard hearts, insensible of woe, / Whom marble walls in grief outgo!” (ll. 7–8). Even marble walls, she tells her readers, are showing their grief; how much harder is the matter of your heart, to not do the same? This same problem is a preoccupation of much Royalist poetry, which responded to defeats with images of closed circles: Richard Lovelace’s snail “within [its] own self curled,” Alexander Brome’s circle of imprisoned carousers, Andrew Marvell’s desire to retreat into “The Garden” and “transcend” worldly troubles, converting potentially political impulses instead to “a green thought in a green shade.” The second part of Pulter’s poem, especially, responds to this strand of Royalist writing, and this poem’s curation How to Do Things with Political Poetry provides examples both of some (beautiful) examples of Royalist poetic escapism, as well as examples of radical poems that mock the Royalists for retreating into verse, and are modelled instead on chants and calls to action.
Pulter’s “Invitation into the Country” situates itself among these political questions of pastoral poetry and agency, but it is striking that unlike some of her more explicitly topical political poems this poem offers not only commentary on a specific historical moment, but also a meta-reflection on the relationship between poetry and political agency; its formal problems—the questions of poetic form and genre—also become political problems.
(For more information on how these political questions inform the editorial practice for this amplified edition, see the Editorial Note.)


— Liza Blake
1
Deare daughters come make hast away
Dear daughters, come, make haste away
Dear daughters, come, make haste, away!
2
from that Sad place make noe delay
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
; make no delay.
From
Gloss Note
London
that sad place
make no delay.
3
Hee’s gon that was the Citties Grace
Gloss Note
King Charles is gone
He’s gone
that was the city’s grace;
Gloss Note
King Charles
He’s
gone that was the city’s grace;
4
Physical Note
Apparently this word was first written as “ffor.” The first “e” was inserted later, the “o” overwritten as “i,” and “ce” crowded before “Hydras.”
ffeirce
Hydras now Uſurps his place
Gloss Note
The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was eventually defeated by Hercules. Here Pulter identifies parliamentarians and Cromwell as heads of state proliferating monstrously after Charles’s imprisonment. See Pulter’s reference to tyrannical power as a “hydra” in Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 71.
Fierce Hydras
now usurp his place.
Gloss Note
the Hydra was the many-headed snake of Lerna, whose heads regenerated; in classical mythology, killed by Hercules
Textual Note
SGC: Since Hydras now usurps
KW: Fierce Hydras now usurp
RSB: Five hydras now usurp

The MS has “Hydras,” which is either an alternate spelling of the name of the monster “Hydra,” or is a statement that London is filled with multiple hydras. I assumed it is an alternate spelling because of the singular verb “usurps,” though other editors read “hydras” as plural and emend the verb to “usurp.”

Fierce Hydra
now usurps his place.
5
The
Physical Note
The “h” appears written over an earlier “l.”
Phanes
are over Grown with moſs
The
Gloss Note
temples, shrines, or religious structures. The manuscript shows that the word was originally written as “planes,” which was then corrected to “phanes.” The original word is also viable since it refers to species of trees or natural landscapes.
fanes
are overgrown with moss,
The
Gloss Note
temples
Textual Note
SGC: Planes
RSB: planes

In the MS, the letter after the “P” is either an “l” or an “h”; one was written over the other, though it is difficult to discern which came first and which is the correction. While it is not impossible that plains (or plane trees) would be overgrown with moss, I chose “Phanes” or fanes, temples, because in line eight she suggests that even marble walls are weeping more than are (human) English subjects.

fanes
are overgrown with moss
6
With Shedding teares for
Physical Note
The “g” corrects an earlier “d” by the addition of a descender.
Englands
loſs
With shedding tears for England’s loss,
With shedding tears for England’s loss:
7
Hard hearts unſenceable of woe
Gloss Note
in the English people
Hard hearts
insensible of woe,
Hard hearts, insensible of woe,
8
Whom Marble Wals in
Physical Note
“ief” appears written over “eaſ.”
griefe
out goe
Whom marble walls, in grief, outgo.
Whom marble walls in grief outgo!
9
Then come Sweet virgins come away
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
Then come, sweet virgins, come away;
10
What is it that invites your Stay
What is it that invites your stay?
What is it that invites your stay?
11
What can you learn there elce but pride
What can you learn there else but pride,
What can you learn there else but pride,
12
And what your bluſhes will not hide
And what your blushes will not hide?
And what your blushes will not hide?
13
There virgins lose theire Honour’ed name
There, virgins lose their honored name,
There virgins lose their honored name,
14
which doth for ever blur theire fame
Which doth forever blur their fame.
Which doth forever blur their fame.
15
Physical Note
The “i” (except the dot) is blotted.
Theire
Huſbands looke with Jealous eyes
There, husbands look with jealous eyes,
There husbands look with jealous eyes,
16
And wives
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with scribbles; some letters are visible, including an initial “d,” possiblly an “ſ” in the third position, and possibly a concluding “ceive.”
deſceive
^deceive them and theire Spies;
And wives deceive them, and their spies.
And wives deceive them and their spies.
17
To Inns of Court,
Physical Note
This word is cancelled with multiple strike-throughs.
whole
^and Armies goe
To
Gloss Note
Four London Inns of Court—Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple—served as law schools, where young men lived, were educated, and sought entertainment.
Inns of Court
and armies go
To
Gloss Note
buildings in London housing legal societies
Inns of Court
and armies go
18
Wiſe Children theire owne Dads to know
Wise children, their own dads to know.
Wise children, their own dads to know.
19
Physical Note
The “i” is erased and written over.
Theire
Shepherds, that noe fflocks doe keepe,
There, shepherds that no flocks do keep,
There shepherds that no flocks do keep
20
Like Butchers Mastives, worrie Sheepe
Gloss Note
A “butcher’s mastiff” was a breed of dog, associated with those kept by butchers to use in fighting and slaughtering animals. Here the analogy begun in the line before is to the pastoral overseers (clergymen) who threaten rather than protect their dependents.
Like butcher’s mastiffs, worry sheep.
Like butchers’
Gloss Note
large, powerful dogs
mastiffs
worry sheep.
21
Then Come Sweete Children come away
Then come, sweet children, come away;
Then come, sweet children, come away;
22
Physical Note
The top of the question mark is reversed and short; a mark, possibly a colon, resembles some other question marks in manuscript.
What?
can allure you yet to Stay.
What can allure you yet to stay?
What can allure you yet to stay?
23
Hide Parke a place of chiefe delight
Gloss Note
A private, royal deer park in London before Charles I opened it to the public; it became a popular gathering place, and was a site for fortifications during the civil war.
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight,
Gloss Note
a park in central London; as the rest of the line indicates, a place of chief delight
Hyde Park
, a place of chief delight:
24
Her buſhes mourne like Jewes in white
Her bushes mourn like
Critical Note
In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206). It was more common to attribute white mourning clothes to various Asian cultures. See Pulter’s Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10], which mentions “Jews or Chinesses” mourning in clothes of “snowy white” (l. 10).
Jews in white
.
Critical Note
AE and KW note that this may be a confused reference to “Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement and repentance, during which it is traditional to wear white” (AE p. 49, n. 19; see also KW n. 7). SCG notes that the bushes dressed in white may also be a reference to the fact that after 1643, “Hyde Park was the scene of military encampment, its trees obscured by draped canvas” (p. 97, n. 56).
Her bushes mourn like Jews in white.
25
The Stately Deer doe weeping Stray
The stately deer do weeping stray,
The stately deer do weeping stray,
26
Anticipateing theire last day
Anticipating their last day.
Anticipating their last day.
Spring

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27
Spring Garden that ſuch pleaſures bred
Critical Note
A London public resort, associated with entertainment, dining, drinking, and bowling; it was ordered closed in 1635. Although there is a decorative capital “S” in “Spring Garden” and a word rhyming with “stay” in the previous line, we have not interpreted this line as beginning a new stanza because it would create an unusual four-line stanza above.
Spring Garden
, that such pleasures bred,
Gloss Note
a public pleasure garden
Spring Garden
that such pleasures bred
28
Lookes dull and ſad Since Cloris fled
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
goddess of the spring, and a common name for Charles I’s wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
Chloris
fled.
Looks dull and sad since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
fled.
29
The Christall Thames her loss deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
river in England
Thames
her loss
Gloss Note
laments
deplores
The crystal
Gloss Note
the major river running through London
Thames
her loss deplores,
30
And to the Sea her Griefe out Rores
And to the sea her grief
Gloss Note
The primary sense is “roars out,” but it carries a secondary sense of the river’s noise drowning out that of the sea.
outroars
.
And to the sea her grief outroars;
31
The Swans upon her Silver brest
The swans upon her silver breast
The swans upon her silver breast,
32
Though dieing yet can find noe Rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
Though dying, yet can find no rest,
33
but full of griefe crie wella-d-aye
But full of grief cry, “
Gloss Note
an exclamation of sorrow
welladay
,”
But full of grief cry, “Welladay!”
34
And Singing Sigh theire breath away
And,
Gloss Note
Swans were reputed to sing before dying.
singing, sigh their breath away
.
And,
Gloss Note
a reference to the “swan song” supposedly sung by swans before death
singing, sigh their breath away
.
35
Aye me then com make hast away
Ay me, then come, make haste away;
Ay me!—then come, make haste away;
36
ffrom that Sad place make noe delay
From that sad place make no delay.
From that sad place make no delay.
37
Physical Note
The “re” and apostrophe appear to be added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased; the apostrophe appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
fflow’ery
vales and Christall Springs
Here’s flow’ry
Gloss Note
valleys
vales
and crystal springs;
Here’s
Textual Note
SGC: Flowery
RSB: flowery

