Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter

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Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter

Poem 10

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 Elizabeth Kolkovich.
  • Amplified edition: By Elizabeth Kolkovich.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

  • Created by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
  • Encoded by Katherine Poland, Matthew Taylor, Elizabeth Chou, and Emily Andrey, Northwestern University
  • Website designed by Sergei Kalugin, Northwestern University
  • IT project consultation by Josh Honn, Northwestern University
  • Project sponsored by Northwestern University, Brock University, and University of Leeds
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Index of Poems

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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 21

 Physical note

possibly “Sad”
Line number 44

 Physical note

In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Line number 44

 Physical note

multiple strike-through
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

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Vpon the Death of my deare and lovely Daughter JP
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Jane Pulter, baptized May 1,1625. Buried Oct.8, 1645 æt 20.
Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Gloss Note
Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.
Jane Pulter
Upon the Death of
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
My Dear and Lovely Daughter, J.P.
Amplified Edition A: Pulter’s early draft
Upon the Death of My Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
J.P.
Amplified Edition B: Pulter’s revised text
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. 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
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
All you that haue indulgent Parents been
All you that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
2
And have your Children in perfection Seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
3
Of youth and bevty; lend one Teare to mee
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
4
And trust mee I will doe as much for thee
And trust me, I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
5
Unleſs my own griefe doe exhaust my Store
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
6
Then will I Sigh till I suspire noe more
Then will I sigh till I
Gloss Note
breathe
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ’til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ‘til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
7
Twice hath the Earth Thrown Cloris Mantle by
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Gloss Note
goddess of spring
Chloris’s
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
8
Imbroidred or’e with Curious Tapistry
Embroidered o’er with
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
9
And twice hath Seem’d to mourn unto o:r Sight
And twice hath seemed to mourn unto our sight,
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
10
Like Jewes, or Chineſſes in Snowey white
Like Jews or Chinesses in
Critical Note
the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
snowy white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
11
Since ^shee laid down her milkey limbs on Earth
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
12
Which dying gave her virgin Soul new birth
Which, dying, gave her
Gloss Note
chaste, unsullied
virgin
soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
13
Yet Still my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
14
And tears (he las) gives Sorrow noe reliefe
And tears (alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
15
Twice hath Sad Philomele left of to Sing
Twice hath sad
Critical Note
nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Philomele
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
16
Her mortifying Sonnets to the Spring
Her
Gloss Note
fatal, austere, self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring.
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
17
Twice at the Silvian Choristers deſire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
18
Shee hath lent her Muſick to compleat theire ^Quire
She hath lent her music to complete their choir,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
19
Since al devouring Death on her tooke Seaſure
Since all devouring Death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
20
And Tellus Wombe ^involv’d Soe rich a Treaſure
And
Gloss Note
goddess of the Earth
Tellus’s
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a treasure.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
yet

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21
Yet Styl
Physical Note
possibly “Sad”
[?]
^my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
22
And time nor teares will give my woes Reliefe
And time, nor tears, will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
23
Twelve times hath Phebe horned Seemd to fight
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Phoebe
, hornéd, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
24
As often fil’d them with her Brothers light
Critical Note
for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
As often filled them with her brother’s light
,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
25
Since Shee did cloſe her Sparkling Diamond eyes
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
26
Yet my Sad heart for her Still pineing Dies
Yet my sad heart, for her still
Gloss Note
yearning
pining
, dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
27
Through ye Twelve houſes hath ye illuſtrious ſun
Through the
Gloss Note
signs of the zodiac
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
28
With Splendentie his Annuall Jorney Run
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run.
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
29
Twice hath his firey furious Horſes Hurld
Twice hath his fiery, furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
30
His blazeing Chariot to the lower World
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
31
Shewing his luster to the wondring eyes
Showing his luster to the wond’ring eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
32
Of our (now ſoe well known) Antipodies
Of our (now so well known)
Critical Note
opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
33
Since the brack of her ſpotles virgin Story
Since the
Gloss Note
rupture, breach
brack
of her spotless virgin
Gloss Note
life
story
,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
34
Which now her Soule doth end in endles Glory
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
35
Yet my aflicted Sad forſaken Soule
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
36
For her in tears and Ashes Still doth Rowle
For her in tears and ashes still doth
Gloss Note
move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
roll
.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
37
O could a ffevour ſpot her Snowey Skin
O could a fever spot her snowy skin,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
38
Whoſe virgin Soule was Scarecely Soyld wth ſin
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
39
Aye mee it did, ſoe haue I ſom times ſeene
Ay me, it did! So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
40
ffaire Maydens Sit incircled on A green
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
41
White Lillies Spread when they were making Poſes
White lilies spread when they were making
Critical Note
posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
42
Upon them Scatter leaves of Damaſk Roſes
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
species of rose from Damascus
damask roses
,
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
43
E’ne ſoe the Spots upon her faire Skin ſhew [?]*
E’en so, the spots upon her fair skin shows
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin show
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin shows

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44
Physical Note
In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Like drops
of blood upon
Physical Note
multiple strike-through
unſoiled Snow
Physical Note
These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
Physical Note
This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow
.
Physical Note
In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
45
But what a heart had I, when I did Stand
Or, as a stately
Gloss Note
deer
hart
to death pursued
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
Or as a stately
Critical Note
A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
hart
to death pursued
46
Holding her forehead w:th my Trembling hand
By ravening hounds,
Physical Note
originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
By ravening hounds,
Critical Note
Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
my

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47
My Heart to Heaven with her bright spirit flyes
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
48
Whilst Shee (ah mee) cloſed up her louely eyes
His lost condition
Gloss Note
exactly reproduced or expressed
to the life
expressed,
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
His lost condition
Gloss Note
Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
to the life
expressed,
49
Her Soule being Seated in her place of birth
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow
50
I turnd a Niobe as Shee turn’d Earth.
And from his side his guiltless blood doth flow.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
And from his side his
Critical Note
The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
guiltless blood
doth flow.

