This Huge Leviathan (Emblem 42)

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This Huge Leviathan (Emblem 42)

Poem #107

Original Source

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

Versions

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

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

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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  • Encoded by Katherine Poland, Matthew Taylor, Elizabeth Chou, and Emily Andrey, Northwestern University
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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

“th” written over “ht”
Line number 14

 Physical note

“s” appears added later, in different hand from main scribe
Line number 25

 Physical note

insertion marks and “h” in H2
Line number 26

 Physical note

“v” may have been written over an original medial “d,” with an initial “d” added later; alternatively, an initial “d” may have been imperfectly erased and blotted, and an original “v” changed to a medial “d.”
Line number 32

 Physical note

written directly above cancelled “ſhall,” in H2
Line number 33

 Physical note

trailing descender from “p”above blends into “f”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 42]
This Huge Leviathan
(Emblem 42)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What starts as a lesson in not underestimating a seemingly less powerful foe takes a dramatic turn in this emblem, which becomes a meditation on the unexpected consequences of riding animals: whales, Hydra-like horses, and demonically possessed pigs. Pulter first draws on traveler’s tales to describe the way that Native Americans use their intelligence to overpower and devour whales: after cramming poles up their nostrils, they allegedly ride the whales until they tire and beach themselves. After summing up this fable’s moral—that brains can overcome brawn—the narrator reverses both the rider’s fate and the moral by imagining Oliver Crowell figuratively riding an unruly populace. Unable to control the beast (as Native Americans so ably could), Cromwell is heading to a tragic end that Pulter aligns with the devil driving animals into eternal damnation; turning from horses to swine, Pulter imagines the fate of the nation by recounting the story of Jesus transferring demons from a person into pigs, who then drowned themselves in the ocean. In this unusual emblem, the moral shifts: a warning against pride in brawn in favor of brains converts into a plea to shake off the devil. Humans perhaps only seem superior when we subdue other creatures: we too are vulnerable to being “ridden” by forces beyond our control.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
42This huge Laviathan for all his Strength
This huge
Gloss Note
a large sea animal; here, a whale
leviathan
, for all his strength,
2
Is by an Indians Witt Subdu’d at
Physical Note
“th” written over “ht”
length
Is
Critical Note
In a collection of travel accounts appears a similar story: “The manner the Indians of Florida use … to take these whales … is, they … swimming approach near the whale’s side, then with great dexterity they leap to his neck, and there they ride as on horse-back, … then he thrusts a sharpe and strong stake … into the whale’s nostril, … the whale doth furiously beat the sea, and raiseth mountains of water, running into the deep with great violence, and presently riseth again, not knowing what to do for pain: the Indian still sits firm, … in the end he [the whale] comes near the land, and remains on ground by the hugeness of his body, unable any more to move; then a great number of Indians … kill him, and cut his flesh in pieces, … using it for meate.” Samuel Purchas, ed., Purchas his Pilgrims, in Five Books (London, 1625), p. 931. This account derives from the account entitled “Observations … of Josephus Acosta, a Learned Jesuit, Touching the Natural History of … the West Indies” (Book 5, Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2).
by an Indian’s wit subdued
at length.
3
Who can but Such a Monſtr’ous bulk deride
Who can but such a monstrous bulk deride,
4
Who Suffers one upon his Neck to Ride
Who
Gloss Note
tolerates; permits; undergoes or endures, as with pain or distress; sustains injury
suffers
one upon his neck to ride,
5
Knocking in Billets into either Noſe
Knocking in
Gloss Note
thick sticks used as a weapon
billets
into either
Gloss Note
nostril
nose
6
Whence Seas, and Shoals, of ffiſhes ever fflows
Whence seas and
Gloss Note
schools
shoals
of fishes ever flows?
7
Nor cares hee though hee bounce, or fflounce, or beat,
Nor cares
Gloss Note
The first “he” is the “Indian”; the second is the whale
he though he
bounce, or flounce, or beat
8
Against the Rocks, yet Still hee keeps his Seat
Against the rocks, yet still he keeps his seat
9
And Spight of’s teeth hee Rides him to the Shores
And spite
Gloss Note
of his (the whale’s)
of’s
teeth, he rides him to the shores
10
Where ffil’d with Horrour hee his Life out Rores
Where, filled with horror,
Gloss Note
the whale
he
his life
Critical Note
both figuratively breathing out his life with a loud cry (roaring out) and competitively outroaring his life (uttering a loud cry that extends beyond his life)
out roars
.
11
Thus hee Triumphant Lites, thus ends his Toyl
Thus
Gloss Note
the rider triumphantly dismounts
he triumphant lights
; thus ends his toil,
12
Cutting his Unctious Collops out to boyl
Cutting his
Gloss Note
oily, greasy, fat, or rich pieces of flesh or slices of meat
unctuous collops
out to boil.
13
By this you See that Witt doth oft Subdue
By this you see that wit doth oft subdue
14
The greatest Strenght this
Physical Note
“s” appears added later, in different hand from main scribe
Elaphants
finds True
The greatest strength;
Critical Note
The elephant’s service to humans (construed here as strength being subdued by wit) is recounted in Pliny’s natural history, where we learn that “the king they adore, they kneel before him” and “the lesser sort … serve the Indians in good stead to care and plough their ground.” Philemon Holland, translator (1601), C. Plinius Secundus, The Historie of the World (London, 1601), Book 8, Chapter 1. Chapter 8 of the same book describes ways of hunting elephants, including one method described as “subtle and deceitful” (and thus full of wit in the early modern sense of the term).
this elephants find true
;
15
And Soe the Youths of Theſaly did tame
And so the youths of Thessaly did tame
16
The Warlike Horſe, Soe Bulls they overcame
Gloss Note
An ancient Thessalonian tribe (inhabiting a region in Greece) was renowned for its expert horsemanship.
The warlike horse
; so bulls they overcame,
17
Whence cald Centaurus, Soe against their Wills
Gloss Note
The Thessalonian youths who tamed horses and bulls were known as centaurs—mythical creatures with the lower body of horses and the upper body of humans—owing to their expert riding.
Whence called Centaurus
; so, against their wills,
18
ffour Thouſand Whales are forcd to draw in Mills
Critical Note
This line and the phrase above, “So against their wills,” are struck through in the manuscript but not, we think erroneously, replaced with new text that would preserve meter and line uniformity. As a marginal note beside Raccoons (Emblem 21) [Poem 86] specifies, a popular ethnographic traveller’s book recounted that the Chinese harnessed the labor of four thousand whales to process grain. Eardley identifies the source as Botero Giovanni, The Traveler’s Breviat; Or, an Historical Description of the Most Famous Kingdoms in the World (London: 1601), p. 22.
Four thousand whales are forced to draw in mills.
19
Then though thy Strength & Courage doe tranſcend
Then though thy strength and courage do transcend,
20
Bee not too Proud, nor on them both depend
Be not too proud, nor on them both depend;
21
Doe not thy deſpicablest ffoe deſpiſe
Do not thy despicablest foe despise,
22
ffor from the Vulgar one you See did Rise
For, from
Gloss Note
the common crowd
the vulgar
,
Critical Note
probably referring to Oliver Cromwell, a non-elite statesman who led Parliamentarians against King Charles I during the English Civil War, and later became Lord Protector.
one
you see did rise,
23
Which did the ffierce and Monst’rous Hidra back
Which did the fierce and monstrous
Gloss Note
The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was commonly used to describe an unruly mob. To “back” was to mount or ride on, but also to support, bet on, or stand behind.
Hydra back
.
24
The Jade was resty and did Rideing lack
Gloss Note
The horse (jade) was resistant or lazy (resty) and had not been ridden much.
The jade was resty and did riding lack;
now

