A Solitary Discourse

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A Solitary Discourse

Poem 44

Original Source

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

Versions

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

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

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

in H2

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 11

 Physical note

The “h” is struck through vertically; “a” overwrites earlier “e.”
Line number 18

 Physical note

perhaps “ne”
Line number 21

 Physical note

The word “leave” is blotted but legible; “leue” is in H2.
Line number 38

 Physical note

The “i” overwrites an earlier “e.”
Line number 40

 Physical note

“\h \” is in H2.
Line number 43

 Physical note

Corrections are visible in “pure”; the superscript “true” is in H2.
Line number 44

 Physical note

This word is struck-through with three horizontal lines.
Line number 47

 Physical note

The “s” is crowded between the surrounding letters and in a different hand (probably H2).
Line number 51

 Physical note

“o” written over an “a”; final “s” blotted
Line number 58

 Physical note

“ſſ” imperfectly erased
Line number 61

 Physical note

“s” crowded between surrounding words, in darker ink
Line number 70

 Physical note

dark ligature between “e”s
Line number 86

 Physical note

above twice struck-through “nor”
Line number 92

 Physical note

“s” added in later by H2
Line number 106

 Physical note

“p” written over other letter, perhaps “f”
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

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Physical Note
in H2
A ſolitary discoars:
Physical Note
The title is not written in the main scribe’s hand (but in a hand that is probably Pulter’s). The poem is in the main scribe’s hand.
A Solitary Discourse
A Solitary Discourse
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Does sunrise inspire joy? Or is it a sorrowful reminder that earthbound humans hope to glimpse a heaven that remains frustratingly out of reach, entrapping them in cycles of darkness and light? In this poem, the speaker shifts abruptly in her assessment, as she alternately commands her soul to rejoice at the empowering beauty of dawning light and scolds herself for forgetting the futility of such mortal indulgences. Seeing the dawn awakens contradictory feelings; as the speaker declares, the sun “dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp.” The poem invites the reader to experience some of these ephemeral pleasures through its evocative language: we are witness to Apollo’s sensual embrace of the ocean, as he dips his heat into her cooling waves; to rural girls gathering dew as a beauty-aid in pastoral flirtation; to sunflowers bursting from the earth to court the sun; and even to the conjugal bliss of Pulter’s early marriage, imagined as the strains of musical harmony. However, the planets’ motions—such as the sun rising—also point to human dependence on astrological influence and a fallen world. Pulter’s neologism, “debreathe,” bespeaks the horror of a final earthly ending shorn of the hope of continued breath in eternity. Having alternated between these poles of despair and pleasure, the poem ends with the speaker confirming her faith in a bodily resurrection that will inaugurate proper vision of the Son’s rising and her promise to “exhale” praise (like this poem) while waiting for Judgment Day.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this long, meditative poem, Pulter’s speaker interrogates her own spiritual condition (“my pensive soul”), using the imagery of light and darkness that is so prevalent in her poetry. The poem poses the question: how can I be sad when the natural beauty of the dawn vanquishes the darkness every single day? And, the poem also asks, “what comfort’s in this light / That is alternately pursued by night?” These opposing interpretations of the same situation—light is followed by darkness; darkness is followed by light—are at the center of this poem’s anguished and, finally, hopeful interrogation of its speaker’s spiritual condition. By comparing herself to the personified and anthropomorphized figure of the solsequium, or sunflower, Pulter’s speaker questions whether observation of the natural world can provide a kind of comfort that is analogous to God’s grace.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
How canst thou heavie bee now Shee apears
How canst thou heavy be? Now she appears,
How canst thou heavy be now
Gloss Note
i.e., Aurora, the harbinger of dawn.
she
appears,
2
My Pencive Soul that with her Luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
3
All drooping Spirits lift up thy Sad eyes
All drooping spirits; lift up thy sad eyes,
All drooping spirits? Lift up thy sad eyes;
4
Behold ^how horrid Darkneſs from her fflyes
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
5
Doe thou but look how at the Sight of Day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day,
6
With Sable Wings Shee Scowling flyes away
With sable wings
Gloss Note
Night
she
, scowling, flies away.
With sable wings she scowling flies away;
7
Look how Aurora with her Orient Light
Look how
Gloss Note
goddess of the dawn
Aurora
with her orient light
Look how
Critical Note
Aurora is the Goddess of the Dawn. Aurora is a touchstone in Pulter’s poetry, and apostrophes to or personifications of Aurora appear in several of her poems, including “Aurora [1]” (Poem 1), “To Aurora [1]” (Poem 22), “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26), “To Aurora [3]” (Poem 34), and “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37).
Aurora with her orient light
8
Doth Scorn and Trample Melancholy Night
Doth scorn and trample melancholy Night!
Doth scorn and trample
Gloss Note
Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, here construed as an enemy to be defeated by Dawn.
melancholy Night
.
9
Nay pale facet Cinthia w:th her Glittring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Cynthia
with her glitt’ring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
Cynthia is another name for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. In this context, her “glittering train” is made of stars.
Cynthia with her glittering train
10
Hide all away for fear of her diſdain
Hides all away for fear of her disdain.
Hide all away for fear of her disdain.
11
But yet (
Physical Note
The “h” is struck through vertically; “a” overwrites earlier “e.”
ha laſ
) what comfort’s in this Light
But yet (alas) what
Gloss Note
comfort is
comfort’s
in this light
But yet (alas) what comfort’s in this light
12
That is Alternately purſued by Night
That is alternately pursued by Night?
That is alternately pursued by night?
13
Inſted of bringing of my Soul Relief
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
14
It doth Succeſſivly renew my griefe
It doth
Gloss Note
subsequently
successively
renew my grief.
It doth successively renew my grief.
15
There is noe cheerfull light below the Skies
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
16
Nor can wee See it till wee loos our eyes
Nor can we see it till we lose our eyes.
Nor can we see till we lose our eyes.
17
Did I not hope my Soul’s of Heavenly Birth
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
18
Let mee bee nothing if [
Physical Note
perhaps “ne”
?
] I debreath on Earth
Let me be nothing
Gloss Note
Pulter here coins the term “debreathe,” apparently meaning to cease breathing yet remain material and worldly.
if I debreathe on Earth
;
Let me be nothing if I
Gloss Note
an unusual word not widely attested, which may mean “cease breathing.”
debreathe
on Earth;

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19
But on condition of Eternall Glory
But on condition of eternal glory,
But on condition of eternal glory,
20
I am contented with my lifs Sad Story
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
21
ffor Shame my Soul
Physical Note
The word “leave” is blotted but legible; “leue” is in H2.
leave \leue \
this baſe diſcontent
For shame, my soul! Leave this base discontent,
For shame, my soul, leave this base discontent,
22
And cheerly look up to the firmament
And
Gloss Note
cheerfully
cheerly
look up to the firmament.
And cheerly look up to the
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens.
firmament
:
23
See how Aurora Sprinkles Dew like Pearles
See how Aurora sprinkles dew-like pearls
Critical Note

May-dew is prized for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Irelands Natural History, Gerard Boate explains how to gather it:

“The English women, and Gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all year for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting and keeping it was this. In the moneth of May especially, and also in part of the moneth of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linen clothes upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes.”Gerarde Boate, Irelands Natural History, London, 1652, pp. 170-71.

Dew might be gathered from many different plants, but Boate explains that dew from “green corn, especially Wheat” has “more vertues” (171).

See how Aurora sprinkles dewlike pearls
24
On Ceres Corn gather’d by Rurall Girles
On
Gloss Note
goddess of agriculture
Ceres’s
corn, gathered by rural girls
On Ceres’ corn gathered by rural girls
25
To waſh the freckles from their lovly face
To wash the freckles from their lovely face,
To wash the freckles from their lovely face
26
That in their lovers eyes they may find Grace
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
27
Alas what bevty w:th Such Care up Nurst
Alas, what beauty with such care
Gloss Note
reared up, tended
up-nursed
,
Alas, what beauty, with such care up-nursed,
28
When Sicknes Age and Grief (of all the worst)
When Sickness, Age, and Grief (of all the worst)
When sickness age and grief (of all the worst)
29
Have Acted all their parts then comes ^pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
30
And cloſes up their eyes and Stops their Breath
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath.
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath;
31
How empty and how vain is Carnall Love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
32
Compard but with a Glimps of Joyes above
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above!
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above.
33
I was in youth A Modest Virgin Bred
I was in youth a modest virgin
Gloss Note
trained, raised
bred
I was in youth a modest virgin bred,
34
And brought with Honnour to my Nuptial Bed
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
35
To a most Lovly Youth and Noblely Born
To a most lovely youth and nobly born;
To a most lovely youth, and nobly born;
36
Vertue and Bevty did his youth Adorn
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
37
Our Musick then had sweet and Pleasant Cloſes
Our music then had sweet and pleasant
Gloss Note
endings of musical phrases
closes
,
Our music then had
Gloss Note
“close” is a technical term for the conclusion of a musical phrase.
sweet and pleasant closes
;
38
Crownd were our Heads with
Physical Note
The “i” overwrites an earlier “e.”
Mirtle
& w:th Roſes
Crowned were our heads with
Gloss Note
Sacred to the goddess Venus, myrtle was used as an emblem of love.
myrtle
and with roses,
Crowned were our heads with
Critical Note
symbols of beauty, peace, and love, perhaps signifying the strength of the speaker’s marriage, as they remain “flowery, fresh, and green.”
myrtle and with roses
,
39
Which to this Howr are fflowry ffresh and Green
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh, and green,
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh and green,
40
Physical Note
“\h \” is in H2.
Thoug\h \
Cipres Buds were here and there between
Gloss Note
The cypress tree was a symbol of mourning; cypress buds might refer to children dying young.
Though cypress buds
were here and there between
Though
Critical Note
symbols of mourning, perhaps signifying the premature deaths of many of Pulter’s children.
cypress buds
were here and there between
Stuck