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X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.

 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

Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

breathe
Line number 7

 Gloss note

goddess of spring
Line number 8

 Gloss note

artful; elaborate; delicate
Line number 10

 Critical note

the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Jane
Line number 12

 Gloss note

chaste, unsullied
Line number 15

 Critical note

nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal, austere, self-denying
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
Line number 20

 Gloss note

goddess of the Earth
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
Line number 23

 Gloss note

goddess of the moon
Line number 24

 Critical note

for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
Line number 25

 Gloss note

Jane
Line number 26

 Gloss note

yearning
Line number 27

 Gloss note

signs of the zodiac
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
Line number 32

 Critical note

opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
Line number 33

 Gloss note

rupture, breach
Line number 33

 Gloss note

life
Line number 36

 Gloss note

move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
Line number 41

 Critical note

posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
Line number 42

 Gloss note

species of rose from Damascus
Line number 44

 Physical note

These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Line number 45

 Gloss note

deer
Line number 46

 Physical note

originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
Line number 48

 Gloss note

exactly reproduced or expressed
Line number 58

 Gloss note

Apollo and Artemis transformed Niobe into a weeping rock for bragging that she had more children than their mother.
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X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

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Vpon the Death of my deare and lovely Daughter JP
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Jane Pulter, baptized May 1,1625. Buried Oct.8, 1645 æt 20.
Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Gloss Note
Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.
Jane Pulter
Upon the Death of
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
My Dear and Lovely Daughter, J.P.
Amplified Edition A: Pulter’s early draft
Upon the Death of My Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
J.P.
Amplified Edition B: Pulter’s revised text
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. 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
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
All you that haue indulgent Parents been
All you that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
2
And have your Children in perfection Seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
3
Of youth and bevty; lend one Teare to mee
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
4
And trust mee I will doe as much for thee
And trust me, I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
5
Unleſs my own griefe doe exhaust my Store
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
6
Then will I Sigh till I suspire noe more
Then will I sigh till I
Gloss Note
breathe
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ’til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ‘til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
7
Twice hath the Earth Thrown Cloris Mantle by
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Gloss Note
goddess of spring
Chloris’s
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
8
Imbroidred or’e with Curious Tapistry
Embroidered o’er with
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
9
And twice hath Seem’d to mourn unto o:r Sight
And twice hath seemed to mourn unto our sight,
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
10
Like Jewes, or Chineſſes in Snowey white
Like Jews or Chinesses in
Critical Note
the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
snowy white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
11
Since ^shee laid down her milkey limbs on Earth
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
12
Which dying gave her virgin Soul new birth
Which, dying, gave her
Gloss Note
chaste, unsullied
virgin
soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
13
Yet Still my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
14
And tears (he las) gives Sorrow noe reliefe
And tears (alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
15
Twice hath Sad Philomele left of to Sing
Twice hath sad
Critical Note
nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Philomele
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
16
Her mortifying Sonnets to the Spring
Her
Gloss Note
fatal, austere, self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring.
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
17
Twice at the Silvian Choristers deſire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
18
Shee hath lent her Muſick to compleat theire ^Quire
She hath lent her music to complete their choir,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
19
Since al devouring Death on her tooke Seaſure
Since all devouring Death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
20
And Tellus Wombe ^involv’d Soe rich a Treaſure
And
Gloss Note
goddess of the Earth
Tellus’s
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a treasure.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
yet

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21
Yet Styl
Physical Note
possibly “Sad”
[?]
^my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
22
And time nor teares will give my woes Reliefe
And time, nor tears, will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
23
Twelve times hath Phebe horned Seemd to fight
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Phoebe
, hornéd, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
24
As often fil’d them with her Brothers light
Critical Note
for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
As often filled them with her brother’s light
,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
25
Since Shee did cloſe her Sparkling Diamond eyes
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
26
Yet my Sad heart for her Still pineing Dies
Yet my sad heart, for her still
Gloss Note
yearning
pining
, dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
27
Through ye Twelve houſes hath ye illuſtrious ſun
Through the
Gloss Note
signs of the zodiac
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
28
With Splendentie his Annuall Jorney Run
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run.
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
29
Twice hath his firey furious Horſes Hurld
Twice hath his fiery, furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
30
His blazeing Chariot to the lower World
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
31
Shewing his luster to the wondring eyes
Showing his luster to the wond’ring eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
32
Of our (now ſoe well known) Antipodies
Of our (now so well known)
Critical Note
opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
33
Since the brack of her ſpotles virgin Story
Since the
Gloss Note
rupture, breach
brack
of her spotless virgin
Gloss Note
life
story
,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
34
Which now her Soule doth end in endles Glory
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
35
Yet my aflicted Sad forſaken Soule
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
36
For her in tears and Ashes Still doth Rowle
For her in tears and ashes still doth
Gloss Note
move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
roll
.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
37
O could a ffevour ſpot her Snowey Skin
O could a fever spot her snowy skin,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
38
Whoſe virgin Soule was Scarecely Soyld wth ſin
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
39
Aye mee it did, ſoe haue I ſom times ſeene
Ay me, it did! So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
40
ffaire Maydens Sit incircled on A green
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
41
White Lillies Spread when they were making Poſes
White lilies spread when they were making
Critical Note
posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
42
Upon them Scatter leaves of Damaſk Roſes
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
species of rose from Damascus
damask roses
,
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
43
E’ne ſoe the Spots upon her faire Skin ſhew [?]*
E’en so, the spots upon her fair skin shows
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin show
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin shows

