To Astraea

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To Astraea

Poem #23

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 Lara Dodds.

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.
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
To Astrea
To
Gloss Note
the daughter of Aurora, the goddess of dawn or, here, “celestial morn” (l.1); also a classical goddess associated with justice and identified with the constellation Virgo; the last deity to leave Earth, who lived among humans in the Golden Age before fleeing the corruption of the Bronze Age
Astraea
Critical Note
Astraea is the Goddess of Justice. Usually she is identified as the daughter of Eos (or Aurora), the Goddess of the Dawn, and Astraeus. The marginal notes of Sandys’s Ouids Metamorphosis Englished (1632), which according to Alice Eardley was one of Pulter’s sources, offer two versions of Astraea’s parentage: “Iustice the daughter of Iupiter and Themis. Or of Astraeus (who first gaue names to the starres, and therevpon called their father,) and Hemera; that is the Daughter of the day; or Goddesse of civility, because Iustice maketh men ciuill” (p. 4).
To Astraea
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
I have modernized spelling and punctuation and provided glosses of cultural and literary references.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Astraea, a classical goddess traditionally associated with justice but linked elsewhere by Pulter to truth, appears here as a beloved young girl or woman in the lap of her mother Aurora (goddess of dawn). While the speaker admires the glimmering beauty of this tableau, she also anxiously anticipates its dissolution and the departure of Astraea, perhaps as the dawn itself dissolves imperceptibly into the full blaze of day. After all, it was with the passing of earthly time through the soft light of the Golden Age into the brazen corruptions of the Bronze that Astraea first, according to legend, fled from where she ruled on earth into the skies, where the speaker now perceives her—so might she not, facing further signs of worldly “fraud,” flee yet farther off? To forestall this possibility, Pulter proposes a less spectacular but more Protestant form of political sanctuary within the temple of her own heart, where this female figure is daringly granted sole dominion—at least until Astraea and Pulter shall both, as the latter confidently anticipates, be elevated to a still greater station.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Like many of Pulter’s other poems, “To Astraea” is an example of apostrophe, here focused on an address to Astraea, the Goddess of Justice. In Pulter’s manuscript, “To Astraea” directly follows a poem addressed to Aurora, or the Dawn, the mother of Astraea. In that poem, the speaker eagerly invokes the arrival of the mother; here she positions herself in the role of mother, offering shelter to the daughter, who represents both “Truth” (To Aurora [1] [Poem 22], line 18) and Justice. In “To Astraea,” Pulter rewrites the myth of Four Ages of Man as told in the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which makes this poem a good example of Pulter’s creativity in her engagement with classical sources. In Metamorphoses, the departure of Astraea from Earth marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. Astraea is driven from the Earth by the evil of men, and with her departure, humans lose hope of justice. In lines often read as anticipatory of Christ, Virgil’s Eclogue 4 looks forward to Astraea’s return and a revival of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” Pulter’s poem, however, attempts to prevent Astraea’s departure altogether. “To Astraea” positions itself temporally before the separation of humanity from justice; the speaker places herself at Astraea’s birth, praises her for her innocent nakedness, and implores her not to abandon the earth to injustice. The speaker offers her own “breast” as an earthly home for Astraea, and she promises to serve and obey Astraea until both can be translated from this world into an eternity of “glory, joy, and love.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Thou bleſſed Birth of the Celestiall Morn
Thou, blessed birth of the celestial morn
Thou blessed birth of the
Gloss Note
the Dawn, or Aurora. Aurora is an important figure in Pulter’s personal mythography, appearing frequently in her poetry, including in Aurora [1] [Poem 3], To Aurora [Poem 22], and To Aurora [2] [Poem 26], among others.
celestial morn
,
2
Whoſe brighter Limbs noe Gems needs to Adorn
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn:
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn;
3
Thou then apearest most Lovly to o:r Sight
Thou then appear most lovely to our sight
Thou then appearest most lovely to our sight
4
When thou lyest naked in the Lap of Light
When thou lie naked in the lap of light.
When thou liest naked in the lap of light.
5
Sweet Maid though thou art of Celestiall Birth
Sweet maid, though thou art of celestial birth,
Critical Note
This form of address suggests an intimacy between the speaker and the Goddess Astraea. Pulter uses a similar form of address for her daughters (“sweet maidens”) in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2].
Sweet maid
, though thou art of celestial birth,
6
Leave not (ôh leave not) this our Orb of Earth
Leave not (O leave not) this, our orb of Earth.
Critical Note
In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Astraea is described as the last of the immortals to abandon the earth during the Bronze Age. In Sandys’s translation, fear drives her away: “Astraea, last of all the heavenly birth, / Affrighted, leaues the blood-defiled Earth” (p. 4). Pulter’s speaker implores Astraea to remain on earth in spite of her heavenly origins.
Leave not (oh leave not) this our orb of earth
.
7
If fraud Uſurps that thou canst find noe Rest
If fraud usurps, that thou canst find no rest,
If fraud usurps that thou canst find no rest,
8
Then take thy Lodging up in my poor breast
Then take thy lodging up in my poor breast.
Then take thy lodging up
Critical Note
Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue includes a famous reference to the return of Astraea as the forerunner of the return of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” (cited from The Georgics and Eclogues of Virgil, trans. Theodore Chickering Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1915, p. 138). Christian readers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the Emperor Constantine, St. Augustine, and Dante, interpreted this poem as a prophecy of the birth of Christ. Pulter’s speaker suggests that her own “breast” will provide an earthly home for Astraea if “fraud” expels her from the earth.
in my poor breast
.
9
There thou Shalt Monarchiſe and Rule alone
There thou shalt
Gloss Note
rule as a monarch
monarchize
and rule alone,
There thou shalt monarchize and rule alone,
10
None dareing to diſplace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
11
Till Everlasting, Glory, Joy, and Love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
12
Shall us invite to live with them aboue.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

