The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers

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The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers

Poem #12

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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Index of Poems

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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription
Unnumbered line
Title note

 Physical note

double strike-through; the left half of the “A” is not struck through.
Unnumbered line
Title note

 Physical note

whole word blotted, but remaining visible ascenders (and final “er”) suggest “Pulter”

 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 4

 Physical note

“watr’d” inserted directly above “Diamon’d”
Line number 6

 Physical note

corrected from “That”, with initial “e” over “a”; final “t” imperfectly erased; additional “e” crowded into space before next word
Line number 6

 Physical note

unclear correction of spelling mid-word
Line number 12

 Physical note

“y” appears crowded into space before next word
Line number 12

 Physical note

“would” appears imperfectly erased, with apostrophe and “d” of “I’d” written over “w”
Line number 17

 Physical note

quadruple strike-through
Line number 24

 Physical note

ascending straight line beneath
Line number 25

 Physical note

in left margin between this line and next: “The Woodbine 1:st
Line number 31

 Physical note

initial “I” scribbled out; final “a” altered to “e”
Line number 33

 Physical note

“their” in different hand from main scribe; double strike-through on “that”
Line number 49

 Physical note

in left margin, between this line and next: “The Tulip 2d
Line number 58
a sizeable space follows this word, with room for perhaps another two-letter word.
Line number 63

 Physical note

spaces between lines on this page are greater and hand alters slightly
Line number 69

 Physical note

insertion marks and “nor,” directly above “not,” in different hand from main scribe
Line number 74

 Physical note

multiple strike-through of “y”
Line number 78

 Physical note

in left margin: “The Wallflower or Hartseaſe 3d
Line number 82

 Physical note

scribbled out
Line number 103

 Physical note

small blot obscures the “c”; possibly a deliberate cancellation
Line number 103

 Physical note

“s” cancelled with a blot
Line number 108

 Physical note

in left margin “The Lilly 4:th
Line number 136

 Physical note

appears crowded into space between surrounding words, possibly in different hand from main scribe
Line number 137

 Physical note

two or three letters, starting with “H,” scribbled out
Line number 144

 Physical note

in left margin: “The Rose 5:th
Line number 168

 Physical note

the “c” is crowded between the “s” and “k”
Line number 183

 Gloss note

Thomas Traherne asks “Can perfumes indeed from sordid dung-hills breathe?” (“The Enquiry,” in The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne, 1636?-1674, ed. Betram Dobell [1906], l. 9). The Rose here suggests no, but all flowers indeed spring from dunghills—as the Rose underscores when she claims she is exceptional in not doing so.
Line number 184

 Physical note

in left margin
Line number 202

 Physical note

“y” imperfectly erased
Line number 208

 Physical note

in left margin: “The Poppy 6:th
Line number 211

 Physical note

multiple strike-through
Line number 213

 Physical note

“t” is written over a “d”
Line number 214

 Physical note

“Or” in different hand from main scribe; “Or” blotted
Line number 215

 Physical note

“ff” written over another letter, possibly an “S”
Line number 215

 Physical note

“y” blotted
Line number 246

 Physical note

“of” struck-through twice horizontally; “from” in H2.
Line number 247

 Physical note

“Such” blotted; “ſuch,” inserted directly above, in different hand from main scribe
Line number 257

 Physical note

in left margin: “The Violet 7:th
Line number 300

 Physical note

doubly struck-through, scribbled cancellation of two words, possibly “none is”
Line number 307

 Physical note

to left, in margin: “The Helitropia 8:th”; beneath, “Sunflower” and curved, doubly-crossed flourish, with indiscernible pen markings to left
Line number 307

 Physical note

superscript “u” written over other letter
Line number 314

 Physical note

imperfectly erased “ne” visible afterward, and dot over “y” signalling alteration of earlier “i”
Line number 324

 Physical note

“S” in lighter ink
Line number 335

 Physical note

“u” corrects earlier “i”
Line number 338

 Physical note

“t” is superscript to superscript “y”
Line number 358

 Physical note

In left margin: “The Auricola 9:th
Line number 358

 Physical note

the “u” is cramped between the “A” and “r”
Line number 359

 Physical note

insertion marks and “w” in different hand from main scribe; first “e” written over “a”
Line number 362

 Physical note

“H” imperfectly erased; first “a” appears written over prior “e”
Line number 365

 Physical note

in left margin: “Why”
Line number 376

 Physical note

after this line, half a blank page, with poem continuing on next page
Line number 377

 Physical note

in left margin: “The fflower Deluce 10:th
Line number 396

 Physical note

“r” and insertion marks in different hand from main scribe
Line number 399

 Physical note

apostrophe and “s” appear crowded between surrounding words in different hand from main scribe
Line number 403

 Physical note

“d” written over “t”
Line number 406

 Physical note

second “e” blotted
Line number 415

 Physical note

In left margin: “The July-flower 11:th”
Line number 418

 Physical note

final “t” crowded between surrounding words
Line number 420

 Physical note

“n” crowded between surrounding words
Line number 451

 Physical note

dots beneath, with some in blank space after (represented in main text)
Line number 469

 Physical note

after this line, half a blank page, with poem continuing on next page
Line number 470

 Physical note

in left margin: “The Adonis 12:th
Line number 470

 Physical note

“b” written over “p”
Line number 485

 Physical note

“[?]" may be “t”; “ans” appears crowded in before next word
Line number 507

 Physical note

initial “i” imperfectly erased; apostrophe added possibly in different hand from main scribe
Line number 510

 Physical note

originally written “Sorcirus” with the “u” changed to an “i”
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
The Garden, or
The Contention of fflowers, To my Deare Daughter Mris
Physical Note
double strike-through; the left half of the “A” is not struck through.
Anne
Physical Note
whole word blotted, but remaining visible ascenders (and final “er”) suggest “Pulter”
[?]
, at her deſire written
Physical Note
In the manuscript, the title originally continued: “To My Dear Daughter Mistress Anne Pulter, At Her Desire Written”; “Anne” has been crossed out, but is still legible, while “Pulter” is fairly thoroughly blotted out. Anne Pulter, 1635–1666 (Eardley), was one of Hester Pulter’s daughters. While Pulter refers to her children at several points in the manuscript, this is the only poem in which she explicitly indicates her family’s awareness that she is a writer and their participation in her poetic production. A “contention” is a contest or competition.
The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers
Critical Note
In the manuscript, we see that the title includes a dedication, “To My Dear Daughter Mistress Anne Pulter, At Her Desire Written”; but the name has been crossed out, though we cannot be sure why, when, or by whom. While that redacted dedication assigns the animating desire to Pulter’s daughter, Anne, who died in 1666, the poem itself suggests that it is the flowers who demand that the poet not only record their contention but adjudicate it.
The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers
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. Then I use the notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section to 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 how Pulter’s poetry engages in multi-vectored exchanges with 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
Lying in her garden, Pulter finds herself the chosen umpire of a contest among a dozen flowers in this, her longest poem. Before she will choose a winner, she exhorts the disputants to describe their “virtues”—a word encompassing both moral and botanical meanings in a period when plants were key medicinal ingredients. As the garden members readily comply, Pulter is able to show off her extensive knowledge of botany (drawn from classical and contemporary natural histories and gardening manuals), especially its links to mythology. In addition to their role in health care, the plants concern themselves with their “color, beauty, fashion, smell”—alternately, as they speak in turn, vaunting themselves and mocking the other flowers’ grandiose claims about each other. As well as a spirited contribution to the poetic genre of the debate, Pulter’s poem quietly critiques a parliamentary system in which representatives devote themselves to self-promotion and mud-slinging more than any larger truth. No wonder the umpire’s discreet choice, in the end, is to cut short this mockery of a parliament—perhaps a particularly happy ending for a royalist like Pulter, whose country’s parliament cut short her king’s life and the monarchy itself, leaving her party to take solace in rural retreats. This garden, ironically, provides little peace or quiet, instead subjecting weary humans to the energetic quarreling that they might go there to escape.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This is Hester Pulter’s longest poem, really a bouquet of twelve poems, each in the voice of a different flower, as the flowers “contend” or compete to see whom the speaker, their “umpire,” will choose as the winner. But what precisely is in contention among them and what is the standard by which one might win? They contend on the grounds of “virtue, color, beauty, fashion, smell.” Each flower speaks in the first person singular, representing her (or in one case, his) kind, but speaking as an individual, as if there were but one rose or one tulip, despite the fact that these flowers were usually planted in masses for maximum effect. Each representative emphasizes the “virtues” of its kind, simultaneously anthropomorphizing itself as having moral qualities and emphasizing its value and use for humans. These flowers are human adjacent, resembling humans and defining themselves through their service to humans. We can pick up details about color, appearance, shape, and scent from the flowers’ praise of themselves and disdain for one another, but otherwise the poem requires us to be able to imagine what each speaker might look like. In Curation Picturing Pulter’s Flowers, you will find illustrations of the flowers to help you picture them and to reinforce the ways that this is a very bookish garden, as informed by reading and imagination as it is by sensory experience. Does the poem draw attention to the household’s well-stocked flower garden, adding a level of fantasy by endowing the flowers with the power of speech, or does it present an imaginary garden in the place of a real one? In either case, placing the poem in context helps us appreciate its striking originality. While we can’t know exactly when Pulter wrote it, it is likely that it precedes and may have informed poems once considered influences on it, such as Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” and Abraham Cowley’s Plantarum Libri Sex (translated into English in 1668). (You will find these and other contentions and parliaments of plants, often contemporary with or later than Pulter’s poem, in Curations Other Garden Poems and Parliaments of Flowers.)
Written mid-century, the poem participates in what Keith Thomas calls “the Gardening Revolution,” during which many people invested time and money in their household gardens and in books that guided them in plant selection and care (Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800 [Oxford UP, 1983], 66, 224, 228). In their gardens, men as well as women, lower status amateur gardeners as well as aristocrats with deep pockets and large staffs, not only transformed the natural world but remade and displayed their own social status. This revolution in domestic gardening depended on local circulation of seeds, cuttings, and knowledge as well as a brisk international trade in plants, a trade that ran in tandem with the slave trade. As Amy Tigner points out, “the plant market was intertwined with the slave trade, making its routes to Europe, on to the New World, and back again” (Amy L. Tigner, Literature and the Renaissance Garden from Elizabeth I to Charles II: England’s Paradise [Ashgate, 2012], 167, 194).
Inviting the reader to spend considerable time in this garden, the poem enables us to consider what a garden is and means. It could be a place for contemplation, rest, and pleasure, an experimental site, or a site of work; the same person might experience the same garden differently at different times. In this poem, Pulter does not invite us to think about the labor a garden requires; the flowers want her praise but not her pruning. Gardens served also as emblems of order or of generative chaos, a terrain over which to impose mastery or an escape from oversight, as models of politics and as a respite from politics. These contentious flowers may defer to their judge, like good royalists, but they are also unruly and unpredictable. In some ways, “The Garden” levels distinctions. The first speaker, the Wallflower, boasts “I do not for a fit appear, / As doth the Tulip, but I all the year / Perfume the air” (90-92). This is a reminder that this gathering of flowers, including what Shakespeare’s Perdita identifies as flowers of the spring (violet, primroses, flower de luce or iris) as well as those of high summer (such as the July flower, which Perdita refuses to plant as “nature’s bastards”) could not occur except on the page. “The Garden” also gathers together flowers of different provenance. Flowers associated with royalty (the Tudor rose and the flower de luce) mix with humble cottage flowers (the woodbine and violet). Recent imports mix with more “English” flowers, although even botanists admitted that the two were hard to differentiate. John Parkinson distinguishes “Outlandish flowers, that for their pride, beauty, and earliness are to be planted in gardens of pleasure for delight”—which include for him many of the flowers in Pulter’s garden (woodbine, lilies, flower de luces, tulips, and auricula) from “those that are called usually English flowers,” yet he promptly concedes that while these are “called” English, “the most of them were never natural of this our land, but brought in from other countries at one time or other, by those that took pleasure in them where they first saw them” (Paradisi In Sole Paradisus Terrestris [1629], 11). Many of the flowers who speak here were ones whose stature changed in the course of the seventeenth century, as they became more or less fashionable and costly; for example, the gillyflowers lost place to tulips and then auriculas as the “hot” flowers. Although they gather from various places and seasons, the high and the low, the fashionable and pedestrian, these flowers aren’t all just one big happy bouquet. This is, after all, a contention. The lily claims not to brag of its Persian origins (and does); the Rose boasts of its relation to Muhammad. The flowers in the garden often talk about blood, birth, and race, adding support to Jean Feerick’s argument that early modern texts “navigate human difference by reference to botanical discourse” (Jean Feerick, “Botanical Shakespeares: The Racial Logic of Plant Life in Titus Andronicus,” South Central Review 26.1&2 [2009]: 82-102; see also Rebecca Bushnell, Green Desire: Imagining Early Modern English Gardens [Cornell UP, 2003], 132-160).
Gardens were often designed to be seen from the inside, through a window, yet Pulter plants her speaker in the garden, not looking out over it but lying in the midst of it. Claiming ownership over “my garden” and “my flowers,” the narrator, who is otherwise identified only as female and sad, has already shaped the debate by awarding the contenders a place in her garden. She does not have her own story to tell, serving only as a kind of mistress of ceremonies. The job the flowers then set her is to render a judgment, but the poem ends with her deferring that judgment to another day. We can view this as either indecisive, a refusal or failure to render the judgment promised and resolve the contention, or as a signal that this is a contention that is constantly restaged, impossible to resolve definitively.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Once in my Garden as a lone I lay
Once in my garden as alone I lay,
Once in my garden as alone I lay,
2
Some Solitary howres to paſs away
Some solitary hours to pass away,
Some solitary hours to pass away,
3
My fflowers most faire and fresh w:thin my view
My flowers most fair and fresh within my view,
My flowers most fair and fresh within my view,
4
New
Physical Note
“watr’d” inserted directly above “Diamon’d”
Diamon’d watr’d
over with Aurora’s dew
New
Gloss Note
diamonded; made to glitter like a diamond
diamoned
, watered o’er with
Gloss Note
goddess of the dawn’s
Aurora’s
dew—
New diamond-watered over with
Gloss Note
Goddess of the dawn, who makes frequent appearances in Pulter’s poems.
Aurora’s
dew
5
Theire names in or^der I er’e long will mention
Their names in order I
Gloss Note
before
ere
long will mention—
(Their names in order I ere long will mention),
6
Physical Note
corrected from “That”, with initial “e” over “a”; final “t” imperfectly erased; additional “e” crowded into space before next word
There
hap^ened amongst them this
Physical Note
unclear correction of spelling mid-word
contenition
There happened amongst them this contention:
There happened amongst them this contention:
7
Which of them did theire fellowes all excell
Which of them did their fellows all excel
Which of them did their fellows all excel
8
In vertue, Couloure, Bevty, ffashion, Smell
In
Gloss Note
not just moral goodness or general superiority but, in this botanical context, beneficial or specifically healing power
virtue
, color, beauty, fashion, smell;
In
Critical Note
While we are familiar with the use of this word meaning a moral quality regarded as good or desirable in a person (or anthropomorphized flower), such as humility, when applied to plants in the early modern period, “virtue” is often interchangeable with “uses” or “benefits,” describing a plant’s power to affect the human body in a beneficial manner by strengthening, sustaining, or healing. A plant’s virtues would thus mean its beneficial or healing properties or its magical or occult power or influence.
virtue
, color, beauty,
Critical Note
Fashion here means shape. In this line, the speaker goes on to introduce an emphasis on scent that many of the flowers will pick up. On the importance of scent as a defining pleasure offered by gardens, see Holly Dugan, The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011).
fashion, smell
;
9
And mee they choſe for Umpire in this play
And me they chose for umpire in this play.
And me they chose for
Gloss Note
One who decides between disputants or contending parties and whose decision is usually accepted as final; an arbitrator. This choice of word helps us hear “play” both as a kind of pageant and as a game. The umpire will preside over this sport.
umpire
in this play.
10
Then up I roſe, Sad thoughts I laid away
Then up I rose, sad thoughts I laid away,
Then up I rose, sad thoughts I laid away,
11
And unto them I inſtantly Replied
And unto them I instantly replied
And unto them I instantly replied
12
That this theire
Physical Note
“y” appears crowded into space before next word
controversy
I’d
Physical Note
“would” appears imperfectly erased, with apostrophe and “d” of “I’d” written over “w”
[?]
decide
That this their controversy I’d decide,
That this their controversy I’d decide,
13
Soe they would Stand to my arbitrement
Gloss Note
if
So
they would stand to my
Gloss Note
power to decide for others; decision or sentence of an authority; settlement of a dispute
arbitrament
.
So they would stand to my
Gloss Note
My final decision as arbitrator of this dispute.
arbitrament
.
14
They Smileing Anſwer’d they were all content
They, smiling, answered they were all content.
They, smiling, answered they were all content.
15
I gave them leave theire virtues to declare
I gave them leave their virtues to declare
I gave them leave their virtues to declare
16
That I the better might theire worth compare
That I the better might their worth compare.
That I the better might their worth compare.
and

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17
And now I
Physical Note
quadruple strike-through
doe
humbly doe implore the Ayde
And now I humbly do implore the aid
And now I humbly do implore the aid
18
Of that most Debonare delicious Maide
Of that most
Gloss Note
gentle; gracious; courteous; affable
debonair
,
Gloss Note
highly pleasing or delightful; affording amusement or enjoyment; characterized by or tending to sensuous indulgence; pleasing to the taste or smell
delicious
maid,
Of that most
Gloss Note
Of gentle disposition, mild, meek, gracious, kindly, courteous, and affable.
debonair
Critical Note
Highly pleasing or delightful; affording great pleasure or enjoyment, but with a suggestion, as connotations today suggest, of pleasing or enjoyable to the bodily senses, especially to the taste or smell; affording exquisite sensuous or bodily pleasure. This is an early indication that the poem, like the garden, will try to engage all of the senses.
delicious
maid,
19
Louely Erato Crow^n’d with fragrant fflowers
Lovely
Gloss Note
the muse of lyric (especially love) poetry and hymns; Greek for “lovely”
Erato
, crowned with fragrant flowers,
Lovely
Gloss Note
The muse of lyric poetry and hymns, whose name means “lovely.” Her sisters are the other eight muses.
Erato
, crowned with fragrant flowers,
20
Who with her virgin Sisters Spend their howres
Who with her virgin sisters spend their hours
Who with her virgin sisters spend their hours
21
By Cleare Pereus, Cristall Hippocreen,
By clear
Gloss Note
Pieria was a district on the slopes of Mount Olympus associated with the Muses and with springs that provided poetic inspiration.
Pereus
, crystal
Gloss Note
a fountain on Mount Helicon, where the Muses lived
Hippocrene
,
By clear Pereus, crystal Hippocrene,
22
Sweet Hellicon or Tempes fflowery green
Sweet
Gloss Note
Helicon was a mountain associated with the Muses and with fountains believed to give inspiration to those who drank them. Tempe refers to the valley between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, which was dedicated to the cult of Apollo and thus associated with music and beauty.
Helicon or Tempe’s flowery green
:
Sweet Helicon or
Gloss Note
These places—Pereus or Pieria, Hippocrene, Helicon, and Tempe—are all associated with the muses, poetic inspiration, and Mount Olympus or the home of the Greek gods. The speaker calls the muses from these Olympian heights into her own garden.
Tempe’s flowery green
.
23
ffaire Thesbian Ladyes all I aske of you,
Fair
Gloss Note
associated with the dramatic arts (from the sixth-century Thespis, founder of Greek tragedy)
Thespian
ladies, all I ask of you,
Fair
Critical Note
Related to Thespis, the traditional father of Greek tragedy (6th cent. b.c.); and so, pertaining to tragedy or the dramatic arts; tragic, dramatic. In calling her muses “Thespian ladies,” the speaker takes us back to the description of the contention as a kind of “play” or drama as well as a game.
Thespian
ladies, all I ask of you,
24
Is, that I give to every flower
Physical Note
ascending straight line beneath
her due
,
Is that I give to every flower her due.
Is that I give to every flower her
Critical Note
Asking the Thespian ladies to insure that she gives each flower her due, the speaker suggests that doing so is not entirely under her own control.
due
.
The Woodbine
The Woodbine
The Woodbine, 1st
25
Physical Note
in left margin between this line and next: “The Woodbine 1:st
ffirst
spoake the Double Woodbine wondro:s faire
First spoke the
Gloss Note
honeysuckle, a flowering climbing shrub
Double Woodbine
wondrous fair,
First spoke
Gloss Note
The Double Woodbine is more commonly called the honeysuckle; it is described as “double” to distinguish it from other woodbines and to suggest its characteristic paired flowers with petals in two different colors. One often finds it as an ingredient in medicines for women. Because it is a twining, climbing, creeping vine, and has coupled blossoms, it is often described as amorous or wanton: “the flowers / Wantonly run to meet and kiss each other” (James Shirley, Changes: or, Love in a maze [London, 1632], Act 2). Richard Blome’s The art of heraldry (London, 1685), describes the Woodbine as “a loving and amorous plant, embracing all that groweth near it, but without hurting of that which it loveth, and is contrary to the Ivy (which is a Type of Lust rather than Love) for it [meaning the Ivy] injureth that which it most embraceth” (p. 119). Woodbine is also often spelled woodbind, indicating its firm grasp on supports and invasive habit. While the Woodbine is one of the homelier of the flowers participating in this contention, gracing English cottages, she emphasizes her presence in antiquity and her intimacy with goddesses. She depends on more classical allusion than some of her more exotic rivals.
the Double Woodbine
, wondrous fair,
26
Whose Aromatick Breath perfum’d the Ayre
Whose aromatic breath perfumed the air,
Whose aromatic breath perfumed the air,
27
Saying I am confident all that can Smell
Saying: “I am confident all that can smell
Saying: “I am confident all that can smell
28
Or See will say that I the Rest excell
Or see will say that I the rest excel.
Or see will say that I the rest excel.
29
Why am I placed elce ’bout Princely Bowers
Why am I placed else ’bout princely
Gloss Note
dwellings; chambers; shaded garden retreats
bowers
,
Why am I placed else ’bout princely bowers,
30
Shadeing theire Arbours and theyre statly Towers
Shading their
Gloss Note
garden features, often shaded and enclosed by intertwined shrubs and lattice work
arbors
and their stately towers?
Critical Note
Bowers and arbors were man-made structures formed out of living plant material in outdoor spaces. Woodbine or honeysuckle, because both pliant and fragrant, was frequently used to construct or cover arches and structures that provided privacy. Parkinson calls the double honeysuckle “Ladies Bower,” and praises it as “the fittest of outlandish plants to set by arbors and banqueting houses, that are open, both before and above to help to cover them, and to give both sight, smell, and delight” (Parkinson Paradisi [1629], 10). Parkinson thus positions the woodbine as both domestic and outlandish. In Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon describes how Titania sometimes sleeps on a bank “quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine” (2.1.251) and Titania says she will embrace Bottom as “doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle / Gently entwist” (4.1.40-41). Weaving living plants into sturdy hedges and structures was called “pleaching” or “planching.” In Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, Hero tells Margaret to “bid her [Beatrice] steal into the pleachèd bower / Where honeysuckles, ripened by the sun, / Forbid the sun to enter” (3.1.7-9). The pleachèd bower is also called “the woodbine coverture” (3.1.30); Benedick has hidden himself in this bower in 2.3 as well. (These and all quotations from Shakespeare are from The Norton Shakespeare, third edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al [New York: Norton, 2016]). That the Woodbine here proceeds to tell the story of Diana and Acteon suggests how a “woodbine coverture” might foster an eroticized privacy but also one that is readily breached.
Shading their arbors and their stately towers
?
31
I did about
Physical Note
initial “I” scribbled out; final “a” altered to “e”
[I]Idalies
Arbour grow
I did about
Gloss Note
Venus’s
Idalia’s
arbor grow,
I did about
Gloss Note
Idalia is another name for the Greek goddess Aphrodite, goddess of love and desire, because at Idalia, a hill in Cyprus, she had her groves.
Idalia’s
arbor grow,
32
Her bower of Loue, when youthfull Blood did flow
Her bower of love, when youthful blood did flow
Her bower of love; when youthful blood did flow
33
In old Anchises veins
Physical Note
“their” in different hand from main scribe; double strike-through on “that”
^their ^that
hee did Rest
In old
Gloss Note
Venus’s lover, father of Aeneas
Anchises’s
veins; there he did rest
In old
Gloss Note
Anchises was the father of Aeneas. The Woodbine here tells the story of how the goddess Aphrodite, disguised as a mortal, seduced Anchises and became the mother of Aeneas, supposedly the founder of Rome and of the Julian family line that included two emperors, Julius Caesar and Augustus. The main source for this story, the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, as translated by Gregory Nagy, describes the site of the seduction as a “herdsmen’s homestead" in the hills, but does not specifically mention that this “bower of love” was made of woodbine. However, an amphora at the British Museum depicting events later in the life of Anchises includes the decoration of “double honeysuckle,” linking Anchises, his son Aeneas, and this flower (see Curation The Flowers of Pulter’s Library: Myths). The Woodbine suggests here that without the cover she provided for conception, Aeneas, Rome, and “the Julian race” or family line might never have begun.
Anchises’s
veins, there he did rest,
34
His Rosey Cheeks upon her Lilly brest
His rosy cheeks upon her lily breast,
His rosy cheeks upon her lily breast,
35
Whos loue produced the happy Julyan Race
Whose love produced the happy
Gloss Note
The Roman emperor Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from Aeneas
Julian race
.
Whose love produced the happy Julian race;
36
Therefore (of all) give mee the chiefest place
Therefore (of all) give me the chiefest place.
Therefore (of all) give me the chiefest place.
37
Oft hath Diana underneath my Shade
Oft hath
Gloss Note
goddess of chastity
Diana
underneath my shade
Oft hath Diana underneath my shade
38
To inrich ſome fountaine her unready made
To enrich some fountain
Gloss Note
undressed herself
her unready made
,
To enrich some fountain
Gloss Note
Diana was the goddess of chastity. “Her unready made” means “she undressed herself.”
her unready made
,
diſcloſeing

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39
Diſcloſeing ^then to my admireing eye
Disclosing then to my admiring eye
Disclosing then to my admiring eye
40
Thoſe bevties which who ſoe doth prie
Those beauties which whoso doth pry
Those beauties which whoso doth pry
41
Into, (let him) Ô let him) Still beware
Into, let him—O let him—still beware,
Into—let him, O let him, still beware!—
42
Least in Acteons Punniſhment hee Share
Lest in
Gloss Note
The mythological hunter Actaeon accidentally came upon Diana bathing naked with her maid. To punish him, Diana transformed him into a deer and he was torn apart by his own hunting hounds.
Actaeon’s punishment
he share.
Lest in
Critical Note
While hunting, Acteon stumbled upon the goddess Diana bathing. To punish his audacity in seeing what he should not, the goddess turned him into a stag and his own hounds devoured him. Although popular accounts of this story do not mention that a woodbine shaded Diana’s bathing place, here the woodbine boasts that, since it provides the cover for the goddess’s nudity, it can see what is forbidden to others. For Ovid’s version of this story, see Curation The Flowers of Pulter’s Library: Myths. The Woodbine insinuates itself into these famous scenes of God-human intimacy, claiming to have provided cover but to have been an eyewitness as well as a facilitator.
Actaeon’s
punishment he share.
43
Doe but obſerve the Amezonian Bee
Do but observe the
Gloss Note
Bees lived in a matriarchy, like Amazons, a mythical group of separatist female warriors.
Amazonian bee
Do but observe the
Gloss Note
References to bees as “Amazonian” acknowledged that their queen was female, which was not yet widely recognized.
Amazonian bee
44
Com to this Garden, Shee noe flower can See
Come to this garden: she
Gloss Note
implied: no other flower
no flower
can see
Come to this garden: she
Gloss Note
No flower other than the woodbine, that is.
no flower
can see
45
That can with Mell, and Necter her Supplie
That can with
Gloss Note
Latin for honey
mel
and nectar her supply;
That can with
Gloss Note
Honey
mel
and nectar her supply;
46
My Cornucopie doth her Satisfie
My
Gloss Note
the horn of plenty symbolizing fruitfulness and plenty, represented in art as a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn
cornucopia
doth her satisfy.
Gloss Note
Horn of plenty, that is, my abundant nectar.
My cornucopia
doth her satisfy.
47
Then of precedencie I need not doubt
Then of precedency I need not doubt,
Then of precedency I need not doubt,
48
Cauſe I perfume your goeing in and out
Gloss Note
This line is possibly an allusion to the tradition of growing honeysuckle around the doors of houses (Eardley).
’Cause I perfume your going in and out
.”
Gloss Note
Because the woodbine twines around arbors at the entrance and/or exit to the garden, she is the alpha and omega of the garden. Although widely considered a humble cottage plant, she doesn’t have to worry about “precedency” because she bookends the experience of every visitor to the garden.
’Cause I perfume your going in and out
.”
The Tulip
The Tulip
The Tulip, 2nd
49
Physical Note
in left margin, between this line and next: “The Tulip 2d
The
Tulip to the Woodbine then Replyed
The Tulip to the Woodbine then replied:
Gloss Note
In seventeenth-century England, the tulip was characterized by its exoticism, cost, and variety of colors and patterns. Yet, unlike the woodbine, it did not have a strong perfume; here the Tulip accuses the heavily scented Woodbine of trying to lead justice “by the nose.”
The Tulip
to the Woodbine then replied:
50
I am Amazed at thy infinite Pride
“I am amazed at thy infinite pride.
“I am amazéd at thy infinite pride.
51
Dost thou preſume or canst thou once Suppose
Dost thou presume, or canst thou once suppose,
Dost thou presume, or canst thou once suppose,
52
To lead impartiall Justice by the Noſe
Gloss Note
To lead by the nose was to cause to obey submissively or to guide by persuasion
To lead impartial Justice by the nose
?
To lead impartial justice by the nose?
53
Becauſe thou yieldest a pleasſant Spicie Smell
Because thou yieldest a pleasant spicy smell,
Because thou yieldest a pleasant spicy smell,
54
Therefore all other flowers thou must excell
Therefore all other flowers thou must excel?
Therefore all other flowers thou must excel?
55
What though thy limber dangling flowers hover
What though thy
Gloss Note
flexible; limp, flaccid, or flabby (physically or morally)
limber
, dangling flowers hover,
What though thy
Critical Note
To describe the woodbine vine as limber suggests that it is easily bent, flexible, pliant, and supple. This is what enables the woodbine to twine around supports and clamber up trellises and arbors. But the Tulip reveals that this quality could also be viewed negatively as insinuating and even choking. While the woodbine is a limber vine covered in “dangling” blossoms, the tulip is a bulb that produces a single, sumptuous bloom on one upright stem.
limber
dangling flowers hover,
56
Hideing Som wanton and her wanton lover
Hiding some wanton and her wanton lover—
Hiding some wanton and her wanton lover?
57
Though Venus and her Paramore it bee
Though Venus and her paramour it be?
Though Venus and her paramour it be,
58
A
a sizeable space follows this word, with room for perhaps another two-letter word.
Micurella
bee alone for mee
Gloss Note
A “maquerella” was a term for a female pimp or procuress (see note for this line by Frances E. Dolan, “The Garden” [Poem 12], Amplified Edition). The tulip seems to dismissively order the woodbine to perform that role (to “be” a maquerella) “alone”—that is, to be a maquerella without her (the tulip’s) help—before going on to declare that she refuses the office of pimp. In the manuscript, a blank space after “Micurella,” a lack of punctuation in these lines (as in most of Pulter’s poems), and potentially unusual syntax (as in our proposed editing) makes this passage difficult to parse.
A maquerella be, alone; for me
,
A
Critical Note
The Tulip emphasizes that providing cover for lovers is nothing to boast about, even if those wantons are a goddess and her paramour. The word “micurella” might be a version of the French word “maquerelle” for a bawd or female pimp. For example, a character who is a “court bawd” is named “Macarella” in John Eliot, Poems or Epigrams (London, 1658), p 60-61. The Ladies Dictionary (1694) defines “mickerel” as “a pander or procurer” (308). It would then be the office of the bawd—the Woodbine’s office of affording privacy for suspect uses—that the Tulip scorns.
micurella
be alone for me.
59
I Scorn that office as I doe thy Pride
I scorn that
Gloss Note
a position with certain duties, here the Woodbine’s hiding of lovers
office
as I do thy pride.
I scorn that office as I do thy pride;
60
Yet am I in a Thouſand Coulours Died
Yet am I in a thousand colors dyed,
Yet am I in a thousand colors dyed,
61
And though my Seed bee Sown a Hundred yeare
And though my seed be sown a hundred year
And though my seed be sown a hundred year
62
Yet Still in Newer Coulours I apeare
Gloss Note
John Gerard describes the tulip’s annual proliferation and variety of its colors (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 140).
Yet still in newer colors I appear
;
Gloss Note
The description of the tulip’s thousands of colors refers to the bulbs’ capacity for “breaking” or coming out with unexpected colors and patterns (which is now understood to be the result of a virus).
Yet still in newer colors I appear
;
And