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44
Physical Note
In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Like drops
of blood upon
Physical Note
multiple strike-through
unſoiled Snow
Physical Note
These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
Physical Note
This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow
.
Physical Note
In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
45
But what a heart had I, when I did Stand
Or, as a stately
Gloss Note
deer
hart
to death pursued
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
Or as a stately
Critical Note
A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
hart
to death pursued
46
Holding her forehead w:th my Trembling hand
By ravening hounds,
Physical Note
originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
By ravening hounds,
Critical Note
Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
my

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47
My Heart to Heaven with her bright spirit flyes
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
48
Whilst Shee (ah mee) cloſed up her louely eyes
His lost condition
Gloss Note
exactly reproduced or expressed
to the life
expressed,
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
His lost condition
Gloss Note
Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
to the life
expressed,
49
Her Soule being Seated in her place of birth
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow
50
I turnd a Niobe as Shee turn’d Earth.
And from his side his guiltless blood doth flow.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
And from his side his
Critical Note
The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
guiltless blood
doth flow.
51
So did the spots upon her fair skin show
So did the spots upon her fair skin show
52
Like drops of blood upon unsullied snow.
Like drops of blood upon unsullied snow.
53
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
54
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.

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55
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
56
Whilst she (ah me!) closed up her lovely eyes.
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
57
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
58
I turned a
Gloss Note
Apollo and Artemis transformed Niobe into a weeping rock for bragging that she had more children than their mother.
Niobe
as she turned earth.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning. Apollo and Artemis, both of whom are associated with hunting, use arrows to kill Niobe’s children, just as this poem imagines a hunter pursuing a deer.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

 Headnote

This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.
Line number 1

 Critical note

There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
Line number 7

 Critical note

Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Line number 9

 Critical note

The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
Line number 10

 Critical note

White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
Line number 14

 Gloss note

The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
Line number 15

 Critical note

The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal; self-denying
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
Line number 18

 Critical note

The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Earth personified
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
Line number 20

 Critical note

This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
Line number 23

 Gloss note

moon goddess
Line number 23

 Gloss note

crescent-shaped
Line number 24

 Gloss note

Phoebus, the sun
Line number 27

 Gloss note

months (signs of the Zodiac)
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
Line number 32

 Gloss note

opposite places on earth
Line number 33

 Gloss note

breach or rupture
Line number 37

 Critical note

Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
Line number 41

 Gloss note

posies: flowers or poems
Line number 42

 Gloss note

from Damascus; richly blush-colored
Line number 44

 Physical note

This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
Line number 50

 Critical note

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Line number 50

 Critical note

Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
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X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

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Vpon the Death of my deare and lovely Daughter JP
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Jane Pulter, baptized May 1,1625. Buried Oct.8, 1645 æt 20.
Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Gloss Note
Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.
Jane Pulter
Upon the Death of
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
My Dear and Lovely Daughter, J.P.
Amplified Edition A: Pulter’s early draft
Upon the Death of My Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
J.P.
Amplified Edition B: Pulter’s revised text
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
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.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.


— Elizabeth Kolkovich
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.


— Elizabeth Kolkovich
1
All you that haue indulgent Parents been
All you that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
2
And have your Children in perfection Seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
3
Of youth and bevty; lend one Teare to mee
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
4
And trust mee I will doe as much for thee
And trust me, I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
5
Unleſs my own griefe doe exhaust my Store
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
6
Then will I Sigh till I suspire noe more
Then will I sigh till I
Gloss Note
breathe
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ’til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ‘til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
7
Twice hath the Earth Thrown Cloris Mantle by
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Gloss Note
goddess of spring
Chloris’s
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
8
Imbroidred or’e with Curious Tapistry
Embroidered o’er with
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
9
And twice hath Seem’d to mourn unto o:r Sight
And twice hath seemed to mourn unto our sight,
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
10
Like Jewes, or Chineſſes in Snowey white
Like Jews or Chinesses in
Critical Note
the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
snowy white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
11
Since ^shee laid down her milkey limbs on Earth
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
12
Which dying gave her virgin Soul new birth
Which, dying, gave her
Gloss Note
chaste, unsullied
virgin
soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
13
Yet Still my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
14
And tears (he las) gives Sorrow noe reliefe
And tears (alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
15
Twice hath Sad Philomele left of to Sing
Twice hath sad
Critical Note
nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Philomele
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
16
Her mortifying Sonnets to the Spring
Her
Gloss Note
fatal, austere, self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring.
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
17
Twice at the Silvian Choristers deſire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
18
Shee hath lent her Muſick to compleat theire ^Quire
She hath lent her music to complete their choir,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
19
Since al devouring Death on her tooke Seaſure
Since all devouring Death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
20
And Tellus Wombe ^involv’d Soe rich a Treaſure
And
Gloss Note
goddess of the Earth
Tellus’s
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a treasure.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
yet