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
25
Now the Tame Beast
Physical Note
insertion marks and “h” in H2
bot\h \
Whip & ſpur abides
Now the tame beast both whip and spur abides;
26
Needs must they Gallop, whom ye Devill
Physical Note
“v” may have been written over an original medial “d,” with an initial “d” added later; alternatively, an initial “d” may have been imperfectly erased and blotted, and an original “v” changed to a medial “d.”
drives
Gloss Note
This is a proverbial expression; the manuscript might be corrected to read “rides” instead of “drives,” or the correction might have been the reverse.
Needs must they gallop whom the devil drives.
27
Soe when hee did poſſes the Heard of Swine
So when
Gloss Note
This line and the next refers to the biblical account of how Jesus performed an exorcism on a man by transferring the devils possessing him into a herd of swine, who then ran over a cliff and drowned in the sea (see, e.g., Mark 5:2-13). “He” in this line refers to the devil.
he did possess the herd of swine
,
28
They Straight Ran Headlong into Neptunes brine
They straight ran headlong into
Gloss Note
an epithet for the ocean (with Neptune as its god)
Neptune’s brine
.
29
Then let the giddy Monſter warning take
Then let the
Gloss Note
Cromwell or any ruler relying on the animalic crowd
giddy monster
warning take,
30
Least they precipitate into that Lake
Lest they
Gloss Note
be thrown suddenly or violently, especially into an undesirable state; fall headlong or plunge; hurry
precipitate
into that lake
31
Where Sulphur mixt w:th never quenched ffire
Gloss Note
This line and the next refer to the Christian account of the end of the world when the devil, false prophets, and sinners are all cast into a burning lake of fire (hell). See Revelation 20:10 and 21:8. Sulfur was a substance associated with volcanic regions.
Where sulfur mixed with never-quenchéd fire
,
32
Where they ſhall
Physical Note
written directly above cancelled “ſhall,” in H2
Still
die yet never quite expire
Where they still die, yet never quite expire.
33
Then take my counſell & the ffind
Physical Note
trailing descender from “p”above blends into “f”
of
throw
Then take my counsel and the
Gloss Note
the devil
fiend
off throw,
34
Least hee and you into perdition goe
Lest he and you into perdition go.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