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63
Physical Note
spaces between lines on this page are greater and hand alters slightly
And
if of other flowers there were none
And if of other flowers there were none,
And if of other flowers there were none,
64
A Garden might be made of me alone
A garden might be made of me alone,
A garden might be made of me alone.
65
And floros Mantle might imbroidred bee
And
Gloss Note
Flora is the mythological goddess of flowers and personification of nature’s power in producing flowers; a mantle is a cloak or covering.
Flora’s mantle
might embroidered be,
And
Critical Note
Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers. For some of the complexly gendered meanings she carried, see Curation Expanding Our Understanding of Flora. A mantle is a cloak, blanket, or covering. See that same Curation for an example of a richly embroidered textile containing varied flowers. While needleworkers tried to capture and trope on botanical variety in their work, often, like Pulter, imagining flowers blooming simultaneously on their canvases that could not in a garden, the Tulip here imagines Flora as embroidering pastures and garden beds with tulips alone. This couplet and the one preceding it capture the Tulip’s insistence that she alone provides sufficient variety for any garden.
Flora’s mantle
might embroidered be,
66
As rich as now it is by none but mee
As rich as now it is, by none but me.
As rich as now it is by none but me.
67
That Glorious King that had w:ts heat deſir’d
Gloss Note
The king is the biblical king of Israel, Solomon, known for his wealth and wisdom; “what’s” signifies “what his.” See Matthew 6:28-29: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
That glorious king that had what’s heart desired
Critical Note
The glorious king appears to be Solomon, referring to Matthew 6:28-29: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The Tulip appropriates this reference to “the lilies of the field” to describe herself; she repurposes an injunction to human humility before God as a boast.
That glorious king
that had what’s heart desired
68
Was never in his Thrown Soe rich attird
Was never in his throne so rich attired
Was never in his throne so rich attired
69
As I,
Physical Note
insertion marks and “nor,” directly above “not,” in different hand from main scribe
\ not nor \
in Such various Coulours drest
As I, nor in such various colors dressed;
As I, nor in such various colors dressed;
70
Therefore I well may Queen bee of ye Rest
Therefore I well may queen be of the rest.
Therefore I well may
Gloss Note
The flowers’ gender is not always explicit or binary. The Tulip here seems to gender herself as female as she elevates herself as queen.
queen
be of the rest.
71
The Turkiſh Turbants doe inlarg o:r fames
The
Gloss Note
In his Herbal, John Gerard claimed that Turkish people named the tulip because it resembled the headdress that Muslims wore (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 146).
Turkish turbans
do enlarge our fames,
The Turkish
Gloss Note
European variants of the word tulip derive from the Persian root it shares with the word turban. Early modern writers suggested this was because of a resemblance between blossom and turban. The botanist John Gerard calls this “strange and foreign flower” the “Tulipa or the Dalmation Cap” (The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes [London, 1597], sig. H2v),observing that “After it hath been some few days flowered, the points and brims of the flower turn backward, like a Dalmatian or Turk’s cap...whereof it took his name” (H3r). John Evelyn offers a different version of this claim when he writes that “the Turks who esteem no ornament comparable to that of Flowers” venerate the tulip above all others, “for which reason they adorn their turbans with them when they would appear in most splendor: & hence it is, that they have given that name to the tulip, as the most capital flower” (Elysium Britannicum, ed. John E. Ingram [U of Pennsylvania Press, 2000], p. 344). The link between tulip and turban serves to exoticize the tulip, marking it as a stranger from Turkey (See Benedict S. Robinson, “Green Seraglios: Tulips, Turbans, and the Global Market,” JEMCS 9.1 [2009]: 93-122, esp. 107). In Curation Parliaments of Flowers, see Antheologia, in which the other flowers kick the tulip out of the garden and onto the dunghill because it is a foreign rival, unknown in English gardens 60 years earlier, that is supplanting them in popularity. Here, the Tulip seems to claim that Turks who wear turbans “enlarge” the tulip’s fame by sporting it as an ornament. The meaning of the Tulip’s claim about the turban becomes even more clear when the Wallflower next speaks, scolding the Tulip for boasting of its association with turbans.
turbans
do enlarge our fames,
72
And wee are honour’d by A Thousand names
And
Gloss Note
Hundreds of tulip cultivars were named in the early seventeenth century as part of the Dutch phenomenon known as “tulipmania” (Anne Goldgar, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age [University of Chicago Press, 2008], p. 107).
we are honored by a thousand names
And we are honored by a thousand
Critical Note
This is the first appearance of the name/fame rhyme, which will reappear 5 more times in the poem. The Tulip may boast that it is honored by a thousand world-renowned names but it is hard to find many names for it in contemporary herbals. It is, however, widely praised for “such a wonderful variety and mixture of colors, that it is almost impossible for the wit of man to decipher them thoroughly, and to give names that may be true & several distinctions to every flower;” its variety is so great that the tulip “is of itself alone almost sufficient to furnish a garden with their flowers for almost half the year” (Parkinson 9).
names
,
73
Which would vain Glory bee here to Rehearſe
Which would vainglory be here to rehearse,
Which would vainglory be here to rehearse,
74
Seing they are known thoughout
Physical Note
multiple strike-through of “y”
they
Univerſ
Seeing they are known throughout the universe.
Seeing they are known throughout the universe.
75
Beſides my beuty I haue vertue Store
Besides my beauty, I have virtue
Gloss Note
in abundance or reserve
store
;
Besides my beauty,
Critical Note
This means not just moral goodness or general superiority but, in this botanical context, beneficial or specifically healing power in abundance or in reserve.
I have virtue store
:
76
My roots decay’d Nature doth Restore
Gloss Note
Tulips are perennials which restore themselves from their root-like bulbs. Tulip bulbs or roots were also understood to be nutritive: “The roots preserved with sugar, or otherwise dressed, may be eaten, and are no unpleasant nor any way offensive meat, but rather good and nourishing” (John Gerard, The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 147). In View But This Tulip (Emblem 40) [Poem 105] Pulter describes a more technical process by which the tulip’s chemically treated ashes could regenerate the plant itself. If the latter meaning, then “roots” would be a possessive (“roots’”).
My roots decayed nature doth restore
.
My roots decayed nature doth
Critical Note
The Tulip slows down the usual gallop of rhyming couplets here to offer a triplet on the subject of its “virtues” or properties useful to humans. Robinson describes the tulip as a flower “notorious for having no useful or medicinal properties” (103). In Antheologia, the Tulip itself concedes: “there is yet no known sovereign virtue in my leaves, but it is injurious to infer that I have none, because as yet not taken notice of.” In Cowley’s Of Plants, however, the Tulip claims to be an aphrodisiac: “My root...prepares / Lovers for battle or those softer wars” (Cowley, The Third Part of the Works [1689], sig. K2v). Similarly, Pulter’s Tulip here insists that it has restorative medical benefits.
restore
.
77
Then let another Speak that can say more
Then let another speak that can say more.”
Then let another speak that can say more.”
The Wallflower or Heartsease
The Wallflower or Heartsease
The Wallflower or Heartsease, 3rd
78
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Wallflower or Hartseaſe 3d
Then
said the Walflower neither Show nor Smel
“Then,” said the Wallflower, “Neither show nor smell
“Then,” said
Gloss Note
The Wallflower, related to the gillyflower or carnation, which also appears in this contention, gets its name from its location “growing wild on old walls, on rocks, in quarries, etc.” (OED), as well as cultivated in gardens. In colloquial speech in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it later extends its name to old clothes (presumably left hanging on clothes pegs on the wall) and to “A lady who keeps her seat at the side of a room during dancing, whether because she cannot find a partner or by her own choice” (OED). “The name heartsease,” which the Wallflower claims here, was also used for wild pansies or violas. Herrick’s poem “Why the Wall-flower came first, and why so called” makes the Wallflower the protagonist of a kind of de casibus tragedy, suggesting she got her name by falling to her death off a wall in pursuit of her beloved (Herrick, Hesperides [London, 1648], 12). It’s not clear that this garden has walls. Many early modern writers insisted that walls defined and protected the garden; the very word for paradise is connected to the Persian paliz, describing a walled vegetable plot; the “verdurous wall” Milton describes enclosing paradise makes it paradise—even if it also fails to keep Satan out. While this garden has a Wallflower, it isn’t clear whether it has walls.
the Wallflower
, “Neither show nor smell
79
Alone (by my content) but vertue bears ye bell
Gloss Note
to my satisfaction
(By my content)
but virtue
Gloss Note
takes the first place, has foremost position, or is the best
bears the bell
;
Critical Note
“By my content” may mean either “by the sum of the qualities I contain” (my contents) or “to my satisfaction” (or contentment); it might also refer to the fact that this is a contention or dispute of flowers and so this is the Wallflower’s own contention or argument. “Bears the bell” means “wins first prize” or “earns first place.” In any case, the Wallflower emphasizes that, in her view and in her case, neither appearance (as in the case of the Tulip) nor smell (one of the Woodbine’s claims to fame) but “virtue,” meaning here moral goodness, is what really matters. She also points out, however, that she is both beautiful and sweet and links perfume to immortality and good reputation, the “aromatic splendent fame” of the saint. The saint both has a reputation or fame that survives its death and, it was sometimes claimed, did not decay in death but rather had a sweet smelling corpse. See Fragrant Odors Immortalize a Virgin Name in the Curations for the Amplified Edition of Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
(By my content) but virtue bears the bell
;
80
ffor certainly if Sweetnes bore the Sway
For certainly, if sweetness
Gloss Note
ruled or governed; held the highest authority or power
bore the sway
,
For certainly if sweetness bore the sway
81
Then am I Sure to bear the priſe away
Then am I sure to bear the prize away.
Then am I sure to bear the prize away.
if

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82
If Shew,
Physical Note
scribbled out
thy
^my flowers are Statly to behold
If show, my flowers are stately to behold:
If show, my flowers are stately to behold:
83
Som Red, Some White, and Som like burnisht Gould
Some red, some white, and some like burnished gold.
Some red, some white, and some like burnished gold.
84
But if yo’l give to vertue all her due
But if you’ll give to virtue all her due,
But if you’ll give to virtue all her due,
85
My worth doth fare excell my Golden hew
My worth doth far excel my golden hue.
My worth doth far excel my golden hue.
86
Such Rare inherent vertue doth inherrit
Such rare inherent virtue doth
Gloss Note
obtain; succeed as heir; dwell, take up abode
inherit
Such rare inherent virtue doth inherit
87
Within my smell by chearing of Mens spirit
Within my smell, by cheering of men’s spirit,
Within my smell by cheering of men’s spirit.
88
All turbulent Paſſions I am known to apeaſe
All turbulent passions I am known to appease,
All turbulent passions I am known to appease;
89
My vulgar nomination being Hearts ease
My
Gloss Note
vernacular (i.e., English) name
vulgar nomination
being
Gloss Note
a name applicable at this time to the wallflower as well as pansy
“Heartsease.”
My vulgar nomination being “Heartsease.”
90
Beſides I doe not for a fitt apeare
Besides, I do not for
Gloss Note
a short period; a sudden and transitory state of activity
a fit
appear,
Besides I do not for a fit appear
91
As doth the Tulip but I all the yeare
As doth the Tulip, but I all the year
As doth the Tulip, but I all the year
92
Perfume the Aire to Gardens ad Such grace
Perfume the air, to gardens add such grace
Perfume the air, to gardens add such grace,
93
That I without preſumption may take place
That I without presumption may take place
That I without presumption may take place
94
Aboue the Rest, though not like Tulips painted
Above the rest (though not like tulips
Gloss Note
colored or ornamented, as with paint; sometimes with derogatory connotations related to pretence and deception; sometimes applied to plants (like tulips) with variegated coloring
painted
).
Gloss Note
The Wallflower’s chief virtue is that it blooms year round.
Above the rest
, though not like
Gloss Note
This suggests that the gaudy and colorful tulips are painted or wear makeup. Andrew Marvell uses similar language in “The Mower against Gardens,” in which the Mower complains that “flowers themselves were taught to paint. / The tulip, white, did for complexion seek, / And learned to interline its cheek” (12-14), included in Curation Other Garden Poems.
tulips painted
,
95
ffor beuty never yet made Woman Sainted
For beauty never yet made woman sainted;
For beauty never yet made woman sainted.
96
Tis vertue doth imortalize theire name
’Tis virtue doth immortalize their name,
’Tis virtue doth immortalize their name,
97
And makes an Aromatick Splendent fame
And makes an aromatic,
Gloss Note
shining brightly; gorgeous, magnificent, beautiful
splendent
fame.
And makes an aromatic splendent fame.
98
About this Orb her numerous names Shee Rings
About
Gloss Note
the earth
this orb
Gloss Note
the Tulip, who “rings” or sounds loudly her multiple names
her
numerous names she rings;
About this orb her numerous names she rings;
99
So may Euphratus boast her Thousand Springs
So may
Gloss Note
major river in Western Asia, which received water from many sources and rivers
Euphrates
boast her thousand springs.
So may Euphrates boast her thousand springs,
whilst

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100
Whilst Nil’s head is Ocult, one ownly name
Whilst
Gloss Note
The source of the Nile River in Egypt was not known at this time.
Nile’s head is occult
, one only name
Gloss Note
The numerous tributaries feeding into the Euphrates do not make it a more glorious river than the Nile, whose source was notoriously uncertain but whose fame was well established. The “she” in the next line seems to refer to the Nile. While she, the Nile, only needs one name, she, the Tulip, whose fame is “emergent” because she is a newcomer, is so bold as to boast of her many names.
Whilst Nile’s head is occult
, one only name
101
Shee glories in yet of Emergent fame
She glories in; yet of emergent fame
She glories in; yet of emergent fame
102
Shee vapouring, brags that shee is Stuck about
Gloss Note
the Tulip
She
,
Gloss Note
talking in a blustering or bragging manner; in this context, the word hints at the secondary meaning, “an evaporation of moisture”
vaporing
, brags that she is stuck about
Gloss Note
“She” refers here to the Tulip (in contrast to the Nile); vaporing means here boasting. The Tulip has the nerve to brag that she is placed in a pagan’s turban. Although turban is singular, the word “rout” or disorderly mob multiplies the pagans the Wallflower associates with the Tulip.
She
, vaporing, brags that she is stuck about
103
The
Physical Note
small blot obscures the “c”; possibly a deliberate cancellation
wretched
Turbant of ye
Physical Note
“s” cancelled with a blot
Pagans
Rowt
Gloss Note
The Tulip bragged, above, that she is made famous by being associated with the turbans of Turkish people, whom the Wallflower derides as a heathen “rout” (assembly or crowd).
The wretched turban of the pagan rout
.
The wretched turban of the pagan rout.
104
Such Honor: as diſhonor: I Should Scorn
Such honor as dishonor I should scorn,
Such honor as dishonor I should scorn,
105
And Rather choose as I am to bee worn
And rather choose as I am to be worn
And rather choose as I am to be worn
106
Upon Som lovely modest, virgins breast
Upon some lovely modest virgin’s breast,
Upon some lovely modest virgin’s breast,
107
Where all the graces doe triumphant Rest
Where all the
Gloss Note
three goddesses who represented intellectual pleasures: beauty, grace, and charm
Graces
do triumphant rest.”
Where all
Gloss Note
Three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who attended on Aphrodite and represented youth, beauty, joy, and charm.
the Graces
do triumphant rest.”
The Lily
The Lily
The Lily, 4th
108
Physical Note
in left margin “The Lilly 4:th
The
lilly Smiled, and Said Shee did admire
The Lily smiled and said she did admire
Gloss Note
A flower traditionally associated with virginity and purity and, as a consequence, often carried by brides. According to Gerard, the Lily has her own story of what the Poppy will later call “excrementious birth”: she sprang from the Goddess Juno’s milk that spilled on the ground after she nursed Hercules (147). The poet Robert Herrick’s poem “How lilies came white” describes Cupid pinching his mother’s nipple, “Out of which the cream of light, / Like to a dew, / Fell down on you / And made ye white” (Hesperides [London, 1648], 81). Abraham Cowley’s Lily announces “A goddess’ milk produced my birth” and Cowley provides this marginal gloss: “Jupiter in order to make Hercules immortal, clapped him to Juno’s breasts, while she was asleep. The lusty rogue sucked so hard, that too great a gush of milk coming forth, some spilt upon the Sky, which made the Galaxy or Milky Way; and out of some which fell to the Earth arose the Lily” (Cowley, Third Part of the Works [1689], sig. N4v (You will find a substantial excerpt from Cowley in Curation Parliaments of Flowers).
The Lily
smiled and said
Critical Note
The Lily is the first flower specifically given the gendered pronoun “she.”
she
did admire
109
The Walflowers boldnes, and her bold deſire
The Wallflower’s boldness and her bold desire.
The Wallflower’s boldness and her bold desire.
110
Becauſe Shee breaths a Suffocateing fume
“Because she breathes a suffocating fume,
“Because she breathes a suffocating fume,
111
Must Shee (Ô Strange) aboue the rest peſume
Must she (O strange!) above the rest presume?
Must she (O strange!) above the rest presume?
112
I am amazed at her arrogance
I am amazéd
Physical Note
“at” in the manuscript
that
her arrogance,
I am amazéd at her arrogance,
113
Proceeding from her Sorded Ignorance
Proceeding from her sordid ignorance
Proceeding from her sordid ignorance
114
Of others worth makes her extoll her own
Of others’ worth, makes her extol her own;
Of others’ worth, makes her extol her own;
115
ffor noble vertues trust mee Shee has non
For noble virtues, trust me, she has none.
For noble virtues, trust me, she has none.
116
Her colour doth proclaim her Jealoſie
Gloss Note
The Lily argues that the Wallflower’s color, yellow, is associated with jealousy.
Her color doth proclaim her jealousy
,
Critical Note
The English wallflower that was also called heart’s ease was yellow. While the Wallflower reminds us that she can appear in various colors, she also specifies “my golden hue.’ Jealousy was associated with the color yellow, perhaps because of its link to yellow bile in humoral theory. The Lily uses the link she sees between the Wallflower’s color and envy of others’ worth as the excuse to read her own whiteness as emblematic of innocence and superiority.
Her color doth proclaim her jealousy
,
117
But I’m an Embleme of pure Inocie
But I’m an emblem of pure
Gloss Note
shortened form of “innocency”
inno’cy
.
But I’m an emblem of pure innocency.

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118
Spotles my thoughts as Spotles are my leaves
Gloss Note
free from blemish or (figuratively) sin, guilt, or disgrace
Spotless
my thoughts, as spotless are my leaves,
Spotless my thoughts, as spotless are my leaves,
119
While Chastitie her Lover ne’r deceives
While
Gloss Note
The lily was the emblem of chastity and purity.
Chastity
her lover ne’er deceives;
While chastity her lover ne’er deceives;
120
And what I wonder were a Virgins due
And what, I wonder, were a virgin’s due,
And what, I wonder, were a virgin’s due,
121
Had not her Skin my Lillies lilly Hue
Had not her skin my lily’s lily hue?
Had not her skin
Gloss Note
The Lily insists that virginity can only be associated with white skin.
my lily’s lily hue
?
122
Even as the Woodbine wittyly exprest
Gloss Note
Just as
Even as
the Woodbine wittily expressed
Even as the Woodbine wittily expressed,
123
When Shee compar’d mee to Idalias breast
When she compared me to Idalia’s breast.
Gloss Note
The Lily has been listening closely and refers to l.34, where the Woodbine describes Anchises resting his cheeks on Idalia’s or Aphrodite’s “lily breast.” She also offers a rare instance of one flower praising another here.
When she compared me to Idalia’s breast
,
124
White are my leaves as Albians Snowey Cliffe
White are my leaves, as
Gloss Note
Albion is an alternative name for England, where the White Cliffs of Dover are located (albus is Latin for white).
Albion’s snowy cliff
,
White are my leaves, as
Gloss Note
The white chalk cliffs of Dover, on the southern coast of Great Britain.
Albion’s snowy cliff
,
125
Or higher Alps, or highest Tenerif,
Or
Gloss Note
Mt. Blanc (or “White Mountain”) is the highest mountain in the Alps range of Central Europe. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, off West Africa, is dominated by Mt. Teide, Spain’s tallest peak.
higher Alps, or highest Tenerife
;
Gloss Note
The Lily refers here to the snow-capped peaks of the highest mountain in the Alps in Central Europe and to the highest mountain, a volcano called Mount Teide, on Tenerife in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. In her edition of this poem, Alice Eardley points to the French name, Mont Blanc or White Mountain, for the highest mountain in the Alps (Lady Hester Pulter: Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda [Iter, 2014], p. 89, n. 301). All of the Lily’s geographical references link her whiteness to Europe as against the Tulip’s associations with color and with Turkey.
Or higher alps, or highest Tenerife
,
126
White as the Swans on sweet Hibernias Streams
White as the swans on sweet
Gloss Note
Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland (where Pulter was born).
Hibernia’s streams
,
Gloss Note
White swans are native to Hibernia, or Ireland.
White as the swans on sweet Hibernia’s streams
,
127
Or Cinthias bright, or Delias brighter beames
Or
Gloss Note
Cynthia is goddess of the moon and Delius of the sun. The Oyster and the Mouse (Emblem 48) [Poem 113] refers to Apollo and Diana as the “Delian twins”; throughout the manuscript, Pulter refers to the male sun god (from Delos) as “Delia,” a name that conventionally identifies the female moon goddess; we have changed to Delius here for clarity.
Cynthia’s bright, or Delius’s brighter beams
.
Or Cynthia’s bright, or
Gloss Note
Cynthia is the goddess of the moon and Delia the goddess of the sun—hence her brighter beams.
Delia’s brighter beams
.
128
ffor white all other Colours doth excell
For white all other colors doth excel
For white all other colors doth excel
129
As much as Day doth Night or Heaven doth Hell
As much as day doth night, or Heaven doth Hell.
Critical Note

We might contrast the Lily’s argument for the priority and superiority of whiteness to Aaron’s defense of blackness in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Aaron calls Chiron and Demetrius “white-limed walls” and “alehouse painted signs,” emphasizing their color as both a put on and a canvas for subsequent marking or painting. He then asserts that:

Coal-black is better than another hue
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan’s black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.(4.2.101-7)

Whereas the Lily boasts that her hue is unmarked, Aaron argues that blackness is not only unspotted but unmarkable. See also the speech assigned to Sambo, the “Negro-Slave,” in Thomas Tryon’s Friendly Advice to Gentlemen-Planters (1684): “And though White be an emblem of Innocence, yet there are whited Walls filled within with Filth and Rottenness; what is only outward, will stand you in no stead, it is the inward Candor that our Creator is well-pleased with, and not the outward” (Caribbeana: An Anthology of English Literature of the West Indies, 1657-1777, ed. Thomas Krise [U of Chicago P, 1999], 67).

As much as day doth night or Heaven doth Hell
.
130
ffor it is chiefly Heavens privation
For it is chiefly Heaven’s privation
For it is chiefly Heaven’s privation
131
Makes men in a Hell of desperation
Makes men in a hell of desperation.
Makes men in a hell of desperation.
132
What are the horrid gloomey Shades of Night
What are the horrid gloomy shades of night
What are the horrid gloomy shades of night
133
But the departure of all quickning Light
But the departure of all-
Gloss Note
life-giving; accelerating
quick’ning
light?
But the departure of
Gloss Note
Quickening here means invigorating or enlivening. Light brings things to life.
all-quick’ning
light?
134
And what are coulours reaſon Sa’s not I
And what are colors? Reason says, not I,
And what are colors? Reason says, not I:
135
Nothing but want of my white puritie
Gloss Note
In answer to the preceding question, Reason replies that colors are nothing but the lack (“want”) of whiteness.
Nothing but want of my white purity
.
Nothing but want of
Critical Note
The Lily cleverly overturns a notion that white is an absence or lack of color to argue, instead, that Hell is the absence of god’s light; night is the absence of day’s light; and color is the want or lack of color. She insists that the answer to the question “what are colors?” is provided not by herself but by Reason. The Lily anticipates later arguments defending virtue as more than the absence of vice. Centuries later, G.K.Chesterton makes a similar argument: “White is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.... God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white” (“A Piece of Chalk,” in Tremendous Trifles [Methuen: 1909], 5-6).
my white purity
.
I

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136
I here could
Physical Note
appears crowded into space between surrounding words, possibly in different hand from main scribe
I
brag but ^will not of the feast
I here could brag, but will not, of the feast
Ay,
Critical Note
The Lily here relies on apophasis, or the rhetorical device of bringing up a subject by saying that she will not mention it. She combines this with a humble brag, her specialty. A travel narrative by the poet George Herbert’s brother, with which Pulter seems to have been familiar, Thomas Herbert’s A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile Begunne Anno 1626 (London, 1634), mentions that “the Duke of Shiraz or Persae-polis” hosts an annual “Feast of Lillies or Daffadillies” lasting 180 days (140).
here could I brag, but will not
, of the feast
137
The Percians
Physical Note
two or three letters, starting with “H,” scribbled out
[H?d]
^make this Hono:rs mee ye least
Gloss Note
The Persian duke of Shiraz held an annual feast of lilies lasting 180 days (Eardley).
The Persians make
: this honors me the least
The Persians make: this honors me the least
138
Of all the Rest: of vertues I may boast
Of all
Gloss Note
all her other honors
the rest
. Of virtues I may boast,
Gloss Note
However extraordinary it is to be the occasion of a Persian feast, it is the least of her honors.
Of all the rest
. Of virtues I may boast,
139
ffor if my Roots they doe but boyl or Roast
For if my roots they do but boil or roast,
For if my roots they do but boil or roast,
140
And them to pestilenciall Sores apply
And them to
Gloss Note
plague-infected
pestilential
sores apply,
And them to
Gloss Note
plague-infected
pestilential
sores apply,
141
Probatum est, it cures them instantly
Gloss Note
This Latin phrase (“it is proven”) was commonly attached to medical recipes, indicating that they were effective.
Probatum est
: it cures them instantly.
Critical Note
The phrase “probatum est” (or it has been proved) was used to authorize recipes, medical treatments, or experiments as tried and confirmed successes. One often finds it in receipt books and medical treatises, manuscript and print. The Lily uses it here to testify to “the proven quality of the knowledge” and, indeed, her eyewitness certainty of her own efficacy. On the probatum est, see Wendy Wall, Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern Kitchen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 216-18.
Probatum est
: it cures them instantly.
142
But my Antagonest here of the Wall
But
Gloss Note
the Wallflower
my antagonist here of the wall
But my antagonist here of the wall
143
In such a time’s away thrown flowers & all
In such a time’s away thrown, flowers and all.”
Critical Note
The Lily concludes by calling the wallflower her “antagonist of the wall” and describing her as useless against plague. But then the Rose blushes to find herself disgraced by the Lily’s words, so this final insult doesn’t land only on the wallflower.
In such a time’s away thrown, flowers and all
.”
The Rose
The Rose
The Rose, 5th
144
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Rose 5:th
At
this ye Blood flush’d in ye Roſes face
At this, the blood flushed in the Rose’s face
At this, the blood flushed in
Gloss Note
Botanists tended to give roses pride of place and associate them with Englishness. The rose was associated with the Tudors, as we will see below, but also with the Virgin Mary.
the Rose’s
face
145
To heare the Lilly Speake in her diſgrace
To hear the Lily speak in
Gloss Note
The phrasing is ambiguous: the Rose can mean that the Lily has disgraced herself in making prideful and false claims, or that the Lily has dishonored the Rose by declaring superiority over other flowers.
her
disgrace.
To hear the Lily speak in her disgrace.
146
As Shee then Said, whoſe pride was grown So high
As she then said, “Whose pride was grown so high
As she then said, “Whose pride was grown so high
147
That Shee preſumes to boast Virginitie
That she presumes to boast virginity,
That she presumes to boast virginity?
148
Though Scorn’d by all, dareing to Shew her face
Though scorned by all? Daring to show her face
Though scorned by all, daring to show her face
149
And plead precedencie and I in place
Gloss Note
The sense here continues from the last sentence: the rose castigates the lily, universally scorned, for claiming superiority when the rose is present.
And plead precedency (and I in place)
,
Gloss Note
How can the Lily, whom everyone scorns, claim first place when the Rose is here?
And plead precedency, and I in place
!
150
When in each lovly Maid and Cloris cheek
When in each lovely maid and
Gloss Note
Chloris is the goddess of flowers and spring. Here the Rose refers to the common poetic description of beautiful women as having cheeks like roses.
Chloris’s
cheek
When in each lovely maid and
Critical Note
The Rose argues that it is the blush rather than pallor that distinguishes the maid or virgin. In Greek mythology, the name Chloris is assigned to various young women or nymphs, but it is most often used to describe the goddess of flowers. Its root is the Greek word for greenish yellow or pale green, a root it shares with our word chlorophyll, which makes plant leaves green, and the word chlorosis, describing “a disorder believed to occur almost exclusively in young, virginal women soon after puberty, characterized by a greenish pallor of the skin, cessation or irregularity of menstruation, and weakness” (OED), also called “green sickness.” The conventional treatment for this illness was sexual activity.
Chloris’s
cheek
151
I conquer her, her leaves I know are sleek
I conquer her? Her leaves I know are sleek,
I conquer her? Her leaves I know are sleek,
and

