The Porcupine (Emblem 13)

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The Porcupine (Emblem 13)

Poem 79

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 Victoria E. Burke.

How to cite these versions

Conventions for these editions

The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making

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X (Close panel)Notes: Transcription

 Editorial note

In these transcriptions we preserve as many details of the original material, textual, and graphic properties of Hester Pulter’s manuscript verse as we have found practical. Whenever possible, for instance, original spelling, punctuation, capitalization, lineation, insertions, deletions, alterations, spacing between words and lines, and indentation are all maintained; abbreviations and brevigraphs are not expanded; and superscript and subscript representations are retained. See full conventions for the transcriptions here.
Line number 1

 Physical note

“is”, in different hand, written over “er”
Line number 2

 Physical note

“ois” appears in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Line number 4

 Physical note

“ois” appears in in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Line number 6

 Physical note

final “e” appears in darker ink, possibly different hand, written over earlier letter, possibly “r”
Line number 12

 Physical note

“s” appears in darker ink
Line number 12

 Physical note

“t,” “e,” and “r” in darker ink, possibly different hand from main scribe; “e” appears written between original “h” and “i” and “r” written over original “s” (formerly, “his” in hand of main scribe)
Line number 21

 Physical note

“n” written over an “i”
Line number 26

 Physical note

“ſpri” in darker ink, possibly over earlier letters
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
The Porcupine
(Emblem 13)
Emblem 13
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 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
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This is one of several “Emblems” criticizing misplaced pride, a vice here vested in a porcupine, while the virtues of the patiently suffering—and rather more surprisingly, laughing—tortoise align with those vaunted in many poems recounting the speaker’s endurance of earthly grief. In this beast fable, a vain male porcupine swaggers along shooting his quills and insulting a female tortoise, who hides motionless in her shell. When a cart passes by and the riders laugh at the animals, the porcupine turns his weaponry on them, but the riders drive him away with stones and whips. Although their cart rolls over the tortoise, she is protected by her shell. The injured porcupine then seems to seize control of the emblem by moralizing what he has learned about the value of non-retaliation, a lesson the speaker echoes with her own expressed aim of leaving retribution in God’s hands. The humility and apparent pacifism of such a vow stands in marked contrast to the final line’s confident invocation of divine vengeance upon the speaker’s unnamed “oppressors.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This emblem contrasts the reactions of a patient female tortoise and an irascible male porcupine to mockery and violence. It becomes a meditation on the dangers of seeking revenge.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
13 The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Physical Note
“is”, in different hand, written over “er”
his
Pride
The porcupine went
Gloss Note
swaggering
ruffling
in his pride,
The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Critical Note
The letters “is” have been written over top of “er,” indicating that the scribe (or Pulter) first gave the Porcupine a feminine gender.
his
Pride
2
Scorning the humble
Physical Note
“ois” appears in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
by his Side
Scorning the humble tortoise by his side,
Scorning the humble Tortois by his Side
3
Spurning her oft, and Spurting many a Quill
Gloss Note
kicking; treating contemptuously
Spurning
her oft, and spurting many a quill;
Spurning
Physical Note
Pulter has gendered the tortoise as female and associated her with qualities which are often linked with virtuous femininity, such as humility and patience. In The historie of serpents. Or, The second booke of liuing creatures (1608), Edward Topsell describes the tortoise (pp. 281-287). For the most part the animal is referred to throughout the description as “he,” but in three cases the tortoise is a “she.” In the first, Topsell tells the story of Jupiter inviting all of the animals to a banquet. The tortoise came late and when asked why, she said that she found her own house to be the most excellent. In anger, Jupiter affixed her house permanently onto her back (p. 283). A second story describes Pliny’s version of the advice of the Roman Flaminius to the Achaeans. He urged them not to try to conquer the island of Zacynthii, because just like the tortoise is safe when she is within her shell, and vulnerable when she puts out a limb, so the Achaeans would be similarly at risk (pp. 283-284). And finally, Topsell notes that “Alciatus hath a witty Emblem of a Torteyse to expresse a good huswife, and that the fame of her vertues, spreadeth much further then eyther beautie or riches.” The last half of the poem in question reads, “Such is the shape that Phidias did me frame, / And bade me goe resemble women kind, / To teach them silence, and in house remaine, / Such pictures vnderneath my feete you find” (p. 284). The association in the first and third of these stories is of women with domestic space. While Pulter did not necessarily read Topsell, the writer Anne Southwell did. On one of the later pages of her manuscript miscellany she quotes several passages from Topsell’s works (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.a.198, fol. 68r-v). Under the heading “of the land Tortiss or Turtle” she tells the story of Jupiter and the tortoise, but changes the gender of the animal from female to male: “Iupiter asking him why he stayed so long, he reply[ed] his owne house gaue him most honnor, Iupiter being angrie a’iudged him that he should still carrie his house vpon his back.” See “Curations” for full transcriptions of these passages.
her
oft, and
Critical Note
The porcupine was believed to be able to shoot his quills like arrows. Pliny’s The historie of the world, translated by Philemon Holland (1601, 1634, and 1635), to which Pulter makes reference elsewhere, compares the “Porkpen” to the urchin or hedge-hog: “but the Porkpen hath the longer sharp pointed quilles, and those, when he stretcheth his skin, he sendeth and shooteth from him” (book 8, chapter 35, p. 215). For a transcription of Pliny’s discussion of the porcupine, see “Curations.”
Spurting many a Quill
4
The
Physical Note
“ois” appears in in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
Pul’d her head in and lay Still
The tortoise pulled her head in and lay still.
The Tortois Pul’d her head in and lay Still
5
Hee cald her patient ffool & ſuff’ring Aſs
He called her patient fool, and suff’ring ass;
Hee cald her patient Fool & suff’ring Ass
6
Thus ore her Back inſulting
Physical Note
final “e” appears in darker ink, possibly different hand, written over earlier letter, possibly “r”
hee
did Paſs
Thus o’er her back, insulting, he did pass.
Thus ore her Back insulting hee did Pass
7
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
Just then, a loaded cart and men came by;
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
8
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
As soon as they this
Gloss Note
dissimilar
different
couple spy,
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
9
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
They laughed, which vexed the porcu at the heart;
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
10
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
Arrows
Gloss Note
from his
from’s
living
Gloss Note
case for arrows
quiver
he did dart
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
11
Promiſcuo^usly at Horſes, Men, and Cart
Gloss Note
indiscriminately
Promiscuously
at horses, men, and cart;
Critical Note
Unlike this porcupine’s indiscriminate launching of quills, ancient natural histories, such as those by Claudian, celebrated the porcupine for its judicious use of its power to shoot quills: “Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life” (Claudian, “De hystrice (the porcupine),” Claudian, translated by Maurice Platnauer, 2 vols, W. Heinemann, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 181-185 (p. 183); reference from Nicole Hochner, “Louis XII and the Porcupine: Transformations of a Royal Emblem,” Renaissance Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2001, pp. 17-36 (p. 19); with thanks to Katherine Eggert, one of this edition’s reviewers.
Promiscuously
at Horses, Men, and Cart
12
The
Physical Note
“s” appears in darker ink
ffrocketeers
threw Stones and laſh’d
Physical Note
“t,” “e,” and “r” in darker ink, possibly different hand from main scribe; “e” appears written between original “h” and “i” and “r” written over original “s” (formerly, “his” in hand of main scribe)
their
Whip
The
Gloss Note
Apparently a word made up by Pulter; in her day, a “frock” could mean a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workmen, or the wearer thereof, which appears to be the meaning in this case.
frocketeers
threw stones and lashed their whip,
The
Gloss Note
This term may mean “peasants” since, as Alice Eardley suggests in her edition, (Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014]), the word may be derived from the loose outer garments or frocks they wore (p. 202).
Frocketeers
threw Stones and lash’d
Physical Note
The letters “t” and “e” have been added to “h” and “i” and the letter “r” has been written on top of “s,” so that “their” replaces “his.”
their
Whip
13
Which made the ffurious Porcupine to Skip
Which made the furious porcupine to
Gloss Note
leap; hurry (away)
skip
,
Which made the
Critical Note
Pulter is associating the porcupine with pride (line 1) and, here, when he is “Furious,” with wrath. In Du Bartas his deuine weekes and workes translated: and dedicated to the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosuah Syluester, 1611, p. 273, Wrath is linked with the porcupine: “Then, boyling Wrath, stern, cruell, swift, and rash, / That like a Boar her teeth doth grinde and gnash: / Whose hair doth stare like bristled Porcupine” (with thanks to one of this edition’s anonymous reviewers for this reference.) For Du Bartas’s description of the porcupine in his account of the animals created on the sixth day, see “Curations.”
Furious
Porcupine to Skip
14
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
Then drove their cart over the tortoise shell:
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
15
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite was well
But she, in spite of all their spite, was well.
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite
Critical Note
Topsell refers to the hardness of a tortoise’s shell: “And Palladius was not deceiued when he wrote thereof, that vppon the same might safelie passe ouer a Cart-wheele, the Cart being loaded. And therefore in this, the Torteyse is more happy then the Crocodile, or any other such Beast” (p. 282). Both the loaded cart and the happiness of the tortoise figure in Pulter’s emblem. Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone or The Fox makes good use of a tortoise shell in the punishment of Sir Politic Would-Be in act 5, scene 4. Peregrine, the English traveler, has been assaulted in the street by Sir Politic’s wife and so decides to seek revenge by pretending that spies have come to arrest him. Sir Politic decides to take cover in a tortoise shell that he happens to have in his living room. When the spies (really merchants Peregrine has enlisted) begin to torment him, Peregrine says, “Nay, you may strike him, sir, and tread upon him. He’ll bear a cart.” First Merchant: “What, to run over him?” Peregrine: “Yes.” (5.4.66-67; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 9th ed., vol. B, Norton, 2012, p. 1526).
was well
16
The Cart went on The Ruſticks they Run after
The cart went on; the rustics, they run after;
The Cart went on The Rusticks they Run after
17
The Tortois hardly could ^hold in her Laughter
The tortoise hardly could hold in her laughter,
The Tortois
Critical Note
Margaret J.M. Ezell uses this image from this emblem in the title of her important article “The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources and Women’s Book History,” English Literary Renaissance vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 331-355. Ezell suggests that the female tortoise refrains from laughing when hearing the male porcupine’s moan due to a sense of politeness rather than in reaction to being chastised (p. 347).
hardly could hold in her Laughter
18
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
But did refrain, hearing the doleful moan
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
19
The Porcupine made to himſelfe alone
The porcupine made to himself alone:
The Porcupine made to himselfe alone
20
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
Saying, “Let revengeful spirits learn by me
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
21
Not to Retaliate an
Physical Note
“n” written over an “i”
Injurie
Not to retaliate an injury,
Not to Retaliate an Injurie
22
But of this Tortois learn Humility
But of this tortoise learn humility.”
But of this Tortois learn Humility
23
The Tortois Bluſh’d to hear her Self comended
The tortoise blushed to hear herself commended,
The Tortois Blush’d to hear her Self commended
24
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Then crawled away, and so the
Gloss Note
The entire poem is classed in the genre of “emblem,” or a symbolic (especially pictorial) representation with a moral, but the term is used in this line to indicate that the fable of the porcupine and tortoise has ended (before the poem ends).
emblem
ended.
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Soe

