To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, they Being at London, I at Broadfield

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To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, they Being at London, I at Broadfield

Poem 38

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 Victoria E. Burke.

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
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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 1

 Physical note

“n” written over “v” or “u”; subscript caret below “l”; “lonely” in different hand from main scribe
Line number 7

 Physical note

“y” written over other letter or blotted accidentally
Line number 10

 Physical note

“ns” added later, perhaps over other letter
Line number 12

 Physical note

“e” imperfectly erased
Line number 24

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe
Line number 24

 Physical note

double strike-through
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

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To my Deare, J: P:, M: P:, P: P: they beeing at London, I at Bradfield
To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield
To my Deare,
Critical Note
These initials refer to three of Pulter’s daughters, Jane, Margaret, and Penelope. On fol. 16v of Pulter’s manuscript, a hand different from the main scribe has written the note, “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1.1625. buried oct.8.1645 aet. 20.” The writing of this poem must predate Jane’s death in 1645. Sarah C.E. Ross discovered the names and dates of baptism of ten of Pulter’s children in the Cottered and Great Wymondley parish registers: Jane was baptized in 1625, Margaret in 1629, and Penelope in 1633 (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 113). These three daughters were thus all under the age of 21 at the time Pulter wrote the poem.
J: P:, M: P:, P: P:
they beeing at London, I at
Critical Note
Broadfield (or Bradfield) is the name of the estate in the parish of Cottered in Hertfordshire owned by the Pulters. Sir Henry Chauncy’s The historical antiquities of Hertfordshire of 1700 gives the history of the estate, noting that Arthur Pulter retired to Bradfield after the outbreak of the civil war. There he “liv’d a retir’d Life, and thro’ the importunity of his Wife, began to build a very fair House of Brick upon this Mannor, but dying he never finished it” (p. 72). His grandson James Forester ultimately “repaired the Mannor-House, which was much decay’d thro’ the want of finishing it at the time it was built” (p. 74). A fold-out page illustrating the house appears facing p. 73 (though presumably this depicts the house as improved by Forester; see “Broadfield, Hertfordshire” in Curations for this poem). A family tree on p. 73 lists only 11 of Hester and Arthur Pulter’s 15 children.
Bradfield
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
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, colons indicating abbreviations are removed, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader. These notes point out parallels I see with other writers, and particularly women writers, with the aims of placing Pulter in dialogue with ideas explored by other women around this time, and of tracing a kind of female poetic lineage or alternate canon.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this invitation poem, Pulter asks her three young daughters to come home to Broadfield to relieve her sadness. The poem becomes the occasion for her to contrast the deadening pulls of earthly life with the liberatory happiness of heaven. The speaker loosely implies that providing comfort for their mother will create future spiritual blessings for her children. She concludes by imagining her daughter’s deaths as moments of sensual joy, as they are embraced in heaven and their scattered bodily elements reunited. Her opening imperative (“come”) transmutes into a wish for her daughters’ eternal glory. Pulter must have written this poem before Jane’s death in 1645, earlier than many of her other poems.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
At the beginning of this poem the speaker depicts her sadness at being separated from her daughters as a kind of sluggish despair. But she imagines her spirit leaving her body, freely flying to heaven, and playing “at football with the Stars.” Her striking imagery continues as she urges her daughters to follow her to the place where Truth will throw them into Mercy’s soft arms, watched over by Providence and Love, and where they will live in glory forever.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Come my Deare Children to this
Physical Note
“n” written over “v” or “u”; subscript caret below “l”; “lonely” in different hand from main scribe
Lon^elylonely
Place,
Come,
Critical Note
Jane, Margaret, and Penelope were three of Hester’s fifteen children; they are referenced by Pulter in the title in her manuscript only by their initials (J. P., M. P., P. P.), which we have expanded in this edition; Broadfield is the name of her estate in Hertfordshire, a county north of London.
my dear children
, to this lonely place,
Come my Deare Children to this
Critical Note
“lonely” is added in superscript by a different hand, replacing a partially altered version of the word in the main hand.
lonely
Place,
2
Where Grayes coole, Stupifying Spring, doth Trace,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring “traced,” or passed, along the grounds of Broadfield; identified by Henry Chauncy (in Historical Antiquities, according to Eardley) as an example of a petrifying spring that slowly encrusts living things in a layer of minerals, thereby “stupefying” them (deadening, immobilizing, or rendering them stupid or insensible).
Where Gray’s cool, stupefying spring doth trace.
Where Grayes coole,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring (or “Fount,” l. 3), was likely one of the “petrifying Springs in the Grounds of Broadfeld, and in the Parish of Clothall, which crust things that are laid in them, without Penetration,” mentioned in Chauncy’s 1826 edition of The Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. 1, p. 12 (see Alice Eardley, ed., Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014], pp. 53-54, note 50, where she explains that the springs seem to slowly turn things to stone by coating them in thin layers of minerals). The paradox of a moving spring that turns things to stone is a powerful image of deadened movement that captures the speaker’s lonely, sluggish despair.
Stupifying Spring
, doth
Gloss Note
take its course
Trace
,
3
Trust mee I think, I of this ffount pertake;
Trust me, I think I of this fount partake;
Trust mee I think, I of this Fount pertake;
4
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad fancies make:
I am so dull and such sad
Gloss Note
imaginings, inventions
fancies
make.
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad
Gloss Note
imaginings or inventions
fancies
make:
5
Nor can the Quintiſsence of Bacchus Liquor,
Nor can the
Gloss Note
essence
quintessence
of
Gloss Note
god of wine’s
Bacchus’s
liquor,
Nor can the
Critical Note
“quintessence” (a refined essence or extract) and “elixir” (l. 6) are terms associated with alchemy, a discourse that heavily influenced Pulter. Another royalist poet, Jane Cavendish, uses alchemical discourse and the term “quintessence” several times in her poetry, which was written during the 1640s. For example, in her poem “The Quinticens of Cordiall” (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, edited by Marie-Louise Coolahan, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 90), the poet celebrates her sister’s presence, which soothes Cavendish as they both suffer from the absence of their father, William Cavendish, then Marquis of Newcastle (see “Alchemical Quintessence” in Curations for this poem).
Quintissence
of
Critical Note
Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, so Pulter is saying that neither alcohol nor an alchemical drug (“the Elixer”) can enliven her spirit; instead both of these earthly liquids are merely “Gross [dense, thick, or material as opposed to spiritual] extractions” (l. 7) that upset her.
Bacchus Liquor
,
6
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit quicker.
Nor the
Gloss Note
drug that could prolong life, imagined by alchemists to be closely related to “the philosopher’s stone,” the magical preparation that could change metals into gold and grant humans immortality; an all-purpose remedy for disease.
elixir
make my spirit
Gloss Note
more animated
quicker
.
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit
Gloss Note
more alive
quicker
.
7
Thoſe Groſs extractions doth
Physical Note
“y” written over other letter or blotted accidentally
my
thoughts annoy;
Those
Gloss Note
physical, material
gross
extractions doth my thoughts annoy:
Those Gross extractions doth my thoughts annoy;
8
Tis fasting fancies are my Souls Sole Joy.
’Tis fasting;
Gloss Note
Because she values “fancies” (the imagination), liquors and elixirs are as appealing to her as fasting, or abstaining from food.
fancies
are my soul’s sole joy.
Tis fasting
Critical Note
Unlike the “Sad fancies” (l. 4) or thoughts she imagines in her present state of loneliness, the “fasting fancies” that her spirit conjures without any liquid help from wine or potions are a source of joy. “Fancies” is a word that Margaret Cavendish uses frequently when she writes of the power of poetic creativity (see her collection Poems, and fancies [1653]). For example, see the description of fancy in “Poets have most Pleasure in this Life,” ll. 1-10, in see “Poetic Fancies” in Curations for this poem.
fancies
are my Souls Sole Joy.
9
When my freed Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
When my freed soul flies to her place of birth,
When my
Critical Note
Pulter writes about her freed or “enfranchised” soul or spirit ultimately returning to heaven in several poems, such as "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), ll. 16-20.
freed
Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
10
Then am I braue, my foot then
Physical Note
“ns” added later, perhaps over other letter
Spurns
this earth.
Then am I brave, my foot then spurns this earth.
Then am I braue, my foot then Spurns this earth.
11
My mind being raiſ’d, aboue theſe Worldly Jars;
My mind being raised above these worldly
Gloss Note
disputes, strifes
jars
,
My mind being rais’d, aboue these
Gloss Note
earthly discords and strifes
Worldly Jars
;
12
Mee thinks I play at football
Physical Note
“e” imperfectly erased
withe
the Stars.
Methinks I play at football with the stars.
Mee thinks I play at
Critical Note
Football, the game played between two teams involving the kicking or handling of a ball, has been played since the medieval period, but its rules were not codified until the nineteenth century (OED 1). While some early modern writers depicted it as a blameless though vigorous form of exercise (such as James Hart: “some exercises are valid and strong, and some more mild and easy. Strong and violent exercises are wrestling, foot ball play, and the like, which are sparingly to be used”; Klinike, or The diet of the diseased [1633], p. 214), others condemned it (such as William Whately, who listed “Dangerous and mischieuous sports, as football, &c.” in his A pithie, short, and methodicall opening of the Ten Commandements [1622], p. 144). Famously, Kent trips Goneril’s steward Oswald and scornfully calls him “you base foot-ball player” in King Lear (1.4.84; edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden edition, Routledge, 1972, p. 38). Writers also used the image of a football to describe the earth. In a chapter called “Of the commerce of the air with the other Elements,” Gideon Harvey compares the earth to a “small footbal” which the air might “toss” out of its place in the heavens, were the air’s energy not “much refracted through having its Centre (upon which all its strength doth consist) divided into that dimension, which the Circumference of earth and water do make” (Archelogia philosophica nova, or New principles of philosophy [1663], p. 352). Margaret Cavendish uses sporting metaphors in her discussion of Descartes’s opinion about motion. She writes, “Wherefore as all other Mechanicks do not derive their Arts from Turners, so neither is it probable, that this world and all natural Creatures are produced by a whirling Motion, or a spherical rotation, as if some spirits were playing at Bowls or Football; for as I have often mentioned, Nature has infinite ways of Motions, whereof none is prime or principal, but self-motion, which is the producer of all the varieties Nature has within her self” (Observations upon experimental philosophy [1666], p. 50). Pulter’s use of the term football also raises the issue of how common it might have been for girls and women to play the game. In his comedy The bird in a cage (1633), James Shirley depicts the earth as a football, but also denies the possibility of women playing football, and uses it as an occasion for some smutty puns (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in Curations for this poem). And Thomas Killigrew in his tragi-comedy The first part of Cicilia & Clorinda, Or, Love in arms (1664; though written between 1650 and 1652 according to J.P. Vander Motten’s ODNB article) has a prince of Lombardy complain of a princess of Savoy, “She will play at foot-ball, thresh, and hew woods, as well as her Brother; Alass, Sir, ’tis not there as in Rome, and the Eastern World, where the Women are soft, bred nice, and full of tender thoughts; Here is no difference betwixt the Sexes” (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in “Curations” for this poem). Pulter’s image of her mind and “foot” (l. 10) bravely spurning the earth to play football with the stars suggests several readings. She may be kicking the stars as if they are footballs, or she may be kicking the football earth alongside the personified stars or planets, her teammates or opponents. It’s a startling image of joy or defiance that contrasts her misery on earth.
football
with the
Critical Note
Anne Southwell similarly conjures a whimsical image of a female speaker investigating the heavens in her elegy to Cicely Ridgway, Countess of Londonderry, when she imagines the Countess’s spirit flying among the planets. Southwell wants to know “whether the starrs be Knobbs uppon the spheres? / Or shredds compos’d of Phoebus goulden hayres? / Or whether th’Ayre be as a cloudy siue [i.e., sieve]? / the starrs be holes through which the good soules driue?” (“An Elegie written by the Lady A:S: to the Countesse of London Derrye,” ll. 29-32; The Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book: Folger MS. V.b.198, edited by Jean Klene, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, p. 25).
Stars
.
13
Contemning all theſe Garish empty toyes,
Gloss Note
viewing with contempt
Contemning
all these garish, empty
Gloss Note
trivial things
toys
,
Gloss Note
despising or scorning
Contemning
all these Garish
Gloss Note
worldly trifles
empty toyes
,
14
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
My thoughts are fixed on true celestial joys.
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
15
Come then, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
Come then,
Gloss Note
enliven, make cheerful
exhilarate
my drooping spirit:
Critical Note
Pulter turns to address her daughters again, echoing line 1 (“Come my Deare Children … Come then”), recalling her echoed address in “Tell Me No More [On the Same]” (Poem 11). In that poem, the phrase "Tell mee noe more" is repeated at the beginning of lines 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 23, and 37.
Come then
, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
16
Soe may you thoſe eternall Joyes inherit:
So may you those eternal joys inherit;
Critical Note
There is a page break after line 16, and the catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page. The scribe’s use of catchwords suggests that he or she is imitating the appearance of printed books which used catchwords in the lower right corners of pages to guide binders who had to fold, cut, and arrange individual pages from larger sheets to ensure they were bound in the correct order. Compilers of manuscripts would likely have written in quires of blank leaves, and so would not have needed to use catchwords for any structural purpose.
Soe
may you those eternall Joyes inherit:
Soe