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41
Stuck in By ^adverſ fate to cool our love
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love,
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love;
42
Or elce that wee Should place our thoughts aboue
Or
Gloss Note
so that
else that
we should place our thoughts above,
Or else that we should place our thoughts above,
43
Where onely is
Physical Note
Corrections are visible in “pure”; the superscript “true” is in H2.
pure \true \
love and lasting Peace
Where only is pure, true love and lasting peace.
Where only is
Physical Note
a manuscript addition corrects “pure” to “true.”
true
love and lasting peace.
44
That
Physical Note
This word is struck-through with three horizontal lines.
loue
loue Shall last when ffaith & hope Shall ceaſe
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
45
ffrom Heaven my Soul (ffrom Heaven) thy comfort Springs
From heaven, my soul (from heaven), thy comfort springs,
From heaven, my soul, from heaven thy comfort springs;
46
ffor earth (Alas) nought but afliction Brings
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
47
Look up once more
Physical Note
The “s” is crowded between the surrounding letters and in a different hand (probably H2).
hear’s
that thy Heart will eaſe
Look up once more; here’s
Gloss Note
that which
that
thy heart will ease,
Look up once more; here’s that thy heart will ease,
48
Or Surely nothing will thy ffancie Pleaſe
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
49
Mark how Apollo this Salubrious Morning
Mark how
Gloss Note
the sun
Apollo
this
Gloss Note
favorable, healthy
salubrious
morning,
Mark how
Gloss Note
God of the Sun.
Apollo
, this salubrious morning,
50
With Dazling Beams his Splendent fface Adorning
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
51
Physical Note
“o” written over an “a”; final “s” blotted
Comes
Glittring fforth in most refulgent grace
Comes glitt’ring forth in most
Gloss Note
radiant
refulgent
grace,
Comes glittering forth in most refulgent grace,
52
Joying to run his Occidendentall Race
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
western
occidental
Gloss Note
course
race
,
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
westward; Apollo travels toward the sunset in the West; i.e., toward night, when he is reunited with Thetis, a sea nymph.
occidental race
,
53
Scorning his eyes Should take a Slumbring Nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
54
Untill hee layes in Wanton Thetis Lap
Until he lays in wanton
Gloss Note
In mythology, Thetis was a sea nymph or emblem of the sea; she was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris (thus called Nereids)
Thetis’s
lap
Until he lays in wanton Thetis’ lap,
55
His fflagrant Head, then Shee in love belaves
His
Gloss Note
blazing
flagrant
head; then she, in love,
Gloss Note
washes over
belaves
His flagrant head then she in love belaves,
56
His Burning Treſſes with her cooler Waves
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
57
And that Sweet Dew on fflowers Redolent
And that sweet dew on flowers
Gloss Note
fragrant
redolent
,
And that sweet dew on flowers redolent
58
Which Breaths to us an Aromattck
Physical Note
“ſſ” imperfectly erased
ſſSent
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
59
Hee with his Heat exhales aboue our vew
He with his heat exhales above our view,
He with his heat exhales above our view
60
Which doth Nocturnally deſcend in Dew
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
61
See how the Solyſequem
Physical Note
“s” crowded between surrounding words, in darker ink
thrust’s
her Head
See how the
Gloss Note
sunflower, heliotrope
solsequium
thrusts her head
See how the
Critical Note
a Latin name for the sunflower; also sometimes called the heliotrope. In The Garden [Poem 12], the heliotrope defiantly declares “I’m not afraid” to look upon the sun.
solsequium
thrusts her head
62
Up through the Center from that comon Bed
Up through the center from that common bed
Up through the center from that common bed
into

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63
Into the Liquid Azure Sea above Her
Into the liquid
Gloss Note
blue
azure
sea above her
Into the liquid azure sea above her
64
To follow Phœbus her admired Lover
To follow
Gloss Note
the sun
Phoebus
, her admiréd lover;
To follow
Gloss Note
another name for Apollo; the sun. See also See “Heliotropians” (Emblem 3).
Phoebus
her admired lover.
65
When hee in our Horizon giues his Race
When he in our horizon
Gloss Note
follows his course
gives his race
,
When he in our horizon gives his race,
66
Then in the Ayr Shee Shews her Lovly face
Then in the air she shows her lovely face.
Then in the air she shows her lovely face;
67
Soe when hee is our Zeneth at mid Day
So when he is our zenith at midday,
So when he is our zenith at midday,
68
Shee at full Lenght her Bevty doth diſplay
She at full length her beauty doth display;
She at full length her beauty doth display.
69
But when the Sun is Nadar to us here
But when the sun is
Gloss Note
directly opposite
nadir
to us here,
But when the sun is nadir to us here,
70
Physical Note
dark ligature between “e”s
Shee
meets him in the other Hemesſpheir
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
71
To see theſe Marvels and this Shineing Lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
72
Dazles mine eyes and doth my Spirit damp
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp;
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp:
73
ffor when I doe his Orient Splendour See
For when I do his
Gloss Note
radiant, eastern
orient
splendor see,
For when I do his
Critical Note
of the East or the dawn; bright, luminous, radiant. The speaker distinguishes herself from the sunflower who eagerly follows her lover (the sun) across the sky thus displaying her beauty. When the speaker observes the eroticized harmony between the sun and flower, however, her eyes are “dazzled,” her spirits “damp[ened],” and her “deformity” revealed.
orient
splendor see
74
It more diſcovers my deformitie
It more
Gloss Note
reveals
discovers
my deformity.
It more discovers my deformity.
75
If I but look upon his blazing bevty
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
76
Hee burns mee black for fayling Soe in Duty
He burns me black for failing so in duty.
Critical Note

i.e. the speaker is sunburned. Pulter adopts a trope of Petrarchan love poetry to describe the painful experience of unrequited devotion. Compare to Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet 22:

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sunne,
The sunn which they doe as theyr God adore
Soe ame I us’d by love, for ever more
I worship him, less favors have I wunn.
Josephine Roberts, ed. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, p. 99.
He burns me black
for failing so in duty;
77
But if in Innocence I had Stood upright
But if,
Gloss Note
in the state of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before they sinned and were banished
in innocence
, I had stood upright,
But if in innocence I had stood upright,
78
Nor Sun nor Moon Should hurt mee Day nor Night
Nor sun, nor moon should hurt me day or night,
Nor sun nor moon should hurt me day or night.
79
But I (Ay mee) in Adam fell from Glory
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
80
Which makes mee live a Life most trancetory
Which makes me live a life most transitory.
Which makes me live
Critical Note
see Genesis 2:16-17; one consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is death.
a life most transitory
.
81
Then thoſe Celestiall Orbs that Shine Soe bright
Gloss Note
in a prelapsarian world
Then
, those celestial orbs that shine so bright
Then those celestial orbs that shine so bright,
82
Should ffellows bee and further our delight
Should fellows be and further our delight.
Critical Note

Pulter suggests that one consequence of the Fall is her lack of harmony with the universe, particularly the stars and planets. In a state of innocence, “no sun nor moon” could hurt her, and, further, the heavenly bodies would be “fellows” and a source of “delight.” This claim may refer to legends about how the Fall transformed the physical environment and subjected humans to physical suffering, as well as to debates about how the Fall limits humans’ ability to know both their physical environment and God. Compare Milton’s Paradise Lost, which engages with both traditions. In Book 11, the angels change the orientation of the Earth so that heat of the Sun is intensified and in order to create potentially harmful astrological influences (see 11. 649-78). In book 12, Michael tells Adam that his loss requires him to turn away from knowledge of the heavens:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs
Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Aire, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoydst,
And all the rule, one Empire (12.575-81)
Should fellows be and further our delight
.
83
Happy Should bee their influence & Dances
Happy should be their influence and dances,
Happy should be their influence and dances,
84
Both their fuleyed Aspects and Secret Glances
Both their
Gloss Note
perfectly visible
full-eyed
Gloss Note
looks; viewpoints; relative positions of the heavenly bodies as they appear to an observer on Earth
aspects
and secret glances.
Both their full-eyed aspects and secret glances.
then

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85
Then unto them I Should bee Independent
Then,
Gloss Note
with regards to
unto
them I should be independent,
Then unto them I should be independent,
86
Nor need nor
Physical Note
above twice struck-through “nor”
I \
fear though Saturn’s my Aſſendent
Nor need I fear, though Saturn’s my
Critical Note
the degree of the zodiac at a person’s birth, which influences his or her life; here, Saturn, which was supposed to cause melancholy
ascendant
;
Nor need I fear, though
Critical Note
In astrology the ascendant is the degree of the zodiac rising over the horizon at a particular moment such as the birth of a child. Saturn is the planet associated with melancholy; Pulter suggests that in a state of innocence she would not have to worry about the potentially negative impacts of her ascendant planet.
Saturn’s my ascendant
.
87
But now I’me troubled Ready still to cry
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
88
Cauſe at my Birth Some Planet lookt awry
’Cause at my birth some planet looked awry,
’Cause at my birth
Gloss Note
obliquely, unevenly, crookedly, or askew (OED “awry” adv.1a., 1b.). Pulter’s speaker laments that her melancholy causes her to forget God’s care for his creatures.
some planet looked awry
,
89
fforgetting him that them and mee did make
Forgetting Him that them and me did make,
Forgetting him that them and me did make,
90
Who of his Children conſtant care doth take
Who of His children constant care doth take;
Who of his children constant care doth take.
91
And thoſe Celestiall Works of Wonder
And those celestial works of wonder,
And those celestial works of wonder,
92
Hee knowes their Names,
Physical Note
“s” added in later by H2
Natures
& Number
He knows their names, natures, and number,
He knows their names, natures, and number,
93
Their turning and their constant stations
Their turning and their constant stations,
Their turning and their constant stations,
94
And every influence of those constellation
And every influence of those constellations.
And every influence of those constellations.
95
In God my Soul trust ever and depend
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend,
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend;
96
Soe shalt thou live A life that ne’re Shall end
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
97
Nor bee thou hopeles when thy Body’s Crumbled
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
98
And with all Creatures in this Maſs is jumbled
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
99
But at thy Death, Sing cheerfully a requem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
solemn chant for the dead
requiem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
mass, prayer, or song for the soul of a dead person.
requiem
,
100
ffor thou with Joy Shall like the Soliſequem
For thou with joy shall, like the solsequium,
For thou with joy shall like the solsequium
101
Meet thy Redeemer in a Horiscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Gloss Note
configuration of the planets
horoscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Critical Note
the observation of the sky and the configuration of the planets at the time of an individual’s birth; Pulter imagines the casting of a “brighter” horoscope at the time of death.
horoscope
102
Brighter then this thy fflesh Shall rest in hope
Brighter than this; thy flesh shall rest in hope,
Brighter than this. Thy flesh shall rest in hope,
103
And thou Shalt See thy Saviour w:th theſe eyes
And thou shalt see thy Savior with these eyes,
And thou shalt see thy saviour with these eyes,
104
When that bright Sun of Righteousnes Shall Riſe
When that bright
Critical Note
Christ, with pun on “Son” of God; see Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Sun of Righteousness
shall rise;
When that bright sun of righteousness shall rise.
105
With Healing Wings hee shall from my Sad eyes
With healing wings He shall, from my sad eyes
With healing wings he shall from my sad eyes
106
And from all ffaces elce
Physical Note
“p” written over other letter, perhaps “f”
wipe
of the tears
And from all faces else, wipe off the tears;
And from all faces else wipe off the tears;
107
Soe from all Hearts hee will diſpell all fears
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
oh

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108
Oh then (till then) Send Grace into my Heart
O then (till then) send
Gloss Note
benevolence received from God, which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation; here the speaker imagines receiving, nurturing, and returning grace.
grace
into my heart,
Oh then (till then) send
Gloss Note
God’s benevolence or favor toward humanity (OED “grace,” n.1a.; 1b.).
grace
into my heart,
109
Which from my Throbing Boſome ne’re shall part
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
110
But I’le improv’t my few and evill Dayes
But I’ll improve’t,
Gloss Note
in my
my
few and evil days,
But I’ll improve’t, my few and evil days,
111
Untill it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
Until it doth
Gloss Note
breathe forth
exhale
in thanks and praise.
Until it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
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X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Physical note

The title is not written in the main scribe’s hand (but in a hand that is probably Pulter’s). The poem is in the main scribe’s hand.