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
25
Soe Waſps and Hornets, loſe their Lives & Stings
So
Critical Note
Pulter’s entomology appears mistaken; while the honeybee’s barbed stinger catches in the skin, so that the bee eviscerates itself as it tries to fly away, wasps (and hornets, a type of wasp) can sting repeatedly without suffering themselves.
wasps and hornets lose their lives and stings
:
Critical Note
The catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page, and there is a page break after line 24. Interestingly the page break occurs at a moment when the poem appears to end (“and soe the Embleme ended”), but actually the moralizing ending of the poem continues on the verso of the same leaf. Sometimes accidents of layout can reflect shifts of meaning in a poem. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, in her book Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture 1640-1680, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 11 offers an expansive definition of form that includes “the material manifestations of form in mise en page.” Here is an example of a page break bearing formal meaning.
Soe
Wasps and Hornets, lose their Lives & Stings
26
ffrom Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance
Physical Note
“ſpri” in darker ink, possibly over earlier letters
ſprings
From self-revenge, nought but repentance springs;
From Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance springs
27
Then like the Tortois thoug I ffeel or See
Then, like the tortoise, though I feel or see
Then like the Tortois thoug I Feel or See
28
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
The least affront, or seeming injury,
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
29
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
Yet let my mind above the greatest be:
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
30
What if they hurt my ffleſh, t’is but my Shell
What if they hurt my flesh? ’Tis but my shell
What if they hurt my Flesh, t’is but my Shell
31
That Suffers, my infranchiſd Soul is well
That suffers; my
Gloss Note
free from confinement or subjection
enfranchised
soul is well.
That Suffers, my
Critical Note
Pulter writes of her soul or spirit as enfranchised (or set free) five other times in her poetry: "The Welcome" (Poem 19), "To Aurora [3]" (Poem 34), "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), "Pardon Me, My Dearest Love" (Poem 42), and "Why Must I Thus Forever Be Confined" (Poem 57).
infranchisd
Soul is well
32
Then at my oppreſſors ffeet my Selfe I’le lay
Then at my oppressors’ feet myself I’ll lay;
Then at my oppressors Feet my Selfe I’le lay
33
Vengence is thine my God, thou Wilt Repay.
Vengeance is Thine, my God: Thou wilt repay.
Vengence is thine my God,
Critical Note
Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (King James Version).
thou Wilt Repay
.
ascending straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

This is one of several “Emblems” criticizing misplaced pride, a vice here vested in a porcupine, while the virtues of the patiently suffering—and rather more surprisingly, laughing—tortoise align with those vaunted in many poems recounting the speaker’s endurance of earthly grief. In this beast fable, a vain male porcupine swaggers along shooting his quills and insulting a female tortoise, who hides motionless in her shell. When a cart passes by and the riders laugh at the animals, the porcupine turns his weaponry on them, but the riders drive him away with stones and whips. Although their cart rolls over the tortoise, she is protected by her shell. The injured porcupine then seems to seize control of the emblem by moralizing what he has learned about the value of non-retaliation, a lesson the speaker echoes with her own expressed aim of leaving retribution in God’s hands. The humility and apparent pacifism of such a vow stands in marked contrast to the final line’s confident invocation of divine vengeance upon the speaker’s unnamed “oppressors.”
Line number 1