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17
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
So may there ever, in your happy breast,
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
18
Thoſe bleſsed Jems, Joy and Peace still rest.
Those blesséd gems, joy and peace, still rest.
Those blessed Jemms,
Critical Note
Pulter’s depiction of Joy and Peace as gems recalls her poem “Aletheia’s Pearl” (Poem 32) [Poem 32] a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the pearl the speaker learns to value is Truth. In that poem, the speaker as a foolish younger woman invites a personified Peace (“that Stately Dame”, l. 25) to live with her, hoping that Peace’s daughter Joy would follow, but Alithea explains that “those two Jolly Lady’s,” l. 32, will not stay long on earth. Nonetheless, the speaker welcomes Peace and Joy (the latter of which wears an “Azure vesture … / Studded with Gemms,” ll. 68-69) who pass a mirthful evening, but who have left by morning, leaving Sorrow and Fear in their place (ll. 64-78; my transcriptions from the manuscript). It seems that in this poem her daughters can have lasting joy and peace.
Joy and Peace
still rest.
19
Then when Astrea, with her Sacred charms
Then when
Gloss Note
goddess of justice
Astraea
, with her sacred charms
Then when
Critical Note
Astraea is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of Justice, but for Pulter Astrea is one of two goddess figures that represent the concept of Truth in her poetry (the other is Alithea). Astrea is explicitly identified with Truth in “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26) [Poem 26], ll. 9-12, but she is also associated with Justice (as in poem 7, “On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester” (Poem 7) [Poem 7], ll. 15-18, where her lineage as the daughter of Aurora and Astreus is described). Eardley notes in her glossary that this lineage is not standard.
Astrea
, with her Sacred charms
20
Hath thrown you in mild mercies downey Armes,
Hath thrown you in mild Mercy’s downy arms,
Hath thrown you in mild
Critical Note
Personified Mercy’s downy or soft arms recall Pulter’s poem “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37) [Poem 37], l. 23, where the speaker imagines she will mount on “Soft mercies Wings.” (my transcription from the manuscript).”
mercies
downey Armes,
21
O’re Look’d by Providance, allurd by Love;
Gloss Note
overseen
O’erlook’d
by Providence, allured by Love
Gloss Note
looked upon from above
O’re Look’d
by Providance, allurd by
Critical Note
The personifications of Providence and Love are not explicitly gendered.
Love
;
22
To thoſe Imortall Manſions above,
To those immortal
Critical Note
see John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
mansions above
:
To those
Critical Note
John 14.2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions .... I go to prepare a place for you” (King James Version).
Immortall Mansions above
,
23
Then when Each Eliment i’ts part Shall claim,
Then when each
Critical Note
referring either to Christian Judgment Day, when the material parts of each body will reunite with their souls, or to the physical elements of the body eroding into their foundational forms after death
element its part shall claim
,
Then when Each Eliment i’ts
Critical Note
Pulter’s mention of each element claiming its part potentially alludes to the end of time on earth, or Judgment Day, when the elements will turn all matter into one of four forms. John Donne, for example, uses similar terminology in his poem “The Dissolution,” ll. 1-15 (see “The Dissolution of Matter into the Four Elements” in Curations for this poem). Pulter uses the four elements in various ways in her poems, most strikingly in "The invocation of the Elements the longest Night in the Year 1655" (Poem 41) [Poem 41] when she addresses personifications of the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) in her wish to be reunited with her dead children.
part Shall claim
,
24
May ^
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
you
all
Physical Note
double strike-through
you
live in glory and in ffame.
May you all live in glory and in fame.
May you
Physical Note
“you” is added in superscript with a caret in a different hand (possibly Pulter’s), replacing “you” which has been crossed out after “all.”
all
live in glory and in Fame.
horizontal straight 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 this invitation poem, Pulter asks her three young daughters to come home to Broadfield to relieve her sadness. The poem becomes the occasion for her to contrast the deadening pulls of earthly life with the liberatory happiness of heaven. The speaker loosely implies that providing comfort for their mother will create future spiritual blessings for her children. She concludes by imagining her daughter’s deaths as moments of sensual joy, as they are embraced in heaven and their scattered bodily elements reunited. Her opening imperative (“come”) transmutes into a wish for her daughters’ eternal glory. Pulter must have written this poem before Jane’s death in 1645, earlier than many of her other poems.
Line number 1

 Critical note

Jane, Margaret, and Penelope were three of Hester’s fifteen children; they are referenced by Pulter in the title in her manuscript only by their initials (J. P., M. P., P. P.), which we have expanded in this edition; Broadfield is the name of her estate in Hertfordshire, a county north of London.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Gray’s Spring “traced,” or passed, along the grounds of Broadfield; identified by Henry Chauncy (in Historical Antiquities, according to Eardley) as an example of a petrifying spring that slowly encrusts living things in a layer of minerals, thereby “stupefying” them (deadening, immobilizing, or rendering them stupid or insensible).
Line number 4

 Gloss note

imaginings, inventions
Line number 5

 Gloss note

essence
Line number 5

 Gloss note

god of wine’s
Line number 6

 Gloss note

drug that could prolong life, imagined by alchemists to be closely related to “the philosopher’s stone,” the magical preparation that could change metals into gold and grant humans immortality; an all-purpose remedy for disease.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

more animated
Line number 7

 Gloss note

physical, material
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Because she values “fancies” (the imagination), liquors and elixirs are as appealing to her as fasting, or abstaining from food.
Line number 11

 Gloss note

disputes, strifes
Line number 13

 Gloss note

viewing with contempt
Line number 13

 Gloss note

trivial things
Line number 15

 Gloss note

enliven, make cheerful
Line number 19

 Gloss note

goddess of justice
Line number 21

 Gloss note

overseen
Line number 22

 Critical note

see John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Line number 23

 Critical note

referring either to Christian Judgment Day, when the material parts of each body will reunite with their souls, or to the physical elements of the body eroding into their foundational forms after death
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