the daughter of Aurora, the goddess of dawn or, here, “celestial morn” (l.1); also a classical goddess associated with justice and identified with the constellation Virgo; the last deity to leave Earth, who lived among humans in the Golden Age before fleeing the corruption of the Bronze Age

 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

Astraea, a classical goddess traditionally associated with justice but linked elsewhere by Pulter to truth, appears here as a beloved young girl or woman in the lap of her mother Aurora (goddess of dawn). While the speaker admires the glimmering beauty of this tableau, she also anxiously anticipates its dissolution and the departure of Astraea, perhaps as the dawn itself dissolves imperceptibly into the full blaze of day. After all, it was with the passing of earthly time through the soft light of the Golden Age into the brazen corruptions of the Bronze that Astraea first, according to legend, fled from where she ruled on earth into the skies, where the speaker now perceives her—so might she not, facing further signs of worldly “fraud,” flee yet farther off? To forestall this possibility, Pulter proposes a less spectacular but more Protestant form of political sanctuary within the temple of her own heart, where this female figure is daringly granted sole dominion—at least until Astraea and Pulter shall both, as the latter confidently anticipates, be elevated to a still greater station.
Line number 9

 Gloss note

rule as a monarch
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
To Astrea
To
Gloss Note
the daughter of Aurora, the goddess of dawn or, here, “celestial morn” (l.1); also a classical goddess associated with justice and identified with the constellation Virgo; the last deity to leave Earth, who lived among humans in the Golden Age before fleeing the corruption of the Bronze Age
Astraea
Critical Note
Astraea is the Goddess of Justice. Usually she is identified as the daughter of Eos (or Aurora), the Goddess of the Dawn, and Astraeus. The marginal notes of Sandys’s Ouids Metamorphosis Englished (1632), which according to Alice Eardley was one of Pulter’s sources, offer two versions of Astraea’s parentage: “Iustice the daughter of Iupiter and Themis. Or of Astraeus (who first gaue names to the starres, and therevpon called their father,) and Hemera; that is the Daughter of the day; or Goddesse of civility, because Iustice maketh men ciuill” (p. 4).
To Astraea
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
I have modernized spelling and punctuation and provided glosses of cultural and literary references.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Astraea, a classical goddess traditionally associated with justice but linked elsewhere by Pulter to truth, appears here as a beloved young girl or woman in the lap of her mother Aurora (goddess of dawn). While the speaker admires the glimmering beauty of this tableau, she also anxiously anticipates its dissolution and the departure of Astraea, perhaps as the dawn itself dissolves imperceptibly into the full blaze of day. After all, it was with the passing of earthly time through the soft light of the Golden Age into the brazen corruptions of the Bronze that Astraea first, according to legend, fled from where she ruled on earth into the skies, where the speaker now perceives her—so might she not, facing further signs of worldly “fraud,” flee yet farther off? To forestall this possibility, Pulter proposes a less spectacular but more Protestant form of political sanctuary within the temple of her own heart, where this female figure is daringly granted sole dominion—at least until Astraea and Pulter shall both, as the latter confidently anticipates, be elevated to a still greater station.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Like many of Pulter’s other poems, “To Astraea” is an example of apostrophe, here focused on an address to Astraea, the Goddess of Justice. In Pulter’s manuscript, “To Astraea” directly follows a poem addressed to Aurora, or the Dawn, the mother of Astraea. In that poem, the speaker eagerly invokes the arrival of the mother; here she positions herself in the role of mother, offering shelter to the daughter, who represents both “Truth” (To Aurora [1] [Poem 22], line 18) and Justice. In “To Astraea,” Pulter rewrites the myth of Four Ages of Man as told in the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which makes this poem a good example of Pulter’s creativity in her engagement with classical sources. In Metamorphoses, the