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21
Yet Styl
Physical Note
possibly “Sad”
[?]
^my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
22
And time nor teares will give my woes Reliefe
And time, nor tears, will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
23
Twelve times hath Phebe horned Seemd to fight
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Phoebe
, hornéd, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
24
As often fil’d them with her Brothers light
Critical Note
for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
As often filled them with her brother’s light
,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
25
Since Shee did cloſe her Sparkling Diamond eyes
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
26
Yet my Sad heart for her Still pineing Dies
Yet my sad heart, for her still
Gloss Note
yearning
pining
, dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
27
Through ye Twelve houſes hath ye illuſtrious ſun
Through the
Gloss Note
signs of the zodiac
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
28
With Splendentie his Annuall Jorney Run
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run.
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
29
Twice hath his firey furious Horſes Hurld
Twice hath his fiery, furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
30
His blazeing Chariot to the lower World
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
31
Shewing his luster to the wondring eyes
Showing his luster to the wond’ring eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
32
Of our (now ſoe well known) Antipodies
Of our (now so well known)
Critical Note
opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
33
Since the brack of her ſpotles virgin Story
Since the
Gloss Note
rupture, breach
brack
of her spotless virgin
Gloss Note
life
story
,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
34
Which now her Soule doth end in endles Glory
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
35
Yet my aflicted Sad forſaken Soule
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
36
For her in tears and Ashes Still doth Rowle
For her in tears and ashes still doth
Gloss Note
move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
roll
.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
37
O could a ffevour ſpot her Snowey Skin
O could a fever spot her snowy skin,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
38
Whoſe virgin Soule was Scarecely Soyld wth ſin
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
39
Aye mee it did, ſoe haue I ſom times ſeene
Ay me, it did! So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
40
ffaire Maydens Sit incircled on A green
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
41
White Lillies Spread when they were making Poſes
White lilies spread when they were making
Critical Note
posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
42
Upon them Scatter leaves of Damaſk Roſes
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
species of rose from Damascus
damask roses
,
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
43
E’ne ſoe the Spots upon her faire Skin ſhew [?]*
E’en so, the spots upon her fair skin shows
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin show
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin shows

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44
Physical Note
In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Like drops
of blood upon
Physical Note
multiple strike-through
unſoiled Snow
Physical Note
These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
Physical Note
This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow
.
Physical Note
In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
45
But what a heart had I, when I did Stand
Or, as a stately
Gloss Note
deer
hart
to death pursued
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
Or as a stately
Critical Note
A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
hart
to death pursued
46
Holding her forehead w:th my Trembling hand
By ravening hounds,
Physical Note
originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
By ravening hounds,
Critical Note
Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
my

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47
My Heart to Heaven with her bright spirit flyes
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
48
Whilst Shee (ah mee) cloſed up her louely eyes
His lost condition
Gloss Note
exactly reproduced or expressed
to the life
expressed,
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
His lost condition
Gloss Note
Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
to the life
expressed,
49
Her Soule being Seated in her place of birth
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow
50
I turnd a Niobe as Shee turn’d Earth.
And from his side his guiltless blood doth flow.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
And from his side his
Critical Note
The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
guiltless blood
doth flow.

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X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition, 2nd
Title note

 Critical note

Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

 Headnote

This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.
Line number 1

 Critical note

There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
Line number 7

 Critical note

Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Line number 9

 Critical note

The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
Line number 10

 Critical note

White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
Line number 14

 Gloss note

The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
Line number 15

 Critical note

The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal; self-denying
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
Line number 18

 Critical note

The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Earth personified
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
Line number 20

 Critical note

This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
Line number 23

 Gloss note

moon goddess
Line number 23

 Gloss note

crescent-shaped
Line number 24

 Gloss note

Phoebus, the sun
Line number 27

 Gloss note

months (signs of the Zodiac)
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
Line number 32

 Gloss note

opposite places on earth
Line number 33

 Gloss note

breach or rupture
Line number 37

 Critical note

Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
Line number 41

 Gloss note

posies: flowers or poems
Line number 42

 Gloss note

from Damascus; richly blush-colored
Line number 44

 Physical note

In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Line number 45

 Critical note

A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
Line number 46

 Critical note

Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
Line number 48

 Gloss note

Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
Line number 50

 Critical note

The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
Line number 58

 Critical note

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning. Apollo and Artemis, both of whom are associated with hunting, use arrows to kill Niobe’s children, just as this poem imagines a hunter pursuing a deer.
Line number 58

 Critical note

Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
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X (Close panel)Amplified Edition, 2nd
Amplified Edition, 2nd

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Vpon the Death of my deare and lovely Daughter JP
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Jane Pulter, baptized May 1,1625. Buried Oct.8, 1645 æt 20.
Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Gloss Note
Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.
Jane Pulter
Upon the Death of
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
My Dear and Lovely Daughter, J.P.
Amplified Edition A: Pulter’s early draft
Upon the Death of My Dear and Lovely Daughter,
Critical Note
Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
J.P.
Amplified Edition B: Pulter’s revised text
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
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.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.

— Elizabeth Kolkovich
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.


— Elizabeth Kolkovich
This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.


