The Welcome [2]

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The Welcome [2]

Poem #33

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 Andrea Crow.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

 Editorial note

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

 Physical note

“lt” appears written over earlier letters, possibly “th”
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 Welcome [2]
The Welcome [2]
Critical Note
The poem’s title invokes the popular early modern genre of hospitality poetry, such as the country house poem or the invitation poem. As is often the case in Pulter’s poetry, she plays with this genre by substituting a reflection on her isolation in place of the community typically at the center of these poems. On Pulter’s engagement with the pose of isolation popular in Royalist poetry during the Interregnum, as well as the political networks in which her position as the lady of a country estate likely would have involved her, see Karen Britland, “Conspiring with ‘friends’: Hester Pulter’s Poetry and the Stanley Family at Cumberlow Green,” The Review of English Studies 609, no. 292 (November 2018): 832-54.
The Welcome [2]
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
My editions aim to make Pulter’s poetry accessible in two ways. First, I facilitate basic legibility through modernizing spelling and punctuation according to standard American usage and through glossing unfamiliar words, points of intertexuality, and relevant historical contexts. Second, I want to help readers perceive Pulter’s nuanced approach to form and image, both within individual poems and in the extended patterns and ideas that take shape over the course of the manuscript. With this in mind, I have incorporated interpretive readings of the poems into my notes to provide insight into how Pulter’s poetics work and to spur readers to participate in the value-adding work of bringing Pulter’s writing the attentive level of interpretation it deserves.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Death is hailed as an old friend in this, the second of two poems so named. Both warmly address this usually-feared figure in casual diction which suggests the speaker’s utter comfort with her own mortality. An easy, homey analogy of dying with going to bed, however, soon collides with the more complex cosmology that is typical of much of Pulter’s verse. The result lets the speaker’s sense of humor (which depicts her posthumously taking a nap in oblivion) join with a serious vision of a more lasting, longed-for transformation of her being.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
The apparent simplicity of the short couplets and images of childhood that make up this brief poem are in tension with a persistent metrical irregularity that suggests resistant discomfort underlying the speaker’s overt claims to view death as a welcome, temporary rest.
Critical Note
On Pulter desiring death, see Frances E. Dolan, Desiring Death (Curation for The Desire [Poem 18]) and More Ruminations on Death and Resurrection (Curation for To Aurora [3] [Poem 34]), Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Dear Death (Curation for The Hope [Poem 65]), and Helen Smith, The Good Death (Curation for Made When I Was Sick, 1647 [Poem 31]) in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).
1
Pulter’s rhyme scheme and inventive use of rhetorical devices realizes in poetic form how death can at once be a definitive end (echoed in her consistently endstopped couplets) and a transformation that brings something new into being out of earlier material (echoed in the inventive forms of repetition in her use of homoioteleuton [the repetition of word endings] and antanaclasis [repeating a word but changing its meaning]). Like the earlier poem, The Welcome [1] [Poem 19], the poem approaches Pulter’s constant theme of her impending mortality from the persona of a hospitable hostess, a role not unlike that which Pulter would have played in her estate at Broadfield. The mood of this poem shifts rapidly in a short space, from domestic scenes of going to bed, to elemental dissolution in the alchemical urn, and finally to the apocalypse.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Death come and welcome, thour’t my Ancient friend,
Death, come, and welcome; thou art my ancient friend;
Critical Note
The spondee (a metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables) that opens this poem is one of a handful of pointed metrical irregularities in what is otherwise fairly regular iambic pentameter. In this case, Pulter’s spondee both sonically underscores the somberness of her invocation of death, and amplifies the surprising shift in the remainder of the line from a funereal mood to one of sociability and hospitality.
Death, come
,
Critical Note