departure of Astraea from Earth marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. Astraea is driven from the Earth by the evil of men, and with her departure, humans lose hope of justice. In lines often read as anticipatory of Christ, Virgil’s Eclogue 4 looks forward to Astraea’s return and a revival of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” Pulter’s poem, however, attempts to prevent Astraea’s departure altogether. “To Astraea” positions itself temporally before the separation of humanity from justice; the speaker places herself at Astraea’s birth, praises her for her innocent nakedness, and implores her not to abandon the earth to injustice. The speaker offers her own “breast” as an earthly home for Astraea, and she promises to serve and obey Astraea until both can be translated from this world into an eternity of “glory, joy, and love.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Thou bleſſed Birth of the Celestiall Morn
Thou, blessed birth of the celestial morn
Thou blessed birth of the
Gloss Note
the Dawn, or Aurora. Aurora is an important figure in Pulter’s personal mythography, appearing frequently in her poetry, including in Aurora [1] [Poem 3], To Aurora [Poem 22], and To Aurora [2] [Poem 26], among others.
celestial morn
,
2
Whoſe brighter Limbs noe Gems needs to Adorn
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn:
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn;
3
Thou then apearest most Lovly to o:r Sight
Thou then appear most lovely to our sight
Thou then appearest most lovely to our sight
4
When thou lyest naked in the Lap of Light
When thou lie naked in the lap of light.
When thou liest naked in the lap of light.
5
Sweet Maid though thou art of Celestiall Birth
Sweet maid, though thou art of celestial birth,
Critical Note
This form of address suggests an intimacy between the speaker and the Goddess Astraea. Pulter uses a similar form of address for her daughters (“sweet maidens”) in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2].
Sweet maid
, though thou art of celestial birth,
6
Leave not (ôh leave not) this our Orb of Earth
Leave not (O leave not) this, our orb of Earth.
Critical Note
In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Astraea is described as the last of the immortals to abandon the earth during the Bronze Age. In Sandys’s translation, fear drives her away: “Astraea, last of all the heavenly birth, / Affrighted, leaues the blood-defiled Earth” (p. 4). Pulter’s speaker implores Astraea to remain on earth in spite of her heavenly origins.
Leave not (oh leave not) this our orb of earth
.
7
If fraud Uſurps that thou canst find noe Rest
If fraud usurps, that thou canst find no rest,
If fraud usurps that thou canst find no rest,
8
Then take thy Lodging up in my poor breast
Then take thy lodging up in my poor breast.
Then take thy lodging up
Critical Note
Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue includes a famous reference to the return of Astraea as the forerunner of the return of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” (cited from The Georgics and Eclogues of Virgil, trans. Theodore Chickering Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1915, p. 138). Christian readers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the Emperor Constantine, St. Augustine, and Dante, interpreted this poem as a prophecy of the birth of Christ. Pulter’s speaker suggests that her own “breast” will provide an earthly home for Astraea if “fraud” expels her from the earth.
in my poor breast
.
9
There thou Shalt Monarchiſe and Rule alone
There thou shalt
Gloss Note
rule as a monarch
monarchize
and rule alone,
There thou shalt monarchize and rule alone,
10
None dareing to diſplace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
11
Till Everlasting, Glory, Joy, and Love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
12
Shall us invite to live with them aboue.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Astraea is the Goddess of Justice. Usually she is identified as the daughter of Eos (or Aurora), the Goddess of the Dawn, and Astraeus. The marginal notes of Sandys’s Ouids Metamorphosis Englished (1632), which according to Alice Eardley was one of Pulter’s sources, offer two versions of Astraea’s parentage: “Iustice the daughter of Iupiter and Themis. Or of Astraeus (who first gaue names to the starres, and therevpon called their father,) and Hemera; that is the Daughter of the day; or Goddesse of civility, because Iustice maketh men ciuill” (p. 4).