The MS originally read “Flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales and crystal springs;
38
Physical Note
The “re” appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Here’s
ſhadey Groves, here ever ſings
Here’s shady groves, here ever sings
Here’s shady groves; here ever sings
39
The Bulfinch Linnit Striving which
The
Gloss Note
both songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
The
Gloss Note
both birds known particularly as songbirds
bullfinch, linnet
, striving which
40
The Auditours Shall most bewitch;
The auditors shall most bewitch.
The auditors shall most bewitch.
41
The early Larke long ere the Morne
The early lark, long
Gloss Note
before
ere
the morn
The early
Gloss Note
a songbird known for singing early in the day
lark
, long ere the morn
42
with Roſes can her head
Physical Note
There is a circle (possibly part of a letter) to the right, and several smeared “M”s.
Adorne
With roses can her head adorn,
With roses can her head adorn,
43
Sings Cheerfully a Roundelay
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
short simple song
roundelay
,
Sings cheerfully a
Gloss Note
a bird’s song; a simple song with a refrain
roundelay
,
44
Telling this lower world ’tis day
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
Telling this lower world ’tis day.
45
Here Thruſhes, Wrens, and Red brests, ſing
Here thrushes, wrens, and redbreasts sing
Here thrushes, wrens, and
Gloss Note
robins
redbreasts
sing
46
To welcome in the gladſom Spring
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
To welcome in the gladsome spring.
47
Then come Sweet Maydens come away
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
Then come, sweet maidens, come away;
48
to this Sweet place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
49
Here carefull Shepherds view there Sheepe
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
Here careful shepherds view their sheep;
50
They him, and he theire Soules doth keepe
Critical Note
In this extended conceit, which encompasses the previous line as well, the speaker suggests that the literal shepherds figure the pastoral care of clergymen and of God; her switch from plural shepherds to the singular relationship of God to his people creates a tension in the analogy. “They,” the sheep or church members, trust their being to “him” (the shepherd or clergyman) who “keeps,” or safeguards, the flocks. See Psalms 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
They him, and he their souls doth keep.
Critical Note
Other editors have noted the contrast between the gentle country shepherd described here and the vicious city shepherd of lines 19–20; see also lines 75–76.
They him, and he their souls, doth keep.
51
Bleſſings flow on them from aboue
Blessings flow on them from above
Blessings flow on them from above
52
That are reciprocall in loue
That are reciprocal in love.
That are reciprocal in love.
53
he in his boſome bear’s the Lambs.
He in his bosom bears the lambs
He in his bosom bears the lambs,
54
And Gentlely leads the
Physical Note
These words appear on a slight ascension from the rest of the line, possibly in a different hand, or added later.
heavie Dams
And gently leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant sheep
heavy dams
;
And
Textual Note
The MS spells this word “Gentlely”; by modernizing I have removed a syllable and potentially altered the meter.
gently
leads the
Gloss Note
pregnant mothers
heavy dams
;
55
He whistles those that goe Astray
He whistles those that go astray
He whistles those that go astray,
56
By which meanes none runs quite away
By which means, none runs quite away.
Textual Note
Between lines 56 and 57 is a page break in the manuscript; KW include a stanza break here (AE and RSB do not). I have not added a stanza break as other breaks occur only after refrains.
By which means none runs quite away.
here

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57
Here Husbands free from Jealous eye
Critical Note
This line begins after a page break in the manuscript so it it hard to determine whether it begins a new stanza or not. We have interpreted a stanza break here based on the repetition of the opening word “Here” (which begins the stanzas above and below), the fact that the scribe often uses more decorative capitals at the beginning of stanzas, and new stanzas begin after the refrain marked by rhyming words “stay” or “delay.”
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
Here husbands, free from jealous eye,
58
Haue wives as full of modesty
Have wives as full of modesty;
Have wives as full of modesty.
59
They in theire Children
Physical Note
It appears that the word in question was first written as “both”; then the first letter was corrected, to read “doth”; then the whole word was struck-through twice, with “both” inserted above.
dothboth
rejoyce
They, in their children, both rejoice,
They in their children
Textual Note
SGC: doth
AE: [doth]

The MS originally read “both”; this was replaced with “doth,” and then changed back, finally, to “both.”

both
rejoice,
60
Commending still theire happy choyce
Commending still their happy choice:
Commending still their happy choice,
61
Most kind, and free from all debate;
Most kind and free from all debate,
Most kind, and free from all debate,
62
Physical Note
A final letter, possibly an “s,” is imperfectly erased and/or blotted.
That[?]
noe true loue, can ever hate.
That no true love can ever hate.
Textual Note
The MS originally read “That’s,” which would have made line 62 its own independent clause: It is no true love that could ever hate.
That
no true love can ever hate.
63
Then come my Children come away
Then come, my children, come away;
Then come, my children, come away;
64
To this Sweete place make noe delay
To this sweet place make no delay.
To this sweet place make no delay.
65
Here virgins Sit in
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased.
flow’ery
Vales
Here virgins sit in flow’ry vales,
Here virgins sit in
Textual Note
SGC: flow’ery
KW: flowery

The MS originally read “flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

flow’ry
vales,
66
refresht by Sweet
Physical Note
The second “o” is imperfectly erased.
ffavonious
gales
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
Latin name for the west wind, which was associated with springtime (also known as Zephyrus)
Favonius’s
Gloss Note
strong winds
gales
,
Refreshed by sweet
Gloss Note
the west wind
Textual Note
AE: favorious
RSB: favorious
Favonious’
gales,
67
Makeing them Anadems and poſes
Making
Gloss Note
themselves
them
Gloss Note
“Anadems” were wreaths of flowers for the head; “poses” refers to posies, which were bunches of flowers as well as collections of short poems, devices or emblems
anadems and poses
,
Making them
Gloss Note
Anadems are floral wreaths or crowns; poses are small bunches of flowers.
Textual Note
SGC: Diadems and poses
RSB: anadems and posies
anadems and poses
,
68
Crowning theire Heads with new blowne Roses
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
blossoming
new-blown
roses.
Crowning their heads with
Gloss Note
newly bloomed or opened roses
new-blown roses
.
69
In woods and Dales faire Maidens may
In woods and
Gloss Note
valleys
dales
fair maidens may,
In woods and dales fair maidens may,
70
Unfrighted freely gather May
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
Hawthorn blossom; the ritual of gathering may was often done on May Day, as the stanza later suggests.
may
.
Unfrighted, freely gather
Gloss Note
hawthorn blossoms
may
.
71
Then lovely lasses, come away!
Then, lovely lasses, come away;
72
Critical Note
This and the prior line are inserted in the margin, probably in Pulter’s hand. We have inserted a stanza break after them, on the model of earlier stanzas which end after similar refrains.
To cheer my heart make no delay.
Textual Note

Lines 71–72 were inserted in the margin after the fact; I have embedded them in the poem as they offer the last refrain before the poem shifts into another mode (the refrain will occur again only at the very end). I have also inserted a stanza break after these lines, to match the stanza breaks that occur after other instances of the refrain in the poem. However, without these lines and without the stanza break, the shift is much more subtle, as the poem originally transitioned from song of invitation to dark lament on the state of the world with no formal or visual cues.

Every other editor inserts these lines, with the following changes: SGC puts the inserted lines in brackets and adds a stanza break afterwards; AE does not add a stanza break, and emphasizes their continuity with what follows by adding a comma at the end of line 72; KW and RSB add a stanza break after.

To cheer my heart make no delay.
73
Physical Note
To the left, two poetic lines are inserted in H2, broken into four lines: “xThen lovely laſſes / com awaye / To cheere my heart / make noe delaye.” Slashes show line breaks in the manuscript.
But
oh thoſe times now changed
Physical Note
The superscript “x” is in H2.
beex
But O, those times now
Gloss Note
The poem shifts at this point from comparing the city to the country, to showing the devastation that infiltrates even the pastoral landscape.
changéd be
;
But O, those times now changèd be!
74
Sad Metamorphosis wee See
Sad metamorphosis we see.
Sad metamorphosis we see.
75
ffor Since Amintas went away
For since
Gloss Note
pastoral name for Charles I
Amintas
went away,
For since
Gloss Note
King Charles I
Amintas
went away,
76
Shepherds and Sheepe goe all aſtray
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
Shepherds and sheep go all astray.
77
Those that deſerved whole Groves of Bayes
Gloss Note
Writers who deserved the sign of poetic achievement, the wearing of the wreath made of laurel or bay leaves (as in poet laureate).
Those that deserved whole groves of bays
Those that deserved whole groves of
Gloss Note
wreaths of bay or laurel branches were used to reward poetic or martial achievements
bays
78
In Sighs conſume theire youthfull dayes
In
Gloss Note
laments, but especially those in the form of poems, since it refers back to the title of the collection, Sighs Breathed Forth by the Noble Haddassas
sighs
consume their youthful days;
In sighs consume their youthful days,
79
And that faire
Physical Note
The “y” in “fleecy” is written in thicker inkover a previous letter, possibly “e”; the “o” in “flocks” is written over an earlier letter.
fleecy flocks
did keepe
And
Gloss Note
those that
that
fair fleecy flocks did keep,
And that fair fleecy flocks did keep,
80
Physical Note
The “e” is imperfectly erased, replaced with an apostrophe.
Diſpiſ’d
in corners ſit and weepe
Despised in corners sit and weep.
Despised in corners, sit and weep.
81
Since Cloris went both wife and Maid
Since Chloris went, both wife and maid
Since
Gloss Note
Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Chloris
went, both wife and maid
82
In loue and be^avty hath Decayed
In love and beauty hath decayed.
In love and beauty hath decayed.
83
Where May poles shewed theire fe^athered head
Where
Gloss Note
tall poles, decorated with paint, flowers and greenery, which served as the centerpiece for May Day dances and celebrations; this ritual was opposed by some factions who were also hostile to Charles I.
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
Where
Gloss Note
poles decorated with flowers, to celebrate May Day
maypoles
showed their feathered head,
84
Theire colour’d Inſign’s now are ſpread
There, colored
Gloss Note
military banners
ensigns
now are spread;
Textual Note
Though I have modernized this word as “There,” if we are meant to imagine the maypoles being repurposed as flagpoles it could instead have been modernized as “Their.”
There
colored
Gloss Note
military banners or flags
ensigns
now are spread:
85
Inſtead of Muſicks pleaſant ſound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
Instead of music’s pleasant sound
86
And lively laſſes danceing round
And lively lasses dancing round,
And lively lasses dancing round,
87
Tumultuous Drums make Deafe our eares
Tumultuous
Gloss Note
military instruments
drums
make deaf our ears
Tumultuous drums make deaf our ears
88
And Trumpets fill our hearts w:th feares
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
And trumpets fill our hearts with fears.
89
In Shades where Nimphs did uſe to walke
In shades where nymphs did use to walk
In shades where
Gloss Note
semi-divine spirits inhabiting natural objects
nymphs
did use to walk,
90
There Sons of Mars in Armour Stalke
There sons of
Gloss Note
god of war
Mars
in armor stalk.
There
Gloss Note
Mars is the god of war; the sons of Mars are soldiers.
sons of Mars
in armor stalk.
in