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To my Deare, J: P:, M: P:, P: P: they beeing at London, I at Bradfield
To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield
To my Deare,
Critical Note
These initials refer to three of Pulter’s daughters, Jane, Margaret, and Penelope. On fol. 16v of Pulter’s manuscript, a hand different from the main scribe has written the note, “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1.1625. buried oct.8.1645 aet. 20.” The writing of this poem must predate Jane’s death in 1645. Sarah C.E. Ross discovered the names and dates of baptism of ten of Pulter’s children in the Cottered and Great Wymondley parish registers: Jane was baptized in 1625, Margaret in 1629, and Penelope in 1633 (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 113). These three daughters were thus all under the age of 21 at the time Pulter wrote the poem.
J: P:, M: P:, P: P:
they beeing at London, I at
Critical Note
Broadfield (or Bradfield) is the name of the estate in the parish of Cottered in Hertfordshire owned by the Pulters. Sir Henry Chauncy’s The historical antiquities of Hertfordshire of 1700 gives the history of the estate, noting that Arthur Pulter retired to Bradfield after the outbreak of the civil war. There he “liv’d a retir’d Life, and thro’ the importunity of his Wife, began to build a very fair House of Brick upon this Mannor, but dying he never finished it” (p. 72). His grandson James Forester ultimately “repaired the Mannor-House, which was much decay’d thro’ the want of finishing it at the time it was built” (p. 74). A fold-out page illustrating the house appears facing p. 73 (though presumably this depicts the house as improved by Forester; see “Broadfield, Hertfordshire” in Curations for this poem). A family tree on p. 73 lists only 11 of Hester and Arthur Pulter’s 15 children.
Bradfield
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
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, colons indicating abbreviations are removed, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader. These notes point out parallels I see with other writers, and particularly women writers, with the aims of placing Pulter in dialogue with ideas explored by other women around this time, and of tracing a kind of female poetic lineage or alternate canon.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this invitation poem, Pulter asks her three young daughters to come home to Broadfield to relieve her sadness. The poem becomes the occasion for her to contrast the deadening pulls of earthly life with the liberatory happiness of heaven. The speaker loosely implies that providing comfort for their mother will create future spiritual blessings for her children. She concludes by imagining her daughter’s deaths as moments of sensual joy, as they are embraced in heaven and their scattered bodily elements reunited. Her opening imperative (“come”) transmutes into a wish for her daughters’ eternal glory. Pulter must have written this poem before Jane’s death in 1645, earlier than many of her other poems.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
At the beginning of this poem the speaker depicts her sadness at being separated from her daughters as a kind of sluggish despair. But she imagines her spirit leaving her body, freely flying to heaven, and playing “at football with the Stars.” Her striking imagery continues as she urges her daughters to follow her to the place where Truth will throw them into Mercy’s soft arms, watched over by Providence and Love, and where they will live in glory forever.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Come my Deare Children to this
Physical Note
“n” written over “v” or “u”; subscript caret below “l”; “lonely” in different hand from main scribe
Lon^elylonely
Place,
Come,
Critical Note
Jane, Margaret, and Penelope were three of Hester’s fifteen children; they are referenced by Pulter in the title in her manuscript only by their initials (J. P., M. P., P. P.), which we have expanded in this edition; Broadfield is the name of her estate in Hertfordshire, a county north of London.
my dear children
, to this lonely place,
Come my Deare Children to this
Critical Note
“lonely” is added in superscript by a different hand, replacing a partially altered version of the word in the main hand.
lonely
Place,
2
Where Grayes coole, Stupifying Spring, doth Trace,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring “traced,” or passed, along the grounds of Broadfield; identified by Henry Chauncy (in Historical Antiquities, according to Eardley) as an example of a petrifying spring that slowly encrusts living things in a layer of minerals, thereby “stupefying” them (deadening, immobilizing, or rendering them stupid or insensible).
Where Gray’s cool, stupefying spring doth trace.
Where Grayes coole,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring (or “Fount,” l. 3), was likely one of the “petrifying Springs in the Grounds of Broadfeld, and in the Parish of Clothall, which crust things that are laid in them, without Penetration,” mentioned in Chauncy’s 1826 edition of The Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. 1, p. 12 (see Alice Eardley, ed., Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014], pp. 53-54, note 50, where she explains that the springs seem to slowly turn things to stone by coating them in thin layers of minerals). The paradox of a moving spring that turns things to stone is a powerful image of deadened movement that captures the speaker’s lonely, sluggish despair.
Stupifying Spring
, doth
Gloss Note
take its course
Trace
,
3
Trust mee I think, I of this ffount pertake;
Trust me, I think I of this fount partake;
Trust mee I think, I of this Fount pertake;
4
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad fancies make:
I am so dull and such sad
Gloss Note
imaginings, inventions
fancies
make.
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad
Gloss Note
imaginings or inventions
fancies
make:
5
Nor can the Quintiſsence of Bacchus Liquor,
Nor can the
Gloss Note
essence
quintessence
of
Gloss Note
god of wine’s
Bacchus’s
liquor,
Nor can the
Critical Note
“quintessence” (a refined essence or extract) and “elixir” (l. 6) are terms associated with alchemy, a discourse that heavily influenced Pulter. Another royalist poet, Jane Cavendish, uses alchemical discourse and the term “quintessence” several times in her poetry, which was written during the 1640s. For example, in her poem “The Quinticens of Cordiall” (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, edited by Marie-Louise Coolahan, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 90), the poet celebrates her sister’s presence, which soothes Cavendish as they both suffer from the absence of their father, William Cavendish, then Marquis of Newcastle (see “Alchemical Quintessence” in Curations for this poem).
Quintissence
of
Critical Note
Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, so Pulter is saying that neither alcohol nor an alchemical drug (“the Elixer”) can enliven her spirit; instead both of these earthly liquids are merely “Gross [dense, thick, or material as opposed to spiritual] extractions” (l. 7) that upset her.
Bacchus Liquor
,
6
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit quicker.
Nor the
Gloss Note
drug that could prolong life, imagined by alchemists to be closely related to “the philosopher’s stone,” the magical preparation that could change metals into gold and grant humans immortality; an all-purpose remedy for disease.
elixir
make my spirit
Gloss Note
more animated
quicker
.
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit
Gloss Note
more alive
quicker
.
7
Thoſe Groſs extractions doth
Physical Note
“y” written over other letter or blotted accidentally
my
thoughts annoy;
Those
Gloss Note
physical, material
gross
extractions doth my thoughts annoy:
Those Gross extractions doth my thoughts annoy;
8
Tis fasting fancies are my Souls Sole Joy.
’Tis fasting;
Gloss Note
Because she values “fancies” (the imagination), liquors and elixirs are as appealing to her as fasting, or abstaining from food.
fancies
are my soul’s sole joy.
Tis fasting
Critical Note
Unlike the “Sad fancies” (l. 4) or thoughts she imagines in her present state of loneliness, the “fasting fancies” that her spirit conjures without any liquid help from wine or potions are a source of joy. “Fancies” is a word that Margaret Cavendish uses frequently when she writes of the power of poetic creativity (see her collection Poems, and fancies [1653]). For example, see the description of fancy in “Poets have most Pleasure in this Life,” ll. 1-10, in see “Poetic Fancies” in Curations for this poem.
fancies
are my Souls Sole Joy.
9
When my freed Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
When my freed soul flies to her place of birth,
When my
Critical Note
Pulter writes about her freed or “enfranchised” soul or spirit ultimately returning to heaven in several poems, such as "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), ll. 16-20.
freed
Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
10
Then am I braue, my foot then
Physical Note
“ns” added later, perhaps over other letter
Spurns
this earth.
Then am I brave, my foot then spurns this earth.
Then am I braue, my foot then Spurns this earth.
11
My mind being raiſ’d, aboue theſe Worldly Jars;
My mind being raised above these worldly
Gloss Note
disputes, strifes
jars
,
My mind being rais’d, aboue these
Gloss Note
earthly discords and strifes
Worldly Jars
;
12
Mee thinks I play at football
Physical Note
“e” imperfectly erased
withe
the Stars.
Methinks I play at football with the stars.
Mee thinks I play at
Critical Note
Football, the game played between two teams involving the kicking or handling of a ball, has been played since the medieval period, but its rules were not codified until the nineteenth century (OED 1). While some early modern writers depicted it as a blameless though vigorous form of exercise (such as James Hart: “some exercises are valid and strong, and some more mild and easy. Strong and violent exercises are wrestling, foot ball play, and the like, which are sparingly to be used”; Klinike, or The diet of the diseased [1633], p. 214), others condemned it (such as William Whately, who listed “Dangerous and mischieuous sports, as football, &c.” in his A pithie, short, and methodicall opening of the Ten Commandements [1622], p. 144). Famously, Kent trips Goneril’s steward Oswald and scornfully calls him “you base foot-ball player” in King Lear (1.4.84; edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden edition, Routledge, 1972, p. 38). Writers also used the image of a football to describe the earth. In a chapter called “Of the commerce of the air with the other Elements,” Gideon Harvey compares the earth to a “small footbal” which the air might “toss” out of its place in the heavens, were the air’s energy not “much refracted through having its Centre (upon which all its strength doth consist) divided into that dimension, which the Circumference of earth and water do make” (Archelogia philosophica nova, or New principles of philosophy [1663], p. 352). Margaret Cavendish uses sporting metaphors in her discussion of Descartes’s opinion about motion. She writes, “Wherefore as all other Mechanicks do not derive their Arts from Turners, so neither is it probable, that this world and all natural Creatures are produced by a whirling Motion, or a spherical rotation, as if some spirits were playing at Bowls or Football; for as I have often mentioned, Nature has infinite ways of Motions, whereof none is prime or principal, but self-motion, which is the producer of all the varieties Nature has within her self” (Observations upon experimental philosophy [1666], p. 50). Pulter’s use of the term football also raises the issue of how common it might have been for girls and women to play the game. In his comedy The bird in a cage (1633), James Shirley depicts the earth as a football, but also denies the possibility of women playing football, and uses it as an occasion for some smutty puns (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in Curations for this poem). And Thomas Killigrew in his tragi-comedy The first part of Cicilia & Clorinda, Or, Love in arms (1664; though written between 1650 and 1652 according to J.P. Vander Motten’s ODNB article) has a prince of Lombardy complain of a princess of Savoy, “She will play at foot-ball, thresh, and hew woods, as well as her Brother; Alass, Sir, ’tis not there as in Rome, and the Eastern World, where the Women are soft, bred nice, and full of tender thoughts; Here is no difference betwixt the Sexes” (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in “Curations” for this poem). Pulter’s image of her mind and “foot” (l. 10) bravely spurning the earth to play football with the stars suggests several readings. She may be kicking the stars as if they are footballs, or she may be kicking the football earth alongside the personified stars or planets, her teammates or opponents. It’s a startling image of joy or defiance that contrasts her misery on earth.
football
with the
Critical Note
Anne Southwell similarly conjures a whimsical image of a female speaker investigating the heavens in her elegy to Cicely Ridgway, Countess of Londonderry, when she imagines the Countess’s spirit flying among the planets. Southwell wants to know “whether the starrs be Knobbs uppon the spheres? / Or shredds compos’d of Phoebus goulden hayres? / Or whether th’Ayre be as a cloudy siue [i.e., sieve]? / the starrs be holes through which the good soules driue?” (“An Elegie written by the Lady A:S: to the Countesse of London Derrye,” ll. 29-32; The Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book: Folger MS. V.b.198, edited by Jean Klene, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, p. 25).
Stars
.
13
Contemning all theſe Garish empty toyes,
Gloss Note
viewing with contempt
Contemning
all these garish, empty
Gloss Note
trivial things
toys
,
Gloss Note
despising or scorning
Contemning
all these Garish
Gloss Note
worldly trifles
empty toyes
,
14
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
My thoughts are fixed on true celestial joys.
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
15
Come then, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
Come then,
Gloss Note
enliven, make cheerful
exhilarate
my drooping spirit:
Critical Note
Pulter turns to address her daughters again, echoing line 1 (“Come my Deare Children … Come then”), recalling her echoed address in “Tell Me No More [On the Same]” (Poem 11). In that poem, the phrase "Tell mee noe more" is repeated at the beginning of lines 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 23, and 37.
Come then
, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
16
Soe may you thoſe eternall Joyes inherit:
So may you those eternal joys inherit;
Critical Note
There is a page break after line 16, and the catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page. The scribe’s use of catchwords suggests that he or she is imitating the appearance of printed books which used catchwords in the lower right corners of pages to guide binders who had to fold, cut, and arrange individual pages from larger sheets to ensure they were bound in the correct order. Compilers of manuscripts would likely have written in quires of blank leaves, and so would not have needed to use catchwords for any structural purpose.
Soe
may you those eternall Joyes inherit:
Soe

