The Cruel Tiger (Emblem 15)

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The Cruel Tiger (Emblem 15)

Poem #81

Original Source

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

Versions

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

  • Transcription of manuscript: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.
  • Elemental edition: By Leah Knight and Wendy Wall.
  • Amplified edition: By Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

Line number 8

 Physical note

“\w\” in H2 and darker ink
Line number 9

 Physical note

“o” possibly corrected from “e”
Line number 10

 Physical note

“s” in H2 and darker ink
Line number 11

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “•/• / 2 booke of kings / cha the fourteen / vers the 8 / [decorative 6 dots around one center dot] ſam the first Book [5 dots in circle] / chap the 13th / verse the 8th”
Line number 12

 Physical note

first “e” written over other illegible letter
Line number 14

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “* 2 Boock of Chrono / chap the 27th / vers the 16th”
Line number 16

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “o 2 Boock of Kings / 20 chap: vers the 13th”
Line number 17

 Physical note

Line through degree sign; to left of “The,” another such sign at far left page edge. In the same blacker ink as all the H2 markings on the page.
Line number 20

 Physical note

beneath “h,” two vertical marks
Line number 22

 Physical note

“i” written over other letter (likely “e”), as possibly is “e” (likely written over “o”)
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Transcription
Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 15]
The Cruel Tiger
(Emblem 15)
The Cruel Tiger (Emblem 15)
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
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. When citing the Bible, I use the King James Version. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. Their manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What makes a tiger like a lark? And each like a flying fish? In Pulter’s riddling emblem, the (rather surprising) answer is their pride and their undoing by it. In this, though, the tiger, lark, and flying fish are no worse than a long list of fallen biblical bigwigs, which the poem rapidly inventories. Pulter’s poetic claims here are, unusually, bolstered in many cases by marginal references to chapter and verse, in what appears to be her own hand: her facility as a Bible reader—perhaps even her pride in that skill—is clearly on display. The fact that she gets one reference wrong might be the exception that proves the rule that pride goeth before a fall.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, which is only briefly about a tiger, warns readers not to commit the deadly sin of pride. Pulter’s tiger is cruel not because she is a savage predator, but because she is a Petrarchan mistress who scorns suitors and haughtily admires her own beauty. “The Cruel Tiger” is part of a section in Pulter’s manuscript titled “Emblems,” poems that typically combine symbolic pictures with text to create pithy moral messages. However, Pulter did not include illustrations with her emblems, and this absence is especially striking for a poem about vain creatures infatuated with their own images. Pulter’s poem adapts a familiar fable about a hunter distracting a mother tiger from her whelps using a glass ball. Although obsessive self-gazing might recall Narcissus, the beautiful young man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, Pulter’s emblem instead focuses on the natural world and “sacred stories”: female animals and male monarchs who exemplify the dangers of pride. Female tigers were thought to be fiercely maternal in early modern literature. Although many of Pulter’s poems are concerned with parenting and maternity, Pulter chose not to highlight that aspect of the tiger in this poem. In her manuscript, Pulter annotated the poem in her own hand, citing a series of Biblical verses about male monarchs whose arrogant actions threaten their future. This poem allows us to see Pulter’s interpretation of these parables as well as her self-representation as a pious, learned poet who cites her sources.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
15The Cruel Tiger Swiftly on doth Paſs
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
2
Scorning Purſuers, till a Cristall Glaſs
Scorning pursuers, till a crystal glass
Gloss Note
mocking; feeling superior to
Scorning
pursuers, ’til a crystal
Gloss Note
mirror; see the “Crystal Glass” curation for this poem.
glass
3
Layed purpoſely, at which Shee Stands at gaze
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
4
Her Self lovd be^avty makes her in A Maze
Her self-loved beauty makes her in
Critical Note
Although spelled thus in the manuscript, the sense of the single word “amaze” (a state of stupefaction or wonder) is equally relevant. Invoking a truism, Richard Brathwaite notes that “it is written of the tiger, though a beast of a savage and truculent nature, that when they take away the young one, they set looking glasses ... in the way to stay the pursuit of the she tiger; wherein seeing herself represented by reflection of the glass, she there solaceth herself with the conceit of her own form, while the hunters make way for escape” (“The Turtle’s Triumph,” in Times Treasury, or, Academy [London, 1652], p. 29).
a maze
.
Her self-lov’d beauty makes her in
Gloss Note
extreme astonishment
amaze
;
5
Soe is the Early Riſeing Lark a laſs
So is the early rising lark, alas,
So is the early rising lark, alas,
6
Onely inſnar’d with looking in A Glaſs
Only
Critical Note
Among others in the period, Thomas Tuke alludes to the the practice of catching larks with mirrors: “fowlers with a glass / Make mounting larks come down to death apace” (A Discourse Against Painting and Tincturing of Women [London, 1616], sig. B2v).
ensnared with looking in a glass
.
Only
Critical Note
caught in a snare; spellbound. The word “only” signals how easy it is to catch a lark with a mirror.
ensnared
with looking in a glass.
7
Pride makes the fflying ffiſh diſplay her Wings
Pride makes the flying fish display her wings:
Pride makes the
Gloss Note
fish with large wing-like pectoral fins; they can glide out of the water and look as if they are flying
flying fish
display her wings;
8
Then hungrie Hawks her little neck of
Physical Note
“\w\” in H2 and darker ink
\w\Rings
Then hungry
Gloss Note
In The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight, in His Voyage into the South Sea, Hawkins records a kind of hawk that “lie[s] soaring in the air, to see when they [flying fishes] spring, or take their flight,” and then eats them (p. 44).
hawks her little neck off wrings
.
Then hungry hawks her little neck off
Gloss Note
squeezes or twists
wrings
.
9
Theſe are noe wonders Sacred Stories
Physical Note
“o” possibly corrected from “e”
Show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
10
That Pride the greatest
Physical Note
“s” in H2 and darker ink
Monarchs
did o’re throw
That pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
That Pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
11
Brave
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “•/• / 2 booke of kings / cha the fourteen / vers the 8 / [decorative 6 dots around one center dot] ſam the first Book [5 dots in circle] / chap the 13th / verse the 8th”
%Amazia
gallant things did doe
Brave
Gloss Note