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91
Physical Note
Beneath the apostrophe is an illegible erased letter.
Inamell’d
vales and Cristall Streames
Enameled vales and crystal streams
Critical Note
In these next few lines, the rivers of England mourn the loss of the king and queen. Lines 94–95 say, roughly, that the rivers Mimram and Stort wear “mourning weeds,” which usually means dark clothes of mourning, but in this case may literally mean they “wear” vegetal weeds in their waters or on their banks.
Enameled vales and crystal streams
92
Proue now alas poore Bradfields dreames
Gloss Note
turn out to be
Prove
now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate
Broadfield’s
dreams.
Prove now, alas, poor
Gloss Note
Pulter’s estate in Hertfordshire (AE, p. 52, n. 38)
Broadfield’s
dreams.
93
Leas drooping Swans now Sadly Sing
Gloss Note
As an eighteenth-century reader notes in the margin, Lea, Beane, Mimram and Stort (all mentioned in this and the next lines) are all local rivers in Hertfordshire. The imagery suggests that the natural flow and crossing of the rivers register their attempt to express sorrow and find sympathy in shared tears.
Lea’s
drooping swans now sadly sing
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Leas’
drooping swans now sadly sing,
94
And Beane comes weeping from her Spring
And Beane comes weeping from her spring.
And
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Beane
comes weeping from her spring;
95
Mimmer and Sturt in mourning weeds
Mimram and Stort in mourning
Gloss Note
clothes or plants
weeds
,
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Mimram
and
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Stort
in mourning weeds,
96
Shewing theire hearts for griefe en’e
Physical Note
In the right margin, by a vertical line, appears this note in a third hand: “Been, Colne Lea, Mimmer, Stort, Ver, names of Rivers in Hartfordshire”
bleeds
Showing their hearts for grief e’en bleeds.
Showing their hearts for grief e’en
Textual Note
The word “bleeds” should, grammatically, be “bleed” (to agree with the plural subject “hearts”), but I have preserved “bleeds” to preserve the rhyme.
bleeds
:
97
All run to Lea for ſome Reliefe
All run to Lea for some relief,
All run to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Lea
for some relief,
98
And in her boſome
Physical Note
The insertion is in H2; “bear” is twice struck-through (except the final “e”).
pourbeare
there griefe
And in her bosom pour their grief.
And in her bosom
Gloss Note
All the rivers mentioned in these lines empty into the Lea.
Textual Note
The MS originally had “bear,” which was replaced with “pour.”
pour their grief
.
99
Thus Shee and they all weeping goe
Thus she and they all weeping go
Thus she and they all weeping go
100
To tell the Thames theire grievous woe
To tell the Thames their grievous woe.
Gloss Note
The river Lea empties, eventually, into the Thames.
To tell the Thames
their grievous woe.
101
Vir lookes and ſees this Shire ^looke ſad
Gloss Note
local river
Ver
looks and sees
Gloss Note
Hertfordshire
this shire
look sad;
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Ver
looks and sees this shire look sad;
102
Shee whirls about as Shee were mad
She whirls about
Gloss Note
as if
as
she were mad.
She whirls about as she were mad,
103
Round Verulam his ruin’d Stones
Round
Gloss Note
Veralum’s; Veralum was the abbreviated name for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium in Hertfordshire, the ruins of which were visible.
Verulam his
ruinéd stones
Round
Gloss Note
Verulamium, a Roman British town, in ruins
Textual Note
SGC: Verulamium
Verulam
his ruined stones
104
Shee Runs and tells to Colne her mones
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note
larger river, tributary of the Thames
Colne
her moans;
She runs, and tells to
Gloss Note (Original)
Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Textual Note
This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Colne
her moans,
105
ffor Since her Saint his blood was ſhed
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, a resident of Verulamium, was the first British Christian martyr; he was converted by a fugitive priest whom he sheltered, and condemned to death by the pagan Emperor. The town was named St. Albans in his honor. Pulter alludes to the specifics of his martyrdom in The Complaint of Thames, 1647 [Poem 4].
her saint
his blood was shed,
For since
Gloss Note
St. Alban, British martyr associated with the nearby town St. Albans
her saint
his blood was shed,
106
Shee never grieved ſoe as ſhee
Physical Note
The “i” appears written over an earlier letter, possibly “e.”
ſaid
She never grieved so, as she said.
She never grieved so, as she said.
107
Colne Simpathiſed with her in woe
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
Colne sympathized with her in woe,
108
And to the Thames Resolved to goe
And to the
Gloss Note
main river in south England
Thames
resolved to go,
And to the Thames resolved to go.
109
Cleare Purvall too came
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “the river Pyr near Hitchin.”
bubling out
Clear
Gloss Note
a nearby river; the eighteenth-century annotator of the manuscript defined Purwell as “the river Pyr near Hitchin”
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
Clear
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Pyr, near Hitchin
Critical Note
“Purwell” has perhaps changed names multiple times; the MS reads “Purvall,” and the marginal annotation reads “Pyr.” This line begins a long, winding sentence that runs from lines 109–122—perhaps mirroring the winding of the river Pyr?
Purwell
too came bubbling out,
110
But long Shee did not Stand in doubt
But long she did not stand in doubt;
But long she did not stand in doubt;
111
Seeing our Halcion dayes were dun
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful, calm
halcyon
days were done,
Seeing our
Gloss Note
peaceful or calm days
halcyon days
were done,
112
Shee loathed (ſhee Said) to ſee the Sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
She loathed (she said) to see the sun
113
As he purſued the Chearfull day
As he pursued the cheerful day,
As he pursued the cheerful day,
114
But turn’d her course another way
But turned her course another way.
But turned her course another way,
115
And Sighing Shed forth tear’s as cleare
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
And, sighing, shed forth tears as clear
116
as pearles and ran to Bedfordſhire
As pearls, and ran to Bedfordshire—
As pearls, and ran to
Gloss Note
the county northeast of Hertfordshire
Bedfordshire
,
117
To Owes, who was So full of
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “The river, Ouſe.”
Griefe
To
Critical Note
The Purwell river follows this route, flowing toward Bedfordshire and into one of the longest British rivers, the Ouse. Pulter offers an origin myth in which the Purwell bends its natural course to the west, because her eastward view of the sun offended her grief.
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
To
Gloss Note (Original)
the river Ouse
Ouse
, who was so full of grief
118
That Shee her Selfe did want Reliefe
That she herself did want relief—
That she herself did want relief,
119
And ſaid would any place
Physical Note
Although the manuscript seems to read “rereive,” the scribe uses a secretary form of “c” (unusual for this hand) that looks like a modern “r.” Thanks to Liza Blake for calling this to our attention.
receive
And said, would any place receive
And said, would any place receive
120
Her teares, She would her channell leave
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
Her tears, she would her channel leave,
121
As when King Richards Reigne had date
As when
Gloss Note
In the English medieval War of the Roses, the Duke of Buckingham led a rebellion against Richard III, but was defeated, in part, due to the flooding of the Severn River.
King Richard’s
reign had date;
Gloss Note
The Ouse river flooded during Richard III’s reign (AE p. 53, n. 49).
Critical Note
Eardley also notes that the flood famously stopped an invasion against the king; the image that this reference conjures, of a river coming to the assistance of the monarchy, may be deliberate here—though it is immediately undercut by the assertion that Ouse cannot perform such actions now.
As when King Richard’s reign had date—
122
But this Shee was denied by fate
But this she was denied by fate.
But this she was denied by fate.
123
Grayes Spring too Sadly makes her
Physical Note
In the right margin, in third hand: “a petrifying Spring at Bradfeld.”
moane
,
Gloss Note
As the next line indicates, an eighteenth-century annotator identifies Gray’s Spring as a “petrifying spring” on Pulter’s estate of Broadfield. These springs slowly coat anything in them with minerals that harden and encrust them, thus seeming to petrify.
Gray’s Spring
too sadly makes her moan,
Gloss Note (Original)
a petrifying spring at Bradfeld
Gray’s Spring
,
Textual Note
Though I have taken “too” to mean “also,” it may also modify sadly as an intensifier, in which case there should be a comma after “sadly,” not “too” (or no comma at all).
too
, sadly makes her moan,
124
and with her teares turns moſs to Stone
And with her tears turns moss to stone;
And with her tears turns moss to stone,

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125
And Seeing delight with Cloris fled
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
And, seeing delight with Chloris fled,
126
Shee Sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed and murmuring hid her head
She sighed, and murmuring hid her head
127
Within her womb that gave her breath
Within her womb that gave her breath,
Within her womb that gave her
Textual Note
SGC: breath
AE: breath
KW: breath

Though the MS reads “breath,” I have followed RSB and emended to “birth” to rhyme with “earth.”

