British Brennus (Emblem 51)

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British Brennus (Emblem 51)

Poem #116

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 Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 7

 Physical note

“o” appears to correct earlier “e”; blank space in middle of line
Line number 12

 Physical note

“u” may have been modified to “is,” with some blotting
Line number 14

 Physical note

in different ink and possibly different hand from main scribe
Line number 16

 Physical note

“w” appears adjusted (with blot) from “m” or other
Line number 16

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe
Line number 16
double strike-through
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 51]
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
Gloss Note
See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
[1]
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
How can a single alphabetic letter collapse time? In this poem, Pulter draws from the story of the Gallic conquest of Rome (and the Romans’ subsequent overthrow of its captors) to stridently protest the Cromwellian regime while also plaintively imploring God to enact a political restoration of monarchy. Rather than merely creating an analogy between the Gauls’ invasion of Rome and the republicans’ victory in the English civil war, however, Pulter creates a kind of temporal vertigo. By insisting that the tyrannical Brennus is a British foreign invader of Rome (seen in her term “British Brennus”), Pulter makes the conquering English of the present seem the brutal villains of an ancient story. Secondly, Pulter allows the emblem to refer at once to past and present times by creating ambiguities around historical players whose names begin with the letter “C.” Can C refer to Camillus, the Roman hero, and Charles II, the exiled English king, simultaneously? But elsewhere refer to Cromwell? And to Christ? If names are withheld, can the reader make the present and past (and future, at the end of the poem) co-exist?

