Upon the Crown Imperial

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Upon the Crown Imperial

Poem #53

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 Elisa Tersigni.

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
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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.
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
Upon the Crown Imperiall
Upon the
Gloss Note
here, a large ornamental flower with a ring of flowers hanging below an upright leafy tuft; elsewhere, the crown of an emperor or empress
Crown Imperial
Upon the Crown Imperiall
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
This edition is a semi-diplomatic transcription; it preserves the original spelling (including “ff” at the start of a word), capitalization, punctuation, and lineation. As the Elemental Edition offers a modernized and punctuated version of the poem, this Amplified Edition is meant as a complement, opening up alternative interpretations. Thus, the footnotes detail the challenges of reading Pulter’s idiosyncratic grammar and spelling, and offer options for readings, rather than solutions.
The editor thanks Melissa Auclair, Clarissa Chenovick, Justine DeCamillis, Julia Fine, Leah Knight, Ian Lancashire, Randall McLeod, Bénédicte Miyamoto, Nathan Murray, Timothy P.J. Perry, Haylie Swenson, K Vanderpark, Wendy Wall, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions, and Katrina Garofalo for encoding the Amplified Edition and Curations. The editor also acknowledges the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
As in The Garden [Poem 12], Pulter reads in the botanical world a host of otherwise human-seeming concerns with such things as courtship, constancy, and heroism. Here, a female flower offers non-violent resistance to a masculine sun who burns with lust; she does so through the mere yet steady moisture of her tears. The speaker, ironically, is just as desirous as is the sun of the flower’s emblematic equilibrium—and, through excess, just as lacking in what she loves. It thus seems fitting that the lines are frequently hypermetrical, flush with syllables which threaten to overflow the poem’s grounding in iambic pentameter.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Hester Pulter’s manuscript divides her work into poems (“Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas”) and emblems (“The Sighs of a Sad Soul Emblematically Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassah”). “Upon the Crown Imperiall” (Poem 53) (a reference to the Corona imperialis flower), could have been placed with the emblems, and yet it is not. Like emblems, this poem has a moral; but it is personal.
In “Upon the Crown Imperiall,” Pulter does not merely recycle contemporaries’ conventions; she refashions them for herself: although “corona” is grammatically feminine in Latin, seventeenth-century English herbals and garden manuals present the crown imperial flower as neuter or masculine;
Gloss Note
For examples, see the Curation “The Crown Imperial in the Early Modern English Imagination”.
1
Pulter makes it feminine. The flower’s name invites comparison to the imperial crown, a comparison upon which many contemporary writers rely, although Pulter does not. In Ben Jonson’s Loues triumph through Callipolis (1631) and James Shirley’s The triumph of peace (1634), the flower appears as “an emblem of royal power able to provide peace and protection.”
Gloss Note
Young, 89.
2
Conversely, it figured in anti-royalist critiques, as in George Herbert’s poem “Peace,” in which the speaker “sp[ies] a gallant flower”, and then digs into the dirt to find “a worm devoure what show’d so well.”
Gloss Note
Young, 90.
3
While Pulter’s poetry suggests she read Herbert’s work and was familiar with contemporary herbals and garden manuals, she draws an entirely different picture. Pulter’s flower is not just royal, but also feminine, heroic, and stoic.
The poem’s conceit rests on an intimate connection between the heart and the eyes. The whitish “faire Orient pearles” of “most cleere shining sweet water” (to quote John Gerard’s Herbal) contained within the flower’s characteristic hanging bells are the “Tears,” the “imergenties” of her sad heart. Rather than openly shed them, the flower holds her tears still in her eyes, hidden from plain view. Phœbus—the classical sun god and god of poetry—“courts” the flower and “essais” (assays, i.e. tests, or tries to seduce her) her with his “burning kisses”; not being heliotropic, the flower does not turn to him. Instead, by hanging her head, she turns away from his kisses and averts her gaze, blocking the route to her heart.
The connection between her heart and eyes reveals the flower’s uniquely feminine, stoic heroism, in which a delicate and precise balance is struck between feeling profound emotions and expressing them, avoiding excessive emotional display and indulgence. In early modern England, tears were gendered and important but troubling humoral phenomena, especially for women, for whom both crying and not crying could be suspect. By demonstrating quiet crying without shedding tears, the flower has negotiated a modest constancy. The heart is the source of her tears, which “rise” to her eyes; but the heart is also the (etymological) root of courage.
The speaker, unlike the flower, is not able to strike this balance and is prone to excess: as Knight and Wall note in the headnote to their Elemental Edition, the poem does not stick to rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. It includes an odd line
Gloss Note
The second line does not appear to belong to a couplet, though it is a near rhyme with the first and third lines.
4
and lines “flush with syllables,” with the exception of the final couplet: “But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe / Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.” Pulter’s manuscript almost entirely lacks punctuation; in their Elemental Edition, Knight and Wall add punctuation to these final two lines: “But she remains; O, that my soul did so, / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” But these lines might be punctuated differently: “But she remains—O, that my soul did so— / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” This alternate punctuation makes clearer the speaker’s plaintive desiring of the flower’s virtues for herself and confirms that the flower remains brimful but not overflowing, unlike the speaker who has presumably shed too many tears, a demonstration of emotional excess. Ironically, it is in these final two lines—the only lines that unambiguously adhere to the poem’s implied structure—that the speaker reveals her own lack of emotional restraint. And yet, it is the speaker’s emotional interjection that strikes the balance between restraint and indulgence, equalizing the line with the ‘right’ number of syllables.
As much of Pulter’s poetry is autobiographical and about her struggles with grief, we are tempted to read the speaker’s voice as Pulter’s own. In such a reading, one might recall that Phœbus is not just the god of the sun, but also the god of poetry, perhaps tempting Pulter to use poetry to stoke, rather than soothe, her grief. In this metaphor, her pen’s ink flows as readily as her tears.
Bibliography
Dunn, Rachel. “Breaking a Tradition: Hester Pulter and the English Emblem Book.” The Seventeenth Century, 30.1 (2015): 55-73.
Gerard, John. The herball or Generall historie of plantes. 1633. (STC 11751)
Knight, Leah and Wendy Wall. “Headnote” (Poem 53, Elemental Edition). In The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, 2018.
Playfere, Thomas. The meane in mourning. Widow Orwin: London, 1595. (STC 20015)
Primrose, Gilbert. The Christian mans teares and Christs comforts. London, 1625. (STC 20389)
Young, R.V. “A Note on the ‘Crown Imperiall’ in Herbert’s ‘Peace.’” George Herbert Journal, 21:1-2 (Fall 1997/Spring 1998), 89-92.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Why doth the Tears Stand in the Orient eyes
Why doth the tears stand in the
Gloss Note
from or facing sunrise, or the Eastern hemisphere (relative to Europe); often with connotations of beauty, radiance, or the colour of the dawn (bright red)
orient
eyes
Why
Critical Note
While “doth” is the contemporary third-person singular of “do,” Pulter uses it for both third-person singular and plural, as again in line 3.
doth
the Tears stand in the
Critical Note
Contemporary herbals name the flower also as the “Lilium Byzantinum” (Byzantian lily) and “Lilium Persicum” (Persian lily) and say the flower originates in Constantinople. The writings of early modern botanists suggest that the flower was an exciting new import in late-sixteenth-century England but that it had become a “denizen” of English gardens by the time Pulter was writing. The crown imperial flower was therefore popular enough to be recognized by name but was still recognized as being of Eastern origin.
Orient
eyes
2
Of the Imperiall Crown th’imergenties
Of the imperial crown?
Gloss Note
things unexpectedly arising or issuing from concealment or confinement
Th’emergencies
Of the
Gloss Note
The “imperial crown” represents empire by synecdoche. Pulter’s gesture to the crown, in inverting the flower’s name, underscores the royal stature of the flower, rather, it seems, than serving as a pointed reference to the empire itself.
Imperiall Crown
Critical Note
This is an idiosyncratic spelling of “emergencies,” meaning “things emerging from concealment.” The word derives from the Latin emergentia (which would explain variant spellings using “t” rather than “c”). This idiosyncratic spelling is consistent with another word with a modern “cy” ending found in the manuscript: splendency is spelled both “splendencie” (Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]) and “splendentie” (Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]).
th’imergenties
3
Of her Sad Heart Just to that Height doth Riſe
Of her sad heart just to that height doth rise.
Of
Critical Note
Pulter repeatedly uses the phrase “sad heart” to describe the speaker of her poems. While the speaker’s identity is not always clear, poems such as Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10] suggest that Pulter uses the phrase to describe her own heart. Thus, Pulter may see the crown imperial flower as an ideal model for herself.
her Sad Heart
Critical Note
As tears were gendered and loaded with contradictory meanings (penitent, performative, indulgent), they were treated suspiciously. By identifying the flower’s heart as the source, the speaker clarifies that these are real and warranted tears. In Christian mans teares (1625), Gilbert Primrose notes that “…of our Teares, some causes are indifferent, some ill, some good” (p.85) and Thomas Playfere, in The Meane in Mourning (1595), clarifies that “trew teares” are “not droppes of water, running from the eyes which may be soone forced with onions or such like, but drops of blood issuing from the heart” (H1v or p.98).
Iust to that Height doth Rise
4
Though Cataracts fall or numerous drops diſtill
Though
Gloss Note
waterfalls, or other violent downpours, sometimes with connotations of a divine source
cataracts
fall, or numerous drops
Gloss Note
trickle, drip, or condense from a vapor into droplets
distill
,
Though
Gloss Note
In the early modern period, as today, a cataract referred both to a waterfall and an eye condition, in which the lens of the eye is clouded.
Cataracts
fall or numerous drops
Gloss Note
An alchemical term referring to the process of distillation, in which a substance is vaporized and then condensed. For more on Pulter’s interest in alchemy, see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Curation for The Circle [2] [Poem 21] on Alchemy and Devotion.
distill
5
Yet Shee is like the conſtant Caſpian Still
Yet she is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a completely enclosed saltwater body; lacking an outlet, it may have been emblematic of constancy owing to its apparently unchanging water level.
the constant Caspian
still.
Yet shee is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a large salt-water lake between eastern Europe and Asia. It figures frequently in early modern literature as a demonstration of constancy, since its water level appears static. It appears also in Pulter’s Let None Sigh More for Lucas or for Lisle [Poem 15].
the constant Caspian
still
6
Though Phœbus courts her with his amorous Raiſe
Though
Gloss Note
classical sun god
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous rays,
Though
Gloss Note
Phœbus is Apollo, the sun god and god of poetry.
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous Raise
7
And with his burning kiſſes oft Eſsais
And with his burning kisses oft
Gloss Note
attempts
essays
,
And with his
Gloss Note
When figurative and connected to the intransitive forms of the verb: passionate (OED); when connected to the transitive forms of the verb: affecting with heat (OED).
burning
kisses oft
Gloss Note
I.e., ‘assays,’ “tempts.” It is also an alchemical term meaning “tests the purity and material composition of a compound” (OED).
essais
8
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
Yet finds he it far, far above his power
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
9
To exhail one Tear ffrom this Heroick fflower
Gloss Note
to disengage from the surface, by e.g. sending up in vapor; to draw out, or up, or cause to flow
To exhale
one tear from this heroic flower,
Gloss Note
To cause (tears) to flow (OED).
To exhail
Gloss Note
The flower is a model of constancy because its “tears” are firmly attached to its bell. John Gerard says of the flower’s “pearles”: “notwithstanding if they may be suffered to stand still in the floure according to his owne nature, they wil neuer fall away, no not if you strike the plant vntill it be broken.” (R3v or p. 202)
one Tear
ffrom this
Gloss Note
Brave, courageous, noble (OED).
Heroick
fflower
10
But Shee Remains oh that my Soul did Soe
But she remains; O, that my soul did so,
But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe
11
Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.
Ever brimful, yet never
Gloss Note
i.e., overflowing
overflow
.
Ever Brimfull yet never
Critical Note