 Gloss note

swaggering
Line number 3

 Gloss note

kicking; treating contemptuously
Line number 8

 Gloss note

dissimilar
Line number 10

 Gloss note

from his
Line number 10

 Gloss note

case for arrows
Line number 11

 Gloss note

indiscriminately
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Apparently a word made up by Pulter; in her day, a “frock” could mean a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workmen, or the wearer thereof, which appears to be the meaning in this case.
Line number 13

 Gloss note

leap; hurry (away)
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The entire poem is classed in the genre of “emblem,” or a symbolic (especially pictorial) representation with a moral, but the term is used in this line to indicate that the fable of the porcupine and tortoise has ended (before the poem ends).
Line number 25

 Critical note

Pulter’s entomology appears mistaken; while the honeybee’s barbed stinger catches in the skin, so that the bee eviscerates itself as it tries to fly away, wasps (and hornets, a type of wasp) can sting repeatedly without suffering themselves.
Line number 31

 Gloss note

free from confinement or subjection
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
The Porcupine
(Emblem 13)
Emblem 13
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 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
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This is one of several “Emblems” criticizing misplaced pride, a vice here vested in a porcupine, while the virtues of the patiently suffering—and rather more surprisingly, laughing—tortoise align with those vaunted in many poems recounting the speaker’s endurance of earthly grief. In this beast fable, a vain male porcupine swaggers along shooting his quills and insulting a female tortoise, who hides motionless in her shell. When a cart passes by and the riders laugh at the animals, the porcupine turns his weaponry on them, but the riders drive him away with stones and whips. Although their cart rolls over the tortoise, she is protected by her shell. The injured porcupine then seems to seize control of the emblem by moralizing what he has learned about the value of non-retaliation, a lesson the speaker echoes with her own expressed aim of leaving retribution in God’s hands. The humility and apparent pacifism of such a vow stands in marked contrast to the final line’s confident invocation of divine vengeance upon the speaker’s unnamed “oppressors.”

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
This emblem contrasts the reactions of a patient female tortoise and an irascible male porcupine to mockery and violence. It becomes a meditation on the dangers of seeking revenge.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
13 The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Physical Note
“is”, in different hand, written over “er”
his
Pride
The porcupine went
Gloss Note
swaggering
ruffling
in his pride,
The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Critical Note
The letters “is” have been written over top of “er,” indicating that the scribe (or Pulter) first gave the Porcupine a feminine gender.
his
Pride
2
Scorning the humble
Physical Note
“ois” appears in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
by his Side
Scorning the humble tortoise by his side,
Scorning the humble Tortois by his Side
3
Spurning her oft, and Spurting many a Quill
Gloss Note
kicking; treating contemptuously
Spurning
her oft, and spurting many a quill;
Spurning
Physical Note
Pulter has gendered the tortoise as female and associated her with qualities which are often linked with virtuous femininity, such as humility and patience. In The historie of serpents. Or, The second booke of liuing creatures (1608), Edward Topsell describes the tortoise (pp. 281-287). For the most part the animal is referred to throughout the description as “he,” but in three cases the tortoise is a “she.” In the first, Topsell tells the story of Jupiter inviting all of the animals to a banquet. The tortoise came late and when asked why, she said that she found her own house to be the most excellent. In anger, Jupiter affixed her house permanently onto her back (p. 283). A second story describes Pliny’s version of the advice of the Roman Flaminius to the Achaeans. He urged them not to try to conquer the island of Zacynthii, because just like the tortoise is safe when she is within her shell, and vulnerable when she puts out a limb, so the Achaeans would be similarly at risk (pp. 283-284). And finally, Topsell notes that “Alciatus hath a witty Emblem of a Torteyse to expresse a good huswife, and that the fame of her vertues, spreadeth much further then eyther beautie or riches.” The last half of the poem in question reads, “Such is the shape that Phidias did me frame, / And bade me goe resemble women kind, / To teach them silence, and in house remaine, / Such pictures vnderneath my feete you find” (p. 284). The association in the first and third of these stories is of women with domestic space. While Pulter did not necessarily read Topsell, the writer Anne Southwell did. On one of the later pages of her manuscript miscellany she quotes several passages from Topsell’s works (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.a.198, fol. 68r-v). Under the heading “of the land Tortiss or Turtle” she tells the story of Jupiter and the tortoise, but changes the gender of the animal from female to male: “Iupiter asking him why he stayed so long, he reply[ed] his owne house gaue him most honnor, Iupiter being angrie a’iudged him that he should still carrie his house vpon his back.” See “Curations” for full transcriptions of these passages.
her
oft, and
Critical Note
The porcupine was believed to be able to shoot his quills like arrows. Pliny’s The historie of the world, translated by Philemon Holland (1601, 1634, and 1635), to which Pulter makes reference elsewhere, compares the “Porkpen” to the urchin or hedge-hog: “but the Porkpen hath the longer sharp pointed quilles, and those, when he stretcheth his skin, he sendeth and shooteth from him” (book 8, chapter 35, p. 215). For a transcription of Pliny’s discussion of the porcupine, see “Curations.”
Spurting many a Quill
4
The
Physical Note
“ois” appears in in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
Pul’d her head in and lay Still
The tortoise pulled her head in and lay still.
The Tortois Pul’d her head in and lay Still
5
Hee cald her patient ffool & ſuff’ring Aſs
He called her patient fool, and suff’ring ass;
Hee cald her patient Fool & suff’ring Ass
6
Thus ore her Back inſulting
Physical Note
final “e” appears in darker ink, possibly different hand, written over earlier letter, possibly “r”
hee
did Paſs
Thus o’er her back, insulting, he did pass.
Thus ore her Back insulting hee did Pass
7
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
Just then, a loaded cart and men came by;
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
8
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
As soon as they this
Gloss Note
dissimilar
different
couple spy,
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
9
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
They laughed, which vexed the porcu at the heart;
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
10
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
Arrows
Gloss Note
from his
from’s
living
Gloss Note
case for arrows
quiver
he did dart
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
11
Promiſcuo^usly at Horſes, Men, and Cart
Gloss Note
indiscriminately
Promiscuously
at horses, men, and cart;
Critical Note
Unlike this porcupine’s indiscriminate launching of quills, ancient natural histories, such as those by Claudian, celebrated the porcupine for its judicious use of its power to shoot quills: “Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life” (Claudian, “De hystrice (the porcupine),” Claudian, translated by Maurice Platnauer, 2 vols, W. Heinemann, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 181-185 (p. 183); reference from Nicole Hochner, “Louis XII and the Porcupine: Transformations of a Royal Emblem,” Renaissance Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2001, pp. 17-36 (p. 19); with thanks to Katherine Eggert, one of this edition’s reviewers.
Promiscuously
at Horses, Men, and Cart
12
The
Physical Note
“s” appears in darker ink
ffrocketeers
threw Stones and laſh’d
Physical Note
“t,” “e,” and “r” in darker ink, possibly different hand from main scribe; “e” appears written between original “h” and “i” and “r” written over original “s” (formerly, “his” in hand of main scribe)
their
Whip
The
Gloss Note
Apparently a word made up by Pulter; in her day, a “frock” could mean a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workmen, or the wearer thereof, which appears to be the meaning in this case.
frocketeers
threw stones and lashed their whip,
The
Gloss Note
This term may mean “peasants” since, as Alice Eardley suggests in her edition, (Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014]), the word may be derived from the loose outer garments or frocks they wore (p. 202).
Frocketeers
threw Stones and lash’d
Physical Note
The letters “t” and “e” have been added to “h” and “i” and the letter “r” has been written on top of “s,” so that “their” replaces “his.”
their
Whip
13
Which made the ffurious Porcupine to Skip
Which made the furious porcupine to
Gloss Note
leap; hurry (away)
skip
,
Which made the
Critical Note
Pulter is associating the porcupine with pride (line 1) and, here, when he is “Furious,” with wrath. In Du Bartas his deuine weekes and workes translated: and dedicated to the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosuah Syluester, 1611, p. 273, Wrath is linked with the porcupine: “Then, boyling Wrath, stern, cruell, swift, and rash, / That like a Boar her teeth doth grinde and gnash: / Whose hair doth stare like bristled Porcupine” (with thanks to one of this edition’s anonymous reviewers for this reference.) For Du Bartas’s description of the porcupine in his account of the animals created on the sixth day, see “Curations.”
Furious
Porcupine to Skip
14
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
Then drove their cart over the tortoise shell:
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
15
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite was well
But she, in spite of all their spite, was well.
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite
Critical Note
Topsell refers to the hardness of a tortoise’s shell: “And Palladius was not deceiued when he wrote thereof, that vppon the same might safelie passe ouer a Cart-wheele, the Cart being loaded. And therefore in this, the Torteyse is more happy then the Crocodile, or any other such Beast” (p. 282). Both the loaded cart and the happiness of the tortoise figure in Pulter’s emblem. Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone or The Fox makes good use of a tortoise shell in the punishment of Sir Politic Would-Be in act 5, scene 4. Peregrine, the English traveler, has been assaulted in the street by Sir Politic’s wife and so decides to seek revenge by pretending that spies have come to arrest him. Sir Politic decides to take cover in a tortoise shell that he happens to have in his living room. When the spies (really merchants Peregrine has enlisted) begin to torment him, Peregrine says, “Nay, you may strike him, sir, and tread upon him. He’ll bear a cart.” First Merchant: “What, to run over him?” Peregrine: “Yes.” (5.4.66-67; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 9th ed., vol. B, Norton, 2012, p. 1526).
was well
16
The Cart went on The Ruſticks they Run after
The cart went on; the rustics, they run after;
The Cart went on The Rusticks they Run after
17
The Tortois hardly could ^hold in her Laughter
The tortoise hardly could hold in her laughter,
The Tortois
Critical Note
Margaret J.M. Ezell uses this image from this emblem in the title of her important article “The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources and Women’s Book History,” English Literary Renaissance vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 331-355. Ezell suggests that the female tortoise refrains from laughing when hearing the male porcupine’s moan due to a sense of politeness rather than in reaction to being chastised (p. 347).
hardly could hold in her Laughter
18
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
But did refrain, hearing the doleful moan
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
19
The Porcupine made to himſelfe alone
The porcupine made to himself alone:
The Porcupine made to himselfe alone
20
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
Saying, “Let revengeful spirits learn by me
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
21
Not to Retaliate an
Physical Note
“n” written over an “i”
Injurie
Not to retaliate an injury,
Not to Retaliate an Injurie
22
But of this Tortois learn Humility
But of this tortoise learn humility.”
But of this Tortois learn Humility
23
The Tortois Bluſh’d to hear her Self comended
The tortoise blushed to hear herself commended,
The Tortois Blush’d to hear her Self commended
24
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Then crawled away, and so the
Gloss Note
The entire poem is classed in the genre of “emblem,” or a symbolic (especially pictorial) representation with a moral, but the term is used in this line to indicate that the fable of the porcupine and tortoise has ended (before the poem ends).
emblem
ended.
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Soe