Pulter’s use here of homoioteleuton (i.e. the repetition of word endings) is the first of a number of rhetorical devices she deploys in this poem that play with forms of repetition. See also the notes on the end rhymes in lines 5-6 and 7-8. Taken together, these devices perform a transformation of the words of the poem that is analogous to death as envisioned by Pulter: not as a rupture but as a remaking of one’s substance into a new form.
and welcome
; thou art my ancient friend,
2
Of all my Suffrings, thou
Physical Note
“lt” appears written over earlier letters, possibly “th”
wilt
make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an
Critical Note
Each of the five couplets that make up this poem are endstopped, a formal device that mimics the tension Pulter explores between the power of death to, on the one hand, “make an end” in the dissolution of the body into “dust” and “first principles,” and, on the other hand, the continuation of the soul’s story after death, in the “everlasting Story” in which the soul participates in the afterlife.
end
.
3
Young Children crie, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
4
To goe to Bed I know it is my Rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
5
Therefore as cheerfully Il’e lay mee Down
Therefore as cheerfully I’ll lay me down
Critical Note
The two dactyls (a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) that begin this line connote a tension working against the easy acceptance of death the speaker articulates. At the same time, the irregular meter here may convey the singsong “cheerful” tone the line describes. These two implications together suggest that this attempt to evoke cheer in the face of death is uncomfortable and artificial.
Therefore as cheerfully
I’ll lay me down
6
In Dust, as in the daintiest Bed of Down.
In
Gloss Note
the disintegrated particles of the physical body; also its primal elements; see Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
as in the
Critical Note
To preserve the meter, the word must be pronounced in two syllables (i.e., “daint” and “yest”).
daintiest
bed of down,
In dust as in the daintiest bed of
Critical Note
Pulter’s use of antanaclasis—the repetition of a pair of homographs in two different senses, which is emphasized in the manuscript by the capitalization of both instances of the word “down”—is another example of her engagement in this poem with various forms of repetition as a means of meditating on how death at once transforms and preserves. In this case, the transformation she poetically enacts is not to the word as it is written, as in the first line, but rather to its meaning. In comparing laying herself “down” to die to a soft bed of “down,” Pulter further develops the poem’s central conceit of reframing death as gentle, familiar, and welcome.
down
.
7
Where I to my first Principles must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
original, basic elements; formative constituent parts
first principles
must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
The fundamental particles that make up the speaker’s body. The dissolution of the body into its originary elements is one of Pulter’s most common images. See The Eclipse [Poem 1], Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], The Invocation of the Elements [Poem 41], et al.
first principles
must turn,
8
And take a nap in Black Oblivions Urn.
And take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
And
Gloss Note
Cf. Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]: “So man to his first principles must turn / And take a nap in black Oblivion’s urn” (ln. 15-16). The image, recurrent in Pulter’s poetry, is of the alchemist’s urn in which substances are reduced to their elemental forms and transformed into new substances. See also The Revolution [Poem 16], The Circle [1] [Poem 17], The Circle [2] [Poem 21], The Circle [3] [Poem 25], and The Circle [4] [Poem 36], et al.
take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
.
9
Untill the Sun of Life ariſe in Glory,
Until the
Gloss Note
an allusion, built into the pun, with the second coming of Christ as the son of God
sun of life
arise in glory—
Until
Critical Note
Pulter’s phrase most explicitly refers to Christ’s return. However, given Pulter’s repeated comparison of Charles I to a sun god, the idea of the restoration of the English monarchy is also evoked here.
the sun of life
arise in glory—
10
And then begins my everlasting Story.
And then begins my everlasting
Gloss Note
life
story
.
And then begins my everlasting
Critical Note
Pulter frequently rhymes “glory” with “story.” However, the placement of this feminine rhyme (a polysyllabic rhyme in which the final syllable is unstressed) at the end of this poem calls attention to its irregularity, which metrically mimics the speaker’s urgent pushing forward to this desired future.
story
.
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