 Editorial note

I have modernized spelling and punctuation and provided glosses of cultural and literary references.

 Headnote

Like many of Pulter’s other poems, “To Astraea” is an example of apostrophe, here focused on an address to Astraea, the Goddess of Justice. In Pulter’s manuscript, “To Astraea” directly follows a poem addressed to Aurora, or the Dawn, the mother of Astraea. In that poem, the speaker eagerly invokes the arrival of the mother; here she positions herself in the role of mother, offering shelter to the daughter, who represents both “Truth” (To Aurora [1] [Poem 22], line 18) and Justice. In “To Astraea,” Pulter rewrites the myth of Four Ages of Man as told in the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which makes this poem a good example of Pulter’s creativity in her engagement with classical sources. In Metamorphoses, the departure of Astraea from Earth marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. Astraea is driven from the Earth by the evil of men, and with her departure, humans lose hope of justice. In lines often read as anticipatory of Christ, Virgil’s Eclogue 4 looks forward to Astraea’s return and a revival of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” Pulter’s poem, however, attempts to prevent Astraea’s departure altogether. “To Astraea” positions itself temporally before the separation of humanity from justice; the speaker places herself at Astraea’s birth, praises her for her innocent nakedness, and implores her not to abandon the earth to injustice. The speaker offers her own “breast” as an earthly home for Astraea, and she promises to serve and obey Astraea until both can be translated from this world into an eternity of “glory, joy, and love.”
Line number 1

 Gloss note

the Dawn, or Aurora. Aurora is an important figure in Pulter’s personal mythography, appearing frequently in her poetry, including in Aurora [1] [Poem 3], To Aurora [Poem 22], and To Aurora [2] [Poem 26], among others.
Line number 5

 Critical note

This form of address suggests an intimacy between the speaker and the Goddess Astraea. Pulter uses a similar form of address for her daughters (“sweet maidens”) in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2].
Line number 6

 Critical note

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Astraea is described as the last of the immortals to abandon the earth during the Bronze Age. In Sandys’s translation, fear drives her away: “Astraea, last of all the heavenly birth, / Affrighted, leaues the blood-defiled Earth” (p. 4). Pulter’s speaker implores Astraea to remain on earth in spite of her heavenly origins.
Line number 8

 Critical note

Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue includes a famous reference to the return of Astraea as the forerunner of the return of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” (cited from The Georgics and Eclogues of Virgil, trans. Theodore Chickering Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1915, p. 138). Christian readers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the Emperor Constantine, St. Augustine, and Dante, interpreted this poem as a prophecy of the birth of Christ. Pulter’s speaker suggests that her own “breast” will provide an earthly home for Astraea if “fraud” expels her from the earth.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
To Astrea
To
Gloss Note
the daughter of Aurora, the goddess of dawn or, here, “celestial morn” (l.1); also a classical goddess associated with justice and identified with the constellation Virgo; the last deity to leave Earth, who lived among humans in the Golden Age before fleeing the corruption of the Bronze Age
Astraea
Critical Note
Astraea is the Goddess of Justice. Usually she is identified as the daughter of Eos (or Aurora), the Goddess of the Dawn, and Astraeus. The marginal notes of Sandys’s Ouids Metamorphosis Englished (1632), which according to Alice Eardley was one of Pulter’s sources, offer two versions of Astraea’s parentage: “Iustice the daughter of Iupiter and Themis. Or of Astraeus (who first gaue names to the starres, and therevpon called their father,) and Hemera; that is the Daughter of the day; or Goddesse of civility, because Iustice maketh men ciuill” (p. 4).
To Astraea
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.

— Lara Dodds
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.

— Lara Dodds
I have modernized spelling and punctuation and provided glosses of cultural and literary references.

— Lara Dodds
Astraea, a classical goddess traditionally associated with justice but linked elsewhere by Pulter to truth, appears here as a beloved young girl or woman in the lap of her mother Aurora (goddess of dawn). While the speaker admires the glimmering beauty of this tableau, she also anxiously anticipates its dissolution and the departure of Astraea, perhaps as the dawn itself dissolves imperceptibly into the full blaze of day. After all, it was with the passing of earthly time through the soft light of the Golden Age into the brazen corruptions of the Bronze that Astraea first, according to legend, fled from where she ruled on earth into the skies, where the speaker now perceives her—so might she not, facing further signs of worldly “fraud,” flee yet farther off? To forestall this possibility, Pulter proposes a less spectacular but more Protestant form of political sanctuary within the temple of her own heart, where this female figure is daringly granted sole dominion—at least until Astraea and Pulter shall both, as the latter confidently anticipates, be elevated to a still greater station.