— Elizabeth Kolkovich
1
All you that haue indulgent Parents been
All you that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
Critical Note
There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
All you
that have indulgent parents been,
2
And have your Children in perfection Seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
And have your children in perfection seen
3
Of youth and bevty; lend one Teare to mee
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
Of youth and beauty: lend one tear to me,
4
And trust mee I will doe as much for thee
And trust me, I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
And trust me I will do as much for thee,
5
Unleſs my own griefe doe exhaust my Store
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
Unless my own grief do exhaust my store;
6
Then will I Sigh till I suspire noe more
Then will I sigh till I
Gloss Note
breathe
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ’til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
Then will I sigh ‘til I
Critical Note
Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
suspire
no more.
7
Twice hath the Earth Thrown Cloris Mantle by
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Gloss Note
goddess of spring
Chloris’s
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
Twice hath the Earth thrown
Critical Note
Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Chloris’
mantle by,
8
Imbroidred or’e with Curious Tapistry
Embroidered o’er with
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
Embroidered o’er with curious tapestry,
9
And twice hath Seem’d to mourn unto o:r Sight
And twice hath seemed to mourn unto our sight,
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
And
Critical Note
The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
twice
hath seemed to mourn unto our sight
10
Like Jewes, or Chineſſes in Snowey white
Like Jews or Chinesses in
Critical Note
the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
snowy white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
Like Jews or Chinesses in snowy
Critical Note
White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
white
,
11
Since ^shee laid down her milkey limbs on Earth
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
Since she laid down her milky limbs on earth,
12
Which dying gave her virgin Soul new birth
Which, dying, gave her
Gloss Note
chaste, unsullied
virgin
soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
Which, dying, gave her virgin soul new birth.
13
Yet Still my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
14
And tears (he las) gives Sorrow noe reliefe
And tears (alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
And
Gloss Note
The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
tears
(alas) gives sorrow no relief.
15
Twice hath Sad Philomele left of to Sing
Twice hath sad
Critical Note
nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Philomele
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
Twice hath
Critical Note
The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
sad Philomel
left off to sing
16
Her mortifying Sonnets to the Spring
Her
Gloss Note
fatal, austere, self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring.
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
Her
Gloss Note
fatal; self-denying
mortifying
sonnets to the spring;
17
Twice at the Silvian Choristers deſire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
Twice at the
Gloss Note
forest-dwelling
sylvan
choristers’ desire
18
Shee hath lent her Muſick to compleat theire ^Quire
She hath lent her music to complete their choir,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
She hath lent her music to complete their
Critical Note
The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
choir
,
19
Since al devouring Death on her tooke Seaſure
Since all devouring Death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
Since all devouring death on
Gloss Note
Jane
her
took seizure,
20
And Tellus Wombe ^involv’d Soe rich a Treaſure
And
Gloss Note
goddess of the Earth
Tellus’s
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a treasure.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
And
Gloss Note
Earth personified
Tellus’
womb
Gloss Note
enveloped
involved
so rich a
Critical Note
This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
treasure
.
yet

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21
Yet Styl
Physical Note
possibly “Sad”
[?]
^my heart is overwhelm’d with griefe
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
Yet still my heart is overwhelmed with grief,
22
And time nor teares will give my woes Reliefe
And time, nor tears, will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
And time nor tears will give my woes relief.
23
Twelve times hath Phebe horned Seemd to fight
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Phoebe
, hornéd, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
Twelve times hath
Gloss Note
moon goddess
Phoebe
,
Gloss Note
crescent-shaped
hornéd
, seemed to fight,
24
As often fil’d them with her Brothers light
Critical Note
for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
As often filled them with her brother’s light
,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
As often filled them with her
Gloss Note
Phoebus, the sun
brother’s
light,
25
Since Shee did cloſe her Sparkling Diamond eyes
Since
Gloss Note
Jane
she
did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
Since she did close her sparkling diamond eyes;
26
Yet my Sad heart for her Still pineing Dies
Yet my sad heart, for her still
Gloss Note
yearning
pining
, dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
Yet my sad heart for her still pining dies.
27
Through ye Twelve houſes hath ye illuſtrious ſun
Through the
Gloss Note
signs of the zodiac
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
Through the
Gloss Note
months (signs of the Zodiac)
twelve houses
hath the illustrious sun
28
With Splendentie his Annuall Jorney Run
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run.
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
With
Gloss Note
splendor
splendency
his annual journey run;
29
Twice hath his firey furious Horſes Hurld
Twice hath his fiery, furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
Twice hath his fiery furious horses hurled
30
His blazeing Chariot to the lower World
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
His blazing chariot to the lower world,
31
Shewing his luster to the wondring eyes
Showing his luster to the wond’ring eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
Showing his luster to the wondering eyes
32
Of our (now ſoe well known) Antipodies
Of our (now so well known)
Critical Note
opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
Of our (now so well known)
Gloss Note
opposite places on earth
antipodes
,
33
Since the brack of her ſpotles virgin Story
Since the
Gloss Note
rupture, breach
brack
of her spotless virgin
Gloss Note
life
story
,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
Since the
Gloss Note
breach or rupture
brack
of her spotless virgin story,
34
Which now her Soule doth end in endles Glory
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
Which now her soul doth end in endless glory.
35
Yet my aflicted Sad forſaken Soule
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
Yet my afflicted, sad, forsaken soul
36
For her in tears and Ashes Still doth Rowle
For her in tears and ashes still doth
Gloss Note
move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
roll
.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
For her in tears and ashes still doth roll.
37
O could a ffevour ſpot her Snowey Skin
O could a fever spot her snowy skin,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
O could a
Critical Note
Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
fever spot her snowy skin
,
38
Whoſe virgin Soule was Scarecely Soyld wth ſin
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
Whose virgin soul was scarcely soiled with sin?
39
Aye mee it did, ſoe haue I ſom times ſeene
Ay me, it did! So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
Ay me it did. So have I sometimes seen
40
ffaire Maydens Sit incircled on A green
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
Fair maidens sit encircled on a green,
41
White Lillies Spread when they were making Poſes
White lilies spread when they were making
Critical Note
posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
White lilies spread when they were making
Gloss Note
posies: flowers or poems
poses
,
42
Upon them Scatter leaves of Damaſk Roſes
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
species of rose from Damascus
damask roses
,
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
Upon them scatter leaves of
Gloss Note
from Damascus; richly blush-colored
damask roses
.
43
E’ne ſoe the Spots upon her faire Skin ſhew [?]*
E’en so, the spots upon her fair skin shows
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin show
E’en so the spots upon her fair skin shows

