To Aurora [1]

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To Aurora [1]

Poem 22

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.
Line number 12

 Physical note

“h” erased and “e” struck-through twice with vertical lines, then covered with “a”
Line number 15

 Physical note

“ck” written in darker ink over other letters; imperfectly erased “k” visible after
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 Aurora [1]
To Aurora [1]
To Aurora
Physical Note
Pulter’s four other poems named for the dawn are poems 3, 26, 34, and 37.
[1]
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 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 in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In poetry, lovers often lament daybreak because it disrupts the pleasures afforded by night. Pulter is instead drawn to the beauty, power, and virtue of Aurora (goddess of the dawn), here and throughout the collection. In this poem she uses apostrophe to urge Aurora to unite in military solidarity with the speaker and Aurora’s daughter (Truth) so as to conquer the hellish miseries of conscience unleashed at night. While other Pulter poems dwell on the details of Aurora’s physical appearance, here the speaker merely mentions the beauty of this virginal naked maid who paradoxically has a daughter, Astraea (whom Pulter imagines as Truth, rather than the traditional allegorical association with Justice). The poem is marked by a sudden reflexive moment, when the speaker suddenly doubts her own claims of innocence and uses her soul searching as a more urgent reason for these personified female figures to enlighten the darkness that still exists at the end of the poem.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
“To Aurora [1]” is one of several poems by Pulter about or addressed to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. The figure of Aurora is important in Pulter’s mythography, appearing as well in "Aletheia’s Pearl" (Poem 32). In “To Aurora [1]” the speaker situates herself between night and day. She implores Aurora to arrive and drive away the Night, which, rather than offering rest, is a time when the speaker is forced to contemplate her sinful state. This poem can be usefully read in the context of the aubade. In the best known English examples of this tradition, such as Donne’s “The Sun Rising” or Juliet’s speech in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, heterosexual lovers desire to arrest the dawn. Pulter’s poem, by contrast, invites Aurora (and her daughter Astraea, the goddess of justice) to join her. These two female figures are the speaker’s “eternal friends,” and she demands that they rescue her from darkness, uncertainty, and doubt.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Faire Roſie Virgin when wilt though Ariſe
Gloss Note
Aurora, goddess of dawn
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou arise
Critical Note
Pulter alludes to the Homeric epithet (“rosy-fingered”) in her address to Aurora, the Roman personification of the dawn. In Greek, Aurora is known as Eos. See Hesiod, Theogony, lines 371-382. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aurora appears as an aggressive lover (7.690-758.) and the wife of a human husband who is granted immortality but not eternal youth (9.418-38).
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou
Critical Note
“To Aurora [1]” is an example of an aubade, or dawn song. The best known English example is John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” in which the speaker expresses regret that the dawn brings an end to time with his lover. Pulter’s speaker, by contrast, eagerly anticipates the dawn’s arrival.
arise
2
And Shew the Raidient Luster of thine eyes
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
3
Could’st thou but onely view and not expell
Couldst thou but only view and not expel
Could’st thou but only view and not expel
4
This uglie Hag, though would’st trample her to Hell
This ugly hag, thou wouldst trample her to hell.
This ugly hag, thou would’st trample her to Hell.
5
Old Night (I meane) with her infernall brood
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal
Critical Note
children; Night (or Nyx) a primordial deity, whose children included Death (Thanatos), Sleep (Hypnos), and the three Fates
brood
,
Critical Note
Reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. Night is the daughter of Chaos and is “old” because she was among the first of the gods (see also Milton, Paradise Lost, “eldest Night” [2.894]). Her offspring include Aether and Day as well as the “infernal brood”: the three Fates, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, and Woe, among others. See Hesiod, Theogony ll.116-38 and ll. 211-25.
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal brood
,
6
Who make mens miſeries their accurſed food
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
7
Did guilty onely ſuffer, I would ceaſe
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
8
Theſe Sad complaints, and ever hold my peace
These sad complaints and ever hold my peace.
These sad
Critical Note
the act of complaining or utterance of grief and, more specifically, a plaintive poem (OED, “complaint,” n.,1; 2b.). Pulter’s speaker promises to “cease these sad complaints” (a phrase which may refer specifically to her invocation of Aurora or more generally to the poetry of the manuscript) if suffering were restricted to the guilty. The speaker’s speculation about guilt and innocence prompts a notable shift in register. The speaker interrupts her apostrophe to Aurora to challenge her own status as speaker with self-reflexive questions (“What do I mean? / For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?”) that trouble the confident invocation of Aurora that begins and ends the poem.
complaints
and ever hold my peace,
9
Though Innocence I hould Still in my brest
Though Innocence I hold still in my breast,
Though innocence I hold still in my breast;
10
Yet Shee (Aye mee) diſturbs my quiet Rest
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest.
Gloss Note
She is Night, who, through her children, brings pain and suffering rather than “rest.”
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest
.
11
But I forget my Selfe what doe I meane
But I forget myself; what do I mean?
But I forget myself. What do I mean?
12
ffor who
Physical Note
“h” erased and “e” struck-through twice with vertical lines, then covered with “a”
(hoa las)
can Say their hart is cleane
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
13
Come then Sweet mayd with thine imortall iſſue
Come then, sweet maid, with thine immortal
Critical Note
child; Aurora’s daughter is Astraea, goddess of justice; here Pulter associates her with “Truth” (final line)
issue
,
Come, then,
Critical Note
Pulter continues to address Aurora as a virgin (“maid”) while also identifying her as a mother. Her “immortal issue” is Astraea, the goddess of justice (see also "To Astraea" (Poem 23)). Astraea’s appearance is associated with the return of the Golden Age, most notably in Virgil’s Eclogue IV.
sweet maid with thine immortal issue
,
14
Who for A vayle noe Bodkin needs nor tiſſew
Who for a veil no bodkin needs, nor tissue
Who for a veil no
Gloss Note
a pin used to fasten hair or, as here, a veil (OED, “bodkin,” n, 3a.)
bodkin
needs, nor tissue
15
Her Alablaster
Physical Note
“ck” written in darker ink over other letters; imperfectly erased “k” visible after
ffabrick
to invest
Gloss Note
Aurora’s beauty means that she does not require a “bodkin” (or pin for adorning hair), nor “tissue” (rich cloth) to “invest” (or clothe) her already white skin (“alabaster fabric”).
Her alabaster fabric to invest
;
Her
Gloss Note
a translucent white stone; figuratively white skin (OED, “alabaster,” n, 1; adj.,1); Aurora’s “alabaster fabric” does not require a veil or “tissue” (rich cloth interwoven with gold or silver thread, OED “tissue,” n.,1a) to ornament it, but is most beautiful in its naked state.
alabaster
fabric to invest,
16
ffor in her naked bevty Shee Shews best
For in her naked beauty she shows best.
For in her naked beauty she shows best;
17
Com then and Conquer theſe infernall ffeinds:
Come then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
Come, then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
18
Swet Light and Truth, my two Eternall ffriends.
Sweet Light and Truth, my two eternal friends.
Critical Note
Pulter’s speaker addresses Aurora and Astraea as Light and Truth respectively, which suggests that Truth is a quality of Justice just as Light is a quality of the Dawn.
Sweet Light and Truth
, my two eternal friends.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