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152
And Soe are mine, shee brags ^on Such a fashion
And so are mine! She brags on such a fashion
And so are mine! She brags on such a fashion
153
As if Light, Vertue, Joy, were but privation
As if light, virtue, joy, were but
Gloss Note
The rose critiques the lily’s claim that her whiteness—which the rose sees as a lack or “privation” of color—embodies the ideals of light, virtue, and joy.
privation
,
As if light, virtue, joy, were but
Gloss Note
The Rose here criticizes the Lily’s association of her whiteness—which the Rose critiques as a lack or “privation” of color—with the ideals of light, virtue, and joy.
privation
,
154
As if an unwrit Volume were the best
As if an unwrit volume were the best,
As if an unwrit volume were the best,
155
Before Heavens loue were in the leaves expre’st
Before Heaven’s love were in the leaves expressed.
Before Heaven’s love were in the
Gloss Note
By the Lily’s logic, the blank pages or leaves of “an unwrit volume” are preferable even to religious texts. Obviously not, the Rose counters.
leaves expressed
.
156
I’me Sleighted now but in the former Age
I’m
Gloss Note
treated with indifference or disrespect
slighted
now, but in the former age
I’m slighted now, but in the former age
157
I conſecrated was to Epic^rage
I consecrated was to
Gloss Note
epicureanism, the philosophy of Epicurus, a Greek thinker who held that the senses provided the sole criterion of truth and who saw pleasure as the highest human goal
epic’rage
;
I consecrated was to
Critical Note
Pulter seems to coin and then contract a word—epicurage—to describe how the Rose was held sacred by epicures, which may mean followers of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, or more generally, those devoted to worldly pleasure.
epic’rage
;
158
When liber paters wine and wit ore flowes
When
Gloss Note
Italian god of wine and fertility (associated with Bacchus)
Liber Pater’s
wine and wit o’erflows,
When
Gloss Note
God of viticulture and wine, indulgence and freedom.
Liber Pater’s
wine and wit o’er flows,
159
Non dares to speak but underneath the Roſe
None dares to speak but
Gloss Note
an expression for being sealed in silence, or sub rosa (Latin), sometimes connected to the secrecy of love
underneath the rose
.
Gloss Note
To speak under the rose was to speak confidentially. James Howell’s “Parliament of Flowers” (1611), which you will find in Curation Parliaments of Flowers, emphasizes that the flowers “being all under the rose...had privilege to speak all things with freedom” (p. 187).
None dares to speak but underneath the rose
.
160
And certainly my flowers were in Request
And certainly my flowers were in request
And certainly my flowers were in request
161
When those Heroyick houſes in theire crest
When
Gloss Note
the warring aristocratic “houses” (families) of York and Lancaster in England, whose symbols were, respectively the white and red rose, and whose fifteenth-century battle for power was called “The War of the Roses”
those heroic houses
in their crest
When those heroic houses in their crest
162
Did Stick my Roſe; York gloryed in the white
Did stick my rose: York gloried in the white;
Did stick my rose: York gloried in the white;
163
Great Lancaster did in the Red delight
Great Lancaster did in the red delight.
Gloss Note
The Rose refers to the conflict between the York and Lancaster families for the English throne, widely known as “the war of the roses.” Each family chose a rose as its symbol, the Yorkists white and the Lancastrians red. After many battles, the resolution was achieved through a dynastic marriage between Elizabeth York and Henry Tudor (King Henry VII), who chose as their emblem the “Tudor Rose” which combined equal numbers of red and white petals. You can see an image of the Tudor Rose in the Curation Picturing Pulter’s Flowers. John Gerard’s Herbal similarly claims (and masculinizes) the precedence of the Rose in these terms: “the Rose doth deserve the chiefest and most principal place among all flowers whatsoever; being not only esteemed for his beauty, virtues, and his fragrant and odoriferous smell; but also because it is the honor and ornament of our English Scepter, as by the conjunction appeareth in the uniting of those two most royal houses of Lancaster and Yorke” (1077).
Great Lancaster
did in the red delight.
164
But as my fame, Soe it increaſ’d my woe
But as my fame, so it increased my woe
But as my fame, so it increased my woe
165
To see or: feilds with pricely blood or’e flow
To see our fields with princely blood o’erflow.
Gloss Note
The Rose backtracks here to say that, while she is proud to have been chosen as the favor of these “heroic houses,” she is also sorry to be associated with a civil war.
To see our fields with princely blood o’erflow
.
166
Ney more thee Orient Kingdoms to my praiſe
Nay more, the Orient kingdoms to my praise
Nay more, the orient kingdoms to my praise
167
In Hono:r of my Birth keepe fowerteen dayes
Gloss Note
unidentified ritual or custom
In honor of my birth keep fourteen days
,
Gloss Note
Thomas Herbert’s A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile Begunne Anno 1626 (London, 1634), recounts that the King of Persia annually “celebrates a Feast of Roses” lasting 180 days (140). In a later edition, he elaborates that “The feast of roses and daffadillies is begun by a procession of holy men, at the first budding of those sweet flowers, and for thirty days is celebrated with all manner of sports and recreations to be imagined; continued from the great feasts of the old famous monarchs of Persia; tents in abundance, men, women, boys, and girls, with arms, musick, songs, dances, and such as may revive the Olympic memories” (Some Yeares Travels Into Africa and Asia the Great [London, 1638], 261-62).
In honor of my birth keep fourteen days
,
168
And in
Physical Note
the “c” is crowded between the “s” and “k”
Damasckus
yearly they diſtill
And in Damascus yearly they distill
And in Damascus yearly they distill
169
As much Roſewater as will drive a Mill
Gloss Note
Damascus was a production center for rosewater, a staple in foods and medicines. Robert Burton writes of “those hot countries, about Damascus, where ... many hogsheads of Rosewater are to be sold in the market, it is in so great request with them” (The Anatomy of Melancholy [Oxford, 1621], p. 309).
As much rosewater as will drive a mill
.
Critical Note
The Rose claims that in Damascus, they distill enough rosewater to power a water mill. But Holly Dugan argues that the distillation of damask roses was as English as it was foreign. According to Dugan, the Damask rose was “synonymous with the art of perfumery” because it was one of only two strains that could be “distilled into an essential oil” and, indeed, smells even better in its distilled form (Holly Dugan, The Ephemeral History of Perfume [Johns Hopkins UP, 2011], 44). Although the Rose twits the Tulip as a parvenu, the damask rose had just arrived in England in 1522, having come from Syria and then into continental Europe via crusaders (45). But its “outlandish scent quickly became associated with Englishness”; “The scent of the rose performed an act of spatial hybridity, translating Damascus, Alexandria, and Persica into English space through the art of distillation and alchemical technology. ... The rose retains its outlandish status, but only as a marker of English mastery; its value is its aromatic properties, distilled to sweeten English bodies and selves” (Dugan, 53).
As much rosewater as will drive a mill
.
170
Doe but observe when as the virgin crew
Do but observe when as the virgin crew
Do but observe when as the virgin crew
171
Comes to this Garden (newly Pearl’d w:th Dew)
Comes to this garden (newly pearled with dew)
Comes to this garden (newly pearled with dew)
to

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172
To make their Anadems they ^fill their laps
To make their
Gloss Note
flowery wreaths for the head
anadems
: they fill their laps
To make their
Gloss Note
Wreaths or garlands of flowers
anadems
they fill their laps
173
With other flowers; betwixt their Snowey paps
With other flowers; betwixt their snowy
Gloss Note
breasts
paps
With other flowers; betwixt their snowy
Gloss Note
Breasts
paps
174
I am triumphant, on that Ivory Throne
I am triumphant. On that ivory throne
I am triumphant. On that ivory throne
175
I Sit envied of all uſurp’d of none
I sit envied of all, usurped of none.
I sit envied of all, usurped of none.
176
Somtime I Slide into that milkey vale
Sometime I slide into that milky vale
Sometime I slide into that milky vale
177
Between those Snowey hills cal’d Cupids Dale
Between those snowy hills called Cupid’s dale.
Critical Note
Although the Rose begins by chastising the Lily’s emphasis on whiteness, she too associates white skin with beauty and virginity, describing the breasts of the “virgin crew” as “snowy,” “ivory,” and “milky.” The Rose claims the cleavage is called “Cupid’s dale” or valley and then proceeds in the next line to refer to nipples as “living cherries,” eroticizing the virgins’ bodies and boasting of her intimate access to them.
Between those snowy hills called Cupid’s dale
.
178
There freely I those living Cherries kiſs
There freely I those living cherries kiss;
There freely I those living cherries kiss;
179
Lillys looke payle in envy of my Bliſs
Lilies look pale in envy of my bliss.
Lilies look pale in envy of my bliss.
180
Then seeing I of all am most in grace
Then seeing I of all am most in grace
Then seeing I of all am most in grace
181
With your Sweet Sex give mee ye chiefest place
With your sweet sex, give me the chiefest place.
With your sweet sex, give me the chiefest place.
182
Here if list, to boast my Heavenly Birth
Here,
Gloss Note
if desiring or longing
if list
to boast my heavenly birth,
Here,
Gloss Note
I choose or wish to
if list
to boast my heavenly birth
183
Gloss Note
Thomas Traherne asks “Can perfumes indeed from sordid dung-hills breathe?” (“The Enquiry,” in The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne, 1636?-1674, ed. Betram Dobell [1906], l. 9). The Rose here suggests no, but all flowers indeed spring from dunghills—as the Rose underscores when she claims she is exceptional in not doing so.
I could declare not Sprung from Dunghill Earth
I could
Gloss Note
i.e., declare myself not
declare not
sprung from dunghill earth
Critical Note
Thomas Traherne asks “Can perfumes indeed from sordid dung-hills breathe?” (“The Enquiry,” in The Poetical Works of Thomas Traherne, 1636?-1674, ed. Betram Dobell [1906], l. 9). The Rose here suggests no, but all flowers indeed spring from dunghills—as the Rose underscores when she claims she is exceptional in not doing so.
I could declare not sprung from dunghill earth
184
Physical Note
in left margin
as
Aborigins, I and the fruitfull Rice
As
Gloss Note
the earliest known inhabitants of a particular country; the plants or animals indigenous to a place, native flora or fauna
Aborigines
; I and the fruitful rice,
As
Critical Note
“Aborigines” seems to mean here native or indigenous people or plants. The appositive phrase might reach either backward, suggesting that indigenous plants emerge out of dunghill earth, or forward, describing the Rose and rice as prior to earthly genesis—as aboriginal—since their birth is heavenly.
aborigines
, I and the fruitful rice
185
To inrich Mankind dropt Down frown Paradice
To enrich mankind,
Gloss Note
In Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique, Thomas Herbert recounts a legend in which Muhammad is transported to Heaven, where meeting the Almighty causes him to sweat drops of water which transform into a rose, grain of rice and four learned men (London, 1638), p. 26.
dropped down from paradise
.
To enrich mankind dropped down from paradise.
186
Witnes the Alcoron where alſoe tis Said
Witness the
Gloss Note
archaic name for the Qur’an, the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad
Alcoran
, where also, ’tis said,
Witness
Gloss Note
The Qu’ran or sacred book of Islam
the Alcorcan
where also, ’tis said,
187
By Smelling to a Rose that bleſſed Maid
By smelling to a rose
Gloss Note
the Virgin Mary. As Eardley notes, in A Relation of Some Years’ Travel, Thomas Herbert claims that the Virgin Mary conceived when given a rose to smell by the angel Gabriel (London, 1634), p. 153.
that blessed maid
By smelling to a rose that blessed maid
188
Brought forth a Son, a wonder to Rehearſe
Brought forth a son, a wonder to
Gloss Note
describe
rehearse
,
Brought forth a son, a wonder to rehearse,
189
The Sole Restorer of the Univerſ
The sole restorer of the universe.
Gloss Note
This refers to a story in the Qu’ran of the rose and rice springing from Muhammad’s sweat. According to John Gerard’s Herbal, “Angerius Busbeckius [Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, a sixteenth-century herbalist] speaking of the estimation and honor of the rose, reporteth that the Turk can by no means endure to see the leaves of Roses fall to the ground, because that some of them have dreamed that the first or most ancient Rose did spring of the blood of Venus, and others of the Mahumetans say, that it sprang of the sweat of Mahomet” (Gerard [1633] 1260; see also The Life and Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, ed. and trans. C.T. Forster and F.H.B. Daniell, 2 vols. [London, 1881], 1:111). Thomas Herbert elaborates that Muslims understand Jesus Christ “was son unto a Virgin, but not conceived by the Holy Ghost, but by smelling to a Rose given her by the Angel Gabriel, and that he was born out of her breasts” (Some Yeares Travels [1638], 240, 254).
The sole restorer of the universe
.
190
Looke at those Nuptials where you may behold
Look at those nuptials where you may behold
Look at those nuptials where you may behold
191
The Stately Structure Shine w:th burnish’d Gold
The stately structure shine with burnished gold,
The stately structure shine with burnished gold,
the

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192
The gorgious Chamber and the Bride ale bread
The gorgeous chamber and the
Gloss Note
A “bride ale” was a wedding banquet, where roses could be strewn on the table; Eardley amends to “bridal bed,” where roses could also be strewn.
bride ale bread
The gorgeous chamber and the
Gloss Note
Eardley suggests this should be “bridal bed.” A bride ale was a wedding banquet or feast. So we might also imagine the possibility of a bread for the wedding feast scattered with rose petals or decorated with roses slashed into the crust or dough roses placed on top of the crust, as in the Ukrainian wedding bread called korovai.
bride ale bread
193
With Roſes, and noe other flowers is Spread
With roses and no other flowers is spread;
With roses and no other flowers is spread;
194
And Still injoying Lovers youthfull brow’s
And
Critical Note
The phrase is not hyphenated in the manuscript. Without the hyphen, the word “still” might indicate a sense of “always” (to indicate that joyous lovers are always rose-crowned). With the hyphen, the phrase might suggest that the lovers enjoy something (presumably, each other) on an ongoing or perpetual basis; or that the lovers enjoy stillness, signifying secrecy, quiet, or silence (perhaps especially in conjunction with the noiseless yet expressive flowers that they wear).
still-enjoying
lovers’ youthful brows
And still-enjoying lovers’ youthful brows
195
Are with my Roſes Crownd and Mertle Bowes
Are with my roses crowned and myrtle boughs.
Are with my roses crowned and myrtle boughs.
196
Observe the Riſeing Lustre of the Morn
Observe the rising luster of the morn,
Observe the rising luster of the morn,
197
How Shee with Roſes doth her head adorn
How she with roses doth her head adorn:
How she with roses doth her head adorn:
198
Aboue the rest, I’m Honoured by Aurora
Above the rest I’m honored by Aurora
Above the rest I’m honored by
Gloss Note
Goddess of the Dawn, a frequent player in Pulter’s poems. In this poem, Pulter repeats the Aurora/Flora rhyme 4 times.
Aurora
199
And by my Patrones faire louly fflora
And by my patroness, fair lovely Flora.
And by my patroness, fair lovely Flora.
200
I’m Soe much favoured that noe flower but I
I’m so much favored that no flower but I
I’m so much favored that no flower but I
201
Between her Snowey breast doth dare to lye
Between her snowy breasts doth dare to lie.
Between her snowy breast doth dare to lie.
202
Beſides the bevty and
Physical Note
“y” imperfectly erased
they
Sweet delight
Besides the beauty and the sweet delight,
Besides the beauty and the sweet delight,
203
My flowers yield my vertue’s infinite
My flowers yield my
Gloss Note
healing properties; as the next line indicates, roses were ingredients in numerous curatives that could affect the body, which was imagined to consist of four humors that needed to be balanced. One method of balance was purgation, or letting forth fluids; another was introducing a cooling agent.
virtues
infinite.
My flowers yield my virtues infinite.
204
I coole, I Purge, I Comfort, and Restore
I cool, I purge, I comfort, and restore;
Gloss Note
Describing all she does, which writers of contemporary Herbals would describe as “uses” or “virtues,” the Rose points here to her frequent appearance as an ingredient in medicines for various conditions, in perfumes and cosmetics, and in foods and drinks.
I cool, I purge, I comfort, and restore
;
205
Then who I wonder can desire more
Then who, I wonder, can desire more?
Then who, I wonder, can desire more?
206
If for the worthiest you the priſe reſerve
If for the worthiest you the prize reserve,
If for the worthiest you the prize reserve,
207
The chiefest place I’m Sure I doe deserve
The chiefest place I’m sure I do deserve.
The chiefest place I’m sure I do deserve.”
The Poppy
The Poppy
The Poppy, 6th
208
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Poppy 6:th
The
Gaudy Poppy lift her head aloft
The gaudy Poppy
Gloss Note
lifted
lift
her head aloft,
The
Critical Note
Since Pulter describes the poppy as “gaudy” she probably imagines the red, double poppy, which Parkinson includes among native English flowers, although he also concedes “From what place they have been first gathered naturally I cannot assure you, but we have had them often and long time in our gardens, being sent from Italy and other places. The double wild kinds came from Constantinople” (Paradisi, 286).
gaudy poppy
lifts her head aloft,
209
Saying in earnest I haue wondred oft
Saying in earnest, “I have wondered oft
Saying in earnest, “I have wondered oft
210
To See the Roſe Soe fild w:th pride and Scorn
To see the rose so filled with pride and scorn,
To see the rose so filled with pride and scorn,
211
As if an Orient
Physical Note
multiple strike-through
Cinder
^tincture did adorn
As if an
Gloss Note
A tincture is a cosmetic coloring, figuratively, a stain, a blemish, or a specious appearance; “orient” refers to the red color of dawn.
orient tincture
did adorn
As if an Orient
Critical Note
The Poppy here points out that the Rose sees her blush as an “Orient tincture” (a color, particularly a dye or tint used to produce that color) and boasts of that as distinctive. This comment suggests how exoticism can function as both a boast and a put down.
tincture
did adorn
noe

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212
Noe Cheek but hers, becauſe Shees always worn
No cheek but hers, because she’s always worn
No cheek but hers, because she’s always worn
213
Oh how I
Physical Note
“t” is written over a “d”
Loth’t
betwixt the Sweaty paps
(O how I
Gloss Note
loathe it
loath’t
) betwixt the sweaty paps!
Gloss Note
loathe it
(O how I loath’t)
betwixt the sweaty paps!
214
Physical Note
“Or” in different hand from main scribe; “Or” blotted
Or \Or\
elce Shees thrust into the Dirty laps
Or else she’s thrust into the dirty laps
Or else she’s thrust into the dirty laps
215
Of wanton
Physical Note
“ff” written over another letter, possibly an “S”
fflurts
, better out Shine
Physical Note
“y” blotted
they
Day
Of wanton flirts! Better outshine the day
Of wanton flirts! Better outshine the day
216
As I doe, and my bevty to diſplay
As I do, and my beauty to display
As I do, and my beauty to display
217
Unto the Gaizing wondring Paſſer by
Unto the gazing, wond’ring passerby,
Unto the gazing, wond’ring passerby,
218
Who Stands amazed at my variety
Who stands amazed at my variety.
Who stands amazed at my variety.
219
Shee brags the Ciprian Lady loves her best
She brags the
Gloss Note
Venus, goddess of love, born in Cyprus
Cyprian lady
loves her best,
She brags the
Critical Note
Aphrodite or Venus, who was supposedly born on Cyprus. But the adjective also picked up derogatory meanings, first of a “licentious or profligate person” and then specifically of a prostitute. So calling Venus the “Cyprian lady” might work to tarnish any claim of being her favorite.
Cyprian lady
loves her best,
220
But did Shee ever give a Goddes Rest
But did she ever
Gloss Note
Poppies were used in treatments for inducing sleep.
give a goddess rest
,
But did she ever give a goddess rest,
221
As I haue don, when over watch’d w:th grief
As I have done? When
Gloss Note
fatigued with excessive watching, or wearied by being kept from sleep
overwatched
with grief
As I have done? When
Critical Note
Kept awake. The Poppy emphasizes her association with opium without ever naming it, describing instead its sedative effects. While the seeds of papaver somniferum were the source of opium, not all poppies have narcotic properties. Paracelsus introduced opiates as medicines to Europe. When Parkinson compiles his herbal in 1629, he refers to opium’s effects as already well known: “it is not unknown, I suppose to any, that poppy procureth sleep, for which cause it is wholly and only used, as I think” (286).
overwatched
with grief
222
Great Ceris was, by Sleep I gave reliefe
Great
Gloss Note
goddess of earth, grain, and fertility
Ceres
was, by sleep I gave relief
Great
Critical Note

Goddess of the harvest and fertility, perhaps imagined here as kept awake by grief for her daughter Proserpina,who was kidnapped by her husband, the god of the underworld. In the half year her daughter was in the underworld, Ceres’ grief caused fall and winter. When her daughter returned to her, the world came alive again with spring and then summer. Similarly, Abraham Cowley links the Poppy to Ceres’ grief:

In Ceres’ garland I am placed,
Me she did first vouchsafe to taste,
When for her daughter lost she grieved,
Nor in long time had food received.
(Cowley, Of Plants, Works Part Three [1689], Book 4,sig. N1v)
Ceres
was, by sleep I gave relief
223
Unto her tired Spirit when Shee ran after
Unto her tired spirit when she ran after
Unto her tired spirit when she ran after
224
That black browed Knave that Stole away her ^Daughter
That
Gloss Note
scowling, frowning, or dark-faced
black-browed
Gloss Note
Pluto, who kidnapped Ceres’s daughter, Proserpina, and made her queen of the underworld
knave that stole away her daughter
.
That black-browed knave that stole away her daughter.
225
If shee of Colour boast then soe may I
If she of color boast, then so may I:
If she of color boast, then so may I:
226
What flowers At distance more delights ye eye
What flowers at distance more delights the eye?
What flowers at distance more delights the eye?
227
And where Shee brags of Uſhering in Aurora
And where she brags of ushering in Aurora,
And where she brags of ushering in Aurora,
228
And dreſſing of the head of dainty fflora
And dressing of the head of dainty Flora,
And dressing of the head of dainty Flora,
229
Tis true I doe not tend upon the Morn
’Tis true I do not tend upon the morn,
’Tis true I do not tend upon the morn,
230
Yet doe I Cloris ^youthfull Robe adorn
Yet do I Chloris’s youthful robe adorn
Yet do I
Gloss Note
The Goddess of flowers, discussed more fully above.
Chloris’s
youthful robe adorn
as

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231
As well as Shee, and when Nights Silence Queen
As well as she; and when Night, silent queen,
As well as she; and when
Critical Note
Various goddesses were associated with the night and with the moon. The Poppy might mean any of them. The Violet refers to this goddess as “Nocturna” below.
night’s silent queen
,
232
Triumphant in her Ebone Coach is Seen
Triumphant in her
Gloss Note
black
ebon
coach, is seen,
Triumphant in her ebon coach, is seen,
233
I Strow her Paths as Shee doth Conquering Ride
Gloss Note
Poppies were associated generally with sleep, rest, and dreaming. The mythological Hypnos, son of Night (or Nyx) had poppies growing outside his cave.
I strew her paths as she doth conquering ride
.
I strew her paths as she doth conquering ride.
234
What flower I wonder dares doe soe beſide
What flower, I wonder, dares do so beside?
What flower, I wonder, dares do so beside?
235
And when in Soft and Downey Armes
And when in soft and downy arms
And when in soft and downy arms
236
Shee Lullabyes the World with potent Charms
Gloss Note
Night
She
lullabies the world with potent charms,
She lullabies the world with potent charms,
237
The vapour of my fflowers doth Slyly creep
The vapor of my flowers doth slyly creep
The vapor of my flowers doth slyly creep
238
To troubled Mortals cauſing them to Sleep
To troubled mortals, causing them to sleep.
To troubled mortals, causing them to sleep.
239
I would our Arbitratris would but take
I would our
Gloss Note
female arbiter or judge
arbitratrix
would but take
I would our
Gloss Note
In this poem, Pulter more often uses the three syllable “arbitress,” with this same meaning of a female arbitrator, mediator, or “umpire”: “one who is chosen by the opposite parties in a dispute to arrange or decide the difference between them” (OED). The Poppy suggests that a good night’s rest would enable the judge of their contention to render a better judgment, that is, one in the Poppy’s favor.
arbitratress
would but take
240
My flowers or Seed I’m confident t’would make
My flowers or seed: I’m confident ’twould make
My flowers or seed: I’m confident ’twould make
241
Her sleep and rest ^& Dreams by fare more quiet
Her sleep and rest and dreams by far more quiet
Her sleep and rest and dreams by far more quiet
242
Then Paracelſus rules or Leſhes Dyet
Than
Gloss Note
Paracelsus (1493–1541) was a Swiss physician and chemist who saw illness as having an external cause rather than arising as a result of an imbalance in the body’s humors. He recommended chemical remedies (or “rules”) for achieving health.
Paracelsus’s rules
or
Gloss Note
Leonard Lessius (1554–1623) was a Flemish Jesuit theologian who wrote about diet and health.
Lessius’s diet
.
Than
Gloss Note
Theophrastus von Hohenheim, otherwise known as Paracelsus, was a sixteenth-century figure whose influence extended well beyond his death. Teaching that “like cures like,” he authorized regimes of cure and self care. We can find his “rules” for a diet “best for long life,” including “a moderate diet” and purification of all meats and drinks before ingestion in Paracelsus his Dispensatory and chirurgery, trans. W. D. (London, 1656), 406.
Paracelsus’s rules
or
Gloss Note
Leonardus Lessius, a sixteenth-century Flemish Jesuit, recommended a “sober” and “spare” diet as the key to longevity in Hygiasticon: or, The right course of preserving Life and Health to extream old Age (Cambridge, 1634). But a dose of opium, according to the Poppy, does more than all of this asceticism and moderation.
Lessius’s diet
.
243
Ney more, more Seeds one of my Poppies bear
Nay, more: more seeds one of my poppies bear
Nay more: more seeds one of my poppies bear
244
Then in A Hundred Gardens Roſes are
Than in a hundred gardens roses are!
Than in a hundred gardens roses are.
245
I can but laugh at that Redicalous dreame
I can but laugh at that ridiculous dream
I can but laugh at that ridiculous dream
246
Of Springing
Physical Note
“of” struck-through twice horizontally; “from” in H2.
offrom
that Grand impostors Steame
Of springing from
Gloss Note
Muhammad’s sweat, as noted above, was reputed to be the origin of the rose, according to Thomas Herbert (Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique [London, 1638], p. 26.)
that grand impostor’s steam
!
Of springing from that
Critical Note
The Poppy refers back to the Rose’s oblique reference to being born from Muhammad’s sweat, dismissing his sweat as “the grand impostor’s steam.”
grand impostor’s steam
.
247
Physical Note
“Such” blotted; “ſuch,” inserted directly above, in different hand from main scribe
Such\ſuch \
foppiries I credit Shall as Soon
Such
Gloss Note
foolishnesses; things foolishly esteemed or venerated
fopperies
I credit shall as soon
Such fopperies I credit shall as soon
248
As that he hollowed ^down ye Splendent Moon
Gloss Note
The Qur’an attributes Muhammad with the miracle of splitting the Moon. To “hollow” is to bend into a hollow or concave shape; “hallo,” meaning to incite by shouting (a verb Pulter uses in The Center [Poem 30]), could also be signified here.
As that he hollowed down the splendent Moon
.
As that he
Critical Note
A paraphrase might be: I will believe this nonsense about Muhammad as readily as I’d believe the claim that He called the moon down from the sky. The Poppy seems to refer to Quran 54:1-2 “The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder. But if they see a Sign, they turn away, and say, ‘This is (but) transient magic,’” describing the splitting of the moon, possibly an eclipse. For someone who is so contemptuous of Islam, the Poppy, like Pulter, seems to know a lot about it.
hallooed down the splendent moon
.
249
O mee what Solifidien can believe
O me, what
Gloss Note
person who believes faith alone ensures salvation
solifidian
can believe
O me, what
Gloss Note
One who holds that faith alone, without works, is sufficient for justification (OED).
solifidian
can believe
250
That hee Should ^put one halfe into his Sleeve
That
Gloss Note
Muhammad; after miraculously causing the Moon to split, Muhammad was reported to put half the Moon in his sleeve and to have sent the other half to the garden of Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, referenced in the next line. This story is recounted in Thomas Herbert’s Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique (London, 1638), p. 259.
he
should put one half into his sleeve,
That
Critical Note
Muhammad. The suggestion is that the invisible part of the moon was up Muhammad’s sleeve.
he
should put one half into his sleeve,
the