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
17
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
So may there ever, in your happy breast,
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
18
Thoſe bleſsed Jems, Joy and Peace still rest.
Those blesséd gems, joy and peace, still rest.
Those blessed Jemms,
Critical Note
Pulter’s depiction of Joy and Peace as gems recalls her poem “Aletheia’s Pearl” (Poem 32) [Poem 32] a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the pearl the speaker learns to value is Truth. In that poem, the speaker as a foolish younger woman invites a personified Peace (“that Stately Dame”, l. 25) to live with her, hoping that Peace’s daughter Joy would follow, but Alithea explains that “those two Jolly Lady’s,” l. 32, will not stay long on earth. Nonetheless, the speaker welcomes Peace and Joy (the latter of which wears an “Azure vesture … / Studded with Gemms,” ll. 68-69) who pass a mirthful evening, but who have left by morning, leaving Sorrow and Fear in their place (ll. 64-78; my transcriptions from the manuscript). It seems that in this poem her daughters can have lasting joy and peace.
Joy and Peace
still rest.
19
Then when Astrea, with her Sacred charms
Then when
Gloss Note
goddess of justice
Astraea
, with her sacred charms
Then when
Critical Note
Astraea is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of Justice, but for Pulter Astrea is one of two goddess figures that represent the concept of Truth in her poetry (the other is Alithea). Astrea is explicitly identified with Truth in “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26) [Poem 26], ll. 9-12, but she is also associated with Justice (as in poem 7, “On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester” (Poem 7) [Poem 7], ll. 15-18, where her lineage as the daughter of Aurora and Astreus is described). Eardley notes in her glossary that this lineage is not standard.
Astrea
, with her Sacred charms
20
Hath thrown you in mild mercies downey Armes,
Hath thrown you in mild Mercy’s downy arms,
Hath thrown you in mild
Critical Note
Personified Mercy’s downy or soft arms recall Pulter’s poem “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37) [Poem 37], l. 23, where the speaker imagines she will mount on “Soft mercies Wings.” (my transcription from the manuscript).”
mercies
downey Armes,
21
O’re Look’d by Providance, allurd by Love;
Gloss Note
overseen
O’erlook’d
by Providence, allured by Love
Gloss Note
looked upon from above
O’re Look’d
by Providance, allurd by
Critical Note
The personifications of Providence and Love are not explicitly gendered.
Love
;
22
To thoſe Imortall Manſions above,
To those immortal
Critical Note
see John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
mansions above
:
To those
Critical Note
John 14.2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions .... I go to prepare a place for you” (King James Version).
Immortall Mansions above
,
23
Then when Each Eliment i’ts part Shall claim,
Then when each
Critical Note
referring either to Christian Judgment Day, when the material parts of each body will reunite with their souls, or to the physical elements of the body eroding into their foundational forms after death
element its part shall claim
,
Then when Each Eliment i’ts
Critical Note
Pulter’s mention of each element claiming its part potentially alludes to the end of time on earth, or Judgment Day, when the elements will turn all matter into one of four forms. John Donne, for example, uses similar terminology in his poem “The Dissolution,” ll. 1-15 (see “The Dissolution of Matter into the Four Elements” in Curations for this poem). Pulter uses the four elements in various ways in her poems, most strikingly in "The invocation of the Elements the longest Night in the Year 1655" (Poem 41) [Poem 41] when she addresses personifications of the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) in her wish to be reunited with her dead children.
part Shall claim
,
24
May ^
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
you
all
Physical Note
double strike-through
you
live in glory and in ffame.
May you all live in glory and in fame.
May you
Physical Note
“you” is added in superscript with a caret in a different hand (possibly Pulter’s), replacing “you” which has been crossed out after “all.”
all
live in glory and in Fame.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

These initials refer to three of Pulter’s daughters, Jane, Margaret, and Penelope. On fol. 16v of Pulter’s manuscript, a hand different from the main scribe has written the note, “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1.1625. buried oct.8.1645 aet. 20.” The writing of this poem must predate Jane’s death in 1645. Sarah C.E. Ross discovered the names and dates of baptism of ten of Pulter’s children in the Cottered and Great Wymondley parish registers: Jane was baptized in 1625, Margaret in 1629, and Penelope in 1633 (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 113). These three daughters were thus all under the age of 21 at the time Pulter wrote the poem.
Title note

 Critical note

Broadfield (or Bradfield) is the name of the estate in the parish of Cottered in Hertfordshire owned by the Pulters. Sir Henry Chauncy’s The historical antiquities of Hertfordshire of 1700 gives the history of the estate, noting that Arthur Pulter retired to Bradfield after the outbreak of the civil war. There he “liv’d a retir’d Life, and thro’ the importunity of his Wife, began to build a very fair House of Brick upon this Mannor, but dying he never finished it” (p. 72). His grandson James Forester ultimately “repaired the Mannor-House, which was much decay’d thro’ the want of finishing it at the time it was built” (p. 74). A fold-out page illustrating the house appears facing p. 73 (though presumably this depicts the house as improved by Forester; see “Broadfield, Hertfordshire” in Curations for this poem). A family tree on p. 73 lists only 11 of Hester and Arthur Pulter’s 15 children.

 Editorial note

This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, colons indicating abbreviations are removed, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader. These notes point out parallels I see with other writers, and particularly women writers, with the aims of placing Pulter in dialogue with ideas explored by other women around this time, and of tracing a kind of female poetic lineage or alternate canon.