— Lara Dodds
Like many of Pulter’s other poems, “To Astraea” is an example of apostrophe, here focused on an address to Astraea, the Goddess of Justice. In Pulter’s manuscript, “To Astraea” directly follows a poem addressed to Aurora, or the Dawn, the mother of Astraea. In that poem, the speaker eagerly invokes the arrival of the mother; here she positions herself in the role of mother, offering shelter to the daughter, who represents both “Truth” (To Aurora [1] [Poem 22], line 18) and Justice. In “To Astraea,” Pulter rewrites the myth of Four Ages of Man as told in the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which makes this poem a good example of Pulter’s creativity in her engagement with classical sources. In Metamorphoses, the departure of Astraea from Earth marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. Astraea is driven from the Earth by the evil of men, and with her departure, humans lose hope of justice. In lines often read as anticipatory of Christ, Virgil’s Eclogue 4 looks forward to Astraea’s return and a revival of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” Pulter’s poem, however, attempts to prevent Astraea’s departure altogether. “To Astraea” positions itself temporally before the separation of humanity from justice; the speaker places herself at Astraea’s birth, praises her for her innocent nakedness, and implores her not to abandon the earth to injustice. The speaker offers her own “breast” as an earthly home for Astraea, and she promises to serve and obey Astraea until both can be translated from this world into an eternity of “glory, joy, and love.”

— Lara Dodds
1
Thou bleſſed Birth of the Celestiall Morn
Thou, blessed birth of the celestial morn
Thou blessed birth of the
Gloss Note
the Dawn, or Aurora. Aurora is an important figure in Pulter’s personal mythography, appearing frequently in her poetry, including in Aurora [1] [Poem 3], To Aurora [Poem 22], and To Aurora [2] [Poem 26], among others.
celestial morn
,
2
Whoſe brighter Limbs noe Gems needs to Adorn
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn:
Whose brighter limbs no gems needs to adorn;
3
Thou then apearest most Lovly to o:r Sight
Thou then appear most lovely to our sight
Thou then appearest most lovely to our sight
4
When thou lyest naked in the Lap of Light
When thou lie naked in the lap of light.
When thou liest naked in the lap of light.
5
Sweet Maid though thou art of Celestiall Birth
Sweet maid, though thou art of celestial birth,
Critical Note
This form of address suggests an intimacy between the speaker and the Goddess Astraea. Pulter uses a similar form of address for her daughters (“sweet maidens”) in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2].
Sweet maid
, though thou art of celestial birth,
6
Leave not (ôh leave not) this our Orb of Earth
Leave not (O leave not) this, our orb of Earth.
Critical Note
In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Astraea is described as the last of the immortals to abandon the earth during the Bronze Age. In Sandys’s translation, fear drives her away: “Astraea, last of all the heavenly birth, / Affrighted, leaues the blood-defiled Earth” (p. 4). Pulter’s speaker implores Astraea to remain on earth in spite of her heavenly origins.
Leave not (oh leave not) this our orb of earth
.
7
If fraud Uſurps that thou canst find noe Rest
If fraud usurps, that thou canst find no rest,
If fraud usurps that thou canst find no rest,
8
Then take thy Lodging up in my poor breast
Then take thy lodging up in my poor breast.
Then take thy lodging up
Critical Note
Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue includes a famous reference to the return of Astraea as the forerunner of the return of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” (cited from The Georgics and Eclogues of Virgil, trans. Theodore Chickering Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1915, p. 138). Christian readers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the Emperor Constantine, St. Augustine, and Dante, interpreted this poem as a prophecy of the birth of Christ. Pulter’s speaker suggests that her own “breast” will provide an earthly home for Astraea if “fraud” expels her from the earth.
in my poor breast
.
9
There thou Shalt Monarchiſe and Rule alone
There thou shalt
Gloss Note
rule as a monarch
monarchize
and rule alone,
There thou shalt monarchize and rule alone,
10
None dareing to diſplace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
None daring to displace thee from thy throne
11
Till Everlasting, Glory, Joy, and Love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
Till everlasting glory, joy, and love
12
Shall us invite to live with them aboue.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
Shall us invite to live with them above.
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Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