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251
The other made A Zone for Mortis Alley
The other made a zone for
Gloss Note
Ali was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law; “Mortis” is a title meaning “beloved by God,” derived from “Mortadi” or “Mortada.”
Mortis Ali
?
The other made a zone for
Critical Note
Pulter here directly quotes Herbert’s account of “The Religion of the Persians” in his Some Yeares Travels into Africa and Asia the Great (London, 1638): “being upon th’earth, to make the people credit him, he [Muhammad] commanded the Moon to descend; half of which he put into his own sleeve, and the other half served as a zone or girdle to Mortis Ally: and to their like amazement, after so rare a complement pieced it, and placed it in the same Orb whence first he drew it.” Elsewhere in this text, Herbert refers variously to “Mortis Haly” or “Mortis Ally” as “their renowned Prophet,” married to Muhammad’s daughter. “Their belief is in Mahomet, yet have they Mortis Haly in no less account among them” who “with a sword of a hundred cubits length, cut off at one blow ten thousand Christians’ heads, and transected Taurus” (92, 133, 161, 259).
Mortis Haly
.
252
Thus with their ffaith these Mercerents doe ^dalley
Thus with their faith these
Gloss Note
unbelievers, infidels or scoundrels; the manuscript has “mercerents,” which Eardley amends as “miscreants.”
miscreants
do dally!
Thus with their faith these
Critical Note
Eardley suggests "miscreants" here. I wonder if this word might also elaborate on “mercer,” a dealer in fabric or clothing, or “merchant,” because of the association of Muslims with the trade in cloth, especially silk. “Mercerents” could be either Muslim traders or those Christians who “dally with their faith” by trading with them. See Jerry Brotton, This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World (Penguin, 2016).
mercerents
do dally!
253
Then I conclude Shee vertue wants or fame
Then, I conclude,
Gloss Note
the Rose either lacks (one sense of “wants”) virtue or honor (one sense of “fame”), since she boasts of shameful things, or desires (another sense of “wants”) a bad reputation or infamy (another sense of “fame”).
she virtue wants or fame
,
Then I conclude she virtue wants or fame,
254
Boasting of that which I Should count my Shame
Boasting of that which I should count my shame.
Boasting of that which I should count my shame.
255
Let mee and mine riſe from the new plow’d earth
Let me and mine rise from the new-plowed earth
Let me and mine rise from the new plowed earth,
256
While Shee proclaims her excremencious birth.
While she proclaims her
Gloss Note
having to do with excreted bodily substances; here, a reference to the Rose’s Qur’an-based account of her birth from Mohammad’s sweat; see the note on “dropped down from paradise,” above
excrementous
birth.”
While she proclaims her
Critical Note
“Excrementious” is a now obsolete adjectival form of “excrement” (which was used in the seventeenth century to describe all outgrowths of the body, including hair, nails, and, as here, sweat). The Poppy claims that being born from bodily excrements (as all humans are) is inferior to emerging out of the “new-plowed” soil, which the Rose earlier linked to another kind of excrement, the dunghill. Farming challenges the clear separations between soil and filth, waste and fertility, for which the Poppy hopes here. The Poppy insists that it rises up rather than drops down; it is an origin and not a remainder.
excrementous
birth.”
The Violet
The Violet
The Violet, 7th
257
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Violet 7:th
The
Bashfull Violet then her head upheav’s
The bashful violet then her head upheaves,
The bashful
Critical Note
Henry Hawkins emphasizes the bashful nature of the violet, “the hermitess of flowers,” the anchoress, hidden and recognized only by her scent. “Where if the Rose and Lily be the Queen and Lady of Flowers, she will be their lowly handmaid, lying at their feet” (Partheneia Sacra [Rouen, 1633], sig. D3r).
Violet
then her head upheaves,
258
Shee being vailed or’e before w:th leaves
She being veiled o’er before with leaves.
She being veiled o’er before with leaves.
259
Then Sighing forth a coole and Sweet perfume
Then, sighing forth a cool and sweet perfume,
Then, sighing forth a cool and sweet perfume,
260
Shee Said the Poppie did too much preſume
She said the Poppy did too much presume;
She said the Poppy did too much presume;
261
Then trickling down a teare (ah me Shee Said)
Then, trickling down a tear, “Ah me,” she said,
Then, trickling down a tear, “Ah me,” she said,
262
I well Remember when I was a Maid
“I well remember when I was a maid,
“I well remember when I was a maid,
263
My bevty did a deietie inflame
Gloss Note
Robert Herrick writes of a poetic tradition in which Love (Venus) was “wrangling … / Whether the violets should excel, / Or she, in sweetest scent. / But Venus having lost the day, poor girls, she fell on you; / And beat ye so (as some dare say) / Her blows did make ye blue.” Hesperides (London, 1648), p. 119.
My beauty did a deity inflame
;
My beauty did a
Critical Note
The Violet may refer here to “when Jupiter had turned the young damsel Io, whom he tenderly loved, into a cow, the earth brought forth this flower [the violet] for her food: which being made for her sake, received the name from her” (Gerard, Herball [1633], p. 852).
deity inflame
;
264
And must I now (Ô strange) contend for fame
And must I now (O strange!) contend for
Gloss Note
good reputation, honor
fame
?
And must I now (O strange!) contend for fame?
265
Let me not breath her pride doth me confound
Let me not breathe;
Gloss Note
presumably, the Poppy (who spoke last)
her
pride doth me confound.
Let me not breathe;
Critical Note
“Her pride” seems to refer to the Poppy. Like the other flowers, the Violet focuses most on the speaker who immediately precedes her.
her pride
doth me confound;
266
I was a Lady once for beavty Crownd
I was a lady once, for beauty crowned,
I was a lady once, for beauty crowned,
267
Till Delia did unlooſe my virgin Zone
Till
Gloss Note
here, Apollo, the sun god (more usually called Delius, because he was from the island of Delos). René Rapin’s poem on gardens shows the violet pursued by the amorous Apollo; whether Rapin was Pulter’s source is not clear. Hortorum, first published in Latin (Paris, 1665), was first translated and printed in English in 1672 (as Of Gardens[,] Four Books First Written in Latin Verse by Renatus Rapinus; see pages 16-18 on the violet).
Delia
did
Gloss Note
i.e., the sun god loosened or removed the violet’s belt or girdle
unloose my virgin zone
;
Till Delia did unloose my
Critical Note
Delia refers here to the Sun. A virgin zone might be either a girdle or belt enclosing the genitals or the hymen itself. The Sun loosening the violet’s virgin zone might refer to how the violet, like many flowers, opens in response to the sun.
virgin zone
;
268
Since when in Silent Shades I make my mone
Since when, in silent shades I make my moan;
Since when, in silent shades I make my moan;
yet

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269
Yet Sure for Shame my face I need not cover
Yet sure for shame my face I need not cover.
Yet sure for shame my face I need not cover.
270
Who would not Glory in Soe brave a lover
Who would not glory in so brave a lover?
Who would not glory in so brave a lover?
271
And in our Umpires love I well may rest
And in our umpire’s love I well may rest,
And in our umpire’s love I well may rest,
272
Shee uſeing oft to wear me in her breast
She using oft to wear me in her breast;
She using oft to wear me in her breast;
273
But as for you, you ne’r attain’d that grace
But as for
Gloss Note
presumably, the Poppy (who spoke last)
you
, you ne’er attained that grace
But as for
Critical Note
The Violet moves from referring to the Poppy in the third person (“her pride”) to directly addressing the Poppy in the second person starting here, to describing the Poppy’s (her) “loathsome” and soporific “savor” in the third person. But this switch to the third person leads to confusion between the Poppy and “our umpire,” both of whom the Violet calls “her.”
you
, you ne’er attained that grace
274
Her to adorn, or in her Houſe had place
Gloss Note
the “umpire” mentioned three lines earlier, who is also the poem’s first speaker
Her
to adorn, or in her house had place,
Her to adorn, or in her house had place,
275
ffor none her Loathſom Savour can abide
For none
Gloss Note
the Poppy
her
loathsome savor can abide,
For none her loathsome savor can abide,
276
Unles by her they would be stupified
Unless by her they would be
Gloss Note
a reference to the Poppy’s power to put people to sleep or to dull their senses.
stupefied
.
Unless by her they would be stupefied.
277
Were here not others of more worth then Shee
Were here not others of more worth than she,
Were here not others of more worth than she,
278
I need not strive the priſe would fall to mee
I need not strive: the prize would fall to me.
I need not strive: the prize would fall to me.
279
Nocturna favours her Shee doth pretend
Gloss Note
the goddess of night
Nocturna
favors her, she doth pretend;
Nocturna favors her, she doth pretend;
280
And must Shee therefore all ye Rest transcend
And must she therefore all the rest transcend?
And must she therefore all the rest transcend?
281
That old deformed, Purblind Slut, wants Sight
That old deforméd,
Gloss Note
The violet insults Nocturna, the goddess of night, as someone “purblind” (meaning dim-sighted or dim-witted) and a slut (a woman with slovenly habits, person of low character, or impudent girl).
purblind slut
wants sight
That old deformed,
Gloss Note
Nocturna, the goddess of night.
purblind slut
wants sight
282
To Judg of bevty; or at least wants light
To judge of beauty, or at least wants light.
To judge of beauty—or at least wants light.
283
But I perfume the Air with fair Aurora
But I perfume the air with fair Aurora,
But I perfume the air with fair Aurora,
284
And grace the paps, and Robes of lovly fflora
And grace the paps and robes of lovely Flora.
And grace the paps and robes of lovely Flora.
285
Shee tels long Stories of the Ravished Queen
Gloss Note
the Poppy
She
tells long stories of the ravished queen
Gloss Note
The Poppy
She
tells long stories of the ravished queen
286
Of Eribus, in this her pride is Seen
Of
Gloss Note
Erebus is the dark classical underworld, Hades; the previous line refers to Persephone, who was abducted (or ravished) and taken to the underworld by Pluto (or Hades).
Erebus
; in this her pride is seen.
Of
Critical Note
Nyx or night, sometimes understood in Greek mythology as the consort or queen of Erebus or darkness. The “ravished queen” may be Persephone, referred to above, whom the god of the underworld kidnapped or “ravished.”
Erebus
; in this her pride is seen.
287
I wonder at her Arogance and Madnes
I wonder at her arrogance and madness,
I wonder at her arrogance and madness,
288
To Dream of cureing our Deſiders Sadnes
To dream of curing our
Gloss Note
The speaker, who confesses her sadness near the poem’s opening, is acting as the judge or “decider” of the debate. References to “her” in the next seven lines are to the speaker.
decider’s
sadness,
To dream of curing our decider’s sadness,
when

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289
When her sad heart’s Soe overchargd w:th grief
When her sad heart’s so overcharged with grief
When her sad heart’s so overcharged with grief
290
That Phisicks Art can give her noe Relief
That
Gloss Note
medicine’s
physic’s
art can give her no relief.
That physic’s art
Critical Note
Various of the flowers refer to their mistress’s grief. The Poppy mentions it above. Here the Violet suggests even opium cannot relieve it.
can give her no relief
.
291
ffor I haue heard her often Sighing Say
For I have heard her often, sighing, say
For
Critical Note
In these lines, the Violet offers us mediated access to the narrator’s or "decider’s" voice
I have heard her often
, sighing, say
292
Nothing would ease her but her Dying Day
Nothing would ease her but her dying day;
Nothing would ease her but her dying day;
293
Nothing would cure her till ye Dead did Riſe
Nothing would cure her till the dead did rise
Nothing would cure her till the dead did rise
294
In Glory, then and not before, her eyes
In glory; then and not before, her eyes
In glory; then and not before, her eyes
295
would ceaſe for Sin and Sorrow to or’eflow
Would cease for sin and sorrow to o’erflow.
Would cease for sin and sorrow to o’erflow.
296
But after her my Paſſsion must not goe
Gloss Note
The Violet declares that her “passion,” or zealous aim (here, to be ranked first among flowers), must not go “after” the Poppy’s, or come behind her in the ranking.
But after her my passion must not go
.
But after her my passion must not go.
297
Although I am not like the Poppie pied
Although I am not like the poppy
Gloss Note
variable, speckled with color, flawed
pied
,
Although I am not like the Poppy
Gloss Note
Marked, dappled, speckled with color. Some poppies have black spots on their pedals near the center.
pied
,
298
Yet is my vest in Princely purple dyed
Yet is my vest in princely purple dyed,
Yet is my vest in
Gloss Note
The Violet refers to the regal associations with the color purple, which Roman sumptuary laws restricted to the Emperor and senators and Tudor sumptuary laws attempted, unsuccessfully, to restrict to the use of members of the royal family and aristocrats. Below, the Heliotrope also refers to the Violet’s “Tyrian dye” (l. 334), or purple hue.
princely purple
dyed,
299
And in thoſe Coulours that Adorn ye Skie
And in those colors that adorn the sky,
And in those colors that adorn the sky,
300
Then which?
Physical Note
doubly struck-through, scribbled cancellation of two words, possibly “none is”
[?]
non is more pleasing to ye eye
Than which none is more pleasing to the eye.
Than which none is more pleasing to the eye.
301
In Sicknes and in health I am respected
In sickness and in health I am respected;
In sickness and in health I am respected;
302
Then let me not (for Shame) be now neglected
Then let me not (for shame) be now neglected.
Then let me not (for shame) be now neglected.
303
The Poppie Sa’s Shee Rocks ye World a Sleep
The Poppy says she rocks the world asleep,
The Poppy says she rocks the world asleep,
304
And braging, Such a Racket Shee doth keep
And, bragging, such a racket she doth keep
And, bragging, such a racket she doth keep
305
That Shee forgets (I am afraid) the Duty
That she forgets (I am afraid) the duty
That she forgets (I am afraid) the duty
306
That all doe ow to vertue and to Bevty
That all do vow to virtue and to beauty.
That all do vow to virtue and to beauty.”
the

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The Heliotrope
The Heliotrope
The Heliotrope, 8th
307
Physical Note
to left, in margin: “The Helitropia 8:th”; beneath, “Sunflower” and curved, doubly-crossed flourish, with indiscernible pen markings to left
The
Physical Note
superscript “u” written over other letter
Heliotropium
then began to vapour
The
Gloss Note
a name given to plants of which the flowers turn so as to follow the sun; in early times applied to the sunflower and marigold
Heliotropium
then began to
Gloss Note
to use language as light or unsubstantial as vapor; to talk fantastically, grandiloquently, or boastingly; to rise up
vapor
,
The
Critical Note
We now use the word heliotrope to describe a flower from the borage family, with multiple small purple blossoms. In the early modern period, it was also called “turnsole,” as in turning toward the sun, and was a widely used source of a purple dye. Early modern writers seem to have used the word heliotrope to describe what we now call a Sunflower, what one writer calls “the lofty Cedar of flowers” (Henry Hawkins, Partheneia Sacra [1633], sig. D7v).The heliotrope’s defining feature was the fact that it opened toward and followed the sun, seeming to offer a natural model of political and religious devotion to a single authority above. Nicholas Billingsley prays that he might be like the heliotrope: “Lord grant that as the heliotrope Apollo / My heart the Sun of righteousness may follow” (Kosmobrephia or the infancy of the world [London, 1658], p. 149). Robert Turner evokes the sun-facing heliotrope and marigold as model subjects: “In the heliotrope and marigold, subjects may learn their duty to their sovereign; which his sacred majesty King Charles I mentions in his Princely Meditations, walking in a garden in the Isle of Wight, in the following words, viz.: ‘The Marigold observes the Sun / More than my Subjects me have done, “&”c.’” (Robert Turner, Botanologia: The British Physician (London, 1664), “To the Reader,” sig. A6r). This is part of Turner’s case that people should attend to the lessons written in plants. In contrast, Walter Charleton points out that many flowers open toward the sun, responding simply to its warmth, and he dismisses those who think of this as both peculiar to the heliotrope and as a form of devotion as “champions of secret magnetism” who view a spontaneous response to the sun’s heat as the flower discovering its “amours to the sun, by not only disclosing its rejoicing head and bosom at the presence, and wrapping them up again in the mantle of its own disconsolate and languishing leaves, during the absence of its lover, but also by facing him all day long” (Petrus Gassendus, Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltoniana, augmented by Walter Charleton [London, 1654], 349-50).
Heliotropium
then began to
Gloss Note
This is the poem’s preferred word for boasting.
vapor
,
308
Saying I vow, by yonder blazing Tapor
Saying, “I vow, by yonder blazing
Gloss Note
a candle, used here as a metaphor for the sun
taper
Saying, “I vow, by yonder blazing taper
309
Which gives to all both light and influence
Which gives to all both light and influence,
Which gives to all both light and influence,
310
I am confounded at her impudence
I am confounded at
Gloss Note
the Violet’s
her
impudence!”
I am confounded at her impudence!”
311
Then Stareing on the Sun, behold Shee Said
Then, staring on the sun, “Behold,” she said,
Then, staring on the sun, “Behold,” she said,
312
To view his fulgent face I’m not afraid
“To view his
Gloss Note
radiant; glittering; resplendent; bright shining
fulgent
face I’m not afraid;
“To view
Gloss Note
Radiant; brightly shining. Note that the Heliotrope genders the sun as masculine (“his”). This is an extended discussion of the Heliotrope’s “amorous” focus on the sun.
his fulgent
face I’m not afraid;
313
When hee in pride and Splendour doth ariſe
When he in pride and splendor doth arise,
When he in pride and splendor doth arise
314
Unto the Orient I throw
Physical Note
imperfectly erased “ne” visible afterward, and dot over “y” signalling alteration of earlier “i”
my
Eyes
Unto
Gloss Note
the east; dawn
the orient
I throw my eyes;
Unto the Orient I throw my eyes;
315
And as he mounts up the Olympick Hill
And as he mounts up the
Gloss Note
Mount Olympus, the home of the gods of ancient Greece
Olympic hill
,
And as he mounts up the Olympic Hill,
316
With amorous glances I pursue him Still
With amorous glances I pursue him still;
With amorous glances I pursue him still;
317
And when hee’s Zenith I as tis my duty
And when
Gloss Note
at his highest point
he’s zenith
, I, as ’tis my duty,
And when he’s zenith I, as ’tis my duty,
318
Am fixt admireing his Refulgent bevty
Am fixed admiring his
Gloss Note
radiant, resplendent, lustrous, glorious or sumptuous
refulgent
beauty;
Am fixed admiring his refulgent beauty;
319
But when he doth deſcend to Tetheus deep
But when he doth descend to
Gloss Note
Tethys was a Titan in Greek mythology who produced the Oceanides (water goddesses) with her brother, Oceanus (a personification of the ocean). In the manuscript, the name is “Tetheus.”
Tethyss’s
deep,
But when he doth descend to
Critical Note
Tethys was the sister and wife of Oceanus in Greek mythology, often called “queen of the Ocean” in early modern texts. The name in the manuscript is Tetheus. For a link between Tethys and the sun, see “Thus, the poor Persians, when their Sun’s to set / In watery Tethys’s lap, with eyes as wet, / As is his bed, sadly resent his fall” (Edward Palmer, An elegy on the death of Mr. James Bristow [Oxford, 1667], p. 9).
Tethys
deep,
320
To part with him in Golden tears I weep
To part with him in golden tears I weep;
To part with him in golden tears I weep;
321
But Shee (poore Girle) an uregarded flower
But she (poor girl), an unregarded flower,
But
Gloss Note
Violet
she
(poor girl), an unregarded flower,
322
To vew his his Raidient face hath not the power
To view his radiant face hath not the power;
To view his radiant face hath not the power;
323
But in Som Silent, Sad, neglected Shades
But in some silent, sad, neglected shades
But in some silent, sad, neglected shades
324
Shee (deſpic[e]able
Physical Note
“S” in lighter ink
Shee
) Buds, Blooms, & fades;
She (despicable she) buds, blooms, and fades,
She (despicable she) buds, blooms, and fades;
325
Whilst I unto the wondring World diſplay
Whilst I unto the wondering world display
Whilst I unto the wandering world display
326
My beuty, createing createing either night or day
My beauty, creating either night or day;
My beauty, creating either night or day:
when

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327
When I contract my leaves my love his Light
When I contract my leaves,
Gloss Note
Apollo, the sun god
my love
his light,
When I contract my
Critical Note
Petals. The Heliotrope uses zeugma here, extending the same verb “contract” to two linked actions: when I contract my pedals, my love, the Sun, contracts his light from the world, leading to night. The Heliotrope suggests that she and the sun, “we,” open and close, rise and fall, in tandem.
leaves
, my love his light,
328
Then all this Globe’s involved in horrid Night
Then all this globe’s involved in horrid night;
Then all this globe’s involved in horrid night;
329
But when wee doe our Golden Curles unfold
But when we do our golden curls unfold,
But when we do our golden curls unfold,
330
All are exhillerated to behold
All are exhilarated to behold
All are exhilarated to behold
331
Our love and light, I wonder Shee Should dare
Our love and light. I wonder she should dare
Our love and light. I wonder she should dare
332
With Phœbus famous favorite to compare
With
Gloss Note
Phœbus was another name for Apollo, the sun.
Phœbus’s
famous favorite to compare.
With
Critical Note
Phoebus is another name for the sun or Apollo. This may mean simply, “how dare the Violet compare herself to me, the Sun’s favorite,” or could refer back to the Violet’s mention of Delia above (l. 267), since the Heliotrope will discuss this at line 343 and cast the Violet as Clytie, the murderer of “Phoebus’s famous favorite,” Leucothoe.
Phœbus’s
famous favorite to compare.
333
Most foolishly Shee vaunts her Birth is high
Most foolishly she vaunts her birth is high,
Most foolishly she vaunts her birth is high,
334
And that her Robes are dipt in Tirian die
And that her robes are dipped in
Gloss Note
a purple dye, associated with the ancient Phœnician city Tyre, where it was made
Tyrian dye
;
And that her robes are dipped in
Gloss Note
Purple. This dye, made from snail shells, was associated with one of its early sites of manufacture, Tyre, a city in what is now Lebanon.
Tyrian dye
;
335
When as the vesture which my limbs
Physical Note
“u” corrects earlier “i”
unfold
When as the
Gloss Note
clothing or apparel; also, anything that grows upon the land
vesture
which my limbs unfold
When as the
Gloss Note
Garments or covering
vesture
which my limbs unfold
336
Are Youthfull green ffring’d w:th burniſh’d Gold
Are youthful green, fringéd with burnished gold.
Are youthful green, fringed with burnished gold.
337
Shee Brags the female Sex esteem her best
She brags the female sex esteem her best
Critical Note
“She” seems to refer back to the Rose’s boast of lying between women’s breasts. While the first few flowers each responded to the preceding speaker, here the Heliotrope criticizes several who have preceded her.
She
brags the female sex esteem her best
338
And ^
Physical Note
“t” is superscript to superscript “y”
yt
Shee Sits Triumphant on their brest
And that she sits triumphant on their breast.
And that she sits triumphant on their breast.
339
A rush I care not for that Scornfull crue
A
Gloss Note
something of little or no value or importance (derived from common plants used to cover floors, among other uses)
rush
I care not for that scornful crew,
A
Gloss Note
A straw, or something equally worthless. “I do not care a rush” was a colloquial expression.
rush
I care not for that scornful crew,
340
For And ^did \ I grow as fare aboue their view
For did I grow as far above their view
For did I grow as far above their view
341
As from their Reach trust me I Should rejoyce
As from their reach, trust me, I should rejoice;
As from their reach, trust me, I should rejoice;
342
ffor braue Hiperion is my Souls ſole choice
For brave
Gloss Note
Hyperion is sometimes an epithet for the mythological sun god; he was the father of Helios (the Sun).
Hyperion
is my soul’s sole choice.
For brave
Gloss Note
Hyperion: the Greek god of heavenly light. Sometimes understood as the Father of the Sun, Hyperion is here another word for the Heliotrope’s focus, the Sun.
Hyperion
is my soul’s sole choice.
343
Shee says my loue her Ceston did untie
She says my love her
Gloss Note
obsolete form of “cestus,” meaning belt
ceston
did untie
Critical Note
This seems to refer to the Violet, l. 267.
She
says my love her
Gloss Note
Obsolete form of “cestus,” meaning belt
ceston
did untie,
344
But now he Scorns on her to cast an eye
But now he scorns on her to cast an eye,
But now he scorns on her to cast an eye,
345
Cauſe enviously Shee made Lucothia dye
’Cause enviously
Gloss Note
The Heliotrope recasts the conventional myth, in which not the violet (the “she” here) but the Heliotrope herself, in her prior form as the nymph Clytie, envied Leucothoe, for whom Helios, the sun god, had abandoned her. Leucothoe’s father made her die in the original telling.
she made Leucothoe die
’Cause enviously she made
Critical Note

The Heliotrope seems to refer to the story of a jealous rivalry between two of the Sun’s lovers, Clytie and Leucothoe. Clytie was the daughter of the Ocean and Tethys (mentioned above). After Clytie informed Leucothoe’s father that his daughter had been deflowered by the Sun, he buried her alive. The Sun then spurned Clytie’s bed and, according to Ovid, she starved herself for nine days and then transformed into a heliotrope—but one of the purple-flowered variety. As Sandys’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses puts it: Clytie

rivets on the God her eyes;
And ever turns her face to him that flies.
At length, to earth her stupid body cleaves:
Her wan complexion turns to bloodless leaves,
Yet streaked with red; her perished limbs beget
A flower, resembling the pale Violet;
Which, with the sun, though rooted fast, doth move;
And, being changed, changeth not her love.
Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished, trans. George Sandys [London, 1632], Book 4, sig. P2

A comment in the margin clarifies that this flower is “The Heliotrope or Turn-sol.” The Heliotrope thus tells what might be viewed as a story of its own origins but presents it as evidence against the Violet.

Leucothea
die;
ere

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346
Er’e Since he hath Refuſed her wanton Bed
E’er since he hath refused her wanton bed,
E’er since he hath refused her wanton bed,
347
Since when aſhamed Shee hides her guilty Head
Since when, ashamed, she hides her guilty head.
Since when, ashamed, she hides her guilty head.
348
Shee vaunts that Shee perfumes ye breath of fflora
She vaunts that she perfumes the breath of Flora;
Critical Note
The Heliotrope here begins a summary of what other flowers have boasted of so far: some say this, and some say that.
She
vaunts that she perfumes the breath of Flora;
349
Som dreſs the Golden Treſſes of Aurora
Some dress the golden tresses of Aurora;
Some dress the golden tresses of Aurora;
350
Some of the Goddeſſes tels tedious Storyes
Some of the goddesses tells tedious stories,
Some of the goddesses tells tedious stories,
351
And fondly think to Shine by others gloryes
And
Gloss Note
foolishly
fondly
think to shine by others’ glories;
And
Gloss Note
Foolishly.
fondly
think to shine by others’ glories;
352
Som of the Elucian Lady wonders tell
Some of the
Gloss Note
a reference to the Eleusinian mystery cult associated with the goddesses Demeter and Persphone, and originating with the goddess Eileithyia
Eleusian lady
wonders tell,
Some of the
Gloss Note
Goddess Diana, about whom the Woodbine speaks.
Elucian lady
wonders tell,
353
And others fetch persephone from Hell
And others fetch Persephone from Hell;
And others fetch
Critical Note
The Poppy links herself to Ceres and her daughter Persephone.
Persephone
from Hell;
354
Som of faire Eriſinas favour brag
Some of fair
Gloss Note
Venus’s
Erycina’s
favor brag,
Some of fair
Critical Note
Venus’s. The Woodbine is the first to link herself to Venus or Aphrodite.
Erycina’s
favor brag,
355
And Acharons wife yt Antick black browed Hag
And
Gloss Note
In Greek mythology, Acheron’s wife is Orphne, who is associated with darkness (and thus “black-browed”).
Acheron’s wife
with
Gloss Note
grotesque, distorted
antic
Gloss Note
dark-browed or -faced; frowning, scowling
black-browed
hag;
And
Critical Note
Acheron’s wife could refer to Persephone, wife of the god Hades, just referred to above, or to the wife of the river Acheron, variously named Gorgyra, Styx, or Orphne. The name Orphne is from the ancient Greek word for “darkness.” In Greek mythology, Acheron was the river conveying humans to the underworld after death. This allusion may perhaps refer to the Poppy’s and perhaps Violet’s associations with darkness.
Acheron’s wife
with
Gloss Note
Grotesque in composition or shape; grouped or figured with fantastic incongruity; bizarre, monstrous, ludicrous.
antic
black-browed hag;
356
Thus they for trophis rak hell and Night
Thus they for trophies
Gloss Note
“rak,” the spelling in the manuscript, might signify “rack” (to stretch, torture, or or pull apart) or “rake” (to search, gather by scraping).
rake
Hell and night
Thus they for
Gloss Note
Figures of speech, allusions. The other flowers scrape the bottom of the barrel, sinking so low as to affiliate themselves with night and hell. The Heliotrope keeps it simple, looking up and not down or back, and focusing on the Sun
tropes
rake Hell and night
357
Whilst I Stand glorying in ye God of Light.
Whilst I stand glorying in the God of Light.
Whilst I stand glorying in the God of Light.”
The Auricula
The Auricula
The Auricula, 9th
358
Physical Note
In left margin: “The Auricola 9:th
The
Physical Note
the “u” is cramped between the “A” and “r”
Auricola
in brave Thamancious hew
The Auricula, in brave
Gloss Note
“Thaumantias” was an epithet for Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, which suggests that Pulter alludes here to the Auricula’s variegated colors (see Frances E. Dolan’s Amplified Edition of this poem)
Thaumantias’s hue
,
Critical Note
The auricula is a primula or cowslip, also called a bear’s ear or primrose. It describes itself here as wearing “shadowed robes” but having bright eyes. It was often praised for early bloom and beauty. Gilbert argues that those that are chiefly yellow are the most esteemed but mentions very dark, almost black, purple and scarlet ones with “snow white eyes” (Samuel Gilbert, Florist’s Vade Mecum [1682], 44, 47).
The Auricula
, in brave
Critical Note

Iris was sometimes called the daughter of Thaumas or, in Latin, Thaumantias. This reference may refer to the multicolored or rainbow nature of the Auricula. William Drummond, for example, writes:

Fair is Thaumantias in her crystal gown
When clouds engemmed hang azure, green, and red
(Poems [1616], sig. E2v).

An English translation of Virgil’s “Of Iris or the Rainbow” includes these lines:

When Phoebus fills the clouds with radiant light,
With divers colors Iris comes in sight,
Adoring heaven with her compass bright.
In clouds Thaumantias brightly shining reigns ...
The epigrams of P. Virgilius Maro, Englished by J. P. [London, 1634], sig. B8v.

On the association of the Iris and the rainbow, see below.

Thaumantias’
hue,
359
Whoſe Shadowed Robes
Physical Note
insertion marks and “w” in different hand from main scribe; first “e” written over “a”
\w\ere
Di’mond ore w:th Dew
Whose shadowed robes were diamoned o’er with dew,
Whose shadowed robes were diamonded o’er with dew,
360
ffrom her bright eyes let fall a Shower of tears
From her bright eyes let fall a shower of tears
From her bright eyes let fall a shower of tears,
361
Which hung like pendent Pearls about her ears
Which hung like pendant pearls about her ears;
Which hung like pendant pearls about her ears;
362
Then Shakeing of her Head Shee Said
Physical Note
“H” imperfectly erased; first “a” appears written over prior “e”
Halas
!
Then, shaking of her head, she said, “Alas!
Then, shaking of her head, she said, “
Gloss Note
Alas
las
!
363
Why? doe I live to See this com to pas
Why do I live to see this come to pass?
Why do I live to see this come to pass?
364
Why? did the impartiall Parces twist my thred
Why did the impartial
Gloss Note
Roman name for the Fates, the three goddesses of human destiny
Parcae
twist my thread?
Why did the impartial
Critical Note
The three sisters of fate, who spin, measure, and cut the strands of each human life. Pulter refers to them elsewhere, for instance in On those Two Unparalleled Friends, Sir George Lisle and Sir Charles Lucas, Who Were Shot to Death at Colchester [Poem 7]. In this line and the next, the Auricula seems to say “why was I born”? She goes on to express the view that she would rather be dead, stuck in eternal night, than listen to the Heliotrope.
Parcaes
twist my thread?
365
Physical Note
in left margin: “Why”
ffrom
the Chaos did I lift my head
Why from the chaos did I lift my head?
Why from the chaos did I lift my head?
wer’t

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366
Were’t not for the inevitable Laws
Were’t not for the inevitable laws
Were’t not for the inevitable laws
367
Of Destinie, I wo’d Shrink into my cauſs
Of destiny, I would shrink into my
Gloss Note
place or material of origin
cause
,
Of destiny, I would
Gloss Note
Return to my origin or shrink back into a seed underground.
shrink into my cause
368
And rather makt my choyce to be nighted
And rather make it my choice to be nighted
And rather make it my choice to be nighted
369
Eternally, then live to bee thus Sleighted
Eternally, than live to be thus slighted.
Eternally, than live to be thus slighted.
370
Ney I had rather choose Annihiliation
Nay, I had rather choose annihilation
Nay, I had rather choose annihilation
371
Then hear the fflos Solis ostentation
Then hear the
Gloss Note
sunflower’s
Flos Solis’s
ostentation!
Then hear the
Gloss Note
Sunflower’s or Heliotrope’s
Flos Solis’s
ostentation!
372
Here’s many gallant flowers conscious bee
Here’s many
Gloss Note
gorgeous, showy, attractive in appearance; fashionable; excellent, splendid
gallant
flowers conscious be
Here’s many gallant flowers conscious be
373
Of their own wants, which Silent Stand you See
Of their own
Gloss Note
lacks, shortcomings
wants
, which silent stand (you see)
Of their own
Gloss Note
Lacks, shortcomings
wants
, which silent stand (you see)
374
And yet have infinitely more worth then ſhee
And yet have infinitely more worth than she!
And yet have infinitely more worth than she!
375
Yet wee must all Stand mute to hear her prattle:
Yet we must all stand mute to hear her prattle:
Yet we must all stand mute to hear her prattle:
376
Dear heart! How my ears tingle w:th her
Physical Note
after this line, half a blank page, with poem continuing on next page
tattle
.
Dear heart! How my ears tingle with her
Physical Note
After this line is half a blank page, with the poem continuing on the next page.
tattle
.
Dear heart! How my ears tingle with her tattle.”