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44
Physical Note
In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Like drops
of blood upon
Physical Note
multiple strike-through
unſoiled Snow
Physical Note
These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
Physical Note
This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow
.
Physical Note
In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Like lily leaves sprinkled with damask rose
,
45
But what a heart had I, when I did Stand
Or, as a stately
Gloss Note
deer
hart
to death pursued
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
Or as a stately
Critical Note
A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
hart
to death pursued
46
Holding her forehead w:th my Trembling hand
By ravening hounds,
Physical Note
originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
By ravening hounds,
Critical Note
Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
his
eyes with tears bedewed,
my

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47
My Heart to Heaven with her bright spirit flyes
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
An arrow sticking in his trembling breast,
48
Whilst Shee (ah mee) cloſed up her louely eyes
His lost condition
Gloss Note
exactly reproduced or expressed
to the life
expressed,
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
His lost condition
Gloss Note
Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
to the life
expressed,
49
Her Soule being Seated in her place of birth
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
So trips he o’er the lawns on trodden snow
50
I turnd a Niobe as Shee turn’d Earth.
And from his side his guiltless blood doth flow.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
And from his side his
Critical Note
The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
guiltless blood
doth flow.
51
So did the spots upon her fair skin show
So did the spots upon her fair skin show
52
Like drops of blood upon unsullied snow.
Like drops of blood upon unsullied snow.
53
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
But what a heart had I, when I did stand
54
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.
Holding her forehead with my trembling hand.

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55
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies
My heart to heaven with her bright spirit flies,
56
Whilst she (ah me!) closed up her lovely eyes.
Whilst she (ah me) closed up her lovely eyes,
57
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
Her soul being seated in her place of birth,
58
I turned a
Gloss Note
Apollo and Artemis transformed Niobe into a weeping rock for bragging that she had more children than their mother.
Niobe
as she turned earth.
I turned a
Critical Note
In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning. Apollo and Artemis, both of whom are associated with hunting, use arrows to kill Niobe’s children, just as this poem imagines a hunter pursuing a deer.
Niobe
as she
Critical Note
Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
turned earth
.
X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

Jane (1625-1645) was one of Pulter’s fifteen children. In the manuscript, the main scribe writes only her initials in the title; her full name and a note, “Baptized May 1, 1625, Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20,” are written in a different hand from the main scribe after the title.
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists generic conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
2nd Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

Jane Pulter (J.P.) was Hester Pulter’s second child of fifteen, almost all of whom predeceased their mother (Eardley; Sarah C. E. Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics in Seventeenth-Century Britain [Oxford UP, 2015]). In the manuscript, a different hand from the main scribe added to the title: “Jane Pulter, baptized May 1, 1625. Buried Oct. 8, 1645 at 20.” This elegy, which was probably composed in 1647, employs and resists conventions for expressing parental grief. The “Curations” section for this poem in The Pulter Project includes several contemporary child-loss elegies by Ben Jonson, Katherine Philips, Elizabeth Egerton, and Anne Bradstreet for comparison.
Transcription

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering. 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

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.
2nd Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. At the same time, I emphasize how her poems are unique, how they respond to one another and seem to reveal their author’s individual circumstances and philosophies. When a note relies on Alice Eardley’s edition of Pulter’s Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda (Toronto: Iter, 2014), I cite her text generally as “Eardley.” Although my own interests guide my editorial decisions, I aim to facilitate multiple readings rather than to direct interpretation in a restrictive way. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. The source manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Written two years after the death of her daughter Jane, Pulter offers a personal elegy that intermixes Christian and classical references. Addressed to other parents, the poem laments the fact that the passing of time, marked by seasonal changes in the natural world and the movement of planets, has not lessened the intensity of her grief, which is not conventionally resolved with Christian affirmation of the afterlife here. Writing in the genre of the “child-loss” poem, Pulter’s tenor is unusually personal; it vividly narrates the moment of Jane’s death by contrasting the purity of her soul with physical signs of illness: the red blotches of fever akin to red roses on a bed of lilies or the blood of a wounded deer in the snow. The poem concludes with the speaker poignantly imagining herself as Niobe, the classical figure who turned to stone for excessive pride in her children, someone whose petrification represents the lifelessness the speaker feels in her state of grief.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings; this version is the early one. The salient differences can be found in the final eight lines here and the final sixteen in “Version B: Pulter’s revised text.” Unlike the revised version, which alludes to Royalist lament, the early version presented here does not connect maternal grief to contemporary politics, and it dwells a little less on Jane’s physical body and the cyclical nature of grief.
To prepare this poem for a wide range of readers, I have modernized spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage, as well as expanded all contractions. I have glossed archaic definitions and confusing syntax, identified allusions, and alerted readers when the manuscript’s original spelling is especially worth considering. In my notes, I aim not to direct interpretation in a restrictive way, but to facilitate multiple interpretations of the poem by highlighting its engagement with genre, myth, and religion.
2nd Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This poem, written two years after the death of Pulter’s adult daughter Jane, offers a fascinating perspective on maternal grief. The passage of time and the Christian concepts of heaven and resurrection have done little to assuage the speaker’s pain, and she seeks a more satisfying expression of her grief by experimenting with cultural allusions and by combining conventions of child-loss elegies with those of Petrarchan love poetry. Many seventeenth-century poets writing about the death of a child found solace in Christianity as they reframed grief as divine grace. Many other English poets imitated Petrarch, a fourteenth-century Italian poet whose male speaker expressed unrequited love for a beautiful but inaccessible woman. Pulter’s elegy builds upon both traditions. It describes a mother’s love for her daughter in Petrarchan terms as its speaker refuses to be consoled.
The poem is also noteworthy for revealing a work in progress. Like all of Pulter’s poetry, it survives in a single manuscript. In the manuscript, this poem’s line 44 is crossed out and replaced with nine new lines, and because these changes are written in the same scribal hand as the rest of the manuscript, it is likely that they are authorially sanctioned. I have edited two versions of the poem to enable readers to compare Pulter’s early and revised endings. This version is the revised one; it incorporates the nine added lines (43-52), which adapt a popular image from both Petrarchan and Royalist poetry to compare Jane to a hunted deer. These new lines transform the poem into a subtle Royalist lament, and, in repeating phrases and images from other parts of the poem, they amplify the speaker’s obsession with Jane’s red rash as she tries to explain to others the devastating physical destruction of Jane’s illness.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