What starts as a lesson in not underestimating a seemingly less powerful foe takes a dramatic turn in this emblem, which becomes a meditation on the unexpected consequences of riding animals: whales, Hydra-like horses, and demonically possessed pigs. Pulter first draws on traveler’s tales to describe the way that Native Americans use their intelligence to overpower and devour whales: after cramming poles up their nostrils, they allegedly ride the whales until they tire and beach themselves. After summing up this fable’s moral—that brains can overcome brawn—the narrator reverses both the rider’s fate and the moral by imagining Oliver Crowell figuratively riding an unruly populace. Unable to control the beast (as Native Americans so ably could), Cromwell is heading to a tragic end that Pulter aligns with the devil driving animals into eternal damnation; turning from horses to swine, Pulter imagines the fate of the nation by recounting the story of Jesus transferring demons from a person into pigs, who then drowned themselves in the ocean. In this unusual emblem, the moral shifts: a warning against pride in brawn in favor of brains converts into a plea to shake off the devil. Humans perhaps only seem superior when we subdue other creatures: we too are vulnerable to being “ridden” by forces beyond our control.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

a large sea animal; here, a whale
Line number 2

 Critical note

In a collection of travel accounts appears a similar story: “The manner the Indians of Florida use … to take these whales … is, they … swimming approach near the whale’s side, then with great dexterity they leap to his neck, and there they ride as on horse-back, … then he thrusts a sharpe and strong stake … into the whale’s nostril, … the whale doth furiously beat the sea, and raiseth mountains of water, running into the deep with great violence, and presently riseth again, not knowing what to do for pain: the Indian still sits firm, … in the end he [the whale] comes near the land, and remains on ground by the hugeness of his body, unable any more to move; then a great number of Indians … kill him, and cut his flesh in pieces, … using it for meate.” Samuel Purchas, ed., Purchas his Pilgrims, in Five Books (London, 1625), p. 931. This account derives from the account entitled “Observations … of Josephus Acosta, a Learned Jesuit, Touching the Natural History of … the West Indies” (Book 5, Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2).
Line number 4

 Gloss note

tolerates; permits; undergoes or endures, as with pain or distress; sustains injury
Line number 5

 Gloss note

thick sticks used as a weapon
Line number 5

 Gloss note

nostril
Line number 6

 Gloss note

schools
Line number 7

 Gloss note

The first “he” is the “Indian”; the second is the whale
Line number 9

 Gloss note

of his (the whale’s)
Line number 10

 Gloss note

the whale
Line number 10

 Critical note

both figuratively breathing out his life with a loud cry (roaring out) and competitively outroaring his life (uttering a loud cry that extends beyond his life)
Line number 11

 Gloss note

the rider triumphantly dismounts
Line number 12

 Gloss note

oily, greasy, fat, or rich pieces of flesh or slices of meat
Line number 14

 Critical note

The elephant’s service to humans (construed here as strength being subdued by wit) is recounted in Pliny’s natural history, where we learn that “the king they adore, they kneel before him” and “the lesser sort … serve the Indians in good stead to care and plough their ground.” Philemon Holland, translator (1601), C. Plinius Secundus, The Historie of the World (London, 1601), Book 8, Chapter 1. Chapter 8 of the same book describes ways of hunting elephants, including one method described as “subtle and deceitful” (and thus full of wit in the early modern sense of the term).
Line number 16