The concluding “overflow” presents some issues for interpretation. If, as this Amplified Edition offers, “fflower” is the subject of “overflow,” the line should end in “overflows” to be grammatically correct; however, Pulter may have chosen “overflow” for its rhyming with “soe.” If, as in Knight and Wall’s Elemental Edition, “soul” is the subject, then we can take “overflow” as a subjunctive form in a wish (though this would also be grammatically awkward, following “did” in the previous line). “Overflow” might even be read as an adjective that balances “Brimfull”; however, this would have been an exceptional use of the word as there is no instance of “overflow” used as an adjective recorded in the OED, and the OED records the first use of “overflowed” as an adjective in 1671.

It is also worth noting that, in the Elemental Edition’s reading, the use of the verb “remain” to mean “to continue in the same state” predates the current OED entry, which records its first instance in 1701 and records its use only in recipes, making Pulter’s use of this sense exceptional. However, this Amplified Edition’s reading of the verb “remain” as having the complementing adjectival phrase “ever brimfull” is common and therefore more likely.

overflow
.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

here, a large ornamental flower with a ring of flowers hanging below an upright leafy tuft; elsewhere, the crown of an emperor or empress

 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

As in The Garden [Poem 12], Pulter reads in the botanical world a host of otherwise human-seeming concerns with such things as courtship, constancy, and heroism. Here, a female flower offers non-violent resistance to a masculine sun who burns with lust; she does so through the mere yet steady moisture of her tears. The speaker, ironically, is just as desirous as is the sun of the flower’s emblematic equilibrium—and, through excess, just as lacking in what she loves. It thus seems fitting that the lines are frequently hypermetrical, flush with syllables which threaten to overflow the poem’s grounding in iambic pentameter.
Line number 1

 Gloss note

from or facing sunrise, or the Eastern hemisphere (relative to Europe); often with connotations of beauty, radiance, or the colour of the dawn (bright red)
Line number 2

 Gloss note

things unexpectedly arising or issuing from concealment or confinement
Line number 4

 Gloss note

waterfalls, or other violent downpours, sometimes with connotations of a divine source
Line number 4

 Gloss note

trickle, drip, or condense from a vapor into droplets
Line number 5

 Gloss note

The Caspian Sea is a completely enclosed saltwater body; lacking an outlet, it may have been emblematic of constancy owing to its apparently unchanging water level.
Line number 6

 Gloss note

classical sun god
Line number 7

 Gloss note

attempts
Line number 9

 Gloss note

to disengage from the surface, by e.g. sending up in vapor; to draw out, or up, or cause to flow
Line number 11

 Gloss note

i.e., overflowing
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
Upon the Crown Imperiall
Upon the
Gloss Note
here, a large ornamental flower with a ring of flowers hanging below an upright leafy tuft; elsewhere, the crown of an emperor or empress
Crown Imperial
Upon the Crown Imperiall
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
This edition is a semi-diplomatic transcription; it preserves the original spelling (including “ff” at the start of a word), capitalization, punctuation, and lineation. As the Elemental Edition offers a modernized and punctuated version of the poem, this Amplified Edition is meant as a complement, opening up alternative interpretations. Thus, the footnotes detail the challenges of reading Pulter’s idiosyncratic grammar and spelling, and offer options for readings, rather than solutions.
The editor thanks Melissa Auclair, Clarissa Chenovick, Justine DeCamillis, Julia Fine, Leah Knight, Ian Lancashire, Randall McLeod, Bénédicte Miyamoto, Nathan Murray, Timothy P.J. Perry, Haylie Swenson, K Vanderpark, Wendy Wall, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions, and Katrina Garofalo for encoding the Amplified Edition and Curations. The editor also acknowledges the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
As in The Garden [Poem 12], Pulter reads in the botanical world a host of otherwise human-seeming concerns with such things as courtship, constancy, and heroism. Here, a female flower offers non-violent resistance to a masculine sun who burns with lust; she does so through the mere yet steady moisture of her tears. The speaker, ironically, is just as desirous as is the sun of the flower’s emblematic equilibrium—and, through excess, just as lacking in what she loves. It thus seems fitting that the lines are frequently hypermetrical, flush with syllables which threaten to overflow the poem’s grounding in iambic pentameter.