 Headnote

At the beginning of this poem the speaker depicts her sadness at being separated from her daughters as a kind of sluggish despair. But she imagines her spirit leaving her body, freely flying to heaven, and playing “at football with the Stars.” Her striking imagery continues as she urges her daughters to follow her to the place where Truth will throw them into Mercy’s soft arms, watched over by Providence and Love, and where they will live in glory forever.
Line number 1

 Critical note

“lonely” is added in superscript by a different hand, replacing a partially altered version of the word in the main hand.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Gray’s Spring (or “Fount,” l. 3), was likely one of the “petrifying Springs in the Grounds of Broadfeld, and in the Parish of Clothall, which crust things that are laid in them, without Penetration,” mentioned in Chauncy’s 1826 edition of The Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. 1, p. 12 (see Alice Eardley, ed., Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014], pp. 53-54, note 50, where she explains that the springs seem to slowly turn things to stone by coating them in thin layers of minerals). The paradox of a moving spring that turns things to stone is a powerful image of deadened movement that captures the speaker’s lonely, sluggish despair.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

take its course
Line number 4

 Gloss note

imaginings or inventions
Line number 5

 Critical note

“quintessence” (a refined essence or extract) and “elixir” (l. 6) are terms associated with alchemy, a discourse that heavily influenced Pulter. Another royalist poet, Jane Cavendish, uses alchemical discourse and the term “quintessence” several times in her poetry, which was written during the 1640s. For example, in her poem “The Quinticens of Cordiall” (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, edited by Marie-Louise Coolahan, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 90), the poet celebrates her sister’s presence, which soothes Cavendish as they both suffer from the absence of their father, William Cavendish, then Marquis of Newcastle (see “Alchemical Quintessence” in Curations for this poem).
Line number 5

 Critical note

Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, so Pulter is saying that neither alcohol nor an alchemical drug (“the Elixer”) can enliven her spirit; instead both of these earthly liquids are merely “Gross [dense, thick, or material as opposed to spiritual] extractions” (l. 7) that upset her.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

more alive
Line number 8

 Critical note

Unlike the “Sad fancies” (l. 4) or thoughts she imagines in her present state of loneliness, the “fasting fancies” that her spirit conjures without any liquid help from wine or potions are a source of joy. “Fancies” is a word that Margaret Cavendish uses frequently when she writes of the power of poetic creativity (see her collection Poems, and fancies [1653]). For example, see the description of fancy in “Poets have most Pleasure in this Life,” ll. 1-10, in see “Poetic Fancies” in Curations for this poem.
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter writes about her freed or “enfranchised” soul or spirit ultimately returning to heaven in several poems, such as "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), ll. 16-20.
Line number 11

 Gloss note

earthly discords and strifes
Line number 12

 Critical note

Football, the game played between two teams involving the kicking or handling of a ball, has been played since the medieval period, but its rules were not codified until the nineteenth century (OED 1). While some early modern writers depicted it as a blameless though vigorous form of exercise (such as James Hart: “some exercises are valid and strong, and some more mild and easy. Strong and violent exercises are wrestling, foot ball play, and the like, which are sparingly to be used”; Klinike, or The diet of the diseased [1633], p. 214), others condemned it (such as William Whately, who listed “Dangerous and mischieuous sports, as football, &c.” in his A pithie, short, and methodicall opening of the Ten Commandements [1622], p. 144). Famously, Kent trips Goneril’s steward Oswald and scornfully calls him “you base foot-ball player” in King Lear (1.4.84; edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden edition, Routledge, 1972, p. 38). Writers also used the image of a football to describe the earth. In a chapter called “Of the commerce of the air with the other Elements,” Gideon Harvey compares the earth to a “small footbal” which the air might “toss” out of its place in the heavens, were the air’s energy not “much refracted through having its Centre (upon which all its strength doth consist) divided into that dimension, which the Circumference of earth and water do make” (Archelogia philosophica nova, or New principles of philosophy [1663], p. 352). Margaret Cavendish uses sporting metaphors in her discussion of Descartes’s opinion about motion. She writes, “Wherefore as all other Mechanicks do not derive their Arts from Turners, so neither is it probable, that this world and all natural Creatures are produced by a whirling Motion, or a spherical rotation, as if some spirits were playing at Bowls or Football; for as I have often mentioned, Nature has infinite ways of Motions, whereof none is prime or principal, but self-motion, which is the producer of all the varieties Nature has within her self” (Observations upon experimental philosophy [1666], p. 50). Pulter’s use of the term football also raises the issue of how common it might have been for girls and women to play the game. In his comedy The bird in a cage (1633), James Shirley depicts the earth as a football, but also denies the possibility of women playing football, and uses it as an occasion for some smutty puns (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in Curations for this poem). And Thomas Killigrew in his tragi-comedy The first part of Cicilia & Clorinda, Or, Love in arms (1664; though written between 1650 and 1652 according to J.P. Vander Motten’s ODNB article) has a prince of Lombardy complain of a princess of Savoy, “She will play at foot-ball, thresh, and hew woods, as well as her Brother; Alass, Sir, ’tis not there as in Rome, and the Eastern World, where the Women are soft, bred nice, and full of tender thoughts; Here is no difference betwixt the Sexes” (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in “Curations” for this poem). Pulter’s image of her mind and “foot” (l. 10) bravely spurning the earth to play football with the stars suggests several readings. She may be kicking the stars as if they are footballs, or she may be kicking the football earth alongside the personified stars or planets, her teammates or opponents. It’s a startling image of joy or defiance that contrasts her misery on earth.
Line number 12

 Critical note

Anne Southwell similarly conjures a whimsical image of a female speaker investigating the heavens in her elegy to Cicely Ridgway, Countess of Londonderry, when she imagines the Countess’s spirit flying among the planets. Southwell wants to know “whether the starrs be Knobbs uppon the spheres? / Or shredds compos’d of Phoebus goulden hayres? / Or whether th’Ayre be as a cloudy siue [i.e., sieve]? / the starrs be holes through which the good soules driue?” (“An Elegie written by the Lady A:S: to the Countesse of London Derrye,” ll. 29-32; The Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book: Folger MS. V.b.198, edited by Jean Klene, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, p. 25).
Line number 13

 Gloss note

despising or scorning
Line number 13

 Gloss note

worldly trifles
Line number 15

 Critical note

Pulter turns to address her daughters again, echoing line 1 (“Come my Deare Children … Come then”), recalling her echoed address in “Tell Me No More [On the Same]” (Poem 11). In that poem, the phrase "Tell mee noe more" is repeated at the beginning of lines 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 23, and 37.
Line number 16

 Critical note

There is a page break after line 16, and the catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page. The scribe’s use of catchwords suggests that he or she is imitating the appearance of printed books which used catchwords in the lower right corners of pages to guide binders who had to fold, cut, and arrange individual pages from larger sheets to ensure they were bound in the correct order. Compilers of manuscripts would likely have written in quires of blank leaves, and so would not have needed to use catchwords for any structural purpose.
Line number 18

 Critical note

Pulter’s depiction of Joy and Peace as gems recalls her poem “Aletheia’s Pearl” (Poem 32) [Poem 32] a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the pearl the speaker learns to value is Truth. In that poem, the speaker as a foolish younger woman invites a personified Peace (“that Stately Dame”, l. 25) to live with her, hoping that Peace’s daughter Joy would follow, but Alithea explains that “those two Jolly Lady’s,” l. 32, will not stay long on earth. Nonetheless, the speaker welcomes Peace and Joy (the latter of which wears an “Azure vesture … / Studded with Gemms,” ll. 68-69) who pass a mirthful evening, but who have left by morning, leaving Sorrow and Fear in their place (ll. 64-78; my transcriptions from the manuscript). It seems that in this poem her daughters can have lasting joy and peace.
Line number 19

 Critical note

Astraea is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of Justice, but for Pulter Astrea is one of two goddess figures that represent the concept of Truth in her poetry (the other is Alithea). Astrea is explicitly identified with Truth in “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26) [Poem 26], ll. 9-12, but she is also associated with Justice (as in poem 7, “On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester” (Poem 7) [Poem 7], ll. 15-18, where her lineage as the daughter of Aurora and Astreus is described). Eardley notes in her glossary that this lineage is not standard.
Line number 20

 Critical note

Personified Mercy’s downy or soft arms recall Pulter’s poem “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37) [Poem 37], l. 23, where the speaker imagines she will mount on “Soft mercies Wings.” (my transcription from the manuscript).”
Line number 21

 Gloss note

looked upon from above
Line number 21

 Critical note

The personifications of Providence and Love are not explicitly gendered.
Line number 22

 Critical note

John 14.2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions .... I go to prepare a place for you” (King James Version).
Line number 23

 Critical note

Pulter’s mention of each element claiming its part potentially alludes to the end of time on earth, or Judgment Day, when the elements will turn all matter into one of four forms. John Donne, for example, uses similar terminology in his poem “The Dissolution,” ll. 1-15 (see “The Dissolution of Matter into the Four Elements” in Curations for this poem). Pulter uses the four elements in various ways in her poems, most strikingly in "The invocation of the Elements the longest Night in the Year 1655" (Poem 41) [Poem 41] when she addresses personifications of the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) in her wish to be reunited with her dead children.
Line number 24

 Physical note

“you” is added in superscript with a caret in a different hand (possibly Pulter’s), replacing “you” which has been crossed out after “all.”
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To my Deare, J: P:, M: P:, P: P: they beeing at London, I at Bradfield
To My Dear Jane, Margaret, and Penelope Pulter, They Being at London, I at Broadfield
To my Deare,
Critical Note
These initials refer to three of Pulter’s daughters, Jane, Margaret, and Penelope. On fol. 16v of Pulter’s manuscript, a hand different from the main scribe has written the note, “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1.1625. buried oct.8.1645 aet. 20.” The writing of this poem must predate Jane’s death in 1645. Sarah C.E. Ross discovered the names and dates of baptism of ten of Pulter’s children in the Cottered and Great Wymondley parish registers: Jane was baptized in 1625, Margaret in 1629, and Penelope in 1633 (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 113). These three daughters were thus all under the age of 21 at the time Pulter wrote the poem.
J: P:, M: P:, P: P:
they beeing at London, I at
Critical Note
Broadfield (or Bradfield) is the name of the estate in the parish of Cottered in Hertfordshire owned by the Pulters. Sir Henry Chauncy’s The historical antiquities of Hertfordshire of 1700 gives the history of the estate, noting that Arthur Pulter retired to Bradfield after the outbreak of the civil war. There he “liv’d a retir’d Life, and thro’ the importunity of his Wife, began to build a very fair House of Brick upon this Mannor, but dying he never finished it” (p. 72). His grandson James Forester ultimately “repaired the Mannor-House, which was much decay’d thro’ the want of finishing it at the time it was built” (p. 74). A fold-out page illustrating the house appears facing p. 73 (though presumably this depicts the house as improved by Forester; see “Broadfield, Hertfordshire” in Curations for this poem). A family tree on p. 73 lists only 11 of Hester and Arthur Pulter’s 15 children.
Bradfield
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.