 Gloss note

An ancient Thessalonian tribe (inhabiting a region in Greece) was renowned for its expert horsemanship.
Line number 17

 Gloss note

The Thessalonian youths who tamed horses and bulls were known as centaurs—mythical creatures with the lower body of horses and the upper body of humans—owing to their expert riding.
Line number 18

 Critical note

This line and the phrase above, “So against their wills,” are struck through in the manuscript but not, we think erroneously, replaced with new text that would preserve meter and line uniformity. As a marginal note beside Raccoons (Emblem 21) [Poem 86] specifies, a popular ethnographic traveller’s book recounted that the Chinese harnessed the labor of four thousand whales to process grain. Eardley identifies the source as Botero Giovanni, The Traveler’s Breviat; Or, an Historical Description of the Most Famous Kingdoms in the World (London: 1601), p. 22.
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the common crowd
Line number 22

 Critical note

probably referring to Oliver Cromwell, a non-elite statesman who led Parliamentarians against King Charles I during the English Civil War, and later became Lord Protector.
Line number 23

 Gloss note

The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was commonly used to describe an unruly mob. To “back” was to mount or ride on, but also to support, bet on, or stand behind.
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The horse (jade) was resistant or lazy (resty) and had not been ridden much.
Line number 26

 Gloss note

This is a proverbial expression; the manuscript might be corrected to read “rides” instead of “drives,” or the correction might have been the reverse.
Line number 27

 Gloss note

This line and the next refers to the biblical account of how Jesus performed an exorcism on a man by transferring the devils possessing him into a herd of swine, who then ran over a cliff and drowned in the sea (see, e.g., Mark 5:2-13). “He” in this line refers to the devil.
Line number 28

 Gloss note

an epithet for the ocean (with Neptune as its god)
Line number 29

 Gloss note

Cromwell or any ruler relying on the animalic crowd
Line number 30

 Gloss note

be thrown suddenly or violently, especially into an undesirable state; fall headlong or plunge; hurry
Line number 31

 Gloss note

This line and the next refer to the Christian account of the end of the world when the devil, false prophets, and sinners are all cast into a burning lake of fire (hell). See Revelation 20:10 and 21:8. Sulfur was a substance associated with volcanic regions.
Line number 33