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Pulter is outspokenly political in this emblem, the fourth to last poem in her series. Criticising Cromwell and his republican supporters, she draws parallels between their sacrilegious behaviour and the actions of the Gauls’ army, led by Brennus, Chief of Senones, in the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. Plutarch records the battle: in the events preceding the conflict, the Gallic army spent “many dayes spoyling and sacking all thinges they founde in the houses, and in the ende dyd set them all a fyer, and destroyed them every one”. Finding those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” unresponsive, they began to “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe”. This then erupted into a long siege in which many were killed, lasting until the Romans were provoked to weigh a thousand pounds of gold to offer in surrender. Brennus, “in scorne and mockey” of this acquiescence, placed his sword on the scales where the gold was being weighed and declared “vae victis”, meaning “sorrowe to the vanquished”. Soon after, however, the banished Roman statesman and general Camillus returned and viciously retaliated, leading the Roman army to conquer the Gauls. See Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154-58.
Pulter compares Cromwell to the tyrannical Brennus in her opening epithet, "British Brennus", and proceeds with a description of the Civil War and the injustice displayed via this ancient story. She shortens the names of the crucial parties in both conflicts, so that Camillus, Cromwell, Charles I, and Charles II all appear as the “C.”, cleverly denoting both the ancient and contemporaneous parties in the analogy she is drawing. She confirms the analogy in a final rhyming quatrain, calling for a Camillus-type to restore England to glory, just as he did to Rome. Pulter turns to God, pleading for Charles II, as the rightful king, to return to the throne, to vanquish Oliver Cromwell. Pulter’s reference to Charles I’s execution and Charles II’s banishment, and her appeals for him to be restored (lines 13-14), suggest this emblem was written between 1651 and 1660.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
51When Brittiſh Brennus Sack’d that Noble Citty
When
Gloss Note
Brennus was the chieftain of the Gauls (or Celts of Northern Europe) who was legendary for invading and destroying Rome in the fourth-century BCE. Presumably by describing Brennus as “British,” Pulter is comparing him to Oliver Cromwell, whom she elsewhere denounced as ruining the city of London as well as usurping the government.
British Brennus sacked that noble city
,
When
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell, Pulter creates a parallel between Brennus, the Chief of Gauls who viciously fought and ridiculed the Romans during the Battle of Allia, and the actions of Cromwell in his rise to power; see Headnote.
British Brennus
sacked that noble city,
2
To Age, nor Sex, nor Infants hee Shew’d pitty
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the savage massacre of Rome by the Gauls, noting that they killed indiscriminately, including unresisting priests and patricians, as well as elderly people, women, and children. See The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (1579), 153-4.
To age, nor sex, nor infants he shewed pity
;
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the actions of the Gaul army who, to provoke a response from the leaders of Rome, “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe” (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154).
To age, nor sex, nor infants
he showed pity.
3
Then thoſe which did the Capitall defend
Then those which did the capital defend
Then those which did the capital defend
4
Waighed out their Gold to have their Suffrings End
Gloss Note
The Romans reputedly took gold as a ransom for their city, but when, as the next lines describe, the gold was being weighed and measured, Brennus laid his sword on the scales, presumably as an act of contempt and perhaps in response to a complaint that the scales were weighted unfairly.
Weighed out their gold
to have their suff’rings end,
Critical Note
In Plutarch’s account, those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” offered a payment of “a thousand pounde weight of gold” if the Gauls would retreat from Rome and cease slaughtering their people (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154, 157).
Weighed out their gold
to have their sufferings end,
5
On which the Brittain bold his Sword did lay
On which the
Gloss Note
British person, here the English version of the tyrant invader Brennus
Briton
bold his sword did lay;
On which
Gloss Note
Cromwell, the “British Brennus” of line 1
the Britain
bold
Critical Note
Brennus, in an act of ridicule, laid his sword on the scale being used to weight the gold offered by the Romans in surrender. When questioned as to the meaning of this, he uttered, “sorrowe to the vanquished”, which Pulter reproduces in lines 6 and 12 (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 157).
his sword did lay
;
6
Woe to the Conquerd then the People Say
Critical Note
Pulter revises the myth by having the conquered Romans lament their woe by uttering this famous phrase (“vae victis,” Latin for “woe to the conquered”). Legend had it that Brennus articulated these words to the Romans when they complained about him laying his sword on the scales (as described above) in order to assert his pure, unadulterated power over war’s losers.
“Woe to the conquered,” then the people say
.
“Woe to the conquered” then the people say.
7
Then came C Banniſhed long
Physical Note
“o” appears to correct earlier “e”; blank space in middle of line
before
Then came
Critical Note
The name left blank refers, in Roman history, to Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman statesman and general, who, according to Livy, was regarded as the second founder of Rome after its occupation by Brennus and his Gauls. Having been accused of appropriating booty and banished, he returned triumphantly to settle the score with the Gauls (making them “pay the Romans’ score,” meaning revenging an injury or settling a debt). By leaving the name blank, Pulter allows the reader to imagine a British replay of this event, as “Charles II” might return from exile to overturn Cromwell.
C_______
, banished long before,
Then came
Gloss Note
Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman and general, who, after being banished from Rome, returned and led their army to victory, destroying the Gauls; see Headnote.
C.
Physical Note
A space, long enough for a word to be inserted, has been left at this point in the manuscript, possibly to invite readers to fill in the blank. Pulter has not been uniform in this practice, however, as the following use of “C.” abbreviations are formatted regularly, without added spacing.
,
banished long before,
8
And made the Brittains pay the Romans Score
And made the Britons pay the Romans’ score.
And made the Britains pay the Romans’ score.
9
Soe let all impious Sacrilegious men
So let all
Gloss Note
irreverent
impious
, sacrilegious men
So let all impious,
Gloss Note
stealing or misappropriating what is consecrated to God's service.
sacrilegious
men
10
Have Lex talionis, Heaven Say thou Amen
Have
Gloss Note
Latin for “law of retaliation,” according to which deserved punishment is commensurate and ideally mirrors the crime. See Exodus 21-25, which evokes a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
lex talionis
: Heaven, say Thou “Amen”!
Have
Gloss Note
Latin: the law of retaliation, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (OED). This moral occurs throughout the Bible: see Gen 9.6, “Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed”; and Exod. 21:23-25, “And if any mischiefe follow, then thou shalt give life for life, / Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foote for foote, / Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Pulter argues that “impious, sacrilegious men” will be punished in accordance with their own crimes, specifically turning her criticisms to republicans.
lex talionis
; heaven say thou “Amen”!
11
If any underneath the Sun may Cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
12
Physical Note
“u” may have been modified to “is,” with some blotting
Ve victu
, Reader it is thou and I
Gloss Note
“Woe to the conquered,” as line 5 above explains; the cry of oppressed people, in Pulter’s unusual revision. As she explains in the next lines, England is the conquered entity currently under oppressive Cromwellian rule.
Vae victis,”
reader, it is thou and I.
Gloss Note
Latin for “woe to the vanquished” (OED “vae” 2a)
Vae victis
, reader it is thou and I;
13
C: C: Kild and Baniſhed wee w:th Sad hearts deplore
Gloss Note
Charles I and his son Charles; here Pulter cryptically aligns the Gallic sack of Rome with the civil war in England.
C.C.
killed and banished, we with sad hearts
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
;
Critical Note
Charles I (1600-1649), who was executed by the Republican parliament near the end of the Civil War; and his son Charles II (1630-1685) who was exiled from England in 1651 until 1660, when he returned to England to be crowned king.
C.C., killed and banished
, we with sad hearts deplore.
14
Oh let A C:
Physical Note
in different ink and possibly different hand from main scribe
Charles
come and our Joys Restore
O, let a
Critical Note
The bare letter “C” allows the reader to fill in the name as Camillus, the Roman statesman described above in the poem as overthrowing the Gauls in Rome, or as Charles II, whom Pulter hopes can be restored to the British throne. Someone has filled in the blank with “Charles” in the manuscript.
C.
come and our joys restore.
Oh, let a
Critical Note
The abbreviation of “C.” here is notably ambiguous. Pulter continues to draw on Plutarch’s account of the Battle of Allia, referring to the role of Camillus in restoring the Roman army and conquering the Gauls to allude to Charles II as Britain’s modern-day version of this. “C.” here could also be invoking Christ.
C
Physical Note
“Charles” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
come and our joys restore!
15
ffor C: his Sake dear God I thee implore
For
Gloss Note
Charles II’s sake, but perhaps with a resonance of “Christ’s sake”
C. his sake
, dear God, I Thee implore,
For
Gloss Note
Charles II
C.
, his sake, dear God, I thee implore,
16
Or
Physical Note
“w” appears adjusted (with blot) from “m” or other
wee
are Slaves to C.
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Cromwell
double strike-through
for
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Gloss Note
Presumably “Cromwell,” which an annotator has penned in superscript; this not in the hand of the main scribe or that we identify as probably Pulter’s.
C.
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Critical Note
Cromwell. Pulter ends her poem with a rhyming quatrain in which she “implore[s]” God in an explicit address, asking him to “let” another Camillus, in the form of Charles II, return to restore the monarchy.
C
Physical Note
“Cromwell” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
Physical Note
"for" has been crossed out. Because we have chosen to retain “C.” in the main text, we have also retained the original “for”, for the sake of scansion.
forevermore
?
ascending straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: 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.

 Headnote

How can a single alphabetic letter collapse time? In this poem, Pulter draws from the story of the Gallic conquest of Rome (and the Romans’ subsequent overthrow of its captors) to stridently protest the Cromwellian regime while also plaintively imploring God to enact a political restoration of monarchy. Rather than merely creating an analogy between the Gauls’ invasion of Rome and the republicans’ victory in the English civil war, however, Pulter creates a kind of temporal vertigo. By insisting that the tyrannical Brennus is a British foreign invader of Rome (seen in her term “British Brennus”), Pulter makes the conquering English of the present seem the brutal villains of an ancient story. Secondly, Pulter allows the emblem to refer at once to past and present times by creating ambiguities around historical players whose names begin with the letter “C.” Can C refer to Camillus, the Roman hero, and Charles II, the exiled English king, simultaneously? But elsewhere refer to Cromwell? And to Christ? If names are withheld, can the reader make the present and past (and future, at the end of the poem) co-exist?
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Brennus was the chieftain of the Gauls (or Celts of Northern Europe) who was legendary for invading and destroying Rome in the fourth-century BCE. Presumably by describing Brennus as “British,” Pulter is comparing him to Oliver Cromwell, whom she elsewhere denounced as ruining the city of London as well as usurping the government.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Plutarch describes the savage massacre of Rome by the Gauls, noting that they killed indiscriminately, including unresisting priests and patricians, as well as elderly people, women, and children. See The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (1579), 153-4.
Line number 4