birth
,
128
Venting her griefe below the Earth
Venting her grief below the earth.
Venting her grief below the earth.
129
The Nayedes here ſit in Rankes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were nymphs inhabiting rivers and lakes, or female personifications of bodies of water.
Naiades
here sit in
Gloss Note
rows
ranks
,
The
Gloss Note
river nymphs
Textual Note
In the MS, “naiads” is spelled “Nayedes”; I have spelled it “naïads” in an attempt to both modernize and restore the third syllable removed in modernization. It should be pronounced Ni-ee-adds.
naïads
here
Gloss Note
sit in rows
sit in ranks
,
130
fforelorne upon our withered bankes
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
Forlorn upon our withered banks,
131
And Garlands make of Willow Boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
trees associated with mourning
willow
boughs
And garlands make of
Gloss Note
a tree associated with grief and loss of a mate
willow
boughs
132
To hide theire teares and Shade theire browes
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
To hide their tears and shade their brows.
133
Since Cloris went our flowers fade
Since Chloris went, our flowers fade;
Since Chloris went our flowers fade;
134
Noe pleaſure is in Hill or Shade
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
No pleasure is in hill or shade.
135
Poore Phillomele doth ſit alone
Poor
Gloss Note
In mythology, Tereus rapes Philomela and cuts out her tongue; after she takes revenge, she is turned into a nightingale, known for her sorrowful song.
Philomel
doth sit alone,
Poor
Gloss Note
the nightingale, once a woman raped and mutilated
Philomel
doth sit alone,
136
To Senceles trees now makes her mone
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
To senseless trees now makes her moan.
137
Our Woods theire Choristers now lack
Our woods their
Gloss Note
singing birds
choristers
now lack:
Our woods their choristers now lack:
138
The Woozles
Physical Note
This word is possibly corrected from “Weeſle.”
Whiſle
clad in black
The
Gloss Note
Eardley interprets “woozle” as an “ouzel” or blackbird.
woozles
whistle, clad in black,
The
Gloss Note
blackbirds
ouzels
whistle, clad in black,
139
And the forſaken Turtle Dove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
And the forsaken
Gloss Note
a bird known for its affection for its mate
turtledove
140
Bewayles her owne and Cloris love
Bewails her own and Chloris’s love.
Bewails her own and Chloris’ love,
141
The Hamadriades invokes
The
Gloss Note
In classical mythology, these were the nymphs of trees, whose lives were coterminous with their trees.
Hamadryades
invokes
The
Gloss Note
wood nymphs that lived and died with the trees they inhabited
Textual Note
Properly modernized, this would be spelled “hamadryads”; I have retained the Latin form to maintain the original’s meter.
hamadryades
invokes:
142
The Goddeses inſhrin’d in Oakes
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
The goddesses enshrined in oaks,
143
Who fold theire yielding Armes a croſs
Who fold their yielding arms across
Who fold their yielding arms across,
144
Physical Note
The “d” is possibly written over another letter; in the space after “And” an imperfectly erased “n” is visible; the “we” of “weepe” appears written over other letters.
And weepe
with them Aminta’s loſs
And weep with them Amintas’s loss.
And weep with them Amintas’ loss.
145
Som trees drop Gumm from theire ſad eyes
Gloss Note
Various species of trees oozed a gum with medicinal benefits (which could “give relief,” as the next line suggests), gums that were, in poetic tradition, often construed as tears; some petrified as amber and could preserve flies.
Some trees drop gum from their sad eyes
Some trees drop
Gloss Note
amber
gum
from their sad eyes
146
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “T’immortaliſe”; in the main text, “\Im\” is inserted in H2.
T’\Im\Mortaliſe
ambitious fflyes
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
T’immortalize ambitious flies;
147
Tho they can give us noe reliefe
Though
Gloss Note
the trees
they
can give us no relief,
Though they can give us no relief,
148
The’le Simpathise with us in griefe
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
Critical Note
This couplet nicely captures the central problem of the poem: what kind of “relief” is sympathy?
They’ll sympathize with us in grief.
149
The Oriads Sport and play noe more
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs, in classical mythology
Oreads
sport and play no more,
The
Gloss Note
mountain nymphs
oreads
sport and play no more,
150
But great Amintas loſs deplore
But great Amintas’s loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
.
But great Amintas’ loss deplore;
151
Inſted of Roſes
Physical Note
The “u” in Cyprus is written over another letter, possibly an “e.”
Cyprus
Physical Note
The letters “ugh” are written over other illegible letters.
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
Instead of roses,
Gloss Note
a tree associated with mourning
cypress
boughs
152
Pearld ov’er with Tears doth Shade theire browes
Pearled o’er with tears doth shade their brows.
Pearled
Textual Note
MS had “ov’er”; I take this to mean she wished to drop a syllable from the word to make the line more regular, and so have modernized as “o’er.”
o’er
with tears doth shade their brows;
153
Diſſhevel’d torne neglected haire
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
Disheveled, torn, neglected hair
154
Hang ore theire throbing boſome bare
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
Hang o’er their throbbing bosom bare.
155
Physical Note
In the left margin, in third hand: “Nay”; the start of the struck-through word is “Na”; the remainder, scribbled out, is possibly “igh.”
Na[igh]
the Na’peas from theire Hills
Nay, the
Critical Note
mythological nymphs of woods, mountains, and rivers; Thomas Elyot defined them as “Goddesses of floures and woodes or rather elfes, hauntynge woodes” (Bibliotheca Eliotae, 1542, sig. Y4v). Many contemporary writers identified them as nymphs whose domain was specifically the moisture of flowers (See, for instance, Vives’s commentary on St. Augustine, Of the City of God [1610], p. 182).
Napeae
from their hills,
Nay, the
Gloss Note
nymphs of the woods, mountains, or rivers
Textual Note
SGC: Napeas
AE: Napaeae
KW: Napeae
RSB: Napaeae
Napaeas
from their hills,
156
Diſſolved with tears weepe Cristall rils
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
small streams
rills
.
Dissolved with tears, weep crystal
Gloss Note
streams
rills
.
157
Those flowers which the Valleys Crown
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
Those flowers which the valleys crown,
158
Or’e Charged with griefe theire Heads hang downe
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down.
O’ercharged with grief, their heads hang down;
ſince

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159
Since louely Cloris frighted fled
Since lovely Chloris frighted fled,
Since lovely Chloris, frighted, fled,
160
The crown Imperiall hangs his head
Critical Note
a flower; early modern books on plants described its different blooms or bells as each containing six droplets of water which mysteriously reappeared if removed (see John Gerard, Herbal, 1633, p. 202). Pulter refers to this legendary account in Upon the Crown Imperial [Poem 53].
The crown imperial
hangs his head;
The
Gloss Note
a flower associated with royalty
crown imperial
hangs his head,
161
His Princely breast or’ewhelm’d with feares
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
His princely breast o’erwhelmed with fears,
162
Weeping at once Six Cristall teares
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
Weeping at once six crystal tears.
163
To
Physical Note
this word could be “louely” or “lonely”; the third letter is obstructed by the “g” above and is ambiguous
lovely
Shades pale vi-letts creepe
To lovely shades pale vi’lets creep,
To
Textual Note
SGC: lovely
AE: lovely
KW: lovely
RSB: lovely

In early modern handwriting, “u” and “n” are written identically, so for the word I have given as “lonely” the MS could read either “lonely” or “louely” (lovely). I have interpreted the third graph (or letter) as an “n” as it makes more sense to me, in this dismal landscape, that the violet should creep into a lonely shade for its weeping. Further, that the violet is unpitied (l. 164) is perhaps because, in the lonely shade, there is no one else around to pity it. The MS’s ambiguity, however, is an interesting one, especially given that there is an identically written word (lonely / louely) only four lines earlier that almost certainly means “lovely.”

lonely
shades pale violets creep,
164
And ther unpittied Sit and weepe
And there, unpitied, sit and weep.
And
Textual Note
SGC: that
there
unpitied sit and weep.
165
The Royall Roſe that nere would yield
The royal rose that ne’er would yield,
The
Gloss Note
the Tudor rose; also playing on love poetry’s convention of blushes as “roses” in cheeks
royal rose
that ne’er would yield,
166
But Stroue for Mast’ry in the field
But strove for mast’ry in the
Gloss Note
battlefield; the fifteenth-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster were represented by white and red roses respectively.
field
,
But strove for mast’ry in the field,
167
And, Cloris Cheeke neglected, fades
And Chloris’s cheek, neglected, fades
And Chloris’ cheek neglected, fades
168
In Silent Solitary Shades.
In silent, solitary shades.
In silent solitary shades.
169
The lilly and the July flower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
carnation
gillyflower
The lily and the
Gloss Note
gillyflower or carnation
Textual Note
KW: gillyflower
July flower
170
Doe wiſh it were within theire power
Do wish it were within their power
Do wish it were within their power
171
To Sleepe for ever in theire Caves
To sleep forever in their
Gloss Note
original, formative elements
cause
;
To sleep for ever in their
Textual Note
SGC: Caves
RSB: caves

The manuscript reads “caves,” but the letters “u” and “v” were interchangeable in the period, so I have read it as “caues” to rhyme with “laws” and modernized as “cause.” The image of flowers “sleeping in their causes”—returning to their first principles, or existing as latent potentiality—is a common one in Pulter’s work; see also Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 14, and The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge [Poem 39], l. 5.

cause
,
172
But ti’s denide by Natures Lawes.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
But ’tis denied by Nature’s laws.
173
Th’. Auricola that Cures the giddy braine
Critical Note
a flower, also called Bear’s-ear, named for the shape of its leaves. In his book, The Herbal, or General History of Plants, John Gerard observes that the roots have beneficial effects for those who hike in high mountains (1633, p. 787).
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
Gloss Note
a flower, also called Bear’s Ear, thought to cure dizziness at altitudes (AE p. 55, n. 63)
Th’auricula
that cures the giddy brain,
174
Dizie with griefe hangs downe her head againe
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
Dizzy with grief, hangs down her head again.
175
Then Shall not wee with griefe or’e flow
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
Then shall not we with grief o’erflow?
176
Shall Vegetables us out goe
Shall vegetables us outgo?
Critical Note
Pulter ends her catalogue of unhappy plants by suggesting that we (humans) should be ashamed to fall behind plants in pity. For this line to scan metrically, the word “vegetables” needs to be pronounced with four syllables.
Shall vegetables us outgo?
177
Thus neither Woods nor ffields nor Hills
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
Thus neither woods, nor fields, nor hills,
178
Inamel’d Vales nor Cristall rills
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
Enameled vales, nor crystal rills,
179
nor birds nor Trees nor flowers of Scent
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent:
Nor birds, nor trees, nor flowers of scent,
180
But doe this kingdomes loss reſent
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
But do this kingdom’s loss resent.
181
Then let us Still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
Then let us still lament and grieve
182
Till heaven in mercie doth Relieve
Till Heaven, in mercy, doth relieve.
Till heaven in mercy doth relieve.
183
Tis neither ſight nor odours ſent
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
’Tis neither sight nor
Critical Note
The MS reads “odours sent”; I have modernized as “odor’s scent” (no sights or smells can make me happy), but it could also be “odors sent,” with odors the direct object of sending, in which case these lines would say something like: no sights or odors sent to me could make me happy. In this case, she may be driving home to her daughters that they should not, e.g., send letters or flowers, but come themselves to the country.
odor’s scent
184
can my aflicted heart content
Can my afflicted heart content,
Can my afflicted heart content
185
Untill I ſee them both Reſtored
Until I see them both restored,
Critical Note
The “them” in question is almost certainly Chloris and Amintas, the queen and king of England. However, the return of the refrain at the end of the poem also introduces an ambiguity: perhaps she yearns not, or not only, for Chloris and Amintas, but also for the return of her two daughters, M. P. and P. P.
Until I see them both restored,
186
Whoſe abſence hath been ſoe deplored
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
187
Just Heaven heare our prayers and teares
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
188
And place them in theire Shineing
Physical Note
A long ligature between “e” and “r” replaces an erased letter.
Spheres
And place them in their
Gloss Note
the form of the heavens
shining spheres
.
And place them in their shining spheres.
189
Then come Sweete Daughters come away
Then come, sweet daughters, come away;
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
190
To comfort me make noe delaye.
To comfort me make no delay.
To comfort me make no delay.
curled line
X (Close panel) All Notes
Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

In the manuscript, this short title continues, specifying first that the invitation is to two of Pulter’s “dear daughters” who lived in the city of London: Margaret and Penelope (identified by their initials). The long title also notes that 1647 was “when his Sacred Majesty was at unhappy home,” probably a reference to Holdenby or Holmby (in Northamptonshire) where Charles I was held prisoner in 1647. Pulter was, during this time, in residence at her estate of Broadfield in Hertfordshire.
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

i.e., to my Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter and Penelope Pulter
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Textual note

(For more on these textual notes and for an explanation of abbreviations, please see the “Editorial Note.”)