 Gloss note

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

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 42]
This Huge Leviathan
(Emblem 42)
AE TITLE
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What starts as a lesson in not underestimating a seemingly less powerful foe takes a dramatic turn in this emblem, which becomes a meditation on the unexpected consequences of riding animals: whales, Hydra-like horses, and demonically possessed pigs. Pulter first draws on traveler’s tales to describe the way that Native Americans use their intelligence to overpower and devour whales: after cramming poles up their nostrils, they allegedly ride the whales until they tire and beach themselves. After summing up this fable’s moral—that brains can overcome brawn—the narrator reverses both the rider’s fate and the moral by imagining Oliver Crowell figuratively riding an unruly populace. Unable to control the beast (as Native Americans so ably could), Cromwell is heading to a tragic end that Pulter aligns with the devil driving animals into eternal damnation; turning from horses to swine, Pulter imagines the fate of the nation by recounting the story of Jesus transferring demons from a person into pigs, who then drowned themselves in the ocean. In this unusual emblem, the moral shifts: a warning against pride in brawn in favor of brains converts into a plea to shake off the devil. Humans perhaps only seem superior when we subdue other creatures: we too are vulnerable to being “ridden” by forces beyond our control.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
42This huge Laviathan for all his Strength
This huge
Gloss Note
a large sea animal; here, a whale
leviathan
, for all his strength,
2
Is by an Indians Witt Subdu’d at
Physical Note
“th” written over “ht”
length
Is
Critical Note
In a collection of travel accounts appears a similar story: “The manner the Indians of Florida use … to take these whales … is, they … swimming approach near the whale’s side, then with great dexterity they leap to his neck, and there they ride as on horse-back, … then he thrusts a sharpe and strong stake … into the whale’s nostril, … the whale doth furiously beat the sea, and raiseth mountains of water, running into the deep with great violence, and presently riseth again, not knowing what to do for pain: the Indian still sits firm, … in the end he [the whale] comes near the land, and remains on ground by the hugeness of his body, unable any more to move; then a great number of Indians … kill him, and cut his flesh in pieces, … using it for meate.” Samuel Purchas, ed., Purchas his Pilgrims, in Five Books (London, 1625), p. 931. This account derives from the account entitled “Observations … of Josephus Acosta, a Learned Jesuit, Touching the Natural History of … the West Indies” (Book 5, Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2).
by an Indian’s wit subdued
at length.
3
Who can but Such a Monſtr’ous bulk deride
Who can but such a monstrous bulk deride,
4
Who Suffers one upon his Neck to Ride
Who
Gloss Note
tolerates; permits; undergoes or endures, as with pain or distress; sustains injury
suffers
one upon his neck to ride,
5
Knocking in Billets into either Noſe
Knocking in
Gloss Note
thick sticks used as a weapon
billets
into either
Gloss Note
nostril
nose
6
Whence Seas, and Shoals, of ffiſhes ever fflows
Whence seas and
Gloss Note
schools
shoals
of fishes ever flows?
7
Nor cares hee though hee bounce, or fflounce, or beat,
Nor cares
Gloss Note
The first “he” is the “Indian”; the second is the whale
he though he
bounce, or flounce, or beat
8
Against the Rocks, yet Still hee keeps his Seat
Against the rocks, yet still he keeps his seat
9
And Spight of’s teeth hee Rides him to the Shores
And spite
Gloss Note
of his (the whale’s)
of’s
teeth, he rides him to the shores
10
Where ffil’d with Horrour hee his Life out Rores
Where, filled with horror,
Gloss Note
the whale
he
his life
Critical Note
both figuratively breathing out his life with a loud cry (roaring out) and competitively outroaring his life (uttering a loud cry that extends beyond his life)
out roars
.
11
Thus hee Triumphant Lites, thus ends his Toyl
Thus
Gloss Note
the rider triumphantly dismounts
he triumphant lights
; thus ends his toil,
12
Cutting his Unctious Collops out to boyl
Cutting his
Gloss Note
oily, greasy, fat, or rich pieces of flesh or slices of meat
unctuous collops
out to boil.
13
By this you See that Witt doth oft Subdue
By this you see that wit doth oft subdue
14
The greatest Strenght this
Physical Note
“s” appears added later, in different hand from main scribe
Elaphants
finds True
The greatest strength;
Critical Note
The elephant’s service to humans (construed here as strength being subdued by wit) is recounted in Pliny’s natural history, where we learn that “the king they adore, they kneel before him” and “the lesser sort … serve the Indians in good stead to care and plough their ground.” Philemon Holland, translator (1601), C. Plinius Secundus, The Historie of the World (London, 1601), Book 8, Chapter 1. Chapter 8 of the same book describes ways of hunting elephants, including one method described as “subtle and deceitful” (and thus full of wit in the early modern sense of the term).
this elephants find true
;
15
And Soe the Youths of Theſaly did tame
And so the youths of Thessaly did tame
16
The Warlike Horſe, Soe Bulls they overcame
Gloss Note
An ancient Thessalonian tribe (inhabiting a region in Greece) was renowned for its expert horsemanship.
The warlike horse
; so bulls they overcame,
17
Whence cald Centaurus, Soe against their Wills
Gloss Note
The Thessalonian youths who tamed horses and bulls were known as centaurs—mythical creatures with the lower body of horses and the upper body of humans—owing to their expert riding.
Whence called Centaurus
; so, against their wills,
18
ffour Thouſand Whales are forcd to draw in Mills
Critical Note
This line and the phrase above, “So against their wills,” are struck through in the manuscript but not, we think erroneously, replaced with new text that would preserve meter and line uniformity. As a marginal note beside Raccoons (Emblem 21) [Poem 86] specifies, a popular ethnographic traveller’s book recounted that the Chinese harnessed the labor of four thousand whales to process grain. Eardley identifies the source as Botero Giovanni, The Traveler’s Breviat; Or, an Historical Description of the Most Famous Kingdoms in the World (London: 1601), p. 22.
Four thousand whales are forced to draw in mills.
19
Then though thy Strength & Courage doe tranſcend
Then though thy strength and courage do transcend,
20
Bee not too Proud, nor on them both depend
Be not too proud, nor on them both depend;
21
Doe not thy deſpicablest ffoe deſpiſe
Do not thy despicablest foe despise,
22
ffor from the Vulgar one you See did Rise
For, from
Gloss Note
the common crowd
the vulgar
,
Critical Note
probably referring to Oliver Cromwell, a non-elite statesman who led Parliamentarians against King Charles I during the English Civil War, and later became Lord Protector.
one
you see did rise,
23
Which did the ffierce and Monst’rous Hidra back
Which did the fierce and monstrous
Gloss Note
The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was commonly used to describe an unruly mob. To “back” was to mount or ride on, but also to support, bet on, or stand behind.
Hydra back
.
24
The Jade was resty and did Rideing lack
Gloss Note
The horse (jade) was resistant or lazy (resty) and had not been ridden much.
The jade was resty and did riding lack;
now