 Gloss note

The Romans reputedly took gold as a ransom for their city, but when, as the next lines describe, the gold was being weighed and measured, Brennus laid his sword on the scales, presumably as an act of contempt and perhaps in response to a complaint that the scales were weighted unfairly.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

British person, here the English version of the tyrant invader Brennus
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter revises the myth by having the conquered Romans lament their woe by uttering this famous phrase (“vae victis,” Latin for “woe to the conquered”). Legend had it that Brennus articulated these words to the Romans when they complained about him laying his sword on the scales (as described above) in order to assert his pure, unadulterated power over war’s losers.
Line number 7

 Critical note

The name left blank refers, in Roman history, to Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman statesman and general, who, according to Livy, was regarded as the second founder of Rome after its occupation by Brennus and his Gauls. Having been accused of appropriating booty and banished, he returned triumphantly to settle the score with the Gauls (making them “pay the Romans’ score,” meaning revenging an injury or settling a debt). By leaving the name blank, Pulter allows the reader to imagine a British replay of this event, as “Charles II” might return from exile to overturn Cromwell.
Line number 9

 Gloss note

irreverent
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Latin for “law of retaliation,” according to which deserved punishment is commensurate and ideally mirrors the crime. See Exodus 21-25, which evokes a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
Line number 12

 Gloss note

“Woe to the conquered,” as line 5 above explains; the cry of oppressed people, in Pulter’s unusual revision. As she explains in the next lines, England is the conquered entity currently under oppressive Cromwellian rule.
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Charles I and his son Charles; here Pulter cryptically aligns the Gallic sack of Rome with the civil war in England.
Line number 13

 Gloss note

lament
Line number 14

 Critical note

The bare letter “C” allows the reader to fill in the name as Camillus, the Roman statesman described above in the poem as overthrowing the Gauls in Rome, or as Charles II, whom Pulter hopes can be restored to the British throne. Someone has filled in the blank with “Charles” in the manuscript.
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Charles II’s sake, but perhaps with a resonance of “Christ’s sake”
Line number 16

 Gloss note

Presumably “Cromwell,” which an annotator has penned in superscript; this not in the hand of the main scribe or that we identify as probably Pulter’s.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 51]
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
Gloss Note
See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
[1]
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
How can a single alphabetic letter collapse time? In this poem, Pulter draws from the story of the Gallic conquest of Rome (and the Romans’ subsequent overthrow of its captors) to stridently protest the Cromwellian regime while also plaintively imploring God to enact a political restoration of monarchy. Rather than merely creating an analogy between the Gauls’ invasion of Rome and the republicans’ victory in the English civil war, however, Pulter creates a kind of temporal vertigo. By insisting that the tyrannical Brennus is a British foreign invader of Rome (seen in her term “British Brennus”), Pulter makes the conquering English of the present seem the brutal villains of an ancient story. Secondly, Pulter allows the emblem to refer at once to past and present times by creating ambiguities around historical players whose names begin with the letter “C.” Can C refer to Camillus, the Roman hero, and Charles II, the exiled English king, simultaneously? But elsewhere refer to Cromwell? And to Christ? If names are withheld, can the reader make the present and past (and future, at the end of the poem) co-exist?

