Tell Me No More [On the Same]

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Tell Me No More [On the Same]

Poem 11

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 Frances E. Dolan.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

  • Created by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
  • Encoded by Katherine Poland, Matthew Taylor, Elizabeth Chou, and Emily Andrey, Northwestern University
  • Website designed by Sergei Kalugin, Northwestern University
  • IT project consultation by Josh Honn, Northwestern University
  • Project sponsored by Northwestern University, Brock University, and University of Leeds
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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

Previous poem concludes on this page

 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 2

 Physical note

“r” written over earlier “l”
Line number 21

 Physical note

end of word, perhaps two more letters, obscured by ink blot
Line number 28

 Physical note

“i” appears written over an earlier “e”
Line number 29

 Physical note

“or” appears written over “ev”; final “e” imperfectly erased
Line number 33

 Physical note

“Glor” appears in darker, thicker ink, written over other imperfectly erased letters (possibly initial “J” or “I” and a letter with descender [as in “y]” in third position).
Line number 33

 Physical note

written atop second half of “Glories” in different hand from main scribe
Line number 39

 Physical note

“s” superscript to illegible blotted letter
Line number 42

 Physical note

blot covers word below of similar length and with two ascenders near end
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

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On the
Physical Note
Previous poem concludes on this page
Same
Tell Me No More
Critical Note
The poem is entitled “On the Same” in reference to the prior poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]; we have provided an alternate title for clarity.
[On the Same]
Critical Note
The title refers to the previous poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]. While many poems about dead children focused on infants and youngsters (see The Death of a Child in Curations), especially since child mortality was relatively high in the seventeenth century, Pulter here grapples with the loss of a young adult, her daughter Jane, who died in 1645. At 20, Jane was considerably older than Hester was when she married. She had survived the dangers of childhood only to die as she had reached maturity. Pulter had 15 children, the last in 1648, so she might well have been pregnant or nursing when Jane died (see the story of Elizabeth Cary sitting at the deathbed of her daughter and contemplating nursing her daughter’s newborn as well as her own youngest child in “The Death of a Child” in Curations.)
On the Same
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
My “amplified” editions seek to make the poems as accessible as possible by modernizing spelling and punctuation and providing only brief definitions for words, while discursive notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section place Pulter’s poems into conversations. As I build the curations for a given poem—provisional and quirky as they are—I keep returning to the poem, re-reading, rethinking, and adding layers to the notes. I hope to show that Pulter was intellectually and politically embedded rather than isolated, taking up issues, genres, and tropes that also interested her contemporaries and that sometimes accrue unpredictable salience in later periods. Rather than focusing only on possible sources or influences, I cast a wide net both within the seventeenth century and outside it, trying to catch cultural materials Pulter might have engaged, some she excludes or ignores, and even some she probably could never have imagined. Curations don’t precede the poems nor are they implied by the poems—as if the poem gathers them to itself (although it can sometimes feel that way) or hales them forth. Instead, as a curator I weave the poem into a web of relations, seeking to open out rather than close down interpretive possibilities. This extends to including extracts that are long enough that readers might find things therein that I do not anticipate. I also look for a multi-vectored traffic among Pulter’s poetry and the other materials. What might the materials I’ve gathered help readers see in the poems—or notice is not there? But also, how do the poems bring fresh perspectives into the conversations into which I draw them? The more one reads the poems as participants in wider ranging conversations, the more fascinatingly twisty Pulter appears. Often, I don’t grasp how she upends or comes at conventions aslant until I have mucked about composting my “curations.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem dwells “On the Same” topic as the last, and is thus another elegy for one of the poet’s daughters who died at twenty years of age. The refrain of “Tell me no more” paradoxically enables the sequential canvassing of the very qualities Pulter claims not to want to recall: Jane’s corporeal beauties, portrayed one by beloved one, are succeeded by the more ineffable elements of her mind, soul, voice, and virtue. Toward the poem’s end, the speaker’s attention tugs away from Jane to her own experience of loss, only to be diverted by yet another lost relic of her child. The inexorable return of the refrain acts as a trope for grief—such that the poem’s addressee could be a personified Grief, implored to silence. But the poem also exhibits tension between the speaker’s loving attachment to things of (but then no longer of) this world and what she knows she should praise, and claims she shall: “praises … world without end, / To Him.” In the meantime, all praises sung are for a young woman whose world has ended.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this poem, Pulter engages a convention that guided poems including “Song” [“Ask Me No More”], which is often attributed to Thomas Carew (although it circulated without attribution in many seventeenth-century manuscripts), as well as various responses to it (see Poems in Conversation in Curations). Her poem particularly resembles a song set to music by William Lawes (“Tell me no more”). In his essay on “Ask Me No More” and responses to it, Scott Nixon argues that the poems in this subgenre take “pleasure in impersonal debate on an abstract topic” (117); Pulter, however, employs this convention for a highly personal debate on a concrete loss. The poem she produces joins an ongoing game of literary imitation and revision even as it is also an expression of wrenching feeling. The convention usually gestures toward an unnamed, unseen interlocutor, whose words are heard only as the speaker tries to shut them out (tell me no more, ask me no more). This is, then, a dialogic convention that irritably attempts to silence dialogue. Shut up, the speaker seems to say. Enough. As is so often true with Pulter’s poetry, in her hands the convention starts to twist, decompose, and regenerate. In this poem, the loquacious and annoying interlocutors, with their intimate knowledge of Jane Pulter’s physical features and their particular effects, suggest a contention among parts of the self, the parts that insistently remember and the part that is trying to take a Christian perspective on death and loss. Who else might these imagined speakers be anyway? Who exactly would remind the bereaved mother that her daughter’s breasts were snowy, let alone that her nose was “even”?
Pulter counters the misogyny of some poems in this subgenre, turning resentment away from the female object of observation and toward the fact of loss and the voices that remind the speaker of that loss. Since the poem lists Jane’s attributes and tries to stop doing so, it is both a blazon and an anti-blazon (see Exploration on Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern England). The catalog of Jane’s features stalls in line 20 at her noble mind, which can never be expressed, at least through the metaphors the poem has relied on thus far. While many of the other lines are enjambed, I sense a pause before and after this line, stranding it no matter how it is punctuated. The speaker then attempts to regroup, shifting the focus from Jane’s body to her soul, only to lapse into despair before a turning point at “until” in line 32, leading to “I” and “she/her” merging into “we” who, reunited in heaven, will sing God’s praises (line 34). The vivid memories of Jane, and the pestering voice of the teller inventorying what has been lost, expose the limits of Christian consolation. Perhaps “we” will be reunited in heaven. Nevertheless, “With her I lost most of my joys on earth.” The speaker ends the poem committed to mourning for “her” and deploring her loss until death rejoins them.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Tell mee noe more, her haire was lovly brown
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
2
Nor that it did in Curious
Physical Note
“r” written over earlier “l”
curles
hang down
Nor that it did in
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
curls hang down,
Nor that it did in
Critical Note
The adjective “curious” suggests that the curls both invited interest and excited admiration, on the one hand, and that they required some effort to achieve: Jane’s hair may have been curled more than curly. This adjective can describe either persons who are studious, attentive, eager to learn and inquisitive or the objects of their inquiry, which command attention by being skillfully made or richly ornamented. Oscillating as it does between subjects and objects, the adjective “curious” animates the curls even as it also presents them as Jane’s artful effort.
curious
curls hang down,
3
Or that it did her Snowey Shoulders Shrowed
Or that it did her snowy shoulders shroud
Or that it did her snowy shoulders
Gloss Note
conceal
shroud
4
Like Shineing Cinthia in A Sable Clowd
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon (goddess)
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon personified as a goddess
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
5
Tell mee noe more of her black Diamond Eyes
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
6
Whoſe cheerfull looke made all my Sorrowes^fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly,
7
Like Glittring Phebus Influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun (god)
Phoebus’s
influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun personified as a god
Phoebus’
influence and light
8
After a Northern Winters halfe years Night
After a
Critical Note
Eardley suggests Pulter means the Antarctic, understood to have only one day per year (each lasting six months)
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
After a
Critical Note
One look from Jane was like the return of the sun after six months of darkness. Pulter here refers to the idea that “the nations of the southern world” are in darkness six months out of the year while the sun is in the northern hemisphere. During that time, according to Robert Fludd, “the Antartick pole’s cold property” produces snow, frost, ice, and hail, “mortifying the herbs, fruits, and plants, and such like.” But “the Sun at his next visitation of those quarters, which will be in our northern winter,” by virtue of his “dilating and vivifying spirit,” undoes cold and death, melting the ice and snow, and “reviving the spirit of the trees, plants, and herbs, which were almost lifeless through congelation, and renewing their mourning bodies with new green garments, blossoms, and flowers, and lastly, with wholesome fruit” (Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy Grounded Upon the Essential Truth [London, 1659], I.9.108-109). Jane’s glance had this same effect. This description, suggesting that Jane’s absence created winter and her presence spring, also draws on the myth of Ceres and Persephone: when Persephone was with her mother, Ceres, it was spring and summer; when they had to part for Persephone to be with her husband in the underworld, her mother mourned and it was fall and winter.
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
9
Tell mee noe more her cheeks exceld the Roſe
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose,
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose
10
Though Lilly leaves did Sweetly interpoſe
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose,
11
Like Ruddy Aurora riſeing from her bed
Like
Gloss Note
reddish, rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn (goddess)
Aurora
rising from her bed,
Like
Gloss Note
rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn personified as a goddess
Aurora
rising from her bed,
12
Her Snowey hand Shadeing her Orient he’d
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
of the eastern part of the sky; radiant; rising (as the sun); dawn-colored, bright red
orient
head.
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
Facing east or shining like a pearl or precious stone; of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious, radiant.
orient
head.
13
Tell mee noe more, of her white even Noſe
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
14
Nor that her Ruby Lipps when they diſcloſe
Nor that her ruby lips, when they
Gloss Note
open
disclose
,
Nor that her ruby lips when they
Gloss Note
When her lips open to reveal her teeth in a smile or reveal her thoughts through speech.
disclose
15
Did Soe revive this drooping heart of mine
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
16
Like Golden Aples on A Silver Shrine
Like
Critical Note
Eardley cites Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
Like
Critical Note
This is a variation on a phrase from Proverbs 25:11 that became proverbial, that is commonly used. For example, a dedication to the Countess Dowager of Devonshire avers that “Honor without virtue is as a cloud without water; virtue without honor, is as a room without hangings; But virtue and honor is as a golden apple in a silver picture or rather, as a precious diamond in a golden ring” (Nathaniel Hardy, The First General Epistle of St. John the Apostle [London, 1659], n.p.). If this simile usually emphasized how one precious quality sets off another, Pulter instead emphasizes their restorative effect taken together.
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
tell