Death is hailed as an old friend in this, the second of two poems so named. Both warmly address this usually-feared figure in casual diction which suggests the speaker’s utter comfort with her own mortality. An easy, homey analogy of dying with going to bed, however, soon collides with the more complex cosmology that is typical of much of Pulter’s verse. The result lets the speaker’s sense of humor (which depicts her posthumously taking a nap in oblivion) join with a serious vision of a more lasting, longed-for transformation of her being.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

the disintegrated particles of the physical body; also its primal elements; see Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Line number 6

 Critical note

To preserve the meter, the word must be pronounced in two syllables (i.e., “daint” and “yest”).
Line number 7

 Gloss note

original, basic elements; formative constituent parts
Line number 9

 Gloss note

an allusion, built into the pun, with the second coming of Christ as the son of God
Line number 10

 Gloss note

life
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
The Welcome [2]
The Welcome [2]
Critical Note
The poem’s title invokes the popular early modern genre of hospitality poetry, such as the country house poem or the invitation poem. As is often the case in Pulter’s poetry, she plays with this genre by substituting a reflection on her isolation in place of the community typically at the center of these poems. On Pulter’s engagement with the pose of isolation popular in Royalist poetry during the Interregnum, as well as the political networks in which her position as the lady of a country estate likely would have involved her, see Karen Britland, “Conspiring with ‘friends’: Hester Pulter’s Poetry and the Stanley Family at Cumberlow Green,” The Review of English Studies 609, no. 292 (November 2018): 832-54.
The Welcome [2]
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
My editions aim to make Pulter’s poetry accessible in two ways. First, I facilitate basic legibility through modernizing spelling and punctuation according to standard American usage and through glossing unfamiliar words, points of intertexuality, and relevant historical contexts. Second, I want to help readers perceive Pulter’s nuanced approach to form and image, both within individual poems and in the extended patterns and ideas that take shape over the course of the manuscript. With this in mind, I have incorporated interpretive readings of the poems into my notes to provide insight into how Pulter’s poetics work and to spur readers to participate in the value-adding work of bringing Pulter’s writing the attentive level of interpretation it deserves.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Death is hailed as an old friend in this, the second of two poems so named. Both warmly address this usually-feared figure in casual diction which suggests the speaker’s utter comfort with her own mortality. An easy, homey analogy of dying with going to bed, however, soon collides with the more complex cosmology that is typical of much of Pulter’s verse. The result lets the speaker’s sense of humor (which depicts her posthumously taking a nap in oblivion) join with a serious vision of a more lasting, longed-for transformation of her being.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
The apparent simplicity of the short couplets and images of childhood that make up this brief poem are in tension with a persistent metrical irregularity that suggests resistant discomfort underlying the speaker’s overt claims to view death as a welcome, temporary rest.
Critical Note
On Pulter desiring death, see Frances E. Dolan, Desiring Death (Curation for The Desire [Poem 18]) and More Ruminations on Death and Resurrection (Curation for To Aurora [3] [Poem 34]), Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Dear Death (Curation for The Hope [Poem 65]), and Helen Smith, The Good Death (Curation for Made When I Was Sick, 1647 [Poem 31]) in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).
1
Pulter’s rhyme scheme and inventive use of rhetorical devices realizes in poetic form how death can at once be a definitive end (echoed in her consistently endstopped couplets) and a transformation that brings something new into being out of earlier material (echoed in the inventive forms of repetition in her use of homoioteleuton [the repetition of word endings] and antanaclasis [repeating a word but changing its meaning]). Like the earlier poem, The Welcome [1] [Poem 19], the poem approaches Pulter’s constant theme of her impending mortality from the persona of a hospitable hostess, a role not unlike that which Pulter would have played in her estate at Broadfield. The mood of this poem shifts rapidly in a short space, from domestic scenes of going to bed, to elemental dissolution in the alchemical urn, and finally to the apocalypse.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Death come and welcome, thour’t my Ancient friend,
Death, come, and welcome; thou art my ancient friend;
Critical Note
The spondee (a metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables) that opens this poem is one of a handful of pointed metrical irregularities in what is otherwise fairly regular iambic pentameter. In this case, Pulter’s spondee both sonically underscores the somberness of her invocation of death, and amplifies the surprising shift in the remainder of the line from a funereal mood to one of sociability and hospitality.
Death, come
,
Critical Note