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

Does sunrise inspire joy? Or is it a sorrowful reminder that earthbound humans hope to glimpse a heaven that remains frustratingly out of reach, entrapping them in cycles of darkness and light? In this poem, the speaker shifts abruptly in her assessment, as she alternately commands her soul to rejoice at the empowering beauty of dawning light and scolds herself for forgetting the futility of such mortal indulgences. Seeing the dawn awakens contradictory feelings; as the speaker declares, the sun “dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp.” The poem invites the reader to experience some of these ephemeral pleasures through its evocative language: we are witness to Apollo’s sensual embrace of the ocean, as he dips his heat into her cooling waves; to rural girls gathering dew as a beauty-aid in pastoral flirtation; to sunflowers bursting from the earth to court the sun; and even to the conjugal bliss of Pulter’s early marriage, imagined as the strains of musical harmony. However, the planets’ motions—such as the sun rising—also point to human dependence on astrological influence and a fallen world. Pulter’s neologism, “debreathe,” bespeaks the horror of a final earthly ending shorn of the hope of continued breath in eternity. Having alternated between these poles of despair and pleasure, the poem ends with the speaker confirming her faith in a bodily resurrection that will inaugurate proper vision of the Son’s rising and her promise to “exhale” praise (like this poem) while waiting for Judgment Day.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

Night
Line number 7

 Gloss note

goddess of the dawn
Line number 9

 Gloss note

goddess of the moon
Line number 11

 Gloss note

comfort is
Line number 14

 Gloss note

subsequently
Line number 18

 Gloss note

Pulter here coins the term “debreathe,” apparently meaning to cease breathing yet remain material and worldly.
Line number 22

 Gloss note

cheerfully
Line number 24

 Gloss note

goddess of agriculture
Line number 27

 Gloss note

reared up, tended
Line number 33

 Gloss note

trained, raised
Line number 37

 Gloss note

endings of musical phrases
Line number 38

 Gloss note

Sacred to the goddess Venus, myrtle was used as an emblem of love.
Line number 40

 Gloss note

The cypress tree was a symbol of mourning; cypress buds might refer to children dying young.
Line number 42

 Gloss note

so that
Line number 47

 Gloss note

that which
Line number 49

 Gloss note

the sun
Line number 49

 Gloss note

favorable, healthy
Line number 51

 Gloss note

radiant
Line number 52

 Gloss note

western
Line number 52

 Gloss note

course
Line number 54

 Gloss note

In mythology, Thetis was a sea nymph or emblem of the sea; she was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris (thus called Nereids)
Line number 55

 Gloss note

blazing
Line number 55

 Gloss note

washes over
Line number 57

 Gloss note

fragrant
Line number 61

 Gloss note

sunflower, heliotrope
Line number 63

 Gloss note

blue
Line number 64

 Gloss note

the sun
Line number 65

 Gloss note

follows his course
Line number 69

 Gloss note

directly opposite
Line number 73

 Gloss note

radiant, eastern
Line number 74

 Gloss note

reveals
Line number 77

 Gloss note

in the state of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before they sinned and were banished
Line number 81

 Gloss note

in a prelapsarian world
Line number 84

 Gloss note

perfectly visible
Line number 84

 Gloss note

looks; viewpoints; relative positions of the heavenly bodies as they appear to an observer on Earth
Line number 85

 Gloss note

with regards to
Line number 86

 Critical note

the degree of the zodiac at a person’s birth, which influences his or her life; here, Saturn, which was supposed to cause melancholy
Line number 99

 Gloss note

solemn chant for the dead
Line number 101

 Gloss note

configuration of the planets
Line number 104

 Critical note

Christ, with pun on “Son” of God; see Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Line number 108

 Gloss note

benevolence received from God, which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation; here the speaker imagines receiving, nurturing, and returning grace.
Line number 110

 Gloss note

in my
Line number 111

 Gloss note

breathe forth
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X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

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Physical Note
in H2
A ſolitary discoars:
Physical Note
The title is not written in the main scribe’s hand (but in a hand that is probably Pulter’s). The poem is in the main scribe’s hand.
A Solitary Discourse
A Solitary Discourse
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

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

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Does sunrise inspire joy? Or is it a sorrowful reminder that earthbound humans hope to glimpse a heaven that remains frustratingly out of reach, entrapping them in cycles of darkness and light? In this poem, the speaker shifts abruptly in her assessment, as she alternately commands her soul to rejoice at the empowering beauty of dawning light and scolds herself for forgetting the futility of such mortal indulgences. Seeing the dawn awakens contradictory feelings; as the speaker declares, the sun “dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp.” The poem invites the reader to experience some of these ephemeral pleasures through its evocative language: we are witness to Apollo’s sensual embrace of the ocean, as he dips his heat into her cooling waves; to rural girls gathering dew as a beauty-aid in pastoral flirtation; to sunflowers bursting from the earth to court the sun; and even to the conjugal bliss of Pulter’s early marriage, imagined as the strains of musical harmony. However, the planets’ motions—such as the sun rising—also point to human dependence on astrological influence and a fallen world. Pulter’s neologism, “debreathe,” bespeaks the horror of a final earthly ending shorn of the hope of continued breath in eternity. Having alternated between these poles of despair and pleasure, the poem ends with the speaker confirming her faith in a bodily resurrection that will inaugurate proper vision of the Son’s rising and her promise to “exhale” praise (like this poem) while waiting for Judgment Day.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this long, meditative poem, Pulter’s speaker interrogates her own spiritual condition (“my pensive soul”), using the imagery of light and darkness that is so prevalent in her poetry. The poem poses the question: how can I be sad when the natural beauty of the dawn vanquishes the darkness every single day? And, the poem also asks, “what comfort’s in this light / That is alternately pursued by night?” These opposing interpretations of the same situation—light is followed by darkness; darkness is followed by light—are at the center of this poem’s anguished and, finally, hopeful interrogation of its speaker’s spiritual condition. By comparing herself to the personified and anthropomorphized figure of the solsequium, or sunflower, Pulter’s speaker questions whether observation of the natural world can provide a kind of comfort that is analogous to God’s grace.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
How canst thou heavie bee now Shee apears
How canst thou heavy be? Now she appears,
How canst thou heavy be now
Gloss Note
i.e., Aurora, the harbinger of dawn.
she
appears,
2
My Pencive Soul that with her Luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
3
All drooping Spirits lift up thy Sad eyes
All drooping spirits; lift up thy sad eyes,
All drooping spirits? Lift up thy sad eyes;
4
Behold ^how horrid Darkneſs from her fflyes
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
5
Doe thou but look how at the Sight of Day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day,
6
With Sable Wings Shee Scowling flyes away
With sable wings
Gloss Note
Night
she
, scowling, flies away.
With sable wings she scowling flies away;
7
Look how Aurora with her Orient Light
Look how
Gloss Note
goddess of the dawn
Aurora
with her orient light
Look how
Critical Note
Aurora is the Goddess of the Dawn. Aurora is a touchstone in Pulter’s poetry, and apostrophes to or personifications of Aurora appear in several of her poems, including “Aurora [1]” (Poem 1), “To Aurora [1]” (Poem 22), “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26), “To Aurora [3]” (Poem 34), and “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37).
Aurora with her orient light
8
Doth Scorn and Trample Melancholy Night
Doth scorn and trample melancholy Night!
Doth scorn and trample
Gloss Note
Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, here construed as an enemy to be defeated by Dawn.
melancholy Night
.
9
Nay pale facet Cinthia w:th her Glittring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Cynthia
with her glitt’ring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
Cynthia is another name for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. In this context, her “glittering train” is made of stars.
Cynthia with her glittering train
10
Hide all away for fear of her diſdain
Hides all away for fear of her disdain.
Hide all away for fear of her disdain.
11
But yet (
Physical Note
The “h” is struck through vertically; “a” overwrites earlier “e.”
ha laſ
) what comfort’s in this Light
But yet (alas) what
Gloss Note
comfort is
comfort’s
in this light
But yet (alas) what comfort’s in this light
12
That is Alternately purſued by Night
That is alternately pursued by Night?
That is alternately pursued by night?
13
Inſted of bringing of my Soul Relief
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
14
It doth Succeſſivly renew my griefe
It doth
Gloss Note
subsequently
successively
renew my grief.
It doth successively renew my grief.
15
There is noe cheerfull light below the Skies
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
16
Nor can wee See it till wee loos our eyes
Nor can we see it till we lose our eyes.
Nor can we see till we lose our eyes.
17
Did I not hope my Soul’s of Heavenly Birth
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
18
Let mee bee nothing if [
Physical Note
perhaps “ne”
?
] I debreath on Earth
Let me be nothing
Gloss Note
Pulter here coins the term “debreathe,” apparently meaning to cease breathing yet remain material and worldly.
if I debreathe on Earth
;
Let me be nothing if I
Gloss Note
an unusual word not widely attested, which may mean “cease breathing.”
debreathe
on Earth;

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19
But on condition of Eternall Glory
But on condition of eternal glory,
But on condition of eternal glory,
20
I am contented with my lifs Sad Story
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
21
ffor Shame my Soul
Physical Note
The word “leave” is blotted but legible; “leue” is in H2.
leave \leue \
this baſe diſcontent
For shame, my soul! Leave this base discontent,
For shame, my soul, leave this base discontent,
22
And cheerly look up to the firmament
And
Gloss Note
cheerfully
cheerly
look up to the firmament.
And cheerly look up to the
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens.
firmament
:
23
See how Aurora Sprinkles Dew like Pearles
See how Aurora sprinkles dew-like pearls
Critical Note

May-dew is prized for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Irelands Natural History, Gerard Boate explains how to gather it:

“The English women, and Gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all year for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting and keeping it was this. In the moneth of May especially, and also in part of the moneth of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linen clothes upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes.”Gerarde Boate, Irelands Natural History, London, 1652, pp. 170-71.

Dew might be gathered from many different plants, but Boate explains that dew from “green corn, especially Wheat” has “more vertues” (171).