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17
Tell mee noe more, her bre’sts were heaps of Snow
Tell me no more her breasts were heaps of snow,
Tell me no more, her breasts were heaps of snow
18
White as the Swans, where Cristall Thams doth flow
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southern England
Thames
doth flow;
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southeast England
Thames
doth flow;
19
Chast as Diana was her Virgin Bre’st
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess
Diana
was her virgin breast.
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess associated with chastity and the moon
Diana
was her virgin breast.
20
Her Noble Mind can never bee exprest
Her noble mind can never be expressed;
Her noble mind can never be expressed.
21
This but the Caſket ^was of h
Physical Note
end of word, perhaps two more letters, obscured by ink blot
[?]
Rich Soule
Critical Note
the immediate antecedent is “mind,” but both her mind and body appear characterized as merely “the casket” of her more valuable soul
This
, but the casket was of her rich soul,
This but the
Gloss Note
container, esp. of something precious or secret
casket
was of her rich soul,
22
Which now doth Shine aboue the highest pole
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens; point where line of Earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere
pole
.
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
The end of the axis on which the earth rotates but, more generally, the furthest reach of the globe.
pole
.
23
Tell mee noe more of her perfection
Tell me no more of her perfection,
Tell me no more of her perfection,
24
Becauſe it doth increaſe my hearts dejection
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection.
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection;
25
Nor tell mee, that Shee past her happy dayes
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
26
In Singing Heavenly and the Muſeses layes
In singing heavenly and the
Critical Note
the “lays” or songs of the Muses are those associated with the classical goddesses of the arts and sciences, whose songs are contrasted in this line with “heavenly” songs (presumably, in this context, Christian ones)
Muses’ lays
;
In singing
Critical Note
Songs, especially lyric poems set to music. Describing Jane as singing both religious and secular music (“heavenly and the muses’ lays”), this line hints toward a Christian consolation that does not fully arrive until line 35 with the “Him” to whom “we” will sing praises.
heavenly and the muses’ lays
,
27
Nor like the Swans on Cristall Poe
Nor, like the swans on crystal
Gloss Note
river in Italy
Po
,
Nor like the swans on crystal
Critical Note
The Po is a river in Italy. Yet the phrase “nor never more” following the reference to the Po may trigger an association for some modern readers with Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of grief and despair, “The Raven.” This is anachronistic, of course. Poe’s poem was first published in 1845. But the echo might light up a web of connections across time.
Po
28
Shee Sung her
Physical Note
“i” appears written over an earlier “e”
Dirges
ere Shee hence did goe
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs for the dead
dirges
Gloss Note
reference to belief in the dying bird’s final song
ere she hence did go
;
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs of lamentation
dirges
ere she hence did go.
29
Physical Note
“or” appears written over “ev”; final “e” imperfectly erased
Nore
never more tell my Sad Soule of Mirth
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
30
With her I lost most of my Joyes on Earth
With her, I lost most of my joys on Earth.
With her I lost most of my joys on earth,
31
Nor can I ever raiſe my drooping Spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
32
Vntill with her those Joyes I Shall inherit
Until, with her, those joys I shall inherit:
Until with her those joys I shall inherit,
33
Those
Physical Note
“Glor” appears in darker, thicker ink, written over other imperfectly erased letters (possibly initial “J” or “I” and a letter with descender [as in “y]” in third position).
Glories
Physical Note
written atop second half of “Glories” in different hand from main scribe
Glories
which our finite ^doththoughts tra^nscend
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
34
Where wee Shall praiſes Sing World without End
Where we shall praises sing,
Critical Note
for this phrase, see Ephesians 3:21, Isaiah 45:17
world without end
,
Where we shall praises sing, world without end,
35
To him that made both her and mee of Earth
To Him that made both her and me of
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Pulter frequently identifies “dust” with earth.
earth
,
To
Critical Note
The speaker here imagines God creating women—“her and me,” mother and daughter—of earth. This picture of an all female paradise combines and recasts the creation accounts in Genesis (“male and female created he them” [1.27] and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” [2.7]), shifting the focus from man to women, from heterosexual marriage to motherhood (with mention only of a heavenly father). For other adaptations of creation accounts, see the excerpts from John Milton and Lucy Hutchinson under “The Creation Blazon” in Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern Englandin Explorations.
Him that made both her and me of earth
36
And gave us Spirits of Celetiall Birth
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
37
Tell mee noe more, of her Unblemiſhed fame
Tell me no more of her unblemished fame,
Tell me no more of her unblemished
Gloss Note
reputation
fame
,
38
Which doth Imortalize her virgin Name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
like

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39
Like fragrant odours Aromatick
Physical Note
“s” superscript to illegible blotted letter
ffume^s[?]
Like fragrant odors’ aromatic fumes,
Like fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,
40
Which all Succeeding Ages Still perfumes
Which all succeeding ages still perfumes;
Which all succeeding ages
Critical Note
After the loving descriptions of what Jane looked like, the poem ends by evoking the sense of smell. Her “unblemished fame” is like “fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,” persisting over time; Jane lingers as a scent. Pulter’s attention to smell links her poem to others in this subgenre as well. In “Ask me no more,” the beloved’s “fragrant bosom” is both the “spicy nest” and the tomb of the phoenix. “On Lesbia” devotes three lines to Lesbia’s “stink,” a stink “left behind” by Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador and so a way of capturing the foul trace of Catholics and Catholicism. In contrast, “On the Same” describes Jane’s aromatic afterlife in terms reminiscent either of perfumes used in embalming or of accounts of the incorruptible bodies (and body parts) of saints and holy people in Catholic tradition. (See the descriptions of nuns’ incorruptible and perfumed bodies in “Curations.”) Like all mortals, Jane was made of earth (l. 35), of the dust (l. 43) to which she has also returned. The description of Jane sometimes hints at how “in the midst of life we are in death” (see The Book of Common Prayer “Order for the Burial of the Dead”): her hair shrouded her shoulders (line 3); her body was a casket (line 21). Although in the early modern period “casket” was not used interchangeably with coffin as it is now, it was used to describe a container for holy relics. Like relics, Jane is both dead and, somehow, undecayed.
still perfumes
;
41
Nor why I mourn for her aske mee noe more
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more:
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more.
42
ffor
Physical Note
blot covers word below of similar length and with two ascenders near end
all
my life I Shall her loſs deplore
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
,
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
43
Till infinite power her dust and mine Shall ^raise
Till infinite power her
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
and mine shall raise
Till infinite power her dust and mine shall raise
44
To Sing in Heaven his Everlasting praiſe.
To sing in Heaven His everlasting praise.
To sing in heaven His everlasting praise.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The poem is entitled “On the Same” in reference to the prior poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]; we have provided an alternate title for clarity.

 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

This poem dwells “On the Same” topic as the last, and is thus another elegy for one of the poet’s daughters who died at twenty years of age. The refrain of “Tell me no more” paradoxically enables the sequential canvassing of the very qualities Pulter claims not to want to recall: Jane’s corporeal beauties, portrayed one by beloved one, are succeeded by the more ineffable elements of her mind, soul, voice, and virtue. Toward the poem’s end, the speaker’s attention tugs away from Jane to her own experience of loss, only to be diverted by yet another lost relic of her child. The inexorable return of the refrain acts as a trope for grief—such that the poem’s addressee could be a personified Grief, implored to silence. But the poem also exhibits tension between the speaker’s loving attachment to things of (but then no longer of) this world and what she knows she should praise, and claims she shall: “praises … world without end, / To Him.” In the meantime, all praises sung are for a young woman whose world has ended.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

artful; elaborate; delicate
Line number 4

 Gloss note

moon (goddess)
Line number 7

 Gloss note

sun (god)
Line number 8

 Critical note

Eardley suggests Pulter means the Antarctic, understood to have only one day per year (each lasting six months)
Line number 11

 Gloss note

reddish, rosy
Line number 11

 Gloss note

dawn (goddess)
Line number 12

 Gloss note

of the eastern part of the sky; radiant; rising (as the sun); dawn-colored, bright red
Line number 14

 Gloss note

open
Line number 16

 Critical note

Eardley cites Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”
Line number 18

 Gloss note

river in southern England
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Roman goddess
Line number 21