Pulter’s use here of homoioteleuton (i.e. the repetition of word endings) is the first of a number of rhetorical devices she deploys in this poem that play with forms of repetition. See also the notes on the end rhymes in lines 5-6 and 7-8. Taken together, these devices perform a transformation of the words of the poem that is analogous to death as envisioned by Pulter: not as a rupture but as a remaking of one’s substance into a new form.
and welcome
; thou art my ancient friend,
2
Of all my Suffrings, thou
Physical Note
“lt” appears written over earlier letters, possibly “th”
wilt
make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an
Critical Note
Each of the five couplets that make up this poem are endstopped, a formal device that mimics the tension Pulter explores between the power of death to, on the one hand, “make an end” in the dissolution of the body into “dust” and “first principles,” and, on the other hand, the continuation of the soul’s story after death, in the “everlasting Story” in which the soul participates in the afterlife.
end
.
3
Young Children crie, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
4
To goe to Bed I know it is my Rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
5
Therefore as cheerfully Il’e lay mee Down
Therefore as cheerfully I’ll lay me down
Critical Note
The two dactyls (a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) that begin this line connote a tension working against the easy acceptance of death the speaker articulates. At the same time, the irregular meter here may convey the singsong “cheerful” tone the line describes. These two implications together suggest that this attempt to evoke cheer in the face of death is uncomfortable and artificial.
Therefore as cheerfully
I’ll lay me down
6
In Dust, as in the daintiest Bed of Down.
In
Gloss Note
the disintegrated particles of the physical body; also its primal elements; see Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
as in the
Critical Note
To preserve the meter, the word must be pronounced in two syllables (i.e., “daint” and “yest”).
daintiest
bed of down,
In dust as in the daintiest bed of
Critical Note
Pulter’s use of antanaclasis—the repetition of a pair of homographs in two different senses, which is emphasized in the manuscript by the capitalization of both instances of the word “down”—is another example of her engagement in this poem with various forms of repetition as a means of meditating on how death at once transforms and preserves. In this case, the transformation she poetically enacts is not to the word as it is written, as in the first line, but rather to its meaning. In comparing laying herself “down” to die to a soft bed of “down,” Pulter further develops the poem’s central conceit of reframing death as gentle, familiar, and welcome.
down
.
7
Where I to my first Principles must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
original, basic elements; formative constituent parts
first principles
must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
The fundamental particles that make up the speaker’s body. The dissolution of the body into its originary elements is one of Pulter’s most common images. See The Eclipse [Poem 1], Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], The Invocation of the Elements [Poem 41], et al.
first principles
must turn,
8
And take a nap in Black Oblivions Urn.
And take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
And
Gloss Note
Cf. Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]: “So man to his first principles must turn / And take a nap in black Oblivion’s urn” (ln. 15-16). The image, recurrent in Pulter’s poetry, is of the alchemist’s urn in which substances are reduced to their elemental forms and transformed into new substances. See also The Revolution [Poem 16], The Circle [1] [Poem 17], The Circle [2] [Poem 21], The Circle [3] [Poem 25], and The Circle [4] [Poem 36], et al.
take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
.
9
Untill the Sun of Life ariſe in Glory,
Until the
Gloss Note
an allusion, built into the pun, with the second coming of Christ as the son of God
sun of life
arise in glory—
Until
Critical Note
Pulter’s phrase most explicitly refers to Christ’s return. However, given Pulter’s repeated comparison of Charles I to a sun god, the idea of the restoration of the English monarchy is also evoked here.
the sun of life
arise in glory—
10
And then begins my everlasting Story.
And then begins my everlasting
Gloss Note
life
story
.
And then begins my everlasting
Critical Note
Pulter frequently rhymes “glory” with “story.” However, the placement of this feminine rhyme (a polysyllabic rhyme in which the final syllable is unstressed) at the end of this poem calls attention to its irregularity, which metrically mimics the speaker’s urgent pushing forward to this desired future.
story
.
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The poem’s title invokes the popular early modern genre of hospitality poetry, such as the country house poem or the invitation poem. As is often the case in Pulter’s poetry, she plays with this genre by substituting a reflection on her isolation in place of the community typically at the center of these poems. On Pulter’s engagement with the pose of isolation popular in Royalist poetry during the Interregnum, as well as the political networks in which her position as the lady of a country estate likely would have involved her, see Karen Britland, “Conspiring with ‘friends’: Hester Pulter’s Poetry and the Stanley Family at Cumberlow Green,” The Review of English Studies 609, no. 292 (November 2018): 832-54.