the daughter of Aurora, the goddess of dawn or, here, “celestial morn” (l.1); also a classical goddess associated with justice and identified with the constellation Virgo; the last deity to leave Earth, who lived among humans in the Golden Age before fleeing the corruption of the Bronze Age
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Astraea is the Goddess of Justice. Usually she is identified as the daughter of Eos (or Aurora), the Goddess of the Dawn, and Astraeus. The marginal notes of Sandys’s Ouids Metamorphosis Englished (1632), which according to Alice Eardley was one of Pulter’s sources, offer two versions of Astraea’s parentage: “Iustice the daughter of Iupiter and Themis. Or of Astraeus (who first gaue names to the starres, and therevpon called their father,) and Hemera; that is the Daughter of the day; or Goddesse of civility, because Iustice maketh men ciuill” (p. 4).
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

I have modernized spelling and punctuation and provided glosses of cultural and literary references.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Astraea, a classical goddess traditionally associated with justice but linked elsewhere by Pulter to truth, appears here as a beloved young girl or woman in the lap of her mother Aurora (goddess of dawn). While the speaker admires the glimmering beauty of this tableau, she also anxiously anticipates its dissolution and the departure of Astraea, perhaps as the dawn itself dissolves imperceptibly into the full blaze of day. After all, it was with the passing of earthly time through the soft light of the Golden Age into the brazen corruptions of the Bronze that Astraea first, according to legend, fled from where she ruled on earth into the skies, where the speaker now perceives her—so might she not, facing further signs of worldly “fraud,” flee yet farther off? To forestall this possibility, Pulter proposes a less spectacular but more Protestant form of political sanctuary within the temple of her own heart, where this female figure is daringly granted sole dominion—at least until Astraea and Pulter shall both, as the latter confidently anticipates, be elevated to a still greater station.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Like many of Pulter’s other poems, “To Astraea” is an example of apostrophe, here focused on an address to Astraea, the Goddess of Justice. In Pulter’s manuscript, “To Astraea” directly follows a poem addressed to Aurora, or the Dawn, the mother of Astraea. In that poem, the speaker eagerly invokes the arrival of the mother; here she positions herself in the role of mother, offering shelter to the daughter, who represents both “Truth” (To Aurora [1] [Poem 22], line 18) and Justice. In “To Astraea,” Pulter rewrites the myth of Four Ages of Man as told in the first book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which makes this poem a good example of Pulter’s creativity in her engagement with classical sources. In Metamorphoses, the departure of Astraea from Earth marks the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age. Astraea is driven from the Earth by the evil of men, and with her departure, humans lose hope of justice. In lines often read as anticipatory of Christ, Virgil’s Eclogue 4 looks forward to Astraea’s return and a revival of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” Pulter’s poem, however, attempts to prevent Astraea’s departure altogether. “To Astraea” positions itself temporally before the separation of humanity from justice; the speaker places herself at Astraea’s birth, praises her for her innocent nakedness, and implores her not to abandon the earth to injustice. The speaker offers her own “breast” as an earthly home for Astraea, and she promises to serve and obey Astraea until both can be translated from this world into an eternity of “glory, joy, and love.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

the Dawn, or Aurora. Aurora is an important figure in Pulter’s personal mythography, appearing frequently in her poetry, including in Aurora [1] [Poem 3], To Aurora [Poem 22], and To Aurora [2] [Poem 26], among others.
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

This form of address suggests an intimacy between the speaker and the Goddess Astraea. Pulter uses a similar form of address for her daughters (“sweet maidens”) in The Invitation to the Country [Poem 2].
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Astraea is described as the last of the immortals to abandon the earth during the Bronze Age. In Sandys’s translation, fear drives her away: “Astraea, last of all the heavenly birth, / Affrighted, leaues the blood-defiled Earth” (p. 4). Pulter’s speaker implores Astraea to remain on earth in spite of her heavenly origins.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue includes a famous reference to the return of Astraea as the forerunner of the return of the Golden Age: “Once more the Virgin comes and Saturn’s reign, / Behold a heaven-born offspring earthward hies!” (cited from The Georgics and Eclogues of Virgil, trans. Theodore Chickering Williams. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1915, p. 138). Christian readers of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, including the Emperor Constantine, St. Augustine, and Dante, interpreted this poem as a prophecy of the birth of Christ. Pulter’s speaker suggests that her own “breast” will provide an earthly home for Astraea if “fraud” expels her from the earth.
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

rule as a monarch
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