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Hester Pulter’s manuscript divides her work into poems (“Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas”) and emblems (“The Sighs of a Sad Soul Emblematically Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassah”). “Upon the Crown Imperiall” (Poem 53) (a reference to the Corona imperialis flower), could have been placed with the emblems, and yet it is not. Like emblems, this poem has a moral; but it is personal.
In “Upon the Crown Imperiall,” Pulter does not merely recycle contemporaries’ conventions; she refashions them for herself: although “corona” is grammatically feminine in Latin, seventeenth-century English herbals and garden manuals present the crown imperial flower as neuter or masculine;
Gloss Note
For examples, see the Curation “The Crown Imperial in the Early Modern English Imagination”.
1
Pulter makes it feminine. The flower’s name invites comparison to the imperial crown, a comparison upon which many contemporary writers rely, although Pulter does not. In Ben Jonson’s Loues triumph through Callipolis (1631) and James Shirley’s The triumph of peace (1634), the flower appears as “an emblem of royal power able to provide peace and protection.”
Gloss Note
Young, 89.
2
Conversely, it figured in anti-royalist critiques, as in George Herbert’s poem “Peace,” in which the speaker “sp[ies] a gallant flower”, and then digs into the dirt to find “a worm devoure what show’d so well.”
Gloss Note
Young, 90.
3
While Pulter’s poetry suggests she read Herbert’s work and was familiar with contemporary herbals and garden manuals, she draws an entirely different picture. Pulter’s flower is not just royal, but also feminine, heroic, and stoic.
The poem’s conceit rests on an intimate connection between the heart and the eyes. The whitish “faire Orient pearles” of “most cleere shining sweet water” (to quote John Gerard’s Herbal) contained within the flower’s characteristic hanging bells are the “Tears,” the “imergenties” of her sad heart. Rather than openly shed them, the flower holds her tears still in her eyes, hidden from plain view. Phœbus—the classical sun god and god of poetry—“courts” the flower and “essais” (assays, i.e. tests, or tries to seduce her) her with his “burning kisses”; not being heliotropic, the flower does not turn to him. Instead, by hanging her head, she turns away from his kisses and averts her gaze, blocking the route to her heart.
The connection between her heart and eyes reveals the flower’s uniquely feminine, stoic heroism, in which a delicate and precise balance is struck between feeling profound emotions and expressing them, avoiding excessive emotional display and indulgence. In early modern England, tears were gendered and important but troubling humoral phenomena, especially for women, for whom both crying and not crying could be suspect. By demonstrating quiet crying without shedding tears, the flower has negotiated a modest constancy. The heart is the source of her tears, which “rise” to her eyes; but the heart is also the (etymological) root of courage.
The speaker, unlike the flower, is not able to strike this balance and is prone to excess: as Knight and Wall note in the headnote to their Elemental Edition, the poem does not stick to rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. It includes an odd line
Gloss Note
The second line does not appear to belong to a couplet, though it is a near rhyme with the first and third lines.
4
and lines “flush with syllables,” with the exception of the final couplet: “But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe / Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.” Pulter’s manuscript almost entirely lacks punctuation; in their Elemental Edition, Knight and Wall add punctuation to these final two lines: “But she remains; O, that my soul did so, / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” But these lines might be punctuated differently: “But she remains—O, that my soul did so— / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” This alternate punctuation makes clearer the speaker’s plaintive desiring of the flower’s virtues for herself and confirms that the flower remains brimful but not overflowing, unlike the speaker who has presumably shed too many tears, a demonstration of emotional excess. Ironically, it is in these final two lines—the only lines that unambiguously adhere to the poem’s implied structure—that the speaker reveals her own lack of emotional restraint. And yet, it is the speaker’s emotional interjection that strikes the balance between restraint and indulgence, equalizing the line with the ‘right’ number of syllables.
As much of Pulter’s poetry is autobiographical and about her struggles with grief, we are tempted to read the speaker’s voice as Pulter’s own. In such a reading, one might recall that Phœbus is not just the god of the sun, but also the god of poetry, perhaps tempting Pulter to use poetry to stoke, rather than soothe, her grief. In this metaphor, her pen’s ink flows as readily as her tears.
Bibliography
Dunn, Rachel. “Breaking a Tradition: Hester Pulter and the English Emblem Book.” The Seventeenth Century, 30.1 (2015): 55-73.
Gerard, John. The herball or Generall historie of plantes. 1633. (STC 11751)
Knight, Leah and Wendy Wall. “Headnote” (Poem 53, Elemental Edition). In The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, 2018.
Playfere, Thomas. The meane in mourning. Widow Orwin: London, 1595. (STC 20015)
Primrose, Gilbert. The Christian mans teares and Christs comforts. London, 1625. (STC 20389)
Young, R.V. “A Note on the ‘Crown Imperiall’ in Herbert’s ‘Peace.’” George Herbert Journal, 21:1-2 (Fall 1997/Spring 1998), 89-92.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
Why doth the Tears Stand in the Orient eyes
Why doth the tears stand in the
Gloss Note
from or facing sunrise, or the Eastern hemisphere (relative to Europe); often with connotations of beauty, radiance, or the colour of the dawn (bright red)
orient
eyes
Why
Critical Note
While “doth” is the contemporary third-person singular of “do,” Pulter uses it for both third-person singular and plural, as again in line 3.
doth
the Tears stand in the
Critical Note
Contemporary herbals name the flower also as the “Lilium Byzantinum” (Byzantian lily) and “Lilium Persicum” (Persian lily) and say the flower originates in Constantinople. The writings of early modern botanists suggest that the flower was an exciting new import in late-sixteenth-century England but that it had become a “denizen” of English gardens by the time Pulter was writing. The crown imperial flower was therefore popular enough to be recognized by name but was still recognized as being of Eastern origin.
Orient
eyes
2
Of the Imperiall Crown th’imergenties
Of the imperial crown?
Gloss Note
things unexpectedly arising or issuing from concealment or confinement
Th’emergencies
Of the
Gloss Note
The “imperial crown” represents empire by synecdoche. Pulter’s gesture to the crown, in inverting the flower’s name, underscores the royal stature of the flower, rather, it seems, than serving as a pointed reference to the empire itself.
Imperiall Crown
Critical Note
This is an idiosyncratic spelling of “emergencies,” meaning “things emerging from concealment.” The word derives from the Latin emergentia (which would explain variant spellings using “t” rather than “c”). This idiosyncratic spelling is consistent with another word with a modern “cy” ending found in the manuscript: splendency is spelled both “splendencie” (Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]) and “splendentie” (Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]).
th’imergenties
3
Of her Sad Heart Just to that Height doth Riſe
Of her sad heart just to that height doth rise.
Of
Critical Note
Pulter repeatedly uses the phrase “sad heart” to describe the speaker of her poems. While the speaker’s identity is not always clear, poems such as Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10] suggest that Pulter uses the phrase to describe her own heart. Thus, Pulter may see the crown imperial flower as an ideal model for herself.
her Sad Heart
Critical Note
As tears were gendered and loaded with contradictory meanings (penitent, performative, indulgent), they were treated suspiciously. By identifying the flower’s heart as the source, the speaker clarifies that these are real and warranted tears. In Christian mans teares (1625), Gilbert Primrose notes that “…of our Teares, some causes are indifferent, some ill, some good” (p.85) and Thomas Playfere, in The Meane in Mourning (1595), clarifies that “trew teares” are “not droppes of water, running from the eyes which may be soone forced with onions or such like, but drops of blood issuing from the heart” (H1v or p.98).
Iust to that Height doth Rise
4
Though Cataracts fall or numerous drops diſtill
Though
Gloss Note
waterfalls, or other violent downpours, sometimes with connotations of a divine source
cataracts
fall, or numerous drops
Gloss Note
trickle, drip, or condense from a vapor into droplets
distill
,
Though
Gloss Note
In the early modern period, as today, a cataract referred both to a waterfall and an eye condition, in which the lens of the eye is clouded.
Cataracts
fall or numerous drops
Gloss Note
An alchemical term referring to the process of distillation, in which a substance is vaporized and then condensed. For more on Pulter’s interest in alchemy, see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Curation for The Circle [2] [Poem 21] on Alchemy and Devotion.
distill
5
Yet Shee is like the conſtant Caſpian Still
Yet she is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a completely enclosed saltwater body; lacking an outlet, it may have been emblematic of constancy owing to its apparently unchanging water level.
the constant Caspian
still.
Yet shee is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a large salt-water lake between eastern Europe and Asia. It figures frequently in early modern literature as a demonstration of constancy, since its water level appears static. It appears also in Pulter’s Let None Sigh More for Lucas or for Lisle [Poem 15].
the constant Caspian
still
6
Though Phœbus courts her with his amorous Raiſe
Though
Gloss Note
classical sun god
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous rays,
Though
Gloss Note
Phœbus is Apollo, the sun god and god of poetry.
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous Raise
7
And with his burning kiſſes oft Eſsais
And with his burning kisses oft
Gloss Note
attempts
essays
,
And with his
Gloss Note
When figurative and connected to the intransitive forms of the verb: passionate (OED); when connected to the transitive forms of the verb: affecting with heat (OED).
burning
kisses oft
Gloss Note
I.e., ‘assays,’ “tempts.” It is also an alchemical term meaning “tests the purity and material composition of a compound” (OED).
essais
8
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
Yet finds he it far, far above his power
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
9
To exhail one Tear ffrom this Heroick fflower
Gloss Note
to disengage from the surface, by e.g. sending up in vapor; to draw out, or up, or cause to flow
To exhale
one tear from this heroic flower,
Gloss Note
To cause (tears) to flow (OED).
To exhail
Gloss Note
The flower is a model of constancy because its “tears” are firmly attached to its bell. John Gerard says of the flower’s “pearles”: “notwithstanding if they may be suffered to stand still in the floure according to his owne nature, they wil neuer fall away, no not if you strike the plant vntill it be broken.” (R3v or p. 202)
one Tear
ffrom this
Gloss Note
Brave, courageous, noble (OED).
Heroick
fflower
10
But Shee Remains oh that my Soul did Soe
But she remains; O, that my soul did so,
But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe
11
Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.
Ever brimful, yet never
Gloss Note
i.e., overflowing
overflow
.
Ever Brimfull yet never
Critical Note