 Editorial note

My editions aim to make Pulter’s poetry accessible in two ways. First, I facilitate basic legibility through modernizing spelling and punctuation according to standard American usage and through glossing unfamiliar words, points of intertexuality, and relevant historical contexts. Second, I want to help readers perceive Pulter’s nuanced approach to form and image, both within individual poems and in the extended patterns and ideas that take shape over the course of the manuscript. With this in mind, I have incorporated interpretive readings of the poems into my notes to provide insight into how Pulter’s poetics work and to spur readers to participate in the value-adding work of bringing Pulter’s writing the attentive level of interpretation it deserves.

 Headnote

The apparent simplicity of the short couplets and images of childhood that make up this brief poem are in tension with a persistent metrical irregularity that suggests resistant discomfort underlying the speaker’s overt claims to view death as a welcome, temporary rest.
Critical Note
On Pulter desiring death, see Frances E. Dolan, Desiring Death (Curation for The Desire [Poem 18]) and More Ruminations on Death and Resurrection (Curation for To Aurora [3] [Poem 34]), Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Dear Death (Curation for The Hope [Poem 65]), and Helen Smith, The Good Death (Curation for Made When I Was Sick, 1647 [Poem 31]) in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).
1
Pulter’s rhyme scheme and inventive use of rhetorical devices realizes in poetic form how death can at once be a definitive end (echoed in her consistently endstopped couplets) and a transformation that brings something new into being out of earlier material (echoed in the inventive forms of repetition in her use of homoioteleuton [the repetition of word endings] and antanaclasis [repeating a word but changing its meaning]). Like the earlier poem, The Welcome [1] [Poem 19], the poem approaches Pulter’s constant theme of her impending mortality from the persona of a hospitable hostess, a role not unlike that which Pulter would have played in her estate at Broadfield. The mood of this poem shifts rapidly in a short space, from domestic scenes of going to bed, to elemental dissolution in the alchemical urn, and finally to the apocalypse.
Line number 1

 Critical note

The spondee (a metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables) that opens this poem is one of a handful of pointed metrical irregularities in what is otherwise fairly regular iambic pentameter. In this case, Pulter’s spondee both sonically underscores the somberness of her invocation of death, and amplifies the surprising shift in the remainder of the line from a funereal mood to one of sociability and hospitality.
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter’s use here of homoioteleuton (i.e. the repetition of word endings) is the first of a number of rhetorical devices she deploys in this poem that play with forms of repetition. See also the notes on the end rhymes in lines 5-6 and 7-8. Taken together, these devices perform a transformation of the words of the poem that is analogous to death as envisioned by Pulter: not as a rupture but as a remaking of one’s substance into a new form.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Each of the five couplets that make up this poem are endstopped, a formal device that mimics the tension Pulter explores between the power of death to, on the one hand, “make an end” in the dissolution of the body into “dust” and “first principles,” and, on the other hand, the continuation of the soul’s story after death, in the “everlasting Story” in which the soul participates in the afterlife.
Line number 5

 Critical note

The two dactyls (a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) that begin this line connote a tension working against the easy acceptance of death the speaker articulates. At the same time, the irregular meter here may convey the singsong “cheerful” tone the line describes. These two implications together suggest that this attempt to evoke cheer in the face of death is uncomfortable and artificial.
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter’s use of antanaclasis—the repetition of a pair of homographs in two different senses, which is emphasized in the manuscript by the capitalization of both instances of the word “down”—is another example of her engagement in this poem with various forms of repetition as a means of meditating on how death at once transforms and preserves. In this case, the transformation she poetically enacts is not to the word as it is written, as in the first line, but rather to its meaning. In comparing laying herself “down” to die to a soft bed of “down,” Pulter further develops the poem’s central conceit of reframing death as gentle, familiar, and welcome.
Line number 7

 Gloss note

The fundamental particles that make up the speaker’s body. The dissolution of the body into its originary elements is one of Pulter’s most common images. See The Eclipse [Poem 1], Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], The Invocation of the Elements [Poem 41], et al.
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Cf. Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]: “So man to his first principles must turn / And take a nap in black Oblivion’s urn” (ln. 15-16). The image, recurrent in Pulter’s poetry, is of the alchemist’s urn in which substances are reduced to their elemental forms and transformed into new substances. See also The Revolution [Poem 16], The Circle [1] [Poem 17], The Circle [2] [Poem 21], The Circle [3] [Poem 25], and The Circle [4] [Poem 36], et al.
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter’s phrase most explicitly refers to Christ’s return. However, given Pulter’s repeated comparison of Charles I to a sun god, the idea of the restoration of the English monarchy is also evoked here.
Line number 10

 Critical note

Pulter frequently rhymes “glory” with “story.” However, the placement of this feminine rhyme (a polysyllabic rhyme in which the final syllable is unstressed) at the end of this poem calls attention to its irregularity, which metrically mimics the speaker’s urgent pushing forward to this desired future.
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The Welcome [2]
The Welcome [2]
Critical Note
The poem’s title invokes the popular early modern genre of hospitality poetry, such as the country house poem or the invitation poem. As is often the case in Pulter’s poetry, she plays with this genre by substituting a reflection on her isolation in place of the community typically at the center of these poems. On Pulter’s engagement with the pose of isolation popular in Royalist poetry during the Interregnum, as well as the political networks in which her position as the lady of a country estate likely would have involved her, see Karen Britland, “Conspiring with ‘friends’: Hester Pulter’s Poetry and the Stanley Family at Cumberlow Green,” The Review of English Studies 609, no. 292 (November 2018): 832-54.
The Welcome [2]
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.

— Andrea Crow
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.