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25
Soe Waſps and Hornets, loſe their Lives & Stings
So
Critical Note
Pulter’s entomology appears mistaken; while the honeybee’s barbed stinger catches in the skin, so that the bee eviscerates itself as it tries to fly away, wasps (and hornets, a type of wasp) can sting repeatedly without suffering themselves.
wasps and hornets lose their lives and stings
:
Critical Note
The catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page, and there is a page break after line 24. Interestingly the page break occurs at a moment when the poem appears to end (“and soe the Embleme ended”), but actually the moralizing ending of the poem continues on the verso of the same leaf. Sometimes accidents of layout can reflect shifts of meaning in a poem. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, in her book Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture 1640-1680, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 11 offers an expansive definition of form that includes “the material manifestations of form in mise en page.” Here is an example of a page break bearing formal meaning.
Soe
Wasps and Hornets, lose their Lives & Stings
26
ffrom Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance
Physical Note
“ſpri” in darker ink, possibly over earlier letters
ſprings
From self-revenge, nought but repentance springs;
From Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance springs
27
Then like the Tortois thoug I ffeel or See
Then, like the tortoise, though I feel or see
Then like the Tortois thoug I Feel or See
28
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
The least affront, or seeming injury,
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
29
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
Yet let my mind above the greatest be:
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
30
What if they hurt my ffleſh, t’is but my Shell
What if they hurt my flesh? ’Tis but my shell
What if they hurt my Flesh, t’is but my Shell
31
That Suffers, my infranchiſd Soul is well
That suffers; my
Gloss Note
free from confinement or subjection
enfranchised
soul is well.
That Suffers, my
Critical Note
Pulter writes of her soul or spirit as enfranchised (or set free) five other times in her poetry: "The Welcome" (Poem 19), "To Aurora [3]" (Poem 34), "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), "Pardon Me, My Dearest Love" (Poem 42), and "Why Must I Thus Forever Be Confined" (Poem 57).
infranchisd
Soul is well
32
Then at my oppreſſors ffeet my Selfe I’le lay
Then at my oppressors’ feet myself I’ll lay;
Then at my oppressors Feet my Selfe I’le lay
33
Vengence is thine my God, thou Wilt Repay.
Vengeance is Thine, my God: Thou wilt repay.
Vengence is thine my God,
Critical Note
Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (King James Version).
thou Wilt Repay
.
ascending straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader.