In poetry, lovers often lament daybreak because it disrupts the pleasures afforded by night. Pulter is instead drawn to the beauty, power, and virtue of Aurora (goddess of the dawn), here and throughout the collection. In this poem she uses apostrophe to urge Aurora to unite in military solidarity with the speaker and Aurora’s daughter (Truth) so as to conquer the hellish miseries of conscience unleashed at night. While other Pulter poems dwell on the details of Aurora’s physical appearance, here the speaker merely mentions the beauty of this virginal naked maid who paradoxically has a daughter, Astraea (whom Pulter imagines as Truth, rather than the traditional allegorical association with Justice). The poem is marked by a sudden reflexive moment, when the speaker suddenly doubts her own claims of innocence and uses her soul searching as a more urgent reason for these personified female figures to enlighten the darkness that still exists at the end of the poem.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Aurora, goddess of dawn
Line number 5

 Critical note

children; Night (or Nyx) a primordial deity, whose children included Death (Thanatos), Sleep (Hypnos), and the three Fates
Line number 13

 Critical note

child; Aurora’s daughter is Astraea, goddess of justice; here Pulter associates her with “Truth” (final line)
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Aurora’s beauty means that she does not require a “bodkin” (or pin for adorning hair), nor “tissue” (rich cloth) to “invest” (or clothe) her already white skin (“alabaster fabric”).
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 Aurora [1]
To Aurora [1]
To Aurora
Physical Note
Pulter’s four other poems named for the dawn are poems 3, 26, 34, and 37.
[1]
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 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 in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In poetry, lovers often lament daybreak because it disrupts the pleasures afforded by night. Pulter is instead drawn to the beauty, power, and virtue of Aurora (goddess of the dawn), here and throughout the collection. In this poem she uses apostrophe to urge Aurora to unite in military solidarity with the speaker and Aurora’s daughter (Truth) so as to conquer the hellish miseries of conscience unleashed at night. While other Pulter poems dwell on the details of Aurora’s physical appearance, here the speaker merely mentions the beauty of this virginal naked maid who paradoxically has a daughter, Astraea (whom Pulter imagines as Truth, rather than the traditional allegorical association with Justice). The poem is marked by a sudden reflexive moment, when the speaker suddenly doubts her own claims of innocence and uses her soul searching as a more urgent reason for these personified female figures to enlighten the darkness that still exists at the end of the poem.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
“To Aurora [1]” is one of several poems by Pulter about or addressed to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. The figure of Aurora is important in Pulter’s mythography, appearing as well in "Aletheia’s Pearl" (Poem 32). In “To Aurora [1]” the speaker situates herself between night and day. She implores Aurora to arrive and drive away the Night, which, rather than offering rest, is a time when the speaker is forced to contemplate her sinful state. This poem can be usefully read in the context of the aubade. In the best known English examples of this tradition, such as Donne’s “The Sun Rising” or Juliet’s speech in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, heterosexual lovers desire to arrest the dawn. Pulter’s poem, by contrast, invites Aurora (and her daughter Astraea, the goddess of justice) to join her. These two female figures are the speaker’s “eternal friends,” and she demands that they rescue her from darkness, uncertainty, and doubt.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Faire Roſie Virgin when wilt though Ariſe
Gloss Note
Aurora, goddess of dawn
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou arise
Critical Note
Pulter alludes to the Homeric epithet (“rosy-fingered”) in her address to Aurora, the Roman personification of the dawn. In Greek, Aurora is known as Eos. See Hesiod, Theogony, lines 371-382. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aurora appears as an aggressive lover (7.690-758.) and the wife of a human husband who is granted immortality but not eternal youth (9.418-38).
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou
Critical Note
“To Aurora [1]” is an example of an aubade, or dawn song. The best known English example is John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” in which the speaker expresses regret that the dawn brings an end to time with his lover. Pulter’s speaker, by contrast, eagerly anticipates the dawn’s arrival.
arise
2
And Shew the Raidient Luster of thine eyes
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
3