See how Aurora sprinkles dewlike pearls
24
On Ceres Corn gather’d by Rurall Girles
On
Gloss Note
goddess of agriculture
Ceres’s
corn, gathered by rural girls
On Ceres’ corn gathered by rural girls
25
To waſh the freckles from their lovly face
To wash the freckles from their lovely face,
To wash the freckles from their lovely face
26
That in their lovers eyes they may find Grace
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
27
Alas what bevty w:th Such Care up Nurst
Alas, what beauty with such care
Gloss Note
reared up, tended
up-nursed
,
Alas, what beauty, with such care up-nursed,
28
When Sicknes Age and Grief (of all the worst)
When Sickness, Age, and Grief (of all the worst)
When sickness age and grief (of all the worst)
29
Have Acted all their parts then comes ^pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
30
And cloſes up their eyes and Stops their Breath
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath.
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath;
31
How empty and how vain is Carnall Love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
32
Compard but with a Glimps of Joyes above
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above!
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above.
33
I was in youth A Modest Virgin Bred
I was in youth a modest virgin
Gloss Note
trained, raised
bred
I was in youth a modest virgin bred,
34
And brought with Honnour to my Nuptial Bed
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
35
To a most Lovly Youth and Noblely Born
To a most lovely youth and nobly born;
To a most lovely youth, and nobly born;
36
Vertue and Bevty did his youth Adorn
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
37
Our Musick then had sweet and Pleasant Cloſes
Our music then had sweet and pleasant
Gloss Note
endings of musical phrases
closes
,
Our music then had
Gloss Note
“close” is a technical term for the conclusion of a musical phrase.
sweet and pleasant closes
;
38
Crownd were our Heads with
Physical Note
The “i” overwrites an earlier “e.”
Mirtle
& w:th Roſes
Crowned were our heads with
Gloss Note
Sacred to the goddess Venus, myrtle was used as an emblem of love.
myrtle
and with roses,
Crowned were our heads with
Critical Note
symbols of beauty, peace, and love, perhaps signifying the strength of the speaker’s marriage, as they remain “flowery, fresh, and green.”
myrtle and with roses
,
39
Which to this Howr are fflowry ffresh and Green
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh, and green,
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh and green,
40
Physical Note
“\h \” is in H2.
Thoug\h \
Cipres Buds were here and there between
Gloss Note
The cypress tree was a symbol of mourning; cypress buds might refer to children dying young.
Though cypress buds
were here and there between
Though
Critical Note
symbols of mourning, perhaps signifying the premature deaths of many of Pulter’s children.
cypress buds
were here and there between
Stuck

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41
Stuck in By ^adverſ fate to cool our love
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love,
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love;
42
Or elce that wee Should place our thoughts aboue
Or
Gloss Note
so that
else that
we should place our thoughts above,
Or else that we should place our thoughts above,
43
Where onely is
Physical Note
Corrections are visible in “pure”; the superscript “true” is in H2.
pure \true \
love and lasting Peace
Where only is pure, true love and lasting peace.
Where only is
Physical Note
a manuscript addition corrects “pure” to “true.”
true
love and lasting peace.
44
That
Physical Note
This word is struck-through with three horizontal lines.
loue
loue Shall last when ffaith & hope Shall ceaſe
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
45
ffrom Heaven my Soul (ffrom Heaven) thy comfort Springs
From heaven, my soul (from heaven), thy comfort springs,
From heaven, my soul, from heaven thy comfort springs;
46
ffor earth (Alas) nought but afliction Brings
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
47
Look up once more
Physical Note
The “s” is crowded between the surrounding letters and in a different hand (probably H2).
hear’s
that thy Heart will eaſe
Look up once more; here’s
Gloss Note
that which
that
thy heart will ease,
Look up once more; here’s that thy heart will ease,
48
Or Surely nothing will thy ffancie Pleaſe
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
49
Mark how Apollo this Salubrious Morning
Mark how
Gloss Note
the sun
Apollo
this
Gloss Note
favorable, healthy
salubrious
morning,
Mark how
Gloss Note
God of the Sun.
Apollo
, this salubrious morning,
50
With Dazling Beams his Splendent fface Adorning
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
51
Physical Note
“o” written over an “a”; final “s” blotted
Comes
Glittring fforth in most refulgent grace
Comes glitt’ring forth in most
Gloss Note
radiant
refulgent
grace,
Comes glittering forth in most refulgent grace,
52
Joying to run his Occidendentall Race
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
western
occidental
Gloss Note
course
race
,
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
westward; Apollo travels toward the sunset in the West; i.e., toward night, when he is reunited with Thetis, a sea nymph.
occidental race
,
53
Scorning his eyes Should take a Slumbring Nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
54
Untill hee layes in Wanton Thetis Lap
Until he lays in wanton
Gloss Note
In mythology, Thetis was a sea nymph or emblem of the sea; she was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris (thus called Nereids)
Thetis’s
lap
Until he lays in wanton Thetis’ lap,
55
His fflagrant Head, then Shee in love belaves
His
Gloss Note
blazing
flagrant
head; then she, in love,
Gloss Note
washes over
belaves
His flagrant head then she in love belaves,
56
His Burning Treſſes with her cooler Waves
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
57
And that Sweet Dew on fflowers Redolent
And that sweet dew on flowers
Gloss Note
fragrant
redolent
,
And that sweet dew on flowers redolent
58
Which Breaths to us an Aromattck
Physical Note
“ſſ” imperfectly erased
ſſSent
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
59
Hee with his Heat exhales aboue our vew
He with his heat exhales above our view,
He with his heat exhales above our view
60
Which doth Nocturnally deſcend in Dew
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
61
See how the Solyſequem
Physical Note
“s” crowded between surrounding words, in darker ink
thrust’s
her Head
See how the
Gloss Note
sunflower, heliotrope
solsequium
thrusts her head
See how the
Critical Note
a Latin name for the sunflower; also sometimes called the heliotrope. In The Garden [Poem 12], the heliotrope defiantly declares “I’m not afraid” to look upon the sun.
solsequium
thrusts her head
62
Up through the Center from that comon Bed
Up through the center from that common bed
Up through the center from that common bed
into

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63
Into the Liquid Azure Sea above Her
Into the liquid
Gloss Note
blue
azure
sea above her
Into the liquid azure sea above her
64
To follow Phœbus her admired Lover
To follow
Gloss Note
the sun
Phoebus
, her admiréd lover;
To follow
Gloss Note
another name for Apollo; the sun. See also See “Heliotropians” (Emblem 3).
Phoebus
her admired lover.
65
When hee in our Horizon giues his Race
When he in our horizon
Gloss Note
follows his course
gives his race
,
When he in our horizon gives his race,
66
Then in the Ayr Shee Shews her Lovly face
Then in the air she shows her lovely face.
Then in the air she shows her lovely face;
67
Soe when hee is our Zeneth at mid Day
So when he is our zenith at midday,
So when he is our zenith at midday,
68
Shee at full Lenght her Bevty doth diſplay
She at full length her beauty doth display;
She at full length her beauty doth display.
69
But when the Sun is Nadar to us here
But when the sun is
Gloss Note
directly opposite
nadir
to us here,
But when the sun is nadir to us here,
70
Physical Note
dark ligature between “e”s
Shee
meets him in the other Hemesſpheir
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
71
To see theſe Marvels and this Shineing Lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
72
Dazles mine eyes and doth my Spirit damp
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp;
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp:
73
ffor when I doe his Orient Splendour See
For when I do his
Gloss Note
radiant, eastern
orient
splendor see,
For when I do his
Critical Note
of the East or the dawn; bright, luminous, radiant. The speaker distinguishes herself from the sunflower who eagerly follows her lover (the sun) across the sky thus displaying her beauty. When the speaker observes the eroticized harmony between the sun and flower, however, her eyes are “dazzled,” her spirits “damp[ened],” and her “deformity” revealed.
orient
splendor see
74
It more diſcovers my deformitie
It more
Gloss Note
reveals
discovers
my deformity.
It more discovers my deformity.
75
If I but look upon his blazing bevty
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
76
Hee burns mee black for fayling Soe in Duty
He burns me black for failing so in duty.
Critical Note

i.e. the speaker is sunburned. Pulter adopts a trope of Petrarchan love poetry to describe the painful experience of unrequited devotion. Compare to Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet 22:

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sunne,
The sunn which they doe as theyr God adore
Soe ame I us’d by love, for ever more
I worship him, less favors have I wunn.
Josephine Roberts, ed. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, p. 99.
He burns me black
for failing so in duty;
77
But if in Innocence I had Stood upright
But if,
Gloss Note
in the state of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before they sinned and were banished
in innocence
, I had stood upright,
But if in innocence I had stood upright,
78
Nor Sun nor Moon Should hurt mee Day nor Night
Nor sun, nor moon should hurt me day or night,
Nor sun nor moon should hurt me day or night.
79
But I (Ay mee) in Adam fell from Glory
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
80
Which makes mee live a Life most trancetory
Which makes me live a life most transitory.
Which makes me live
Critical Note
see Genesis 2:16-17; one consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is death.
a life most transitory
.
81
Then thoſe Celestiall Orbs that Shine Soe bright
Gloss Note
in a prelapsarian world
Then
, those celestial orbs that shine so bright
Then those celestial orbs that shine so bright,
82
Should ffellows bee and further our delight
Should fellows be and further our delight.
Critical Note

Pulter suggests that one consequence of the Fall is her lack of harmony with the universe, particularly the stars and planets. In a state of innocence, “no sun nor moon” could hurt her, and, further, the heavenly bodies would be “fellows” and a source of “delight.” This claim may refer to legends about how the Fall transformed the physical environment and subjected humans to physical suffering, as well as to debates about how the Fall limits humans’ ability to know both their physical environment and God. Compare Milton’s Paradise Lost, which engages with both traditions. In Book 11, the angels change the orientation of the Earth so that heat of the Sun is intensified and in order to create potentially harmful astrological influences (see 11. 649-78). In book 12, Michael tells Adam that his loss requires him to turn away from knowledge of the heavens:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs
Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Aire, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoydst,
And all the rule, one Empire (12.575-81)
Should fellows be and further our delight
.
83
Happy Should bee their influence & Dances
Happy should be their influence and dances,
Happy should be their influence and dances,
84
Both their fuleyed Aspects and Secret Glances
Both their
Gloss Note
perfectly visible
full-eyed
Gloss Note
looks; viewpoints; relative positions of the heavenly bodies as they appear to an observer on Earth
aspects
and secret glances.
Both their full-eyed aspects and secret glances.
then