 Headnote

This emblem contrasts the reactions of a patient female tortoise and an irascible male porcupine to mockery and violence. It becomes a meditation on the dangers of seeking revenge.
Line number 1

 Critical note

The letters “is” have been written over top of “er,” indicating that the scribe (or Pulter) first gave the Porcupine a feminine gender.
Line number 3

 Physical note

Pulter has gendered the tortoise as female and associated her with qualities which are often linked with virtuous femininity, such as humility and patience. In The historie of serpents. Or, The second booke of liuing creatures (1608), Edward Topsell describes the tortoise (pp. 281-287). For the most part the animal is referred to throughout the description as “he,” but in three cases the tortoise is a “she.” In the first, Topsell tells the story of Jupiter inviting all of the animals to a banquet. The tortoise came late and when asked why, she said that she found her own house to be the most excellent. In anger, Jupiter affixed her house permanently onto her back (p. 283). A second story describes Pliny’s version of the advice of the Roman Flaminius to the Achaeans. He urged them not to try to conquer the island of Zacynthii, because just like the tortoise is safe when she is within her shell, and vulnerable when she puts out a limb, so the Achaeans would be similarly at risk (pp. 283-284). And finally, Topsell notes that “Alciatus hath a witty Emblem of a Torteyse to expresse a good huswife, and that the fame of her vertues, spreadeth much further then eyther beautie or riches.” The last half of the poem in question reads, “Such is the shape that Phidias did me frame, / And bade me goe resemble women kind, / To teach them silence, and in house remaine, / Such pictures vnderneath my feete you find” (p. 284). The association in the first and third of these stories is of women with domestic space. While Pulter did not necessarily read Topsell, the writer Anne Southwell did. On one of the later pages of her manuscript miscellany she quotes several passages from Topsell’s works (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.a.198, fol. 68r-v). Under the heading “of the land Tortiss or Turtle” she tells the story of Jupiter and the tortoise, but changes the gender of the animal from female to male: “Iupiter asking him why he stayed so long, he reply[ed] his owne house gaue him most honnor, Iupiter being angrie a’iudged him that he should still carrie his house vpon his back.” See “Curations” for full transcriptions of these passages.
Line number 3

 Critical note

The porcupine was believed to be able to shoot his quills like arrows. Pliny’s The historie of the world, translated by Philemon Holland (1601, 1634, and 1635), to which Pulter makes reference elsewhere, compares the “Porkpen” to the urchin or hedge-hog: “but the Porkpen hath the longer sharp pointed quilles, and those, when he stretcheth his skin, he sendeth and shooteth from him” (book 8, chapter 35, p. 215). For a transcription of Pliny’s discussion of the porcupine, see “Curations.”
Line number 11

 Critical note

Unlike this porcupine’s indiscriminate launching of quills, ancient natural histories, such as those by Claudian, celebrated the porcupine for its judicious use of its power to shoot quills: “Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life” (Claudian, “De hystrice (the porcupine),” Claudian, translated by Maurice Platnauer, 2 vols, W. Heinemann, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 181-185 (p. 183); reference from Nicole Hochner, “Louis XII and the Porcupine: Transformations of a Royal Emblem,” Renaissance Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2001, pp. 17-36 (p. 19); with thanks to Katherine Eggert, one of this edition’s reviewers.
Line number 12

 Gloss note

This term may mean “peasants” since, as Alice Eardley suggests in her edition, (Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014]), the word may be derived from the loose outer garments or frocks they wore (p. 202).
Line number 12

 Physical note

The letters “t” and “e” have been added to “h” and “i” and the letter “r” has been written on top of “s,” so that “their” replaces “his.”
Line number 13

 Critical note

Pulter is associating the porcupine with pride (line 1) and, here, when he is “Furious,” with wrath. In Du Bartas his deuine weekes and workes translated: and dedicated to the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosuah Syluester, 1611, p. 273, Wrath is linked with the porcupine: “Then, boyling Wrath, stern, cruell, swift, and rash, / That like a Boar her teeth doth grinde and gnash: / Whose hair doth stare like bristled Porcupine” (with thanks to one of this edition’s anonymous reviewers for this reference.) For Du Bartas’s description of the porcupine in his account of the animals created on the sixth day, see “Curations.”
Line number 15

 Critical note

Topsell refers to the hardness of a tortoise’s shell: “And Palladius was not deceiued when he wrote thereof, that vppon the same might safelie passe ouer a Cart-wheele, the Cart being loaded. And therefore in this, the Torteyse is more happy then the Crocodile, or any other such Beast” (p. 282). Both the loaded cart and the happiness of the tortoise figure in Pulter’s emblem. Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone or The Fox makes good use of a tortoise shell in the punishment of Sir Politic Would-Be in act 5, scene 4. Peregrine, the English traveler, has been assaulted in the street by Sir Politic’s wife and so decides to seek revenge by pretending that spies have come to arrest him. Sir Politic decides to take cover in a tortoise shell that he happens to have in his living room. When the spies (really merchants Peregrine has enlisted) begin to torment him, Peregrine says, “Nay, you may strike him, sir, and tread upon him. He’ll bear a cart.” First Merchant: “What, to run over him?” Peregrine: “Yes.” (5.4.66-67; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 9th ed., vol. B, Norton, 2012, p. 1526).
Line number 17

 Critical note

Margaret J.M. Ezell uses this image from this emblem in the title of her important article “The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources and Women’s Book History,” English Literary Renaissance vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 331-355. Ezell suggests that the female tortoise refrains from laughing when hearing the male porcupine’s moan due to a sense of politeness rather than in reaction to being chastised (p. 347).
Line number 25

 Critical note

The catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page, and there is a page break after line 24. Interestingly the page break occurs at a moment when the poem appears to end (“and soe the Embleme ended”), but actually the moralizing ending of the poem continues on the verso of the same leaf. Sometimes accidents of layout can reflect shifts of meaning in a poem. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, in her book Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture 1640-1680, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 11 offers an expansive definition of form that includes “the material manifestations of form in mise en page.” Here is an example of a page break bearing formal meaning.
Line number 31

 Critical note

Pulter writes of her soul or spirit as enfranchised (or set free) five other times in her poetry: "The Welcome" (Poem 19), "To Aurora [3]" (Poem 34), "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), "Pardon Me, My Dearest Love" (Poem 42), and "Why Must I Thus Forever Be Confined" (Poem 57).
Line number 33

 Critical note

Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (King James Version).
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The Porcupine
(Emblem 13)
Emblem 13
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.

— Victoria E. Burke
The aim of the elemental edition 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.

— Victoria E. Burke
This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader.

— Victoria E. Burke
This is one of several “Emblems” criticizing misplaced pride, a vice here vested in a porcupine, while the virtues of the patiently suffering—and rather more surprisingly, laughing—tortoise align with those vaunted in many poems recounting the speaker’s endurance of earthly grief. In this beast fable, a vain male porcupine swaggers along shooting his quills and insulting a female tortoise, who hides motionless in her shell. When a cart passes by and the riders laugh at the animals, the porcupine turns his weaponry on them, but the riders drive him away with stones and whips. Although their cart rolls over the tortoise, she is protected by her shell. The injured porcupine then seems to seize control of the emblem by moralizing what he has learned about the value of non-retaliation, a lesson the speaker echoes with her own expressed aim of leaving retribution in God’s hands. The humility and apparent pacifism of such a vow stands in marked contrast to the final line’s confident invocation of divine vengeance upon the speaker’s unnamed “oppressors.”

— Victoria E. Burke
This emblem contrasts the reactions of a patient female tortoise and an irascible male porcupine to mockery and violence. It becomes a meditation on the dangers of seeking revenge.