 Critical note

the immediate antecedent is “mind,” but both her mind and body appear characterized as merely “the casket” of her more valuable soul
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the sky or heavens; point where line of Earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere
Line number 26

 Critical note

the “lays” or songs of the Muses are those associated with the classical goddesses of the arts and sciences, whose songs are contrasted in this line with “heavenly” songs (presumably, in this context, Christian ones)
Line number 27

 Gloss note

river in Italy
Line number 28

 Gloss note

songs for the dead
Line number 28

 Gloss note

reference to belief in the dying bird’s final song
Line number 34

 Critical note

for this phrase, see Ephesians 3:21, Isaiah 45:17
Line number 35

 Critical note

See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Pulter frequently identifies “dust” with earth.
Line number 42

 Gloss note

lament
Line number 43

 Critical note

See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
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Elemental Edition

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On the
Physical Note
Previous poem concludes on this page
Same
Tell Me No More
Critical Note
The poem is entitled “On the Same” in reference to the prior poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]; we have provided an alternate title for clarity.
[On the Same]
Critical Note
The title refers to the previous poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]. While many poems about dead children focused on infants and youngsters (see The Death of a Child in Curations), especially since child mortality was relatively high in the seventeenth century, Pulter here grapples with the loss of a young adult, her daughter Jane, who died in 1645. At 20, Jane was considerably older than Hester was when she married. She had survived the dangers of childhood only to die as she had reached maturity. Pulter had 15 children, the last in 1648, so she might well have been pregnant or nursing when Jane died (see the story of Elizabeth Cary sitting at the deathbed of her daughter and contemplating nursing her daughter’s newborn as well as her own youngest child in “The Death of a Child” in Curations.)
On the Same
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
My “amplified” editions seek to make the poems as accessible as possible by modernizing spelling and punctuation and providing only brief definitions for words, while discursive notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section place Pulter’s poems into conversations. As I build the curations for a given poem—provisional and quirky as they are—I keep returning to the poem, re-reading, rethinking, and adding layers to the notes. I hope to show that Pulter was intellectually and politically embedded rather than isolated, taking up issues, genres, and tropes that also interested her contemporaries and that sometimes accrue unpredictable salience in later periods. Rather than focusing only on possible sources or influences, I cast a wide net both within the seventeenth century and outside it, trying to catch cultural materials Pulter might have engaged, some she excludes or ignores, and even some she probably could never have imagined. Curations don’t precede the poems nor are they implied by the poems—as if the poem gathers them to itself (although it can sometimes feel that way) or hales them forth. Instead, as a curator I weave the poem into a web of relations, seeking to open out rather than close down interpretive possibilities. This extends to including extracts that are long enough that readers might find things therein that I do not anticipate. I also look for a multi-vectored traffic among Pulter’s poetry and the other materials. What might the materials I’ve gathered help readers see in the poems—or notice is not there? But also, how do the poems bring fresh perspectives into the conversations into which I draw them? The more one reads the poems as participants in wider ranging conversations, the more fascinatingly twisty Pulter appears. Often, I don’t grasp how she upends or comes at conventions aslant until I have mucked about composting my “curations.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem dwells “On the Same” topic as the last, and is thus another elegy for one of the poet’s daughters who died at twenty years of age. The refrain of “Tell me no more” paradoxically enables the sequential canvassing of the very qualities Pulter claims not to want to recall: Jane’s corporeal beauties, portrayed one by beloved one, are succeeded by the more ineffable elements of her mind, soul, voice, and virtue. Toward the poem’s end, the speaker’s attention tugs away from Jane to her own experience of loss, only to be diverted by yet another lost relic of her child. The inexorable return of the refrain acts as a trope for grief—such that the poem’s addressee could be a personified Grief, implored to silence. But the poem also exhibits tension between the speaker’s loving attachment to things of (but then no longer of) this world and what she knows she should praise, and claims she shall: “praises … world without end, / To Him.” In the meantime, all praises sung are for a young woman whose world has ended.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
In this poem, Pulter engages a convention that guided poems including “Song” [“Ask Me No More”], which is often attributed to Thomas Carew (although it circulated without attribution in many seventeenth-century manuscripts), as well as various responses to it (see Poems in Conversation in Curations). Her poem particularly resembles a song set to music by William Lawes (“Tell me no more”). In his essay on “Ask Me No More” and responses to it, Scott Nixon argues that the poems in this subgenre take “pleasure in impersonal debate on an abstract topic” (117); Pulter, however, employs this convention for a highly personal debate on a concrete loss. The poem she produces joins an ongoing game of literary imitation and revision even as it is also an expression of wrenching feeling. The convention usually gestures toward an unnamed, unseen interlocutor, whose words are heard only as the speaker tries to shut them out (tell me no more, ask me no more). This is, then, a dialogic convention that irritably attempts to silence dialogue. Shut up, the speaker seems to say. Enough. As is so often true with Pulter’s poetry, in her hands the convention starts to twist, decompose, and regenerate. In this poem, the loquacious and annoying interlocutors, with their intimate knowledge of Jane Pulter’s physical features and their particular effects, suggest a contention among parts of the self, the parts that insistently remember and the part that is trying to take a Christian perspective on death and loss. Who else might these imagined speakers be anyway? Who exactly would remind the bereaved mother that her daughter’s breasts were snowy, let alone that her nose was “even”?
Pulter counters the misogyny of some poems in this subgenre, turning resentment away from the female object of observation and toward the fact of loss and the voices that remind the speaker of that loss. Since the poem lists Jane’s attributes and tries to stop doing so, it is both a blazon and an anti-blazon (see Exploration on Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern England). The catalog of Jane’s features stalls in line 20 at her noble mind, which can never be expressed, at least through the metaphors the poem has relied on thus far. While many of the other lines are enjambed, I sense a pause before and after this line, stranding it no matter how it is punctuated. The speaker then attempts to regroup, shifting the focus from Jane’s body to her soul, only to lapse into despair before a turning point at “until” in line 32, leading to “I” and “she/her” merging into “we” who, reunited in heaven, will sing God’s praises (line 34). The vivid memories of Jane, and the pestering voice of the teller inventorying what has been lost, expose the limits of Christian consolation. Perhaps “we” will be reunited in heaven. Nevertheless, “With her I lost most of my joys on earth.” The speaker ends the poem committed to mourning for “her” and deploring her loss until death rejoins them.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Tell mee noe more, her haire was lovly brown
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
2
Nor that it did in Curious
Physical Note
“r” written over earlier “l”
curles
hang down
Nor that it did in
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
curls hang down,
Nor that it did in
Critical Note
The adjective “curious” suggests that the curls both invited interest and excited admiration, on the one hand, and that they required some effort to achieve: Jane’s hair may have been curled more than curly. This adjective can describe either persons who are studious, attentive, eager to learn and inquisitive or the objects of their inquiry, which command attention by being skillfully made or richly ornamented. Oscillating as it does between subjects and objects, the adjective “curious” animates the curls even as it also presents them as Jane’s artful effort.
curious
curls hang down,
3
Or that it did her Snowey Shoulders Shrowed
Or that it did her snowy shoulders shroud
Or that it did her snowy shoulders
Gloss Note
conceal
shroud
4
Like Shineing Cinthia in A Sable Clowd
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon (goddess)
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon personified as a goddess
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
5
Tell mee noe more of her black Diamond Eyes
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
6
Whoſe cheerfull looke made all my Sorrowes^fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly,
7
Like Glittring Phebus Influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun (god)
Phoebus’s
influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun personified as a god
Phoebus’
influence and light
8
After a Northern Winters halfe years Night
After a
Critical Note
Eardley suggests Pulter means the Antarctic, understood to have only one day per year (each lasting six months)
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
After a
Critical Note
One look from Jane was like the return of the sun after six months of darkness. Pulter here refers to the idea that “the nations of the southern world” are in darkness six months out of the year while the sun is in the northern hemisphere. During that time, according to Robert Fludd, “the Antartick pole’s cold property” produces snow, frost, ice, and hail, “mortifying the herbs, fruits, and plants, and such like.” But “the Sun at his next visitation of those quarters, which will be in our northern winter,” by virtue of his “dilating and vivifying spirit,” undoes cold and death, melting the ice and snow, and “reviving the spirit of the trees, plants, and herbs, which were almost lifeless through congelation, and renewing their mourning bodies with new green garments, blossoms, and flowers, and lastly, with wholesome fruit” (Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy Grounded Upon the Essential Truth [London, 1659], I.9.108-109). Jane’s glance had this same effect. This description, suggesting that Jane’s absence created winter and her presence spring, also draws on the myth of Ceres and Persephone: when Persephone was with her mother, Ceres, it was spring and summer; when they had to part for Persephone to be with her husband in the underworld, her mother mourned and it was fall and winter.
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
9
Tell mee noe more her cheeks exceld the Roſe
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose,
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose
10
Though Lilly leaves did Sweetly interpoſe
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose,
11
Like Ruddy Aurora riſeing from her bed
Like
Gloss Note
reddish, rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn (goddess)
Aurora
rising from her bed,
Like
Gloss Note
rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn personified as a goddess
Aurora
rising from her bed,
12
Her Snowey hand Shadeing her Orient he’d
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
of the eastern part of the sky; radiant; rising (as the sun); dawn-colored, bright red
orient
head.
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
Facing east or shining like a pearl or precious stone; of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious, radiant.
orient
head.
13
Tell mee noe more, of her white even Noſe
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
14
Nor that her Ruby Lipps when they diſcloſe
Nor that her ruby lips, when they
Gloss Note
open
disclose
,
Nor that her ruby lips when they
Gloss Note
When her lips open to reveal her teeth in a smile or reveal her thoughts through speech.
disclose
15
Did Soe revive this drooping heart of mine
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
16
Like Golden Aples on A Silver Shrine
Like
Critical Note
Eardley cites Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
Like
Critical Note
This is a variation on a phrase from Proverbs 25:11 that became proverbial, that is commonly used. For example, a dedication to the Countess Dowager of Devonshire avers that “Honor without virtue is as a cloud without water; virtue without honor, is as a room without hangings; But virtue and honor is as a golden apple in a silver picture or rather, as a precious diamond in a golden ring” (Nathaniel Hardy, The First General Epistle of St. John the Apostle [London, 1659], n.p.). If this simile usually emphasized how one precious quality sets off another, Pulter instead emphasizes their restorative effect taken together.
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
tell