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85
Then unto them I Should bee Independent
Then,
Gloss Note
with regards to
unto
them I should be independent,
Then unto them I should be independent,
86
Nor need nor
Physical Note
above twice struck-through “nor”
I \
fear though Saturn’s my Aſſendent
Nor need I fear, though Saturn’s my
Critical Note
the degree of the zodiac at a person’s birth, which influences his or her life; here, Saturn, which was supposed to cause melancholy
ascendant
;
Nor need I fear, though
Critical Note
In astrology the ascendant is the degree of the zodiac rising over the horizon at a particular moment such as the birth of a child. Saturn is the planet associated with melancholy; Pulter suggests that in a state of innocence she would not have to worry about the potentially negative impacts of her ascendant planet.
Saturn’s my ascendant
.
87
But now I’me troubled Ready still to cry
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
88
Cauſe at my Birth Some Planet lookt awry
’Cause at my birth some planet looked awry,
’Cause at my birth
Gloss Note
obliquely, unevenly, crookedly, or askew (OED “awry” adv.1a., 1b.). Pulter’s speaker laments that her melancholy causes her to forget God’s care for his creatures.
some planet looked awry
,
89
fforgetting him that them and mee did make
Forgetting Him that them and me did make,
Forgetting him that them and me did make,
90
Who of his Children conſtant care doth take
Who of His children constant care doth take;
Who of his children constant care doth take.
91
And thoſe Celestiall Works of Wonder
And those celestial works of wonder,
And those celestial works of wonder,
92
Hee knowes their Names,
Physical Note
“s” added in later by H2
Natures
& Number
He knows their names, natures, and number,
He knows their names, natures, and number,
93
Their turning and their constant stations
Their turning and their constant stations,
Their turning and their constant stations,
94
And every influence of those constellation
And every influence of those constellations.
And every influence of those constellations.
95
In God my Soul trust ever and depend
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend,
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend;
96
Soe shalt thou live A life that ne’re Shall end
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
97
Nor bee thou hopeles when thy Body’s Crumbled
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
98
And with all Creatures in this Maſs is jumbled
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
99
But at thy Death, Sing cheerfully a requem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
solemn chant for the dead
requiem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
mass, prayer, or song for the soul of a dead person.
requiem
,
100
ffor thou with Joy Shall like the Soliſequem
For thou with joy shall, like the solsequium,
For thou with joy shall like the solsequium
101
Meet thy Redeemer in a Horiscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Gloss Note
configuration of the planets
horoscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Critical Note
the observation of the sky and the configuration of the planets at the time of an individual’s birth; Pulter imagines the casting of a “brighter” horoscope at the time of death.
horoscope
102
Brighter then this thy fflesh Shall rest in hope
Brighter than this; thy flesh shall rest in hope,
Brighter than this. Thy flesh shall rest in hope,
103
And thou Shalt See thy Saviour w:th theſe eyes
And thou shalt see thy Savior with these eyes,
And thou shalt see thy saviour with these eyes,
104
When that bright Sun of Righteousnes Shall Riſe
When that bright
Critical Note
Christ, with pun on “Son” of God; see Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Sun of Righteousness
shall rise;
When that bright sun of righteousness shall rise.
105
With Healing Wings hee shall from my Sad eyes
With healing wings He shall, from my sad eyes
With healing wings he shall from my sad eyes
106
And from all ffaces elce
Physical Note
“p” written over other letter, perhaps “f”
wipe
of the tears
And from all faces else, wipe off the tears;
And from all faces else wipe off the tears;
107
Soe from all Hearts hee will diſpell all fears
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
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108
Oh then (till then) Send Grace into my Heart
O then (till then) send
Gloss Note
benevolence received from God, which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation; here the speaker imagines receiving, nurturing, and returning grace.
grace
into my heart,
Oh then (till then) send
Gloss Note
God’s benevolence or favor toward humanity (OED “grace,” n.1a.; 1b.).
grace
into my heart,
109
Which from my Throbing Boſome ne’re shall part
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
110
But I’le improv’t my few and evill Dayes
But I’ll improve’t,
Gloss Note
in my
my
few and evil days,
But I’ll improve’t, my few and evil days,
111
Untill it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
Until it doth
Gloss Note
breathe forth
exhale
in thanks and praise.
Until it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
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X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

In this long, meditative poem, Pulter’s speaker interrogates her own spiritual condition (“my pensive soul”), using the imagery of light and darkness that is so prevalent in her poetry. The poem poses the question: how can I be sad when the natural beauty of the dawn vanquishes the darkness every single day? And, the poem also asks, “what comfort’s in this light / That is alternately pursued by night?” These opposing interpretations of the same situation—light is followed by darkness; darkness is followed by light—are at the center of this poem’s anguished and, finally, hopeful interrogation of its speaker’s spiritual condition. By comparing herself to the personified and anthropomorphized figure of the solsequium, or sunflower, Pulter’s speaker questions whether observation of the natural world can provide a kind of comfort that is analogous to God’s grace.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

i.e., Aurora, the harbinger of dawn.
Line number 7

 Critical note

Aurora is the Goddess of the Dawn. Aurora is a touchstone in Pulter’s poetry, and apostrophes to or personifications of Aurora appear in several of her poems, including “Aurora [1]” (Poem 1), “To Aurora [1]” (Poem 22), “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26), “To Aurora [3]” (Poem 34), and “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37).
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, here construed as an enemy to be defeated by Dawn.
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Cynthia is another name for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. In this context, her “glittering train” is made of stars.
Line number 18

 Gloss note

an unusual word not widely attested, which may mean “cease breathing.”
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the sky or heavens.
Line number 23

 Critical note


May-dew is prized for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Irelands Natural History, Gerard Boate explains how to gather it:

“The English women, and Gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all year for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting and keeping it was this. In the moneth of May especially, and also in part of the moneth of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linen clothes upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes.”Gerarde Boate, Irelands Natural History, London, 1652, pp. 170-71.

Dew might be gathered from many different plants, but Boate explains that dew from “green corn, especially Wheat” has “more vertues” (171).

Line number 37

 Gloss note

“close” is a technical term for the conclusion of a musical phrase.
Line number 38

 Critical note

symbols of beauty, peace, and love, perhaps signifying the strength of the speaker’s marriage, as they remain “flowery, fresh, and green.”
Line number 40

 Critical note

symbols of mourning, perhaps signifying the premature deaths of many of Pulter’s children.
Line number 43

 Physical note

a manuscript addition corrects “pure” to “true.”
Line number 49

 Gloss note

God of the Sun.
Line number 52

 Gloss note

westward; Apollo travels toward the sunset in the West; i.e., toward night, when he is reunited with Thetis, a sea nymph.
Line number 61

 Critical note

a Latin name for the sunflower; also sometimes called the heliotrope. In The Garden [Poem 12], the heliotrope defiantly declares “I’m not afraid” to look upon the sun.
Line number 64

 Gloss note

another name for Apollo; the sun. See also See “Heliotropians” (Emblem 3).
Line number 73

 Critical note

of the East or the dawn; bright, luminous, radiant. The speaker distinguishes herself from the sunflower who eagerly follows her lover (the sun) across the sky thus displaying her beauty. When the speaker observes the eroticized harmony between the sun and flower, however, her eyes are “dazzled,” her spirits “damp[ened],” and her “deformity” revealed.
Line number 76

 Critical note


i.e. the speaker is sunburned. Pulter adopts a trope of Petrarchan love poetry to describe the painful experience of unrequited devotion. Compare to Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet 22:

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sunne,
The sunn which they doe as theyr God adore
Soe ame I us’d by love, for ever more
I worship him, less favors have I wunn.
Josephine Roberts, ed. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, p. 99.
Line number 80

 Critical note

see Genesis 2:16-17; one consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is death.
Line number 82

 Critical note


Pulter suggests that one consequence of the Fall is her lack of harmony with the universe, particularly the stars and planets. In a state of innocence, “no sun nor moon” could hurt her, and, further, the heavenly bodies would be “fellows” and a source of “delight.” This claim may refer to legends about how the Fall transformed the physical environment and subjected humans to physical suffering, as well as to debates about how the Fall limits humans’ ability to know both their physical environment and God. Compare Milton’s Paradise Lost, which engages with both traditions. In Book 11, the angels change the orientation of the Earth so that heat of the Sun is intensified and in order to create potentially harmful astrological influences (see 11. 649-78). In book 12, Michael tells Adam that his loss requires him to turn away from knowledge of the heavens:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs
Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Aire, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoydst,
And all the rule, one Empire (12.575-81)
Line number 86

 Critical note

In astrology the ascendant is the degree of the zodiac rising over the horizon at a particular moment such as the birth of a child. Saturn is the planet associated with melancholy; Pulter suggests that in a state of innocence she would not have to worry about the potentially negative impacts of her ascendant planet.
Line number 88

 Gloss note

obliquely, unevenly, crookedly, or askew (OED “awry” adv.1a., 1b.). Pulter’s speaker laments that her melancholy causes her to forget God’s care for his creatures.
Line number 99

 Gloss note

mass, prayer, or song for the soul of a dead person.
Line number 101

 Critical note

the observation of the sky and the configuration of the planets at the time of an individual’s birth; Pulter imagines the casting of a “brighter” horoscope at the time of death.
Line number 108

 Gloss note

God’s benevolence or favor toward humanity (OED “grace,” n.1a.; 1b.).
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X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

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Physical Note
in H2
A ſolitary discoars:
Physical Note
The title is not written in the main scribe’s hand (but in a hand that is probably Pulter’s). The poem is in the main scribe’s hand.
A Solitary Discourse
A Solitary Discourse
In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.

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

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

— Lara Dodds
Does sunrise inspire joy? Or is it a sorrowful reminder that earthbound humans hope to glimpse a heaven that remains frustratingly out of reach, entrapping them in cycles of darkness and light? In this poem, the speaker shifts abruptly in her assessment, as she alternately commands her soul to rejoice at the empowering beauty of dawning light and scolds herself for forgetting the futility of such mortal indulgences. Seeing the dawn awakens contradictory feelings; as the speaker declares, the sun “dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp.” The poem invites the reader to experience some of these ephemeral pleasures through its evocative language: we are witness to Apollo’s sensual embrace of the ocean, as he dips his heat into her cooling waves; to rural girls gathering dew as a beauty-aid in pastoral flirtation; to sunflowers bursting from the earth to court the sun; and even to the conjugal bliss of Pulter’s early marriage, imagined as the strains of musical harmony. However, the planets’ motions—such as the sun rising—also point to human dependence on astrological influence and a fallen world. Pulter’s neologism, “debreathe,” bespeaks the horror of a final earthly ending shorn of the hope of continued breath in eternity. Having alternated between these poles of despair and pleasure, the poem ends with the speaker confirming her faith in a bodily resurrection that will inaugurate proper vision of the Son’s rising and her promise to “exhale” praise (like this poem) while waiting for Judgment Day.

— Lara Dodds
In this long, meditative poem, Pulter’s speaker interrogates her own spiritual condition (“my pensive soul”), using the imagery of light and darkness that is so prevalent in her poetry. The poem poses the question: how can I be sad when the natural beauty of the dawn vanquishes the darkness every single day? And, the poem also asks, “what comfort’s in this light / That is alternately pursued by night?” These opposing interpretations of the same situation—light is followed by darkness; darkness is followed by light—are at the center of this poem’s anguished and, finally, hopeful interrogation of its speaker’s spiritual condition. By comparing herself to the personified and anthropomorphized figure of the solsequium, or sunflower, Pulter’s speaker questions whether observation of the natural world can provide a kind of comfort that is analogous to God’s grace.