The concluding “overflow” presents some issues for interpretation. If, as this Amplified Edition offers, “fflower” is the subject of “overflow,” the line should end in “overflows” to be grammatically correct; however, Pulter may have chosen “overflow” for its rhyming with “soe.” If, as in Knight and Wall’s Elemental Edition, “soul” is the subject, then we can take “overflow” as a subjunctive form in a wish (though this would also be grammatically awkward, following “did” in the previous line). “Overflow” might even be read as an adjective that balances “Brimfull”; however, this would have been an exceptional use of the word as there is no instance of “overflow” used as an adjective recorded in the OED, and the OED records the first use of “overflowed” as an adjective in 1671.

It is also worth noting that, in the Elemental Edition’s reading, the use of the verb “remain” to mean “to continue in the same state” predates the current OED entry, which records its first instance in 1701 and records its use only in recipes, making Pulter’s use of this sense exceptional. However, this Amplified Edition’s reading of the verb “remain” as having the complementing adjectival phrase “ever brimfull” is common and therefore more likely.

overflow
.
curled line
X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

This edition is a semi-diplomatic transcription; it preserves the original spelling (including “ff” at the start of a word), capitalization, punctuation, and lineation. As the Elemental Edition offers a modernized and punctuated version of the poem, this Amplified Edition is meant as a complement, opening up alternative interpretations. Thus, the footnotes detail the challenges of reading Pulter’s idiosyncratic grammar and spelling, and offer options for readings, rather than solutions.
The editor thanks Melissa Auclair, Clarissa Chenovick, Justine DeCamillis, Julia Fine, Leah Knight, Ian Lancashire, Randall McLeod, Bénédicte Miyamoto, Nathan Murray, Timothy P.J. Perry, Haylie Swenson, K Vanderpark, Wendy Wall, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions, and Katrina Garofalo for encoding the Amplified Edition and Curations. The editor also acknowledges the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

 Headnote

Hester Pulter’s manuscript divides her work into poems (“Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas”) and emblems (“The Sighs of a Sad Soul Emblematically Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassah”). “Upon the Crown Imperiall” (Poem 53) (a reference to the Corona imperialis flower), could have been placed with the emblems, and yet it is not. Like emblems, this poem has a moral; but it is personal.
In “Upon the Crown Imperiall,” Pulter does not merely recycle contemporaries’ conventions; she refashions them for herself: although “corona” is grammatically feminine in Latin, seventeenth-century English herbals and garden manuals present the crown imperial flower as neuter or masculine;
Gloss Note
For examples, see the Curation “The Crown Imperial in the Early Modern English Imagination”.
1
Pulter makes it feminine. The flower’s name invites comparison to the imperial crown, a comparison upon which many contemporary writers rely, although Pulter does not. In Ben Jonson’s Loues triumph through Callipolis (1631) and James Shirley’s The triumph of peace (1634), the flower appears as “an emblem of royal power able to provide peace and protection.”
Gloss Note
Young, 89.
2
Conversely, it figured in anti-royalist critiques, as in George Herbert’s poem “Peace,” in which the speaker “sp[ies] a gallant flower”, and then digs into the dirt to find “a worm devoure what show’d so well.”
Gloss Note
Young, 90.
3
While Pulter’s poetry suggests she read Herbert’s work and was familiar with contemporary herbals and garden manuals, she draws an entirely different picture. Pulter’s flower is not just royal, but also feminine, heroic, and stoic.
The poem’s conceit rests on an intimate connection between the heart and the eyes. The whitish “faire Orient pearles” of “most cleere shining sweet water” (to quote John Gerard’s Herbal) contained within the flower’s characteristic hanging bells are the “Tears,” the “imergenties” of her sad heart. Rather than openly shed them, the flower holds her tears still in her eyes, hidden from plain view. Phœbus—the classical sun god and god of poetry—“courts” the flower and “essais” (assays, i.e. tests, or tries to seduce her) her with his “burning kisses”; not being heliotropic, the flower does not turn to him. Instead, by hanging her head, she turns away from his kisses and averts her gaze, blocking the route to her heart.
The connection between her heart and eyes reveals the flower’s uniquely feminine, stoic heroism, in which a delicate and precise balance is struck between feeling profound emotions and expressing them, avoiding excessive emotional display and indulgence. In early modern England, tears were gendered and important but troubling humoral phenomena, especially for women, for whom both crying and not crying could be suspect. By demonstrating quiet crying without shedding tears, the flower has negotiated a modest constancy. The heart is the source of her tears, which “rise” to her eyes; but the heart is also the (etymological) root of courage.
The speaker, unlike the flower, is not able to strike this balance and is prone to excess: as Knight and Wall note in the headnote to their Elemental Edition, the poem does not stick to rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. It includes an odd line
Gloss Note
The second line does not appear to belong to a couplet, though it is a near rhyme with the first and third lines.
4
and lines “flush with syllables,” with the exception of the final couplet: “But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe / Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.” Pulter’s manuscript almost entirely lacks punctuation; in their Elemental Edition, Knight and Wall add punctuation to these final two lines: “But she remains; O, that my soul did so, / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” But these lines might be punctuated differently: “But she remains—O, that my soul did so— / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” This alternate punctuation makes clearer the speaker’s plaintive desiring of the flower’s virtues for herself and confirms that the flower remains brimful but not overflowing, unlike the speaker who has presumably shed too many tears, a demonstration of emotional excess. Ironically, it is in these final two lines—the only lines that unambiguously adhere to the poem’s implied structure—that the speaker reveals her own lack of emotional restraint. And yet, it is the speaker’s emotional interjection that strikes the balance between restraint and indulgence, equalizing the line with the ‘right’ number of syllables.
As much of Pulter’s poetry is autobiographical and about her struggles with grief, we are tempted to read the speaker’s voice as Pulter’s own. In such a reading, one might recall that Phœbus is not just the god of the sun, but also the god of poetry, perhaps tempting Pulter to use poetry to stoke, rather than soothe, her grief. In this metaphor, her pen’s ink flows as readily as her tears.
Bibliography
Dunn, Rachel. “Breaking a Tradition: Hester Pulter and the English Emblem Book.” The Seventeenth Century, 30.1 (2015): 55-73.
Gerard, John. The herball or Generall historie of plantes. 1633. (STC 11751)
Knight, Leah and Wendy Wall. “Headnote” (Poem 53, Elemental Edition). In The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, 2018.
Playfere, Thomas. The meane in mourning. Widow Orwin: London, 1595. (STC 20015)
Primrose, Gilbert. The Christian mans teares and Christs comforts. London, 1625. (STC 20389)
Young, R.V. “A Note on the ‘Crown Imperiall’ in Herbert’s ‘Peace.’” George Herbert Journal, 21:1-2 (Fall 1997/Spring 1998), 89-92.
Line number 1