There is no evidence that Pulter’s poems circulated beyond her immediate family in her lifetime, but this opening line suggests that she imagined a broader audience for this poem.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

breathe
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter uses “suspire” in multiple poems to indicate breathing or sighing, as in yearning for something lost. See, e.g., On the Horrid Murder of that Incomparable Prince [Poem 14]. The manuscript’s title, “Poems breathed forth,” suggests that Pulter’s poems themselves are like sighs. For an interpretation of Pulter’s discourse of sighs and tears as political activism, see Ross, Women, Poetry, and Politics, 135-73.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

goddess of spring
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

Chloris is the Greek goddess of the spring. In The Invitation into the Country [Poem 2], Pulter uses Chloris as a pseudonym for King Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, who played Chloris in Ben Jonson’s Chloridia (1631).
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

artful; elaborate; delicate
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. This repetition also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

The repetition of “twice” marks the passage of time: it has been two years since Jane died. It also contributes to the poem’s emphasis on cycles and endless sorrow without relief, as seen later in the repeated line, “still my heart is overwhelmed with grief.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

the traditional color of mourning in China; the color of the kittel (a smock) in which a Jewish corpse was dressed and which congregants wore, as a reminder of death, on Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. In his book on comparative religions, Samuel Purchas mentions the Hebrew practice of dressing a corpse in the white clothing typically worn at the Feast of Reconciliation (see Purchas His Pilgrimage, 1626, p. 206).
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Critical note

White is a traditional color of mourning in China; Purchas His Pilgrimage (1613) explains that Jewish corpses wore white vestments, as did Jewish congregants during the Feast of Reconciliation (Stefan Graham Christian, “The Poems of Lady Hester Pulter [1605?-1678]: An Annotated Edition,” PhD diss. [U of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012], 127). White clothing also replicates the color of Jane’s “milky limbs” in the next line.
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Jane
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

chaste, unsullied
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

The plural “gives” indicates that the speaker conceives of “tears” as a singular noun, such as a shedding or flow of tears.
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

nightingale; in mythology, Philomela was raped and deprived of her tongue by Tereus, eventually being changed into a nightingale, a bird whose song stops each spring (Eardley).
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

The nightingale. In Greek mythology, the maiden Philomela is raped by her sister’s husband, Tereus, and after he cuts out her tongue, Philomela reveals his crime by embroidering it. Philomela and her sister enact revenge on Tereus by feeding his son to him (a disturbing image to underlie a poem about parental grief), and Philomela is transformed into a nightingale in many versions of the story. Petrarch uses the nightingale, with its sorrowful song, as a figure of mourning in Sonnet 311. Pulter follows Petrarch and his English imitators in doing the same, but she also imagines the bird as migratory, which is not a typical feature of English nightingale poems.
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal, austere, self-denying
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal; self-denying
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

fatal; self-denying
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

forest-dwelling
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Critical note

The manuscript spelling, “quire,” highlights a pun on “choir” (a body of singers) and “quire” (a small book made of four sheets folded in two to form eight leaves, or a small poem that could be contained in such a book).
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Jane
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

goddess of the Earth
Elemental Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Earth personified
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Critical note

This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

Earth personified
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Gloss note

enveloped
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Critical note

This line suggests that the Earth’s womb has enfolded Jane in a kind of reverse birth.
Transcription
Line number 21

 Physical note

possibly “Sad”
Elemental Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

goddess of the moon
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

moon goddess
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

crescent-shaped
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

moon goddess
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Gloss note

crescent-shaped
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Critical note

for twelve months, the moon has alternately been crescent shaped, or “hornéd” (a form emblematic of war) and full, reflecting the light of her brother, Phoebus, the sun.
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