In the left margin, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Amaziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second book of Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” This King of Judah (800-783 BCE) slew ten thousand enemies (hence: “gallant things”), and was so proud of his accomplishment that he challenged the King of Israel, was humiliated, and later assassinated by his own people.
Amaziah
gallant things did do,
Brave
Gloss Note
Pulter’s first example of pride is the Biblical story of Amaziah. In her manuscript, a marginal note in her hand refers to 2 Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” Amaziah, king of Judah, overreaches when he challenges Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash responds with a parable that compares Amaziah to a lowly thistle and Jehoash to a mighty cedar tree as a warning that Amaziah’s haughty challenge will lead to his demise. Amaziah does not listen, and Jehoash plunders his house and temple.
Amaziah
Gloss Note
daring; excellent
gallant
things did do
12
Untill the Thistle did the
Physical Note
first “e” written over other illegible letter
Ceder
Wooe
Until
Gloss Note
The phrase alludes to a parable sent by Jehoash to Amaziah (see previous note): in the parable, Jehoash and his kingdom are a mighty cedar, while Amaziah is identified with the measly thistle, which should not be so prideful as to challenge the cedar, as Amaziah had (a challenge Pulter represents here as “woo”ing).
the thistle did the cedar woo
.
Until the thistle did the cedar woo.
13
Saul and *Uzzia, might have worn ye Crown
Gloss Note
Keyed to “Saul,” in the left margin, is a reference to the biblical Book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 8: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him”; but it is in chapter 15 that Saul’s pride becomes more fully apparent: he disobeys God’s command to smite the Amalekites by sparing their king, Agag; this act of prideful disobedience is understood to have led to his falling out of divine favor and his subsequent downfall and death.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Uzziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 27, verse 16”—a verse which does not exist. However, Chapter 26, verse 16, has this to say about Uzziah: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Uzziah
might have worn the crown,
Critical Note
In the margin, Pulter noted 1 Samuel 13:8, which says of Saul, king of Israel: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.” After Saul is too impatient to wait for Samuel, Samuel warns Saul that his kingdom will fall because of his foolishness. For Pulter, Saul’s actions reveal pride.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Chronicles 27:16, a verse that does not exist. In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Uzziah angrily burns his own incense. In punishment for his arrogant haste, he contracts leprosy.
Uzziah
might have worn the crown
14
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “* 2 Boock of Chrono / chap the 27th / vers the 16th”
Till
catching at the Miter both fell down
Till catching at the
Gloss Note
priest’s headdress
miter
both fell down.
’Til catching at the
Gloss Note
ceremonial headdress, as worn by a bishop
miter
both fell down.
15
Pride made good OHezechia to diſcloſe
Pride made good
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Hezekiah” referring us to the second biblical book of Kings, Chapter 20, verse 13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” Hezekiah was King of Judah (727–698 BCE); after he showed off his treasures, the prophet Isaiah predicted the loss of all his property and his sons (who will be made eunuchs).
Hezekiah
to disclose
Pride made good
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Kings 20:13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” As punishment for this boastful display, Isaiah foretells that Hezekiah’s heirs will be taken captive.
Hezekiah
to disclose
16
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “o 2 Boock of Kings / 20 chap: vers the 13th”
Those
Secret Treaſures w:ch his Sons did loſe
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
17
Physical Note
Line through degree sign; to left of “The,” another such sign at far left page edge. In the same blacker ink as all the H2 markings on the page.
The o Assyrrian
King forgot his God, at least
The
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, there is a superscript circle to the left of “Assyrian,” and another such sign at the far left of the margin, as though for a reference which was never completed. The king in question is Nebuchadnezzar, who, for his pride in building Babylon, “ was driven from men, and did eat the grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (KJV Daniel 4:29–33).
Assyrian king
forgot his god;
Critical Note
The sense here appears to be “at last,” a change that disrupts the rhyming couplet, so we have preserved the manuscript spelling.
at least
The
Gloss Note
God punished Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by making him live like an animal for seven years: “He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).
Assyrian King
Gloss Note
neglected
forgot
his God; at least
18
T’was Pride that did Tranceform him to a Beast
’Twas pride that did transform him to a beast.
’Twas Pride that did transform him to a beast.
19
Herode that would not give to God the Glory
Gloss Note
For failing to honor God, Herod is eaten by worms (KJV Acts 12:19–25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
Gloss Note
Because he failed to give glory to God, Herod is struck down and eaten by worms (Acts 12:19-25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
20
An Angell Struck, and Worms did end
Physical Note
beneath “h,” two vertical marks
his
Story
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
21
Pride made our Parents know both good & evil
Pride made our parents know both good and evil
Gloss Note
Pulter refers to the Biblical story of Original Sin, when Adam and Eve disobey God’s command not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the Book of Genesis.
Pride made our parents know both good and evil,
22
And Pride did turn An Angell to a
Physical Note
“i” written over other letter (likely “e”), as possibly is “e” (likely written over “o”)
Devill
And
Gloss Note
a reference to the angel Lucifer whose pride made him rebel against God, which led to his expulsion from heaven
pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
And
Gloss Note
Corrupted by pride, Lucifer rebels against God and gets cast out of heaven.
Pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
23
Then by theſe Stories you may See at least
Then by these stories you may see at least
Then, by these stories, you may see at least
24
That Pride deſtroys, both, Angel, Man & Beast.
That pride destroys both angel, man and beast.
That Pride destroys
Critical Note
Early modern authors sometimes used “both” before a list of more than two things.
both
angel, man, and beast.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

What makes a tiger like a lark? And each like a flying fish? In Pulter’s riddling emblem, the (rather surprising) answer is their pride and their undoing by it. In this, though, the tiger, lark, and flying fish are no worse than a long list of fallen biblical bigwigs, which the poem rapidly inventories. Pulter’s poetic claims here are, unusually, bolstered in many cases by marginal references to chapter and verse, in what appears to be her own hand: her facility as a Bible reader—perhaps even her pride in that skill—is clearly on display. The fact that she gets one reference wrong might be the exception that proves the rule that pride goeth before a fall.
Line number 4