 Critical note

While “doth” is the contemporary third-person singular of “do,” Pulter uses it for both third-person singular and plural, as again in line 3.
Line number 1

 Critical note

Contemporary herbals name the flower also as the “Lilium Byzantinum” (Byzantian lily) and “Lilium Persicum” (Persian lily) and say the flower originates in Constantinople. The writings of early modern botanists suggest that the flower was an exciting new import in late-sixteenth-century England but that it had become a “denizen” of English gardens by the time Pulter was writing. The crown imperial flower was therefore popular enough to be recognized by name but was still recognized as being of Eastern origin.
Line number 2

 Gloss note

The “imperial crown” represents empire by synecdoche. Pulter’s gesture to the crown, in inverting the flower’s name, underscores the royal stature of the flower, rather, it seems, than serving as a pointed reference to the empire itself.
Line number 2

 Critical note

This is an idiosyncratic spelling of “emergencies,” meaning “things emerging from concealment.” The word derives from the Latin emergentia (which would explain variant spellings using “t” rather than “c”). This idiosyncratic spelling is consistent with another word with a modern “cy” ending found in the manuscript: splendency is spelled both “splendencie” (Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]) and “splendentie” (Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]).
Line number 3

 Critical note

Pulter repeatedly uses the phrase “sad heart” to describe the speaker of her poems. While the speaker’s identity is not always clear, poems such as Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10] suggest that Pulter uses the phrase to describe her own heart. Thus, Pulter may see the crown imperial flower as an ideal model for herself.
Line number 3

 Critical note

As tears were gendered and loaded with contradictory meanings (penitent, performative, indulgent), they were treated suspiciously. By identifying the flower’s heart as the source, the speaker clarifies that these are real and warranted tears. In Christian mans teares (1625), Gilbert Primrose notes that “…of our Teares, some causes are indifferent, some ill, some good” (p.85) and Thomas Playfere, in The Meane in Mourning (1595), clarifies that “trew teares” are “not droppes of water, running from the eyes which may be soone forced with onions or such like, but drops of blood issuing from the heart” (H1v or p.98).
Line number 4

 Gloss note

In the early modern period, as today, a cataract referred both to a waterfall and an eye condition, in which the lens of the eye is clouded.
Line number 4

 Gloss note

An alchemical term referring to the process of distillation, in which a substance is vaporized and then condensed. For more on Pulter’s interest in alchemy, see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Curation for The Circle [2] [Poem 21] on Alchemy and Devotion.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

The Caspian Sea is a large salt-water lake between eastern Europe and Asia. It figures frequently in early modern literature as a demonstration of constancy, since its water level appears static. It appears also in Pulter’s Let None Sigh More for Lucas or for Lisle [Poem 15].
Line number 6

 Gloss note

Phœbus is Apollo, the sun god and god of poetry.
Line number 7

 Gloss note

When figurative and connected to the intransitive forms of the verb: passionate (OED); when connected to the transitive forms of the verb: affecting with heat (OED).
Line number 7

 Gloss note

I.e., ‘assays,’ “tempts.” It is also an alchemical term meaning “tests the purity and material composition of a compound” (OED).
Line number 9

 Gloss note

To cause (tears) to flow (OED).
Line number 9

 Gloss note

The flower is a model of constancy because its “tears” are firmly attached to its bell. John Gerard says of the flower’s “pearles”: “notwithstanding if they may be suffered to stand still in the floure according to his owne nature, they wil neuer fall away, no not if you strike the plant vntill it be broken.” (R3v or p. 202)
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Brave, courageous, noble (OED).
Line number 11

 Critical note


The concluding “overflow” presents some issues for interpretation. If, as this Amplified Edition offers, “fflower” is the subject of “overflow,” the line should end in “overflows” to be grammatically correct; however, Pulter may have chosen “overflow” for its rhyming with “soe.” If, as in Knight and Wall’s Elemental Edition, “soul” is the subject, then we can take “overflow” as a subjunctive form in a wish (though this would also be grammatically awkward, following “did” in the previous line). “Overflow” might even be read as an adjective that balances “Brimfull”; however, this would have been an exceptional use of the word as there is no instance of “overflow” used as an adjective recorded in the OED, and the OED records the first use of “overflowed” as an adjective in 1671.

It is also worth noting that, in the Elemental Edition’s reading, the use of the verb “remain” to mean “to continue in the same state” predates the current OED entry, which records its first instance in 1701 and records its use only in recipes, making Pulter’s use of this sense exceptional. However, this Amplified Edition’s reading of the verb “remain” as having the complementing adjectival phrase “ever brimfull” is common and therefore more likely.

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X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder

Facsimile Image Placeholder
Upon the Crown Imperiall
Upon the
Gloss Note
here, a large ornamental flower with a ring of flowers hanging below an upright leafy tuft; elsewhere, the crown of an emperor or empress
Crown Imperial
Upon the Crown Imperiall
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.

— Elisa Tersigni
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.

— Elisa Tersigni
This edition is a semi-diplomatic transcription; it preserves the original spelling (including “ff” at the start of a word), capitalization, punctuation, and lineation. As the Elemental Edition offers a modernized and punctuated version of the poem, this Amplified Edition is meant as a complement, opening up alternative interpretations. Thus, the footnotes detail the challenges of reading Pulter’s idiosyncratic grammar and spelling, and offer options for readings, rather than solutions.
The editor thanks Melissa Auclair, Clarissa Chenovick, Justine DeCamillis, Julia Fine, Leah Knight, Ian Lancashire, Randall McLeod, Bénédicte Miyamoto, Nathan Murray, Timothy P.J. Perry, Haylie Swenson, K Vanderpark, Wendy Wall, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions, and Katrina Garofalo for encoding the Amplified Edition and Curations. The editor also acknowledges the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


— Elisa Tersigni
As in The Garden [Poem 12], Pulter reads in the botanical world a host of otherwise human-seeming concerns with such things as courtship, constancy, and heroism. Here, a female flower offers non-violent resistance to a masculine sun who burns with lust; she does so through the mere yet steady moisture of her tears. The speaker, ironically, is just as desirous as is the sun of the flower’s emblematic equilibrium—and, through excess, just as lacking in what she loves. It thus seems fitting that the lines are frequently hypermetrical, flush with syllables which threaten to overflow the poem’s grounding in iambic pentameter.