— Victoria E. Burke
1
13 The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Physical Note
“is”, in different hand, written over “er”
his
Pride
The porcupine went
Gloss Note
swaggering
ruffling
in his pride,
The Porcupine went Ruffling in
Critical Note
The letters “is” have been written over top of “er,” indicating that the scribe (or Pulter) first gave the Porcupine a feminine gender.
his
Pride
2
Scorning the humble
Physical Note
“ois” appears in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
by his Side
Scorning the humble tortoise by his side,
Scorning the humble Tortois by his Side
3
Spurning her oft, and Spurting many a Quill
Gloss Note
kicking; treating contemptuously
Spurning
her oft, and spurting many a quill;
Spurning
Physical Note
Pulter has gendered the tortoise as female and associated her with qualities which are often linked with virtuous femininity, such as humility and patience. In The historie of serpents. Or, The second booke of liuing creatures (1608), Edward Topsell describes the tortoise (pp. 281-287). For the most part the animal is referred to throughout the description as “he,” but in three cases the tortoise is a “she.” In the first, Topsell tells the story of Jupiter inviting all of the animals to a banquet. The tortoise came late and when asked why, she said that she found her own house to be the most excellent. In anger, Jupiter affixed her house permanently onto her back (p. 283). A second story describes Pliny’s version of the advice of the Roman Flaminius to the Achaeans. He urged them not to try to conquer the island of Zacynthii, because just like the tortoise is safe when she is within her shell, and vulnerable when she puts out a limb, so the Achaeans would be similarly at risk (pp. 283-284). And finally, Topsell notes that “Alciatus hath a witty Emblem of a Torteyse to expresse a good huswife, and that the fame of her vertues, spreadeth much further then eyther beautie or riches.” The last half of the poem in question reads, “Such is the shape that Phidias did me frame, / And bade me goe resemble women kind, / To teach them silence, and in house remaine, / Such pictures vnderneath my feete you find” (p. 284). The association in the first and third of these stories is of women with domestic space. While Pulter did not necessarily read Topsell, the writer Anne Southwell did. On one of the later pages of her manuscript miscellany she quotes several passages from Topsell’s works (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.a.198, fol. 68r-v). Under the heading “of the land Tortiss or Turtle” she tells the story of Jupiter and the tortoise, but changes the gender of the animal from female to male: “Iupiter asking him why he stayed so long, he reply[ed] his owne house gaue him most honnor, Iupiter being angrie a’iudged him that he should still carrie his house vpon his back.” See “Curations” for full transcriptions of these passages.
her
oft, and
Critical Note
The porcupine was believed to be able to shoot his quills like arrows. Pliny’s The historie of the world, translated by Philemon Holland (1601, 1634, and 1635), to which Pulter makes reference elsewhere, compares the “Porkpen” to the urchin or hedge-hog: “but the Porkpen hath the longer sharp pointed quilles, and those, when he stretcheth his skin, he sendeth and shooteth from him” (book 8, chapter 35, p. 215). For a transcription of Pliny’s discussion of the porcupine, see “Curations.”
Spurting many a Quill
4
The
Physical Note
“ois” appears in in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Tortois
Pul’d her head in and lay Still
The tortoise pulled her head in and lay still.
The Tortois Pul’d her head in and lay Still
5
Hee cald her patient ffool & ſuff’ring Aſs
He called her patient fool, and suff’ring ass;
Hee cald her patient Fool & suff’ring Ass
6
Thus ore her Back inſulting
Physical Note
final “e” appears in darker ink, possibly different hand, written over earlier letter, possibly “r”
hee
did Paſs
Thus o’er her back, insulting, he did pass.
Thus ore her Back insulting hee did Pass
7
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
Just then, a loaded cart and men came by;
Just then a Loaded Cart and Men came by
8
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
As soon as they this
Gloss Note
dissimilar
different
couple spy,
As Soon as they this different Couple Spie
9
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
They laughed, which vexed the porcu at the heart;
They Laught which vex’d the Porcu at the Heart
10
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
Arrows
Gloss Note
from his
from’s
living
Gloss Note
case for arrows
quiver
he did dart
Arrows from’s living Quiver hee did Dart
11
Promiſcuo^usly at Horſes, Men, and Cart
Gloss Note
indiscriminately
Promiscuously
at horses, men, and cart;
Critical Note
Unlike this porcupine’s indiscriminate launching of quills, ancient natural histories, such as those by Claudian, celebrated the porcupine for its judicious use of its power to shoot quills: “Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life” (Claudian, “De hystrice (the porcupine),” Claudian, translated by Maurice Platnauer, 2 vols, W. Heinemann, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 181-185 (p. 183); reference from Nicole Hochner, “Louis XII and the Porcupine: Transformations of a Royal Emblem,” Renaissance Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2001, pp. 17-36 (p. 19); with thanks to Katherine Eggert, one of this edition’s reviewers.
Promiscuously
at Horses, Men, and Cart
12
The
Physical Note
“s” appears in darker ink
ffrocketeers
threw Stones and laſh’d
Physical Note
“t,” “e,” and “r” in darker ink, possibly different hand from main scribe; “e” appears written between original “h” and “i” and “r” written over original “s” (formerly, “his” in hand of main scribe)
their
Whip
The
Gloss Note
Apparently a word made up by Pulter; in her day, a “frock” could mean a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workmen, or the wearer thereof, which appears to be the meaning in this case.
frocketeers
threw stones and lashed their whip,
The
Gloss Note
This term may mean “peasants” since, as Alice Eardley suggests in her edition, (Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014]), the word may be derived from the loose outer garments or frocks they wore (p. 202).
Frocketeers
threw Stones and lash’d
Physical Note
The letters “t” and “e” have been added to “h” and “i” and the letter “r” has been written on top of “s,” so that “their” replaces “his.”
their
Whip
13
Which made the ffurious Porcupine to Skip
Which made the furious porcupine to
Gloss Note
leap; hurry (away)
skip
,
Which made the
Critical Note
Pulter is associating the porcupine with pride (line 1) and, here, when he is “Furious,” with wrath. In Du Bartas his deuine weekes and workes translated: and dedicated to the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosuah Syluester, 1611, p. 273, Wrath is linked with the porcupine: “Then, boyling Wrath, stern, cruell, swift, and rash, / That like a Boar her teeth doth grinde and gnash: / Whose hair doth stare like bristled Porcupine” (with thanks to one of this edition’s anonymous reviewers for this reference.) For Du Bartas’s description of the porcupine in his account of the animals created on the sixth day, see “Curations.”
Furious
Porcupine to Skip
14
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
Then drove their cart over the tortoise shell:
Then drove their Cart over the Tortois Shell
15
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite was well
But she, in spite of all their spite, was well.
But Shee in Spite of all their Spite
Critical Note
Topsell refers to the hardness of a tortoise’s shell: “And Palladius was not deceiued when he wrote thereof, that vppon the same might safelie passe ouer a Cart-wheele, the Cart being loaded. And therefore in this, the Torteyse is more happy then the Crocodile, or any other such Beast” (p. 282). Both the loaded cart and the happiness of the tortoise figure in Pulter’s emblem. Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone or The Fox makes good use of a tortoise shell in the punishment of Sir Politic Would-Be in act 5, scene 4. Peregrine, the English traveler, has been assaulted in the street by Sir Politic’s wife and so decides to seek revenge by pretending that spies have come to arrest him. Sir Politic decides to take cover in a tortoise shell that he happens to have in his living room. When the spies (really merchants Peregrine has enlisted) begin to torment him, Peregrine says, “Nay, you may strike him, sir, and tread upon him. He’ll bear a cart.” First Merchant: “What, to run over him?” Peregrine: “Yes.” (5.4.66-67; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 9th ed., vol. B, Norton, 2012, p. 1526).
was well
16
The Cart went on The Ruſticks they Run after
The cart went on; the rustics, they run after;
The Cart went on The Rusticks they Run after
17
The Tortois hardly could ^hold in her Laughter
The tortoise hardly could hold in her laughter,
The Tortois
Critical Note
Margaret J.M. Ezell uses this image from this emblem in the title of her important article “The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources and Women’s Book History,” English Literary Renaissance vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 331-355. Ezell suggests that the female tortoise refrains from laughing when hearing the male porcupine’s moan due to a sense of politeness rather than in reaction to being chastised (p. 347).
hardly could hold in her Laughter
18
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
But did refrain, hearing the doleful moan
But did Refrain hearing the Dolefull moan
19
The Porcupine made to himſelfe alone
The porcupine made to himself alone:
The Porcupine made to himselfe alone
20
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
Saying, “Let revengeful spirits learn by me
Saying, let Revengfull Spirits learn by mee
21
Not to Retaliate an
Physical Note
“n” written over an “i”
Injurie
Not to retaliate an injury,
Not to Retaliate an Injurie
22
But of this Tortois learn Humility
But of this tortoise learn humility.”
But of this Tortois learn Humility
23
The Tortois Bluſh’d to hear her Self comended
The tortoise blushed to hear herself commended,
The Tortois Blush’d to hear her Self commended
24
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Then crawled away, and so the
Gloss Note
The entire poem is classed in the genre of “emblem,” or a symbolic (especially pictorial) representation with a moral, but the term is used in this line to indicate that the fable of the porcupine and tortoise has ended (before the poem ends).
emblem
ended.
Then Crauld away and soe the Embleme ended.
Soe