 Critical note

Although spelled thus in the manuscript, the sense of the single word “amaze” (a state of stupefaction or wonder) is equally relevant. Invoking a truism, Richard Brathwaite notes that “it is written of the tiger, though a beast of a savage and truculent nature, that when they take away the young one, they set looking glasses ... in the way to stay the pursuit of the she tiger; wherein seeing herself represented by reflection of the glass, she there solaceth herself with the conceit of her own form, while the hunters make way for escape” (“The Turtle’s Triumph,” in Times Treasury, or, Academy [London, 1652], p. 29).
Line number 6

 Critical note

Among others in the period, Thomas Tuke alludes to the the practice of catching larks with mirrors: “fowlers with a glass / Make mounting larks come down to death apace” (A Discourse Against Painting and Tincturing of Women [London, 1616], sig. B2v).
Line number 8

 Gloss note

In The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight, in His Voyage into the South Sea, Hawkins records a kind of hawk that “lie[s] soaring in the air, to see when they [flying fishes] spring, or take their flight,” and then eats them (p. 44).
Line number 11

 Gloss note

In the left margin, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Amaziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second book of Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” This King of Judah (800-783 BCE) slew ten thousand enemies (hence: “gallant things”), and was so proud of his accomplishment that he challenged the King of Israel, was humiliated, and later assassinated by his own people.
Line number 12

 Gloss note

The phrase alludes to a parable sent by Jehoash to Amaziah (see previous note): in the parable, Jehoash and his kingdom are a mighty cedar, while Amaziah is identified with the measly thistle, which should not be so prideful as to challenge the cedar, as Amaziah had (a challenge Pulter represents here as “woo”ing).
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Keyed to “Saul,” in the left margin, is a reference to the biblical Book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 8: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him”; but it is in chapter 15 that Saul’s pride becomes more fully apparent: he disobeys God’s command to smite the Amalekites by sparing their king, Agag; this act of prideful disobedience is understood to have led to his falling out of divine favor and his subsequent downfall and death.
Line number 13

 Gloss note

In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Uzziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 27, verse 16”—a verse which does not exist. However, Chapter 26, verse 16, has this to say about Uzziah: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Line number 14

 Gloss note

priest’s headdress
Line number 15

 Gloss note

In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Hezekiah” referring us to the second biblical book of Kings, Chapter 20, verse 13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” Hezekiah was King of Judah (727–698 BCE); after he showed off his treasures, the prophet Isaiah predicted the loss of all his property and his sons (who will be made eunuchs).
Line number 17

 Gloss note

In the manuscript, there is a superscript circle to the left of “Assyrian,” and another such sign at the far left of the margin, as though for a reference which was never completed. The king in question is Nebuchadnezzar, who, for his pride in building Babylon, “ was driven from men, and did eat the grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (KJV Daniel 4:29–33).
Line number 17

 Critical note

The sense here appears to be “at last,” a change that disrupts the rhyming couplet, so we have preserved the manuscript spelling.
Line number 19

 Gloss note

For failing to honor God, Herod is eaten by worms (KJV Acts 12:19–25).
Line number 22