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The Flower-De-Luce
The Flower-De-Luce
The Flower De Luce, 10th
377
Physical Note
in left margin: “The fflower Deluce 10:th
The
Calcidonian Iris then adrest
The
Gloss Note
Caledonia was the Roman name for northern Britain, later applied poetically to Scotland, which featured the fleur-de-lis (Pulter’s Flower-De-Luce) in its royal arms.
Caledonian Iris
then addressed
The
Gloss Note
Rea describes “the great Chalcedonian Iris, or Turkey Flower-de-luce,” as a particularly large and impressive specimen (Flora seu, De florum cultura [London,1665], sig. R2r). Worlidge explains that “the best and most excellent [iris] is the Caledonian Iris, vulgarly called the Toad-Flag from its dark marbled Flower” (John Worlidge, Systema horti-culturae, or The art of gardening [1688], 105).
Caledonian Iris
then addressed
378
Her Selfe to Speake, being choſen by ye rest
Herself to speak, being chosen by the rest,
Herself to speak, being
Critical Note
Previous flowers have spoken as if provoked by the preceding speaker. Here the flowers collectively seem to tap the Iris to speak up for them as a group.
chosen by the rest
,
379
And Said I would this tryall were in ffrance
And said, “I would this trial were in France,
And said, “I would this trial were in France,
380
ffor there my favourets I could all advance
For there my favorites I could all advance;
For there my favorites I could all advance;
381
ffor in the Kings paternall Coat I’me born
For in
Gloss Note
the old French royal coat of arms, on which the fleur-de-lis (here, the Flower-De-Luce) appears
the king’s paternal coat
I’m borne,
For in the
Gloss Note
King’s coat of arms. The French king’s coat of arms included three fleurs de lis.
king’s paternal coat
I’m borne,
382
And being tranſplanted my brave fflowers adorn
And, being transplanted, my brave flowers adorn
And, being transplanted, my brave flowers adorn
383
And luster ad to the Emperiall race
And luster add to
Gloss Note
royal families in general
the imperial race
:
And luster add to the imperial race:
384
England, Navarr, Peadmount, my fflowers Grace
Gloss Note
territories which featured the fleur-de-lis in their arms
England, Navarre, Piedmont
my flowers grace.
Critical Note
The Flower De Luce refers to the various coats of arms she graces, including that of England (the coat of arms of the House of Stuart included three fleurs de lis) and the basque Kingdom of Navarre (annexed to Castilian Spain). For the appearance of the fleur de lis on various crests, see Geography anatomiz’d [London, 1699], 141, 144, 206). Piedmont, now part of Italy, was under the control of the Duke of Savoy in the seventeenth century, but it is not clear if the coats of arms of the house of Savoy included fleurs de lis. However, the Flower De Leuce’s point is clear—I am inseparable from the “imperial race,” that is, I am the emblem of the royal families of many countries.
England, Navarre, Piedmont
my flowers grace.
385
The Callidonian Lion is protected
The
Gloss Note
on the Scottish royal arms, a lion within a border decorated with the fleur-de-lis
Caledonian lion
is protected
The
Gloss Note
Native of ancient Caledonia, that is, Scottish. See, for instance, the coat of arms for Mary, Queen of Scots, which includes a lion and three fleurs de lis, in Curation Picturing Pulter’s Flowers.
Caledonian lion
is protected
386
By mee alone, must I then ^be neglected
By me alone; must I then be neglected?
By me alone; must I then be neglected?
387
What do’th availe? y:t I from Heaven came down
What doth avail that I from Heaven came down
What doth avail that I from Heaven came down
388
To stick my flower Deluces in the Crown:
To stick my flower-de-luces in the crown
To stick my flower-de-luces in the crown
389
Of ffamous Clodoneus if I must
Of famous
Gloss Note
Clovis (466-511), king of the Franks, who was (according to legend) given the fleur-de-lis at his baptism by Mary (mother of Jesus Christ).
Clodoneus
? If I must
Of famous
Gloss Note
The first Christian French king.
Clodoneus
? If I must
390
Give place to these then let mee turn to Dust
Give place to
Gloss Note
the other flowers in the garden
these
, then let me turn to dust!
Give place to these, then let me turn to dust!
391
ffor trust mee I had rather bee Calcind
For trust me, I had rather be
Gloss Note
burnt to ash or dust; purified or refined by consuming the grosser part
calcined
For trust me, I had rather be
Critical Note
Calcined means reduced to quick lime or ash. Just as the Auricula preferred death to listening to the Heliotrope, here the Flower De Luce offers an almost suicidal response to the prospect of losing, suggesting she would rather be turned to dust or dissolved into particles than live to be “outshone” by lesser flowers. This response may suggest why the umpire never gets around to rendering a judgment.
calcined
392
Then live and bee by Mounteneers outſhind
Than live and be by
Gloss Note
i.e., wild flowers growing in the mountains, as the auricula (who spoke last) does; the term could also suggest ignorant or uneducated people
mountaineers
outshined.
Than live and be by
Gloss Note
Mountain flowers like the auricula.
mountaineers
outshined.
393
What boots it mee? that all the World doth know
Gloss Note
i.e., “What does it matter to me” or “What good does it do me”
What boots it me
that all the world doth know
Gloss Note
How does it benefit me.
What boots it me
that all the world doth know
394
My Princely vesture’s like the Heavenly Bow
My princely vesture’s like
Gloss Note
rainbow
the heavenly bow
,
My princely vesture’s like the heavenly
Gloss Note
Rainbow
bow
,
395
Great Junos Legate, on whose Shineing brest
Great
Gloss Note
Iris was the messenger (“legate”) of Juno, mythological queen of the gods
Juno’s legate
, on whose shining breast
Gloss Note
Iris, messenger or delegate to Juno. The Ladies Dictionary; Being a General Entertainment for the Fair Sex [London, 1694], identifies Iris as: “Messenger to Juno, said to be the daughter of Thaumus and Electra; she is painted with a Rainbow circling her, her name importing the painted bow, so often seen after showers in the clouds” (223).
Great Juno’s legate
, on whose shining breast
396
Heavens Loue in Dewey
Physical Note
“r” and insertion marks in different hand from main scribe
Char\r\acters
exprest
Gloss Note
In the Bible, God created a rainbow as a covenant that he would never flood the Earth again (see Genesis 9:12-17).
Heaven’s love in dewy character’s expressed?
Heaven’s love in dewy
Critical Note
The Flower De Luce describes herself as like a rainbow (Iris), engraved with Heavenly writing or distinctive markings. According to Pliny, “The flower is of divers colors, like as we see in the rainbow, whereupon it took the name Iris” (Pliny, Historie of the World, trans. Holland [1634], 21.7.87).
character’s
expressed?
what

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397
What doth’t advantage mee to bear her name;
What
Gloss Note
i.e., “doth it” or “does it”
doth’t
advantage me to bear
Gloss Note
Iris’s; while “lis” in “fleur-de-lis” means “lily,” the design more closely resembles an iris
her
name,
What
Gloss Note
Does it
doth’t
advantage me to bear her name,
398
If I with Such as these must Strive for ffame
If I with such as
Gloss Note
the other flowers
these
must strive for
Gloss Note
good reputation, honor
fame
?
If I with such as
Gloss Note
The other flowers
these
must strive for fame?
399
What gain I? that my
Physical Note
apostrophe and “s” appear crowded between surrounding words in different hand from main scribe
root’s
a choyce perfume
What gain I that
Gloss Note
Orris root, the dried and powdered root of the iris, is a valuable ingredient in perfume.
my roots a choice perfume
,
What gain I that my root’s a choice
Gloss Note
The root of the iris, called an orris root, was the source of prized perfumes. Pliny describes the root as so valuable that “they use in Sclavonia to be very ceremonious in digging up the root of fleur-de-lis; for 3 months before they purpose to take it forth of the ground, the manner is to pour mead or honied water round about the root in the place where it groweth, having before-hand drawn a threefold circle with a sword’s point; as it were to curry favor with the Earth, & make some satisfaction for breaking it up and robbing her of so noble a plant: and no sooner is it forth of the ground, but presently they hold it up aloft toward heaven” (Historie of the World, trans. Holland [1634], Bk. 21, chap. 7, 87).
perfume
,
400
If fflowers of baſe extraction thus peſume
If flowers of
Gloss Note
low birth
base extraction
thus presume,
If flowers of base extraction thus presume,
401
And enviously my Glory thus impede
And enviously my glory thus impede,
And enviously my glory thus impede,
402
And Soe audaciouſly before mee plead
And so audaciously before me plead?
And so audaciously before me plead?
403
I haue hitherto
Physical Note
“d” written over “t”
triumphd
, and must I now?
I have hitherto triumphed, and must I now,
I have hitherto triumphed, and must I now—
404
fflora defend, to meaner bevties bow
Gloss Note
The expression, in reference to the classical goddess Flora, is analogous to “God forbid.”
Flora defend
, to
Gloss Note
inferior in rank or quality
meaner
beauties bow?
Gloss Note
The expression, in reference to the classical goddess Flora, is analogous to “God forbid.”
Flora defend
!—to meaner beauties bow?
405
Shee from the Alps, and I from Heaven deſcended
Gloss Note
the Auricula (a mountain plant)
She from the Alps
, and I from heaven descended;
She from the Alps, and I from Heaven descended;
406
If Shee prevailes?
Physical Note
second “e” blotted
She’es
inifintely befriended
If she prevails, she’s infinitely
Gloss Note
promoted
befriended
.
If she prevails, she’s infinitely befriended.
407
Doe but behould my Strang variety
Do but behold my strange variety:
Do but behold my strange variety:
408
Somtimes my Robes are like the Azure Skie
Sometimes my robes are like the
Gloss Note
blue
azure
sky;
Sometimes my robes are like the azure sky;
409
Then I in purple my faire Limbs infold
Then I in purple my fair limbs enfold;
Then I in purple my fair limbs enfold;
410
Then richly wrought w:th Silver, Black, & Gould
Then richly wrought with silver, black, and gold:
Then richly wrought with
Critical Note
The Iris here gives us a sense of her color range.
silver, black, and gold
.
411
Ney more the tears w:ch trickle down my face
Nay, more: the tears which trickle down my face
Nay, more—the tears which trickle down my face
412
Or Plinie lies doth propagate my race
(Or
Gloss Note
ancient Roman author of a famous work of natural history
Pliny
lies) doth
Gloss Note
Pliny writes that white lilies propagate at times “by means of a certain tearlike gum” (Book 11, Chapter 11, in The Natural History, trans. John Bostock, Perseus Digital Library Project).
propagate my race
.
Critical Note
Pliny argues that the convolvulus, with an appearance “not unlike the lily,” propagates by means of “a certain tearlike gum” (Pliny, Natural History 21.11.5). It’s not clear how this applies to the Fleur de lis, although lilies and irises were often linked.
(Or Pliny lies) doth propagate my race
.
413
If those whoſe bevty doe the rest outſhine,
If those whose beauty do the rest outshine
If those whose beauty do the rest outshine
414
Triumphant bee; the priſe is onely mine.
Triumphant be, the prize is only mine.
Triumphant be, the prize is only mine.”
The

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The Gillyflower
The Gillyflower
The July Flower, 11th
415
Physical Note
In left margin: “The July-flower 11:th”
The
admired Julyflower did Sweetly Smile
The admired Gillyflower did sweetly smile,
The admired
Critical Note
The July or gillyflower is the only one of the flowers to whom the poem does not assign a gendered pronoun. There were many varieties. It might also be called a pink or carnation. Parkinson counts 48 types of gillyflowers and carnations in 1629; in the second half of the seventeenth century, Rea tallies 350 (Bushnell, Green Desire, 151). According to Bushnell, they were “seen as an emblematic English flower (even though in fact the cultivated form, the carnation, came from the east and was imported into Western Europe only in the fifteenth century)” (Bushnell 150). Parkinson calls the July flower or gillyflower “the pride of our English gardens:” “But what shall I say to the Queen of delight and of flowers, carnations and gilloflowers, whose bravery, variety, and sweet smell joined together, tieth eueryone’s affection with great earnestness, both to like and to have them?” (Parkinson, Paradisi in Sole [1629], 8, 12). For the famous exchange in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale about the gillyflower, see the Curation "Posies: The Flower/Writing Connection" for Pulter’s View But This Tulip [Poem 105].
July flower
did sweetly smile,
416
Saying I have bin Silent all this while
Saying, “I have been silent all this while,
Saying, “I have been silent all this while,
417
Not doubting others would extoll my Bevty
Not doubting others would extol my beauty,
Not doubting others would extol my beauty,
418
But find
Physical Note
final “t” crowded between surrounding words
contempt
where I expected Duty
But find contempt where I expected duty.
But find contempt where I expected duty.
419
Trust mee, I wonder Such High thoughts Should Sore!
Trust me, I wonder such high thoughts should soar
Trust me, I wonder such high thoughts should soar
420
Physical Note
“n” crowded between surrounding words
In
vulgar Brains not capi^ous inough to explore
In
Gloss Note
common or ordinary
vulgar
brains not
Gloss Note
The manuscript has “capius,” which we read as an error for “copious,” meaning furnished plentifully, abounding in information, or full of matter; Eardley emends the word to “capacious.”
copious
enough t’explore
In vulgar brains not
Gloss Note
Crafty
captious
enough to explore
421
The worth of thoſe whom all that know adore
The worth of those whom all that know adore;
The worth of those whom all that know adore;
422
Yet baſe detracting wayes of pride I Scorn
Yet base detracting ways of pride I scorn
Yet base detracting ways of pride I scorn
423
With others vice my vertue to adorn
With others’ vice my virtue to adorn.
With others’ vice my virtue to adorn.
424
Ladies Refuse mee, if I villipend
Ladies, refuse me, if I
Gloss Note
speak disparagingly, represent as contemptible, abuse or vilify
vilipend
Ladies, refuse me if I
Gloss Note
Speak disparagingly of; represent as contemptible; abuse or vilify.
vilipend
425
The Simplest Simple that I may tranſcend;
The simplest
Gloss Note
a plant used for medicine, but also a humble and ordinary, or ignorant and foolish, person
simple
,
Gloss Note
so that I might rise above
that I may transcend
;
The simplest
Gloss Note
A plant used as the sole ingredient in a medicine, but also a humble and ordinary, or ignorant and foolish, person.
simple
,
Critical Note
So that. The July flower’s logic here is; reject me if I put down other lowlier flowers just so that I can rise above them.
that
I may transcend,
426
Nor never let mee yo:r faire Brest adorn,
Nor never let me your fair breast adorn,
Nor never let me your fair breast adorn,
427
But which I Soe abhor; let mee bee worn
But (which I so abhor) let me be worn
But (which I so abhor) let me be worn
428
By baſe Plebeans and ye Hidrian Crew:
By base
Gloss Note
commoners
plebeians
and the
Gloss Note
crowd that multiplies when attacked; an image based on the mythological serpent that regenerated when one of its many heads were severed
Hydrian crew
:
By base
Gloss Note
Ordinary people; commoners
plebeians
and the
Gloss Note
The many headed Hydra, referring to a mythological serpent with multiple heads, which could regenerate if cut off, was a familiar expression for the crowd or the mob. Like “base plebieans,” this is a put down of common people.
Hydrian crew
:
429
Nor never let Auroras Pearly Dew
Nor never let Aurora’s pearly dew
Nor never let
Gloss Note
The goddess of dawn’s
Aurora’s
pearly dew
430
Like Gemms bestud my robes at her ariſe
Like gems bestud my robes at her arise,
Like gems bestud my robes at her arise,
431
ffor which I breath and early sacrifice
For which I breathe an early sacrifice
For which I breathe an early sacrifice
432
Of Aromatick odours which perfume
Of aromatic odors which perfume
Of aromatic odors which perfume
433
The Ambiant Air; nor let noe flower p:eſume
The ambient air; nor let no flower presume
The ambient air; nor let no flower presume
434
Aboue her Spheire, nor yet her place Surrender
Above her sphere, nor yet her place surrender:
Above her sphere, nor yet her place surrender:
435
My luster is not darkned by their Splendour.
My luster is not darkened by their splendor.
My luster is not darkened by their
Critical Note
I am not made less by their splendor. The July flower proposes that all the flowers can be winners but brackets this with assertions of her preeminence, ending with “I them all transcend” (l.445).
splendor
.
like

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436
Like as the illustrious Globe the Sun
Like as th’illustrious globe, the sun,
Like as th’illustrious globe, the sun,
437
Gives leave to other Orbs their ^cours to Run
Gives leave to other orbs their course to run,
Gives leave to other orbs their course to run,
438
Whilst they unceſſently did^Still trundle round
Whilst they incessantly still trundle round
Whilst they incessantly still trundle round
439
The vast Circumference of his Glorious Mound
The vast circumference of his glorious mound,
The vast circumference of his glorious mound,
440
They following each his own intelligence
They following each his own intelligence,
They following each his own intelligence,
441
Whilst he to all gives Light, Life, influence
Whilst he to all gives light, life, influence:
Whilst he to all gives light, life, influence:
442
Soe may each flower in her pride apear
So may each flower in her pride appear
So may each flower in her pride appear
443
And with their various bevties grace the year
And with their various beauties grace the year.
And with their various beauties grace the year.
444
I not denie, they may our Queen attend
Gloss Note
I do not deny
I not deny
they may
Gloss Note
the umpire of the contest and narrator
our queen
attend
Gloss Note
I do not deny
I not deny
they may our
Critical Note
Our queen seems to be the narrator of the poem and umpire of the contest.
queen
attend
445
As well as I, yet I them all tranſcend
As well as I; yet I them all transcend.
As well as I; yet I them all transcend.
446
Did I but doubt our Arbitris would deale
Did I but
Gloss Note
fear, suspect
doubt
our
Gloss Note
i.e., the speaker at the start of the poem
arbitress
would deal
Did I but
Gloss Note
Fear; suspect
doubt
our
Critical Note
A feminized form of arbiter, presented as “arbitratress” above. This refers to the narrator in whose garden the contention takes place and whom the flowers choose as their umpire and decider. Again, the flower emphasizes sadness as the arbitress’s defining characteristic.
Arbitress
would deal
447
Injuriously, to Cloris I would apeale
Gloss Note
wrongfully, to wrong another
Injuriously
, to Chloris I would appeal;
Gloss Note
Wrongfully, hurtfully
Injuriously
, to
Critical Note
Queen Henrietta Maria played the role of Chloris, “Queen of the flowers and mistress of the spring,” in 1630 in Ben Jonson’s court masque Chloridia: Rites to Chloris and her nymphs (London, 1631), sig. B1v.
Chloris
I would appeal;
448
But Obivious ti’s within her constant brest
But
Gloss Note
i.e, “obvious it is that within her”
obvious ’tis within her
constant breast
But obvious ’tis within her constant breast
449
Louely Astrea doth triumphant rest
Lovely
Gloss Note
goddess of truth and justice
Astraea
doth triumphant rest.
Lovely
Critical Note
Goddess of truth and justice. Because the Arbitress is committed to justice, the July flower will submit to her judgment. The July flower immediately offers some pointers to the Arbitress, however, regarding what she should be sure to take into account.
Astrea
doth triumphant rest.
450
To her Il’e yield then, let her freely Judg
To her I’ll yield then: let her freely judge;
To her I’ll yield then: let her freely judge;
451
At her
Physical Note
dots beneath, with some in blank space after (represented in main text)
decition
. . trust me Il’e not Grudg
At her decision, trust me, I’ll not grudge.
At her decision, trust me, I’ll not grudge.
452
Let her but mark my Sweet variety
Let her but mark my sweet variety,
Let her but mark my sweet variety,
453
Which Satisfies w:th out Saciety
Which satisfies without
Gloss Note
the state of having enough or too much of something
satiety
:
Which satisfies without
Critical Note

The state of having enough or too much of something. The July flower’s variety allows her to satisfy those who see and smell her without diminishing their appetite for her. This sounds very like Enobarbus’s description of Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra:

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies. (2.2.245-48)
satiety
:
454
Somtimes my robes are like the Gentianell
Sometimes my robes are like the
Gloss Note
a blue flower
gentianella
;
Sometimes my robes are like the
Gloss Note
A blue flower
gentianella
;
455
Then I am paler like the Aspodell
Then I am paler like the
Gloss Note
a species of lily
asphodel
;
Then I am paler like the
Gloss Note
A species of white lily
asphodel
;
456
Somtimes my curious fancie takes delight
Sometimes my curious
Gloss Note
imagination; inventive design; mood or whim; inclination
fancy
takes delight
Sometimes my curious
Gloss Note
Imagination; inventive design; mood or whim; inclination
fancy
takes delight
457
To mix their Azure w:th the lillys white
To mix their azure with the lily’s white;
To
Critical Note
The July or gillyflower was an emblem of mixture, viewed positively or negatively. Its astonishing variation was achieved through grafting; the result was often a flower with variegated or freaked petals. This gillyflower twice refers to mixture (here and 4 lines down).
mix their azure with the lily’s white
;
oft

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458
Oft times in Purple I my Selfe Atire
Oft times in purple I myself attire;
Oft times in purple I myself attire;
459
Then Skarlet, Pynk, and Peach are my deſire
Then scarlet, pink, and peach are my desire.
Then scarlet, pink, and peach are my desire.
460
Thus every colour in my leaves are mixt:
Thus every color in my leaves are mixed.
Thus every color in my leaves are mixed.
461
Nature such bevty in my fflowers hath fixt
Nature such beauty in my flowers hath fixed
Nature such beauty in my flowers hath fixed
462
That all to wear my flowers take delight
That all to wear my flowers take delight;
That all to wear my flowers take delight;
463
I Chear the Spirits and Refreſh the Sight
I cheer the spirits and refresh the sight.
I cheer the spirits and refresh the sight.
464
Ney did I not to Sadnes give reliefe
Nay, did I not to sadness give relief,
Nay, did I not to sadness give relief,
465
Shee that Decides our Strife had fayled w:th grief
She that decides our strife had failed with grief.
She that decides our strife had failed with grief.
466
Then Judg if I am not of Ample fame
Then judge if I am not of
Gloss Note
extending far and wide; abundant
ample
fame
Then judge if I am not of
Gloss Note
Extending far and wide; abundant
ample
fame,
467
When Sects, Mounts, Cittyes Kingdoms, bear my name
When
Gloss Note
Eardley suggests that the July flower is referring to various places named “Julian.”
sects, mounts, cities, kingdoms, bear my name
.
When sects, mounts, cities, kingdoms,
Critical Note
Eardley suggests this is a reference to places named after Julius Caesar, source of the name for the month of July and its July flower.
bear my name
.
468
Now having Spoke noe favour I implore:
Now, having
Gloss Note
spoken
spoke
, no favor I implore:
Now, having
Gloss Note
Spoken
spoke
, no favor I implore:
469
Let any fflower Speake that can say
Physical Note
after this line, half a blank page, with poem continuing on next page
more
.
Let any flower speak that can say more.
Let any flower speak that can say more.”
then

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The Adonis
The Adonis
The Adonis, 12th
470
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Adonis 12:th
Then
young Adonis lapt his
Physical Note
“b” written over “p”
robe
about him
Then young
Gloss Note
an anemone reputed to have been created out of the mythological Adonis’s blood after this death
Adonis
Gloss Note
wrapped or enfolded
lapped
his robe about him
Then young
Gloss Note
The Adonis flower is part of the Ranunculus family. Adonis is the first flower to whom the narrator assigns a masculine pronoun. While other flowers boast of their color and scent, he claims that had he kept his human “shape” it would have earned him the prize without contest. He thus seems not to grasp that this is a contention of flowers about flowers and their particular virtues.
Adonis
Gloss Note
Wrapped
lapped
his robe about him
471
And said hee hop’d they wo’d chuſe noe chiefe w:thout him
And said he hoped they’d choose no chief without him:
And said he hoped they’d choose no chief without him:
472
ffor had I kept my Shape as well as name
“For had I kept my shape as well as name,
“For had I kept my shape as well as name,
473
Then had I not Stood here to plead for fame
Then had I not stood here to plead for fame!
Then had I not stood here to plead for fame!
474
ffool that I was, had I not bin Soe coy
Fool that I was, had I not been so coy,
Fool that I was, had I not been so coy,
475
I had bin Still faire Aphrodite her Joy
I had been still fair
Gloss Note
i.e., Aphrodite’s
Aphrodite her
joy.
I had been still fair
Critical Note
Adonis refers to his history with Venus, which was recounted both in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and in Shakespeare’s long poem on the topic. According to this story, Venus had a vision that Adonis would be killed while hunting; refusing to heed her warnings, he was, indeed, killed by a boar. Venus then mixed nectar with his blood to conjure an ephemeral flower in his honor. Adonis then, like Acteon, has a male human body that is transformed by a goddess. The poem invites us to imagine the bodies of several mythical men who were traumatically transformed into non-humans. In contrast, the flowers often invoke women’s bodies in sensual if fragmentary glimpses of the sensory organs flowers please, the body parts in which they are cherished, or the sleep or solace they provide.
Aphrodite
her joy.
476
Great Junos Son grew Jealous and inraged
Great
Gloss Note
Mars, who was the lover of Venus (also known as Aphrodite)
Juno’s son
grew jealous and enraged
Great
Critical Note
Mars. Pulter suggests here that Mars, often partnered with Venus, was jealous that she devoted herself to Adonis and so exacted his revenge. This association was not unique to Pulter. Richard Rainolde’s “A Narracion Poeticall upon a Rose” tells this story: “Whoso doth marvel at the beauty and goodly color of the red rose, he must consider the blood that came out of Venus the Goddess’ foot. The Goddess Venus, as foolish poets do feign, being the author of Love, loved Adonis the son of Cynara king of Cyprus. But Mars, called the God of battle, . . . loved Venus as fervently as Venus loved Adonis. . . . Venus only was inflamed with the love of Adonis, a mortal man. Their love was fervent, and extremely set on fire in both, but their kind and nature were contrary, whereupon Mars being in jealousy, sought means to destroy fair amiable and beautiful Adonis, thinking by his death, the love of Venus to be slaked. Adonis and Mars fell to fighting. Venus as a lover ran to help Adonis her lover, and by chance she fell into a rose bush and pricked with it her foot; the blood then ran out of her tender foot, did color the rose red: whereupon the rose being white before, is upon that cause changed into red” (Richard Rainolde, A booke called the Foundacion of rhetorike [London, 1563], sig. D4r).
Juno’s son
grew jealous and enraged
477
To See his loue to mee alone ingaged
To see his love to me alone engaged;
To see his love to me alone engaged;
478
But I a foolish proud and Scornfull Boy
But I, a foolish proud and scornful boy,
But I, a foolish proud and scornful boy,
479
What others long’d for I esteemd a toy
What others longed for, I esteemed a toy.
What others longed for, I esteemed a toy.
480
Oft have wee lay in the Idalia Shade
Oft have we lay in the Idalian shade,
Oft have we lay in the Idalian shade,
481
Where Curious Anadems my Goddes made
Where curious anadems my goddess made,
Where curious anadems my goddess made,
482
Tworling w:th her white fingers Mertle bow’s
Twirling with her white fingers myrtle boughs
Twirling with her white fingers myrtle boughs
483
Being woven with Roſes to adorn our brows
Being woven with roses to adorn our brows
Being woven with roses to adorn our brows
484
Of red and white the Yellow wee threw by
Gloss Note
with
Of
red and white; the yellow we threw by,
Of red and white—the yellow we threw by,
485
Cauſe perfect loue Should be
Physical Note
“[?]" may be “t”; “ans” appears crowded in before next word
S[?]ans
Jealousey
’Cause perfect love should be
Gloss Note
without (French)
sans
Gloss Note
The yellow rose is tossed aside because yellow is a symbol of jealousy.
jealousy
.
’Cause perfect love should be
Gloss Note
Without
sans
Critical Note
For another reference to yellow as the color of jealousy, see the Lily’s speech above.
jealousy
.
486
Somtimes Shee would Sweetly tell me Ancient^storyes
Sometimes she would sweetly tell me ancient stories,
Sometimes she would sweetly tell me ancient stories,
487
Still mixing them with her Tranſcendent^glories
Still mixing them with her transcendent glories
Still mixing them with her transcendent glories,
488
Of the tranceforming to Som beast or flower
Of the transforming to some beast or flower
Of the transforming to some beast or flower
489
ffor their contemning of her loue or power
For their
Gloss Note
scorning, disdaining
contemning
of her love or power;
For their
Gloss Note
Scorning, disdaining
contemning
of her love or power;
but