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Pulter is outspokenly political in this emblem, the fourth to last poem in her series. Criticising Cromwell and his republican supporters, she draws parallels between their sacrilegious behaviour and the actions of the Gauls’ army, led by Brennus, Chief of Senones, in the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. Plutarch records the battle: in the events preceding the conflict, the Gallic army spent “many dayes spoyling and sacking all thinges they founde in the houses, and in the ende dyd set them all a fyer, and destroyed them every one”. Finding those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” unresponsive, they began to “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe”. This then erupted into a long siege in which many were killed, lasting until the Romans were provoked to weigh a thousand pounds of gold to offer in surrender. Brennus, “in scorne and mockey” of this acquiescence, placed his sword on the scales where the gold was being weighed and declared “vae victis”, meaning “sorrowe to the vanquished”. Soon after, however, the banished Roman statesman and general Camillus returned and viciously retaliated, leading the Roman army to conquer the Gauls. See Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154-58.
Pulter compares Cromwell to the tyrannical Brennus in her opening epithet, "British Brennus", and proceeds with a description of the Civil War and the injustice displayed via this ancient story. She shortens the names of the crucial parties in both conflicts, so that Camillus, Cromwell, Charles I, and Charles II all appear as the “C.”, cleverly denoting both the ancient and contemporaneous parties in the analogy she is drawing. She confirms the analogy in a final rhyming quatrain, calling for a Camillus-type to restore England to glory, just as he did to Rome. Pulter turns to God, pleading for Charles II, as the rightful king, to return to the throne, to vanquish Oliver Cromwell. Pulter’s reference to Charles I’s execution and Charles II’s banishment, and her appeals for him to be restored (lines 13-14), suggest this emblem was written between 1651 and 1660.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
51When Brittiſh Brennus Sack’d that Noble Citty
When
Gloss Note
Brennus was the chieftain of the Gauls (or Celts of Northern Europe) who was legendary for invading and destroying Rome in the fourth-century BCE. Presumably by describing Brennus as “British,” Pulter is comparing him to Oliver Cromwell, whom she elsewhere denounced as ruining the city of London as well as usurping the government.
British Brennus sacked that noble city
,
When
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell, Pulter creates a parallel between Brennus, the Chief of Gauls who viciously fought and ridiculed the Romans during the Battle of Allia, and the actions of Cromwell in his rise to power; see Headnote.
British Brennus
sacked that noble city,
2
To Age, nor Sex, nor Infants hee Shew’d pitty
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the savage massacre of Rome by the Gauls, noting that they killed indiscriminately, including unresisting priests and patricians, as well as elderly people, women, and children. See The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (1579), 153-4.
To age, nor sex, nor infants he shewed pity
;
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the actions of the Gaul army who, to provoke a response from the leaders of Rome, “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe” (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154).
To age, nor sex, nor infants
he showed pity.
3
Then thoſe which did the Capitall defend
Then those which did the capital defend
Then those which did the capital defend
4
Waighed out their Gold to have their Suffrings End
Gloss Note
The Romans reputedly took gold as a ransom for their city, but when, as the next lines describe, the gold was being weighed and measured, Brennus laid his sword on the scales, presumably as an act of contempt and perhaps in response to a complaint that the scales were weighted unfairly.
Weighed out their gold
to have their suff’rings end,
Critical Note
In Plutarch’s account, those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” offered a payment of “a thousand pounde weight of gold” if the Gauls would retreat from Rome and cease slaughtering their people (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154, 157).
Weighed out their gold
to have their sufferings end,
5
On which the Brittain bold his Sword did lay
On which the
Gloss Note
British person, here the English version of the tyrant invader Brennus
Briton
bold his sword did lay;
On which
Gloss Note
Cromwell, the “British Brennus” of line 1
the Britain
bold
Critical Note
Brennus, in an act of ridicule, laid his sword on the scale being used to weight the gold offered by the Romans in surrender. When questioned as to the meaning of this, he uttered, “sorrowe to the vanquished”, which Pulter reproduces in lines 6 and 12 (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 157).
his sword did lay
;
6
Woe to the Conquerd then the People Say
Critical Note
Pulter revises the myth by having the conquered Romans lament their woe by uttering this famous phrase (“vae victis,” Latin for “woe to the conquered”). Legend had it that Brennus articulated these words to the Romans when they complained about him laying his sword on the scales (as described above) in order to assert his pure, unadulterated power over war’s losers.
“Woe to the conquered,” then the people say
.
“Woe to the conquered” then the people say.
7
Then came C Banniſhed long
Physical Note
“o” appears to correct earlier “e”; blank space in middle of line
before
Then came
Critical Note
The name left blank refers, in Roman history, to Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman statesman and general, who, according to Livy, was regarded as the second founder of Rome after its occupation by Brennus and his Gauls. Having been accused of appropriating booty and banished, he returned triumphantly to settle the score with the Gauls (making them “pay the Romans’ score,” meaning revenging an injury or settling a debt). By leaving the name blank, Pulter allows the reader to imagine a British replay of this event, as “Charles II” might return from exile to overturn Cromwell.
C_______
, banished long before,
Then came
Gloss Note
Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman and general, who, after being banished from Rome, returned and led their army to victory, destroying the Gauls; see Headnote.
C.
Physical Note
A space, long enough for a word to be inserted, has been left at this point in the manuscript, possibly to invite readers to fill in the blank. Pulter has not been uniform in this practice, however, as the following use of “C.” abbreviations are formatted regularly, without added spacing.
,
banished long before,
8
And made the Brittains pay the Romans Score
And made the Britons pay the Romans’ score.
And made the Britains pay the Romans’ score.
9
Soe let all impious Sacrilegious men
So let all
Gloss Note
irreverent
impious
, sacrilegious men
So let all impious,
Gloss Note
stealing or misappropriating what is consecrated to God's service.
sacrilegious
men
10
Have Lex talionis, Heaven Say thou Amen
Have
Gloss Note
Latin for “law of retaliation,” according to which deserved punishment is commensurate and ideally mirrors the crime. See Exodus 21-25, which evokes a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
lex talionis
: Heaven, say Thou “Amen”!
Have
Gloss Note
Latin: the law of retaliation, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (OED). This moral occurs throughout the Bible: see Gen 9.6, “Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed”; and Exod. 21:23-25, “And if any mischiefe follow, then thou shalt give life for life, / Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foote for foote, / Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Pulter argues that “impious, sacrilegious men” will be punished in accordance with their own crimes, specifically turning her criticisms to republicans.
lex talionis
; heaven say thou “Amen”!
11
If any underneath the Sun may Cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
12
Physical Note
“u” may have been modified to “is,” with some blotting
Ve victu
, Reader it is thou and I
Gloss Note
“Woe to the conquered,” as line 5 above explains; the cry of oppressed people, in Pulter’s unusual revision. As she explains in the next lines, England is the conquered entity currently under oppressive Cromwellian rule.
Vae victis,”
reader, it is thou and I.
Gloss Note
Latin for “woe to the vanquished” (OED “vae” 2a)
Vae victis
, reader it is thou and I;
13
C: C: Kild and Baniſhed wee w:th Sad hearts deplore
Gloss Note
Charles I and his son Charles; here Pulter cryptically aligns the Gallic sack of Rome with the civil war in England.
C.C.
killed and banished, we with sad hearts
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
;
Critical Note
Charles I (1600-1649), who was executed by the Republican parliament near the end of the Civil War; and his son Charles II (1630-1685) who was exiled from England in 1651 until 1660, when he returned to England to be crowned king.
C.C., killed and banished
, we with sad hearts deplore.
14
Oh let A C:
Physical Note
in different ink and possibly different hand from main scribe
Charles
come and our Joys Restore
O, let a
Critical Note
The bare letter “C” allows the reader to fill in the name as Camillus, the Roman statesman described above in the poem as overthrowing the Gauls in Rome, or as Charles II, whom Pulter hopes can be restored to the British throne. Someone has filled in the blank with “Charles” in the manuscript.
C.
come and our joys restore.
Oh, let a
Critical Note
The abbreviation of “C.” here is notably ambiguous. Pulter continues to draw on Plutarch’s account of the Battle of Allia, referring to the role of Camillus in restoring the Roman army and conquering the Gauls to allude to Charles II as Britain’s modern-day version of this. “C.” here could also be invoking Christ.
C
Physical Note
“Charles” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
come and our joys restore!
15
ffor C: his Sake dear God I thee implore
For
Gloss Note
Charles II’s sake, but perhaps with a resonance of “Christ’s sake”
C. his sake
, dear God, I Thee implore,
For
Gloss Note
Charles II
C.
, his sake, dear God, I thee implore,
16
Or
Physical Note
“w” appears adjusted (with blot) from “m” or other
wee
are Slaves to C.
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Cromwell
double strike-through
for
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Gloss Note
Presumably “Cromwell,” which an annotator has penned in superscript; this not in the hand of the main scribe or that we identify as probably Pulter’s.
C.
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Critical Note
Cromwell. Pulter ends her poem with a rhyming quatrain in which she “implore[s]” God in an explicit address, asking him to “let” another Camillus, in the form of Charles II, return to restore the monarchy.
C
Physical Note
“Cromwell” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
Physical Note
"for" has been crossed out. Because we have chosen to retain “C.” in the main text, we have also retained the original “for”, for the sake of scansion.
forevermore
?
ascending straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
Gloss Note
See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
[1]
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