 Gloss note

a reference to the angel Lucifer whose pride made him rebel against God, which led to his expulsion from heaven
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
[Emblem 15]
The Cruel Tiger
(Emblem 15)
The Cruel Tiger (Emblem 15)
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
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. When citing the Bible, I use the King James Version. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. Their manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
What makes a tiger like a lark? And each like a flying fish? In Pulter’s riddling emblem, the (rather surprising) answer is their pride and their undoing by it. In this, though, the tiger, lark, and flying fish are no worse than a long list of fallen biblical bigwigs, which the poem rapidly inventories. Pulter’s poetic claims here are, unusually, bolstered in many cases by marginal references to chapter and verse, in what appears to be her own hand: her facility as a Bible reader—perhaps even her pride in that skill—is clearly on display. The fact that she gets one reference wrong might be the exception that proves the rule that pride goeth before a fall.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This poem, which is only briefly about a tiger, warns readers not to commit the deadly sin of pride. Pulter’s tiger is cruel not because she is a savage predator, but because she is a Petrarchan mistress who scorns suitors and haughtily admires her own beauty. “The Cruel Tiger” is part of a section in Pulter’s manuscript titled “Emblems,” poems that typically combine symbolic pictures with text to create pithy moral messages. However, Pulter did not include illustrations with her emblems, and this absence is especially striking for a poem about vain creatures infatuated with their own images. Pulter’s poem adapts a familiar fable about a hunter distracting a mother tiger from her whelps using a glass ball. Although obsessive self-gazing might recall Narcissus, the beautiful young man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, Pulter’s emblem instead focuses on the natural world and “sacred stories”: female animals and male monarchs who exemplify the dangers of pride. Female tigers were thought to be fiercely maternal in early modern literature. Although many of Pulter’s poems are concerned with parenting and maternity, Pulter chose not to highlight that aspect of the tiger in this poem. In her manuscript, Pulter annotated the poem in her own hand, citing a series of Biblical verses about male monarchs whose arrogant actions threaten their future. This poem allows us to see Pulter’s interpretation of these parables as well as her self-representation as a pious, learned poet who cites her sources.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
15The Cruel Tiger Swiftly on doth Paſs
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
2
Scorning Purſuers, till a Cristall Glaſs
Scorning pursuers, till a crystal glass
Gloss Note
mocking; feeling superior to
Scorning
pursuers, ’til a crystal
Gloss Note
mirror; see the “Crystal Glass” curation for this poem.
glass
3
Layed purpoſely, at which Shee Stands at gaze
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
4
Her Self lovd be^avty makes her in A Maze
Her self-loved beauty makes her in
Critical Note
Although spelled thus in the manuscript, the sense of the single word “amaze” (a state of stupefaction or wonder) is equally relevant. Invoking a truism, Richard Brathwaite notes that “it is written of the tiger, though a beast of a savage and truculent nature, that when they take away the young one, they set looking glasses ... in the way to stay the pursuit of the she tiger; wherein seeing herself represented by reflection of the glass, she there solaceth herself with the conceit of her own form, while the hunters make way for escape” (“The Turtle’s Triumph,” in Times Treasury, or, Academy [London, 1652], p. 29).
a maze
.
Her self-lov’d beauty makes her in
Gloss Note
extreme astonishment
amaze
;
5
Soe is the Early Riſeing Lark a laſs
So is the early rising lark, alas,
So is the early rising lark, alas,
6
Onely inſnar’d with looking in A Glaſs
Only
Critical Note
Among others in the period, Thomas Tuke alludes to the the practice of catching larks with mirrors: “fowlers with a glass / Make mounting larks come down to death apace” (A Discourse Against Painting and Tincturing of Women [London, 1616], sig. B2v).
ensnared with looking in a glass
.
Only
Critical Note
caught in a snare; spellbound. The word “only” signals how easy it is to catch a lark with a mirror.
ensnared
with looking in a glass.
7
Pride makes the fflying ffiſh diſplay her Wings
Pride makes the flying fish display her wings:
Pride makes the
Gloss Note
fish with large wing-like pectoral fins; they can glide out of the water and look as if they are flying
flying fish
display her wings;
8
Then hungrie Hawks her little neck of
Physical Note
“\w\” in H2 and darker ink
\w\Rings
Then hungry
Gloss Note
In The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight, in His Voyage into the South Sea, Hawkins records a kind of hawk that “lie[s] soaring in the air, to see when they [flying fishes] spring, or take their flight,” and then eats them (p. 44).
hawks her little neck off wrings
.
Then hungry hawks her little neck off
Gloss Note
squeezes or twists
wrings
.
9
Theſe are noe wonders Sacred Stories
Physical Note
“o” possibly corrected from “e”
Show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
10
That Pride the greatest
Physical Note
“s” in H2 and darker ink
Monarchs
did o’re throw
That pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
That Pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
11
Brave
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “•/• / 2 booke of kings / cha the fourteen / vers the 8 / [decorative 6 dots around one center dot] ſam the first Book [5 dots in circle] / chap the 13th / verse the 8th”
%Amazia
gallant things did doe
Brave
Gloss Note
In the left margin, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Amaziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second book of Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” This King of Judah (800-783 BCE) slew ten thousand enemies (hence: “gallant things”), and was so proud of his accomplishment that he challenged the King of Israel, was humiliated, and later assassinated by his own people.
Amaziah
gallant things did do,
Brave
Gloss Note
Pulter’s first example of pride is the Biblical story of Amaziah. In her manuscript, a marginal note in her hand refers to 2 Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” Amaziah, king of Judah, overreaches when he challenges Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash responds with a parable that compares Amaziah to a lowly thistle and Jehoash to a mighty cedar tree as a warning that Amaziah’s haughty challenge will lead to his demise. Amaziah does not listen, and Jehoash plunders his house and temple.
Amaziah
Gloss Note
daring; excellent
gallant
things did do
12
Untill the Thistle did the
Physical Note
first “e” written over other illegible letter
Ceder
Wooe
Until
Gloss Note
The phrase alludes to a parable sent by Jehoash to Amaziah (see previous note): in the parable, Jehoash and his kingdom are a mighty cedar, while Amaziah is identified with the measly thistle, which should not be so prideful as to challenge the cedar, as Amaziah had (a challenge Pulter represents here as “woo”ing).
the thistle did the cedar woo
.
Until the thistle did the cedar woo.
13
Saul and *Uzzia, might have worn ye Crown
Gloss Note
Keyed to “Saul,” in the left margin, is a reference to the biblical Book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 8: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him”; but it is in chapter 15 that Saul’s pride becomes more fully apparent: he disobeys God’s command to smite the Amalekites by sparing their king, Agag; this act of prideful disobedience is understood to have led to his falling out of divine favor and his subsequent downfall and death.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Uzziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 27, verse 16”—a verse which does not exist. However, Chapter 26, verse 16, has this to say about Uzziah: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Uzziah
might have worn the crown,
Critical Note
In the margin, Pulter noted 1 Samuel 13:8, which says of Saul, king of Israel: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.” After Saul is too impatient to wait for Samuel, Samuel warns Saul that his kingdom will fall because of his foolishness. For Pulter, Saul’s actions reveal pride.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Chronicles 27:16, a verse that does not exist. In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Uzziah angrily burns his own incense. In punishment for his arrogant haste, he contracts leprosy.
Uzziah
might have worn the crown
14
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “* 2 Boock of Chrono / chap the 27th / vers the 16th”
Till
catching at the Miter both fell down
Till catching at the
Gloss Note
priest’s headdress
miter
both fell down.
’Til catching at the
Gloss Note
ceremonial headdress, as worn by a bishop
miter
both fell down.
15
Pride made good OHezechia to diſcloſe
Pride made good
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Hezekiah” referring us to the second biblical book of Kings, Chapter 20, verse 13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” Hezekiah was King of Judah (727–698 BCE); after he showed off his treasures, the prophet Isaiah predicted the loss of all his property and his sons (who will be made eunuchs).
Hezekiah
to disclose
Pride made good
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Kings 20:13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” As punishment for this boastful display, Isaiah foretells that Hezekiah’s heirs will be taken captive.
Hezekiah
to disclose
16
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “o 2 Boock of Kings / 20 chap: vers the 13th”
Those
Secret Treaſures w:ch his Sons did loſe
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
17
Physical Note
Line through degree sign; to left of “The,” another such sign at far left page edge. In the same blacker ink as all the H2 markings on the page.
The o Assyrrian
King forgot his God, at least
The
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, there is a superscript circle to the left of “Assyrian,” and another such sign at the far left of the margin, as though for a reference which was never completed. The king in question is Nebuchadnezzar, who, for his pride in building Babylon, “ was driven from men, and did eat the grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (KJV Daniel 4:29–33).
Assyrian king
forgot his god;
Critical Note
The sense here appears to be “at last,” a change that disrupts the rhyming couplet, so we have preserved the manuscript spelling.
at least
The
Gloss Note
God punished Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by making him live like an animal for seven years: “He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).
Assyrian King
Gloss Note
neglected
forgot
his God; at least
18
T’was Pride that did Tranceform him to a Beast
’Twas pride that did transform him to a beast.
’Twas Pride that did transform him to a beast.
19
Herode that would not give to God the Glory
Gloss Note
For failing to honor God, Herod is eaten by worms (KJV Acts 12:19–25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
Gloss Note
Because he failed to give glory to God, Herod is struck down and eaten by worms (Acts 12:19-25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
20
An Angell Struck, and Worms did end
Physical Note
beneath “h,” two vertical marks
his
Story
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
21
Pride made our Parents know both good & evil
Pride made our parents know both good and evil
Gloss Note
Pulter refers to the Biblical story of Original Sin, when Adam and Eve disobey God’s command not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the Book of Genesis.
Pride made our parents know both good and evil,
22
And Pride did turn An Angell to a
Physical Note
“i” written over other letter (likely “e”), as possibly is “e” (likely written over “o”)
Devill
And
Gloss Note
a reference to the angel Lucifer whose pride made him rebel against God, which led to his expulsion from heaven
pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
And
Gloss Note
Corrupted by pride, Lucifer rebels against God and gets cast out of heaven.
Pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
23
Then by theſe Stories you may See at least
Then by these stories you may see at least
Then, by these stories, you may see at least
24
That Pride deſtroys, both, Angel, Man & Beast.
That pride destroys both angel, man and beast.
That Pride destroys
Critical Note
Early modern authors sometimes used “both” before a list of more than two things.
both
angel, man, and beast.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. When citing the Bible, I use the King James Version. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. Their manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