Could’st thou but onely view and not expell
Couldst thou but only view and not expel
Could’st thou but only view and not expel
4
This uglie Hag, though would’st trample her to Hell
This ugly hag, thou wouldst trample her to hell.
This ugly hag, thou would’st trample her to Hell.
5
Old Night (I meane) with her infernall brood
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal
Critical Note
children; Night (or Nyx) a primordial deity, whose children included Death (Thanatos), Sleep (Hypnos), and the three Fates
brood
,
Critical Note
Reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. Night is the daughter of Chaos and is “old” because she was among the first of the gods (see also Milton, Paradise Lost, “eldest Night” [2.894]). Her offspring include Aether and Day as well as the “infernal brood”: the three Fates, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, and Woe, among others. See Hesiod, Theogony ll.116-38 and ll. 211-25.
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal brood
,
6
Who make mens miſeries their accurſed food
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
7
Did guilty onely ſuffer, I would ceaſe
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
8
Theſe Sad complaints, and ever hold my peace
These sad complaints and ever hold my peace.
These sad
Critical Note
the act of complaining or utterance of grief and, more specifically, a plaintive poem (OED, “complaint,” n.,1; 2b.). Pulter’s speaker promises to “cease these sad complaints” (a phrase which may refer specifically to her invocation of Aurora or more generally to the poetry of the manuscript) if suffering were restricted to the guilty. The speaker’s speculation about guilt and innocence prompts a notable shift in register. The speaker interrupts her apostrophe to Aurora to challenge her own status as speaker with self-reflexive questions (“What do I mean? / For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?”) that trouble the confident invocation of Aurora that begins and ends the poem.
complaints
and ever hold my peace,
9
Though Innocence I hould Still in my brest
Though Innocence I hold still in my breast,
Though innocence I hold still in my breast;
10
Yet Shee (Aye mee) diſturbs my quiet Rest
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest.
Gloss Note
She is Night, who, through her children, brings pain and suffering rather than “rest.”
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest
.
11
But I forget my Selfe what doe I meane
But I forget myself; what do I mean?
But I forget myself. What do I mean?
12
ffor who
Physical Note
“h” erased and “e” struck-through twice with vertical lines, then covered with “a”
(hoa las)
can Say their hart is cleane
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
13
Come then Sweet mayd with thine imortall iſſue
Come then, sweet maid, with thine immortal
Critical Note
child; Aurora’s daughter is Astraea, goddess of justice; here Pulter associates her with “Truth” (final line)
issue
,
Come, then,
Critical Note
Pulter continues to address Aurora as a virgin (“maid”) while also identifying her as a mother. Her “immortal issue” is Astraea, the goddess of justice (see also "To Astraea" (Poem 23)). Astraea’s appearance is associated with the return of the Golden Age, most notably in Virgil’s Eclogue IV.
sweet maid with thine immortal issue
,
14
Who for A vayle noe Bodkin needs nor tiſſew
Who for a veil no bodkin needs, nor tissue
Who for a veil no
Gloss Note
a pin used to fasten hair or, as here, a veil (OED, “bodkin,” n, 3a.)
bodkin
needs, nor tissue
15
Her Alablaster
Physical Note
“ck” written in darker ink over other letters; imperfectly erased “k” visible after
ffabrick
to invest
Gloss Note
Aurora’s beauty means that she does not require a “bodkin” (or pin for adorning hair), nor “tissue” (rich cloth) to “invest” (or clothe) her already white skin (“alabaster fabric”).
Her alabaster fabric to invest
;
Her
Gloss Note
a translucent white stone; figuratively white skin (OED, “alabaster,” n, 1; adj.,1); Aurora’s “alabaster fabric” does not require a veil or “tissue” (rich cloth interwoven with gold or silver thread, OED “tissue,” n.,1a) to ornament it, but is most beautiful in its naked state.
alabaster
fabric to invest,
16
ffor in her naked bevty Shee Shews best
For in her naked beauty she shows best.
For in her naked beauty she shows best;
17
Com then and Conquer theſe infernall ffeinds:
Come then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
Come, then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
18
Swet Light and Truth, my two Eternall ffriends.
Sweet Light and Truth, my two eternal friends.
Critical Note
Pulter’s speaker addresses Aurora and Astraea as Light and Truth respectively, which suggests that Truth is a quality of Justice just as Light is a quality of the Dawn.
Sweet Light and Truth
, my two eternal friends.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Physical note

Pulter’s four other poems named for the dawn are poems 3, 26, 34, and 37.