 Headnote

Pulter is outspokenly political in this emblem, the fourth to last poem in her series. Criticising Cromwell and his republican supporters, she draws parallels between their sacrilegious behaviour and the actions of the Gauls’ army, led by Brennus, Chief of Senones, in the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. Plutarch records the battle: in the events preceding the conflict, the Gallic army spent “many dayes spoyling and sacking all thinges they founde in the houses, and in the ende dyd set them all a fyer, and destroyed them every one”. Finding those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” unresponsive, they began to “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe”. This then erupted into a long siege in which many were killed, lasting until the Romans were provoked to weigh a thousand pounds of gold to offer in surrender. Brennus, “in scorne and mockey” of this acquiescence, placed his sword on the scales where the gold was being weighed and declared “vae victis”, meaning “sorrowe to the vanquished”. Soon after, however, the banished Roman statesman and general Camillus returned and viciously retaliated, leading the Roman army to conquer the Gauls. See Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154-58.
Pulter compares Cromwell to the tyrannical Brennus in her opening epithet, "British Brennus", and proceeds with a description of the Civil War and the injustice displayed via this ancient story. She shortens the names of the crucial parties in both conflicts, so that Camillus, Cromwell, Charles I, and Charles II all appear as the “C.”, cleverly denoting both the ancient and contemporaneous parties in the analogy she is drawing. She confirms the analogy in a final rhyming quatrain, calling for a Camillus-type to restore England to glory, just as he did to Rome. Pulter turns to God, pleading for Charles II, as the rightful king, to return to the throne, to vanquish Oliver Cromwell. Pulter’s reference to Charles I’s execution and Charles II’s banishment, and her appeals for him to be restored (lines 13-14), suggest this emblem was written between 1651 and 1660.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell, Pulter creates a parallel between Brennus, the Chief of Gauls who viciously fought and ridiculed the Romans during the Battle of Allia, and the actions of Cromwell in his rise to power; see Headnote.
Line number 2

 Critical note

Plutarch describes the actions of the Gaul army who, to provoke a response from the leaders of Rome, “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe” (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154).
Line number 4

 Critical note

In Plutarch’s account, those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” offered a payment of “a thousand pounde weight of gold” if the Gauls would retreat from Rome and cease slaughtering their people (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154, 157).
Line number 5

 Gloss note

Cromwell, the “British Brennus” of line 1
Line number 5

 Critical note

Brennus, in an act of ridicule, laid his sword on the scale being used to weight the gold offered by the Romans in surrender. When questioned as to the meaning of this, he uttered, “sorrowe to the vanquished”, which Pulter reproduces in lines 6 and 12 (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 157).
Line number 7

 Gloss note

Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman and general, who, after being banished from Rome, returned and led their army to victory, destroying the Gauls; see Headnote.
Line number 7

 Physical note

A space, long enough for a word to be inserted, has been left at this point in the manuscript, possibly to invite readers to fill in the blank. Pulter has not been uniform in this practice, however, as the following use of “C.” abbreviations are formatted regularly, without added spacing.
Line number 9

 Gloss note

stealing or misappropriating what is consecrated to God's service.
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Latin: the law of retaliation, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (OED). This moral occurs throughout the Bible: see Gen 9.6, “Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed”; and Exod. 21:23-25, “And if any mischiefe follow, then thou shalt give life for life, / Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foote for foote, / Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Pulter argues that “impious, sacrilegious men” will be punished in accordance with their own crimes, specifically turning her criticisms to republicans.
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Latin for “woe to the vanquished” (OED “vae” 2a)
Line number 13

 Critical note

Charles I (1600-1649), who was executed by the Republican parliament near the end of the Civil War; and his son Charles II (1630-1685) who was exiled from England in 1651 until 1660, when he returned to England to be crowned king.
Line number 14

 Critical note

The abbreviation of “C.” here is notably ambiguous. Pulter continues to draw on Plutarch’s account of the Battle of Allia, referring to the role of Camillus in restoring the Roman army and conquering the Gauls to allude to Charles II as Britain’s modern-day version of this. “C.” here could also be invoking Christ.
Line number 14

 Physical note

“Charles” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Charles II
Line number 16

 Critical note

Cromwell. Pulter ends her poem with a rhyming quatrain in which she “implore[s]” God in an explicit address, asking him to “let” another Camillus, in the form of Charles II, return to restore the monarchy.
Line number 16

 Physical note

“Cromwell” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
Line number 16

 Physical note

"for" has been crossed out. Because we have chosen to retain “C.” in the main text, we have also retained the original “for”, for the sake of scansion.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

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[Emblem 51]
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
British Brennus
(Emblem 51)
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
Gloss Note
See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
[1]
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
How can a single alphabetic letter collapse time? In this poem, Pulter draws from the story of the Gallic conquest of Rome (and the Romans’ subsequent overthrow of its captors) to stridently protest the Cromwellian regime while also plaintively imploring God to enact a political restoration of monarchy. Rather than merely creating an analogy between the Gauls’ invasion of Rome and the republicans’ victory in the English civil war, however, Pulter creates a kind of temporal vertigo. By insisting that the tyrannical Brennus is a British foreign invader of Rome (seen in her term “British Brennus”), Pulter makes the conquering English of the present seem the brutal villains of an ancient story. Secondly, Pulter allows the emblem to refer at once to past and present times by creating ambiguities around historical players whose names begin with the letter “C.” Can C refer to Camillus, the Roman hero, and Charles II, the exiled English king, simultaneously? But elsewhere refer to Cromwell? And to Christ? If names are withheld, can the reader make the present and past (and future, at the end of the poem) co-exist?