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25
Now the Tame Beast
Physical Note
insertion marks and “h” in H2
bot\h \
Whip & ſpur abides
Now the tame beast both whip and spur abides;
26
Needs must they Gallop, whom ye Devill
Physical Note
“v” may have been written over an original medial “d,” with an initial “d” added later; alternatively, an initial “d” may have been imperfectly erased and blotted, and an original “v” changed to a medial “d.”
drives
Gloss Note
This is a proverbial expression; the manuscript might be corrected to read “rides” instead of “drives,” or the correction might have been the reverse.
Needs must they gallop whom the devil drives.
27
Soe when hee did poſſes the Heard of Swine
So when
Gloss Note
This line and the next refers to the biblical account of how Jesus performed an exorcism on a man by transferring the devils possessing him into a herd of swine, who then ran over a cliff and drowned in the sea (see, e.g., Mark 5:2-13). “He” in this line refers to the devil.
he did possess the herd of swine
,
28
They Straight Ran Headlong into Neptunes brine
They straight ran headlong into
Gloss Note
an epithet for the ocean (with Neptune as its god)
Neptune’s brine
.
29
Then let the giddy Monſter warning take
Then let the
Gloss Note
Cromwell or any ruler relying on the animalic crowd
giddy monster
warning take,
30
Least they precipitate into that Lake
Lest they
Gloss Note
be thrown suddenly or violently, especially into an undesirable state; fall headlong or plunge; hurry
precipitate
into that lake
31
Where Sulphur mixt w:th never quenched ffire
Gloss Note
This line and the next refer to the Christian account of the end of the world when the devil, false prophets, and sinners are all cast into a burning lake of fire (hell). See Revelation 20:10 and 21:8. Sulfur was a substance associated with volcanic regions.
Where sulfur mixed with never-quenchéd fire
,
32
Where they ſhall
Physical Note
written directly above cancelled “ſhall,” in H2
Still
die yet never quite expire
Where they still die, yet never quite expire.
33
Then take my counſell & the ffind
Physical Note
trailing descender from “p”above blends into “f”
of
throw
Then take my counsel and the
Gloss Note
the devil
fiend
off throw,
34
Least hee and you into perdition goe
Lest he and you into perdition go.
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Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

Elemental Edition

 Headnote

What starts as a lesson in not underestimating a seemingly less powerful foe takes a dramatic turn in this emblem, which becomes a meditation on the unexpected consequences of riding animals: whales, Hydra-like horses, and demonically possessed pigs. Pulter first draws on traveler’s tales to describe the way that Native Americans use their intelligence to overpower and devour whales: after cramming poles up their nostrils, they allegedly ride the whales until they tire and beach themselves. After summing up this fable’s moral—that brains can overcome brawn—the narrator reverses both the rider’s fate and the moral by imagining Oliver Crowell figuratively riding an unruly populace. Unable to control the beast (as Native Americans so ably could), Cromwell is heading to a tragic end that Pulter aligns with the devil driving animals into eternal damnation; turning from horses to swine, Pulter imagines the fate of the nation by recounting the story of Jesus transferring demons from a person into pigs, who then drowned themselves in the ocean. In this unusual emblem, the moral shifts: a warning against pride in brawn in favor of brains converts into a plea to shake off the devil. Humans perhaps only seem superior when we subdue other creatures: we too are vulnerable to being “ridden” by forces beyond our control.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