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Facsimile Image Placeholder

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25
Soe Waſps and Hornets, loſe their Lives & Stings
So
Critical Note
Pulter’s entomology appears mistaken; while the honeybee’s barbed stinger catches in the skin, so that the bee eviscerates itself as it tries to fly away, wasps (and hornets, a type of wasp) can sting repeatedly without suffering themselves.
wasps and hornets lose their lives and stings
:
Critical Note
The catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page, and there is a page break after line 24. Interestingly the page break occurs at a moment when the poem appears to end (“and soe the Embleme ended”), but actually the moralizing ending of the poem continues on the verso of the same leaf. Sometimes accidents of layout can reflect shifts of meaning in a poem. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, in her book Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture 1640-1680, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 11 offers an expansive definition of form that includes “the material manifestations of form in mise en page.” Here is an example of a page break bearing formal meaning.
Soe
Wasps and Hornets, lose their Lives & Stings
26
ffrom Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance
Physical Note
“ſpri” in darker ink, possibly over earlier letters
ſprings
From self-revenge, nought but repentance springs;
From Selfe Reveng nought but Repentance springs
27
Then like the Tortois thoug I ffeel or See
Then, like the tortoise, though I feel or see
Then like the Tortois thoug I Feel or See
28
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
The least affront, or seeming injury,
The least affront, or Seeming Injurie
29
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
Yet let my mind above the greatest be:
Yet let my mind aboue the greatest bee
30
What if they hurt my ffleſh, t’is but my Shell
What if they hurt my flesh? ’Tis but my shell
What if they hurt my Flesh, t’is but my Shell
31
That Suffers, my infranchiſd Soul is well
That suffers; my
Gloss Note
free from confinement or subjection
enfranchised
soul is well.
That Suffers, my
Critical Note
Pulter writes of her soul or spirit as enfranchised (or set free) five other times in her poetry: "The Welcome" (Poem 19), "To Aurora [3]" (Poem 34), "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), "Pardon Me, My Dearest Love" (Poem 42), and "Why Must I Thus Forever Be Confined" (Poem 57).
infranchisd
Soul is well
32
Then at my oppreſſors ffeet my Selfe I’le lay
Then at my oppressors’ feet myself I’ll lay;
Then at my oppressors Feet my Selfe I’le lay
33
Vengence is thine my God, thou Wilt Repay.
Vengeance is Thine, my God: Thou wilt repay.
Vengence is thine my God,
Critical Note
Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (King James Version).
thou Wilt Repay
.
ascending straight line
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Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

This is a semi-diplomatic transcription in which original spelling and punctuation are retained, abbreviations (such as tildes) are expanded with added letters in italics, “ff” is modernized to “F,” superscriptions are lowered, and major alterations to the text (of a word or more, not individual letters) are noted in the footnotes. The retention of original spelling and punctuation has the potential to get us closer to the choices made by the poet and scribe, but some scribal details (such as abbreviations) do not seem substantive or meaning-bearing and run the risk of alienating a modern reader.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

This is one of several “Emblems” criticizing misplaced pride, a vice here vested in a porcupine, while the virtues of the patiently suffering—and rather more surprisingly, laughing—tortoise align with those vaunted in many poems recounting the speaker’s endurance of earthly grief. In this beast fable, a vain male porcupine swaggers along shooting his quills and insulting a female tortoise, who hides motionless in her shell. When a cart passes by and the riders laugh at the animals, the porcupine turns his weaponry on them, but the riders drive him away with stones and whips. Although their cart rolls over the tortoise, she is protected by her shell. The injured porcupine then seems to seize control of the emblem by moralizing what he has learned about the value of non-retaliation, a lesson the speaker echoes with her own expressed aim of leaving retribution in God’s hands. The humility and apparent pacifism of such a vow stands in marked contrast to the final line’s confident invocation of divine vengeance upon the speaker’s unnamed “oppressors.”
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

This emblem contrasts the reactions of a patient female tortoise and an irascible male porcupine to mockery and violence. It becomes a meditation on the dangers of seeking revenge.
Transcription
Line number 1

 Physical note

“is”, in different hand, written over “er”
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

swaggering
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

The letters “is” have been written over top of “er,” indicating that the scribe (or Pulter) first gave the Porcupine a feminine gender.
Transcription
Line number 2

 Physical note

“ois” appears in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Elemental Edition
Line number 3

 Gloss note

kicking; treating contemptuously
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Physical note

Pulter has gendered the tortoise as female and associated her with qualities which are often linked with virtuous femininity, such as humility and patience. In The historie of serpents. Or, The second booke of liuing creatures (1608), Edward Topsell describes the tortoise (pp. 281-287). For the most part the animal is referred to throughout the description as “he,” but in three cases the tortoise is a “she.” In the first, Topsell tells the story of Jupiter inviting all of the animals to a banquet. The tortoise came late and when asked why, she said that she found her own house to be the most excellent. In anger, Jupiter affixed her house permanently onto her back (p. 283). A second story describes Pliny’s version of the advice of the Roman Flaminius to the Achaeans. He urged them not to try to conquer the island of Zacynthii, because just like the tortoise is safe when she is within her shell, and vulnerable when she puts out a limb, so the Achaeans would be similarly at risk (pp. 283-284). And finally, Topsell notes that “Alciatus hath a witty Emblem of a Torteyse to expresse a good huswife, and that the fame of her vertues, spreadeth much further then eyther beautie or riches.” The last half of the poem in question reads, “Such is the shape that Phidias did me frame, / And bade me goe resemble women kind, / To teach them silence, and in house remaine, / Such pictures vnderneath my feete you find” (p. 284). The association in the first and third of these stories is of women with domestic space. While Pulter did not necessarily read Topsell, the writer Anne Southwell did. On one of the later pages of her manuscript miscellany she quotes several passages from Topsell’s works (Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.a.198, fol. 68r-v). Under the heading “of the land Tortiss or Turtle” she tells the story of Jupiter and the tortoise, but changes the gender of the animal from female to male: “Iupiter asking him why he stayed so long, he reply[ed] his owne house gaue him most honnor, Iupiter being angrie a’iudged him that he should still carrie his house vpon his back.” See “Curations” for full transcriptions of these passages.
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Critical note