— Andrea Crow
My editions aim to make Pulter’s poetry accessible in two ways. First, I facilitate basic legibility through modernizing spelling and punctuation according to standard American usage and through glossing unfamiliar words, points of intertexuality, and relevant historical contexts. Second, I want to help readers perceive Pulter’s nuanced approach to form and image, both within individual poems and in the extended patterns and ideas that take shape over the course of the manuscript. With this in mind, I have incorporated interpretive readings of the poems into my notes to provide insight into how Pulter’s poetics work and to spur readers to participate in the value-adding work of bringing Pulter’s writing the attentive level of interpretation it deserves.

— Andrea Crow
Death is hailed as an old friend in this, the second of two poems so named. Both warmly address this usually-feared figure in casual diction which suggests the speaker’s utter comfort with her own mortality. An easy, homey analogy of dying with going to bed, however, soon collides with the more complex cosmology that is typical of much of Pulter’s verse. The result lets the speaker’s sense of humor (which depicts her posthumously taking a nap in oblivion) join with a serious vision of a more lasting, longed-for transformation of her being.

— Andrea Crow
The apparent simplicity of the short couplets and images of childhood that make up this brief poem are in tension with a persistent metrical irregularity that suggests resistant discomfort underlying the speaker’s overt claims to view death as a welcome, temporary rest.
Critical Note
On Pulter desiring death, see Frances E. Dolan, Desiring Death (Curation for The Desire [Poem 18]) and More Ruminations on Death and Resurrection (Curation for To Aurora [3] [Poem 34]), Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Dear Death (Curation for The Hope [Poem 65]), and Helen Smith, The Good Death (Curation for Made When I Was Sick, 1647 [Poem 31]) in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).
1
Pulter’s rhyme scheme and inventive use of rhetorical devices realizes in poetic form how death can at once be a definitive end (echoed in her consistently endstopped couplets) and a transformation that brings something new into being out of earlier material (echoed in the inventive forms of repetition in her use of homoioteleuton [the repetition of word endings] and antanaclasis [repeating a word but changing its meaning]). Like the earlier poem, The Welcome [1] [Poem 19], the poem approaches Pulter’s constant theme of her impending mortality from the persona of a hospitable hostess, a role not unlike that which Pulter would have played in her estate at Broadfield. The mood of this poem shifts rapidly in a short space, from domestic scenes of going to bed, to elemental dissolution in the alchemical urn, and finally to the apocalypse.