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17
Tell mee noe more, her bre’sts were heaps of Snow
Tell me no more her breasts were heaps of snow,
Tell me no more, her breasts were heaps of snow
18
White as the Swans, where Cristall Thams doth flow
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southern England
Thames
doth flow;
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southeast England
Thames
doth flow;
19
Chast as Diana was her Virgin Bre’st
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess
Diana
was her virgin breast.
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess associated with chastity and the moon
Diana
was her virgin breast.
20
Her Noble Mind can never bee exprest
Her noble mind can never be expressed;
Her noble mind can never be expressed.
21
This but the Caſket ^was of h
Physical Note
end of word, perhaps two more letters, obscured by ink blot
[?]
Rich Soule
Critical Note
the immediate antecedent is “mind,” but both her mind and body appear characterized as merely “the casket” of her more valuable soul
This
, but the casket was of her rich soul,
This but the
Gloss Note
container, esp. of something precious or secret
casket
was of her rich soul,
22
Which now doth Shine aboue the highest pole
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens; point where line of Earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere
pole
.
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
The end of the axis on which the earth rotates but, more generally, the furthest reach of the globe.
pole
.
23
Tell mee noe more of her perfection
Tell me no more of her perfection,
Tell me no more of her perfection,
24
Becauſe it doth increaſe my hearts dejection
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection.
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection;
25
Nor tell mee, that Shee past her happy dayes
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
26
In Singing Heavenly and the Muſeses layes
In singing heavenly and the
Critical Note
the “lays” or songs of the Muses are those associated with the classical goddesses of the arts and sciences, whose songs are contrasted in this line with “heavenly” songs (presumably, in this context, Christian ones)
Muses’ lays
;
In singing
Critical Note
Songs, especially lyric poems set to music. Describing Jane as singing both religious and secular music (“heavenly and the muses’ lays”), this line hints toward a Christian consolation that does not fully arrive until line 35 with the “Him” to whom “we” will sing praises.
heavenly and the muses’ lays
,
27
Nor like the Swans on Cristall Poe
Nor, like the swans on crystal
Gloss Note
river in Italy
Po
,
Nor like the swans on crystal
Critical Note
The Po is a river in Italy. Yet the phrase “nor never more” following the reference to the Po may trigger an association for some modern readers with Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of grief and despair, “The Raven.” This is anachronistic, of course. Poe’s poem was first published in 1845. But the echo might light up a web of connections across time.
Po
28
Shee Sung her
Physical Note
“i” appears written over an earlier “e”
Dirges
ere Shee hence did goe
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs for the dead
dirges
Gloss Note
reference to belief in the dying bird’s final song
ere she hence did go
;
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs of lamentation
dirges
ere she hence did go.
29
Physical Note
“or” appears written over “ev”; final “e” imperfectly erased
Nore
never more tell my Sad Soule of Mirth
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
30
With her I lost most of my Joyes on Earth
With her, I lost most of my joys on Earth.
With her I lost most of my joys on earth,
31
Nor can I ever raiſe my drooping Spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
32
Vntill with her those Joyes I Shall inherit
Until, with her, those joys I shall inherit:
Until with her those joys I shall inherit,
33
Those
Physical Note
“Glor” appears in darker, thicker ink, written over other imperfectly erased letters (possibly initial “J” or “I” and a letter with descender [as in “y]” in third position).
Glories
Physical Note
written atop second half of “Glories” in different hand from main scribe
Glories
which our finite ^doththoughts tra^nscend
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
34
Where wee Shall praiſes Sing World without End
Where we shall praises sing,
Critical Note
for this phrase, see Ephesians 3:21, Isaiah 45:17
world without end
,
Where we shall praises sing, world without end,
35
To him that made both her and mee of Earth
To Him that made both her and me of
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Pulter frequently identifies “dust” with earth.
earth
,
To
Critical Note
The speaker here imagines God creating women—“her and me,” mother and daughter—of earth. This picture of an all female paradise combines and recasts the creation accounts in Genesis (“male and female created he them” [1.27] and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” [2.7]), shifting the focus from man to women, from heterosexual marriage to motherhood (with mention only of a heavenly father). For other adaptations of creation accounts, see the excerpts from John Milton and Lucy Hutchinson under “The Creation Blazon” in Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern Englandin Explorations.
Him that made both her and me of earth
36
And gave us Spirits of Celetiall Birth
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
37
Tell mee noe more, of her Unblemiſhed fame
Tell me no more of her unblemished fame,
Tell me no more of her unblemished
Gloss Note
reputation
fame
,
38
Which doth Imortalize her virgin Name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
like

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39
Like fragrant odours Aromatick
Physical Note
“s” superscript to illegible blotted letter
ffume^s[?]
Like fragrant odors’ aromatic fumes,
Like fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,
40
Which all Succeeding Ages Still perfumes
Which all succeeding ages still perfumes;
Which all succeeding ages
Critical Note
After the loving descriptions of what Jane looked like, the poem ends by evoking the sense of smell. Her “unblemished fame” is like “fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,” persisting over time; Jane lingers as a scent. Pulter’s attention to smell links her poem to others in this subgenre as well. In “Ask me no more,” the beloved’s “fragrant bosom” is both the “spicy nest” and the tomb of the phoenix. “On Lesbia” devotes three lines to Lesbia’s “stink,” a stink “left behind” by Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador and so a way of capturing the foul trace of Catholics and Catholicism. In contrast, “On the Same” describes Jane’s aromatic afterlife in terms reminiscent either of perfumes used in embalming or of accounts of the incorruptible bodies (and body parts) of saints and holy people in Catholic tradition. (See the descriptions of nuns’ incorruptible and perfumed bodies in “Curations.”) Like all mortals, Jane was made of earth (l. 35), of the dust (l. 43) to which she has also returned. The description of Jane sometimes hints at how “in the midst of life we are in death” (see The Book of Common Prayer “Order for the Burial of the Dead”): her hair shrouded her shoulders (line 3); her body was a casket (line 21). Although in the early modern period “casket” was not used interchangeably with coffin as it is now, it was used to describe a container for holy relics. Like relics, Jane is both dead and, somehow, undecayed.
still perfumes
;
41
Nor why I mourn for her aske mee noe more
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more:
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more.
42
ffor
Physical Note
blot covers word below of similar length and with two ascenders near end
all
my life I Shall her loſs deplore
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
,
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
43
Till infinite power her dust and mine Shall ^raise
Till infinite power her
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
and mine shall raise
Till infinite power her dust and mine shall raise
44
To Sing in Heaven his Everlasting praiſe.
To sing in Heaven His everlasting praise.
To sing in heaven His everlasting praise.
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X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The title refers to the previous poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]. While many poems about dead children focused on infants and youngsters (see The Death of a Child in Curations), especially since child mortality was relatively high in the seventeenth century, Pulter here grapples with the loss of a young adult, her daughter Jane, who died in 1645. At 20, Jane was considerably older than Hester was when she married. She had survived the dangers of childhood only to die as she had reached maturity. Pulter had 15 children, the last in 1648, so she might well have been pregnant or nursing when Jane died (see the story of Elizabeth Cary sitting at the deathbed of her daughter and contemplating nursing her daughter’s newborn as well as her own youngest child in “The Death of a Child” in Curations.)

 Editorial note

My “amplified” editions seek to make the poems as accessible as possible by modernizing spelling and punctuation and providing only brief definitions for words, while discursive notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section place Pulter’s poems into conversations. As I build the curations for a given poem—provisional and quirky as they are—I keep returning to the poem, re-reading, rethinking, and adding layers to the notes. I hope to show that Pulter was intellectually and politically embedded rather than isolated, taking up issues, genres, and tropes that also interested her contemporaries and that sometimes accrue unpredictable salience in later periods. Rather than focusing only on possible sources or influences, I cast a wide net both within the seventeenth century and outside it, trying to catch cultural materials Pulter might have engaged, some she excludes or ignores, and even some she probably could never have imagined. Curations don’t precede the poems nor are they implied by the poems—as if the poem gathers them to itself (although it can sometimes feel that way) or hales them forth. Instead, as a curator I weave the poem into a web of relations, seeking to open out rather than close down interpretive possibilities. This extends to including extracts that are long enough that readers might find things therein that I do not anticipate. I also look for a multi-vectored traffic among Pulter’s poetry and the other materials. What might the materials I’ve gathered help readers see in the poems—or notice is not there? But also, how do the poems bring fresh perspectives into the conversations into which I draw them? The more one reads the poems as participants in wider ranging conversations, the more fascinatingly twisty Pulter appears. Often, I don’t grasp how she upends or comes at conventions aslant until I have mucked about composting my “curations.”