— Lara Dodds
1
How canst thou heavie bee now Shee apears
How canst thou heavy be? Now she appears,
How canst thou heavy be now
Gloss Note
i.e., Aurora, the harbinger of dawn.
she
appears,
2
My Pencive Soul that with her Luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
My pensive soul, that with her luster cheers
3
All drooping Spirits lift up thy Sad eyes
All drooping spirits; lift up thy sad eyes,
All drooping spirits? Lift up thy sad eyes;
4
Behold ^how horrid Darkneſs from her fflyes
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
Behold how horrid darkness from her flies.
5
Doe thou but look how at the Sight of Day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day
Do thou but look how at the sight of day,
6
With Sable Wings Shee Scowling flyes away
With sable wings
Gloss Note
Night
she
, scowling, flies away.
With sable wings she scowling flies away;
7
Look how Aurora with her Orient Light
Look how
Gloss Note
goddess of the dawn
Aurora
with her orient light
Look how
Critical Note
Aurora is the Goddess of the Dawn. Aurora is a touchstone in Pulter’s poetry, and apostrophes to or personifications of Aurora appear in several of her poems, including “Aurora [1]” (Poem 1), “To Aurora [1]” (Poem 22), “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26), “To Aurora [3]” (Poem 34), and “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37).
Aurora with her orient light
8
Doth Scorn and Trample Melancholy Night
Doth scorn and trample melancholy Night!
Doth scorn and trample
Gloss Note
Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, here construed as an enemy to be defeated by Dawn.
melancholy Night
.
9
Nay pale facet Cinthia w:th her Glittring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
goddess of the moon
Cynthia
with her glitt’ring train
Nay, pale-faced
Gloss Note
Cynthia is another name for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. In this context, her “glittering train” is made of stars.
Cynthia with her glittering train
10
Hide all away for fear of her diſdain
Hides all away for fear of her disdain.
Hide all away for fear of her disdain.
11
But yet (
Physical Note
The “h” is struck through vertically; “a” overwrites earlier “e.”
ha laſ
) what comfort’s in this Light
But yet (alas) what
Gloss Note
comfort is
comfort’s
in this light
But yet (alas) what comfort’s in this light
12
That is Alternately purſued by Night
That is alternately pursued by Night?
That is alternately pursued by night?
13
Inſted of bringing of my Soul Relief
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
Instead of bringing of my soul relief,
14
It doth Succeſſivly renew my griefe
It doth
Gloss Note
subsequently
successively
renew my grief.
It doth successively renew my grief.
15
There is noe cheerfull light below the Skies
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
There is no cheerful light below the skies,
16
Nor can wee See it till wee loos our eyes
Nor can we see it till we lose our eyes.
Nor can we see till we lose our eyes.
17
Did I not hope my Soul’s of Heavenly Birth
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
Did I not hope my soul’s of heavenly birth?
18
Let mee bee nothing if [
Physical Note
perhaps “ne”
?
] I debreath on Earth
Let me be nothing
Gloss Note
Pulter here coins the term “debreathe,” apparently meaning to cease breathing yet remain material and worldly.
if I debreathe on Earth
;
Let me be nothing if I
Gloss Note
an unusual word not widely attested, which may mean “cease breathing.”
debreathe
on Earth;

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19
But on condition of Eternall Glory
But on condition of eternal glory,
But on condition of eternal glory,
20
I am contented with my lifs Sad Story
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
I am contented with my life’s sad story.
21
ffor Shame my Soul
Physical Note
The word “leave” is blotted but legible; “leue” is in H2.
leave \leue \
this baſe diſcontent
For shame, my soul! Leave this base discontent,
For shame, my soul, leave this base discontent,
22
And cheerly look up to the firmament
And
Gloss Note
cheerfully
cheerly
look up to the firmament.
And cheerly look up to the
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens.
firmament
:
23
See how Aurora Sprinkles Dew like Pearles
See how Aurora sprinkles dew-like pearls
Critical Note

May-dew is prized for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Irelands Natural History, Gerard Boate explains how to gather it:

“The English women, and Gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all year for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting and keeping it was this. In the moneth of May especially, and also in part of the moneth of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linen clothes upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes.”Gerarde Boate, Irelands Natural History, London, 1652, pp. 170-71.

Dew might be gathered from many different plants, but Boate explains that dew from “green corn, especially Wheat” has “more vertues” (171).

See how Aurora sprinkles dewlike pearls
24
On Ceres Corn gather’d by Rurall Girles
On
Gloss Note
goddess of agriculture
Ceres’s
corn, gathered by rural girls
On Ceres’ corn gathered by rural girls
25
To waſh the freckles from their lovly face
To wash the freckles from their lovely face,
To wash the freckles from their lovely face
26
That in their lovers eyes they may find Grace
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
That in their lovers’ eyes they may find grace.
27
Alas what bevty w:th Such Care up Nurst
Alas, what beauty with such care
Gloss Note
reared up, tended
up-nursed
,
Alas, what beauty, with such care up-nursed,
28
When Sicknes Age and Grief (of all the worst)
When Sickness, Age, and Grief (of all the worst)
When sickness age and grief (of all the worst)
29
Have Acted all their parts then comes ^pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
Have acted all their parts? Then comes pale Death
30
And cloſes up their eyes and Stops their Breath
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath.
And closes up their eyes and stops their breath;
31
How empty and how vain is Carnall Love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
How empty and how vain is carnal love
32
Compard but with a Glimps of Joyes above
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above!
Compared but with a glimpse of joys above.
33
I was in youth A Modest Virgin Bred
I was in youth a modest virgin
Gloss Note
trained, raised
bred
I was in youth a modest virgin bred,
34
And brought with Honnour to my Nuptial Bed
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
And brought with honor to my nuptial bed,
35
To a most Lovly Youth and Noblely Born
To a most lovely youth and nobly born;
To a most lovely youth, and nobly born;
36
Vertue and Bevty did his youth Adorn
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
Virtue and beauty did his youth adorn.
37
Our Musick then had sweet and Pleasant Cloſes
Our music then had sweet and pleasant
Gloss Note
endings of musical phrases
closes
,
Our music then had
Gloss Note
“close” is a technical term for the conclusion of a musical phrase.
sweet and pleasant closes
;
38
Crownd were our Heads with
Physical Note
The “i” overwrites an earlier “e.”
Mirtle
& w:th Roſes
Crowned were our heads with
Gloss Note
Sacred to the goddess Venus, myrtle was used as an emblem of love.
myrtle
and with roses,
Crowned were our heads with
Critical Note
symbols of beauty, peace, and love, perhaps signifying the strength of the speaker’s marriage, as they remain “flowery, fresh, and green.”
myrtle and with roses
,
39
Which to this Howr are fflowry ffresh and Green
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh, and green,
Which to this hour are flowery, fresh and green,
40
Physical Note
“\h \” is in H2.
Thoug\h \
Cipres Buds were here and there between
Gloss Note
The cypress tree was a symbol of mourning; cypress buds might refer to children dying young.
Though cypress buds
were here and there between
Though
Critical Note
symbols of mourning, perhaps signifying the premature deaths of many of Pulter’s children.
cypress buds
were here and there between
Stuck

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41
Stuck in By ^adverſ fate to cool our love
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love,
Stuck in by adverse fate to cool our love;
42
Or elce that wee Should place our thoughts aboue
Or
Gloss Note
so that
else that
we should place our thoughts above,
Or else that we should place our thoughts above,
43
Where onely is
Physical Note
Corrections are visible in “pure”; the superscript “true” is in H2.
pure \true \
love and lasting Peace
Where only is pure, true love and lasting peace.
Where only is
Physical Note
a manuscript addition corrects “pure” to “true.”
true
love and lasting peace.
44
That
Physical Note
This word is struck-through with three horizontal lines.
loue
loue Shall last when ffaith & hope Shall ceaſe
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
That love shall last when faith and hope shall cease.
45
ffrom Heaven my Soul (ffrom Heaven) thy comfort Springs
From heaven, my soul (from heaven), thy comfort springs,
From heaven, my soul, from heaven thy comfort springs;
46
ffor earth (Alas) nought but afliction Brings
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
For earth (alas) nought but affliction brings.
47
Look up once more
Physical Note
The “s” is crowded between the surrounding letters and in a different hand (probably H2).
hear’s
that thy Heart will eaſe
Look up once more; here’s
Gloss Note
that which
that
thy heart will ease,
Look up once more; here’s that thy heart will ease,
48
Or Surely nothing will thy ffancie Pleaſe
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
Or surely nothing will thy fancy please.
49
Mark how Apollo this Salubrious Morning
Mark how
Gloss Note
the sun
Apollo
this
Gloss Note
favorable, healthy
salubrious
morning,
Mark how
Gloss Note
God of the Sun.
Apollo
, this salubrious morning,
50
With Dazling Beams his Splendent fface Adorning
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
With dazzling beams his splendent face adorning,
51
Physical Note
“o” written over an “a”; final “s” blotted
Comes
Glittring fforth in most refulgent grace
Comes glitt’ring forth in most
Gloss Note
radiant
refulgent
grace,
Comes glittering forth in most refulgent grace,
52
Joying to run his Occidendentall Race
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
western
occidental
Gloss Note
course
race
,
Joying to run his
Gloss Note
westward; Apollo travels toward the sunset in the West; i.e., toward night, when he is reunited with Thetis, a sea nymph.
occidental race
,
53
Scorning his eyes Should take a Slumbring Nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
Scorning his eyes should take a slumbering nap
54
Untill hee layes in Wanton Thetis Lap
Until he lays in wanton
Gloss Note
In mythology, Thetis was a sea nymph or emblem of the sea; she was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris (thus called Nereids)
Thetis’s
lap
Until he lays in wanton Thetis’ lap,
55
His fflagrant Head, then Shee in love belaves
His
Gloss Note
blazing
flagrant
head; then she, in love,
Gloss Note
washes over
belaves
His flagrant head then she in love belaves,
56
His Burning Treſſes with her cooler Waves
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
His burning tresses with her cooler waves;
57
And that Sweet Dew on fflowers Redolent
And that sweet dew on flowers
Gloss Note
fragrant
redolent
,
And that sweet dew on flowers redolent
58
Which Breaths to us an Aromattck
Physical Note
“ſſ” imperfectly erased
ſſSent
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
Which breathes to us an aromatic scent,
59
Hee with his Heat exhales aboue our vew
He with his heat exhales above our view,
He with his heat exhales above our view
60
Which doth Nocturnally deſcend in Dew
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
Which doth nocturnally descend in dew.
61
See how the Solyſequem
Physical Note
“s” crowded between surrounding words, in darker ink
thrust’s
her Head
See how the
Gloss Note
sunflower, heliotrope
solsequium
thrusts her head
See how the
Critical Note
a Latin name for the sunflower; also sometimes called the heliotrope. In The Garden [Poem 12], the heliotrope defiantly declares “I’m not afraid” to look upon the sun.
solsequium
thrusts her head
62
Up through the Center from that comon Bed
Up through the center from that common bed
Up through the center from that common bed
into