 Headnote

This poem, which is only briefly about a tiger, warns readers not to commit the deadly sin of pride. Pulter’s tiger is cruel not because she is a savage predator, but because she is a Petrarchan mistress who scorns suitors and haughtily admires her own beauty. “The Cruel Tiger” is part of a section in Pulter’s manuscript titled “Emblems,” poems that typically combine symbolic pictures with text to create pithy moral messages. However, Pulter did not include illustrations with her emblems, and this absence is especially striking for a poem about vain creatures infatuated with their own images. Pulter’s poem adapts a familiar fable about a hunter distracting a mother tiger from her whelps using a glass ball. Although obsessive self-gazing might recall Narcissus, the beautiful young man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, Pulter’s emblem instead focuses on the natural world and “sacred stories”: female animals and male monarchs who exemplify the dangers of pride. Female tigers were thought to be fiercely maternal in early modern literature. Although many of Pulter’s poems are concerned with parenting and maternity, Pulter chose not to highlight that aspect of the tiger in this poem. In her manuscript, Pulter annotated the poem in her own hand, citing a series of Biblical verses about male monarchs whose arrogant actions threaten their future. This poem allows us to see Pulter’s interpretation of these parables as well as her self-representation as a pious, learned poet who cites her sources.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

mocking; feeling superior to
Line number 2

 Gloss note

mirror; see the “Crystal Glass” curation for this poem.
Line number 4

 Gloss note

extreme astonishment
Line number 6

 Critical note

caught in a snare; spellbound. The word “only” signals how easy it is to catch a lark with a mirror.
Line number 7

 Gloss note

fish with large wing-like pectoral fins; they can glide out of the water and look as if they are flying
Line number 8

 Gloss note

squeezes or twists
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Pulter’s first example of pride is the Biblical story of Amaziah. In her manuscript, a marginal note in her hand refers to 2 Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” Amaziah, king of Judah, overreaches when he challenges Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash responds with a parable that compares Amaziah to a lowly thistle and Jehoash to a mighty cedar tree as a warning that Amaziah’s haughty challenge will lead to his demise. Amaziah does not listen, and Jehoash plunders his house and temple.
Line number 11

 Gloss note

daring; excellent
Line number 13

 Critical note

In the margin, Pulter noted 1 Samuel 13:8, which says of Saul, king of Israel: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.” After Saul is too impatient to wait for Samuel, Samuel warns Saul that his kingdom will fall because of his foolishness. For Pulter, Saul’s actions reveal pride.
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Chronicles 27:16, a verse that does not exist. In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Uzziah angrily burns his own incense. In punishment for his arrogant haste, he contracts leprosy.
Line number 14

 Gloss note

ceremonial headdress, as worn by a bishop
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Kings 20:13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” As punishment for this boastful display, Isaiah foretells that Hezekiah’s heirs will be taken captive.
Line number 17

 Gloss note

God punished Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by making him live like an animal for seven years: “He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).
Line number 17

 Gloss note

neglected
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Because he failed to give glory to God, Herod is struck down and eaten by worms (Acts 12:19-25).
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Pulter refers to the Biblical story of Original Sin, when Adam and Eve disobey God’s command not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the Book of Genesis.
Line number 22

 Gloss note

Corrupted by pride, Lucifer rebels against God and gets cast out of heaven.
Line number 24

 Critical note

Early modern authors sometimes used “both” before a list of more than two things.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

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[Emblem 15]
The Cruel Tiger
(Emblem 15)
The Cruel Tiger (Emblem 15)
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.

— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich
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.

— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich
In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. When citing the Bible, I use the King James Version. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. Their manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.

— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich


— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich
What makes a tiger like a lark? And each like a flying fish? In Pulter’s riddling emblem, the (rather surprising) answer is their pride and their undoing by it. In this, though, the tiger, lark, and flying fish are no worse than a long list of fallen biblical bigwigs, which the poem rapidly inventories. Pulter’s poetic claims here are, unusually, bolstered in many cases by marginal references to chapter and verse, in what appears to be her own hand: her facility as a Bible reader—perhaps even her pride in that skill—is clearly on display. The fact that she gets one reference wrong might be the exception that proves the rule that pride goeth before a fall.

— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich
This poem, which is only briefly about a tiger, warns readers not to commit the deadly sin of pride. Pulter’s tiger is cruel not because she is a savage predator, but because she is a Petrarchan mistress who scorns suitors and haughtily admires her own beauty. “The Cruel Tiger” is part of a section in Pulter’s manuscript titled “Emblems,” poems that typically combine symbolic pictures with text to create pithy moral messages. However, Pulter did not include illustrations with her emblems, and this absence is especially striking for a poem about vain creatures infatuated with their own images. Pulter’s poem adapts a familiar fable about a hunter distracting a mother tiger from her whelps using a glass ball. Although obsessive self-gazing might recall Narcissus, the beautiful young man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, Pulter’s emblem instead focuses on the natural world and “sacred stories”: female animals and male monarchs who exemplify the dangers of pride. Female tigers were thought to be fiercely maternal in early modern literature. Although many of Pulter’s poems are concerned with parenting and maternity, Pulter chose not to highlight that aspect of the tiger in this poem. In her manuscript, Pulter annotated the poem in her own hand, citing a series of Biblical verses about male monarchs whose arrogant actions threaten their future. This poem allows us to see Pulter’s interpretation of these parables as well as her self-representation as a pious, learned poet who cites her sources.

— Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich
1
15The Cruel Tiger Swiftly on doth Paſs
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
The cruel tiger swiftly on doth pass,
2
Scorning Purſuers, till a Cristall Glaſs
Scorning pursuers, till a crystal glass
Gloss Note
mocking; feeling superior to
Scorning
pursuers, ’til a crystal
Gloss Note
mirror; see the “Crystal Glass” curation for this poem.
glass
3
Layed purpoſely, at which Shee Stands at gaze
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
Laid purposely, at which she stands at gaze,
4
Her Self lovd be^avty makes her in A Maze
Her self-loved beauty makes her in
Critical Note
Although spelled thus in the manuscript, the sense of the single word “amaze” (a state of stupefaction or wonder) is equally relevant. Invoking a truism, Richard Brathwaite notes that “it is written of the tiger, though a beast of a savage and truculent nature, that when they take away the young one, they set looking glasses ... in the way to stay the pursuit of the she tiger; wherein seeing herself represented by reflection of the glass, she there solaceth herself with the conceit of her own form, while the hunters make way for escape” (“The Turtle’s Triumph,” in Times Treasury, or, Academy [London, 1652], p. 29).
a maze
.
Her self-lov’d beauty makes her in
Gloss Note
extreme astonishment
amaze
;
5
Soe is the Early Riſeing Lark a laſs
So is the early rising lark, alas,
So is the early rising lark, alas,
6
Onely inſnar’d with looking in A Glaſs
Only
Critical Note
Among others in the period, Thomas Tuke alludes to the the practice of catching larks with mirrors: “fowlers with a glass / Make mounting larks come down to death apace” (A Discourse Against Painting and Tincturing of Women [London, 1616], sig. B2v).
ensnared with looking in a glass
.
Only
Critical Note
caught in a snare; spellbound. The word “only” signals how easy it is to catch a lark with a mirror.
ensnared
with looking in a glass.
7
Pride makes the fflying ffiſh diſplay her Wings
Pride makes the flying fish display her wings:
Pride makes the
Gloss Note
fish with large wing-like pectoral fins; they can glide out of the water and look as if they are flying
flying fish
display her wings;
8
Then hungrie Hawks her little neck of
Physical Note
“\w\” in H2 and darker ink
\w\Rings
Then hungry
Gloss Note
In The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight, in His Voyage into the South Sea, Hawkins records a kind of hawk that “lie[s] soaring in the air, to see when they [flying fishes] spring, or take their flight,” and then eats them (p. 44).
hawks her little neck off wrings
.
Then hungry hawks her little neck off
Gloss Note
squeezes or twists
wrings
.
9
Theſe are noe wonders Sacred Stories
Physical Note
“o” possibly corrected from “e”
Show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
These are no wonders; sacred stories show
10
That Pride the greatest
Physical Note
“s” in H2 and darker ink
Monarchs
did o’re throw
That pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
That Pride the greatest monarchs did o’erthrow.
11
Brave
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “•/• / 2 booke of kings / cha the fourteen / vers the 8 / [decorative 6 dots around one center dot] ſam the first Book [5 dots in circle] / chap the 13th / verse the 8th”
%Amazia
gallant things did doe
Brave
Gloss Note
In the left margin, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Amaziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second book of Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” This King of Judah (800-783 BCE) slew ten thousand enemies (hence: “gallant things”), and was so proud of his accomplishment that he challenged the King of Israel, was humiliated, and later assassinated by his own people.
Amaziah
gallant things did do,
Brave
Gloss Note
Pulter’s first example of pride is the Biblical story of Amaziah. In her manuscript, a marginal note in her hand refers to 2 Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” Amaziah, king of Judah, overreaches when he challenges Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash responds with a parable that compares Amaziah to a lowly thistle and Jehoash to a mighty cedar tree as a warning that Amaziah’s haughty challenge will lead to his demise. Amaziah does not listen, and Jehoash plunders his house and temple.
Amaziah
Gloss Note
daring; excellent
gallant
things did do
12
Untill the Thistle did the
Physical Note
first “e” written over other illegible letter
Ceder
Wooe
Until
Gloss Note
The phrase alludes to a parable sent by Jehoash to Amaziah (see previous note): in the parable, Jehoash and his kingdom are a mighty cedar, while Amaziah is identified with the measly thistle, which should not be so prideful as to challenge the cedar, as Amaziah had (a challenge Pulter represents here as “woo”ing).
the thistle did the cedar woo
.
Until the thistle did the cedar woo.
13
Saul and *Uzzia, might have worn ye Crown
Gloss Note
Keyed to “Saul,” in the left margin, is a reference to the biblical Book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 8: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him”; but it is in chapter 15 that Saul’s pride becomes more fully apparent: he disobeys God’s command to smite the Amalekites by sparing their king, Agag; this act of prideful disobedience is understood to have led to his falling out of divine favor and his subsequent downfall and death.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Uzziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 27, verse 16”—a verse which does not exist. However, Chapter 26, verse 16, has this to say about Uzziah: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Uzziah
might have worn the crown,
Critical Note
In the margin, Pulter noted 1 Samuel 13:8, which says of Saul, king of Israel: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.” After Saul is too impatient to wait for Samuel, Samuel warns Saul that his kingdom will fall because of his foolishness. For Pulter, Saul’s actions reveal pride.
Saul
and
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Chronicles 27:16, a verse that does not exist. In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Uzziah angrily burns his own incense. In punishment for his arrogant haste, he contracts leprosy.
Uzziah
might have worn the crown
14
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “* 2 Boock of Chrono / chap the 27th / vers the 16th”
Till
catching at the Miter both fell down
Till catching at the
Gloss Note
priest’s headdress
miter
both fell down.
’Til catching at the
Gloss Note
ceremonial headdress, as worn by a bishop
miter
both fell down.
15
Pride made good OHezechia to diſcloſe
Pride made good
Gloss Note
In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Hezekiah” referring us to the second biblical book of Kings, Chapter 20, verse 13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” Hezekiah was King of Judah (727–698 BCE); after he showed off his treasures, the prophet Isaiah predicted the loss of all his property and his sons (who will be made eunuchs).
Hezekiah
to disclose
Pride made good
Gloss Note
Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Kings 20:13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” As punishment for this boastful display, Isaiah foretells that Hezekiah’s heirs will be taken captive.
Hezekiah
to disclose
16
Physical Note
in left margin, H2: “o 2 Boock of Kings / 20 chap: vers the 13th”
Those
Secret Treaſures w:ch his Sons did loſe
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
Those secret treasures which his sons did lose.
17
Physical Note
Line through degree sign; to left of “The,” another such sign at far left page edge. In the same blacker ink as all the H2 markings on the page.
The o Assyrrian
King forgot his God, at least
The
Gloss Note
In the manuscript, there is a superscript circle to the left of “Assyrian,” and another such sign at the far left of the margin, as though for a reference which was never completed. The king in question is Nebuchadnezzar, who, for his pride in building Babylon, “ was driven from men, and did eat the grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (KJV Daniel 4:29–33).
Assyrian king
forgot his god;
Critical Note
The sense here appears to be “at last,” a change that disrupts the rhyming couplet, so we have preserved the manuscript spelling.
at least
The
Gloss Note
God punished Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by making him live like an animal for seven years: “He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).
Assyrian King
Gloss Note
neglected
forgot
his God; at least
18
T’was Pride that did Tranceform him to a Beast
’Twas pride that did transform him to a beast.
’Twas Pride that did transform him to a beast.
19
Herode that would not give to God the Glory
Gloss Note
For failing to honor God, Herod is eaten by worms (KJV Acts 12:19–25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
Gloss Note
Because he failed to give glory to God, Herod is struck down and eaten by worms (Acts 12:19-25).
Herod
, that would not give to God the glory,
20
An Angell Struck, and Worms did end
Physical Note
beneath “h,” two vertical marks
his
Story
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
An angel struck, and worms did end his story.
21
Pride made our Parents know both good & evil
Pride made our parents know both good and evil
Gloss Note
Pulter refers to the Biblical story of Original Sin, when Adam and Eve disobey God’s command not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the Book of Genesis.
Pride made our parents know both good and evil,
22
And Pride did turn An Angell to a
Physical Note
“i” written over other letter (likely “e”), as possibly is “e” (likely written over “o”)
Devill
And
Gloss Note
a reference to the angel Lucifer whose pride made him rebel against God, which led to his expulsion from heaven
pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
And
Gloss Note
Corrupted by pride, Lucifer rebels against God and gets cast out of heaven.
Pride did turn an angel to a devil
.
23
Then by theſe Stories you may See at least
Then by these stories you may see at least
Then, by these stories, you may see at least
24
That Pride deſtroys, both, Angel, Man & Beast.
That pride destroys both angel, man and beast.
That Pride destroys
Critical Note
Early modern authors sometimes used “both” before a list of more than two things.
both
angel, man, and beast.
horizontal straight line
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Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