 Editorial note

I have modernized spelling and punctuation in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

 Headnote

“To Aurora [1]” is one of several poems by Pulter about or addressed to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. The figure of Aurora is important in Pulter’s mythography, appearing as well in "Aletheia’s Pearl" (Poem 32). In “To Aurora [1]” the speaker situates herself between night and day. She implores Aurora to arrive and drive away the Night, which, rather than offering rest, is a time when the speaker is forced to contemplate her sinful state. This poem can be usefully read in the context of the aubade. In the best known English examples of this tradition, such as Donne’s “The Sun Rising” or Juliet’s speech in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, heterosexual lovers desire to arrest the dawn. Pulter’s poem, by contrast, invites Aurora (and her daughter Astraea, the goddess of justice) to join her. These two female figures are the speaker’s “eternal friends,” and she demands that they rescue her from darkness, uncertainty, and doubt.
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter alludes to the Homeric epithet (“rosy-fingered”) in her address to Aurora, the Roman personification of the dawn. In Greek, Aurora is known as Eos. See Hesiod, Theogony, lines 371-382. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aurora appears as an aggressive lover (7.690-758.) and the wife of a human husband who is granted immortality but not eternal youth (9.418-38).
Line number 1

 Critical note

“To Aurora [1]” is an example of an aubade, or dawn song. The best known English example is John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” in which the speaker expresses regret that the dawn brings an end to time with his lover. Pulter’s speaker, by contrast, eagerly anticipates the dawn’s arrival.
Line number 5

 Critical note

Reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. Night is the daughter of Chaos and is “old” because she was among the first of the gods (see also Milton, Paradise Lost, “eldest Night” [2.894]). Her offspring include Aether and Day as well as the “infernal brood”: the three Fates, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, and Woe, among others. See Hesiod, Theogony ll.116-38 and ll. 211-25.
Line number 8

 Critical note

the act of complaining or utterance of grief and, more specifically, a plaintive poem (OED, “complaint,” n.,1; 2b.). Pulter’s speaker promises to “cease these sad complaints” (a phrase which may refer specifically to her invocation of Aurora or more generally to the poetry of the manuscript) if suffering were restricted to the guilty. The speaker’s speculation about guilt and innocence prompts a notable shift in register. The speaker interrupts her apostrophe to Aurora to challenge her own status as speaker with self-reflexive questions (“What do I mean? / For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?”) that trouble the confident invocation of Aurora that begins and ends the poem.
Line number 10

 Gloss note

She is Night, who, through her children, brings pain and suffering rather than “rest.”
Line number 13

 Critical note

Pulter continues to address Aurora as a virgin (“maid”) while also identifying her as a mother. Her “immortal issue” is Astraea, the goddess of justice (see also "To Astraea" (Poem 23)). Astraea’s appearance is associated with the return of the Golden Age, most notably in Virgil’s Eclogue IV.
Line number 14

 Gloss note

a pin used to fasten hair or, as here, a veil (OED, “bodkin,” n, 3a.)
Line number 15

 Gloss note

a translucent white stone; figuratively white skin (OED, “alabaster,” n, 1; adj.,1); Aurora’s “alabaster fabric” does not require a veil or “tissue” (rich cloth interwoven with gold or silver thread, OED “tissue,” n.,1a) to ornament it, but is most beautiful in its naked state.
Line number 18

 Critical note

Pulter’s speaker addresses Aurora and Astraea as Light and Truth respectively, which suggests that Truth is a quality of Justice just as Light is a quality of the Dawn.
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 Aurora [1]
To Aurora [1]
To Aurora
Physical Note
Pulter’s four other poems named for the dawn are poems 3, 26, 34, and 37.
[1]
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 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 in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.