AE: to My D.[ear] D.[aughters] M.[argaret] P.[ulter], P.[enelope] P.[ulter], 1647, when His Sacred Majesty Was at Unhappy [Holmby]

KW: 1647

RSB: to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour

The series of initials in the title stand for, most editors agree, “Dear Daughters Margaret Pulter [and] Penelope Pulter.” I have left the title abbreviated because the coyness of the initials prepares the reader for the poem to follow, which often refuses to directly name its subjects (e.g., Chloris and Amintas for the queen and king of England), and yet makes it easy for its readers to crack its “code.” See also the headnote to the poem for more on this coyness. The final word of the title is blotted in the manuscript, but is clearly “home,” which AE says may be “in reference to Holdenby or Holmby House in Northamptonshire where Charles was kept under house arrest from February 7 until June 4, 1647” (p. 48, n. 12).

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

“The Invitation into the Country” is a glossing editor’s dream: filled with proper nouns, political figures, and references to mythological figures, local sites, rivers, birds, and plants, the poem positively and repeatedly cries out to be glossed. An early reader of the manuscript—whose hand is different from either the scribe’s or the correcting hand (most likely Pulter’s)—heard and responded to the poem’s cries for glossing, adding some notes in the margins showing that they had understood the references within (particularly, references to local rivers). The poem is not just an invitation for her daughters, inviting them to come into the country; it also invites you, its reader, to get lost in its specificities, in its proper nouns and lists of rivers and types of nymphs. But what is the political efficacy of getting so lost in details?
As an editor, I attempted to respect this particularity of the poem—its desire for and invocation of glosses—and to provide information about the rivers, plants, and mythological figures Pulter names within. After all, a modern reader may not immediately know that a Napaea is a nymph of mountains, or that Grey’s Spring was a spring thought to have petrifying properties. On the other hand, the poem is curious in that its many specific references do not seem to enhance its overall argument: having more than that minimal information about a Napaea, or about Grey’s Spring, doesn’t significantly change or deepen your understanding of the lines that mention them: she hits on these specific references in passing, then moves on to other things. Providing more information on these proper nouns seems like a distraction, in a poem that is so much about the relationship between politics and forms of distraction (literary and otherwise). (For more on the politics of distraction, see the Headnote to this poem.)
I have therefore implemented a two-tiered system of glossing. First, for each of the poem’s many references to proper nouns, mythological figures, English plants, etc., I have provided a short reference, headed as a “GLOSS NOTE.” These references I have kept minimal and short—which is all the attention I think readers should give them, and all that I think understanding the poem requires. The changing density of boxes (which appear around a word or phrase to indicate a note) will also help readers see at a quick glance where the poem’s sometimes desperate or compulsive iteration of objects, rivers, etc. becomes most intense, and where it abates (for example, there is an explosion of references after the poem’s great break or volta at line 73). Most of these gloss notes are supplied from the OED; other sources are documented in critical notes. Second, longer critical notes and textual notes, each labelled accordingly, explain editorial choices, paraphrase difficult words and sentences, provide references to echoes in Pulter’s works, and call attention to interesting textual and interpretive ambiguities.
This poem had two kinds of intervention even in its life as a manuscript poem. As mentioned above, there are at least three contributors to this poem: the scribe who initially copied it; a correcting hand, probably Pulter’s; and a later marginal annotator who provided some initial glosses. My textual notes record interesting interventions in the early manuscript; in addition, where the early marginal annotator has provided a gloss, I provide their gloss, and label it with “ORIGINAL GLOSS NOTE”.
Finally, perhaps because of the complicated history of editorial intervention in the manuscript, the text of this poem is somewhat unstable: different editors have seen different things in the manuscript, and have made different (sometimes silent) emendations. I have therefore included with the poem a textual apparatus, including information about the decisions that different transcriptions and editions have made around certain textual cruxes in the poem. These textual notes appear among my other notes. I refer to the manuscript in notes as MS. Previous editions cited in textual and other notes are abbreviated as follows:
SGC: an old-spelling annotated dissertation edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter (1605?–1678): An Annotated Edition,” ed. Stefan Graham Christian (PhD diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012).
AE: a modernized and annotated edition of Pulter’s poems: Hester Pulter, Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, ed. Alice Eardley (Toronto: Iter, Inc. and the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies, 2014).
KW: a modernized and annotated “Elemental Edition”: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, 1647” ed. Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making.
RSB: a modernized and annotated edition of Poem 2 and a few others by Pulter: Hester Pulter, “The Invitation into the Country, to my Dear Daughters, M.P., P.P., 1647, when his Sacred Majesty was at Unhappy Hour,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 92–98.
With a few exceptions, I have modernized the text’s spelling and capitalization throughout to concur with the Oxford English Dictionary Online headwords; this includes both the poem and the marginal annotator. I have also modernized punctuation, and expanded poetic abbreviations where such expansions would not affect the meter for a modern reader. For example, I expanded “Dispis’d” into “Despised,” as a modern reader would naturally read that word with two syllables. In instances where a final “ed” in the manuscript seems to suggest an additional syllable, I have modernized as “èd” (for example, the manuscript’s “changed,” pronounced with two syllables for metrical purposes, became modernized as “changèd”).
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

In this poem, Pulter invites two of her London-based daughters, Margaret and Penelope, to leave the city and join her at Broadfield, her country estate. The poem first presents an elegiac and pastoral complaint about the social, sexual, and natural decline of the city due to the fact that King Charles has been removed from London and imprisoned in Holmby House by parliamentary forces. Using iambic tetrameter couplets, the poem champions the virtues of the countryside and rural life using conventional pastoral motifs, but then moves away from the typical comparison of court and city to concede that all areas have been corrupted by political unrest. Blending mythological and horticultural references with allusions to the topography of her estate and the region, the poem offers a political pastoral that ends with the hope of the restoration of the monarchy. Events discussed in the poem suggest that Pulter wrote this poem earlier than most in the Pulter’s collection.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