In my editions, I prioritize accessibility and multiple interpretive possibilities. To prepare these poems for a wide range of readers, I have modernized erratic early modern spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to conform to standard American usage. I gloss archaic definitions and confusing syntax, and I expand contractions, unless needed to maintain the integrity of the poem’s form. My notes investigate how Pulter’s poems engage with the literature and culture of mid-seventeenth-century England. When citing the Bible, I use the King James Version. It is worth noting that although Pulter’s poems survive in only one known source, they are not necessarily stable texts. Their manuscript features variants and revisions that invite multiple interpretations. I encourage readers to refer to the manuscript transcriptions and images on this site; my notes alert readers when the manuscript’s original spelling or physical features are especially worth considering.
Transcription

 Headnote

Elemental Edition

 Headnote

What makes a tiger like a lark? And each like a flying fish? In Pulter’s riddling emblem, the (rather surprising) answer is their pride and their undoing by it. In this, though, the tiger, lark, and flying fish are no worse than a long list of fallen biblical bigwigs, which the poem rapidly inventories. Pulter’s poetic claims here are, unusually, bolstered in many cases by marginal references to chapter and verse, in what appears to be her own hand: her facility as a Bible reader—perhaps even her pride in that skill—is clearly on display. The fact that she gets one reference wrong might be the exception that proves the rule that pride goeth before a fall.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This poem, which is only briefly about a tiger, warns readers not to commit the deadly sin of pride. Pulter’s tiger is cruel not because she is a savage predator, but because she is a Petrarchan mistress who scorns suitors and haughtily admires her own beauty. “The Cruel Tiger” is part of a section in Pulter’s manuscript titled “Emblems,” poems that typically combine symbolic pictures with text to create pithy moral messages. However, Pulter did not include illustrations with her emblems, and this absence is especially striking for a poem about vain creatures infatuated with their own images. Pulter’s poem adapts a familiar fable about a hunter distracting a mother tiger from her whelps using a glass ball. Although obsessive self-gazing might recall Narcissus, the beautiful young man in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection, Pulter’s emblem instead focuses on the natural world and “sacred stories”: female animals and male monarchs who exemplify the dangers of pride. Female tigers were thought to be fiercely maternal in early modern literature. Although many of Pulter’s poems are concerned with parenting and maternity, Pulter chose not to highlight that aspect of the tiger in this poem. In her manuscript, Pulter annotated the poem in her own hand, citing a series of Biblical verses about male monarchs whose arrogant actions threaten their future. This poem allows us to see Pulter’s interpretation of these parables as well as her self-representation as a pious, learned poet who cites her sources.
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

mocking; feeling superior to
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

mirror; see the “Crystal Glass” curation for this poem.
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Critical note