— Lara Dodds
In poetry, lovers often lament daybreak because it disrupts the pleasures afforded by night. Pulter is instead drawn to the beauty, power, and virtue of Aurora (goddess of the dawn), here and throughout the collection. In this poem she uses apostrophe to urge Aurora to unite in military solidarity with the speaker and Aurora’s daughter (Truth) so as to conquer the hellish miseries of conscience unleashed at night. While other Pulter poems dwell on the details of Aurora’s physical appearance, here the speaker merely mentions the beauty of this virginal naked maid who paradoxically has a daughter, Astraea (whom Pulter imagines as Truth, rather than the traditional allegorical association with Justice). The poem is marked by a sudden reflexive moment, when the speaker suddenly doubts her own claims of innocence and uses her soul searching as a more urgent reason for these personified female figures to enlighten the darkness that still exists at the end of the poem.

— Lara Dodds
“To Aurora [1]” is one of several poems by Pulter about or addressed to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. The figure of Aurora is important in Pulter’s mythography, appearing as well in "Aletheia’s Pearl" (Poem 32). In “To Aurora [1]” the speaker situates herself between night and day. She implores Aurora to arrive and drive away the Night, which, rather than offering rest, is a time when the speaker is forced to contemplate her sinful state. This poem can be usefully read in the context of the aubade. In the best known English examples of this tradition, such as Donne’s “The Sun Rising” or Juliet’s speech in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, heterosexual lovers desire to arrest the dawn. Pulter’s poem, by contrast, invites Aurora (and her daughter Astraea, the goddess of justice) to join her. These two female figures are the speaker’s “eternal friends,” and she demands that they rescue her from darkness, uncertainty, and doubt.