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63
Into the Liquid Azure Sea above Her
Into the liquid
Gloss Note
blue
azure
sea above her
Into the liquid azure sea above her
64
To follow Phœbus her admired Lover
To follow
Gloss Note
the sun
Phoebus
, her admiréd lover;
To follow
Gloss Note
another name for Apollo; the sun. See also See “Heliotropians” (Emblem 3).
Phoebus
her admired lover.
65
When hee in our Horizon giues his Race
When he in our horizon
Gloss Note
follows his course
gives his race
,
When he in our horizon gives his race,
66
Then in the Ayr Shee Shews her Lovly face
Then in the air she shows her lovely face.
Then in the air she shows her lovely face;
67
Soe when hee is our Zeneth at mid Day
So when he is our zenith at midday,
So when he is our zenith at midday,
68
Shee at full Lenght her Bevty doth diſplay
She at full length her beauty doth display;
She at full length her beauty doth display.
69
But when the Sun is Nadar to us here
But when the sun is
Gloss Note
directly opposite
nadir
to us here,
But when the sun is nadir to us here,
70
Physical Note
dark ligature between “e”s
Shee
meets him in the other Hemesſpheir
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
She meets him in the other hemisphere.
71
To see theſe Marvels and this Shineing Lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
To see these marvels and this shining lamp
72
Dazles mine eyes and doth my Spirit damp
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp;
Dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp:
73
ffor when I doe his Orient Splendour See
For when I do his
Gloss Note
radiant, eastern
orient
splendor see,
For when I do his
Critical Note
of the East or the dawn; bright, luminous, radiant. The speaker distinguishes herself from the sunflower who eagerly follows her lover (the sun) across the sky thus displaying her beauty. When the speaker observes the eroticized harmony between the sun and flower, however, her eyes are “dazzled,” her spirits “damp[ened],” and her “deformity” revealed.
orient
splendor see
74
It more diſcovers my deformitie
It more
Gloss Note
reveals
discovers
my deformity.
It more discovers my deformity.
75
If I but look upon his blazing bevty
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
If I but look upon his blazing beauty,
76
Hee burns mee black for fayling Soe in Duty
He burns me black for failing so in duty.
Critical Note

i.e. the speaker is sunburned. Pulter adopts a trope of Petrarchan love poetry to describe the painful experience of unrequited devotion. Compare to Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet 22:

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sunne,
The sunn which they doe as theyr God adore
Soe ame I us’d by love, for ever more
I worship him, less favors have I wunn.
Josephine Roberts, ed. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, p. 99.
He burns me black
for failing so in duty;
77
But if in Innocence I had Stood upright
But if,
Gloss Note
in the state of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before they sinned and were banished
in innocence
, I had stood upright,
But if in innocence I had stood upright,
78
Nor Sun nor Moon Should hurt mee Day nor Night
Nor sun, nor moon should hurt me day or night,
Nor sun nor moon should hurt me day or night.
79
But I (Ay mee) in Adam fell from Glory
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
But I (ay me) in Adam fell from glory,
80
Which makes mee live a Life most trancetory
Which makes me live a life most transitory.
Which makes me live
Critical Note
see Genesis 2:16-17; one consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is death.
a life most transitory
.
81
Then thoſe Celestiall Orbs that Shine Soe bright
Gloss Note
in a prelapsarian world
Then
, those celestial orbs that shine so bright
Then those celestial orbs that shine so bright,
82
Should ffellows bee and further our delight
Should fellows be and further our delight.
Critical Note

Pulter suggests that one consequence of the Fall is her lack of harmony with the universe, particularly the stars and planets. In a state of innocence, “no sun nor moon” could hurt her, and, further, the heavenly bodies would be “fellows” and a source of “delight.” This claim may refer to legends about how the Fall transformed the physical environment and subjected humans to physical suffering, as well as to debates about how the Fall limits humans’ ability to know both their physical environment and God. Compare Milton’s Paradise Lost, which engages with both traditions. In Book 11, the angels change the orientation of the Earth so that heat of the Sun is intensified and in order to create potentially harmful astrological influences (see 11. 649-78). In book 12, Michael tells Adam that his loss requires him to turn away from knowledge of the heavens:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs
Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Aire, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoydst,
And all the rule, one Empire (12.575-81)
Should fellows be and further our delight
.
83
Happy Should bee their influence & Dances
Happy should be their influence and dances,
Happy should be their influence and dances,
84
Both their fuleyed Aspects and Secret Glances
Both their
Gloss Note
perfectly visible
full-eyed
Gloss Note
looks; viewpoints; relative positions of the heavenly bodies as they appear to an observer on Earth
aspects
and secret glances.
Both their full-eyed aspects and secret glances.
then

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85
Then unto them I Should bee Independent
Then,
Gloss Note
with regards to
unto
them I should be independent,
Then unto them I should be independent,
86
Nor need nor
Physical Note
above twice struck-through “nor”
I \
fear though Saturn’s my Aſſendent
Nor need I fear, though Saturn’s my
Critical Note
the degree of the zodiac at a person’s birth, which influences his or her life; here, Saturn, which was supposed to cause melancholy
ascendant
;
Nor need I fear, though
Critical Note
In astrology the ascendant is the degree of the zodiac rising over the horizon at a particular moment such as the birth of a child. Saturn is the planet associated with melancholy; Pulter suggests that in a state of innocence she would not have to worry about the potentially negative impacts of her ascendant planet.
Saturn’s my ascendant
.
87
But now I’me troubled Ready still to cry
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
But now I’m troubled, ready still to cry,
88
Cauſe at my Birth Some Planet lookt awry
’Cause at my birth some planet looked awry,
’Cause at my birth
Gloss Note
obliquely, unevenly, crookedly, or askew (OED “awry” adv.1a., 1b.). Pulter’s speaker laments that her melancholy causes her to forget God’s care for his creatures.
some planet looked awry
,
89
fforgetting him that them and mee did make
Forgetting Him that them and me did make,
Forgetting him that them and me did make,
90
Who of his Children conſtant care doth take
Who of His children constant care doth take;
Who of his children constant care doth take.
91
And thoſe Celestiall Works of Wonder
And those celestial works of wonder,
And those celestial works of wonder,
92
Hee knowes their Names,
Physical Note
“s” added in later by H2
Natures
& Number
He knows their names, natures, and number,
He knows their names, natures, and number,
93
Their turning and their constant stations
Their turning and their constant stations,
Their turning and their constant stations,
94
And every influence of those constellation
And every influence of those constellations.
And every influence of those constellations.
95
In God my Soul trust ever and depend
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend,
In God, my soul, trust ever and depend;
96
Soe shalt thou live A life that ne’re Shall end
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
So shalt thou live a life that ne’er shall end.
97
Nor bee thou hopeles when thy Body’s Crumbled
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
Nor be thou hopeless when thy body’s crumbled,
98
And with all Creatures in this Maſs is jumbled
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
And with all creatures in this mass is jumbled;
99
But at thy Death, Sing cheerfully a requem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
solemn chant for the dead
requiem
But at thy death sing cheerfully a
Gloss Note
mass, prayer, or song for the soul of a dead person.
requiem
,
100
ffor thou with Joy Shall like the Soliſequem
For thou with joy shall, like the solsequium,
For thou with joy shall like the solsequium
101
Meet thy Redeemer in a Horiscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Gloss Note
configuration of the planets
horoscope
Meet thy redeemer in a
Critical Note
the observation of the sky and the configuration of the planets at the time of an individual’s birth; Pulter imagines the casting of a “brighter” horoscope at the time of death.
horoscope
102
Brighter then this thy fflesh Shall rest in hope
Brighter than this; thy flesh shall rest in hope,
Brighter than this. Thy flesh shall rest in hope,
103
And thou Shalt See thy Saviour w:th theſe eyes
And thou shalt see thy Savior with these eyes,
And thou shalt see thy saviour with these eyes,
104
When that bright Sun of Righteousnes Shall Riſe
When that bright
Critical Note
Christ, with pun on “Son” of God; see Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Sun of Righteousness
shall rise;
When that bright sun of righteousness shall rise.
105
With Healing Wings hee shall from my Sad eyes
With healing wings He shall, from my sad eyes
With healing wings he shall from my sad eyes
106
And from all ffaces elce
Physical Note
“p” written over other letter, perhaps “f”
wipe
of the tears
And from all faces else, wipe off the tears;
And from all faces else wipe off the tears;
107
Soe from all Hearts hee will diſpell all fears
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
So from all hearts he will dispel all fears.
oh

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108
Oh then (till then) Send Grace into my Heart
O then (till then) send
Gloss Note
benevolence received from God, which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation; here the speaker imagines receiving, nurturing, and returning grace.
grace
into my heart,
Oh then (till then) send
Gloss Note
God’s benevolence or favor toward humanity (OED “grace,” n.1a.; 1b.).
grace
into my heart,
109
Which from my Throbing Boſome ne’re shall part
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
Which from my throbbing bosom ne’er shall part;
110
But I’le improv’t my few and evill Dayes
But I’ll improve’t,
Gloss Note
in my
my
few and evil days,
But I’ll improve’t, my few and evil days,
111
Untill it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
Until it doth
Gloss Note
breathe forth
exhale
in thanks and praise.
Until it doth exhale in thanks and praise.
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X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

in H2
Elemental Edition
Title note

 Physical note

The title is not written in the main scribe’s hand (but in a hand that is probably Pulter’s). The poem is in the main scribe’s hand.
Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

Does sunrise inspire joy? Or is it a sorrowful reminder that earthbound humans hope to glimpse a heaven that remains frustratingly out of reach, entrapping them in cycles of darkness and light? In this poem, the speaker shifts abruptly in her assessment, as she alternately commands her soul to rejoice at the empowering beauty of dawning light and scolds herself for forgetting the futility of such mortal indulgences. Seeing the dawn awakens contradictory feelings; as the speaker declares, the sun “dazzles mine eyes and doth my spirit damp.” The poem invites the reader to experience some of these ephemeral pleasures through its evocative language: we are witness to Apollo’s sensual embrace of the ocean, as he dips his heat into her cooling waves; to rural girls gathering dew as a beauty-aid in pastoral flirtation; to sunflowers bursting from the earth to court the sun; and even to the conjugal bliss of Pulter’s early marriage, imagined as the strains of musical harmony. However, the planets’ motions—such as the sun rising—also point to human dependence on astrological influence and a fallen world. Pulter’s neologism, “debreathe,” bespeaks the horror of a final earthly ending shorn of the hope of continued breath in eternity. Having alternated between these poles of despair and pleasure, the poem ends with the speaker confirming her faith in a bodily resurrection that will inaugurate proper vision of the Son’s rising and her promise to “exhale” praise (like this poem) while waiting for Judgment Day.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