— Victoria E. Burke
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.

— Victoria E. Burke
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, colons indicating abbreviations are removed, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader. These notes point out parallels I see with other writers, and particularly women writers, with the aims of placing Pulter in dialogue with ideas explored by other women around this time, and of tracing a kind of female poetic lineage or alternate canon.

— Victoria E. Burke
In this invitation poem, Pulter asks her three young daughters to come home to Broadfield to relieve her sadness. The poem becomes the occasion for her to contrast the deadening pulls of earthly life with the liberatory happiness of heaven. The speaker loosely implies that providing comfort for their mother will create future spiritual blessings for her children. She concludes by imagining her daughter’s deaths as moments of sensual joy, as they are embraced in heaven and their scattered bodily elements reunited. Her opening imperative (“come”) transmutes into a wish for her daughters’ eternal glory. Pulter must have written this poem before Jane’s death in 1645, earlier than many of her other poems.

— Victoria E. Burke
At the beginning of this poem the speaker depicts her sadness at being separated from her daughters as a kind of sluggish despair. But she imagines her spirit leaving her body, freely flying to heaven, and playing “at football with the Stars.” Her striking imagery continues as she urges her daughters to follow her to the place where Truth will throw them into Mercy’s soft arms, watched over by Providence and Love, and where they will live in glory forever.

— Victoria E. Burke
1
Come my Deare Children to this
Physical Note
“n” written over “v” or “u”; subscript caret below “l”; “lonely” in different hand from main scribe
Lon^elylonely
Place,
Come,
Critical Note
Jane, Margaret, and Penelope were three of Hester’s fifteen children; they are referenced by Pulter in the title in her manuscript only by their initials (J. P., M. P., P. P.), which we have expanded in this edition; Broadfield is the name of her estate in Hertfordshire, a county north of London.
my dear children
, to this lonely place,
Come my Deare Children to this
Critical Note
“lonely” is added in superscript by a different hand, replacing a partially altered version of the word in the main hand.
lonely
Place,
2
Where Grayes coole, Stupifying Spring, doth Trace,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring “traced,” or passed, along the grounds of Broadfield; identified by Henry Chauncy (in Historical Antiquities, according to Eardley) as an example of a petrifying spring that slowly encrusts living things in a layer of minerals, thereby “stupefying” them (deadening, immobilizing, or rendering them stupid or insensible).
Where Gray’s cool, stupefying spring doth trace.
Where Grayes coole,
Critical Note
Gray’s Spring (or “Fount,” l. 3), was likely one of the “petrifying Springs in the Grounds of Broadfeld, and in the Parish of Clothall, which crust things that are laid in them, without Penetration,” mentioned in Chauncy’s 1826 edition of The Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. 1, p. 12 (see Alice Eardley, ed., Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014], pp. 53-54, note 50, where she explains that the springs seem to slowly turn things to stone by coating them in thin layers of minerals). The paradox of a moving spring that turns things to stone is a powerful image of deadened movement that captures the speaker’s lonely, sluggish despair.
Stupifying Spring
, doth
Gloss Note
take its course
Trace
,
3
Trust mee I think, I of this ffount pertake;
Trust me, I think I of this fount partake;
Trust mee I think, I of this Fount pertake;
4
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad fancies make:
I am so dull and such sad
Gloss Note
imaginings, inventions
fancies
make.
I am Soe dull; and Such Sad
Gloss Note
imaginings or inventions
fancies
make:
5
Nor can the Quintiſsence of Bacchus Liquor,
Nor can the
Gloss Note
essence
quintessence
of
Gloss Note
god of wine’s
Bacchus’s
liquor,
Nor can the
Critical Note
“quintessence” (a refined essence or extract) and “elixir” (l. 6) are terms associated with alchemy, a discourse that heavily influenced Pulter. Another royalist poet, Jane Cavendish, uses alchemical discourse and the term “quintessence” several times in her poetry, which was written during the 1640s. For example, in her poem “The Quinticens of Cordiall” (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, edited by Marie-Louise Coolahan, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 90), the poet celebrates her sister’s presence, which soothes Cavendish as they both suffer from the absence of their father, William Cavendish, then Marquis of Newcastle (see “Alchemical Quintessence” in Curations for this poem).
Quintissence
of
Critical Note
Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, so Pulter is saying that neither alcohol nor an alchemical drug (“the Elixer”) can enliven her spirit; instead both of these earthly liquids are merely “Gross [dense, thick, or material as opposed to spiritual] extractions” (l. 7) that upset her.
Bacchus Liquor
,
6
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit quicker.
Nor the
Gloss Note
drug that could prolong life, imagined by alchemists to be closely related to “the philosopher’s stone,” the magical preparation that could change metals into gold and grant humans immortality; an all-purpose remedy for disease.
elixir
make my spirit
Gloss Note
more animated
quicker
.
Nor the Elixer, make my Spirit
Gloss Note
more alive
quicker
.
7
Thoſe Groſs extractions doth
Physical Note
“y” written over other letter or blotted accidentally
my
thoughts annoy;
Those
Gloss Note
physical, material
gross
extractions doth my thoughts annoy:
Those Gross extractions doth my thoughts annoy;
8
Tis fasting fancies are my Souls Sole Joy.
’Tis fasting;
Gloss Note
Because she values “fancies” (the imagination), liquors and elixirs are as appealing to her as fasting, or abstaining from food.
fancies
are my soul’s sole joy.
Tis fasting
Critical Note
Unlike the “Sad fancies” (l. 4) or thoughts she imagines in her present state of loneliness, the “fasting fancies” that her spirit conjures without any liquid help from wine or potions are a source of joy. “Fancies” is a word that Margaret Cavendish uses frequently when she writes of the power of poetic creativity (see her collection Poems, and fancies [1653]). For example, see the description of fancy in “Poets have most Pleasure in this Life,” ll. 1-10, in see “Poetic Fancies” in Curations for this poem.
fancies
are my Souls Sole Joy.
9
When my freed Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
When my freed soul flies to her place of birth,
When my
Critical Note
Pulter writes about her freed or “enfranchised” soul or spirit ultimately returning to heaven in several poems, such as "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), ll. 16-20.
freed
Soul, flies to her place of Birth;
10
Then am I braue, my foot then
Physical Note
“ns” added later, perhaps over other letter
Spurns
this earth.
Then am I brave, my foot then spurns this earth.
Then am I braue, my foot then Spurns this earth.
11
My mind being raiſ’d, aboue theſe Worldly Jars;
My mind being raised above these worldly
Gloss Note
disputes, strifes
jars
,
My mind being rais’d, aboue these
Gloss Note
earthly discords and strifes
Worldly Jars
;
12
Mee thinks I play at football
Physical Note
“e” imperfectly erased
withe
the Stars.
Methinks I play at football with the stars.
Mee thinks I play at
Critical Note
Football, the game played between two teams involving the kicking or handling of a ball, has been played since the medieval period, but its rules were not codified until the nineteenth century (OED 1). While some early modern writers depicted it as a blameless though vigorous form of exercise (such as James Hart: “some exercises are valid and strong, and some more mild and easy. Strong and violent exercises are wrestling, foot ball play, and the like, which are sparingly to be used”; Klinike, or The diet of the diseased [1633], p. 214), others condemned it (such as William Whately, who listed “Dangerous and mischieuous sports, as football, &c.” in his A pithie, short, and methodicall opening of the Ten Commandements [1622], p. 144). Famously, Kent trips Goneril’s steward Oswald and scornfully calls him “you base foot-ball player” in King Lear (1.4.84; edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden edition, Routledge, 1972, p. 38). Writers also used the image of a football to describe the earth. In a chapter called “Of the commerce of the air with the other Elements,” Gideon Harvey compares the earth to a “small footbal” which the air might “toss” out of its place in the heavens, were the air’s energy not “much refracted through having its Centre (upon which all its strength doth consist) divided into that dimension, which the Circumference of earth and water do make” (Archelogia philosophica nova, or New principles of philosophy [1663], p. 352). Margaret Cavendish uses sporting metaphors in her discussion of Descartes’s opinion about motion. She writes, “Wherefore as all other Mechanicks do not derive their Arts from Turners, so neither is it probable, that this world and all natural Creatures are produced by a whirling Motion, or a spherical rotation, as if some spirits were playing at Bowls or Football; for as I have often mentioned, Nature has infinite ways of Motions, whereof none is prime or principal, but self-motion, which is the producer of all the varieties Nature has within her self” (Observations upon experimental philosophy [1666], p. 50). Pulter’s use of the term football also raises the issue of how common it might have been for girls and women to play the game. In his comedy The bird in a cage (1633), James Shirley depicts the earth as a football, but also denies the possibility of women playing football, and uses it as an occasion for some smutty puns (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in Curations for this poem). And Thomas Killigrew in his tragi-comedy The first part of Cicilia & Clorinda, Or, Love in arms (1664; though written between 1650 and 1652 according to J.P. Vander Motten’s ODNB article) has a prince of Lombardy complain of a princess of Savoy, “She will play at foot-ball, thresh, and hew woods, as well as her Brother; Alass, Sir, ’tis not there as in Rome, and the Eastern World, where the Women are soft, bred nice, and full of tender thoughts; Here is no difference betwixt the Sexes” (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in “Curations” for this poem). Pulter’s image of her mind and “foot” (l. 10) bravely spurning the earth to play football with the stars suggests several readings. She may be kicking the stars as if they are footballs, or she may be kicking the football earth alongside the personified stars or planets, her teammates or opponents. It’s a startling image of joy or defiance that contrasts her misery on earth.
football
with the
Critical Note
Anne Southwell similarly conjures a whimsical image of a female speaker investigating the heavens in her elegy to Cicely Ridgway, Countess of Londonderry, when she imagines the Countess’s spirit flying among the planets. Southwell wants to know “whether the starrs be Knobbs uppon the spheres? / Or shredds compos’d of Phoebus goulden hayres? / Or whether th’Ayre be as a cloudy siue [i.e., sieve]? / the starrs be holes through which the good soules driue?” (“An Elegie written by the Lady A:S: to the Countesse of London Derrye,” ll. 29-32; The Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book: Folger MS. V.b.198, edited by Jean Klene, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, p. 25).
Stars
.
13
Contemning all theſe Garish empty toyes,
Gloss Note
viewing with contempt
Contemning
all these garish, empty
Gloss Note
trivial things
toys
,
Gloss Note
despising or scorning
Contemning
all these Garish
Gloss Note
worldly trifles
empty toyes
,
14
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
My thoughts are fixed on true celestial joys.
My thoughts are fixt on true Celestiall Joyes.
15
Come then, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
Come then,
Gloss Note
enliven, make cheerful
exhilarate
my drooping spirit:
Critical Note
Pulter turns to address her daughters again, echoing line 1 (“Come my Deare Children … Come then”), recalling her echoed address in “Tell Me No More [On the Same]” (Poem 11). In that poem, the phrase "Tell mee noe more" is repeated at the beginning of lines 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 23, and 37.
Come then
, Exhillerate my drooping Spirit,
16
Soe may you thoſe eternall Joyes inherit:
So may you those eternal joys inherit;
Critical Note
There is a page break after line 16, and the catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page. The scribe’s use of catchwords suggests that he or she is imitating the appearance of printed books which used catchwords in the lower right corners of pages to guide binders who had to fold, cut, and arrange individual pages from larger sheets to ensure they were bound in the correct order. Compilers of manuscripts would likely have written in quires of blank leaves, and so would not have needed to use catchwords for any structural purpose.
Soe
may you those eternall Joyes inherit:
Soe