— Lara Dodds
1
Faire Roſie Virgin when wilt though Ariſe
Gloss Note
Aurora, goddess of dawn
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou arise
Critical Note
Pulter alludes to the Homeric epithet (“rosy-fingered”) in her address to Aurora, the Roman personification of the dawn. In Greek, Aurora is known as Eos. See Hesiod, Theogony, lines 371-382. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aurora appears as an aggressive lover (7.690-758.) and the wife of a human husband who is granted immortality but not eternal youth (9.418-38).
Fair rosy virgin
, when wilt thou
Critical Note
“To Aurora [1]” is an example of an aubade, or dawn song. The best known English example is John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” in which the speaker expresses regret that the dawn brings an end to time with his lover. Pulter’s speaker, by contrast, eagerly anticipates the dawn’s arrival.
arise
2
And Shew the Raidient Luster of thine eyes
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
And show the radiant luster of thine eyes?
3
Could’st thou but onely view and not expell
Couldst thou but only view and not expel
Could’st thou but only view and not expel
4
This uglie Hag, though would’st trample her to Hell
This ugly hag, thou wouldst trample her to hell.
This ugly hag, thou would’st trample her to Hell.
5
Old Night (I meane) with her infernall brood
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal
Critical Note
children; Night (or Nyx) a primordial deity, whose children included Death (Thanatos), Sleep (Hypnos), and the three Fates
brood
,
Critical Note
Reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. Night is the daughter of Chaos and is “old” because she was among the first of the gods (see also Milton, Paradise Lost, “eldest Night” [2.894]). Her offspring include Aether and Day as well as the “infernal brood”: the three Fates, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, and Woe, among others. See Hesiod, Theogony ll.116-38 and ll. 211-25.
Old Night (I mean) with her infernal brood
,
6
Who make mens miſeries their accurſed food
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
Who make men’s miseries their accursed food.
7
Did guilty onely ſuffer, I would ceaſe
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
Did guilty only suffer, I would cease
8
Theſe Sad complaints, and ever hold my peace
These sad complaints and ever hold my peace.
These sad
Critical Note
the act of complaining or utterance of grief and, more specifically, a plaintive poem (OED, “complaint,” n.,1; 2b.). Pulter’s speaker promises to “cease these sad complaints” (a phrase which may refer specifically to her invocation of Aurora or more generally to the poetry of the manuscript) if suffering were restricted to the guilty. The speaker’s speculation about guilt and innocence prompts a notable shift in register. The speaker interrupts her apostrophe to Aurora to challenge her own status as speaker with self-reflexive questions (“What do I mean? / For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?”) that trouble the confident invocation of Aurora that begins and ends the poem.
complaints
and ever hold my peace,
9
Though Innocence I hould Still in my brest
Though Innocence I hold still in my breast,
Though innocence I hold still in my breast;
10
Yet Shee (Aye mee) diſturbs my quiet Rest
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest.
Gloss Note
She is Night, who, through her children, brings pain and suffering rather than “rest.”
Yet she (ay me) disturbs my quiet rest
.
11
But I forget my Selfe what doe I meane
But I forget myself; what do I mean?
But I forget myself. What do I mean?
12
ffor who
Physical Note
“h” erased and “e” struck-through twice with vertical lines, then covered with “a”
(hoa las)
can Say their hart is cleane
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?
13
Come then Sweet mayd with thine imortall iſſue
Come then, sweet maid, with thine immortal
Critical Note
child; Aurora’s daughter is Astraea, goddess of justice; here Pulter associates her with “Truth” (final line)
issue
,
Come, then,
Critical Note
Pulter continues to address Aurora as a virgin (“maid”) while also identifying her as a mother. Her “immortal issue” is Astraea, the goddess of justice (see also "To Astraea" (Poem 23)). Astraea’s appearance is associated with the return of the Golden Age, most notably in Virgil’s Eclogue IV.
sweet maid with thine immortal issue
,
14
Who for A vayle noe Bodkin needs nor tiſſew
Who for a veil no bodkin needs, nor tissue
Who for a veil no
Gloss Note
a pin used to fasten hair or, as here, a veil (OED, “bodkin,” n, 3a.)
bodkin
needs, nor tissue
15
Her Alablaster
Physical Note
“ck” written in darker ink over other letters; imperfectly erased “k” visible after
ffabrick
to invest
Gloss Note
Aurora’s beauty means that she does not require a “bodkin” (or pin for adorning hair), nor “tissue” (rich cloth) to “invest” (or clothe) her already white skin (“alabaster fabric”).
Her alabaster fabric to invest
;
Her
Gloss Note
a translucent white stone; figuratively white skin (OED, “alabaster,” n, 1; adj.,1); Aurora’s “alabaster fabric” does not require a veil or “tissue” (rich cloth interwoven with gold or silver thread, OED “tissue,” n.,1a) to ornament it, but is most beautiful in its naked state.
alabaster
fabric to invest,
16
ffor in her naked bevty Shee Shews best
For in her naked beauty she shows best.
For in her naked beauty she shows best;
17
Com then and Conquer theſe infernall ffeinds:
Come then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
Come, then, and conquer these infernal fiends,
18
Swet Light and Truth, my two Eternall ffriends.
Sweet Light and Truth, my two eternal friends.
Critical Note
Pulter’s speaker addresses Aurora and Astraea as Light and Truth respectively, which suggests that Truth is a quality of Justice just as Light is a quality of the Dawn.
Sweet Light and Truth
, my two eternal friends.
curled line
X (Close panel) All Notes
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Physical note

Pulter’s four other poems named for the dawn are poems 3, 26, 34, and 37.
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 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 in this poem with the aim of enhancing clarity and readability. The notes gloss unfamiliar words and provide cultural and literary contexts.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

In poetry, lovers often lament daybreak because it disrupts the pleasures afforded by night. Pulter is instead drawn to the beauty, power, and virtue of Aurora (goddess of the dawn), here and throughout the collection. In this poem she uses apostrophe to urge Aurora to unite in military solidarity with the speaker and Aurora’s daughter (Truth) so as to conquer the hellish miseries of conscience unleashed at night. While other Pulter poems dwell on the details of Aurora’s physical appearance, here the speaker merely mentions the beauty of this virginal naked maid who paradoxically has a daughter, Astraea (whom Pulter imagines as Truth, rather than the traditional allegorical association with Justice). The poem is marked by a sudden reflexive moment, when the speaker suddenly doubts her own claims of innocence and uses her soul searching as a more urgent reason for these personified female figures to enlighten the darkness that still exists at the end of the poem.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