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Pulter is outspokenly political in this emblem, the fourth to last poem in her series. Criticising Cromwell and his republican supporters, she draws parallels between their sacrilegious behaviour and the actions of the Gauls’ army, led by Brennus, Chief of Senones, in the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. Plutarch records the battle: in the events preceding the conflict, the Gallic army spent “many dayes spoyling and sacking all thinges they founde in the houses, and in the ende dyd set them all a fyer, and destroyed them every one”. Finding those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” unresponsive, they began to “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe”. This then erupted into a long siege in which many were killed, lasting until the Romans were provoked to weigh a thousand pounds of gold to offer in surrender. Brennus, “in scorne and mockey” of this acquiescence, placed his sword on the scales where the gold was being weighed and declared “vae victis”, meaning “sorrowe to the vanquished”. Soon after, however, the banished Roman statesman and general Camillus returned and viciously retaliated, leading the Roman army to conquer the Gauls. See Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154-58.
Pulter compares Cromwell to the tyrannical Brennus in her opening epithet, "British Brennus", and proceeds with a description of the Civil War and the injustice displayed via this ancient story. She shortens the names of the crucial parties in both conflicts, so that Camillus, Cromwell, Charles I, and Charles II all appear as the “C.”, cleverly denoting both the ancient and contemporaneous parties in the analogy she is drawing. She confirms the analogy in a final rhyming quatrain, calling for a Camillus-type to restore England to glory, just as he did to Rome. Pulter turns to God, pleading for Charles II, as the rightful king, to return to the throne, to vanquish Oliver Cromwell. Pulter’s reference to Charles I’s execution and Charles II’s banishment, and her appeals for him to be restored (lines 13-14), suggest this emblem was written between 1651 and 1660.


— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
1
51When Brittiſh Brennus Sack’d that Noble Citty
When
Gloss Note
Brennus was the chieftain of the Gauls (or Celts of Northern Europe) who was legendary for invading and destroying Rome in the fourth-century BCE. Presumably by describing Brennus as “British,” Pulter is comparing him to Oliver Cromwell, whom she elsewhere denounced as ruining the city of London as well as usurping the government.
British Brennus sacked that noble city
,
When
Gloss Note
Oliver Cromwell, Pulter creates a parallel between Brennus, the Chief of Gauls who viciously fought and ridiculed the Romans during the Battle of Allia, and the actions of Cromwell in his rise to power; see Headnote.
British Brennus
sacked that noble city,
2
To Age, nor Sex, nor Infants hee Shew’d pitty
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the savage massacre of Rome by the Gauls, noting that they killed indiscriminately, including unresisting priests and patricians, as well as elderly people, women, and children. See The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (1579), 153-4.
To age, nor sex, nor infants he shewed pity
;
Critical Note
Plutarch describes the actions of the Gaul army who, to provoke a response from the leaders of Rome, “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe” (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154).
To age, nor sex, nor infants
he showed pity.
3
Then thoſe which did the Capitall defend
Then those which did the capital defend
Then those which did the capital defend
4
Waighed out their Gold to have their Suffrings End
Gloss Note
The Romans reputedly took gold as a ransom for their city, but when, as the next lines describe, the gold was being weighed and measured, Brennus laid his sword on the scales, presumably as an act of contempt and perhaps in response to a complaint that the scales were weighted unfairly.
Weighed out their gold
to have their suff’rings end,
Critical Note
In Plutarch’s account, those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” offered a payment of “a thousand pounde weight of gold” if the Gauls would retreat from Rome and cease slaughtering their people (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154, 157).
Weighed out their gold
to have their sufferings end,
5
On which the Brittain bold his Sword did lay
On which the
Gloss Note
British person, here the English version of the tyrant invader Brennus
Briton
bold his sword did lay;
On which
Gloss Note
Cromwell, the “British Brennus” of line 1
the Britain
bold
Critical Note
Brennus, in an act of ridicule, laid his sword on the scale being used to weight the gold offered by the Romans in surrender. When questioned as to the meaning of this, he uttered, “sorrowe to the vanquished”, which Pulter reproduces in lines 6 and 12 (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 157).
his sword did lay
;
6
Woe to the Conquerd then the People Say
Critical Note
Pulter revises the myth by having the conquered Romans lament their woe by uttering this famous phrase (“vae victis,” Latin for “woe to the conquered”). Legend had it that Brennus articulated these words to the Romans when they complained about him laying his sword on the scales (as described above) in order to assert his pure, unadulterated power over war’s losers.
“Woe to the conquered,” then the people say
.
“Woe to the conquered” then the people say.
7
Then came C Banniſhed long
Physical Note
“o” appears to correct earlier “e”; blank space in middle of line
before
Then came
Critical Note
The name left blank refers, in Roman history, to Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman statesman and general, who, according to Livy, was regarded as the second founder of Rome after its occupation by Brennus and his Gauls. Having been accused of appropriating booty and banished, he returned triumphantly to settle the score with the Gauls (making them “pay the Romans’ score,” meaning revenging an injury or settling a debt). By leaving the name blank, Pulter allows the reader to imagine a British replay of this event, as “Charles II” might return from exile to overturn Cromwell.
C_______
, banished long before,
Then came
Gloss Note
Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman and general, who, after being banished from Rome, returned and led their army to victory, destroying the Gauls; see Headnote.
C.
Physical Note
A space, long enough for a word to be inserted, has been left at this point in the manuscript, possibly to invite readers to fill in the blank. Pulter has not been uniform in this practice, however, as the following use of “C.” abbreviations are formatted regularly, without added spacing.
,
banished long before,
8
And made the Brittains pay the Romans Score
And made the Britons pay the Romans’ score.
And made the Britains pay the Romans’ score.
9
Soe let all impious Sacrilegious men
So let all
Gloss Note
irreverent
impious
, sacrilegious men
So let all impious,
Gloss Note
stealing or misappropriating what is consecrated to God's service.
sacrilegious
men
10
Have Lex talionis, Heaven Say thou Amen
Have
Gloss Note
Latin for “law of retaliation,” according to which deserved punishment is commensurate and ideally mirrors the crime. See Exodus 21-25, which evokes a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
lex talionis
: Heaven, say Thou “Amen”!
Have
Gloss Note
Latin: the law of retaliation, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (OED). This moral occurs throughout the Bible: see Gen 9.6, “Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed”; and Exod. 21:23-25, “And if any mischiefe follow, then thou shalt give life for life, / Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foote for foote, / Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Pulter argues that “impious, sacrilegious men” will be punished in accordance with their own crimes, specifically turning her criticisms to republicans.
lex talionis
; heaven say thou “Amen”!
11
If any underneath the Sun may Cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
If any underneath the sun may cry
12
Physical Note
“u” may have been modified to “is,” with some blotting
Ve victu
, Reader it is thou and I
Gloss Note
“Woe to the conquered,” as line 5 above explains; the cry of oppressed people, in Pulter’s unusual revision. As she explains in the next lines, England is the conquered entity currently under oppressive Cromwellian rule.
Vae victis,”
reader, it is thou and I.
Gloss Note
Latin for “woe to the vanquished” (OED “vae” 2a)
Vae victis
, reader it is thou and I;
13
C: C: Kild and Baniſhed wee w:th Sad hearts deplore
Gloss Note
Charles I and his son Charles; here Pulter cryptically aligns the Gallic sack of Rome with the civil war in England.
C.C.
killed and banished, we with sad hearts
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
;
Critical Note
Charles I (1600-1649), who was executed by the Republican parliament near the end of the Civil War; and his son Charles II (1630-1685) who was exiled from England in 1651 until 1660, when he returned to England to be crowned king.
C.C., killed and banished
, we with sad hearts deplore.
14
Oh let A C:
Physical Note
in different ink and possibly different hand from main scribe
Charles
come and our Joys Restore
O, let a
Critical Note
The bare letter “C” allows the reader to fill in the name as Camillus, the Roman statesman described above in the poem as overthrowing the Gauls in Rome, or as Charles II, whom Pulter hopes can be restored to the British throne. Someone has filled in the blank with “Charles” in the manuscript.
C.
come and our joys restore.
Oh, let a
Critical Note
The abbreviation of “C.” here is notably ambiguous. Pulter continues to draw on Plutarch’s account of the Battle of Allia, referring to the role of Camillus in restoring the Roman army and conquering the Gauls to allude to Charles II as Britain’s modern-day version of this. “C.” here could also be invoking Christ.
C
Physical Note
“Charles” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
come and our joys restore!
15
ffor C: his Sake dear God I thee implore
For
Gloss Note
Charles II’s sake, but perhaps with a resonance of “Christ’s sake”
C. his sake
, dear God, I Thee implore,
For
Gloss Note
Charles II
C.
, his sake, dear God, I thee implore,
16
Or
Physical Note
“w” appears adjusted (with blot) from “m” or other
wee
are Slaves to C.
Physical Note
in different hand from main scribe
Cromwell
double strike-through
for
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Gloss Note
Presumably “Cromwell,” which an annotator has penned in superscript; this not in the hand of the main scribe or that we identify as probably Pulter’s.
C.
evermore.
Or we are slaves to
Critical Note
Cromwell. Pulter ends her poem with a rhyming quatrain in which she “implore[s]” God in an explicit address, asking him to “let” another Camillus, in the form of Charles II, return to restore the monarchy.
C
Physical Note
“Cromwell” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
.
Physical Note
"for" has been crossed out. Because we have chosen to retain “C.” in the main text, we have also retained the original “for”, for the sake of scansion.
forevermore
?
ascending straight line
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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