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490
But I her Courtſhip and her counſell Sleighted
But I her courtship and her counsel slighted
But I her courtship and her counsel slighted.
491
With hunting cruell Beasts I was delighted
With hunting cruel beasts I was delighted;
With hunting cruel beasts I was delighted;
492
But (oh my fate) chaſeing the Hiddeous Boor
But (O, my fate) chasing the hideous boar,
But (O, my fate) chasing the hideous boar,
493
Hee turn’d & w:th his Tusks my intrales tore
He turned and with his tusks my entrails tore,
He turned and with his tusks my entrails tore,
494
Which my faire loue did infinitely deplore
Which
Gloss Note
Aphrodite
my fair love
did infinitely
Gloss Note
lament
deplore
.
Which my fair
Gloss Note
Venus
love
did infinitely
Critical Note
Lament. We get a triplet rather than a couplet here, giving us another line to deplore how the boar tore Adonis.
deplore
.
495
The mixture of my Blood her Brackish tears
The mixture of my blood, her
Gloss Note
salty
brackish
tears,
The mixture of my blood, her
Gloss Note
Salty
brackish
tears,
496
And the influence of her eye my fflower uprears
And the influence of her eye
Gloss Note
In classical myth, Aphrodite transforms Adonis into a flower after Mars kills him.
my flower uprears
.
And the influence of her eye my flower
Critical Note
In this description of how blood, tears, and Venus’s gaze mingle to generate the Adonis flower, we find yet another account of “excrementious” birth in the poem.
uprears
.
497
When Shee perceived that from my Blood it Spru^ng
When she perceived that from my blood it sprung,
When she perceived that from my blood it sprung,
498
This Scarlet Mantle Shee about mee flung
This scarlet
Gloss Note
a cloak or other covering, here in reference to the Adonis flower’s petals
mantle
she about me flung,
This
Critical Note
A cloak or other covering, here the Adonis flower’s “robe” of petals he wraps around himself at the start of his speech. Consistently describing his petals as garments—see “vesture” in the next line—Adonis emphasizes that he is a human dressed as a flower.
scarlet mantle
she about me flung,
499
Saying my Loue this vesture were for mee
Saying, ‘My love, this
Gloss Note
garment
vesture
were for me,
Saying, ‘My love, this
Gloss Note
Garment
vesture
wear for me,
500
And I between my Breasts will still wear thee
And I between my breasts will still wear thee.’
And I between my breasts will still wear thee.’
501
Thus am I proud to triumph on that Thrown
Thus am I proud to triumph on that throne
Thus am I proud to triumph on that throne
502
Which once I Scornd, & certainly th’ar none
Which
Gloss Note
Adonis refers to the fact that he once resisted Aphrodite’s advances, as he does in Shakespeare’s retelling (Venus and Adonis [London, 1593]).
once I scorned
, and certainly ther’re none
Which once I scorned, and certainly there are none
503
But envies mee, now in my Second Story
But envies me, now in my
Gloss Note
Adonis’s second life as a flower
second story
,
But envies me, now in my
Critical Note
The second phase of Adonis’s existence, that is, his life as a flower.
second story
,
504
Though infinitely more in my first Glory
Though infinitely more in my first glory.
Though infinitely more in my first glory.
505
Thus was I metamorphiſed to a flower
Thus was I metamorphized to a flower
Thus was I metamorphized to a flower
506
By that inamoured lovly Ladies power
By that enamored lovely lady’s power;
By that enamored lovely lady’s power;
507
And happy
Physical Note
initial “i” imperfectly erased; apostrophe added possibly in different hand from main scribe
[i]t’is
that in a plant I Shine
And happy ’tis that in a plant I shine:
And happy ’tis that in a plant I shine:
508
Others inſlav’d to her, their Shapes Resign
Others, enslaved to her, their shapes resign
Others, enslaved to her, their shapes resign
to

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509
To loathsom Beasts, as wiſe Uliſſis ffreinds
To loathsome beasts, as wise Ulysses’s friends
To loathsome beasts, as wise Ulysses’s friends
510
By Circes
Physical Note
originally written “Sorcirus” with the “u” changed to an “i”
Sorciri\s\
then Seeing I delighted
By
Gloss Note
Circe used magic to turn Ulysses’s men into pigs.
Circe’s sorceries
. Then, seeing I delighted
By
Critical Note
The Adonis flower here refers to the episode in Homer’s Odyssey when the sorceress Circe transforms Ulysses’s crew into pigs. If you’re going to be metamorphosed, he says, better to become a flower than a pig.
Circe’s sorceries
. Then, seeing I delighted
511
ffair Eriſina, let mee not bee Sleighted
Fair Erycina, let me not be slighted.
Fair
Gloss Note
Yet another name for Venus
Erycina
, let me not be slighted.
512
More I could Say to magnifie my fame
More I could say to magnify my fame:
More I could say to magnify my fame:
513
In Pallasteens a River of my name
Gloss Note
the Abraham/Ibrahim River (also known as the Adonis River), in modern Lebanon
In Palestine’s a river of my name
,
In Palestine’s a river of my name,
514
Which ^at my Annuall ffeast to blood doth turn
Which at my annual feast to blood doth turn;
Which at my
Critical Note
In her edition of the poem, Alice Eardley suggests that Pulter refers here to the Syrian festival of Tammuz, a young god killed by a boar and mourned as a symbol of the sun and its withdrawal (Pulter, Poems, Emblems, ed. Eardley, 104, n. 405). St. Jerome, and following him, Milton, link Tammuz and Adonis. “It is Lucian who relates that the river Adonis, which runs down from Lebanon, was tinged with blood once a year from the wounds of Adonis [or Tammuz]; though Lucian himself adds the real explanation, viz., that the color of the river was derived from the red soil of the Lebanon” (Francis Storr, ed., Paradise Lost Book I [1874], 50). As the Elemental Edition of this poem points out, Ezekiel 8 includes “women weeping for Tammuz” (8.14) in its inventory of “wicked abominations” of Jews who have lost faith because they fear that “the Lord seeth us not; the Lord forsaketh the earth” (8.12). This helps to explain the reference to “lapséd Jews.”
annual feast to blood doth turn
;
515
Thoſe Cristall Waves for me in purple mourn
Those crystal waves for me in purple mourn.
Those crystal waves for me in purple mourn.
516
There by the lapsed Jews I am adored
Gloss Note
Ezekiel 8:14 mentions heathen women lamenting at the festival of Thammuz (also Tammuz), mentioned in the next line; this was a Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian god identified with Adonis and celebrated as signifying seasonal rebirth. Syrian festivals for him coincided with the river’s annual turning red with mud, which women would lament as commemorating the god’s wound.
There by the lapséd Jews I am adored
,
There by the lapséd Jews I am adored,
517
And under Thamuze name I am deplored
And under Thammuz’s name I am deplored.
And under Tammuz’s name I am deplored.
518
Then will I not prejudicate your Pietie
Then will I not
Gloss Note
judge beforehand; condemn in advance
prejudicate
your piety;
Then will I not
Gloss Note
To affect prejudicially, to cast doubt on
prejudicate
your piety;
519
I am Sure all here will yield until a Deitie
I am sure all here will yield unto a deity.”
I am sure all here will yield unto a deity.
Critical Note
I have chosen to close Adonis’s speech here, giving the last stanza, however inconclusive, to the narrator. But the “I” of the last stanza might be the Adonis, the lone male speaker and self-proclaimed deity, presuming to decide the group is done for the day, rather than the narrator.
520
Now Seeing the Motion of the Sun or earth
Gloss Note
From here, the poem’s narrator, and umpire of the context, speaks all but the third last line.
Now
, seeing the motion of the sun or earth
Now, seeing the motion of the sun or earth
521
Doth end the Day as it began it’s birth
Doth end the day as it began its birth,
Doth end the day as it began its birth,
522
Wee’l if you pleaſe prorogue this Parliam:t
We’ll (if you please)
Gloss Note
adjourn
prorogue
this parliament.
We’ll (if you please)
Critical Note
Prorogue means to defer or postpone. With particular reference to Parliament, it evokes the monarch’s power to dissolve Parliament in order to limit its influence. King Charles I, for instance, established his Personal Rule by proroguing Parliament. Early English Books Online shows a peak of print titles including “parliament” in 1640-1649, the years of the English Civil Wars, in which Charles I was in conflict with and then at war with Parliament. During that time and thereafter, any reference to a parliament being prorogued would call on that history of conflict. Describing the flowers as a parliament suggests they have some power to come to a decision. However, they have ceded that power to the umpire and are more plaintiffs than parliamentarians here. As the Elemental Edition of the poem suggests, their conflict and indecision might reflect Pulter’s royalist suspicion of Parliament and its ability to achieve consensus.
prorogue
this Parliament.
523
They bowed their gratefull heads and gave cons:t
They bowed their grateful heads and gave consent.
They bowed their grateful heads and gave consent.
524
And when Aurora lends to us more light:
And when Aurora lends to us more light,
And when Aurora lends to us more light,
525
I will Return, till then to all good Night.
I will return; till then, to all good night.
Critical Note
The narrator, who has spoken only to introduce the twelve flowers, seems to get the last two lines, but those promise only that “I will return” the next morning. In any case, the narrator, chosen by the flowers as their “umpire,” never renders any judgment. Just as her prose romance, The Unfortunate Florinda, is unfinished, Pulter’s longest poem ends by withholding and deferring, promising to pick up the dropped thread another day. Perhaps, when the sun rises tomorrow, the flowers will make their cases for their own “virtues” all over again.
I will return
; till then, to all good night.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Physical note

In the manuscript, the title originally continued: “To My Dear Daughter Mistress Anne Pulter, At Her Desire Written”; “Anne” has been crossed out, but is still legible, while “Pulter” is fairly thoroughly blotted out. Anne Pulter, 1635–1666 (Eardley), was one of Hester Pulter’s daughters. While Pulter refers to her children at several points in the manuscript, this is the only poem in which she explicitly indicates her family’s awareness that she is a writer and their participation in her poetic production. A “contention” is a contest or competition.

 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

Lying in her garden, Pulter finds herself the chosen umpire of a contest among a dozen flowers in this, her longest poem. Before she will choose a winner, she exhorts the disputants to describe their “virtues”—a word encompassing both moral and botanical meanings in a period when plants were key medicinal ingredients. As the garden members readily comply, Pulter is able to show off her extensive knowledge of botany (drawn from classical and contemporary natural histories and gardening manuals), especially its links to mythology. In addition to their role in health care, the plants concern themselves with their “color, beauty, fashion, smell”—alternately, as they speak in turn, vaunting themselves and mocking the other flowers’ grandiose claims about each other. As well as a spirited contribution to the poetic genre of the debate, Pulter’s poem quietly critiques a parliamentary system in which representatives devote themselves to self-promotion and mud-slinging more than any larger truth. No wonder the umpire’s discreet choice, in the end, is to cut short this mockery of a parliament—perhaps a particularly happy ending for a royalist like Pulter, whose country’s parliament cut short her king’s life and the monarchy itself, leaving her party to take solace in rural retreats. This garden, ironically, provides little peace or quiet, instead subjecting weary humans to the energetic quarreling that they might go there to escape.
Line number 4

 Gloss note

diamonded; made to glitter like a diamond
Line number 4

 Gloss note

goddess of the dawn’s
Line number 5

 Gloss note

before
Line number 8

 Gloss note

not just moral goodness or general superiority but, in this botanical context, beneficial or specifically healing power
Line number 13

 Gloss note

if
Line number 13

 Gloss note

power to decide for others; decision or sentence of an authority; settlement of a dispute
Line number 18

 Gloss note

gentle; gracious; courteous; affable
Line number 18

 Gloss note

highly pleasing or delightful; affording amusement or enjoyment; characterized by or tending to sensuous indulgence; pleasing to the taste or smell
Line number 19

 Gloss note

the muse of lyric (especially love) poetry and hymns; Greek for “lovely”
Line number 21

 Gloss note

Pieria was a district on the slopes of Mount Olympus associated with the Muses and with springs that provided poetic inspiration.
Line number 21

 Gloss note

a fountain on Mount Helicon, where the Muses lived
Line number 22

 Gloss note

Helicon was a mountain associated with the Muses and with fountains believed to give inspiration to those who drank them. Tempe refers to the valley between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, which was dedicated to the cult of Apollo and thus associated with music and beauty.
Line number 23

 Gloss note

associated with the dramatic arts (from the sixth-century Thespis, founder of Greek tragedy)
Line number 25

 Gloss note

honeysuckle, a flowering climbing shrub
Line number 29

 Gloss note

dwellings; chambers; shaded garden retreats
Line number 30

 Gloss note

garden features, often shaded and enclosed by intertwined shrubs and lattice work
Line number 31

 Gloss note

Venus’s
Line number 33

 Gloss note

Venus’s lover, father of Aeneas
Line number 35

 Gloss note

The Roman emperor Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from Aeneas
Line number 37

 Gloss note

goddess of chastity
Line number 38

 Gloss note

undressed herself
Line number 42

 Gloss note

The mythological hunter Actaeon accidentally came upon Diana bathing naked with her maid. To punish him, Diana transformed him into a deer and he was torn apart by his own hunting hounds.
Line number 43

 Gloss note

Bees lived in a matriarchy, like Amazons, a mythical group of separatist female warriors.
Line number 44

 Gloss note

implied: no other flower
Line number 45

 Gloss note

Latin for honey
Line number 46

 Gloss note

the horn of plenty symbolizing fruitfulness and plenty, represented in art as a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn
Line number 48

 Gloss note

This line is possibly an allusion to the tradition of growing honeysuckle around the doors of houses (Eardley).
Line number 52

 Gloss note

To lead by the nose was to cause to obey submissively or to guide by persuasion
Line number 55

 Gloss note

flexible; limp, flaccid, or flabby (physically or morally)
Line number 58

 Gloss note

A “maquerella” was a term for a female pimp or procuress (see note for this line by Frances E. Dolan, “The Garden” [Poem 12], Amplified Edition). The tulip seems to dismissively order the woodbine to perform that role (to “be” a maquerella) “alone”—that is, to be a maquerella without her (the tulip’s) help—before going on to declare that she refuses the office of pimp. In the manuscript, a blank space after “Micurella,” a lack of punctuation in these lines (as in most of Pulter’s poems), and potentially unusual syntax (as in our proposed editing) makes this passage difficult to parse.
Line number 59

 Gloss note

a position with certain duties, here the Woodbine’s hiding of lovers
Line number 62

 Gloss note

John Gerard describes the tulip’s annual proliferation and variety of its colors (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 140).
Line number 65

 Gloss note

Flora is the mythological goddess of flowers and personification of nature’s power in producing flowers; a mantle is a cloak or covering.
Line number 67

 Gloss note

The king is the biblical king of Israel, Solomon, known for his wealth and wisdom; “what’s” signifies “what his.” See Matthew 6:28-29: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Line number 71

 Gloss note

In his Herbal, John Gerard claimed that Turkish people named the tulip because it resembled the headdress that Muslims wore (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 146).
Line number 72

 Gloss note

Hundreds of tulip cultivars were named in the early seventeenth century as part of the Dutch phenomenon known as “tulipmania” (Anne Goldgar, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age [University of Chicago Press, 2008], p. 107).
Line number 75

 Gloss note

in abundance or reserve
Line number 76

 Gloss note

Tulips are perennials which restore themselves from their root-like bulbs. Tulip bulbs or roots were also understood to be nutritive: “The roots preserved with sugar, or otherwise dressed, may be eaten, and are no unpleasant nor any way offensive meat, but rather good and nourishing” (John Gerard, The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 147). In View But This Tulip (Emblem 40) [Poem 105] Pulter describes a more technical process by which the tulip’s chemically treated ashes could regenerate the plant itself. If the latter meaning, then “roots” would be a possessive (“roots’”).
Line number 79

 Gloss note

to my satisfaction
Line number 79

 Gloss note

takes the first place, has foremost position, or is the best
Line number 80

 Gloss note

ruled or governed; held the highest authority or power
Line number 86

 Gloss note

obtain; succeed as heir; dwell, take up abode
Line number 89

 Gloss note

vernacular (i.e., English) name
Line number 89

 Gloss note

a name applicable at this time to the wallflower as well as pansy
Line number 90

 Gloss note

a short period; a sudden and transitory state of activity
Line number 94

 Gloss note

colored or ornamented, as with paint; sometimes with derogatory connotations related to pretence and deception; sometimes applied to plants (like tulips) with variegated coloring
Line number 97

 Gloss note

shining brightly; gorgeous, magnificent, beautiful
Line number 98

 Gloss note

the earth
Line number 98

 Gloss note

the Tulip, who “rings” or sounds loudly her multiple names
Line number 99

 Gloss note

major river in Western Asia, which received water from many sources and rivers
Line number 100

 Gloss note

The source of the Nile River in Egypt was not known at this time.
Line number 102

 Gloss note

the Tulip
Line number 102

 Gloss note

talking in a blustering or bragging manner; in this context, the word hints at the secondary meaning, “an evaporation of moisture”
Line number 103

 Gloss note

The Tulip bragged, above, that she is made famous by being associated with the turbans of Turkish people, whom the Wallflower derides as a heathen “rout” (assembly or crowd).
Line number 107

 Gloss note

three goddesses who represented intellectual pleasures: beauty, grace, and charm
Line number 112

 Physical note

“at” in the manuscript
Line number 116

 Gloss note

The Lily argues that the Wallflower’s color, yellow, is associated with jealousy.
Line number 117

 Gloss note

shortened form of “innocency”
Line number 118

 Gloss note

free from blemish or (figuratively) sin, guilt, or disgrace
Line number 119

 Gloss note

The lily was the emblem of chastity and purity.
Line number 122

 Gloss note

Just as
Line number 124

 Gloss note

Albion is an alternative name for England, where the White Cliffs of Dover are located (albus is Latin for white).
Line number 125

 Gloss note

Mt. Blanc (or “White Mountain”) is the highest mountain in the Alps range of Central Europe. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, off West Africa, is dominated by Mt. Teide, Spain’s tallest peak.
Line number 126

 Gloss note

Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland (where Pulter was born).
Line number 127

 Gloss note

Cynthia is goddess of the moon and Delius of the sun. The Oyster and the Mouse (Emblem 48) [Poem 113] refers to Apollo and Diana as the “Delian twins”; throughout the manuscript, Pulter refers to the male sun god (from Delos) as “Delia,” a name that conventionally identifies the female moon goddess; we have changed to Delius here for clarity.
Line number 133

 Gloss note

life-giving; accelerating
Line number 135

 Gloss note

In answer to the preceding question, Reason replies that colors are nothing but the lack (“want”) of whiteness.
Line number 137

 Gloss note

The Persian duke of Shiraz held an annual feast of lilies lasting 180 days (Eardley).
Line number 138

 Gloss note

all her other honors
Line number 140

 Gloss note

plague-infected
Line number 141

 Gloss note

This Latin phrase (“it is proven”) was commonly attached to medical recipes, indicating that they were effective.
Line number 142

 Gloss note

the Wallflower
Line number 145

 Gloss note

The phrasing is ambiguous: the Rose can mean that the Lily has disgraced herself in making prideful and false claims, or that the Lily has dishonored the Rose by declaring superiority over other flowers.
Line number 149

 Gloss note

The sense here continues from the last sentence: the rose castigates the lily, universally scorned, for claiming superiority when the rose is present.
Line number 150

 Gloss note

Chloris is the goddess of flowers and spring. Here the Rose refers to the common poetic description of beautiful women as having cheeks like roses.
Line number 153

 Gloss note

The rose critiques the lily’s claim that her whiteness—which the rose sees as a lack or “privation” of color—embodies the ideals of light, virtue, and joy.
Line number 156

 Gloss note

treated with indifference or disrespect
Line number 157

 Gloss note

epicureanism, the philosophy of Epicurus, a Greek thinker who held that the senses provided the sole criterion of truth and who saw pleasure as the highest human goal
Line number 158

 Gloss note

Italian god of wine and fertility (associated with Bacchus)
Line number 159

 Gloss note

an expression for being sealed in silence, or sub rosa (Latin), sometimes connected to the secrecy of love
Line number 161

 Gloss note

the warring aristocratic “houses” (families) of York and Lancaster in England, whose symbols were, respectively the white and red rose, and whose fifteenth-century battle for power was called “The War of the Roses”
Line number 167

 Gloss note

unidentified ritual or custom
Line number 169

 Gloss note

Damascus was a production center for rosewater, a staple in foods and medicines. Robert Burton writes of “those hot countries, about Damascus, where ... many hogsheads of Rosewater are to be sold in the market, it is in so great request with them” (The Anatomy of Melancholy [Oxford, 1621], p. 309).
Line number 172

 Gloss note

flowery wreaths for the head
Line number 173

 Gloss note

breasts
Line number 182

 Gloss note

if desiring or longing
Line number 183

 Gloss note

i.e., declare myself not
Line number 184

 Gloss note

the earliest known inhabitants of a particular country; the plants or animals indigenous to a place, native flora or fauna
Line number 185

 Gloss note

In Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique, Thomas Herbert recounts a legend in which Muhammad is transported to Heaven, where meeting the Almighty causes him to sweat drops of water which transform into a rose, grain of rice and four learned men (London, 1638), p. 26.
Line number 186

 Gloss note

archaic name for the Qur’an, the Islamic sacred book, believed to be the word of God as dictated to Muhammad
Line number 187

 Gloss note

the Virgin Mary. As Eardley notes, in A Relation of Some Years’ Travel, Thomas Herbert claims that the Virgin Mary conceived when given a rose to smell by the angel Gabriel (London, 1634), p. 153.
Line number 188

 Gloss note

describe
Line number 192

 Gloss note

A “bride ale” was a wedding banquet, where roses could be strewn on the table; Eardley amends to “bridal bed,” where roses could also be strewn.
Line number 194

 Critical note

The phrase is not hyphenated in the manuscript. Without the hyphen, the word “still” might indicate a sense of “always” (to indicate that joyous lovers are always rose-crowned). With the hyphen, the phrase might suggest that the lovers enjoy something (presumably, each other) on an ongoing or perpetual basis; or that the lovers enjoy stillness, signifying secrecy, quiet, or silence (perhaps especially in conjunction with the noiseless yet expressive flowers that they wear).
Line number 203

 Gloss note

healing properties; as the next line indicates, roses were ingredients in numerous curatives that could affect the body, which was imagined to consist of four humors that needed to be balanced. One method of balance was purgation, or letting forth fluids; another was introducing a cooling agent.
Line number 208

 Gloss note

lifted
Line number 211

 Gloss note

A tincture is a cosmetic coloring, figuratively, a stain, a blemish, or a specious appearance; “orient” refers to the red color of dawn.
Line number 213

 Gloss note

loathe it
Line number 219

 Gloss note

Venus, goddess of love, born in Cyprus
Line number 220

 Gloss note

Poppies were used in treatments for inducing sleep.
Line number 221

 Gloss note

fatigued with excessive watching, or wearied by being kept from sleep
Line number 222

 Gloss note

goddess of earth, grain, and fertility
Line number 224

 Gloss note

scowling, frowning, or dark-faced
Line number 224

 Gloss note

Pluto, who kidnapped Ceres’s daughter, Proserpina, and made her queen of the underworld
Line number 232

 Gloss note

black
Line number 233

 Gloss note

Poppies were associated generally with sleep, rest, and dreaming. The mythological Hypnos, son of Night (or Nyx) had poppies growing outside his cave.
Line number 236

 Gloss note

Night
Line number 239

 Gloss note

female arbiter or judge
Line number 242

 Gloss note

Paracelsus (1493–1541) was a Swiss physician and chemist who saw illness as having an external cause rather than arising as a result of an imbalance in the body’s humors. He recommended chemical remedies (or “rules”) for achieving health.
Line number 242

 Gloss note

Leonard Lessius (1554–1623) was a Flemish Jesuit theologian who wrote about diet and health.
Line number 246

 Gloss note

Muhammad’s sweat, as noted above, was reputed to be the origin of the rose, according to Thomas Herbert (Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique [London, 1638], p. 26.)
Line number 247

 Gloss note

foolishnesses; things foolishly esteemed or venerated
Line number 248

 Gloss note

The Qur’an attributes Muhammad with the miracle of splitting the Moon. To “hollow” is to bend into a hollow or concave shape; “hallo,” meaning to incite by shouting (a verb Pulter uses in The Center [Poem 30]), could also be signified here.
Line number 249

 Gloss note

person who believes faith alone ensures salvation
Line number 250

 Gloss note

Muhammad; after miraculously causing the Moon to split, Muhammad was reported to put half the Moon in his sleeve and to have sent the other half to the garden of Ali, his cousin and son-in-law, referenced in the next line. This story is recounted in Thomas Herbert’s Some Years’ Travels into Diverse Parts of Asia and Afrique (London, 1638), p. 259.
Line number 251

 Gloss note

Ali was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law; “Mortis” is a title meaning “beloved by God,” derived from “Mortadi” or “Mortada.”
Line number 252

 Gloss note

unbelievers, infidels or scoundrels; the manuscript has “mercerents,” which Eardley amends as “miscreants.”
Line number 253

 Gloss note

the Rose either lacks (one sense of “wants”) virtue or honor (one sense of “fame”), since she boasts of shameful things, or desires (another sense of “wants”) a bad reputation or infamy (another sense of “fame”).
Line number 256

 Gloss note

having to do with excreted bodily substances; here, a reference to the Rose’s Qur’an-based account of her birth from Mohammad’s sweat; see the note on “dropped down from paradise,” above
Line number 263

 Gloss note

Robert Herrick writes of a poetic tradition in which Love (Venus) was “wrangling … / Whether the violets should excel, / Or she, in sweetest scent. / But Venus having lost the day, poor girls, she fell on you; / And beat ye so (as some dare say) / Her blows did make ye blue.” Hesperides (London, 1648), p. 119.
Line number 264

 Gloss note

good reputation, honor
Line number 265

 Gloss note

presumably, the Poppy (who spoke last)
Line number 267

 Gloss note

here, Apollo, the sun god (more usually called Delius, because he was from the island of Delos). René Rapin’s poem on gardens shows the violet pursued by the amorous Apollo; whether Rapin was Pulter’s source is not clear. Hortorum, first published in Latin (Paris, 1665), was first translated and printed in English in 1672 (as Of Gardens[,] Four Books First Written in Latin Verse by Renatus Rapinus; see pages 16-18 on the violet).
Line number 267

 Gloss note

i.e., the sun god loosened or removed the violet’s belt or girdle
Line number 273

 Gloss note

presumably, the Poppy (who spoke last)
Line number 274

 Gloss note

the “umpire” mentioned three lines earlier, who is also the poem’s first speaker
Line number 275

 Gloss note

the Poppy
Line number 276

 Gloss note

a reference to the Poppy’s power to put people to sleep or to dull their senses.
Line number 279

 Gloss note

the goddess of night
Line number 281

 Gloss note

The violet insults Nocturna, the goddess of night, as someone “purblind” (meaning dim-sighted or dim-witted) and a slut (a woman with slovenly habits, person of low character, or impudent girl).
Line number 285

 Gloss note

the Poppy
Line number 286

 Gloss note

Erebus is the dark classical underworld, Hades; the previous line refers to Persephone, who was abducted (or ravished) and taken to the underworld by Pluto (or Hades).
Line number 288

 Gloss note

The speaker, who confesses her sadness near the poem’s opening, is acting as the judge or “decider” of the debate. References to “her” in the next seven lines are to the speaker.
Line number 290

 Gloss note

medicine’s
Line number 296

 Gloss note

The Violet declares that her “passion,” or zealous aim (here, to be ranked first among flowers), must not go “after” the Poppy’s, or come behind her in the ranking.
Line number 297

 Gloss note

variable, speckled with color, flawed
Line number 307

 Gloss note

a name given to plants of which the flowers turn so as to follow the sun; in early times applied to the sunflower and marigold
Line number 307

 Gloss note

to use language as light or unsubstantial as vapor; to talk fantastically, grandiloquently, or boastingly; to rise up
Line number 308

 Gloss note

a candle, used here as a metaphor for the sun
Line number 310

 Gloss note

the Violet’s
Line number 312

 Gloss note

radiant; glittering; resplendent; bright shining
Line number 314

 Gloss note

the east; dawn
Line number 315

 Gloss note

Mount Olympus, the home of the gods of ancient Greece
Line number 317

 Gloss note

at his highest point
Line number 318

 Gloss note

radiant, resplendent, lustrous, glorious or sumptuous
Line number 319

 Gloss note

Tethys was a Titan in Greek mythology who produced the Oceanides (water goddesses) with her brother, Oceanus (a personification of the ocean). In the manuscript, the name is “Tetheus.”
Line number 327

 Gloss note

Apollo, the sun god
Line number 332

 Gloss note

Phœbus was another name for Apollo, the sun.
Line number 334

 Gloss note

a purple dye, associated with the ancient Phœnician city Tyre, where it was made
Line number 335

 Gloss note

clothing or apparel; also, anything that grows upon the land
Line number 339

 Gloss note

something of little or no value or importance (derived from common plants used to cover floors, among other uses)
Line number 342

 Gloss note

Hyperion is sometimes an epithet for the mythological sun god; he was the father of Helios (the Sun).
Line number 343

 Gloss note

obsolete form of “cestus,” meaning belt
Line number 345

 Gloss note

The Heliotrope recasts the conventional myth, in which not the violet (the “she” here) but the Heliotrope herself, in her prior form as the nymph Clytie, envied Leucothoe, for whom Helios, the sun god, had abandoned her. Leucothoe’s father made her die in the original telling.
Line number 351

 Gloss note

foolishly
Line number 352

 Gloss note

a reference to the Eleusinian mystery cult associated with the goddesses Demeter and Persphone, and originating with the goddess Eileithyia
Line number 354

 Gloss note

Venus’s
Line number 355

 Gloss note

In Greek mythology, Acheron’s wife is Orphne, who is associated with darkness (and thus “black-browed”).
Line number 355

 Gloss note

grotesque, distorted
Line number 355

 Gloss note

dark-browed or -faced; frowning, scowling
Line number 356

 Gloss note

“rak,” the spelling in the manuscript, might signify “rack” (to stretch, torture, or or pull apart) or “rake” (to search, gather by scraping).
Line number 358

 Gloss note

“Thaumantias” was an epithet for Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, which suggests that Pulter alludes here to the Auricula’s variegated colors (see Frances E. Dolan’s Amplified Edition of this poem)
Line number 364

 Gloss note

Roman name for the Fates, the three goddesses of human destiny
Line number 367

 Gloss note

place or material of origin
Line number 371

 Gloss note

sunflower’s
Line number 372

 Gloss note

gorgeous, showy, attractive in appearance; fashionable; excellent, splendid
Line number 373

 Gloss note

lacks, shortcomings
Line number 376

 Physical note

After this line is half a blank page, with the poem continuing on the next page.
Line number 377

 Gloss note

Caledonia was the Roman name for northern Britain, later applied poetically to Scotland, which featured the fleur-de-lis (Pulter’s Flower-De-Luce) in its royal arms.
Line number 381

 Gloss note

the old French royal coat of arms, on which the fleur-de-lis (here, the Flower-De-Luce) appears
Line number 383

 Gloss note

royal families in general
Line number 384

 Gloss note

territories which featured the fleur-de-lis in their arms
Line number 385

 Gloss note

on the Scottish royal arms, a lion within a border decorated with the fleur-de-lis
Line number 389

 Gloss note

Clovis (466-511), king of the Franks, who was (according to legend) given the fleur-de-lis at his baptism by Mary (mother of Jesus Christ).
Line number 390

 Gloss note

the other flowers in the garden
Line number 391

 Gloss note

burnt to ash or dust; purified or refined by consuming the grosser part
Line number 392

 Gloss note

i.e., wild flowers growing in the mountains, as the auricula (who spoke last) does; the term could also suggest ignorant or uneducated people
Line number 393

 Gloss note

i.e., “What does it matter to me” or “What good does it do me”
Line number 394

 Gloss note

rainbow
Line number 395

 Gloss note

Iris was the messenger (“legate”) of Juno, mythological queen of the gods
Line number 396

 Gloss note

In the Bible, God created a rainbow as a covenant that he would never flood the Earth again (see Genesis 9:12-17).
Line number 397

 Gloss note

i.e., “doth it” or “does it”
Line number 397

 Gloss note

Iris’s; while “lis” in “fleur-de-lis” means “lily,” the design more closely resembles an iris
Line number 398

 Gloss note

the other flowers
Line number 398

 Gloss note

good reputation, honor
Line number 399

 Gloss note

Orris root, the dried and powdered root of the iris, is a valuable ingredient in perfume.
Line number 400

 Gloss note

low birth
Line number 404

 Gloss note

The expression, in reference to the classical goddess Flora, is analogous to “God forbid.”
Line number 404