The porcupine was believed to be able to shoot his quills like arrows. Pliny’s The historie of the world, translated by Philemon Holland (1601, 1634, and 1635), to which Pulter makes reference elsewhere, compares the “Porkpen” to the urchin or hedge-hog: “but the Porkpen hath the longer sharp pointed quilles, and those, when he stretcheth his skin, he sendeth and shooteth from him” (book 8, chapter 35, p. 215). For a transcription of Pliny’s discussion of the porcupine, see “Curations.”
Transcription
Line number 4

 Physical note

“ois” appears in in darker ink, possibly written over other letters
Transcription
Line number 6

 Physical note

final “e” appears in darker ink, possibly different hand, written over earlier letter, possibly “r”
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

dissimilar
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

from his
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

case for arrows
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

indiscriminately
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Critical note

Unlike this porcupine’s indiscriminate launching of quills, ancient natural histories, such as those by Claudian, celebrated the porcupine for its judicious use of its power to shoot quills: “Besides his arms he displays cunning and a cold, calculated fury that never wastes its weapons but cautiously contents itself with threats, for he never expends a dart but in defence of his life” (Claudian, “De hystrice (the porcupine),” Claudian, translated by Maurice Platnauer, 2 vols, W. Heinemann, 1922, vol. 2, pp. 181-185 (p. 183); reference from Nicole Hochner, “Louis XII and the Porcupine: Transformations of a Royal Emblem,” Renaissance Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, 2001, pp. 17-36 (p. 19); with thanks to Katherine Eggert, one of this edition’s reviewers.
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“s” appears in darker ink
Transcription
Line number 12

 Physical note

“t,” “e,” and “r” in darker ink, possibly different hand from main scribe; “e” appears written between original “h” and “i” and “r” written over original “s” (formerly, “his” in hand of main scribe)
Elemental Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

Apparently a word made up by Pulter; in her day, a “frock” could mean a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workmen, or the wearer thereof, which appears to be the meaning in this case.
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Gloss note

This term may mean “peasants” since, as Alice Eardley suggests in her edition, (Poems, Emblems, and The Unfortunate Florinda, by Lady Hester Pulter, The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series vol. 32 [Iter and Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2014]), the word may be derived from the loose outer garments or frocks they wore (p. 202).
Amplified Edition
Line number 12

 Physical note

The letters “t” and “e” have been added to “h” and “i” and the letter “r” has been written on top of “s,” so that “their” replaces “his.”
Elemental Edition
Line number 13

 Gloss note

leap; hurry (away)
Amplified Edition
Line number 13

 Critical note

Pulter is associating the porcupine with pride (line 1) and, here, when he is “Furious,” with wrath. In Du Bartas his deuine weekes and workes translated: and dedicated to the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosuah Syluester, 1611, p. 273, Wrath is linked with the porcupine: “Then, boyling Wrath, stern, cruell, swift, and rash, / That like a Boar her teeth doth grinde and gnash: / Whose hair doth stare like bristled Porcupine” (with thanks to one of this edition’s anonymous reviewers for this reference.) For Du Bartas’s description of the porcupine in his account of the animals created on the sixth day, see “Curations.”
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Critical note

Topsell refers to the hardness of a tortoise’s shell: “And Palladius was not deceiued when he wrote thereof, that vppon the same might safelie passe ouer a Cart-wheele, the Cart being loaded. And therefore in this, the Torteyse is more happy then the Crocodile, or any other such Beast” (p. 282). Both the loaded cart and the happiness of the tortoise figure in Pulter’s emblem. Ben Jonson’s comedy Volpone or The Fox makes good use of a tortoise shell in the punishment of Sir Politic Would-Be in act 5, scene 4. Peregrine, the English traveler, has been assaulted in the street by Sir Politic’s wife and so decides to seek revenge by pretending that spies have come to arrest him. Sir Politic decides to take cover in a tortoise shell that he happens to have in his living room. When the spies (really merchants Peregrine has enlisted) begin to torment him, Peregrine says, “Nay, you may strike him, sir, and tread upon him. He’ll bear a cart.” First Merchant: “What, to run over him?” Peregrine: “Yes.” (5.4.66-67; The Norton Anthology of English Literature, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al., 9th ed., vol. B, Norton, 2012, p. 1526).
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Critical note

Margaret J.M. Ezell uses this image from this emblem in the title of her important article “The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources and Women’s Book History,” English Literary Renaissance vol. 38, no. 2, 2008, pp. 331-355. Ezell suggests that the female tortoise refrains from laughing when hearing the male porcupine’s moan due to a sense of politeness rather than in reaction to being chastised (p. 347).
Transcription
Line number 21

 Physical note

“n” written over an “i”
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

The entire poem is classed in the genre of “emblem,” or a symbolic (especially pictorial) representation with a moral, but the term is used in this line to indicate that the fable of the porcupine and tortoise has ended (before the poem ends).
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Critical note

Pulter’s entomology appears mistaken; while the honeybee’s barbed stinger catches in the skin, so that the bee eviscerates itself as it tries to fly away, wasps (and hornets, a type of wasp) can sting repeatedly without suffering themselves.
Amplified Edition
Line number 25

 Critical note

The catchword “Soe” appears at the bottom of the page, and there is a page break after line 24. Interestingly the page break occurs at a moment when the poem appears to end (“and soe the Embleme ended”), but actually the moralizing ending of the poem continues on the verso of the same leaf. Sometimes accidents of layout can reflect shifts of meaning in a poem. Elizabeth Scott-Baumann, in her book Forms of Engagement: Women, Poetry, and Culture 1640-1680, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 11 offers an expansive definition of form that includes “the material manifestations of form in mise en page.” Here is an example of a page break bearing formal meaning.
Transcription
Line number 26

 Physical note

“ſpri” in darker ink, possibly over earlier letters
Elemental Edition
Line number 31

 Gloss note

free from confinement or subjection
Amplified Edition
Line number 31

 Critical note

Pulter writes of her soul or spirit as enfranchised (or set free) five other times in her poetry: "The Welcome" (Poem 19), "To Aurora [3]" (Poem 34), "The Perfection of Patience and Knowledge" (Poem 39), "Pardon Me, My Dearest Love" (Poem 42), and "Why Must I Thus Forever Be Confined" (Poem 57).
Amplified Edition
Line number 33

 Critical note

Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (King James Version).
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