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
Gloss Note
See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
[1]
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

How can a single alphabetic letter collapse time? In this poem, Pulter draws from the story of the Gallic conquest of Rome (and the Romans’ subsequent overthrow of its captors) to stridently protest the Cromwellian regime while also plaintively imploring God to enact a political restoration of monarchy. Rather than merely creating an analogy between the Gauls’ invasion of Rome and the republicans’ victory in the English civil war, however, Pulter creates a kind of temporal vertigo. By insisting that the tyrannical Brennus is a British foreign invader of Rome (seen in her term “British Brennus”), Pulter makes the conquering English of the present seem the brutal villains of an ancient story. Secondly, Pulter allows the emblem to refer at once to past and present times by creating ambiguities around historical players whose names begin with the letter “C.” Can C refer to Camillus, the Roman hero, and Charles II, the exiled English king, simultaneously? But elsewhere refer to Cromwell? And to Christ? If names are withheld, can the reader make the present and past (and future, at the end of the poem) co-exist?
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Pulter is outspokenly political in this emblem, the fourth to last poem in her series. Criticising Cromwell and his republican supporters, she draws parallels between their sacrilegious behaviour and the actions of the Gauls’ army, led by Brennus, Chief of Senones, in the Battle of Allia in 390 BCE. Plutarch records the battle: in the events preceding the conflict, the Gallic army spent “many dayes spoyling and sacking all thinges they founde in the houses, and in the ende dyd set them all a fyer, and destroyed them every one”. Finding those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” unresponsive, they began to “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe”. This then erupted into a long siege in which many were killed, lasting until the Romans were provoked to weigh a thousand pounds of gold to offer in surrender. Brennus, “in scorne and mockey” of this acquiescence, placed his sword on the scales where the gold was being weighed and declared “vae victis”, meaning “sorrowe to the vanquished”. Soon after, however, the banished Roman statesman and general Camillus returned and viciously retaliated, leading the Roman army to conquer the Gauls. See Plutarch, The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154-58.
Pulter compares Cromwell to the tyrannical Brennus in her opening epithet, "British Brennus", and proceeds with a description of the Civil War and the injustice displayed via this ancient story. She shortens the names of the crucial parties in both conflicts, so that Camillus, Cromwell, Charles I, and Charles II all appear as the “C.”, cleverly denoting both the ancient and contemporaneous parties in the analogy she is drawing. She confirms the analogy in a final rhyming quatrain, calling for a Camillus-type to restore England to glory, just as he did to Rome. Pulter turns to God, pleading for Charles II, as the rightful king, to return to the throne, to vanquish Oliver Cromwell. Pulter’s reference to Charles I’s execution and Charles II’s banishment, and her appeals for him to be restored (lines 13-14), suggest this emblem was written between 1651 and 1660.
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Brennus was the chieftain of the Gauls (or Celts of Northern Europe) who was legendary for invading and destroying Rome in the fourth-century BCE. Presumably by describing Brennus as “British,” Pulter is comparing him to Oliver Cromwell, whom she elsewhere denounced as ruining the city of London as well as usurping the government.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