 Headnote

In this poem, Pulter engages a convention that guided poems including “Song” [“Ask Me No More”], which is often attributed to Thomas Carew (although it circulated without attribution in many seventeenth-century manuscripts), as well as various responses to it (see Poems in Conversation in Curations). Her poem particularly resembles a song set to music by William Lawes (“Tell me no more”). In his essay on “Ask Me No More” and responses to it, Scott Nixon argues that the poems in this subgenre take “pleasure in impersonal debate on an abstract topic” (117); Pulter, however, employs this convention for a highly personal debate on a concrete loss. The poem she produces joins an ongoing game of literary imitation and revision even as it is also an expression of wrenching feeling. The convention usually gestures toward an unnamed, unseen interlocutor, whose words are heard only as the speaker tries to shut them out (tell me no more, ask me no more). This is, then, a dialogic convention that irritably attempts to silence dialogue. Shut up, the speaker seems to say. Enough. As is so often true with Pulter’s poetry, in her hands the convention starts to twist, decompose, and regenerate. In this poem, the loquacious and annoying interlocutors, with their intimate knowledge of Jane Pulter’s physical features and their particular effects, suggest a contention among parts of the self, the parts that insistently remember and the part that is trying to take a Christian perspective on death and loss. Who else might these imagined speakers be anyway? Who exactly would remind the bereaved mother that her daughter’s breasts were snowy, let alone that her nose was “even”?
Pulter counters the misogyny of some poems in this subgenre, turning resentment away from the female object of observation and toward the fact of loss and the voices that remind the speaker of that loss. Since the poem lists Jane’s attributes and tries to stop doing so, it is both a blazon and an anti-blazon (see Exploration on Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern England). The catalog of Jane’s features stalls in line 20 at her noble mind, which can never be expressed, at least through the metaphors the poem has relied on thus far. While many of the other lines are enjambed, I sense a pause before and after this line, stranding it no matter how it is punctuated. The speaker then attempts to regroup, shifting the focus from Jane’s body to her soul, only to lapse into despair before a turning point at “until” in line 32, leading to “I” and “she/her” merging into “we” who, reunited in heaven, will sing God’s praises (line 34). The vivid memories of Jane, and the pestering voice of the teller inventorying what has been lost, expose the limits of Christian consolation. Perhaps “we” will be reunited in heaven. Nevertheless, “With her I lost most of my joys on earth.” The speaker ends the poem committed to mourning for “her” and deploring her loss until death rejoins them.
Line number 2

 Critical note

The adjective “curious” suggests that the curls both invited interest and excited admiration, on the one hand, and that they required some effort to achieve: Jane’s hair may have been curled more than curly. This adjective can describe either persons who are studious, attentive, eager to learn and inquisitive or the objects of their inquiry, which command attention by being skillfully made or richly ornamented. Oscillating as it does between subjects and objects, the adjective “curious” animates the curls even as it also presents them as Jane’s artful effort.
Line number 3

 Gloss note

conceal
Line number 4

 Gloss note

moon personified as a goddess
Line number 7

 Gloss note

sun personified as a god
Line number 8

 Critical note

One look from Jane was like the return of the sun after six months of darkness. Pulter here refers to the idea that “the nations of the southern world” are in darkness six months out of the year while the sun is in the northern hemisphere. During that time, according to Robert Fludd, “the Antartick pole’s cold property” produces snow, frost, ice, and hail, “mortifying the herbs, fruits, and plants, and such like.” But “the Sun at his next visitation of those quarters, which will be in our northern winter,” by virtue of his “dilating and vivifying spirit,” undoes cold and death, melting the ice and snow, and “reviving the spirit of the trees, plants, and herbs, which were almost lifeless through congelation, and renewing their mourning bodies with new green garments, blossoms, and flowers, and lastly, with wholesome fruit” (Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy Grounded Upon the Essential Truth [London, 1659], I.9.108-109). Jane’s glance had this same effect. This description, suggesting that Jane’s absence created winter and her presence spring, also draws on the myth of Ceres and Persephone: when Persephone was with her mother, Ceres, it was spring and summer; when they had to part for Persephone to be with her husband in the underworld, her mother mourned and it was fall and winter.
Line number 11

 Gloss note

rosy
Line number 11

 Gloss note

dawn personified as a goddess
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Facing east or shining like a pearl or precious stone; of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious, radiant.
Line number 14

 Gloss note

When her lips open to reveal her teeth in a smile or reveal her thoughts through speech.
Line number 16

 Critical note

This is a variation on a phrase from Proverbs 25:11 that became proverbial, that is commonly used. For example, a dedication to the Countess Dowager of Devonshire avers that “Honor without virtue is as a cloud without water; virtue without honor, is as a room without hangings; But virtue and honor is as a golden apple in a silver picture or rather, as a precious diamond in a golden ring” (Nathaniel Hardy, The First General Epistle of St. John the Apostle [London, 1659], n.p.). If this simile usually emphasized how one precious quality sets off another, Pulter instead emphasizes their restorative effect taken together.
Line number 18

 Gloss note

river in southeast England
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Roman goddess associated with chastity and the moon
Line number 21

 Gloss note

container, esp. of something precious or secret
Line number 22

 Gloss note

The end of the axis on which the earth rotates but, more generally, the furthest reach of the globe.
Line number 26

 Critical note

Songs, especially lyric poems set to music. Describing Jane as singing both religious and secular music (“heavenly and the muses’ lays”), this line hints toward a Christian consolation that does not fully arrive until line 35 with the “Him” to whom “we” will sing praises.
Line number 27

 Critical note

The Po is a river in Italy. Yet the phrase “nor never more” following the reference to the Po may trigger an association for some modern readers with Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of grief and despair, “The Raven.” This is anachronistic, of course. Poe’s poem was first published in 1845. But the echo might light up a web of connections across time.
Line number 28

 Gloss note

songs of lamentation
Line number 35

 Critical note

The speaker here imagines God creating women—“her and me,” mother and daughter—of earth. This picture of an all female paradise combines and recasts the creation accounts in Genesis (“male and female created he them” [1.27] and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” [2.7]), shifting the focus from man to women, from heterosexual marriage to motherhood (with mention only of a heavenly father). For other adaptations of creation accounts, see the excerpts from John Milton and Lucy Hutchinson under “The Creation Blazon” in Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern Englandin Explorations.
Line number 37

 Gloss note

reputation
Line number 40

 Critical note

After the loving descriptions of what Jane looked like, the poem ends by evoking the sense of smell. Her “unblemished fame” is like “fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,” persisting over time; Jane lingers as a scent. Pulter’s attention to smell links her poem to others in this subgenre as well. In “Ask me no more,” the beloved’s “fragrant bosom” is both the “spicy nest” and the tomb of the phoenix. “On Lesbia” devotes three lines to Lesbia’s “stink,” a stink “left behind” by Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador and so a way of capturing the foul trace of Catholics and Catholicism. In contrast, “On the Same” describes Jane’s aromatic afterlife in terms reminiscent either of perfumes used in embalming or of accounts of the incorruptible bodies (and body parts) of saints and holy people in Catholic tradition. (See the descriptions of nuns’ incorruptible and perfumed bodies in “Curations.”) Like all mortals, Jane was made of earth (l. 35), of the dust (l. 43) to which she has also returned. The description of Jane sometimes hints at how “in the midst of life we are in death” (see The Book of Common Prayer “Order for the Burial of the Dead”): her hair shrouded her shoulders (line 3); her body was a casket (line 21). Although in the early modern period “casket” was not used interchangeably with coffin as it is now, it was used to describe a container for holy relics. Like relics, Jane is both dead and, somehow, undecayed.
Line number 42

 Gloss note

lament
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On the
Physical Note
Previous poem concludes on this page
Same
Tell Me No More
Critical Note
The poem is entitled “On the Same” in reference to the prior poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]; we have provided an alternate title for clarity.
[On the Same]
Critical Note
The title refers to the previous poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]. While many poems about dead children focused on infants and youngsters (see The Death of a Child in Curations), especially since child mortality was relatively high in the seventeenth century, Pulter here grapples with the loss of a young adult, her daughter Jane, who died in 1645. At 20, Jane was considerably older than Hester was when she married. She had survived the dangers of childhood only to die as she had reached maturity. Pulter had 15 children, the last in 1648, so she might well have been pregnant or nursing when Jane died (see the story of Elizabeth Cary sitting at the deathbed of her daughter and contemplating nursing her daughter’s newborn as well as her own youngest child in “The Death of a Child” in Curations.)
On the Same
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.

— Frances E. Dolan
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.

— Frances E. Dolan
My “amplified” editions seek to make the poems as accessible as possible by modernizing spelling and punctuation and providing only brief definitions for words, while discursive notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section place Pulter’s poems into conversations. As I build the curations for a given poem—provisional and quirky as they are—I keep returning to the poem, re-reading, rethinking, and adding layers to the notes. I hope to show that Pulter was intellectually and politically embedded rather than isolated, taking up issues, genres, and tropes that also interested her contemporaries and that sometimes accrue unpredictable salience in later periods. Rather than focusing only on possible sources or influences, I cast a wide net both within the seventeenth century and outside it, trying to catch cultural materials Pulter might have engaged, some she excludes or ignores, and even some she probably could never have imagined. Curations don’t precede the poems nor are they implied by the poems—as if the poem gathers them to itself (although it can sometimes feel that way) or hales them forth. Instead, as a curator I weave the poem into a web of relations, seeking to open out rather than close down interpretive possibilities. This extends to including extracts that are long enough that readers might find things therein that I do not anticipate. I also look for a multi-vectored traffic among Pulter’s poetry and the other materials. What might the materials I’ve gathered help readers see in the poems—or notice is not there? But also, how do the poems bring fresh perspectives into the conversations into which I draw them? The more one reads the poems as participants in wider ranging conversations, the more fascinatingly twisty Pulter appears. Often, I don’t grasp how she upends or comes at conventions aslant until I have mucked about composting my “curations.”