Phoebus, the sun
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

Phoebus, the sun
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Gloss note

Jane
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Gloss note

yearning
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

signs of the zodiac
Amplified Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

months (signs of the Zodiac)
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

months (signs of the Zodiac)
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
Amplified Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

splendor
Elemental Edition
Line number 32

 Critical note

opposite side of the world; those who in any way resemble dwellers on the opposite side of the globe.
Amplified Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

opposite places on earth
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 32

 Gloss note

opposite places on earth
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

rupture, breach
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

life
Amplified Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

breach or rupture
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

breach or rupture
Elemental Edition
Line number 36

 Gloss note

move in cycles; move in an unsteady manner; rotate, turn, or pivot around; trust in God
Amplified Edition
Line number 37

 Critical note

Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 37

 Critical note

Jane’s red spots on her white skin are probably smallpox. In describing Jane’s body as white and red, the poem adapts conventions of Petrarchan love poetry, including the blazon (which catalogs parts of a woman’s body) and idealized feminine beauty (pale skin, red lips, and rosy cheeks). See, e.g., Henry Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses Red.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 41

 Critical note

posies, bouquets or bunches of flowers; figuratively, short verses
Amplified Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

posies: flowers or poems
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 41

 Gloss note

posies: flowers or poems
Elemental Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

species of rose from Damascus
Amplified Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

from Damascus; richly blush-colored
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

from Damascus; richly blush-colored
Transcription
Line number 44

 Physical note

In left margin: “* / videree / Retro 27,” with manicule pointing right in lighter ink, and “->” in same lighter ink to right of manicule, above cancelled line; asterisk in same lighter ink.
Transcription
Line number 44

 Physical note

multiple strike-through
Elemental Edition
Line number 44

 Physical note

These next nine lines are inscribed on a separate page in the manuscript, with a notation indicating where they are to be inserted in this poem. They replace a line that describes the snow as “unsoiled” rather than “unsullied.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 44

 Physical note

This line is crossed out in the manuscript. Nine new lines are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion at this point in the poem. Version B includes the new lines.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 44

 Physical note

In the manuscript, this line and the next eight are written after the end of the preceding poem, On That Unparalleled Prince Charles the First [Poem 8], and a manicule (a drawing of a hand with a pointing index finger) and notation alert the reader to their insertion here. They replace a crossed-out line, “Like drops of blood upon unsoiled snow.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 45

 Gloss note

deer
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 45

 Critical note

A male deer. Pulter plays on a familiar “hart”/“heart” pun in describing the deer. This pun and that of “deer”/”dear” (see the poem’s title, which labels Jane “dear”) appear frequently in English Petrarchan poetry. Hunting and hunted stags were also common Royalist tropes (see John Denham’s “Cooper’s Hill”). Pulter’s “This Flying Fish” (Emblem 25)) makes the political allusion explicit when it repeats nearly verbatim the description of the hunted deer in this poem and analogizes it to the late Charles I. Peter Davidson argues persuasively in “Green Thoughts: Marvell’s Gardens; Clues to Two Curious Puzzles” (Times Literary Supplement 3 December 1999, 14-15) that these inserted lines allude to Marvell’s “Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn.” Marvell’s own allusions date “Nymph” to no earlier than 1647, and Ross (Women, Poetry, and Politics, 151) notes the tight time frame in dating both Pulter’s and Marvell’s poems to 1647. Yet although Pulter seems to have written this poem in 1647, she might have revised it (and inserted these lines, inspired by Marvell) at a later date.
Elemental Edition
Line number 46

 Physical note

originally “her” but corrected here, and in lines below, to male pronouns.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 46

 Critical note

Originally “her,” but corrected to masculine pronouns here and in the rest of the inserted lines. The changed pronouns might simply fix a scribal error because the poem identifies the deer as male (a hart), or the revision might reflect a change in approach. If using feminine pronouns, the lines imagine Jane as the deer; in a grotesque image, it is Jane who stumbles, teary-eyed, after an arrow strikes her breast. As the masculine pronouns make the entire section more clearly into a simile (Jane only reminds us of a hunted deer and is not actually shot with an arrow), they enable readers to make broader poetic and political connections, including a possible allusion to Charles I.
Elemental Edition
Line number 48

 Gloss note

exactly reproduced or expressed
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 48

 Gloss note

Something drawn or represented “to the life” is a lifelike expression or exact reproduction.
Amplified Edition
Line number 50

 Critical note

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning.
Amplified Edition
Line number 50

 Critical note

Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 50

 Critical note

The deer’s “guiltless blood” alludes to the Christian story of God sacrificing his only son.
Elemental Edition
Line number 58

 Gloss note

Apollo and Artemis transformed Niobe into a weeping rock for bragging that she had more children than their mother.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 58

 Critical note

In Greek mythology, Apollo and Artemis kill Niobe’s many children after she boasts that her fertility makes her superior to their mother. Consumed with grief, Niobe turns into a weeping stone. By imagining her transformation into Niobe, this speaker might imply that she is being punished for being an indulgent parent, or it might express a defiant choice to remain in mourning. Apollo and Artemis, both of whom are associated with hunting, use arrows to kill Niobe’s children, just as this poem imagines a hunter pursuing a deer.
2nd Amplified Edition
Line number 58

 Critical note

Many contemporary child-loss elegies insist that the parent must adhere to God’s will and understand that the deceased child is too good for the Earth and better situated in heaven. This poem states that Jane’s spirit has lifted to heaven, but it dwells on the lamented destruction of Jane’s physical, idealized body with little, if any, consolation about God’s will. See also Pulter’s Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
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