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17
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
So may there ever, in your happy breast,
Soe may there ever in your happy breast,
18
Thoſe bleſsed Jems, Joy and Peace still rest.
Those blesséd gems, joy and peace, still rest.
Those blessed Jemms,
Critical Note
Pulter’s depiction of Joy and Peace as gems recalls her poem “Aletheia’s Pearl” (Poem 32) [Poem 32] a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the pearl the speaker learns to value is Truth. In that poem, the speaker as a foolish younger woman invites a personified Peace (“that Stately Dame”, l. 25) to live with her, hoping that Peace’s daughter Joy would follow, but Alithea explains that “those two Jolly Lady’s,” l. 32, will not stay long on earth. Nonetheless, the speaker welcomes Peace and Joy (the latter of which wears an “Azure vesture … / Studded with Gemms,” ll. 68-69) who pass a mirthful evening, but who have left by morning, leaving Sorrow and Fear in their place (ll. 64-78; my transcriptions from the manuscript). It seems that in this poem her daughters can have lasting joy and peace.
Joy and Peace
still rest.
19
Then when Astrea, with her Sacred charms
Then when
Gloss Note
goddess of justice
Astraea
, with her sacred charms
Then when
Critical Note
Astraea is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of Justice, but for Pulter Astrea is one of two goddess figures that represent the concept of Truth in her poetry (the other is Alithea). Astrea is explicitly identified with Truth in “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26) [Poem 26], ll. 9-12, but she is also associated with Justice (as in poem 7, “On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester” (Poem 7) [Poem 7], ll. 15-18, where her lineage as the daughter of Aurora and Astreus is described). Eardley notes in her glossary that this lineage is not standard.
Astrea
, with her Sacred charms
20
Hath thrown you in mild mercies downey Armes,
Hath thrown you in mild Mercy’s downy arms,
Hath thrown you in mild
Critical Note
Personified Mercy’s downy or soft arms recall Pulter’s poem “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37) [Poem 37], l. 23, where the speaker imagines she will mount on “Soft mercies Wings.” (my transcription from the manuscript).”
mercies
downey Armes,
21
O’re Look’d by Providance, allurd by Love;
Gloss Note
overseen
O’erlook’d
by Providence, allured by Love
Gloss Note
looked upon from above
O’re Look’d
by Providance, allurd by
Critical Note
The personifications of Providence and Love are not explicitly gendered.
Love
;
22
To thoſe Imortall Manſions above,
To those immortal
Critical Note
see John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
mansions above
:
To those
Critical Note
John 14.2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions .... I go to prepare a place for you” (King James Version).
Immortall Mansions above
,
23
Then when Each Eliment i’ts part Shall claim,
Then when each
Critical Note
referring either to Christian Judgment Day, when the material parts of each body will reunite with their souls, or to the physical elements of the body eroding into their foundational forms after death
element its part shall claim
,
Then when Each Eliment i’ts
Critical Note
Pulter’s mention of each element claiming its part potentially alludes to the end of time on earth, or Judgment Day, when the elements will turn all matter into one of four forms. John Donne, for example, uses similar terminology in his poem “The Dissolution,” ll. 1-15 (see “The Dissolution of Matter into the Four Elements” in Curations for this poem). Pulter uses the four elements in various ways in her poems, most strikingly in "The invocation of the Elements the longest Night in the Year 1655" (Poem 41) [Poem 41] when she addresses personifications of the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) in her wish to be reunited with her dead children.
part Shall claim
,
24
May ^
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
you
all
Physical Note
double strike-through
you
live in glory and in ffame.
May you all live in glory and in fame.
May you
Physical Note
“you” is added in superscript with a caret in a different hand (possibly Pulter’s), replacing “you” which has been crossed out after “all.”
all
live in glory and in Fame.
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Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

These initials refer to three of Pulter’s daughters, Jane, Margaret, and Penelope. On fol. 16v of Pulter’s manuscript, a hand different from the main scribe has written the note, “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1.1625. buried oct.8.1645 aet. 20.” The writing of this poem must predate Jane’s death in 1645. Sarah C.E. Ross discovered the names and dates of baptism of ten of Pulter’s children in the Cottered and Great Wymondley parish registers: Jane was baptized in 1625, Margaret in 1629, and Penelope in 1633 (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 113). These three daughters were thus all under the age of 21 at the time Pulter wrote the poem.
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Broadfield (or Bradfield) is the name of the estate in the parish of Cottered in Hertfordshire owned by the Pulters. Sir Henry Chauncy’s The historical antiquities of Hertfordshire of 1700 gives the history of the estate, noting that Arthur Pulter retired to Bradfield after the outbreak of the civil war. There he “liv’d a retir’d Life, and thro’ the importunity of his Wife, began to build a very fair House of Brick upon this Mannor, but dying he never finished it” (p. 72). His grandson James Forester ultimately “repaired the Mannor-House, which was much decay’d thro’ the want of finishing it at the time it was built” (p. 74). A fold-out page illustrating the house appears facing p. 73 (though presumably this depicts the house as improved by Forester; see “Broadfield, Hertfordshire” in Curations for this poem). A family tree on p. 73 lists only 11 of Hester and Arthur Pulter’s 15 children.
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

This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, colons indicating abbreviations are removed, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader. These notes point out parallels I see with other writers, and particularly women writers, with the aims of placing Pulter in dialogue with ideas explored by other women around this time, and of tracing a kind of female poetic lineage or alternate canon.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

In this invitation poem, Pulter asks her three young daughters to come home to Broadfield to relieve her sadness. The poem becomes the occasion for her to contrast the deadening pulls of earthly life with the liberatory happiness of heaven. The speaker loosely implies that providing comfort for their mother will create future spiritual blessings for her children. She concludes by imagining her daughter’s deaths as moments of sensual joy, as they are embraced in heaven and their scattered bodily elements reunited. Her opening imperative (“come”) transmutes into a wish for her daughters’ eternal glory. Pulter must have written this poem before Jane’s death in 1645, earlier than many of her other poems.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

At the beginning of this poem the speaker depicts her sadness at being separated from her daughters as a kind of sluggish despair. But she imagines her spirit leaving her body, freely flying to heaven, and playing “at football with the Stars.” Her striking imagery continues as she urges her daughters to follow her to the place where Truth will throw them into Mercy’s soft arms, watched over by Providence and Love, and where they will live in glory forever.
Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

“n” written over “v” or “u”; subscript caret below “l”; “lonely” in different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Jane, Margaret, and Penelope were three of Hester’s fifteen children; they are referenced by Pulter in the title in her manuscript only by their initials (J. P., M. P., P. P.), which we have expanded in this edition; Broadfield is the name of her estate in Hertfordshire, a county north of London.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