— Frances E. Dolan
This poem dwells “On the Same” topic as the last, and is thus another elegy for one of the poet’s daughters who died at twenty years of age. The refrain of “Tell me no more” paradoxically enables the sequential canvassing of the very qualities Pulter claims not to want to recall: Jane’s corporeal beauties, portrayed one by beloved one, are succeeded by the more ineffable elements of her mind, soul, voice, and virtue. Toward the poem’s end, the speaker’s attention tugs away from Jane to her own experience of loss, only to be diverted by yet another lost relic of her child. The inexorable return of the refrain acts as a trope for grief—such that the poem’s addressee could be a personified Grief, implored to silence. But the poem also exhibits tension between the speaker’s loving attachment to things of (but then no longer of) this world and what she knows she should praise, and claims she shall: “praises … world without end, / To Him.” In the meantime, all praises sung are for a young woman whose world has ended.

— Frances E. Dolan
In this poem, Pulter engages a convention that guided poems including “Song” [“Ask Me No More”], which is often attributed to Thomas Carew (although it circulated without attribution in many seventeenth-century manuscripts), as well as various responses to it (see Poems in Conversation in Curations). Her poem particularly resembles a song set to music by William Lawes (“Tell me no more”). In his essay on “Ask Me No More” and responses to it, Scott Nixon argues that the poems in this subgenre take “pleasure in impersonal debate on an abstract topic” (117); Pulter, however, employs this convention for a highly personal debate on a concrete loss. The poem she produces joins an ongoing game of literary imitation and revision even as it is also an expression of wrenching feeling. The convention usually gestures toward an unnamed, unseen interlocutor, whose words are heard only as the speaker tries to shut them out (tell me no more, ask me no more). This is, then, a dialogic convention that irritably attempts to silence dialogue. Shut up, the speaker seems to say. Enough. As is so often true with Pulter’s poetry, in her hands the convention starts to twist, decompose, and regenerate. In this poem, the loquacious and annoying interlocutors, with their intimate knowledge of Jane Pulter’s physical features and their particular effects, suggest a contention among parts of the self, the parts that insistently remember and the part that is trying to take a Christian perspective on death and loss. Who else might these imagined speakers be anyway? Who exactly would remind the bereaved mother that her daughter’s breasts were snowy, let alone that her nose was “even”?
Pulter counters the misogyny of some poems in this subgenre, turning resentment away from the female object of observation and toward the fact of loss and the voices that remind the speaker of that loss. Since the poem lists Jane’s attributes and tries to stop doing so, it is both a blazon and an anti-blazon (see Exploration on Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern England). The catalog of Jane’s features stalls in line 20 at her noble mind, which can never be expressed, at least through the metaphors the poem has relied on thus far. While many of the other lines are enjambed, I sense a pause before and after this line, stranding it no matter how it is punctuated. The speaker then attempts to regroup, shifting the focus from Jane’s body to her soul, only to lapse into despair before a turning point at “until” in line 32, leading to “I” and “she/her” merging into “we” who, reunited in heaven, will sing God’s praises (line 34). The vivid memories of Jane, and the pestering voice of the teller inventorying what has been lost, expose the limits of Christian consolation. Perhaps “we” will be reunited in heaven. Nevertheless, “With her I lost most of my joys on earth.” The speaker ends the poem committed to mourning for “her” and deploring her loss until death rejoins them.


— Frances E. Dolan
1
Tell mee noe more, her haire was lovly brown
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
Tell me no more her hair was lovely brown,
2
Nor that it did in Curious
Physical Note
“r” written over earlier “l”
curles
hang down
Nor that it did in
Gloss Note
artful; elaborate; delicate
curious
curls hang down,
Nor that it did in
Critical Note
The adjective “curious” suggests that the curls both invited interest and excited admiration, on the one hand, and that they required some effort to achieve: Jane’s hair may have been curled more than curly. This adjective can describe either persons who are studious, attentive, eager to learn and inquisitive or the objects of their inquiry, which command attention by being skillfully made or richly ornamented. Oscillating as it does between subjects and objects, the adjective “curious” animates the curls even as it also presents them as Jane’s artful effort.
curious
curls hang down,
3
Or that it did her Snowey Shoulders Shrowed
Or that it did her snowy shoulders shroud
Or that it did her snowy shoulders
Gloss Note
conceal
shroud
4
Like Shineing Cinthia in A Sable Clowd
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon (goddess)
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
Like shining
Gloss Note
moon personified as a goddess
Cynthia
in a sable cloud.
5
Tell mee noe more of her black Diamond Eyes
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
Tell me no more of her black diamond eyes,
6
Whoſe cheerfull looke made all my Sorrowes^fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly
Whose cheerful look made all my sorrows fly,
7
Like Glittring Phebus Influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun (god)
Phoebus’s
influence and light
Like glitt’ring
Gloss Note
sun personified as a god
Phoebus’
influence and light
8
After a Northern Winters halfe years Night
After a
Critical Note
Eardley suggests Pulter means the Antarctic, understood to have only one day per year (each lasting six months)
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
After a
Critical Note
One look from Jane was like the return of the sun after six months of darkness. Pulter here refers to the idea that “the nations of the southern world” are in darkness six months out of the year while the sun is in the northern hemisphere. During that time, according to Robert Fludd, “the Antartick pole’s cold property” produces snow, frost, ice, and hail, “mortifying the herbs, fruits, and plants, and such like.” But “the Sun at his next visitation of those quarters, which will be in our northern winter,” by virtue of his “dilating and vivifying spirit,” undoes cold and death, melting the ice and snow, and “reviving the spirit of the trees, plants, and herbs, which were almost lifeless through congelation, and renewing their mourning bodies with new green garments, blossoms, and flowers, and lastly, with wholesome fruit” (Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy Grounded Upon the Essential Truth [London, 1659], I.9.108-109). Jane’s glance had this same effect. This description, suggesting that Jane’s absence created winter and her presence spring, also draws on the myth of Ceres and Persephone: when Persephone was with her mother, Ceres, it was spring and summer; when they had to part for Persephone to be with her husband in the underworld, her mother mourned and it was fall and winter.
northern winter’s half-year’s night
.
9
Tell mee noe more her cheeks exceld the Roſe
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose,
Tell me no more her cheeks excelled the rose
10
Though Lilly leaves did Sweetly interpoſe
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose
Though lily leaves did sweetly interpose,
11
Like Ruddy Aurora riſeing from her bed
Like
Gloss Note
reddish, rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn (goddess)
Aurora
rising from her bed,
Like
Gloss Note
rosy
ruddy
Gloss Note
dawn personified as a goddess
Aurora
rising from her bed,
12
Her Snowey hand Shadeing her Orient he’d
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
of the eastern part of the sky; radiant; rising (as the sun); dawn-colored, bright red
orient
head.
Her snowy hand shading her
Gloss Note
Facing east or shining like a pearl or precious stone; of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious, radiant.
orient
head.
13
Tell mee noe more, of her white even Noſe
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
Tell me no more of her white even nose,
14
Nor that her Ruby Lipps when they diſcloſe
Nor that her ruby lips, when they
Gloss Note
open
disclose
,
Nor that her ruby lips when they
Gloss Note
When her lips open to reveal her teeth in a smile or reveal her thoughts through speech.
disclose
15
Did Soe revive this drooping heart of mine
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
Did so revive this drooping heart of mine,
16
Like Golden Aples on A Silver Shrine
Like
Critical Note
Eardley cites Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
Like
Critical Note
This is a variation on a phrase from Proverbs 25:11 that became proverbial, that is commonly used. For example, a dedication to the Countess Dowager of Devonshire avers that “Honor without virtue is as a cloud without water; virtue without honor, is as a room without hangings; But virtue and honor is as a golden apple in a silver picture or rather, as a precious diamond in a golden ring” (Nathaniel Hardy, The First General Epistle of St. John the Apostle [London, 1659], n.p.). If this simile usually emphasized how one precious quality sets off another, Pulter instead emphasizes their restorative effect taken together.
golden apples on a silver shrine
.
tell