What is a political poem? There is no question that this poem is political insofar as it has political content: the title’s explicit date (in the midst of the English Civil War) and mention of the king at “Unhappy Home” clearly signals the political setting and occasion for the poem. However, the poem begins not as an address to the king, but as an address to her daughters. The title’s mysterious string of initials—D. D. M. P. P. P.—gives itself away, deciphers itself, from the very first line. “Dear daughters, come,” it says, addressing her D[ear] D[aughters] M[argaret] P[ulter and] P[enelope] P[ulter]; in the process, it shows the “mixture of revelation and concealment” common in Royalist writers,
Gloss Note
Lois Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist literature 1641–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 43.
1
using coded language not necessarily to hide a meaning, but to call attention to the thing being hidden. The contradictory impulses evident in the title—both boldly taking a political position (referring to the king as “his Sacred Majesty”) and using initials as an easily decoded encoding—also occur throughout the poem.
For example, it is difficult to say what genre this poem is. If the end of the title signals its desire to be a political poem, the start of the title, “An Invitation into the Country,” signals something very different. Students of Renaissance poetry may hear in the title an echo of Christopher Marlowe’s famous “Come live with me and be my love,” which invites a beloved into the country to enjoy simple, pastoral pleasures. Students of Pulter may hear in the poem itself echoes of her Emblem 20, This Poor Turtle Dove [Poem 85], which warns women about the evil temptations of London. Or readers may think of the seventeenth-century genre of the country house poem, which extols the virtues of country estates over crowded London streets. These poems of invitation and country-house poems themselves draw on the genre of the pastoral, which idealizes the country and the work of shepherds, and Pulter signals the pastoral nature of the poem not only by setting it in the countryside, but also by giving the King and Queen pastoral code names (Amintas and Chloris, respectively).
However, even as the beginning of the poem signals its generic affiliations, it also breaks them. “Invitation into the Country” begins, as promised, as a song of invitation, including a repeated refrain (with variations): “Then come, sweet virgins, come away; / What is it that invites your stay?” The song of invitation progresses logically: first she details the unhappinesses of city life, and then the virtues of country life. While the city has “shepherds that no flocks do keep” (l. 19), the country has “careful shepherds” whose gentle guidance protects their flocks (l. 49ff). Then things take a turn. Pulter’s poem is approximately 190 lines long, with the first 72 lines falling into discrete stanzas ending in the refrain; between lines 72 and 73, the poem suddenly swerves into pastoral elegy, listing rivers, birds, flowers, plants, and mythological creatures all mourning the loss (but not death) of the king. In this revised pastoral elegiac landscape, “since Amintas [King Charles] went away, / Shepherds and sheep go all astray” (ll. 75–76; emphasis added), and the lines right after the turn specifically catalogue the destruction of typical pastoral pleasures like maypoles and “lively lasses dancing round” (l. 86). Suddenly the poem is not a poem of invitation extolling country virtues, but is closer to John Milton’s pastoral elegy “Lycidas,” or closer still to Lucy Hutchinson’s political pastoral elegy “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” where trees and flowers “languish,” “drooping,” and “murmuring springs rise and complain / Then shrink into the earth again” (ll. 14, 13, 17–18).
Gloss Note
Lucy Hutchinson, “Musings in my Evening Walks at Owthorpe,” in Women Poets of the English Civil War, ed. Sarah C.E. Ross and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), pp. 290–92.
2
This swerve also changes the poem formally: after line 72 there are no more stanza breaks, and the song’s refrain disappears until the very last lines, where it returns to end the poem:
’Tis neither sight nor odor’s scent
Can my afflicted heart content
Until I see them both restored,
Whose absence hath been so deplored.
Just Heaven, hear our prayers and tears,
And place them in their shining spheres.
Then come, sweet daughters, come away:
To comfort me make no delay.
The radical turn in the middle of the poem raises many questions. Generically and formally the poem is fascinating, establishing a clear pattern only to egregiously, flauntingly break it. The sudden turn at line 73 almost seems like the beginning of a new poem, and a new genre, though the repetition of the refrain at the end insists on the unity of the two disparate halves. How are we to interpret the sudden swerve from a song of invitation into pastoral elegy, an instance of the pathetic fallacy run deliberately (and politically) wild? How do the two parts fit together, and why has Pulter combined two different genres in such a way as to let the seams so obviously show? And what are the politics of this formal and poetic disjunction?
The final lines of the poem, quoted above, highlight the broader problem of this poem’s strange relationship to politics. It is not clear, in these lines, whose return it is that she desires: does the “them both” of line 185 refer to the king and queen of England (as most editors have assumed), or is she merely asking for her two daughters to return to her country estate at Broadfield to comfort her? The causal “then” of the refrain perhaps suggests the latter: “I will not be able to feel any comfort until I see them restored—so come, daughters, and comfort me.” If the “them both” is in fact King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria then these final lines are even more bizarre: “Nothing will comfort me until the king and queen are restored—so, come, daughters, and comfort me, though I have literally just said that no comfort but the restoration of the monarchy will be comforting.” What is the poem asking for? What does it want? What comfort does it imagine?
The final lines, then, seem to worry at the larger political and poetical problem of the relationship between agency and despair. Is this a private poem of a mother missing her daughters, hoping they can cure her (and the countryside’s) despair? Or is it, even obliquely, requesting political, public solutions for her private despair? “Nothing can comfort me,” the end may be saying, “except the restoration of the monarchy. With that in mind: I am asking you to comfort me.” Does the request for emotional comfort cancel the implicit request for political action, or prompt it?
This problem, of whether emotion is an invocation of political agency or an invitation to political retreat, runs through the poem as a whole. Consider, for example, the image of the “weeping” fanes or temples with which the poem begins; seeing moisture dripping down walls is both a projection of her own sadness onto damp marble, but also an exhortation to feeling in others: “Hard hearts, insensible of woe, / Whom marble walls in grief outgo!” (ll. 7–8). Even marble walls, she tells her readers, are showing their grief; how much harder is the matter of your heart, to not do the same? This same problem is a preoccupation of much Royalist poetry, which responded to defeats with images of closed circles: Richard Lovelace’s snail “within [its] own self curled,” Alexander Brome’s circle of imprisoned carousers, Andrew Marvell’s desire to retreat into “The Garden” and “transcend” worldly troubles, converting potentially political impulses instead to “a green thought in a green shade.” The second part of Pulter’s poem, especially, responds to this strand of Royalist writing, and this poem’s curation How to Do Things with Political Poetry provides examples both of some (beautiful) examples of Royalist poetic escapism, as well as examples of radical poems that mock the Royalists for retreating into verse, and are modelled instead on chants and calls to action.
Pulter’s “Invitation into the Country” situates itself among these political questions of pastoral poetry and agency, but it is striking that unlike some of her more explicitly topical political poems this poem offers not only commentary on a specific historical moment, but also a meta-reflection on the relationship between poetry and political agency; its formal problems—the questions of poetic form and genre—also become political problems.
(For more information on how these political questions inform the editorial practice for this amplified edition, see the Editorial Note.)
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

London
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

London
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

King Charles is gone
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

King Charles
Transcription
Line number 4

 Physical note

Apparently this word was first written as “ffor.” The first “e” was inserted later, the “o” overwritten as “i,” and “ce” crowded before “Hydras.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was eventually defeated by Hercules. Here Pulter identifies parliamentarians and Cromwell as heads of state proliferating monstrously after Charles’s imprisonment. See Pulter’s reference to tyrannical power as a “hydra” in Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 71.
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

the Hydra was the many-headed snake of Lerna, whose heads regenerated; in classical mythology, killed by Hercules
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Textual note

SGC: Since Hydras now usurps
KW: Fierce Hydras now usurp
RSB: Five hydras now usurp

The MS has “Hydras,” which is either an alternate spelling of the name of the monster “Hydra,” or is a statement that London is filled with multiple hydras. I assumed it is an alternate spelling because of the singular verb “usurps,” though other editors read “hydras” as plural and emend the verb to “usurp.”

Transcription
Line number 5

 Physical note

The “h” appears written over an earlier “l.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

temples, shrines, or religious structures. The manuscript shows that the word was originally written as “planes,” which was then corrected to “phanes.” The original word is also viable since it refers to species of trees or natural landscapes.
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

temples
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Textual note

SGC: Planes
RSB: planes

In the MS, the letter after the “P” is either an “l” or an “h”; one was written over the other, though it is difficult to discern which came first and which is the correction. While it is not impossible that plains (or plane trees) would be overgrown with moss, I chose “Phanes” or fanes, temples, because in line eight she suggests that even marble walls are weeping more than are (human) English subjects.

Transcription
Line number 6

 Physical note

The “g” corrects an earlier “d” by the addition of a descender.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

in the English people
Transcription
Line number 8

 Physical note

“ief” appears written over “eaſ.”
Transcription
Line number 15

 Physical note

The “i” (except the dot) is blotted.
Transcription
Line number 16

 Physical note

This word is cancelled with scribbles; some letters are visible, including an initial “d,” possiblly an “ſ” in the third position, and possibly a concluding “ceive.”
Transcription
Line number 17

 Physical note

This word is cancelled with multiple strike-throughs.
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

Four London Inns of Court—Gray’s Inn, Lincoln’s Inn, Middle Temple, and Inner Temple—served as law schools, where young men lived, were educated, and sought entertainment.
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

buildings in London housing legal societies
Transcription
Line number 19

 Physical note

The “i” is erased and written over.
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

A “butcher’s mastiff” was a breed of dog, associated with those kept by butchers to use in fighting and slaughtering animals. Here the analogy begun in the line before is to the pastoral overseers (clergymen) who threaten rather than protect their dependents.
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

large, powerful dogs
Transcription
Line number 22

 Physical note

The top of the question mark is reversed and short; a mark, possibly a colon, resembles some other question marks in manuscript.
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

A private, royal deer park in London before Charles I opened it to the public; it became a popular gathering place, and was a site for fortifications during the civil war.
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

a park in central London; as the rest of the line indicates, a place of chief delight
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Critical note

In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206). It was more common to attribute white mourning clothes to various Asian cultures. See Pulter’s Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10], which mentions “Jews or Chinesses” mourning in clothes of “snowy white” (l. 10).
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Critical note

AE and KW note that this may be a confused reference to “Yom Kippur, the Jewish festival of atonement and repentance, during which it is traditional to wear white” (AE p. 49, n. 19; see also KW n. 7). SCG notes that the bushes dressed in white may also be a reference to the fact that after 1643, “Hyde Park was the scene of military encampment, its trees obscured by draped canvas” (p. 97, n. 56).
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Critical note

A London public resort, associated with entertainment, dining, drinking, and bowling; it was ordered closed in 1635. Although there is a decorative capital “S” in “Spring Garden” and a word rhyming with “stay” in the previous line, we have not interpreted this line as beginning a new stanza because it would create an unusual four-line stanza above.
Amplified Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

a public pleasure garden
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

goddess of the spring, and a common name for Charles I’s wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.
Amplified Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Elemental Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

river in England
Elemental Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

laments
Amplified Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

the major river running through London
Elemental Edition
Line number 30

 Gloss note

The primary sense is “roars out,” but it carries a secondary sense of the river’s noise drowning out that of the sea.
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

an exclamation of sorrow
Elemental Edition
Line number 34

 Gloss note

Swans were reputed to sing before dying.
Amplified Edition
Line number 34

 Gloss note

a reference to the “swan song” supposedly sung by swans before death
Transcription
Line number 37

 Physical note

The “re” and apostrophe appear to be added later in thicker ink.
Transcription
Line number 37

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased; the apostrophe appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Elemental Edition
Line number 37

 Gloss note

valleys
Amplified Edition
Line number 37

 Textual note

SGC: Flowery
RSB: flowery

The MS originally read “Flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

Transcription
Line number 38

 Physical note

The “re” appears to have been added later in thicker ink.
Elemental Edition
Line number 39

 Gloss note

both songbirds
Amplified Edition
Line number 39

 Gloss note

both birds known particularly as songbirds
Elemental Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

before
Amplified Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

a songbird known for singing early in the day
Transcription
Line number 42

 Physical note

There is a circle (possibly part of a letter) to the right, and several smeared “M”s.
Elemental Edition
Line number 43

 Gloss note

short simple song
Amplified Edition
Line number 43

 Gloss note

a bird’s song; a simple song with a refrain
Amplified Edition
Line number 45

 Gloss note

robins
Elemental Edition
Line number 50

 Critical note

In this extended conceit, which encompasses the previous line as well, the speaker suggests that the literal shepherds figure the pastoral care of clergymen and of God; her switch from plural shepherds to the singular relationship of God to his people creates a tension in the analogy. “They,” the sheep or church members, trust their being to “him” (the shepherd or clergyman) who “keeps,” or safeguards, the flocks. See Psalms 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 50

 Critical note

Other editors have noted the contrast between the gentle country shepherd described here and the vicious city shepherd of lines 19–20; see also lines 75–76.
Transcription
Line number 54

 Physical note

These words appear on a slight ascension from the rest of the line, possibly in a different hand, or added later.
Elemental Edition
Line number 54

 Gloss note

pregnant sheep
Amplified Edition
Line number 54

 Textual note

The MS spells this word “Gentlely”; by modernizing I have removed a syllable and potentially altered the meter.
Amplified Edition
Line number 54

 Gloss note

pregnant mothers
Amplified Edition
Line number 56

 Textual note

Between lines 56 and 57 is a page break in the manuscript; KW include a stanza break here (AE and RSB do not). I have not added a stanza break as other breaks occur only after refrains.
Elemental Edition
Line number 57

 Critical note

This line begins after a page break in the manuscript so it it hard to determine whether it begins a new stanza or not. We have interpreted a stanza break here based on the repetition of the opening word “Here” (which begins the stanzas above and below), the fact that the scribe often uses more decorative capitals at the beginning of stanzas, and new stanzas begin after the refrain marked by rhyming words “stay” or “delay.”
Transcription
Line number 59

 Physical note

It appears that the word in question was first written as “both”; then the first letter was corrected, to read “doth”; then the whole word was struck-through twice, with “both” inserted above.
Amplified Edition
Line number 59

 Textual note

SGC: doth
AE: [doth]

The MS originally read “both”; this was replaced with “doth,” and then changed back, finally, to “both.”