“lonely” is added in superscript by a different hand, replacing a partially altered version of the word in the main hand.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Gray’s Spring “traced,” or passed, along the grounds of Broadfield; identified by Henry Chauncy (in Historical Antiquities, according to Eardley) as an example of a petrifying spring that slowly encrusts living things in a layer of minerals, thereby “stupefying” them (deadening, immobilizing, or rendering them stupid or insensible).
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Gray’s Spring (or “Fount,” l. 3), was likely one of the “petrifying Springs in the Grounds of Broadfeld, and in the Parish of Clothall, which crust things that are laid in them, without Penetration,” mentioned in Chauncy’s 1826 edition of The Antiquities of Hertfordshire, vol. 1, p. 12 (see Alice Eardley, ed., Poems, Emblems, and the Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014], pp. 53-54, note 50, where she explains that the springs seem to slowly turn things to stone by coating them in thin layers of minerals). The paradox of a moving spring that turns things to stone is a powerful image of deadened movement that captures the speaker’s lonely, sluggish despair.
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

take its course
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

imaginings, inventions
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

imaginings or inventions
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

essence
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

god of wine’s
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

“quintessence” (a refined essence or extract) and “elixir” (l. 6) are terms associated with alchemy, a discourse that heavily influenced Pulter. Another royalist poet, Jane Cavendish, uses alchemical discourse and the term “quintessence” several times in her poetry, which was written during the 1640s. For example, in her poem “The Quinticens of Cordiall” (Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Poetry, edited by Marie-Louise Coolahan, general editors Jill Seal Millman and Gillian Wright, Manchester University Press, 2005, p. 90), the poet celebrates her sister’s presence, which soothes Cavendish as they both suffer from the absence of their father, William Cavendish, then Marquis of Newcastle (see “Alchemical Quintessence” in Curations for this poem).
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, so Pulter is saying that neither alcohol nor an alchemical drug (“the Elixer”) can enliven her spirit; instead both of these earthly liquids are merely “Gross [dense, thick, or material as opposed to spiritual] extractions” (l. 7) that upset her.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

drug that could prolong life, imagined by alchemists to be closely related to “the philosopher’s stone,” the magical preparation that could change metals into gold and grant humans immortality; an all-purpose remedy for disease.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

more animated
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

more alive
Transcription
Line number 7

 Physical note

“y” written over other letter or blotted accidentally
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

physical, material
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Because she values “fancies” (the imagination), liquors and elixirs are as appealing to her as fasting, or abstaining from food.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

Unlike the “Sad fancies” (l. 4) or thoughts she imagines in her present state of loneliness, the “fasting fancies” that her spirit conjures without any liquid help from wine or potions are a source of joy. “Fancies” is a word that Margaret Cavendish uses frequently when she writes of the power of poetic creativity (see her collection Poems, and fancies [1653]). For example, see the description of fancy in “Poets have most Pleasure in this Life,” ll. 1-10, in see “Poetic Fancies” in Curations for this poem.
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

Pulter writes about her freed or “enfranchised” soul or spirit ultimately returning to heaven in several poems, such as "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), ll. 16-20.
Transcription
Line number 10

 Physical note

“ns” added later, perhaps over other letter
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

disputes, strifes
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

earthly discords and strifes
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“e” imperfectly erased
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Critical note

Football, the game played between two teams involving the kicking or handling of a ball, has been played since the medieval period, but its rules were not codified until the nineteenth century (OED 1). While some early modern writers depicted it as a blameless though vigorous form of exercise (such as James Hart: “some exercises are valid and strong, and some more mild and easy. Strong and violent exercises are wrestling, foot ball play, and the like, which are sparingly to be used”; Klinike, or The diet of the diseased [1633], p. 214), others condemned it (such as William Whately, who listed “Dangerous and mischieuous sports, as football, &c.” in his A pithie, short, and methodicall opening of the Ten Commandements [1622], p. 144). Famously, Kent trips Goneril’s steward Oswald and scornfully calls him “you base foot-ball player” in King Lear (1.4.84; edited by Kenneth Muir, Arden edition, Routledge, 1972, p. 38). Writers also used the image of a football to describe the earth. In a chapter called “Of the commerce of the air with the other Elements,” Gideon Harvey compares the earth to a “small footbal” which the air might “toss” out of its place in the heavens, were the air’s energy not “much refracted through having its Centre (upon which all its strength doth consist) divided into that dimension, which the Circumference of earth and water do make” (Archelogia philosophica nova, or New principles of philosophy [1663], p. 352). Margaret Cavendish uses sporting metaphors in her discussion of Descartes’s opinion about motion. She writes, “Wherefore as all other Mechanicks do not derive their Arts from Turners, so neither is it probable, that this world and all natural Creatures are produced by a whirling Motion, or a spherical rotation, as if some spirits were playing at Bowls or Football; for as I have often mentioned, Nature has infinite ways of Motions, whereof none is prime or principal, but self-motion, which is the producer of all the varieties Nature has within her self” (Observations upon experimental philosophy [1666], p. 50). Pulter’s use of the term football also raises the issue of how common it might have been for girls and women to play the game. In his comedy The bird in a cage (1633), James Shirley depicts the earth as a football, but also denies the possibility of women playing football, and uses it as an occasion for some smutty puns (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in Curations for this poem). And Thomas Killigrew in his tragi-comedy The first part of Cicilia & Clorinda, Or, Love in arms (1664; though written between 1650 and 1652 according to J.P. Vander Motten’s ODNB article) has a prince of Lombardy complain of a princess of Savoy, “She will play at foot-ball, thresh, and hew woods, as well as her Brother; Alass, Sir, ’tis not there as in Rome, and the Eastern World, where the Women are soft, bred nice, and full of tender thoughts; Here is no difference betwixt the Sexes” (see “Did women play football in the seventeenth century?” in “Curations” for this poem). Pulter’s image of her mind and “foot” (l. 10) bravely spurning the earth to play football with the stars suggests several readings. She may be kicking the stars as if they are footballs, or she may be kicking the football earth alongside the personified stars or planets, her teammates or opponents. It’s a startling image of joy or defiance that contrasts her misery on earth.
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Critical note

Anne Southwell similarly conjures a whimsical image of a female speaker investigating the heavens in her elegy to Cicely Ridgway, Countess of Londonderry, when she imagines the Countess’s spirit flying among the planets. Southwell wants to know “whether the starrs be Knobbs uppon the spheres? / Or shredds compos’d of Phoebus goulden hayres? / Or whether th’Ayre be as a cloudy siue [i.e., sieve]? / the starrs be holes through which the good soules driue?” (“An Elegie written by the Lady A:S: to the Countesse of London Derrye,” ll. 29-32; The Southwell-Sibthorpe Commonplace Book: Folger MS. V.b.198, edited by Jean Klene, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1997, p. 25).
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

viewing with contempt
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

trivial things
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

despising or scorning
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

worldly trifles
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

enliven, make cheerful
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

Pulter turns to address her daughters again, echoing line 1 (“Come my Deare Children … Come then”), recalling her echoed address in “Tell Me No More [On the Same]” (Poem 11). In that poem, the phrase "Tell mee noe more" is repeated at the beginning of lines 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 23, and 37.
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Critical note

There is a page break after line 16, and the catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page. The scribe’s use of catchwords suggests that he or she is imitating the appearance of printed books which used catchwords in the lower right corners of pages to guide binders who had to fold, cut, and arrange individual pages from larger sheets to ensure they were bound in the correct order. Compilers of manuscripts would likely have written in quires of blank leaves, and so would not have needed to use catchwords for any structural purpose.
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

Pulter’s depiction of Joy and Peace as gems recalls her poem “Aletheia’s Pearl” (Poem 32) [Poem 32] a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the pearl the speaker learns to value is Truth. In that poem, the speaker as a foolish younger woman invites a personified Peace (“that Stately Dame”, l. 25) to live with her, hoping that Peace’s daughter Joy would follow, but Alithea explains that “those two Jolly Lady’s,” l. 32, will not stay long on earth. Nonetheless, the speaker welcomes Peace and Joy (the latter of which wears an “Azure vesture … / Studded with Gemms,” ll. 68-69) who pass a mirthful evening, but who have left by morning, leaving Sorrow and Fear in their place (ll. 64-78; my transcriptions from the manuscript). It seems that in this poem her daughters can have lasting joy and peace.
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

goddess of justice
Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Critical note

Astraea is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of Justice, but for Pulter Astrea is one of two goddess figures that represent the concept of Truth in her poetry (the other is Alithea). Astrea is explicitly identified with Truth in “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26) [Poem 26], ll. 9-12, but she is also associated with Justice (as in poem 7, “On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester” (Poem 7) [Poem 7], ll. 15-18, where her lineage as the daughter of Aurora and Astreus is described). Eardley notes in her glossary that this lineage is not standard.
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Critical note

Personified Mercy’s downy or soft arms recall Pulter’s poem “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37) [Poem 37], l. 23, where the speaker imagines she will mount on “Soft mercies Wings.” (my transcription from the manuscript).”
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

overseen
Amplified Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

looked upon from above
Amplified Edition
Line number 21

 Critical note

The personifications of Providence and Love are not explicitly gendered.
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Critical note

see John 14:2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 22

 Critical note

John 14.2: “In my Father’s house are many mansions .... I go to prepare a place for you” (King James Version).
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Critical note

referring either to Christian Judgment Day, when the material parts of each body will reunite with their souls, or to the physical elements of the body eroding into their foundational forms after death
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Critical note

Pulter’s mention of each element claiming its part potentially alludes to the end of time on earth, or Judgment Day, when the elements will turn all matter into one of four forms. John Donne, for example, uses similar terminology in his poem “The Dissolution,” ll. 1-15 (see “The Dissolution of Matter into the Four Elements” in Curations for this poem). Pulter uses the four elements in various ways in her poems, most strikingly in "The invocation of the Elements the longest Night in the Year 1655" (Poem 41) [Poem 41] when she addresses personifications of the four elements (water, air, fire, and earth) in her wish to be reunited with her dead children.
Transcription
Line number 24

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe
Transcription
Line number 24

 Physical note

double strike-through
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Physical note

“you” is added in superscript with a caret in a different hand (possibly Pulter’s), replacing “you” which has been crossed out after “all.”
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