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17
Tell mee noe more, her bre’sts were heaps of Snow
Tell me no more her breasts were heaps of snow,
Tell me no more, her breasts were heaps of snow
18
White as the Swans, where Cristall Thams doth flow
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southern England
Thames
doth flow;
White as the swans where crystal
Gloss Note
river in southeast England
Thames
doth flow;
19
Chast as Diana was her Virgin Bre’st
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess
Diana
was her virgin breast.
Chaste as
Gloss Note
Roman goddess associated with chastity and the moon
Diana
was her virgin breast.
20
Her Noble Mind can never bee exprest
Her noble mind can never be expressed;
Her noble mind can never be expressed.
21
This but the Caſket ^was of h
Physical Note
end of word, perhaps two more letters, obscured by ink blot
[?]
Rich Soule
Critical Note
the immediate antecedent is “mind,” but both her mind and body appear characterized as merely “the casket” of her more valuable soul
This
, but the casket was of her rich soul,
This but the
Gloss Note
container, esp. of something precious or secret
casket
was of her rich soul,
22
Which now doth Shine aboue the highest pole
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
the sky or heavens; point where line of Earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere
pole
.
Which now doth shine above the highest
Gloss Note
The end of the axis on which the earth rotates but, more generally, the furthest reach of the globe.
pole
.
23
Tell mee noe more of her perfection
Tell me no more of her perfection,
Tell me no more of her perfection,
24
Becauſe it doth increaſe my hearts dejection
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection.
Because it doth increase my heart’s dejection;
25
Nor tell mee, that Shee past her happy dayes
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
Nor tell me that she passed her happy days
26
In Singing Heavenly and the Muſeses layes
In singing heavenly and the
Critical Note
the “lays” or songs of the Muses are those associated with the classical goddesses of the arts and sciences, whose songs are contrasted in this line with “heavenly” songs (presumably, in this context, Christian ones)
Muses’ lays
;
In singing
Critical Note
Songs, especially lyric poems set to music. Describing Jane as singing both religious and secular music (“heavenly and the muses’ lays”), this line hints toward a Christian consolation that does not fully arrive until line 35 with the “Him” to whom “we” will sing praises.
heavenly and the muses’ lays
,
27
Nor like the Swans on Cristall Poe
Nor, like the swans on crystal
Gloss Note
river in Italy
Po
,
Nor like the swans on crystal
Critical Note
The Po is a river in Italy. Yet the phrase “nor never more” following the reference to the Po may trigger an association for some modern readers with Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of grief and despair, “The Raven.” This is anachronistic, of course. Poe’s poem was first published in 1845. But the echo might light up a web of connections across time.
Po
28
Shee Sung her
Physical Note
“i” appears written over an earlier “e”
Dirges
ere Shee hence did goe
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs for the dead
dirges
Gloss Note
reference to belief in the dying bird’s final song
ere she hence did go
;
She sung her
Gloss Note
songs of lamentation
dirges
ere she hence did go.
29
Physical Note
“or” appears written over “ev”; final “e” imperfectly erased
Nore
never more tell my Sad Soule of Mirth
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
Nor never more tell my sad soul of mirth:
30
With her I lost most of my Joyes on Earth
With her, I lost most of my joys on Earth.
With her I lost most of my joys on earth,
31
Nor can I ever raiſe my drooping Spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
Nor can I ever raise my drooping spirit
32
Vntill with her those Joyes I Shall inherit
Until, with her, those joys I shall inherit:
Until with her those joys I shall inherit,
33
Those
Physical Note
“Glor” appears in darker, thicker ink, written over other imperfectly erased letters (possibly initial “J” or “I” and a letter with descender [as in “y]” in third position).
Glories
Physical Note
written atop second half of “Glories” in different hand from main scribe
Glories
which our finite ^doththoughts tra^nscend
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
Those glories which our finite thoughts transcend,
34
Where wee Shall praiſes Sing World without End
Where we shall praises sing,
Critical Note
for this phrase, see Ephesians 3:21, Isaiah 45:17
world without end
,
Where we shall praises sing, world without end,
35
To him that made both her and mee of Earth
To Him that made both her and me of
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Pulter frequently identifies “dust” with earth.
earth
,
To
Critical Note
The speaker here imagines God creating women—“her and me,” mother and daughter—of earth. This picture of an all female paradise combines and recasts the creation accounts in Genesis (“male and female created he them” [1.27] and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” [2.7]), shifting the focus from man to women, from heterosexual marriage to motherhood (with mention only of a heavenly father). For other adaptations of creation accounts, see the excerpts from John Milton and Lucy Hutchinson under “The Creation Blazon” in Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern Englandin Explorations.
Him that made both her and me of earth
36
And gave us Spirits of Celetiall Birth
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
And gave us spirits of celestial birth.
37
Tell mee noe more, of her Unblemiſhed fame
Tell me no more of her unblemished fame,
Tell me no more of her unblemished
Gloss Note
reputation
fame
,
38
Which doth Imortalize her virgin Name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
Which doth immortalize her virgin name
like

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39
Like fragrant odours Aromatick
Physical Note
“s” superscript to illegible blotted letter
ffume^s[?]
Like fragrant odors’ aromatic fumes,
Like fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,
40
Which all Succeeding Ages Still perfumes
Which all succeeding ages still perfumes;
Which all succeeding ages
Critical Note
After the loving descriptions of what Jane looked like, the poem ends by evoking the sense of smell. Her “unblemished fame” is like “fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,” persisting over time; Jane lingers as a scent. Pulter’s attention to smell links her poem to others in this subgenre as well. In “Ask me no more,” the beloved’s “fragrant bosom” is both the “spicy nest” and the tomb of the phoenix. “On Lesbia” devotes three lines to Lesbia’s “stink,” a stink “left behind” by Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador and so a way of capturing the foul trace of Catholics and Catholicism. In contrast, “On the Same” describes Jane’s aromatic afterlife in terms reminiscent either of perfumes used in embalming or of accounts of the incorruptible bodies (and body parts) of saints and holy people in Catholic tradition. (See the descriptions of nuns’ incorruptible and perfumed bodies in “Curations.”) Like all mortals, Jane was made of earth (l. 35), of the dust (l. 43) to which she has also returned. The description of Jane sometimes hints at how “in the midst of life we are in death” (see The Book of Common Prayer “Order for the Burial of the Dead”): her hair shrouded her shoulders (line 3); her body was a casket (line 21). Although in the early modern period “casket” was not used interchangeably with coffin as it is now, it was used to describe a container for holy relics. Like relics, Jane is both dead and, somehow, undecayed.
still perfumes
;
41
Nor why I mourn for her aske mee noe more
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more:
Nor why I mourn for her, ask me no more.
42
ffor
Physical Note
blot covers word below of similar length and with two ascenders near end
all
my life I Shall her loſs deplore
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
,
For all my life I shall her loss
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
43
Till infinite power her dust and mine Shall ^raise
Till infinite power her
Critical Note
See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
dust
and mine shall raise
Till infinite power her dust and mine shall raise
44
To Sing in Heaven his Everlasting praiſe.
To sing in Heaven His everlasting praise.
To sing in heaven His everlasting praise.
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X (Close panel) All Notes
Transcription
Title note

 Physical note

Previous poem concludes on this page
Elemental Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The poem is entitled “On the Same” in reference to the prior poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]; we have provided an alternate title for clarity.
Amplified Edition
Title note

 Critical note

The title refers to the previous poem, Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]. While many poems about dead children focused on infants and youngsters (see The Death of a Child in Curations), especially since child mortality was relatively high in the seventeenth century, Pulter here grapples with the loss of a young adult, her daughter Jane, who died in 1645. At 20, Jane was considerably older than Hester was when she married. She had survived the dangers of childhood only to die as she had reached maturity. Pulter had 15 children, the last in 1648, so she might well have been pregnant or nursing when Jane died (see the story of Elizabeth Cary sitting at the deathbed of her daughter and contemplating nursing her daughter’s newborn as well as her own youngest child in “The Death of a Child” in Curations.)
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

My “amplified” editions seek to make the poems as accessible as possible by modernizing spelling and punctuation and providing only brief definitions for words, while discursive notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section place Pulter’s poems into conversations. As I build the curations for a given poem—provisional and quirky as they are—I keep returning to the poem, re-reading, rethinking, and adding layers to the notes. I hope to show that Pulter was intellectually and politically embedded rather than isolated, taking up issues, genres, and tropes that also interested her contemporaries and that sometimes accrue unpredictable salience in later periods. Rather than focusing only on possible sources or influences, I cast a wide net both within the seventeenth century and outside it, trying to catch cultural materials Pulter might have engaged, some she excludes or ignores, and even some she probably could never have imagined. Curations don’t precede the poems nor are they implied by the poems—as if the poem gathers them to itself (although it can sometimes feel that way) or hales them forth. Instead, as a curator I weave the poem into a web of relations, seeking to open out rather than close down interpretive possibilities. This extends to including extracts that are long enough that readers might find things therein that I do not anticipate. I also look for a multi-vectored traffic among Pulter’s poetry and the other materials. What might the materials I’ve gathered help readers see in the poems—or notice is not there? But also, how do the poems bring fresh perspectives into the conversations into which I draw them? The more one reads the poems as participants in wider ranging conversations, the more fascinatingly twisty Pulter appears. Often, I don’t grasp how she upends or comes at conventions aslant until I have mucked about composting my “curations.”
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

This poem dwells “On the Same” topic as the last, and is thus another elegy for one of the poet’s daughters who died at twenty years of age. The refrain of “Tell me no more” paradoxically enables the sequential canvassing of the very qualities Pulter claims not to want to recall: Jane’s corporeal beauties, portrayed one by beloved one, are succeeded by the more ineffable elements of her mind, soul, voice, and virtue. Toward the poem’s end, the speaker’s attention tugs away from Jane to her own experience of loss, only to be diverted by yet another lost relic of her child. The inexorable return of the refrain acts as a trope for grief—such that the poem’s addressee could be a personified Grief, implored to silence. But the poem also exhibits tension between the speaker’s loving attachment to things of (but then no longer of) this world and what she knows she should praise, and claims she shall: “praises … world without end, / To Him.” In the meantime, all praises sung are for a young woman whose world has ended.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