a large sea animal; here, a whale
Transcription
Line number 2

 Physical note

“th” written over “ht”
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

In a collection of travel accounts appears a similar story: “The manner the Indians of Florida use … to take these whales … is, they … swimming approach near the whale’s side, then with great dexterity they leap to his neck, and there they ride as on horse-back, … then he thrusts a sharpe and strong stake … into the whale’s nostril, … the whale doth furiously beat the sea, and raiseth mountains of water, running into the deep with great violence, and presently riseth again, not knowing what to do for pain: the Indian still sits firm, … in the end he [the whale] comes near the land, and remains on ground by the hugeness of his body, unable any more to move; then a great number of Indians … kill him, and cut his flesh in pieces, … using it for meate.” Samuel Purchas, ed., Purchas his Pilgrims, in Five Books (London, 1625), p. 931. This account derives from the account entitled “Observations … of Josephus Acosta, a Learned Jesuit, Touching the Natural History of … the West Indies” (Book 5, Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2).
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

tolerates; permits; undergoes or endures, as with pain or distress; sustains injury
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

thick sticks used as a weapon
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

nostril
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

schools
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

The first “he” is the “Indian”; the second is the whale
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

of his (the whale’s)
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

the whale
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

both figuratively breathing out his life with a loud cry (roaring out) and competitively outroaring his life (uttering a loud cry that extends beyond his life)
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

the rider triumphantly dismounts
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

oily, greasy, fat, or rich pieces of flesh or slices of meat
Transcription
Line number 14

 Physical note

“s” appears added later, in different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Critical note

The elephant’s service to humans (construed here as strength being subdued by wit) is recounted in Pliny’s natural history, where we learn that “the king they adore, they kneel before him” and “the lesser sort … serve the Indians in good stead to care and plough their ground.” Philemon Holland, translator (1601), C. Plinius Secundus, The Historie of the World (London, 1601), Book 8, Chapter 1. Chapter 8 of the same book describes ways of hunting elephants, including one method described as “subtle and deceitful” (and thus full of wit in the early modern sense of the term).
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

An ancient Thessalonian tribe (inhabiting a region in Greece) was renowned for its expert horsemanship.
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

The Thessalonian youths who tamed horses and bulls were known as centaurs—mythical creatures with the lower body of horses and the upper body of humans—owing to their expert riding.
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

This line and the phrase above, “So against their wills,” are struck through in the manuscript but not, we think erroneously, replaced with new text that would preserve meter and line uniformity. As a marginal note beside Raccoons (Emblem 21) [Poem 86] specifies, a popular ethnographic traveller’s book recounted that the Chinese harnessed the labor of four thousand whales to process grain. Eardley identifies the source as Botero Giovanni, The Traveler’s Breviat; Or, an Historical Description of the Most Famous Kingdoms in the World (London: 1601), p. 22.
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the common crowd
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Critical note

probably referring to Oliver Cromwell, a non-elite statesman who led Parliamentarians against King Charles I during the English Civil War, and later became Lord Protector.
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

The hydra was the many-headed serpent in classical mythology that could grow additional heads when one was cut off; it was commonly used to describe an unruly mob. To “back” was to mount or ride on, but also to support, bet on, or stand behind.
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The horse (jade) was resistant or lazy (resty) and had not been ridden much.
Transcription
Line number 25

 Physical note

insertion marks and “h” in H2
Transcription
Line number 26

 Physical note

“v” may have been written over an original medial “d,” with an initial “d” added later; alternatively, an initial “d” may have been imperfectly erased and blotted, and an original “v” changed to a medial “d.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

This is a proverbial expression; the manuscript might be corrected to read “rides” instead of “drives,” or the correction might have been the reverse.
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

This line and the next refers to the biblical account of how Jesus performed an exorcism on a man by transferring the devils possessing him into a herd of swine, who then ran over a cliff and drowned in the sea (see, e.g., Mark 5:2-13). “He” in this line refers to the devil.
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

an epithet for the ocean (with Neptune as its god)
Elemental Edition
Line number 29

 Gloss note

Cromwell or any ruler relying on the animalic crowd
Elemental Edition
Line number 30

 Gloss note

be thrown suddenly or violently, especially into an undesirable state; fall headlong or plunge; hurry
Elemental Edition
Line number 31

 Gloss note

This line and the next refer to the Christian account of the end of the world when the devil, false prophets, and sinners are all cast into a burning lake of fire (hell). See Revelation 20:10 and 21:8. Sulfur was a substance associated with volcanic regions.
Transcription
Line number 32

 Physical note

written directly above cancelled “ſhall,” in H2
Transcription
Line number 33

 Physical note

trailing descender from “p”above blends into “f”
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

the devil
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