— Elisa Tersigni
Hester Pulter’s manuscript divides her work into poems (“Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas”) and emblems (“The Sighs of a Sad Soul Emblematically Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassah”). “Upon the Crown Imperiall” (Poem 53) (a reference to the Corona imperialis flower), could have been placed with the emblems, and yet it is not. Like emblems, this poem has a moral; but it is personal.
In “Upon the Crown Imperiall,” Pulter does not merely recycle contemporaries’ conventions; she refashions them for herself: although “corona” is grammatically feminine in Latin, seventeenth-century English herbals and garden manuals present the crown imperial flower as neuter or masculine;
Gloss Note
For examples, see the Curation “The Crown Imperial in the Early Modern English Imagination”.
1
Pulter makes it feminine. The flower’s name invites comparison to the imperial crown, a comparison upon which many contemporary writers rely, although Pulter does not. In Ben Jonson’s Loues triumph through Callipolis (1631) and James Shirley’s The triumph of peace (1634), the flower appears as “an emblem of royal power able to provide peace and protection.”
Gloss Note
Young, 89.
2
Conversely, it figured in anti-royalist critiques, as in George Herbert’s poem “Peace,” in which the speaker “sp[ies] a gallant flower”, and then digs into the dirt to find “a worm devoure what show’d so well.”
Gloss Note
Young, 90.
3
While Pulter’s poetry suggests she read Herbert’s work and was familiar with contemporary herbals and garden manuals, she draws an entirely different picture. Pulter’s flower is not just royal, but also feminine, heroic, and stoic.
The poem’s conceit rests on an intimate connection between the heart and the eyes. The whitish “faire Orient pearles” of “most cleere shining sweet water” (to quote John Gerard’s Herbal) contained within the flower’s characteristic hanging bells are the “Tears,” the “imergenties” of her sad heart. Rather than openly shed them, the flower holds her tears still in her eyes, hidden from plain view. Phœbus—the classical sun god and god of poetry—“courts” the flower and “essais” (assays, i.e. tests, or tries to seduce her) her with his “burning kisses”; not being heliotropic, the flower does not turn to him. Instead, by hanging her head, she turns away from his kisses and averts her gaze, blocking the route to her heart.
The connection between her heart and eyes reveals the flower’s uniquely feminine, stoic heroism, in which a delicate and precise balance is struck between feeling profound emotions and expressing them, avoiding excessive emotional display and indulgence. In early modern England, tears were gendered and important but troubling humoral phenomena, especially for women, for whom both crying and not crying could be suspect. By demonstrating quiet crying without shedding tears, the flower has negotiated a modest constancy. The heart is the source of her tears, which “rise” to her eyes; but the heart is also the (etymological) root of courage.
The speaker, unlike the flower, is not able to strike this balance and is prone to excess: as Knight and Wall note in the headnote to their Elemental Edition, the poem does not stick to rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. It includes an odd line
Gloss Note
The second line does not appear to belong to a couplet, though it is a near rhyme with the first and third lines.
4
and lines “flush with syllables,” with the exception of the final couplet: “But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe / Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.” Pulter’s manuscript almost entirely lacks punctuation; in their Elemental Edition, Knight and Wall add punctuation to these final two lines: “But she remains; O, that my soul did so, / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” But these lines might be punctuated differently: “But she remains—O, that my soul did so— / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” This alternate punctuation makes clearer the speaker’s plaintive desiring of the flower’s virtues for herself and confirms that the flower remains brimful but not overflowing, unlike the speaker who has presumably shed too many tears, a demonstration of emotional excess. Ironically, it is in these final two lines—the only lines that unambiguously adhere to the poem’s implied structure—that the speaker reveals her own lack of emotional restraint. And yet, it is the speaker’s emotional interjection that strikes the balance between restraint and indulgence, equalizing the line with the ‘right’ number of syllables.
As much of Pulter’s poetry is autobiographical and about her struggles with grief, we are tempted to read the speaker’s voice as Pulter’s own. In such a reading, one might recall that Phœbus is not just the god of the sun, but also the god of poetry, perhaps tempting Pulter to use poetry to stoke, rather than soothe, her grief. In this metaphor, her pen’s ink flows as readily as her tears.
Bibliography
Dunn, Rachel. “Breaking a Tradition: Hester Pulter and the English Emblem Book.” The Seventeenth Century, 30.1 (2015): 55-73.
Gerard, John. The herball or Generall historie of plantes. 1633. (STC 11751)
Knight, Leah and Wendy Wall. “Headnote” (Poem 53, Elemental Edition). In The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, 2018.
Playfere, Thomas. The meane in mourning. Widow Orwin: London, 1595. (STC 20015)
Primrose, Gilbert. The Christian mans teares and Christs comforts. London, 1625. (STC 20389)
Young, R.V. “A Note on the ‘Crown Imperiall’ in Herbert’s ‘Peace.’” George Herbert Journal, 21:1-2 (Fall 1997/Spring 1998), 89-92.