In this poem, Pulter engages a convention that guided poems including “Song” [“Ask Me No More”], which is often attributed to Thomas Carew (although it circulated without attribution in many seventeenth-century manuscripts), as well as various responses to it (see Poems in Conversation in Curations). Her poem particularly resembles a song set to music by William Lawes (“Tell me no more”). In his essay on “Ask Me No More” and responses to it, Scott Nixon argues that the poems in this subgenre take “pleasure in impersonal debate on an abstract topic” (117); Pulter, however, employs this convention for a highly personal debate on a concrete loss. The poem she produces joins an ongoing game of literary imitation and revision even as it is also an expression of wrenching feeling. The convention usually gestures toward an unnamed, unseen interlocutor, whose words are heard only as the speaker tries to shut them out (tell me no more, ask me no more). This is, then, a dialogic convention that irritably attempts to silence dialogue. Shut up, the speaker seems to say. Enough. As is so often true with Pulter’s poetry, in her hands the convention starts to twist, decompose, and regenerate. In this poem, the loquacious and annoying interlocutors, with their intimate knowledge of Jane Pulter’s physical features and their particular effects, suggest a contention among parts of the self, the parts that insistently remember and the part that is trying to take a Christian perspective on death and loss. Who else might these imagined speakers be anyway? Who exactly would remind the bereaved mother that her daughter’s breasts were snowy, let alone that her nose was “even”?
Pulter counters the misogyny of some poems in this subgenre, turning resentment away from the female object of observation and toward the fact of loss and the voices that remind the speaker of that loss. Since the poem lists Jane’s attributes and tries to stop doing so, it is both a blazon and an anti-blazon (see Exploration on Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern England). The catalog of Jane’s features stalls in line 20 at her noble mind, which can never be expressed, at least through the metaphors the poem has relied on thus far. While many of the other lines are enjambed, I sense a pause before and after this line, stranding it no matter how it is punctuated. The speaker then attempts to regroup, shifting the focus from Jane’s body to her soul, only to lapse into despair before a turning point at “until” in line 32, leading to “I” and “she/her” merging into “we” who, reunited in heaven, will sing God’s praises (line 34). The vivid memories of Jane, and the pestering voice of the teller inventorying what has been lost, expose the limits of Christian consolation. Perhaps “we” will be reunited in heaven. Nevertheless, “With her I lost most of my joys on earth.” The speaker ends the poem committed to mourning for “her” and deploring her loss until death rejoins them.
Transcription
Line number 2

 Physical note

“r” written over earlier “l”
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

artful; elaborate; delicate
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

The adjective “curious” suggests that the curls both invited interest and excited admiration, on the one hand, and that they required some effort to achieve: Jane’s hair may have been curled more than curly. This adjective can describe either persons who are studious, attentive, eager to learn and inquisitive or the objects of their inquiry, which command attention by being skillfully made or richly ornamented. Oscillating as it does between subjects and objects, the adjective “curious” animates the curls even as it also presents them as Jane’s artful effort.
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

conceal
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

moon (goddess)
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

moon personified as a goddess
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

sun (god)
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

sun personified as a god
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

Eardley suggests Pulter means the Antarctic, understood to have only one day per year (each lasting six months)
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

One look from Jane was like the return of the sun after six months of darkness. Pulter here refers to the idea that “the nations of the southern world” are in darkness six months out of the year while the sun is in the northern hemisphere. During that time, according to Robert Fludd, “the Antartick pole’s cold property” produces snow, frost, ice, and hail, “mortifying the herbs, fruits, and plants, and such like.” But “the Sun at his next visitation of those quarters, which will be in our northern winter,” by virtue of his “dilating and vivifying spirit,” undoes cold and death, melting the ice and snow, and “reviving the spirit of the trees, plants, and herbs, which were almost lifeless through congelation, and renewing their mourning bodies with new green garments, blossoms, and flowers, and lastly, with wholesome fruit” (Robert Fludd, Mosaicall Philosophy Grounded Upon the Essential Truth [London, 1659], I.9.108-109). Jane’s glance had this same effect. This description, suggesting that Jane’s absence created winter and her presence spring, also draws on the myth of Ceres and Persephone: when Persephone was with her mother, Ceres, it was spring and summer; when they had to part for Persephone to be with her husband in the underworld, her mother mourned and it was fall and winter.
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

reddish, rosy
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

dawn (goddess)
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

rosy
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

dawn personified as a goddess
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

of the eastern part of the sky; radiant; rising (as the sun); dawn-colored, bright red
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Facing east or shining like a pearl or precious stone; of superior value and brilliancy, lustrous, precious, radiant.
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

open
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

When her lips open to reveal her teeth in a smile or reveal her thoughts through speech.
Elemental Edition
Line number 16

 Critical note

Eardley cites Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”
Amplified Edition
Line number 16

 Critical note

This is a variation on a phrase from Proverbs 25:11 that became proverbial, that is commonly used. For example, a dedication to the Countess Dowager of Devonshire avers that “Honor without virtue is as a cloud without water; virtue without honor, is as a room without hangings; But virtue and honor is as a golden apple in a silver picture or rather, as a precious diamond in a golden ring” (Nathaniel Hardy, The First General Epistle of St. John the Apostle [London, 1659], n.p.). If this simile usually emphasized how one precious quality sets off another, Pulter instead emphasizes their restorative effect taken together.
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

river in southern England
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

river in southeast England
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Roman goddess
Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Roman goddess associated with chastity and the moon
Transcription
Line number 21

 Physical note

end of word, perhaps two more letters, obscured by ink blot
Elemental Edition
Line number 21

 Critical note

the immediate antecedent is “mind,” but both her mind and body appear characterized as merely “the casket” of her more valuable soul
Amplified Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

container, esp. of something precious or secret
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

the sky or heavens; point where line of Earth’s axis meets the celestial sphere
Amplified Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

The end of the axis on which the earth rotates but, more generally, the furthest reach of the globe.
Elemental Edition
Line number 26

 Critical note

the “lays” or songs of the Muses are those associated with the classical goddesses of the arts and sciences, whose songs are contrasted in this line with “heavenly” songs (presumably, in this context, Christian ones)
Amplified Edition
Line number 26

 Critical note

Songs, especially lyric poems set to music. Describing Jane as singing both religious and secular music (“heavenly and the muses’ lays”), this line hints toward a Christian consolation that does not fully arrive until line 35 with the “Him” to whom “we” will sing praises.
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

river in Italy
Amplified Edition
Line number 27

 Critical note

The Po is a river in Italy. Yet the phrase “nor never more” following the reference to the Po may trigger an association for some modern readers with Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem of grief and despair, “The Raven.” This is anachronistic, of course. Poe’s poem was first published in 1845. But the echo might light up a web of connections across time.
Transcription
Line number 28

 Physical note

“i” appears written over an earlier “e”
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

songs for the dead
Elemental Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

reference to belief in the dying bird’s final song
Amplified Edition
Line number 28

 Gloss note

songs of lamentation
Transcription
Line number 29

 Physical note

“or” appears written over “ev”; final “e” imperfectly erased
Transcription
Line number 33

 Physical note

“Glor” appears in darker, thicker ink, written over other imperfectly erased letters (possibly initial “J” or “I” and a letter with descender [as in “y]” in third position).
Transcription
Line number 33

 Physical note

written atop second half of “Glories” in different hand from main scribe
Elemental Edition
Line number 34

 Critical note

for this phrase, see Ephesians 3:21, Isaiah 45:17
Elemental Edition
Line number 35

 Critical note

See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Pulter frequently identifies “dust” with earth.
Amplified Edition
Line number 35

 Critical note

The speaker here imagines God creating women—“her and me,” mother and daughter—of earth. This picture of an all female paradise combines and recasts the creation accounts in Genesis (“male and female created he them” [1.27] and “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” [2.7]), shifting the focus from man to women, from heterosexual marriage to motherhood (with mention only of a heavenly father). For other adaptations of creation accounts, see the excerpts from John Milton and Lucy Hutchinson under “The Creation Blazon” in Hester Pulter and the Blazon in Early Modern Englandin Explorations.
Amplified Edition
Line number 37

 Gloss note

reputation
Transcription
Line number 39

 Physical note

“s” superscript to illegible blotted letter
Amplified Edition
Line number 40

 Critical note

After the loving descriptions of what Jane looked like, the poem ends by evoking the sense of smell. Her “unblemished fame” is like “fragrant odors, aromatic fumes,” persisting over time; Jane lingers as a scent. Pulter’s attention to smell links her poem to others in this subgenre as well. In “Ask me no more,” the beloved’s “fragrant bosom” is both the “spicy nest” and the tomb of the phoenix. “On Lesbia” devotes three lines to Lesbia’s “stink,” a stink “left behind” by Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador and so a way of capturing the foul trace of Catholics and Catholicism. In contrast, “On the Same” describes Jane’s aromatic afterlife in terms reminiscent either of perfumes used in embalming or of accounts of the incorruptible bodies (and body parts) of saints and holy people in Catholic tradition. (See the descriptions of nuns’ incorruptible and perfumed bodies in “Curations.”) Like all mortals, Jane was made of earth (l. 35), of the dust (l. 43) to which she has also returned. The description of Jane sometimes hints at how “in the midst of life we are in death” (see The Book of Common Prayer “Order for the Burial of the Dead”): her hair shrouded her shoulders (line 3); her body was a casket (line 21). Although in the early modern period “casket” was not used interchangeably with coffin as it is now, it was used to describe a container for holy relics. Like relics, Jane is both dead and, somehow, undecayed.
Transcription
Line number 42

 Physical note

blot covers word below of similar length and with two ascenders near end
Elemental Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

lament
Amplified Edition
Line number 42

 Gloss note

lament
Elemental Edition
Line number 43

 Critical note

See Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
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