Transcription
Line number 62

 Physical note

A final letter, possibly an “s,” is imperfectly erased and/or blotted.
Amplified Edition
Line number 62

 Textual note

The MS originally read “That’s,” which would have made line 62 its own independent clause: It is no true love that could ever hate.
Transcription
Line number 65

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased.
Amplified Edition
Line number 65

 Textual note

SGC: flow’ery
KW: flowery

The MS originally read “flowery,” and then the “e” was struck out and an apostrophe was inserted after the “w.” I interpreted these corrections as an attempt to remove a syllable, which would make this line’s meter more regular, and modernized accordingly.

Transcription
Line number 66

 Physical note

The second “o” is imperfectly erased.
Elemental Edition
Line number 66

 Gloss note

Latin name for the west wind, which was associated with springtime (also known as Zephyrus)
Elemental Edition
Line number 66

 Gloss note

strong winds
Amplified Edition
Line number 66

 Gloss note

the west wind
Amplified Edition
Line number 66

 Textual note

AE: favorious
RSB: favorious
Elemental Edition
Line number 67

 Gloss note

themselves
Elemental Edition
Line number 67

 Gloss note

“Anadems” were wreaths of flowers for the head; “poses” refers to posies, which were bunches of flowers as well as collections of short poems, devices or emblems
Amplified Edition
Line number 67

 Gloss note

Anadems are floral wreaths or crowns; poses are small bunches of flowers.
Amplified Edition
Line number 67

 Textual note

SGC: Diadems and poses
RSB: anadems and posies
Elemental Edition
Line number 68

 Gloss note

blossoming
Amplified Edition
Line number 68

 Gloss note

newly bloomed or opened roses
Elemental Edition
Line number 69

 Gloss note

valleys
Elemental Edition
Line number 70

 Gloss note

Hawthorn blossom; the ritual of gathering may was often done on May Day, as the stanza later suggests.
Amplified Edition
Line number 70

 Gloss note

hawthorn blossoms
Elemental Edition
Line number 72

 Critical note

This and the prior line are inserted in the margin, probably in Pulter’s hand. We have inserted a stanza break after them, on the model of earlier stanzas which end after similar refrains.
Amplified Edition
Line number 72

 Textual note


Lines 71–72 were inserted in the margin after the fact; I have embedded them in the poem as they offer the last refrain before the poem shifts into another mode (the refrain will occur again only at the very end). I have also inserted a stanza break after these lines, to match the stanza breaks that occur after other instances of the refrain in the poem. However, without these lines and without the stanza break, the shift is much more subtle, as the poem originally transitioned from song of invitation to dark lament on the state of the world with no formal or visual cues.

Every other editor inserts these lines, with the following changes: SGC puts the inserted lines in brackets and adds a stanza break afterwards; AE does not add a stanza break, and emphasizes their continuity with what follows by adding a comma at the end of line 72; KW and RSB add a stanza break after.

Transcription
Line number 73

 Physical note

To the left, two poetic lines are inserted in H2, broken into four lines: “xThen lovely laſſes / com awaye / To cheere my heart / make noe delaye.” Slashes show line breaks in the manuscript.
Transcription
Line number 73

 Physical note

The superscript “x” is in H2.
Elemental Edition
Line number 73

 Gloss note

The poem shifts at this point from comparing the city to the country, to showing the devastation that infiltrates even the pastoral landscape.
Elemental Edition
Line number 75

 Gloss note

pastoral name for Charles I
Amplified Edition
Line number 75

 Gloss note

King Charles I
Elemental Edition
Line number 77

 Gloss note

Writers who deserved the sign of poetic achievement, the wearing of the wreath made of laurel or bay leaves (as in poet laureate).
Amplified Edition
Line number 77

 Gloss note

wreaths of bay or laurel branches were used to reward poetic or martial achievements
Elemental Edition
Line number 78

 Gloss note

laments, but especially those in the form of poems, since it refers back to the title of the collection, Sighs Breathed Forth by the Noble Haddassas
Transcription
Line number 79

 Physical note

The “y” in “fleecy” is written in thicker inkover a previous letter, possibly “e”; the “o” in “flocks” is written over an earlier letter.
Elemental Edition
Line number 79

 Gloss note

those that
Transcription
Line number 80

 Physical note

The “e” is imperfectly erased, replaced with an apostrophe.
Amplified Edition
Line number 81

 Gloss note

Greek goddess of flowers; Queen Henrietta Maria
Elemental Edition
Line number 83

 Gloss note

tall poles, decorated with paint, flowers and greenery, which served as the centerpiece for May Day dances and celebrations; this ritual was opposed by some factions who were also hostile to Charles I.
Amplified Edition
Line number 83

 Gloss note

poles decorated with flowers, to celebrate May Day
Elemental Edition
Line number 84

 Gloss note

military banners
Amplified Edition
Line number 84

 Textual note

Though I have modernized this word as “There,” if we are meant to imagine the maypoles being repurposed as flagpoles it could instead have been modernized as “Their.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 84

 Gloss note

military banners or flags
Elemental Edition
Line number 87

 Gloss note

military instruments
Amplified Edition
Line number 89

 Gloss note

semi-divine spirits inhabiting natural objects
Elemental Edition
Line number 90

 Gloss note

god of war
Amplified Edition
Line number 90

 Gloss note

Mars is the god of war; the sons of Mars are soldiers.
Transcription
Line number 91

 Physical note

Beneath the apostrophe is an illegible erased letter.
Amplified Edition
Line number 91

 Critical note

In these next few lines, the rivers of England mourn the loss of the king and queen. Lines 94–95 say, roughly, that the rivers Mimram and Stort wear “mourning weeds,” which usually means dark clothes of mourning, but in this case may literally mean they “wear” vegetal weeds in their waters or on their banks.
Elemental Edition
Line number 92

 Gloss note

turn out to be
Elemental Edition
Line number 92

 Gloss note

Pulter’s estate
Amplified Edition
Line number 92

 Gloss note

Pulter’s estate in Hertfordshire (AE, p. 52, n. 38)
Elemental Edition
Line number 93

 Gloss note

As an eighteenth-century reader notes in the margin, Lea, Beane, Mimram and Stort (all mentioned in this and the next lines) are all local rivers in Hertfordshire. The imagery suggests that the natural flow and crossing of the rivers register their attempt to express sorrow and find sympathy in shared tears.
Amplified Edition
Line number 93

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 93

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Amplified Edition
Line number 94

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 94

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Elemental Edition
Line number 95

 Gloss note

clothes or plants
Amplified Edition
Line number 95

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 95

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Amplified Edition
Line number 95

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 95

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Transcription
Line number 96

 Physical note

In the right margin, by a vertical line, appears this note in a third hand: “Been, Colne Lea, Mimmer, Stort, Ver, names of Rivers in Hartfordshire”
Amplified Edition
Line number 96

 Textual note

The word “bleeds” should, grammatically, be “bleed” (to agree with the plural subject “hearts”), but I have preserved “bleeds” to preserve the rhyme.
Amplified Edition
Line number 97

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 97

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Transcription
Line number 98

 Physical note

The insertion is in H2; “bear” is twice struck-through (except the final “e”).
Amplified Edition
Line number 98

 Gloss note

All the rivers mentioned in these lines empty into the Lea.
Amplified Edition
Line number 98

 Textual note

The MS originally had “bear,” which was replaced with “pour.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 100

 Gloss note

The river Lea empties, eventually, into the Thames.
Elemental Edition
Line number 101

 Gloss note

local river
Elemental Edition
Line number 101

 Gloss note

Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 101

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 101

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Elemental Edition
Line number 102

 Gloss note

as if
Elemental Edition
Line number 103

 Gloss note

Veralum’s; Veralum was the abbreviated name for the ancient Roman town of Verulamium in Hertfordshire, the ruins of which were visible.
Amplified Edition
Line number 103

 Gloss note

Verulamium, a Roman British town, in ruins
Amplified Edition
Line number 103

 Textual note

SGC: Verulamium
Elemental Edition
Line number 104

 Gloss note

larger river, tributary of the Thames
Amplified Edition
Line number 104

 Original gloss note

Beane, Colne, Lea, Mimram, Stort, Ver: names of Rivers in Hertfordshire
Amplified Edition
Line number 104

 Textual note

This original marginal note runs alongside lines 93–97.
Elemental Edition
Line number 105

 Gloss note

St. Alban, a resident of Verulamium, was the first British Christian martyr; he was converted by a fugitive priest whom he sheltered, and condemned to death by the pagan Emperor. The town was named St. Albans in his honor. Pulter alludes to the specifics of his martyrdom in The Complaint of Thames, 1647 [Poem 4].
Amplified Edition
Line number 105

 Gloss note

St. Alban, British martyr associated with the nearby town St. Albans
Transcription
Line number 106

 Physical note

The “i” appears written over an earlier letter, possibly “e.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 108

 Gloss note

main river in south England
Transcription
Line number 109

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “the river Pyr near Hitchin.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 109

 Gloss note

a nearby river; the eighteenth-century annotator of the manuscript defined Purwell as “the river Pyr near Hitchin”
Amplified Edition
Line number 109

 Original gloss note

the river Pyr, near Hitchin
Amplified Edition
Line number 109

 Critical note

“Purwell” has perhaps changed names multiple times; the MS reads “Purvall,” and the marginal annotation reads “Pyr.” This line begins a long, winding sentence that runs from lines 109–122—perhaps mirroring the winding of the river Pyr?
Elemental Edition
Line number 111