“To Aurora [1]” is one of several poems by Pulter about or addressed to Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. The figure of Aurora is important in Pulter’s mythography, appearing as well in "Aletheia’s Pearl" (Poem 32). In “To Aurora [1]” the speaker situates herself between night and day. She implores Aurora to arrive and drive away the Night, which, rather than offering rest, is a time when the speaker is forced to contemplate her sinful state. This poem can be usefully read in the context of the aubade. In the best known English examples of this tradition, such as Donne’s “The Sun Rising” or Juliet’s speech in Act 2 of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, heterosexual lovers desire to arrest the dawn. Pulter’s poem, by contrast, invites Aurora (and her daughter Astraea, the goddess of justice) to join her. These two female figures are the speaker’s “eternal friends,” and she demands that they rescue her from darkness, uncertainty, and doubt.
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Aurora, goddess of dawn
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Pulter alludes to the Homeric epithet (“rosy-fingered”) in her address to Aurora, the Roman personification of the dawn. In Greek, Aurora is known as Eos. See Hesiod, Theogony, lines 371-382. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Aurora appears as an aggressive lover (7.690-758.) and the wife of a human husband who is granted immortality but not eternal youth (9.418-38).
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

“To Aurora [1]” is an example of an aubade, or dawn song. The best known English example is John Donne’s “The Sun Rising,” in which the speaker expresses regret that the dawn brings an end to time with his lover. Pulter’s speaker, by contrast, eagerly anticipates the dawn’s arrival.
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

children; Night (or Nyx) a primordial deity, whose children included Death (Thanatos), Sleep (Hypnos), and the three Fates
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

Reference to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. Night is the daughter of Chaos and is “old” because she was among the first of the gods (see also Milton, Paradise Lost, “eldest Night” [2.894]). Her offspring include Aether and Day as well as the “infernal brood”: the three Fates, Death, Sleep, Dreams, Blame, and Woe, among others. See Hesiod, Theogony ll.116-38 and ll. 211-25.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

the act of complaining or utterance of grief and, more specifically, a plaintive poem (OED, “complaint,” n.,1; 2b.). Pulter’s speaker promises to “cease these sad complaints” (a phrase which may refer specifically to her invocation of Aurora or more generally to the poetry of the manuscript) if suffering were restricted to the guilty. The speaker’s speculation about guilt and innocence prompts a notable shift in register. The speaker interrupts her apostrophe to Aurora to challenge her own status as speaker with self-reflexive questions (“What do I mean? / For who (alas) can say their heart is clean?”) that trouble the confident invocation of Aurora that begins and ends the poem.
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

She is Night, who, through her children, brings pain and suffering rather than “rest.”
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“h” erased and “e” struck-through twice with vertical lines, then covered with “a”
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Critical note

child; Aurora’s daughter is Astraea, goddess of justice; here Pulter associates her with “Truth” (final line)
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Critical note

Pulter continues to address Aurora as a virgin (“maid”) while also identifying her as a mother. Her “immortal issue” is Astraea, the goddess of justice (see also "To Astraea" (Poem 23)). Astraea’s appearance is associated with the return of the Golden Age, most notably in Virgil’s Eclogue IV.
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

a pin used to fasten hair or, as here, a veil (OED, “bodkin,” n, 3a.)
Transcription
Line number 15

 Physical note

“ck” written in darker ink over other letters; imperfectly erased “k” visible after
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Aurora’s beauty means that she does not require a “bodkin” (or pin for adorning hair), nor “tissue” (rich cloth) to “invest” (or clothe) her already white skin (“alabaster fabric”).
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

a translucent white stone; figuratively white skin (OED, “alabaster,” n, 1; adj.,1); Aurora’s “alabaster fabric” does not require a veil or “tissue” (rich cloth interwoven with gold or silver thread, OED “tissue,” n.,1a) to ornament it, but is most beautiful in its naked state.
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

Pulter’s speaker addresses Aurora and Astraea as Light and Truth respectively, which suggests that Truth is a quality of Justice just as Light is a quality of the Dawn.
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