 Gloss note

inferior in rank or quality
Line number 405

 Gloss note

the Auricula (a mountain plant)
Line number 406

 Gloss note

promoted
Line number 408

 Gloss note

blue
Line number 412

 Gloss note

ancient Roman author of a famous work of natural history
Line number 412

 Gloss note

Pliny writes that white lilies propagate at times “by means of a certain tearlike gum” (Book 11, Chapter 11, in The Natural History, trans. John Bostock, Perseus Digital Library Project).
Line number 420

 Gloss note

common or ordinary
Line number 420

 Gloss note

The manuscript has “capius,” which we read as an error for “copious,” meaning furnished plentifully, abounding in information, or full of matter; Eardley emends the word to “capacious.”
Line number 424

 Gloss note

speak disparagingly, represent as contemptible, abuse or vilify
Line number 425

 Gloss note

a plant used for medicine, but also a humble and ordinary, or ignorant and foolish, person
Line number 425

 Gloss note

so that I might rise above
Line number 428

 Gloss note

commoners
Line number 428

 Gloss note

crowd that multiplies when attacked; an image based on the mythological serpent that regenerated when one of its many heads were severed
Line number 444

 Gloss note

I do not deny
Line number 444

 Gloss note

the umpire of the contest and narrator
Line number 446

 Gloss note

fear, suspect
Line number 446

 Gloss note

i.e., the speaker at the start of the poem
Line number 447

 Gloss note

wrongfully, to wrong another
Line number 448

 Gloss note

i.e, “obvious it is that within her”
Line number 449

 Gloss note

goddess of truth and justice
Line number 453

 Gloss note

the state of having enough or too much of something
Line number 454

 Gloss note

a blue flower
Line number 455

 Gloss note

a species of lily
Line number 456

 Gloss note

imagination; inventive design; mood or whim; inclination
Line number 466

 Gloss note

extending far and wide; abundant
Line number 467

 Gloss note

Eardley suggests that the July flower is referring to various places named “Julian.”
Line number 468

 Gloss note

spoken
Line number 470

 Gloss note

an anemone reputed to have been created out of the mythological Adonis’s blood after this death
Line number 470

 Gloss note

wrapped or enfolded
Line number 475

 Gloss note

i.e., Aphrodite’s
Line number 476

 Gloss note

Mars, who was the lover of Venus (also known as Aphrodite)
Line number 484

 Gloss note

with
Line number 485

 Gloss note

without (French)
Line number 485

 Gloss note

The yellow rose is tossed aside because yellow is a symbol of jealousy.
Line number 489

 Gloss note

scorning, disdaining
Line number 494

 Gloss note

Aphrodite
Line number 494

 Gloss note

lament
Line number 495

 Gloss note

salty
Line number 496

 Gloss note

In classical myth, Aphrodite transforms Adonis into a flower after Mars kills him.
Line number 498

 Gloss note

a cloak or other covering, here in reference to the Adonis flower’s petals
Line number 499

 Gloss note

garment
Line number 502

 Gloss note

Adonis refers to the fact that he once resisted Aphrodite’s advances, as he does in Shakespeare’s retelling (Venus and Adonis [London, 1593]).
Line number 503

 Gloss note

Adonis’s second life as a flower
Line number 510

 Gloss note

Circe used magic to turn Ulysses’s men into pigs.
Line number 513

 Gloss note

the Abraham/Ibrahim River (also known as the Adonis River), in modern Lebanon
Line number 516

 Gloss note

Ezekiel 8:14 mentions heathen women lamenting at the festival of Thammuz (also Tammuz), mentioned in the next line; this was a Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian god identified with Adonis and celebrated as signifying seasonal rebirth. Syrian festivals for him coincided with the river’s annual turning red with mud, which women would lament as commemorating the god’s wound.
Line number 518

 Gloss note

judge beforehand; condemn in advance
Line number 520

 Gloss note

From here, the poem’s narrator, and umpire of the context, speaks all but the third last line.
Line number 522

 Gloss note

adjourn
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The Garden, or
The Contention of fflowers, To my Deare Daughter Mris
Physical Note
double strike-through; the left half of the “A” is not struck through.
Anne
Physical Note
whole word blotted, but remaining visible ascenders (and final “er”) suggest “Pulter”
[?]
, at her deſire written
Physical Note
In the manuscript, the title originally continued: “To My Dear Daughter Mistress Anne Pulter, At Her Desire Written”; “Anne” has been crossed out, but is still legible, while “Pulter” is fairly thoroughly blotted out. Anne Pulter, 1635–1666 (Eardley), was one of Hester Pulter’s daughters. While Pulter refers to her children at several points in the manuscript, this is the only poem in which she explicitly indicates her family’s awareness that she is a writer and their participation in her poetic production. A “contention” is a contest or competition.
The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers
Critical Note
In the manuscript, we see that the title includes a dedication, “To My Dear Daughter Mistress Anne Pulter, At Her Desire Written”; but the name has been crossed out, though we cannot be sure why, when, or by whom. While that redacted dedication assigns the animating desire to Pulter’s daughter, Anne, who died in 1666, the poem itself suggests that it is the flowers who demand that the poet not only record their contention but adjudicate it.
The Garden, or The Contention of Flowers
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. Then I use the notes and the materials I gather for the “curations” section to 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 how Pulter’s poetry engages in multi-vectored exchanges with 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
Lying in her garden, Pulter finds herself the chosen umpire of a contest among a dozen flowers in this, her longest poem. Before she will choose a winner, she exhorts the disputants to describe their “virtues”—a word encompassing both moral and botanical meanings in a period when plants were key medicinal ingredients. As the garden members readily comply, Pulter is able to show off her extensive knowledge of botany (drawn from classical and contemporary natural histories and gardening manuals), especially its links to mythology. In addition to their role in health care, the plants concern themselves with their “color, beauty, fashion, smell”—alternately, as they speak in turn, vaunting themselves and mocking the other flowers’ grandiose claims about each other. As well as a spirited contribution to the poetic genre of the debate, Pulter’s poem quietly critiques a parliamentary system in which representatives devote themselves to self-promotion and mud-slinging more than any larger truth. No wonder the umpire’s discreet choice, in the end, is to cut short this mockery of a parliament—perhaps a particularly happy ending for a royalist like Pulter, whose country’s parliament cut short her king’s life and the monarchy itself, leaving her party to take solace in rural retreats. This garden, ironically, provides little peace or quiet, instead subjecting weary humans to the energetic quarreling that they might go there to escape.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This is Hester Pulter’s longest poem, really a bouquet of twelve poems, each in the voice of a different flower, as the flowers “contend” or compete to see whom the speaker, their “umpire,” will choose as the winner. But what precisely is in contention among them and what is the standard by which one might win? They contend on the grounds of “virtue, color, beauty, fashion, smell.” Each flower speaks in the first person singular, representing her (or in one case, his) kind, but speaking as an individual, as if there were but one rose or one tulip, despite the fact that these flowers were usually planted in masses for maximum effect. Each representative emphasizes the “virtues” of its kind, simultaneously anthropomorphizing itself as having moral qualities and emphasizing its value and use for humans. These flowers are human adjacent, resembling humans and defining themselves through their service to humans. We can pick up details about color, appearance, shape, and scent from the flowers’ praise of themselves and disdain for one another, but otherwise the poem requires us to be able to imagine what each speaker might look like. In Curation Picturing Pulter’s Flowers, you will find illustrations of the flowers to help you picture them and to reinforce the ways that this is a very bookish garden, as informed by reading and imagination as it is by sensory experience. Does the poem draw attention to the household’s well-stocked flower garden, adding a level of fantasy by endowing the flowers with the power of speech, or does it present an imaginary garden in the place of a real one? In either case, placing the poem in context helps us appreciate its striking originality. While we can’t know exactly when Pulter wrote it, it is likely that it precedes and may have informed poems once considered influences on it, such as Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” and Abraham Cowley’s Plantarum Libri Sex (translated into English in 1668). (You will find these and other contentions and parliaments of plants, often contemporary with or later than Pulter’s poem, in Curations Other Garden Poems and Parliaments of Flowers.)
Written mid-century, the poem participates in what Keith Thomas calls “the Gardening Revolution,” during which many people invested time and money in their household gardens and in books that guided them in plant selection and care (Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800 [Oxford UP, 1983], 66, 224, 228). In their gardens, men as well as women, lower status amateur gardeners as well as aristocrats with deep pockets and large staffs, not only transformed the natural world but remade and displayed their own social status. This revolution in domestic gardening depended on local circulation of seeds, cuttings, and knowledge as well as a brisk international trade in plants, a trade that ran in tandem with the slave trade. As Amy Tigner points out, “the plant market was intertwined with the slave trade, making its routes to Europe, on to the New World, and back again” (Amy L. Tigner, Literature and the Renaissance Garden from Elizabeth I to Charles II: England’s Paradise [Ashgate, 2012], 167, 194).
Inviting the reader to spend considerable time in this garden, the poem enables us to consider what a garden is and means. It could be a place for contemplation, rest, and pleasure, an experimental site, or a site of work; the same person might experience the same garden differently at different times. In this poem, Pulter does not invite us to think about the labor a garden requires; the flowers want her praise but not her pruning. Gardens served also as emblems of order or of generative chaos, a terrain over which to impose mastery or an escape from oversight, as models of politics and as a respite from politics. These contentious flowers may defer to their judge, like good royalists, but they are also unruly and unpredictable. In some ways, “The Garden” levels distinctions. The first speaker, the Wallflower, boasts “I do not for a fit appear, / As doth the Tulip, but I all the year / Perfume the air” (90-92). This is a reminder that this gathering of flowers, including what Shakespeare’s Perdita identifies as flowers of the spring (violet, primroses, flower de luce or iris) as well as those of high summer (such as the July flower, which Perdita refuses to plant as “nature’s bastards”) could not occur except on the page. “The Garden” also gathers together flowers of different provenance. Flowers associated with royalty (the Tudor rose and the flower de luce) mix with humble cottage flowers (the woodbine and violet). Recent imports mix with more “English” flowers, although even botanists admitted that the two were hard to differentiate. John Parkinson distinguishes “Outlandish flowers, that for their pride, beauty, and earliness are to be planted in gardens of pleasure for delight”—which include for him many of the flowers in Pulter’s garden (woodbine, lilies, flower de luces, tulips, and auricula) from “those that are called usually English flowers,” yet he promptly concedes that while these are “called” English, “the most of them were never natural of this our land, but brought in from other countries at one time or other, by those that took pleasure in them where they first saw them” (Paradisi In Sole Paradisus Terrestris [1629], 11). Many of the flowers who speak here were ones whose stature changed in the course of the seventeenth century, as they became more or less fashionable and costly; for example, the gillyflowers lost place to tulips and then auriculas as the “hot” flowers. Although they gather from various places and seasons, the high and the low, the fashionable and pedestrian, these flowers aren’t all just one big happy bouquet. This is, after all, a contention. The lily claims not to brag of its Persian origins (and does); the Rose boasts of its relation to Muhammad. The flowers in the garden often talk about blood, birth, and race, adding support to Jean Feerick’s argument that early modern texts “navigate human difference by reference to botanical discourse” (Jean Feerick, “Botanical Shakespeares: The Racial Logic of Plant Life in Titus Andronicus,” South Central Review 26.1&2 [2009]: 82-102; see also Rebecca Bushnell, Green Desire: Imagining Early Modern English Gardens [Cornell UP, 2003], 132-160).
Gardens were often designed to be seen from the inside, through a window, yet Pulter plants her speaker in the garden, not looking out over it but lying in the midst of it. Claiming ownership over “my garden” and “my flowers,” the narrator, who is otherwise identified only as female and sad, has already shaped the debate by awarding the contenders a place in her garden. She does not have her own story to tell, serving only as a kind of mistress of ceremonies. The job the flowers then set her is to render a judgment, but the poem ends with her deferring that judgment to another day. We can view this as either indecisive, a refusal or failure to render the judgment promised and resolve the contention, or as a signal that this is a contention that is constantly restaged, impossible to resolve definitively.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Once in my Garden as a lone I lay
Once in my garden as alone I lay,
Once in my garden as alone I lay,
2
Some Solitary howres to paſs away
Some solitary hours to pass away,
Some solitary hours to pass away,
3
My fflowers most faire and fresh w:thin my view
My flowers most fair and fresh within my view,
My flowers most fair and fresh within my view,
4
New
Physical Note
“watr’d” inserted directly above “Diamon’d”
Diamon’d watr’d
over with Aurora’s dew
New
Gloss Note
diamonded; made to glitter like a diamond
diamoned
, watered o’er with
Gloss Note
goddess of the dawn’s
Aurora’s
dew—
New diamond-watered over with
Gloss Note
Goddess of the dawn, who makes frequent appearances in Pulter’s poems.
Aurora’s
dew
5
Theire names in or^der I er’e long will mention
Their names in order I
Gloss Note
before
ere
long will mention—
(Their names in order I ere long will mention),
6
Physical Note
corrected from “That”, with initial “e” over “a”; final “t” imperfectly erased; additional “e” crowded into space before next word
There
hap^ened amongst them this
Physical Note
unclear correction of spelling mid-word
contenition
There happened amongst them this contention:
There happened amongst them this contention:
7
Which of them did theire fellowes all excell
Which of them did their fellows all excel
Which of them did their fellows all excel
8
In vertue, Couloure, Bevty, ffashion, Smell
In
Gloss Note
not just moral goodness or general superiority but, in this botanical context, beneficial or specifically healing power
virtue
, color, beauty, fashion, smell;
In
Critical Note
While we are familiar with the use of this word meaning a moral quality regarded as good or desirable in a person (or anthropomorphized flower), such as humility, when applied to plants in the early modern period, “virtue” is often interchangeable with “uses” or “benefits,” describing a plant’s power to affect the human body in a beneficial manner by strengthening, sustaining, or healing. A plant’s virtues would thus mean its beneficial or healing properties or its magical or occult power or influence.
virtue
, color, beauty,
Critical Note
Fashion here means shape. In this line, the speaker goes on to introduce an emphasis on scent that many of the flowers will pick up. On the importance of scent as a defining pleasure offered by gardens, see Holly Dugan, The Ephemeral History of Perfume: Scent and Sense in Early Modern England (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011).
fashion, smell
;
9
And mee they choſe for Umpire in this play
And me they chose for umpire in this play.
And me they chose for
Gloss Note
One who decides between disputants or contending parties and whose decision is usually accepted as final; an arbitrator. This choice of word helps us hear “play” both as a kind of pageant and as a game. The umpire will preside over this sport.
umpire
in this play.
10
Then up I roſe, Sad thoughts I laid away
Then up I rose, sad thoughts I laid away,
Then up I rose, sad thoughts I laid away,
11
And unto them I inſtantly Replied
And unto them I instantly replied
And unto them I instantly replied
12
That this theire
Physical Note
“y” appears crowded into space before next word
controversy
I’d
Physical Note
“would” appears imperfectly erased, with apostrophe and “d” of “I’d” written over “w”
[?]
decide
That this their controversy I’d decide,
That this their controversy I’d decide,
13
Soe they would Stand to my arbitrement
Gloss Note
if
So
they would stand to my
Gloss Note
power to decide for others; decision or sentence of an authority; settlement of a dispute
arbitrament
.
So they would stand to my
Gloss Note
My final decision as arbitrator of this dispute.
arbitrament
.
14
They Smileing Anſwer’d they were all content
They, smiling, answered they were all content.
They, smiling, answered they were all content.
15
I gave them leave theire virtues to declare
I gave them leave their virtues to declare
I gave them leave their virtues to declare
16
That I the better might theire worth compare
That I the better might their worth compare.
That I the better might their worth compare.
and

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17
And now I
Physical Note
quadruple strike-through
doe
humbly doe implore the Ayde
And now I humbly do implore the aid
And now I humbly do implore the aid
18
Of that most Debonare delicious Maide
Of that most
Gloss Note
gentle; gracious; courteous; affable
debonair
,
Gloss Note
highly pleasing or delightful; affording amusement or enjoyment; characterized by or tending to sensuous indulgence; pleasing to the taste or smell
delicious
maid,
Of that most
Gloss Note
Of gentle disposition, mild, meek, gracious, kindly, courteous, and affable.
debonair
Critical Note
Highly pleasing or delightful; affording great pleasure or enjoyment, but with a suggestion, as connotations today suggest, of pleasing or enjoyable to the bodily senses, especially to the taste or smell; affording exquisite sensuous or bodily pleasure. This is an early indication that the poem, like the garden, will try to engage all of the senses.
delicious
maid,
19
Louely Erato Crow^n’d with fragrant fflowers
Lovely
Gloss Note
the muse of lyric (especially love) poetry and hymns; Greek for “lovely”
Erato
, crowned with fragrant flowers,
Lovely
Gloss Note
The muse of lyric poetry and hymns, whose name means “lovely.” Her sisters are the other eight muses.
Erato
, crowned with fragrant flowers,
20
Who with her virgin Sisters Spend their howres
Who with her virgin sisters spend their hours
Who with her virgin sisters spend their hours
21
By Cleare Pereus, Cristall Hippocreen,
By clear
Gloss Note
Pieria was a district on the slopes of Mount Olympus associated with the Muses and with springs that provided poetic inspiration.
Pereus
, crystal
Gloss Note
a fountain on Mount Helicon, where the Muses lived
Hippocrene
,
By clear Pereus, crystal Hippocrene,
22
Sweet Hellicon or Tempes fflowery green
Sweet
Gloss Note
Helicon was a mountain associated with the Muses and with fountains believed to give inspiration to those who drank them. Tempe refers to the valley between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, which was dedicated to the cult of Apollo and thus associated with music and beauty.
Helicon or Tempe’s flowery green
:
Sweet Helicon or
Gloss Note
These places—Pereus or Pieria, Hippocrene, Helicon, and Tempe—are all associated with the muses, poetic inspiration, and Mount Olympus or the home of the Greek gods. The speaker calls the muses from these Olympian heights into her own garden.
Tempe’s flowery green
.
23
ffaire Thesbian Ladyes all I aske of you,
Fair
Gloss Note
associated with the dramatic arts (from the sixth-century Thespis, founder of Greek tragedy)
Thespian
ladies, all I ask of you,
Fair
Critical Note
Related to Thespis, the traditional father of Greek tragedy (6th cent. b.c.); and so, pertaining to tragedy or the dramatic arts; tragic, dramatic. In calling her muses “Thespian ladies,” the speaker takes us back to the description of the contention as a kind of “play” or drama as well as a game.
Thespian
ladies, all I ask of you,
24
Is, that I give to every flower
Physical Note
ascending straight line beneath
her due
,
Is that I give to every flower her due.
Is that I give to every flower her
Critical Note
Asking the Thespian ladies to insure that she gives each flower her due, the speaker suggests that doing so is not entirely under her own control.
due
.
The Woodbine
The Woodbine
The Woodbine, 1st
25
Physical Note
in left margin between this line and next: “The Woodbine 1:st
ffirst
spoake the Double Woodbine wondro:s faire
First spoke the
Gloss Note
honeysuckle, a flowering climbing shrub
Double Woodbine
wondrous fair,
First spoke
Gloss Note
The Double Woodbine is more commonly called the honeysuckle; it is described as “double” to distinguish it from other woodbines and to suggest its characteristic paired flowers with petals in two different colors. One often finds it as an ingredient in medicines for women. Because it is a twining, climbing, creeping vine, and has coupled blossoms, it is often described as amorous or wanton: “the flowers / Wantonly run to meet and kiss each other” (James Shirley, Changes: or, Love in a maze [London, 1632], Act 2). Richard Blome’s The art of heraldry (London, 1685), describes the Woodbine as “a loving and amorous plant, embracing all that groweth near it, but without hurting of that which it loveth, and is contrary to the Ivy (which is a Type of Lust rather than Love) for it [meaning the Ivy] injureth that which it most embraceth” (p. 119). Woodbine is also often spelled woodbind, indicating its firm grasp on supports and invasive habit. While the Woodbine is one of the homelier of the flowers participating in this contention, gracing English cottages, she emphasizes her presence in antiquity and her intimacy with goddesses. She depends on more classical allusion than some of her more exotic rivals.
the Double Woodbine
, wondrous fair,
26
Whose Aromatick Breath perfum’d the Ayre
Whose aromatic breath perfumed the air,
Whose aromatic breath perfumed the air,
27
Saying I am confident all that can Smell
Saying: “I am confident all that can smell
Saying: “I am confident all that can smell
28
Or See will say that I the Rest excell
Or see will say that I the rest excel.
Or see will say that I the rest excel.
29
Why am I placed elce ’bout Princely Bowers
Why am I placed else ’bout princely
Gloss Note
dwellings; chambers; shaded garden retreats
bowers
,
Why am I placed else ’bout princely bowers,
30
Shadeing theire Arbours and theyre statly Towers
Shading their
Gloss Note
garden features, often shaded and enclosed by intertwined shrubs and lattice work
arbors
and their stately towers?
Critical Note
Bowers and arbors were man-made structures formed out of living plant material in outdoor spaces. Woodbine or honeysuckle, because both pliant and fragrant, was frequently used to construct or cover arches and structures that provided privacy. Parkinson calls the double honeysuckle “Ladies Bower,” and praises it as “the fittest of outlandish plants to set by arbors and banqueting houses, that are open, both before and above to help to cover them, and to give both sight, smell, and delight” (Parkinson Paradisi [1629], 10). Parkinson thus positions the woodbine as both domestic and outlandish. In Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oberon describes how Titania sometimes sleeps on a bank “quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine” (2.1.251) and Titania says she will embrace Bottom as “doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle / Gently entwist” (4.1.40-41). Weaving living plants into sturdy hedges and structures was called “pleaching” or “planching.” In Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing, Hero tells Margaret to “bid her [Beatrice] steal into the pleachèd bower / Where honeysuckles, ripened by the sun, / Forbid the sun to enter” (3.1.7-9). The pleachèd bower is also called “the woodbine coverture” (3.1.30); Benedick has hidden himself in this bower in 2.3 as well. (These and all quotations from Shakespeare are from The Norton Shakespeare, third edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al [New York: Norton, 2016]). That the Woodbine here proceeds to tell the story of Diana and Acteon suggests how a “woodbine coverture” might foster an eroticized privacy but also one that is readily breached.
Shading their arbors and their stately towers
?
31
I did about
Physical Note
initial “I” scribbled out; final “a” altered to “e”
[I]Idalies
Arbour grow
I did about
Gloss Note
Venus’s
Idalia’s
arbor grow,
I did about
Gloss Note
Idalia is another name for the Greek goddess Aphrodite, goddess of love and desire, because at Idalia, a hill in Cyprus, she had her groves.
Idalia’s
arbor grow,
32
Her bower of Loue, when youthfull Blood did flow
Her bower of love, when youthful blood did flow
Her bower of love; when youthful blood did flow
33
In old Anchises veins
Physical Note
“their” in different hand from main scribe; double strike-through on “that”
^their ^that
hee did Rest
In old
Gloss Note
Venus’s lover, father of Aeneas
Anchises’s
veins; there he did rest
In old
Gloss Note
Anchises was the father of Aeneas. The Woodbine here tells the story of how the goddess Aphrodite, disguised as a mortal, seduced Anchises and became the mother of Aeneas, supposedly the founder of Rome and of the Julian family line that included two emperors, Julius Caesar and Augustus. The main source for this story, the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, as translated by Gregory Nagy, describes the site of the seduction as a “herdsmen’s homestead" in the hills, but does not specifically mention that this “bower of love” was made of woodbine. However, an amphora at the British Museum depicting events later in the life of Anchises includes the decoration of “double honeysuckle,” linking Anchises, his son Aeneas, and this flower (see Curation The Flowers of Pulter’s Library: Myths). The Woodbine suggests here that without the cover she provided for conception, Aeneas, Rome, and “the Julian race” or family line might never have begun.
Anchises’s
veins, there he did rest,
34
His Rosey Cheeks upon her Lilly brest
His rosy cheeks upon her lily breast,
His rosy cheeks upon her lily breast,
35
Whos loue produced the happy Julyan Race
Whose love produced the happy
Gloss Note
The Roman emperor Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from Aeneas
Julian race
.
Whose love produced the happy Julian race;
36
Therefore (of all) give mee the chiefest place
Therefore (of all) give me the chiefest place.
Therefore (of all) give me the chiefest place.
37
Oft hath Diana underneath my Shade
Oft hath
Gloss Note
goddess of chastity
Diana
underneath my shade
Oft hath Diana underneath my shade
38
To inrich ſome fountaine her unready made
To enrich some fountain
Gloss Note
undressed herself
her unready made
,
To enrich some fountain
Gloss Note
Diana was the goddess of chastity. “Her unready made” means “she undressed herself.”
her unready made
,
diſcloſeing

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39
Diſcloſeing ^then to my admireing eye
Disclosing then to my admiring eye
Disclosing then to my admiring eye
40
Thoſe bevties which who ſoe doth prie
Those beauties which whoso doth pry
Those beauties which whoso doth pry
41
Into, (let him) Ô let him) Still beware
Into, let him—O let him—still beware,
Into—let him, O let him, still beware!—
42
Least in Acteons Punniſhment hee Share
Lest in
Gloss Note
The mythological hunter Actaeon accidentally came upon Diana bathing naked with her maid. To punish him, Diana transformed him into a deer and he was torn apart by his own hunting hounds.
Actaeon’s punishment
he share.
Lest in
Critical Note
While hunting, Acteon stumbled upon the goddess Diana bathing. To punish his audacity in seeing what he should not, the goddess turned him into a stag and his own hounds devoured him. Although popular accounts of this story do not mention that a woodbine shaded Diana’s bathing place, here the woodbine boasts that, since it provides the cover for the goddess’s nudity, it can see what is forbidden to others. For Ovid’s version of this story, see Curation The Flowers of Pulter’s Library: Myths. The Woodbine insinuates itself into these famous scenes of God-human intimacy, claiming to have provided cover but to have been an eyewitness as well as a facilitator.
Actaeon’s
punishment he share.
43
Doe but obſerve the Amezonian Bee
Do but observe the
Gloss Note
Bees lived in a matriarchy, like Amazons, a mythical group of separatist female warriors.
Amazonian bee
Do but observe the
Gloss Note
References to bees as “Amazonian” acknowledged that their queen was female, which was not yet widely recognized.
Amazonian bee
44
Com to this Garden, Shee noe flower can See
Come to this garden: she
Gloss Note
implied: no other flower
no flower
can see
Come to this garden: she
Gloss Note
No flower other than the woodbine, that is.
no flower
can see
45
That can with Mell, and Necter her Supplie
That can with
Gloss Note
Latin for honey
mel
and nectar her supply;
That can with
Gloss Note
Honey
mel
and nectar her supply;
46
My Cornucopie doth her Satisfie
My
Gloss Note
the horn of plenty symbolizing fruitfulness and plenty, represented in art as a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and corn
cornucopia
doth her satisfy.
Gloss Note
Horn of plenty, that is, my abundant nectar.
My cornucopia
doth her satisfy.
47
Then of precedencie I need not doubt
Then of precedency I need not doubt,
Then of precedency I need not doubt,
48
Cauſe I perfume your goeing in and out
Gloss Note
This line is possibly an allusion to the tradition of growing honeysuckle around the doors of houses (Eardley).
’Cause I perfume your going in and out
.”
Gloss Note
Because the woodbine twines around arbors at the entrance and/or exit to the garden, she is the alpha and omega of the garden. Although widely considered a humble cottage plant, she doesn’t have to worry about “precedency” because she bookends the experience of every visitor to the garden.
’Cause I perfume your going in and out
.”
The Tulip
The Tulip
The Tulip, 2nd
49
Physical Note
in left margin, between this line and next: “The Tulip 2d
The
Tulip to the Woodbine then Replyed
The Tulip to the Woodbine then replied:
Gloss Note
In seventeenth-century England, the tulip was characterized by its exoticism, cost, and variety of colors and patterns. Yet, unlike the woodbine, it did not have a strong perfume; here the Tulip accuses the heavily scented Woodbine of trying to lead justice “by the nose.”
The Tulip
to the Woodbine then replied:
50
I am Amazed at thy infinite Pride
“I am amazed at thy infinite pride.
“I am amazéd at thy infinite pride.
51
Dost thou preſume or canst thou once Suppose
Dost thou presume, or canst thou once suppose,
Dost thou presume, or canst thou once suppose,
52
To lead impartiall Justice by the Noſe
Gloss Note
To lead by the nose was to cause to obey submissively or to guide by persuasion
To lead impartial Justice by the nose
?
To lead impartial justice by the nose?
53
Becauſe thou yieldest a pleasſant Spicie Smell
Because thou yieldest a pleasant spicy smell,
Because thou yieldest a pleasant spicy smell,
54
Therefore all other flowers thou must excell
Therefore all other flowers thou must excel?
Therefore all other flowers thou must excel?
55
What though thy limber dangling flowers hover
What though thy
Gloss Note
flexible; limp, flaccid, or flabby (physically or morally)
limber
, dangling flowers hover,
What though thy
Critical Note
To describe the woodbine vine as limber suggests that it is easily bent, flexible, pliant, and supple. This is what enables the woodbine to twine around supports and clamber up trellises and arbors. But the Tulip reveals that this quality could also be viewed negatively as insinuating and even choking. While the woodbine is a limber vine covered in “dangling” blossoms, the tulip is a bulb that produces a single, sumptuous bloom on one upright stem.
limber
dangling flowers hover,
56
Hideing Som wanton and her wanton lover
Hiding some wanton and her wanton lover—
Hiding some wanton and her wanton lover?
57
Though Venus and her Paramore it bee
Though Venus and her paramour it be?
Though Venus and her paramour it be,
58
A
a sizeable space follows this word, with room for perhaps another two-letter word.
Micurella
bee alone for mee
Gloss Note
A “maquerella” was a term for a female pimp or procuress (see note for this line by Frances E. Dolan, “The Garden” [Poem 12], Amplified Edition). The tulip seems to dismissively order the woodbine to perform that role (to “be” a maquerella) “alone”—that is, to be a maquerella without her (the tulip’s) help—before going on to declare that she refuses the office of pimp. In the manuscript, a blank space after “Micurella,” a lack of punctuation in these lines (as in most of Pulter’s poems), and potentially unusual syntax (as in our proposed editing) makes this passage difficult to parse.
A maquerella be, alone; for me
,
A
Critical Note
The Tulip emphasizes that providing cover for lovers is nothing to boast about, even if those wantons are a goddess and her paramour. The word “micurella” might be a version of the French word “maquerelle” for a bawd or female pimp. For example, a character who is a “court bawd” is named “Macarella” in John Eliot, Poems or Epigrams (London, 1658), p 60-61. The Ladies Dictionary (1694) defines “mickerel” as “a pander or procurer” (308). It would then be the office of the bawd—the Woodbine’s office of affording privacy for suspect uses—that the Tulip scorns.
micurella
be alone for me.
59
I Scorn that office as I doe thy Pride
I scorn that
Gloss Note
a position with certain duties, here the Woodbine’s hiding of lovers
office
as I do thy pride.
I scorn that office as I do thy pride;
60
Yet am I in a Thouſand Coulours Died
Yet am I in a thousand colors dyed,
Yet am I in a thousand colors dyed,
61
And though my Seed bee Sown a Hundred yeare
And though my seed be sown a hundred year
And though my seed be sown a hundred year
62
Yet Still in Newer Coulours I apeare
Gloss Note
John Gerard describes the tulip’s annual proliferation and variety of its colors (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 140).
Yet still in newer colors I appear
;
Gloss Note
The description of the tulip’s thousands of colors refers to the bulbs’ capacity for “breaking” or coming out with unexpected colors and patterns (which is now understood to be the result of a virus).
Yet still in newer colors I appear
;
And