— Andrea Crow
1
Death come and welcome, thour’t my Ancient friend,
Death, come, and welcome; thou art my ancient friend;
Critical Note
The spondee (a metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables) that opens this poem is one of a handful of pointed metrical irregularities in what is otherwise fairly regular iambic pentameter. In this case, Pulter’s spondee both sonically underscores the somberness of her invocation of death, and amplifies the surprising shift in the remainder of the line from a funereal mood to one of sociability and hospitality.
Death, come
,
Critical Note
Pulter’s use here of homoioteleuton (i.e. the repetition of word endings) is the first of a number of rhetorical devices she deploys in this poem that play with forms of repetition. See also the notes on the end rhymes in lines 5-6 and 7-8. Taken together, these devices perform a transformation of the words of the poem that is analogous to death as envisioned by Pulter: not as a rupture but as a remaking of one’s substance into a new form.
and welcome
; thou art my ancient friend,
2
Of all my Suffrings, thou
Physical Note
“lt” appears written over earlier letters, possibly “th”
wilt
make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an end.
Of all my suff’rings, thou wilt make an
Critical Note
Each of the five couplets that make up this poem are endstopped, a formal device that mimics the tension Pulter explores between the power of death to, on the one hand, “make an end” in the dissolution of the body into “dust” and “first principles,” and, on the other hand, the continuation of the soul’s story after death, in the “everlasting Story” in which the soul participates in the afterlife.
end
.
3
Young Children crie, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
Young children cry, or grumble at the best,
4
To goe to Bed I know it is my Rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
To go to bed; I know it is my rest.
5
Therefore as cheerfully Il’e lay mee Down
Therefore as cheerfully I’ll lay me down
Critical Note
The two dactyls (a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) that begin this line connote a tension working against the easy acceptance of death the speaker articulates. At the same time, the irregular meter here may convey the singsong “cheerful” tone the line describes. These two implications together suggest that this attempt to evoke cheer in the face of death is uncomfortable and artificial.
Therefore as cheerfully
I’ll lay me down
6
In Dust, as in the daintiest Bed of Down.
In
Gloss Note
the disintegrated particles of the physical body; also its primal elements; see Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
as in the
Critical Note
To preserve the meter, the word must be pronounced in two syllables (i.e., “daint” and “yest”).
daintiest
bed of down,
In dust as in the daintiest bed of
Critical Note
Pulter’s use of antanaclasis—the repetition of a pair of homographs in two different senses, which is emphasized in the manuscript by the capitalization of both instances of the word “down”—is another example of her engagement in this poem with various forms of repetition as a means of meditating on how death at once transforms and preserves. In this case, the transformation she poetically enacts is not to the word as it is written, as in the first line, but rather to its meaning. In comparing laying herself “down” to die to a soft bed of “down,” Pulter further develops the poem’s central conceit of reframing death as gentle, familiar, and welcome.
down
.
7
Where I to my first Principles must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
original, basic elements; formative constituent parts
first principles
must turn,
Where I to my
Gloss Note
The fundamental particles that make up the speaker’s body. The dissolution of the body into its originary elements is one of Pulter’s most common images. See The Eclipse [Poem 1], Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], The Invocation of the Elements [Poem 41], et al.
first principles
must turn,
8
And take a nap in Black Oblivions Urn.
And take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
And
Gloss Note
Cf. Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]: “So man to his first principles must turn / And take a nap in black Oblivion’s urn” (ln. 15-16). The image, recurrent in Pulter’s poetry, is of the alchemist’s urn in which substances are reduced to their elemental forms and transformed into new substances. See also The Revolution [Poem 16], The Circle [1] [Poem 17], The Circle [2] [Poem 21], The Circle [3] [Poem 25], and The Circle [4] [Poem 36], et al.
take a nap in black oblivion’s urn
.
9
Untill the Sun of Life ariſe in Glory,
Until the
Gloss Note
an allusion, built into the pun, with the second coming of Christ as the son of God
sun of life
arise in glory—
Until
Critical Note
Pulter’s phrase most explicitly refers to Christ’s return. However, given Pulter’s repeated comparison of Charles I to a sun god, the idea of the restoration of the English monarchy is also evoked here.
the sun of life
arise in glory—
10
And then begins my everlasting Story.
And then begins my everlasting
Gloss Note
life
story
.
And then begins my everlasting
Critical Note
Pulter frequently rhymes “glory” with “story.” However, the placement of this feminine rhyme (a polysyllabic rhyme in which the final syllable is unstressed) at the end of this poem calls attention to its irregularity, which metrically mimics the speaker’s urgent pushing forward to this desired future.
story
.
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Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The poem’s title invokes the popular early modern genre of hospitality poetry, such as the country house poem or the invitation poem. As is often the case in Pulter’s poetry, she plays with this genre by substituting a reflection on her isolation in place of the community typically at the center of these poems. On Pulter’s engagement with the pose of isolation popular in Royalist poetry during the Interregnum, as well as the political networks in which her position as the lady of a country estate likely would have involved her, see Karen Britland, “Conspiring with ‘friends’: Hester Pulter’s Poetry and the Stanley Family at Cumberlow Green,” The Review of English Studies 609, no. 292 (November 2018): 832-54.
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

My editions aim to make Pulter’s poetry accessible in two ways. First, I facilitate basic legibility through modernizing spelling and punctuation according to standard American usage and through glossing unfamiliar words, points of intertexuality, and relevant historical contexts. Second, I want to help readers perceive Pulter’s nuanced approach to form and image, both within individual poems and in the extended patterns and ideas that take shape over the course of the manuscript. With this in mind, I have incorporated interpretive readings of the poems into my notes to provide insight into how Pulter’s poetics work and to spur readers to participate in the value-adding work of bringing Pulter’s writing the attentive level of interpretation it deserves.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Death is hailed as an old friend in this, the second of two poems so named. Both warmly address this usually-feared figure in casual diction which suggests the speaker’s utter comfort with her own mortality. An easy, homey analogy of dying with going to bed, however, soon collides with the more complex cosmology that is typical of much of Pulter’s verse. The result lets the speaker’s sense of humor (which depicts her posthumously taking a nap in oblivion) join with a serious vision of a more lasting, longed-for transformation of her being.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