— Elisa Tersigni
1
Why doth the Tears Stand in the Orient eyes
Why doth the tears stand in the
Gloss Note
from or facing sunrise, or the Eastern hemisphere (relative to Europe); often with connotations of beauty, radiance, or the colour of the dawn (bright red)
orient
eyes
Why
Critical Note
While “doth” is the contemporary third-person singular of “do,” Pulter uses it for both third-person singular and plural, as again in line 3.
doth
the Tears stand in the
Critical Note
Contemporary herbals name the flower also as the “Lilium Byzantinum” (Byzantian lily) and “Lilium Persicum” (Persian lily) and say the flower originates in Constantinople. The writings of early modern botanists suggest that the flower was an exciting new import in late-sixteenth-century England but that it had become a “denizen” of English gardens by the time Pulter was writing. The crown imperial flower was therefore popular enough to be recognized by name but was still recognized as being of Eastern origin.
Orient
eyes
2
Of the Imperiall Crown th’imergenties
Of the imperial crown?
Gloss Note
things unexpectedly arising or issuing from concealment or confinement
Th’emergencies
Of the
Gloss Note
The “imperial crown” represents empire by synecdoche. Pulter’s gesture to the crown, in inverting the flower’s name, underscores the royal stature of the flower, rather, it seems, than serving as a pointed reference to the empire itself.
Imperiall Crown
Critical Note
This is an idiosyncratic spelling of “emergencies,” meaning “things emerging from concealment.” The word derives from the Latin emergentia (which would explain variant spellings using “t” rather than “c”). This idiosyncratic spelling is consistent with another word with a modern “cy” ending found in the manuscript: splendency is spelled both “splendencie” (Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]) and “splendentie” (Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]).
th’imergenties
3
Of her Sad Heart Just to that Height doth Riſe
Of her sad heart just to that height doth rise.
Of
Critical Note
Pulter repeatedly uses the phrase “sad heart” to describe the speaker of her poems. While the speaker’s identity is not always clear, poems such as Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10] suggest that Pulter uses the phrase to describe her own heart. Thus, Pulter may see the crown imperial flower as an ideal model for herself.
her Sad Heart
Critical Note
As tears were gendered and loaded with contradictory meanings (penitent, performative, indulgent), they were treated suspiciously. By identifying the flower’s heart as the source, the speaker clarifies that these are real and warranted tears. In Christian mans teares (1625), Gilbert Primrose notes that “…of our Teares, some causes are indifferent, some ill, some good” (p.85) and Thomas Playfere, in The Meane in Mourning (1595), clarifies that “trew teares” are “not droppes of water, running from the eyes which may be soone forced with onions or such like, but drops of blood issuing from the heart” (H1v or p.98).
Iust to that Height doth Rise
4
Though Cataracts fall or numerous drops diſtill
Though
Gloss Note
waterfalls, or other violent downpours, sometimes with connotations of a divine source
cataracts
fall, or numerous drops
Gloss Note
trickle, drip, or condense from a vapor into droplets
distill
,
Though
Gloss Note
In the early modern period, as today, a cataract referred both to a waterfall and an eye condition, in which the lens of the eye is clouded.
Cataracts
fall or numerous drops
Gloss Note
An alchemical term referring to the process of distillation, in which a substance is vaporized and then condensed. For more on Pulter’s interest in alchemy, see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Curation for The Circle [2] [Poem 21] on Alchemy and Devotion.
distill
5
Yet Shee is like the conſtant Caſpian Still
Yet she is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a completely enclosed saltwater body; lacking an outlet, it may have been emblematic of constancy owing to its apparently unchanging water level.
the constant Caspian
still.
Yet shee is like
Gloss Note
The Caspian Sea is a large salt-water lake between eastern Europe and Asia. It figures frequently in early modern literature as a demonstration of constancy, since its water level appears static. It appears also in Pulter’s Let None Sigh More for Lucas or for Lisle [Poem 15].
the constant Caspian
still
6
Though Phœbus courts her with his amorous Raiſe
Though
Gloss Note
classical sun god
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous rays,
Though
Gloss Note
Phœbus is Apollo, the sun god and god of poetry.
Phœbus
courts her with his amorous Raise
7
And with his burning kiſſes oft Eſsais
And with his burning kisses oft
Gloss Note
attempts
essays
,
And with his
Gloss Note
When figurative and connected to the intransitive forms of the verb: passionate (OED); when connected to the transitive forms of the verb: affecting with heat (OED).
burning
kisses oft
Gloss Note
I.e., ‘assays,’ “tempts.” It is also an alchemical term meaning “tests the purity and material composition of a compound” (OED).
essais
8
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
Yet finds he it far, far above his power
Yet finds hee it ffar far above his Power
9
To exhail one Tear ffrom this Heroick fflower
Gloss Note
to disengage from the surface, by e.g. sending up in vapor; to draw out, or up, or cause to flow
To exhale
one tear from this heroic flower,
Gloss Note
To cause (tears) to flow (OED).
To exhail
Gloss Note
The flower is a model of constancy because its “tears” are firmly attached to its bell. John Gerard says of the flower’s “pearles”: “notwithstanding if they may be suffered to stand still in the floure according to his owne nature, they wil neuer fall away, no not if you strike the plant vntill it be broken.” (R3v or p. 202)
one Tear
ffrom this
Gloss Note
Brave, courageous, noble (OED).
Heroick
fflower
10
But Shee Remains oh that my Soul did Soe
But she remains; O, that my soul did so,
But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe
11
Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.
Ever brimful, yet never
Gloss Note
i.e., overflowing
overflow
.
Ever Brimfull yet never
Critical Note

The concluding “overflow” presents some issues for interpretation. If, as this Amplified Edition offers, “fflower” is the subject of “overflow,” the line should end in “overflows” to be grammatically correct; however, Pulter may have chosen “overflow” for its rhyming with “soe.” If, as in Knight and Wall’s Elemental Edition, “soul” is the subject, then we can take “overflow” as a subjunctive form in a wish (though this would also be grammatically awkward, following “did” in the previous line). “Overflow” might even be read as an adjective that balances “Brimfull”; however, this would have been an exceptional use of the word as there is no instance of “overflow” used as an adjective recorded in the OED, and the OED records the first use of “overflowed” as an adjective in 1671.

It is also worth noting that, in the Elemental Edition’s reading, the use of the verb “remain” to mean “to continue in the same state” predates the current OED entry, which records its first instance in 1701 and records its use only in recipes, making Pulter’s use of this sense exceptional. However, this Amplified Edition’s reading of the verb “remain” as having the complementing adjectival phrase “ever brimfull” is common and therefore more likely.

overflow
.
curled line
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Elemental Edition
Title note

 Gloss note

here, a large ornamental flower with a ring of flowers hanging below an upright leafy tuft; elsewhere, the crown of an emperor or empress
Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

This edition is a semi-diplomatic transcription; it preserves the original spelling (including “ff” at the start of a word), capitalization, punctuation, and lineation. As the Elemental Edition offers a modernized and punctuated version of the poem, this Amplified Edition is meant as a complement, opening up alternative interpretations. Thus, the footnotes detail the challenges of reading Pulter’s idiosyncratic grammar and spelling, and offer options for readings, rather than solutions.
The editor thanks Melissa Auclair, Clarissa Chenovick, Justine DeCamillis, Julia Fine, Leah Knight, Ian Lancashire, Randall McLeod, Bénédicte Miyamoto, Nathan Murray, Timothy P.J. Perry, Haylie Swenson, K Vanderpark, Wendy Wall, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions, and Katrina Garofalo for encoding the Amplified Edition and Curations. The editor also acknowledges the support of the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

As in The Garden [Poem 12], Pulter reads in the botanical world a host of otherwise human-seeming concerns with such things as courtship, constancy, and heroism. Here, a female flower offers non-violent resistance to a masculine sun who burns with lust; she does so through the mere yet steady moisture of her tears. The speaker, ironically, is just as desirous as is the sun of the flower’s emblematic equilibrium—and, through excess, just as lacking in what she loves. It thus seems fitting that the lines are frequently hypermetrical, flush with syllables which threaten to overflow the poem’s grounding in iambic pentameter.
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Hester Pulter’s manuscript divides her work into poems (“Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas”) and emblems (“The Sighs of a Sad Soul Emblematically Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassah”). “Upon the Crown Imperiall” (Poem 53) (a reference to the Corona imperialis flower), could have been placed with the emblems, and yet it is not. Like emblems, this poem has a moral; but it is personal.
In “Upon the Crown Imperiall,” Pulter does not merely recycle contemporaries’ conventions; she refashions them for herself: although “corona” is grammatically feminine in Latin, seventeenth-century English herbals and garden manuals present the crown imperial flower as neuter or masculine;
Gloss Note
For examples, see the Curation “The Crown Imperial in the Early Modern English Imagination”.
1
Pulter makes it feminine. The flower’s name invites comparison to the imperial crown, a comparison upon which many contemporary writers rely, although Pulter does not. In Ben Jonson’s Loues triumph through Callipolis (1631) and James Shirley’s The triumph of peace (1634), the flower appears as “an emblem of royal power able to provide peace and protection.”
Gloss Note
Young, 89.
2
Conversely, it figured in anti-royalist critiques, as in George Herbert’s poem “Peace,” in which the speaker “sp[ies] a gallant flower”, and then digs into the dirt to find “a worm devoure what show’d so well.”
Gloss Note
Young, 90.
3
While Pulter’s poetry suggests she read Herbert’s work and was familiar with contemporary herbals and garden manuals, she draws an entirely different picture. Pulter’s flower is not just royal, but also feminine, heroic, and stoic.
The poem’s conceit rests on an intimate connection between the heart and the eyes. The whitish “faire Orient pearles” of “most cleere shining sweet water” (to quote John Gerard’s Herbal) contained within the flower’s characteristic hanging bells are the “Tears,” the “imergenties” of her sad heart. Rather than openly shed them, the flower holds her tears still in her eyes, hidden from plain view. Phœbus—the classical sun god and god of poetry—“courts” the flower and “essais” (assays, i.e. tests, or tries to seduce her) her with his “burning kisses”; not being heliotropic, the flower does not turn to him. Instead, by hanging her head, she turns away from his kisses and averts her gaze, blocking the route to her heart.
The connection between her heart and eyes reveals the flower’s uniquely feminine, stoic heroism, in which a delicate and precise balance is struck between feeling profound emotions and expressing them, avoiding excessive emotional display and indulgence. In early modern England, tears were gendered and important but troubling humoral phenomena, especially for women, for whom both crying and not crying could be suspect. By demonstrating quiet crying without shedding tears, the flower has negotiated a modest constancy. The heart is the source of her tears, which “rise” to her eyes; but the heart is also the (etymological) root of courage.
The speaker, unlike the flower, is not able to strike this balance and is prone to excess: as Knight and Wall note in the headnote to their Elemental Edition, the poem does not stick to rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter. It includes an odd line
Gloss Note
The second line does not appear to belong to a couplet, though it is a near rhyme with the first and third lines.
4
and lines “flush with syllables,” with the exception of the final couplet: “But shee Remains oh that my soul did soe / Ever Brimfull yet never overflow.” Pulter’s manuscript almost entirely lacks punctuation; in their Elemental Edition, Knight and Wall add punctuation to these final two lines: “But she remains; O, that my soul did so, / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” But these lines might be punctuated differently: “But she remains—O, that my soul did so— / Ever brimful, yet never overflow.” This alternate punctuation makes clearer the speaker’s plaintive desiring of the flower’s virtues for herself and confirms that the flower remains brimful but not overflowing, unlike the speaker who has presumably shed too many tears, a demonstration of emotional excess. Ironically, it is in these final two lines—the only lines that unambiguously adhere to the poem’s implied structure—that the speaker reveals her own lack of emotional restraint. And yet, it is the speaker’s emotional interjection that strikes the balance between restraint and indulgence, equalizing the line with the ‘right’ number of syllables.
As much of Pulter’s poetry is autobiographical and about her struggles with grief, we are tempted to read the speaker’s voice as Pulter’s own. In such a reading, one might recall that Phœbus is not just the god of the sun, but also the god of poetry, perhaps tempting Pulter to use poetry to stoke, rather than soothe, her grief. In this metaphor, her pen’s ink flows as readily as her tears.
Bibliography
Dunn, Rachel. “Breaking a Tradition: Hester Pulter and the English Emblem Book.” The Seventeenth Century, 30.1 (2015): 55-73.
Gerard, John. The herball or Generall historie of plantes. 1633. (STC 11751)
Knight, Leah and Wendy Wall. “Headnote” (Poem 53, Elemental Edition). In The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making, edited by Leah Knight and Wendy Wall, 2018.
Playfere, Thomas. The meane in mourning. Widow Orwin: London, 1595. (STC 20015)
Primrose, Gilbert. The Christian mans teares and Christs comforts. London, 1625. (STC 20389)
Young, R.V. “A Note on the ‘Crown Imperiall’ in Herbert’s ‘Peace.’” George Herbert Journal, 21:1-2 (Fall 1997/Spring 1998), 89-92.
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Gloss note