 Gloss note

peaceful, calm
Amplified Edition
Line number 111

 Gloss note

peaceful or calm days
Amplified Edition
Line number 116

 Gloss note

the county northeast of Hertfordshire
Transcription
Line number 117

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “The river, Ouſe.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 117

 Critical note

The Purwell river follows this route, flowing toward Bedfordshire and into one of the longest British rivers, the Ouse. Pulter offers an origin myth in which the Purwell bends its natural course to the west, because her eastward view of the sun offended her grief.
Amplified Edition
Line number 117

 Original gloss note

the river Ouse
Transcription
Line number 119

 Physical note

Although the manuscript seems to read “rereive,” the scribe uses a secretary form of “c” (unusual for this hand) that looks like a modern “r.” Thanks to Liza Blake for calling this to our attention.
Elemental Edition
Line number 121

 Gloss note

In the English medieval War of the Roses, the Duke of Buckingham led a rebellion against Richard III, but was defeated, in part, due to the flooding of the Severn River.
Amplified Edition
Line number 121

 Gloss note

The Ouse river flooded during Richard III’s reign (AE p. 53, n. 49).
Amplified Edition
Line number 121

 Critical note

Eardley also notes that the flood famously stopped an invasion against the king; the image that this reference conjures, of a river coming to the assistance of the monarchy, may be deliberate here—though it is immediately undercut by the assertion that Ouse cannot perform such actions now.
Transcription
Line number 123

 Physical note

In the right margin, in third hand: “a petrifying Spring at Bradfeld.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 123

 Gloss note

As the next line indicates, an eighteenth-century annotator identifies Gray’s Spring as a “petrifying spring” on Pulter’s estate of Broadfield. These springs slowly coat anything in them with minerals that harden and encrust them, thus seeming to petrify.
Amplified Edition
Line number 123

 Original gloss note

a petrifying spring at Bradfeld
Amplified Edition
Line number 123

 Textual note

Though I have taken “too” to mean “also,” it may also modify sadly as an intensifier, in which case there should be a comma after “sadly,” not “too” (or no comma at all).
Amplified Edition
Line number 127

 Textual note

SGC: breath
AE: breath
KW: breath

Though the MS reads “breath,” I have followed RSB and emended to “birth” to rhyme with “earth.”

Elemental Edition
Line number 129

 Gloss note

In classical mythology, these were nymphs inhabiting rivers and lakes, or female personifications of bodies of water.
Elemental Edition
Line number 129

 Gloss note

rows
Amplified Edition
Line number 129

 Gloss note

river nymphs
Amplified Edition
Line number 129

 Textual note

In the MS, “naiads” is spelled “Nayedes”; I have spelled it “naïads” in an attempt to both modernize and restore the third syllable removed in modernization. It should be pronounced Ni-ee-adds.
Amplified Edition
Line number 129

 Gloss note

sit in rows
Elemental Edition
Line number 131

 Gloss note

trees associated with mourning
Amplified Edition
Line number 131

 Gloss note

a tree associated with grief and loss of a mate
Elemental Edition
Line number 135

 Gloss note

In mythology, Tereus rapes Philomela and cuts out her tongue; after she takes revenge, she is turned into a nightingale, known for her sorrowful song.
Amplified Edition
Line number 135

 Gloss note

the nightingale, once a woman raped and mutilated
Elemental Edition
Line number 137

 Gloss note

singing birds
Transcription
Line number 138

 Physical note

This word is possibly corrected from “Weeſle.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 138

 Gloss note

Eardley interprets “woozle” as an “ouzel” or blackbird.
Amplified Edition
Line number 138

 Gloss note

blackbirds
Elemental Edition
Line number 139

 Gloss note

a bird known for its affection for its mate
Amplified Edition
Line number 139

 Gloss note

a bird known for its affection for its mate
Elemental Edition
Line number 141

 Gloss note

In classical mythology, these were the nymphs of trees, whose lives were coterminous with their trees.
Amplified Edition
Line number 141

 Gloss note

wood nymphs that lived and died with the trees they inhabited
Amplified Edition
Line number 141

 Textual note

Properly modernized, this would be spelled “hamadryads”; I have retained the Latin form to maintain the original’s meter.
Transcription
Line number 144

 Physical note

The “d” is possibly written over another letter; in the space after “And” an imperfectly erased “n” is visible; the “we” of “weepe” appears written over other letters.
Elemental Edition
Line number 145

 Gloss note

Various species of trees oozed a gum with medicinal benefits (which could “give relief,” as the next line suggests), gums that were, in poetic tradition, often construed as tears; some petrified as amber and could preserve flies.
Amplified Edition
Line number 145

 Gloss note

amber
Transcription
Line number 146

 Physical note

In the left margin, in third hand: “T’immortaliſe”; in the main text, “\Im\” is inserted in H2.
Elemental Edition
Line number 147

 Gloss note

the trees
Amplified Edition
Line number 148

 Critical note

This couplet nicely captures the central problem of the poem: what kind of “relief” is sympathy?
Elemental Edition
Line number 149

 Gloss note

mountain nymphs, in classical mythology
Amplified Edition
Line number 149

 Gloss note

mountain nymphs
Elemental Edition
Line number 150

 Gloss note

lament
Transcription
Line number 151

 Physical note

The “u” in Cyprus is written over another letter, possibly an “e.”
Transcription
Line number 151

 Physical note

The letters “ugh” are written over other illegible letters.
Elemental Edition
Line number 151

 Gloss note

tree associated with mourning
Amplified Edition
Line number 151

 Gloss note

a tree associated with mourning
Amplified Edition
Line number 152

 Textual note

MS had “ov’er”; I take this to mean she wished to drop a syllable from the word to make the line more regular, and so have modernized as “o’er.”
Transcription
Line number 155

 Physical note

In the left margin, in third hand: “Nay”; the start of the struck-through word is “Na”; the remainder, scribbled out, is possibly “igh.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 155

 Critical note

mythological nymphs of woods, mountains, and rivers; Thomas Elyot defined them as “Goddesses of floures and woodes or rather elfes, hauntynge woodes” (Bibliotheca Eliotae, 1542, sig. Y4v). Many contemporary writers identified them as nymphs whose domain was specifically the moisture of flowers (See, for instance, Vives’s commentary on St. Augustine, Of the City of God [1610], p. 182).
Amplified Edition
Line number 155

 Gloss note

nymphs of the woods, mountains, or rivers
Amplified Edition
Line number 155

 Textual note

SGC: Napeas
AE: Napaeae
KW: Napeae
RSB: Napaeae
Elemental Edition
Line number 156

 Gloss note

small streams
Amplified Edition
Line number 156

 Gloss note

streams
Elemental Edition
Line number 160

 Critical note

a flower; early modern books on plants described its different blooms or bells as each containing six droplets of water which mysteriously reappeared if removed (see John Gerard, Herbal, 1633, p. 202). Pulter refers to this legendary account in Upon the Crown Imperial [Poem 53].
Amplified Edition
Line number 160

 Gloss note

a flower associated with royalty
Transcription
Line number 163

 Physical note

this word could be “louely” or “lonely”; the third letter is obstructed by the “g” above and is ambiguous
Amplified Edition
Line number 163

 Textual note

SGC: lovely
AE: lovely
KW: lovely
RSB: lovely

In early modern handwriting, “u” and “n” are written identically, so for the word I have given as “lonely” the MS could read either “lonely” or “louely” (lovely). I have interpreted the third graph (or letter) as an “n” as it makes more sense to me, in this dismal landscape, that the violet should creep into a lonely shade for its weeping. Further, that the violet is unpitied (l. 164) is perhaps because, in the lonely shade, there is no one else around to pity it. The MS’s ambiguity, however, is an interesting one, especially given that there is an identically written word (lonely / louely) only four lines earlier that almost certainly means “lovely.”

Amplified Edition
Line number 164

 Textual note

SGC: that
Amplified Edition
Line number 165

 Gloss note

the Tudor rose; also playing on love poetry’s convention of blushes as “roses” in cheeks
Elemental Edition
Line number 166

 Gloss note

battlefield; the fifteenth-century English civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster were represented by white and red roses respectively.
Elemental Edition
Line number 169

 Gloss note

carnation
Amplified Edition
Line number 169

 Gloss note

gillyflower or carnation
Amplified Edition
Line number 169

 Textual note

KW: gillyflower
Elemental Edition
Line number 171

 Gloss note

original, formative elements
Amplified Edition
Line number 171

 Textual note

SGC: Caves
RSB: caves

The manuscript reads “caves,” but the letters “u” and “v” were interchangeable in the period, so I have read it as “caues” to rhyme with “laws” and modernized as “cause.” The image of flowers “sleeping in their causes”—returning to their first principles, or existing as latent potentiality—is a common one in Pulter’s work; see also Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], l. 14, and The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge [Poem 39], l. 5.

Elemental Edition
Line number 173

 Critical note

a flower, also called Bear’s-ear, named for the shape of its leaves. In his book, The Herbal, or General History of Plants, John Gerard observes that the roots have beneficial effects for those who hike in high mountains (1633, p. 787).
Amplified Edition
Line number 173

 Gloss note

a flower, also called Bear’s Ear, thought to cure dizziness at altitudes (AE p. 55, n. 63)
Amplified Edition
Line number 176

 Critical note

Pulter ends her catalogue of unhappy plants by suggesting that we (humans) should be ashamed to fall behind plants in pity. For this line to scan metrically, the word “vegetables” needs to be pronounced with four syllables.
Amplified Edition
Line number 183

 Critical note

The MS reads “odours sent”; I have modernized as “odor’s scent” (no sights or smells can make me happy), but it could also be “odors sent,” with odors the direct object of sending, in which case these lines would say something like: no sights or odors sent to me could make me happy. In this case, she may be driving home to her daughters that they should not, e.g., send letters or flowers, but come themselves to the country.
Amplified Edition
Line number 185

 Critical note

The “them” in question is almost certainly Chloris and Amintas, the queen and king of England. However, the return of the refrain at the end of the poem also introduces an ambiguity: perhaps she yearns not, or not only, for Chloris and Amintas, but also for the return of her two daughters, M. P. and P. P.
Transcription
Line number 188

 Physical note

A long ligature between “e” and “r” replaces an erased letter.
Elemental Edition
Line number 188

 Gloss note

the form of the heavens
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