The apparent simplicity of the short couplets and images of childhood that make up this brief poem are in tension with a persistent metrical irregularity that suggests resistant discomfort underlying the speaker’s overt claims to view death as a welcome, temporary rest.
Critical Note
On Pulter desiring death, see Frances E. Dolan, Desiring Death (Curation for The Desire [Poem 18]) and More Ruminations on Death and Resurrection (Curation for To Aurora [3] [Poem 34]), Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, Dear Death (Curation for The Hope [Poem 65]), and Helen Smith, The Good Death (Curation for Made When I Was Sick, 1647 [Poem 31]) in The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall (2018).
1
Pulter’s rhyme scheme and inventive use of rhetorical devices realizes in poetic form how death can at once be a definitive end (echoed in her consistently endstopped couplets) and a transformation that brings something new into being out of earlier material (echoed in the inventive forms of repetition in her use of homoioteleuton [the repetition of word endings] and antanaclasis [repeating a word but changing its meaning]). Like the earlier poem, The Welcome [1] [Poem 19], the poem approaches Pulter’s constant theme of her impending mortality from the persona of a hospitable hostess, a role not unlike that which Pulter would have played in her estate at Broadfield. The mood of this poem shifts rapidly in a short space, from domestic scenes of going to bed, to elemental dissolution in the alchemical urn, and finally to the apocalypse.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

The spondee (a metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables) that opens this poem is one of a handful of pointed metrical irregularities in what is otherwise fairly regular iambic pentameter. In this case, Pulter’s spondee both sonically underscores the somberness of her invocation of death, and amplifies the surprising shift in the remainder of the line from a funereal mood to one of sociability and hospitality.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter’s use here of homoioteleuton (i.e. the repetition of word endings) is the first of a number of rhetorical devices she deploys in this poem that play with forms of repetition. See also the notes on the end rhymes in lines 5-6 and 7-8. Taken together, these devices perform a transformation of the words of the poem that is analogous to death as envisioned by Pulter: not as a rupture but as a remaking of one’s substance into a new form.
Transcription
Line number 2

 Physical note

“lt” appears written over earlier letters, possibly “th”
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Each of the five couplets that make up this poem are endstopped, a formal device that mimics the tension Pulter explores between the power of death to, on the one hand, “make an end” in the dissolution of the body into “dust” and “first principles,” and, on the other hand, the continuation of the soul’s story after death, in the “everlasting Story” in which the soul participates in the afterlife.
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

The two dactyls (a metrical foot consisting of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables) that begin this line connote a tension working against the easy acceptance of death the speaker articulates. At the same time, the irregular meter here may convey the singsong “cheerful” tone the line describes. These two implications together suggest that this attempt to evoke cheer in the face of death is uncomfortable and artificial.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

the disintegrated particles of the physical body; also its primal elements; see Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

To preserve the meter, the word must be pronounced in two syllables (i.e., “daint” and “yest”).
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter’s use of antanaclasis—the repetition of a pair of homographs in two different senses, which is emphasized in the manuscript by the capitalization of both instances of the word “down”—is another example of her engagement in this poem with various forms of repetition as a means of meditating on how death at once transforms and preserves. In this case, the transformation she poetically enacts is not to the word as it is written, as in the first line, but rather to its meaning. In comparing laying herself “down” to die to a soft bed of “down,” Pulter further develops the poem’s central conceit of reframing death as gentle, familiar, and welcome.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

original, basic elements; formative constituent parts
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

The fundamental particles that make up the speaker’s body. The dissolution of the body into its originary elements is one of Pulter’s most common images. See The Eclipse [Poem 1], Universal Dissolution [Poem 6], The Invocation of the Elements [Poem 41], et al.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Cf. Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]: “So man to his first principles must turn / And take a nap in black Oblivion’s urn” (ln. 15-16). The image, recurrent in Pulter’s poetry, is of the alchemist’s urn in which substances are reduced to their elemental forms and transformed into new substances. See also The Revolution [Poem 16], The Circle [1] [Poem 17], The Circle [2] [Poem 21], The Circle [3] [Poem 25], and The Circle [4] [Poem 36], et al.
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

an allusion, built into the pun, with the second coming of Christ as the son of God
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter’s phrase most explicitly refers to Christ’s return. However, given Pulter’s repeated comparison of Charles I to a sun god, the idea of the restoration of the English monarchy is also evoked here.
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

life
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

Pulter frequently rhymes “glory” with “story.” However, the placement of this feminine rhyme (a polysyllabic rhyme in which the final syllable is unstressed) at the end of this poem calls attention to its irregularity, which metrically mimics the speaker’s urgent pushing forward to this desired future.
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