Although spelled thus in the manuscript, the sense of the single word “amaze” (a state of stupefaction or wonder) is equally relevant. Invoking a truism, Richard Brathwaite notes that “it is written of the tiger, though a beast of a savage and truculent nature, that when they take away the young one, they set looking glasses ... in the way to stay the pursuit of the she tiger; wherein seeing herself represented by reflection of the glass, she there solaceth herself with the conceit of her own form, while the hunters make way for escape” (“The Turtle’s Triumph,” in Times Treasury, or, Academy [London, 1652], p. 29).
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

extreme astonishment
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

Among others in the period, Thomas Tuke alludes to the the practice of catching larks with mirrors: “fowlers with a glass / Make mounting larks come down to death apace” (A Discourse Against Painting and Tincturing of Women [London, 1616], sig. B2v).
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Critical note

caught in a snare; spellbound. The word “only” signals how easy it is to catch a lark with a mirror.
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

fish with large wing-like pectoral fins; they can glide out of the water and look as if they are flying
Transcription
Line number 8

 Physical note

“\w\” in H2 and darker ink
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

In The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight, in His Voyage into the South Sea, Hawkins records a kind of hawk that “lie[s] soaring in the air, to see when they [flying fishes] spring, or take their flight,” and then eats them (p. 44).
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

squeezes or twists
Transcription
Line number 9

 Physical note

“o” possibly corrected from “e”
Transcription
Line number 10

 Physical note

“s” in H2 and darker ink
Transcription
Line number 11

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “•/• / 2 booke of kings / cha the fourteen / vers the 8 / [decorative 6 dots around one center dot] ſam the first Book [5 dots in circle] / chap the 13th / verse the 8th”
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

In the left margin, in what is probably Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Amaziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second book of Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” This King of Judah (800-783 BCE) slew ten thousand enemies (hence: “gallant things”), and was so proud of his accomplishment that he challenged the King of Israel, was humiliated, and later assassinated by his own people.
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

Pulter’s first example of pride is the Biblical story of Amaziah. In her manuscript, a marginal note in her hand refers to 2 Kings 14:8: “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.” Amaziah, king of Judah, overreaches when he challenges Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash responds with a parable that compares Amaziah to a lowly thistle and Jehoash to a mighty cedar tree as a warning that Amaziah’s haughty challenge will lead to his demise. Amaziah does not listen, and Jehoash plunders his house and temple.
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

daring; excellent
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

first “e” written over other illegible letter
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

The phrase alludes to a parable sent by Jehoash to Amaziah (see previous note): in the parable, Jehoash and his kingdom are a mighty cedar, while Amaziah is identified with the measly thistle, which should not be so prideful as to challenge the cedar, as Amaziah had (a challenge Pulter represents here as “woo”ing).
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Keyed to “Saul,” in the left margin, is a reference to the biblical Book of Samuel, chapter 13, verse 8: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him”; but it is in chapter 15 that Saul’s pride becomes more fully apparent: he disobeys God’s command to smite the Amalekites by sparing their king, Agag; this act of prideful disobedience is understood to have led to his falling out of divine favor and his subsequent downfall and death.
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Uzziah,” referring us to the Bible’s second Book of Chronicles, Chapter 27, verse 16”—a verse which does not exist. However, Chapter 26, verse 16, has this to say about Uzziah: “when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Critical note

In the margin, Pulter noted 1 Samuel 13:8, which says of Saul, king of Israel: “And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.” After Saul is too impatient to wait for Samuel, Samuel warns Saul that his kingdom will fall because of his foolishness. For Pulter, Saul’s actions reveal pride.
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Chronicles 27:16, a verse that does not exist. In this chapter of 2 Chronicles, Uzziah angrily burns his own incense. In punishment for his arrogant haste, he contracts leprosy.
Transcription
Line number 14

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “* 2 Boock of Chrono / chap the 27th / vers the 16th”
Elemental Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

priest’s headdress
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

ceremonial headdress, as worn by a bishop
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

In the left margin, probably in Pulter’s hand, is a note keyed to “Hezekiah” referring us to the second biblical book of Kings, Chapter 20, verse 13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” Hezekiah was King of Judah (727–698 BCE); after he showed off his treasures, the prophet Isaiah predicted the loss of all his property and his sons (who will be made eunuchs).
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

Pulter’s marginal note refers to 2 Kings 20:13: “And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” As punishment for this boastful display, Isaiah foretells that Hezekiah’s heirs will be taken captive.
Transcription
Line number 16

 Physical note

in left margin, H2: “o 2 Boock of Kings / 20 chap: vers the 13th”
Transcription
Line number 17

 Physical note

Line through degree sign; to left of “The,” another such sign at far left page edge. In the same blacker ink as all the H2 markings on the page.
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

In the manuscript, there is a superscript circle to the left of “Assyrian,” and another such sign at the far left of the margin, as though for a reference which was never completed. The king in question is Nebuchadnezzar, who, for his pride in building Babylon, “ was driven from men, and did eat the grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (KJV Daniel 4:29–33).
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Critical note

The sense here appears to be “at last,” a change that disrupts the rhyming couplet, so we have preserved the manuscript spelling.
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

God punished Nebuchadnezzar’s pride by making him live like an animal for seven years: “He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:33).
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

neglected
Elemental Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

For failing to honor God, Herod is eaten by worms (KJV Acts 12:19–25).
Amplified Edition
Line number 19

 Gloss note

Because he failed to give glory to God, Herod is struck down and eaten by worms (Acts 12:19-25).
Transcription
Line number 20

 Physical note

beneath “h,” two vertical marks
Amplified Edition
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Pulter refers to the Biblical story of Original Sin, when Adam and Eve disobey God’s command not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree in the Book of Genesis.
Transcription
Line number 22

 Physical note

“i” written over other letter (likely “e”), as possibly is “e” (likely written over “o”)
Elemental Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

a reference to the angel Lucifer whose pride made him rebel against God, which led to his expulsion from heaven
Amplified Edition
Line number 22

 Gloss note

Corrupted by pride, Lucifer rebels against God and gets cast out of heaven.
Amplified Edition
Line number 24

 Critical note

Early modern authors sometimes used “both” before a list of more than two things.
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