from or facing sunrise, or the Eastern hemisphere (relative to Europe); often with connotations of beauty, radiance, or the colour of the dawn (bright red)
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

While “doth” is the contemporary third-person singular of “do,” Pulter uses it for both third-person singular and plural, as again in line 3.
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Contemporary herbals name the flower also as the “Lilium Byzantinum” (Byzantian lily) and “Lilium Persicum” (Persian lily) and say the flower originates in Constantinople. The writings of early modern botanists suggest that the flower was an exciting new import in late-sixteenth-century England but that it had become a “denizen” of English gardens by the time Pulter was writing. The crown imperial flower was therefore popular enough to be recognized by name but was still recognized as being of Eastern origin.
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

things unexpectedly arising or issuing from concealment or confinement
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

The “imperial crown” represents empire by synecdoche. Pulter’s gesture to the crown, in inverting the flower’s name, underscores the royal stature of the flower, rather, it seems, than serving as a pointed reference to the empire itself.
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Critical note

This is an idiosyncratic spelling of “emergencies,” meaning “things emerging from concealment.” The word derives from the Latin emergentia (which would explain variant spellings using “t” rather than “c”). This idiosyncratic spelling is consistent with another word with a modern “cy” ending found in the manuscript: splendency is spelled both “splendencie” (Universal Dissolution [Poem 6]) and “splendentie” (Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10]).
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Critical note

Pulter repeatedly uses the phrase “sad heart” to describe the speaker of her poems. While the speaker’s identity is not always clear, poems such as Upon the Death of my Dear and Lovely Daughter, Jane Pulter [Poem 10] suggest that Pulter uses the phrase to describe her own heart. Thus, Pulter may see the crown imperial flower as an ideal model for herself.
Amplified Edition
Line number 3

 Critical note

As tears were gendered and loaded with contradictory meanings (penitent, performative, indulgent), they were treated suspiciously. By identifying the flower’s heart as the source, the speaker clarifies that these are real and warranted tears. In Christian mans teares (1625), Gilbert Primrose notes that “…of our Teares, some causes are indifferent, some ill, some good” (p.85) and Thomas Playfere, in The Meane in Mourning (1595), clarifies that “trew teares” are “not droppes of water, running from the eyes which may be soone forced with onions or such like, but drops of blood issuing from the heart” (H1v or p.98).
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

waterfalls, or other violent downpours, sometimes with connotations of a divine source
Elemental Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

trickle, drip, or condense from a vapor into droplets
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

In the early modern period, as today, a cataract referred both to a waterfall and an eye condition, in which the lens of the eye is clouded.
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

An alchemical term referring to the process of distillation, in which a substance is vaporized and then condensed. For more on Pulter’s interest in alchemy, see Elizabeth Scott-Baumann’s Curation for The Circle [2] [Poem 21] on Alchemy and Devotion.
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

The Caspian Sea is a completely enclosed saltwater body; lacking an outlet, it may have been emblematic of constancy owing to its apparently unchanging water level.
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

The Caspian Sea is a large salt-water lake between eastern Europe and Asia. It figures frequently in early modern literature as a demonstration of constancy, since its water level appears static. It appears also in Pulter’s Let None Sigh More for Lucas or for Lisle [Poem 15].
Elemental Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

classical sun god
Amplified Edition
Line number 6

 Gloss note

Phœbus is Apollo, the sun god and god of poetry.
Elemental Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

attempts
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

When figurative and connected to the intransitive forms of the verb: passionate (OED); when connected to the transitive forms of the verb: affecting with heat (OED).
Amplified Edition
Line number 7

 Gloss note

I.e., ‘assays,’ “tempts.” It is also an alchemical term meaning “tests the purity and material composition of a compound” (OED).
Elemental Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

to disengage from the surface, by e.g. sending up in vapor; to draw out, or up, or cause to flow
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

To cause (tears) to flow (OED).
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

The flower is a model of constancy because its “tears” are firmly attached to its bell. John Gerard says of the flower’s “pearles”: “notwithstanding if they may be suffered to stand still in the floure according to his owne nature, they wil neuer fall away, no not if you strike the plant vntill it be broken.” (R3v or p. 202)
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Gloss note

Brave, courageous, noble (OED).
Elemental Edition
Line number 11

 Gloss note

i.e., overflowing
Amplified Edition
Line number 11

 Critical note


The concluding “overflow” presents some issues for interpretation. If, as this Amplified Edition offers, “fflower” is the subject of “overflow,” the line should end in “overflows” to be grammatically correct; however, Pulter may have chosen “overflow” for its rhyming with “soe.” If, as in Knight and Wall’s Elemental Edition, “soul” is the subject, then we can take “overflow” as a subjunctive form in a wish (though this would also be grammatically awkward, following “did” in the previous line). “Overflow” might even be read as an adjective that balances “Brimfull”; however, this would have been an exceptional use of the word as there is no instance of “overflow” used as an adjective recorded in the OED, and the OED records the first use of “overflowed” as an adjective in 1671.

It is also worth noting that, in the Elemental Edition’s reading, the use of the verb “remain” to mean “to continue in the same state” predates the current OED entry, which records its first instance in 1701 and records its use only in recipes, making Pulter’s use of this sense exceptional. However, this Amplified Edition’s reading of the verb “remain” as having the complementing adjectival phrase “ever brimfull” is common and therefore more likely.

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