Oliver Cromwell, Pulter creates a parallel between Brennus, the Chief of Gauls who viciously fought and ridiculed the Romans during the Battle of Allia, and the actions of Cromwell in his rise to power; see Headnote.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Plutarch describes the savage massacre of Rome by the Gauls, noting that they killed indiscriminately, including unresisting priests and patricians, as well as elderly people, women, and children. See The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, trans. Thomas North (1579), 153-4.
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

Plutarch describes the actions of the Gaul army who, to provoke a response from the leaders of Rome, “put all to the sworde that came in their handes, young and olde, man, woman, and childe” (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154).
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

The Romans reputedly took gold as a ransom for their city, but when, as the next lines describe, the gold was being weighed and measured, Brennus laid his sword on the scales, presumably as an act of contempt and perhaps in response to a complaint that the scales were weighted unfairly.
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Critical note

In Plutarch’s account, those that “kept the forte of the Capitoll” offered a payment of “a thousand pounde weight of gold” if the Gauls would retreat from Rome and cease slaughtering their people (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 154, 157).
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

British person, here the English version of the tyrant invader Brennus
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

Cromwell, the “British Brennus” of line 1
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Critical note

Brennus, in an act of ridicule, laid his sword on the scale being used to weight the gold offered by the Romans in surrender. When questioned as to the meaning of this, he uttered, “sorrowe to the vanquished”, which Pulter reproduces in lines 6 and 12 (The lives of the noble Grecians and Romanes. Trans. by Thomas North [1579], 157).
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

Pulter revises the myth by having the conquered Romans lament their woe by uttering this famous phrase (“vae victis,” Latin for “woe to the conquered”). Legend had it that Brennus articulated these words to the Romans when they complained about him laying his sword on the scales (as described above) in order to assert his pure, unadulterated power over war’s losers.
Transcription
Line number 7

 Physical note

“o” appears to correct earlier “e”; blank space in middle of line
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Critical note

The name left blank refers, in Roman history, to Marcus Furius Camillus, a Roman statesman and general, who, according to Livy, was regarded as the second founder of Rome after its occupation by Brennus and his Gauls. Having been accused of appropriating booty and banished, he returned triumphantly to settle the score with the Gauls (making them “pay the Romans’ score,” meaning revenging an injury or settling a debt). By leaving the name blank, Pulter allows the reader to imagine a British replay of this event, as “Charles II” might return from exile to overturn Cromwell.
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman and general, who, after being banished from Rome, returned and led their army to victory, destroying the Gauls; see Headnote.
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Physical note

A space, long enough for a word to be inserted, has been left at this point in the manuscript, possibly to invite readers to fill in the blank. Pulter has not been uniform in this practice, however, as the following use of “C.” abbreviations are formatted regularly, without added spacing.
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

irreverent
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

stealing or misappropriating what is consecrated to God's service.
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Latin for “law of retaliation,” according to which deserved punishment is commensurate and ideally mirrors the crime. See Exodus 21-25, which evokes a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

Latin: the law of retaliation, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (OED). This moral occurs throughout the Bible: see Gen 9.6, “Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed”; and Exod. 21:23-25, “And if any mischiefe follow, then thou shalt give life for life, / Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foote for foote, / Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Pulter argues that “impious, sacrilegious men” will be punished in accordance with their own crimes, specifically turning her criticisms to republicans.
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“u” may have been modified to “is,” with some blotting
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

“Woe to the conquered,” as line 5 above explains; the cry of oppressed people, in Pulter’s unusual revision. As she explains in the next lines, England is the conquered entity currently under oppressive Cromwellian rule.
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Latin for “woe to the vanquished” (OED “vae” 2a)
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Charles I and his son Charles; here Pulter cryptically aligns the Gallic sack of Rome with the civil war in England.
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

lament
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Critical note

Charles I (1600-1649), who was executed by the Republican parliament near the end of the Civil War; and his son Charles II (1630-1685) who was exiled from England in 1651 until 1660, when he returned to England to be crowned king.
Transcription
Line number 14

 Physical note

in different ink and possibly different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Critical note

The bare letter “C” allows the reader to fill in the name as Camillus, the Roman statesman described above in the poem as overthrowing the Gauls in Rome, or as Charles II, whom Pulter hopes can be restored to the British throne. Someone has filled in the blank with “Charles” in the manuscript.
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Critical note

The abbreviation of “C.” here is notably ambiguous. Pulter continues to draw on Plutarch’s account of the Battle of Allia, referring to the role of Camillus in restoring the Roman army and conquering the Gauls to allude to Charles II as Britain’s modern-day version of this. “C.” here could also be invoking Christ.
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Physical note

“Charles” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Charles II’s sake, but perhaps with a resonance of “Christ’s sake”
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Charles II
Transcription
Line number 16

 Physical note

“w” appears adjusted (with blot) from “m” or other
Transcription
Line number 16

 Physical note

in different hand from main scribe
Transcription
Line number 16
double strike-through
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Gloss note

Presumably “Cromwell,” which an annotator has penned in superscript; this not in the hand of the main scribe or that we identify as probably Pulter’s.
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Critical note

Cromwell. Pulter ends her poem with a rhyming quatrain in which she “implore[s]” God in an explicit address, asking him to “let” another Camillus, in the form of Charles II, return to restore the monarchy.
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Physical note

“Cromwell” inserted above in what looks like the hand of the manuscript’s early eighteenth-century annotator.
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Physical note

"for" has been crossed out. Because we have chosen to retain “C.” in the main text, we have also retained the original “for”, for the sake of scansion.
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