In this long, meditative poem, Pulter’s speaker interrogates her own spiritual condition (“my pensive soul”), using the imagery of light and darkness that is so prevalent in her poetry. The poem poses the question: how can I be sad when the natural beauty of the dawn vanquishes the darkness every single day? And, the poem also asks, “what comfort’s in this light / That is alternately pursued by night?” These opposing interpretations of the same situation—light is followed by darkness; darkness is followed by light—are at the center of this poem’s anguished and, finally, hopeful interrogation of its speaker’s spiritual condition. By comparing herself to the personified and anthropomorphized figure of the solsequium, or sunflower, Pulter’s speaker questions whether observation of the natural world can provide a kind of comfort that is analogous to God’s grace.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

i.e., Aurora, the harbinger of dawn.
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

Night
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

goddess of the dawn
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

Aurora is the Goddess of the Dawn. Aurora is a touchstone in Pulter’s poetry, and apostrophes to or personifications of Aurora appear in several of her poems, including “Aurora [1]” (Poem 1), “To Aurora [1]” (Poem 22), “To Aurora [2]” (Poem 26), “To Aurora [3]” (Poem 34), and “Aurora [2]” (Poem 37).
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night, here construed as an enemy to be defeated by Dawn.
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

goddess of the moon
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Cynthia is another name for Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon. In this context, her “glittering train” is made of stars.
Transcription
Line number 11

 Physical note

The “h” is struck through vertically; “a” overwrites earlier “e.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

comfort is
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

subsequently
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

perhaps “ne”
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

Pulter here coins the term “debreathe,” apparently meaning to cease breathing yet remain material and worldly.
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

an unusual word not widely attested, which may mean “cease breathing.”
Transcription
Line number 21

 Physical note

The word “leave” is blotted but legible; “leue” is in H2.
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

cheerfully
Amplified Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the sky or heavens.
Amplified Edition
Line number 23

 Critical note


May-dew is prized for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Irelands Natural History, Gerard Boate explains how to gather it:

“The English women, and Gentlewomen in Ireland, as in England, did use in the beginning of the Summer to gather good store of Dew, to keep it by them all year for several good uses both of physick and otherwise, wherein by experience they have learnt it to be very available. Their manner of collecting and keeping it was this. In the moneth of May especially, and also in part of the moneth of June, they would go forth betimes in the morning, and before Sun-rising, into a green field, and there either with their hands strike off the Dew from the tops of the herbs into a dish, or else throwing clean linen clothes upon the ground, take off the Dew from the herbs into them, and afterwards wring it out into dishes.”Gerarde Boate, Irelands Natural History, London, 1652, pp. 170-71.

Dew might be gathered from many different plants, but Boate explains that dew from “green corn, especially Wheat” has “more vertues” (171).

Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

goddess of agriculture
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

reared up, tended
Elemental Edition
Line number 33

 Gloss note

trained, raised
Elemental Edition
Line number 37

 Gloss note

endings of musical phrases
Amplified Edition
Line number 37

 Gloss note

“close” is a technical term for the conclusion of a musical phrase.
Transcription
Line number 38

 Physical note

The “i” overwrites an earlier “e.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 38

 Gloss note

Sacred to the goddess Venus, myrtle was used as an emblem of love.
Amplified Edition
Line number 38

 Critical note

symbols of beauty, peace, and love, perhaps signifying the strength of the speaker’s marriage, as they remain “flowery, fresh, and green.”
Transcription
Line number 40

 Physical note

“\h \” is in H2.
Elemental Edition
Line number 40

 Gloss note

The cypress tree was a symbol of mourning; cypress buds might refer to children dying young.
Amplified Edition
Line number 40

 Critical note

symbols of mourning, perhaps signifying the premature deaths of many of Pulter’s children.
Elemental Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

so that
Transcription
Line number 43

 Physical note

Corrections are visible in “pure”; the superscript “true” is in H2.
Amplified Edition
Line number 43

 Physical note

a manuscript addition corrects “pure” to “true.”
Transcription
Line number 44

 Physical note

This word is struck-through with three horizontal lines.
Transcription
Line number 47

 Physical note

The “s” is crowded between the surrounding letters and in a different hand (probably H2).
Elemental Edition
Line number 47

 Gloss note

that which
Elemental Edition
Line number 49

 Gloss note

the sun
Elemental Edition
Line number 49

 Gloss note

favorable, healthy
Amplified Edition
Line number 49

 Gloss note

God of the Sun.
Transcription
Line number 51

 Physical note

“o” written over an “a”; final “s” blotted
Elemental Edition
Line number 51

 Gloss note

radiant
Elemental Edition
Line number 52

 Gloss note

western
Elemental Edition
Line number 52

 Gloss note

course
Amplified Edition
Line number 52

 Gloss note

westward; Apollo travels toward the sunset in the West; i.e., toward night, when he is reunited with Thetis, a sea nymph.
Elemental Edition
Line number 54

 Gloss note

In mythology, Thetis was a sea nymph or emblem of the sea; she was one of the daughters of Nereus and Doris (thus called Nereids)
Elemental Edition
Line number 55

 Gloss note

blazing
Elemental Edition
Line number 55

 Gloss note

washes over
Elemental Edition
Line number 57

 Gloss note

fragrant
Transcription
Line number 58

 Physical note

“ſſ” imperfectly erased
Transcription
Line number 61

 Physical note

“s” crowded between surrounding words, in darker ink
Elemental Edition
Line number 61

 Gloss note

sunflower, heliotrope
Amplified Edition
Line number 61

 Critical note

a Latin name for the sunflower; also sometimes called the heliotrope. In The Garden [Poem 12], the heliotrope defiantly declares “I’m not afraid” to look upon the sun.
Elemental Edition
Line number 63

 Gloss note

blue
Elemental Edition
Line number 64

 Gloss note

the sun
Amplified Edition
Line number 64

 Gloss note

another name for Apollo; the sun. See also See “Heliotropians” (Emblem 3).
Elemental Edition
Line number 65

 Gloss note

follows his course
Elemental Edition
Line number 69

 Gloss note

directly opposite
Transcription
Line number 70

 Physical note

dark ligature between “e”s
Elemental Edition
Line number 73

 Gloss note

radiant, eastern
Amplified Edition
Line number 73

 Critical note

of the East or the dawn; bright, luminous, radiant. The speaker distinguishes herself from the sunflower who eagerly follows her lover (the sun) across the sky thus displaying her beauty. When the speaker observes the eroticized harmony between the sun and flower, however, her eyes are “dazzled,” her spirits “damp[ened],” and her “deformity” revealed.
Elemental Edition
Line number 74

 Gloss note

reveals
Amplified Edition
Line number 76

 Critical note


i.e. the speaker is sunburned. Pulter adopts a trope of Petrarchan love poetry to describe the painful experience of unrequited devotion. Compare to Lady Mary Wroth’s Pamphilia to Amphilanthus sonnet 22:

Like to the Indians, scorched with the sunne,
The sunn which they doe as theyr God adore
Soe ame I us’d by love, for ever more
I worship him, less favors have I wunn.
Josephine Roberts, ed. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, p. 99.
Elemental Edition
Line number 77

 Gloss note

in the state of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before they sinned and were banished
Amplified Edition
Line number 80

 Critical note

see Genesis 2:16-17; one consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience is death.
Elemental Edition
Line number 81

 Gloss note

in a prelapsarian world
Amplified Edition
Line number 82

 Critical note


Pulter suggests that one consequence of the Fall is her lack of harmony with the universe, particularly the stars and planets. In a state of innocence, “no sun nor moon” could hurt her, and, further, the heavenly bodies would be “fellows” and a source of “delight.” This claim may refer to legends about how the Fall transformed the physical environment and subjected humans to physical suffering, as well as to debates about how the Fall limits humans’ ability to know both their physical environment and God. Compare Milton’s Paradise Lost, which engages with both traditions. In Book 11, the angels change the orientation of the Earth so that heat of the Sun is intensified and in order to create potentially harmful astrological influences (see 11. 649-78). In book 12, Michael tells Adam that his loss requires him to turn away from knowledge of the heavens:

This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs
Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Natures works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Aire, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoydst,
And all the rule, one Empire (12.575-81)
Elemental Edition
Line number 84

 Gloss note

perfectly visible
Elemental Edition
Line number 84

 Gloss note

looks; viewpoints; relative positions of the heavenly bodies as they appear to an observer on Earth
Elemental Edition
Line number 85

 Gloss note

with regards to
Transcription
Line number 86

 Physical note

above twice struck-through “nor”
Elemental Edition
Line number 86

 Critical note

the degree of the zodiac at a person’s birth, which influences his or her life; here, Saturn, which was supposed to cause melancholy
Amplified Edition
Line number 86

 Critical note

In astrology the ascendant is the degree of the zodiac rising over the horizon at a particular moment such as the birth of a child. Saturn is the planet associated with melancholy; Pulter suggests that in a state of innocence she would not have to worry about the potentially negative impacts of her ascendant planet.
Amplified Edition
Line number 88

 Gloss note

obliquely, unevenly, crookedly, or askew (OED “awry” adv.1a., 1b.). Pulter’s speaker laments that her melancholy causes her to forget God’s care for his creatures.
Transcription
Line number 92

 Physical note

“s” added in later by H2
Elemental Edition
Line number 99

 Gloss note

solemn chant for the dead
Amplified Edition
Line number 99

 Gloss note

mass, prayer, or song for the soul of a dead person.
Elemental Edition
Line number 101

 Gloss note

configuration of the planets
Amplified Edition
Line number 101

 Critical note

the observation of the sky and the configuration of the planets at the time of an individual’s birth; Pulter imagines the casting of a “brighter” horoscope at the time of death.
Elemental Edition
Line number 104

 Critical note

Christ, with pun on “Son” of God; see Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”
Transcription
Line number 106

 Physical note

“p” written over other letter, perhaps “f”
Elemental Edition
Line number 108

 Gloss note

benevolence received from God, which manifests in the giving of blessings and granting of salvation; here the speaker imagines receiving, nurturing, and returning grace.
Amplified Edition
Line number 108

 Gloss note

God’s benevolence or favor toward humanity (OED “grace,” n.1a.; 1b.).
Elemental Edition
Line number 110

 Gloss note

in my
Elemental Edition
Line number 111

 Gloss note

breathe forth
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