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63
Physical Note
spaces between lines on this page are greater and hand alters slightly
And
if of other flowers there were none
And if of other flowers there were none,
And if of other flowers there were none,
64
A Garden might be made of me alone
A garden might be made of me alone,
A garden might be made of me alone.
65
And floros Mantle might imbroidred bee
And
Gloss Note
Flora is the mythological goddess of flowers and personification of nature’s power in producing flowers; a mantle is a cloak or covering.
Flora’s mantle
might embroidered be,
And
Critical Note
Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers. For some of the complexly gendered meanings she carried, see Curation Expanding Our Understanding of Flora. A mantle is a cloak, blanket, or covering. See that same Curation for an example of a richly embroidered textile containing varied flowers. While needleworkers tried to capture and trope on botanical variety in their work, often, like Pulter, imagining flowers blooming simultaneously on their canvases that could not in a garden, the Tulip here imagines Flora as embroidering pastures and garden beds with tulips alone. This couplet and the one preceding it capture the Tulip’s insistence that she alone provides sufficient variety for any garden.
Flora’s mantle
might embroidered be,
66
As rich as now it is by none but mee
As rich as now it is, by none but me.
As rich as now it is by none but me.
67
That Glorious King that had w:ts heat deſir’d
Gloss Note
The king is the biblical king of Israel, Solomon, known for his wealth and wisdom; “what’s” signifies “what his.” See Matthew 6:28-29: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
That glorious king that had what’s heart desired
Critical Note
The glorious king appears to be Solomon, referring to Matthew 6:28-29: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The Tulip appropriates this reference to “the lilies of the field” to describe herself; she repurposes an injunction to human humility before God as a boast.
That glorious king
that had what’s heart desired
68
Was never in his Thrown Soe rich attird
Was never in his throne so rich attired
Was never in his throne so rich attired
69
As I,
Physical Note
insertion marks and “nor,” directly above “not,” in different hand from main scribe
\ not nor \
in Such various Coulours drest
As I, nor in such various colors dressed;
As I, nor in such various colors dressed;
70
Therefore I well may Queen bee of ye Rest
Therefore I well may queen be of the rest.
Therefore I well may
Gloss Note
The flowers’ gender is not always explicit or binary. The Tulip here seems to gender herself as female as she elevates herself as queen.
queen
be of the rest.
71
The Turkiſh Turbants doe inlarg o:r fames
The
Gloss Note
In his Herbal, John Gerard claimed that Turkish people named the tulip because it resembled the headdress that Muslims wore (The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 146).
Turkish turbans
do enlarge our fames,
The Turkish
Gloss Note
European variants of the word tulip derive from the Persian root it shares with the word turban. Early modern writers suggested this was because of a resemblance between blossom and turban. The botanist John Gerard calls this “strange and foreign flower” the “Tulipa or the Dalmation Cap” (The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes [London, 1597], sig. H2v),observing that “After it hath been some few days flowered, the points and brims of the flower turn backward, like a Dalmatian or Turk’s cap...whereof it took his name” (H3r). John Evelyn offers a different version of this claim when he writes that “the Turks who esteem no ornament comparable to that of Flowers” venerate the tulip above all others, “for which reason they adorn their turbans with them when they would appear in most splendor: & hence it is, that they have given that name to the tulip, as the most capital flower” (Elysium Britannicum, ed. John E. Ingram [U of Pennsylvania Press, 2000], p. 344). The link between tulip and turban serves to exoticize the tulip, marking it as a stranger from Turkey (See Benedict S. Robinson, “Green Seraglios: Tulips, Turbans, and the Global Market,” JEMCS 9.1 [2009]: 93-122, esp. 107). In Curation Parliaments of Flowers, see Antheologia, in which the other flowers kick the tulip out of the garden and onto the dunghill because it is a foreign rival, unknown in English gardens 60 years earlier, that is supplanting them in popularity. Here, the Tulip seems to claim that Turks who wear turbans “enlarge” the tulip’s fame by sporting it as an ornament. The meaning of the Tulip’s claim about the turban becomes even more clear when the Wallflower next speaks, scolding the Tulip for boasting of its association with turbans.
turbans
do enlarge our fames,
72
And wee are honour’d by A Thousand names
And
Gloss Note
Hundreds of tulip cultivars were named in the early seventeenth century as part of the Dutch phenomenon known as “tulipmania” (Anne Goldgar, Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age [University of Chicago Press, 2008], p. 107).
we are honored by a thousand names
And we are honored by a thousand
Critical Note
This is the first appearance of the name/fame rhyme, which will reappear 5 more times in the poem. The Tulip may boast that it is honored by a thousand world-renowned names but it is hard to find many names for it in contemporary herbals. It is, however, widely praised for “such a wonderful variety and mixture of colors, that it is almost impossible for the wit of man to decipher them thoroughly, and to give names that may be true & several distinctions to every flower;” its variety is so great that the tulip “is of itself alone almost sufficient to furnish a garden with their flowers for almost half the year” (Parkinson 9).
names
,
73
Which would vain Glory bee here to Rehearſe
Which would vainglory be here to rehearse,
Which would vainglory be here to rehearse,
74
Seing they are known thoughout
Physical Note
multiple strike-through of “y”
they
Univerſ
Seeing they are known throughout the universe.
Seeing they are known throughout the universe.
75
Beſides my beuty I haue vertue Store
Besides my beauty, I have virtue
Gloss Note
in abundance or reserve
store
;
Besides my beauty,
Critical Note
This means not just moral goodness or general superiority but, in this botanical context, beneficial or specifically healing power in abundance or in reserve.
I have virtue store
:
76
My roots decay’d Nature doth Restore
Gloss Note
Tulips are perennials which restore themselves from their root-like bulbs. Tulip bulbs or roots were also understood to be nutritive: “The roots preserved with sugar, or otherwise dressed, may be eaten, and are no unpleasant nor any way offensive meat, but rather good and nourishing” (John Gerard, The Herbal or General History of Plants [London, 1633], p. 147). In View But This Tulip (Emblem 40) [Poem 105] Pulter describes a more technical process by which the tulip’s chemically treated ashes could regenerate the plant itself. If the latter meaning, then “roots” would be a possessive (“roots’”).
My roots decayed nature doth restore
.
My roots decayed nature doth
Critical Note
The Tulip slows down the usual gallop of rhyming couplets here to offer a triplet on the subject of its “virtues” or properties useful to humans. Robinson describes the tulip as a flower “notorious for having no useful or medicinal properties” (103). In Antheologia, the Tulip itself concedes: “there is yet no known sovereign virtue in my leaves, but it is injurious to infer that I have none, because as yet not taken notice of.” In Cowley’s Of Plants, however, the Tulip claims to be an aphrodisiac: “My root...prepares / Lovers for battle or those softer wars” (Cowley, The Third Part of the Works [1689], sig. K2v). Similarly, Pulter’s Tulip here insists that it has restorative medical benefits.
restore
.
77
Then let another Speak that can say more
Then let another speak that can say more.”
Then let another speak that can say more.”
The Wallflower or Heartsease
The Wallflower or Heartsease
The Wallflower or Heartsease, 3rd
78
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Wallflower or Hartseaſe 3d
Then
said the Walflower neither Show nor Smel
“Then,” said the Wallflower, “Neither show nor smell
“Then,” said
Gloss Note
The Wallflower, related to the gillyflower or carnation, which also appears in this contention, gets its name from its location “growing wild on old walls, on rocks, in quarries, etc.” (OED), as well as cultivated in gardens. In colloquial speech in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it later extends its name to old clothes (presumably left hanging on clothes pegs on the wall) and to “A lady who keeps her seat at the side of a room during dancing, whether because she cannot find a partner or by her own choice” (OED). “The name heartsease,” which the Wallflower claims here, was also used for wild pansies or violas. Herrick’s poem “Why the Wall-flower came first, and why so called” makes the Wallflower the protagonist of a kind of de casibus tragedy, suggesting she got her name by falling to her death off a wall in pursuit of her beloved (Herrick, Hesperides [London, 1648], 12). It’s not clear that this garden has walls. Many early modern writers insisted that walls defined and protected the garden; the very word for paradise is connected to the Persian paliz, describing a walled vegetable plot; the “verdurous wall” Milton describes enclosing paradise makes it paradise—even if it also fails to keep Satan out. While this garden has a Wallflower, it isn’t clear whether it has walls.
the Wallflower
, “Neither show nor smell
79
Alone (by my content) but vertue bears ye bell
Gloss Note
to my satisfaction
(By my content)
but virtue
Gloss Note
takes the first place, has foremost position, or is the best
bears the bell
;
Critical Note
“By my content” may mean either “by the sum of the qualities I contain” (my contents) or “to my satisfaction” (or contentment); it might also refer to the fact that this is a contention or dispute of flowers and so this is the Wallflower’s own contention or argument. “Bears the bell” means “wins first prize” or “earns first place.” In any case, the Wallflower emphasizes that, in her view and in her case, neither appearance (as in the case of the Tulip) nor smell (one of the Woodbine’s claims to fame) but “virtue,” meaning here moral goodness, is what really matters. She also points out, however, that she is both beautiful and sweet and links perfume to immortality and good reputation, the “aromatic splendent fame” of the saint. The saint both has a reputation or fame that survives its death and, it was sometimes claimed, did not decay in death but rather had a sweet smelling corpse. See Fragrant Odors Immortalize a Virgin Name in the Curations for the Amplified Edition of Tell Me No More [On the Same] [Poem 11].
(By my content) but virtue bears the bell
;
80
ffor certainly if Sweetnes bore the Sway
For certainly, if sweetness
Gloss Note
ruled or governed; held the highest authority or power
bore the sway
,
For certainly if sweetness bore the sway
81
Then am I Sure to bear the priſe away
Then am I sure to bear the prize away.
Then am I sure to bear the prize away.
if

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82
If Shew,
Physical Note
scribbled out
thy
^my flowers are Statly to behold
If show, my flowers are stately to behold:
If show, my flowers are stately to behold:
83
Som Red, Some White, and Som like burnisht Gould
Some red, some white, and some like burnished gold.
Some red, some white, and some like burnished gold.
84
But if yo’l give to vertue all her due
But if you’ll give to virtue all her due,
But if you’ll give to virtue all her due,
85
My worth doth fare excell my Golden hew
My worth doth far excel my golden hue.
My worth doth far excel my golden hue.
86
Such Rare inherent vertue doth inherrit
Such rare inherent virtue doth
Gloss Note
obtain; succeed as heir; dwell, take up abode
inherit
Such rare inherent virtue doth inherit
87
Within my smell by chearing of Mens spirit
Within my smell, by cheering of men’s spirit,
Within my smell by cheering of men’s spirit.
88
All turbulent Paſſions I am known to apeaſe
All turbulent passions I am known to appease,
All turbulent passions I am known to appease;
89
My vulgar nomination being Hearts ease
My
Gloss Note
vernacular (i.e., English) name
vulgar nomination
being
Gloss Note
a name applicable at this time to the wallflower as well as pansy
“Heartsease.”
My vulgar nomination being “Heartsease.”
90
Beſides I doe not for a fitt apeare
Besides, I do not for
Gloss Note
a short period; a sudden and transitory state of activity
a fit
appear,
Besides I do not for a fit appear
91
As doth the Tulip but I all the yeare
As doth the Tulip, but I all the year
As doth the Tulip, but I all the year
92
Perfume the Aire to Gardens ad Such grace
Perfume the air, to gardens add such grace
Perfume the air, to gardens add such grace,
93
That I without preſumption may take place
That I without presumption may take place
That I without presumption may take place
94
Aboue the Rest, though not like Tulips painted
Above the rest (though not like tulips
Gloss Note
colored or ornamented, as with paint; sometimes with derogatory connotations related to pretence and deception; sometimes applied to plants (like tulips) with variegated coloring
painted
).
Gloss Note
The Wallflower’s chief virtue is that it blooms year round.
Above the rest
, though not like
Gloss Note
This suggests that the gaudy and colorful tulips are painted or wear makeup. Andrew Marvell uses similar language in “The Mower against Gardens,” in which the Mower complains that “flowers themselves were taught to paint. / The tulip, white, did for complexion seek, / And learned to interline its cheek” (12-14), included in Curation Other Garden Poems.
tulips painted
,
95
ffor beuty never yet made Woman Sainted
For beauty never yet made woman sainted;
For beauty never yet made woman sainted.
96
Tis vertue doth imortalize theire name
’Tis virtue doth immortalize their name,
’Tis virtue doth immortalize their name,
97
And makes an Aromatick Splendent fame
And makes an aromatic,
Gloss Note
shining brightly; gorgeous, magnificent, beautiful
splendent
fame.
And makes an aromatic splendent fame.
98
About this Orb her numerous names Shee Rings
About
Gloss Note
the earth
this orb
Gloss Note
the Tulip, who “rings” or sounds loudly her multiple names
her
numerous names she rings;
About this orb her numerous names she rings;
99
So may Euphratus boast her Thousand Springs
So may
Gloss Note
major river in Western Asia, which received water from many sources and rivers
Euphrates
boast her thousand springs.
So may Euphrates boast her thousand springs,
whilst

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100
Whilst Nil’s head is Ocult, one ownly name
Whilst
Gloss Note
The source of the Nile River in Egypt was not known at this time.
Nile’s head is occult
, one only name
Gloss Note
The numerous tributaries feeding into the Euphrates do not make it a more glorious river than the Nile, whose source was notoriously uncertain but whose fame was well established. The “she” in the next line seems to refer to the Nile. While she, the Nile, only needs one name, she, the Tulip, whose fame is “emergent” because she is a newcomer, is so bold as to boast of her many names.
Whilst Nile’s head is occult
, one only name
101
Shee glories in yet of Emergent fame
She glories in; yet of emergent fame
She glories in; yet of emergent fame
102
Shee vapouring, brags that shee is Stuck about
Gloss Note
the Tulip
She
,
Gloss Note
talking in a blustering or bragging manner; in this context, the word hints at the secondary meaning, “an evaporation of moisture”
vaporing
, brags that she is stuck about
Gloss Note
“She” refers here to the Tulip (in contrast to the Nile); vaporing means here boasting. The Tulip has the nerve to brag that she is placed in a pagan’s turban. Although turban is singular, the word “rout” or disorderly mob multiplies the pagans the Wallflower associates with the Tulip.
She
, vaporing, brags that she is stuck about
103
The
Physical Note
small blot obscures the “c”; possibly a deliberate cancellation
wretched
Turbant of ye
Physical Note
“s” cancelled with a blot
Pagans
Rowt
Gloss Note
The Tulip bragged, above, that she is made famous by being associated with the turbans of Turkish people, whom the Wallflower derides as a heathen “rout” (assembly or crowd).
The wretched turban of the pagan rout
.
The wretched turban of the pagan rout.
104
Such Honor: as diſhonor: I Should Scorn
Such honor as dishonor I should scorn,
Such honor as dishonor I should scorn,
105
And Rather choose as I am to bee worn
And rather choose as I am to be worn
And rather choose as I am to be worn
106
Upon Som lovely modest, virgins breast
Upon some lovely modest virgin’s breast,
Upon some lovely modest virgin’s breast,
107
Where all the graces doe triumphant Rest
Where all the
Gloss Note
three goddesses who represented intellectual pleasures: beauty, grace, and charm
Graces
do triumphant rest.”
Where all
Gloss Note
Three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who attended on Aphrodite and represented youth, beauty, joy, and charm.
the Graces
do triumphant rest.”
The Lily
The Lily
The Lily, 4th
108
Physical Note
in left margin “The Lilly 4:th
The
lilly Smiled, and Said Shee did admire
The Lily smiled and said she did admire
Gloss Note
A flower traditionally associated with virginity and purity and, as a consequence, often carried by brides. According to Gerard, the Lily has her own story of what the Poppy will later call “excrementious birth”: she sprang from the Goddess Juno’s milk that spilled on the ground after she nursed Hercules (147). The poet Robert Herrick’s poem “How lilies came white” describes Cupid pinching his mother’s nipple, “Out of which the cream of light, / Like to a dew, / Fell down on you / And made ye white” (Hesperides [London, 1648], 81). Abraham Cowley’s Lily announces “A goddess’ milk produced my birth” and Cowley provides this marginal gloss: “Jupiter in order to make Hercules immortal, clapped him to Juno’s breasts, while she was asleep. The lusty rogue sucked so hard, that too great a gush of milk coming forth, some spilt upon the Sky, which made the Galaxy or Milky Way; and out of some which fell to the Earth arose the Lily” (Cowley, Third Part of the Works [1689], sig. N4v (You will find a substantial excerpt from Cowley in Curation Parliaments of Flowers).
The Lily
smiled and said
Critical Note
The Lily is the first flower specifically given the gendered pronoun “she.”
she
did admire
109
The Walflowers boldnes, and her bold deſire
The Wallflower’s boldness and her bold desire.
The Wallflower’s boldness and her bold desire.
110
Becauſe Shee breaths a Suffocateing fume
“Because she breathes a suffocating fume,
“Because she breathes a suffocating fume,
111
Must Shee (Ô Strange) aboue the rest peſume
Must she (O strange!) above the rest presume?
Must she (O strange!) above the rest presume?
112
I am amazed at her arrogance
I am amazéd
Physical Note
“at” in the manuscript
that
her arrogance,
I am amazéd at her arrogance,
113
Proceeding from her Sorded Ignorance
Proceeding from her sordid ignorance
Proceeding from her sordid ignorance
114
Of others worth makes her extoll her own
Of others’ worth, makes her extol her own;
Of others’ worth, makes her extol her own;
115
ffor noble vertues trust mee Shee has non
For noble virtues, trust me, she has none.
For noble virtues, trust me, she has none.
116
Her colour doth proclaim her Jealoſie
Gloss Note
The Lily argues that the Wallflower’s color, yellow, is associated with jealousy.
Her color doth proclaim her jealousy
,
Critical Note
The English wallflower that was also called heart’s ease was yellow. While the Wallflower reminds us that she can appear in various colors, she also specifies “my golden hue.’ Jealousy was associated with the color yellow, perhaps because of its link to yellow bile in humoral theory. The Lily uses the link she sees between the Wallflower’s color and envy of others’ worth as the excuse to read her own whiteness as emblematic of innocence and superiority.
Her color doth proclaim her jealousy
,
117
But I’m an Embleme of pure Inocie
But I’m an emblem of pure
Gloss Note
shortened form of “innocency”
inno’cy
.
But I’m an emblem of pure innocency.

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118
Spotles my thoughts as Spotles are my leaves
Gloss Note
free from blemish or (figuratively) sin, guilt, or disgrace
Spotless
my thoughts, as spotless are my leaves,
Spotless my thoughts, as spotless are my leaves,
119
While Chastitie her Lover ne’r deceives
While
Gloss Note
The lily was the emblem of chastity and purity.
Chastity
her lover ne’er deceives;
While chastity her lover ne’er deceives;
120
And what I wonder were a Virgins due
And what, I wonder, were a virgin’s due,
And what, I wonder, were a virgin’s due,
121
Had not her Skin my Lillies lilly Hue
Had not her skin my lily’s lily hue?
Had not her skin
Gloss Note
The Lily insists that virginity can only be associated with white skin.
my lily’s lily hue
?
122
Even as the Woodbine wittyly exprest
Gloss Note
Just as
Even as
the Woodbine wittily expressed
Even as the Woodbine wittily expressed,
123
When Shee compar’d mee to Idalias breast
When she compared me to Idalia’s breast.
Gloss Note
The Lily has been listening closely and refers to l.34, where the Woodbine describes Anchises resting his cheeks on Idalia’s or Aphrodite’s “lily breast.” She also offers a rare instance of one flower praising another here.
When she compared me to Idalia’s breast
,
124
White are my leaves as Albians Snowey Cliffe
White are my leaves, as
Gloss Note
Albion is an alternative name for England, where the White Cliffs of Dover are located (albus is Latin for white).
Albion’s snowy cliff
,
White are my leaves, as
Gloss Note
The white chalk cliffs of Dover, on the southern coast of Great Britain.
Albion’s snowy cliff
,
125
Or higher Alps, or highest Tenerif,
Or
Gloss Note
Mt. Blanc (or “White Mountain”) is the highest mountain in the Alps range of Central Europe. Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, off West Africa, is dominated by Mt. Teide, Spain’s tallest peak.
higher Alps, or highest Tenerife
;
Gloss Note
The Lily refers here to the snow-capped peaks of the highest mountain in the Alps in Central Europe and to the highest mountain, a volcano called Mount Teide, on Tenerife in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain. In her edition of this poem, Alice Eardley points to the French name, Mont Blanc or White Mountain, for the highest mountain in the Alps (Lady Hester Pulter: Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda [Iter, 2014], p. 89, n. 301). All of the Lily’s geographical references link her whiteness to Europe as against the Tulip’s associations with color and with Turkey.
Or higher alps, or highest Tenerife
,
126
White as the Swans on sweet Hibernias Streams
White as the swans on sweet
Gloss Note
Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland (where Pulter was born).
Hibernia’s streams
,
Gloss Note
White swans are native to Hibernia, or Ireland.
White as the swans on sweet Hibernia’s streams
,
127
Or Cinthias bright, or Delias brighter beames
Or
Gloss Note
Cynthia is goddess of the moon and Delius of the sun. The Oyster and the Mouse (Emblem 48) [Poem 113] refers to Apollo and Diana as the “Delian twins”; throughout the manuscript, Pulter refers to the male sun god (from Delos) as “Delia,” a name that conventionally identifies the female moon goddess; we have changed to Delius here for clarity.
Cynthia’s bright, or Delius’s brighter beams
.
Or Cynthia’s bright, or
Gloss Note
Cynthia is the goddess of the moon and Delia the goddess of the sun—hence her brighter beams.
Delia’s brighter beams
.
128
ffor white all other Colours doth excell
For white all other colors doth excel
For white all other colors doth excel
129
As much as Day doth Night or Heaven doth Hell
As much as day doth night, or Heaven doth Hell.
Critical Note

We might contrast the Lily’s argument for the priority and superiority of whiteness to Aaron’s defense of blackness in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Aaron calls Chiron and Demetrius “white-limed walls” and “alehouse painted signs,” emphasizing their color as both a put on and a canvas for subsequent marking or painting. He then asserts that:

Coal-black is better than another hue
In that it scorns to bear another hue;
For all the water in the ocean
Can never turn the swan’s black legs to white,
Although she lave them hourly in the flood.(4.2.101-7)

Whereas the Lily boasts that her hue is unmarked, Aaron argues that blackness is not only unspotted but unmarkable. See also the speech assigned to Sambo, the “Negro-Slave,” in Thomas Tryon’s Friendly Advice to Gentlemen-Planters (1684): “And though White be an emblem of Innocence, yet there are whited Walls filled within with Filth and Rottenness; what is only outward, will stand you in no stead, it is the inward Candor that our Creator is well-pleased with, and not the outward” (Caribbeana: An Anthology of English Literature of the West Indies, 1657-1777, ed. Thomas Krise [U of Chicago P, 1999], 67).

As much as day doth night or Heaven doth Hell
.
130
ffor it is chiefly Heavens privation
For it is chiefly Heaven’s privation
For it is chiefly Heaven’s privation
131
Makes men in a Hell of desperation
Makes men in a hell of desperation.
Makes men in a hell of desperation.
132
What are the horrid gloomey Shades of Night
What are the horrid gloomy shades of night
What are the horrid gloomy shades of night
133
But the departure of all quickning Light
But the departure of all-
Gloss Note
life-giving; accelerating
quick’ning
light?
But the departure of
Gloss Note
Quickening here means invigorating or enlivening. Light brings things to life.
all-quick’ning
light?
134
And what are coulours reaſon Sa’s not I
And what are colors? Reason says, not I,
And what are colors? Reason says, not I:
135
Nothing but want of my white puritie
Gloss Note
In answer to the preceding question, Reason replies that colors are nothing but the lack (“want”) of whiteness.
Nothing but want of my white purity
.
Nothing but want of
Critical Note
The Lily cleverly overturns a notion that white is an absence or lack of color to argue, instead, that Hell is the absence of god’s light; night is the absence of day’s light; and color is the want or lack of color. She insists that the answer to the question “what are colors?” is provided not by herself but by Reason. The Lily anticipates later arguments defending virtue as more than the absence of vice. Centuries later, G.K.Chesterton makes a similar argument: “White is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.... God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white” (“A Piece of Chalk,” in Tremendous Trifles [Methuen: 1909], 5-6).
my white purity
.
I

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136
I here could
Physical Note
appears crowded into space between surrounding words, possibly in different hand from main scribe
I
brag but ^will not of the feast
I here could brag, but will not, of the feast
Ay,
Critical Note
The Lily here relies on apophasis, or the rhetorical device of bringing up a subject by saying that she will not mention it. She combines this with a humble brag, her specialty. A travel narrative by the poet George Herbert’s brother, with which Pulter seems to have been familiar, Thomas Herbert’s A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile Begunne Anno 1626 (London, 1634), mentions that “the Duke of Shiraz or Persae-polis” hosts an annual “Feast of Lillies or Daffadillies” lasting 180 days (140).
here could I brag, but will not
, of the feast
137
The Percians
Physical Note
two or three letters, starting with “H,” scribbled out
[H?d]
^make this Hono:rs mee ye least
Gloss Note
The Persian duke of Shiraz held an annual feast of lilies lasting 180 days (Eardley).
The Persians make
: this honors me the least
The Persians make: this honors me the least
138
Of all the Rest: of vertues I may boast
Of all
Gloss Note
all her other honors
the rest
. Of virtues I may boast,
Gloss Note
However extraordinary it is to be the occasion of a Persian feast, it is the least of her honors.
Of all the rest
. Of virtues I may boast,
139
ffor if my Roots they doe but boyl or Roast
For if my roots they do but boil or roast,
For if my roots they do but boil or roast,
140
And them to pestilenciall Sores apply
And them to
Gloss Note
plague-infected
pestilential
sores apply,
And them to
Gloss Note
plague-infected
pestilential
sores apply,
141
Probatum est, it cures them instantly
Gloss Note
This Latin phrase (“it is proven”) was commonly attached to medical recipes, indicating that they were effective.
Probatum est
: it cures them instantly.
Critical Note
The phrase “probatum est” (or it has been proved) was used to authorize recipes, medical treatments, or experiments as tried and confirmed successes. One often finds it in receipt books and medical treatises, manuscript and print. The Lily uses it here to testify to “the proven quality of the knowledge” and, indeed, her eyewitness certainty of her own efficacy. On the probatum est, see Wendy Wall, Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern Kitchen (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 216-18.
Probatum est
: it cures them instantly.
142
But my Antagonest here of the Wall
But
Gloss Note
the Wallflower
my antagonist here of the wall
But my antagonist here of the wall
143
In such a time’s away thrown flowers & all
In such a time’s away thrown, flowers and all.”
Critical Note
The Lily concludes by calling the wallflower her “antagonist of the wall” and describing her as useless against plague. But then the Rose blushes to find herself disgraced by the Lily’s words, so this final insult doesn’t land only on the wallflower.
In such a time’s away thrown, flowers and all
.”
The Rose
The Rose
The Rose, 5th
144
Physical Note
in left margin: “The Rose 5:th
At
this ye Blood flush’d in ye Roſes face
At this, the blood flushed in the Rose’s face
At this, the blood flushed in
Gloss Note
Botanists tended to give roses pride of place and associate them with Englishness. The rose was associated with the Tudors, as we will see below, but also with the Virgin Mary.
the Rose’s
face
145
To heare the Lilly Speake in her diſgrace
To hear the Lily speak in
Gloss Note
The phrasing is ambiguous: the Rose can mean that the Lily has disgraced herself in making prideful and false claims, or that the Lily has dishonored the Rose by declaring superiority over other flowers.
her
disgrace.
To hear the Lily speak in her disgrace.
146
As Shee then Said, whoſe pride was grown So high
As she then said, “Whose pride was grown so high
As she then said, “Whose pride was grown so high
147
That Shee preſumes to boast Virginitie
That she presumes to boast virginity,
That she presumes to boast virginity?
148
Though Scorn’d by all, dareing to Shew her face
Though scorned by all? Daring to show her face
Though scorned by all, daring to show her face
149
And plead precedencie and I in place
Gloss Note
The sense here continues from the last sentence: the rose castigates the lily, universally scorned, for claiming superiority when the rose is present.
And plead precedency (and I in place)
,
Gloss Note
How can the Lily, whom everyone scorns, claim first place when the Rose is here?
And plead precedency, and I in place
!
150
When in each lovly Maid and Cloris cheek
When in each lovely maid and
Gloss Note
Chloris is the goddess of flowers and spring. Here the Rose refers to the common poetic description of beautiful women as having cheeks like roses.
Chloris’s
cheek
When in each lovely maid and
Critical Note
The Rose argues that it is the blush rather than pallor that distinguishes the maid or virgin. In Greek mythology, the name Chloris is assigned to various young women or nymphs, but it is most often used to describe the goddess of flowers. Its root is the Greek word for greenish yellow or pale green, a root it shares with our word chlorophyll, which makes plant leaves green, and the word chlorosis, describing “a disorder believed to occur almost exclusively in young, virginal women soon after puberty, characterized by a greenish pallor of the skin, cessation or irregularity of menstruation, and weakness” (OED), also called “green sickness.” The conventional treatment for this illness was sexual activity.
Chloris’s
cheek
151
I conquer her, her leaves I know are sleek
I conquer her? Her leaves I know are sleek,
I conquer her? Her leaves I know are sleek,
and

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

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152
And Soe are mine, shee brags ^on Such a fashion
And so are mine! She brags on such a fashion
And so are mine! She brags on such a fashion
153
As if Light, Vertue, Joy, were but privation
As if light, virtue, joy, were but
Gloss Note
The rose critiques the lily’s claim that her whiteness—which the rose sees as a lack or “privation” of color—embodies the ideals of light, virtue, and joy.
privation
,
As if light, virtue, joy, were but
Gloss Note
The Rose here criticizes the Lily’s association of her whiteness—which the Rose critiques as a lack or “privation” of color—with the ideals of light, virtue, and joy.
privation
,
154
As if an unwrit Volume were the best
As if an unwrit volume were the best,
As if an unwrit volume were the best,
155
Before Heavens loue were in the leaves expre’st
Before Heaven’s love were in the leaves expressed.
Before Heaven’s love were in the
Gloss Note
By the Lily’s logic, the blank pages or leaves of “an unwrit volume” are preferable even to religious texts. Obviously not, the Rose counters.
leaves expressed
.
156