Virtue’s Duel (Emblem 4)

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Virtue’s Duel (Emblem 4)

Poem #70

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 Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross.

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 15

 Physical note

“u” appears to replace other letter, possibly “n”
Line number 18

 Physical note

“s” appears to replace other indiscernible, imperfectly erased letter.
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
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Transcription

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[Emblem 4]
Virtue’s Duel
(Emblem 4)
Virtue’s Duel (Emblem 4)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Hissing and cheering urban spectators gather to witness a duel between the forces of right and wrong. In this emblem, Pulter imagines parliamentarian and royalist battling in the English civil war as an allegorical contest reminiscent of the sporting games of classical Greece. Virtue, supported by her “second” or assistant Wisdom, battles mindfully with a frenzied Fortune, aided by Folly. The poem derides London citizens who desperately want Virtue to be bested, and are giddy with happiness when Folly is triumphant. As is typical in Pulter’s emblems, the speaker explicitly interprets the allegory by applying it to the current political situation, daring her reader to feel superior to the foolish crowds (or to see any victory as a sign of its intrinsic righteousness) since all have been complicit in witnessing the destruction of natural and divine law by wickedness (“impiety”). The poem ends with a lament for King Charles’s death, and a hope that Charles II might be restored to the throne, an act that the poem aligns with the resurrection of Christ (God’s “princely son”).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Drawing on the didacticism that is present throughout Pulter’s emblem collection, this poem overtly politicizes the instructive affordances of the emblem genre. In this emblem, Virtue (with Wisdom as her “second”) fights a duel with Fortune (and her “second”, Folly), and the people of the city support Fortune and Folly (lines 2, 4). The poem’s final tercet makes overt the implications of these personifications: Virtue is associated with King Charles I, whom Pulter ardently supported, while Oliver Cromwell, republican and Lord Protector following Charles’s execution, is associated with Fortune, which here means chance or luck (OED 1). Pulter has these two characters oppose each other in an “Olympic” duel and, true to this genre’s form, the emblem takes a moralising turn at line 21, condemning the actions of Fortune and Folly. Notably, Pulter uses the female pronouns “her” and “she” when personifying these qualities, feminizing her bitter depiction of the Civil War in contrast to the male figures she alludes to. The representations of these qualities do often take the form of feminized personification; in Wither’s emblem collection of 1635, multiple representations of Fortune depict her as “fickle … [in] the Favour she bestows”, using “slippery tricks” to tempt men, while Virtue offers “Her [beauty]” and “Her safe direction” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 6, 174, 22). See Curation.
Pulter’s characterization of Cromwell and his parliamentarian supporters resonates with her previous representations of republican supporters in the earlier emblems. Pulter’s Nimrod in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] has the same ambitious, “usurping” qualities which she identifies in the “[giddy]” and “[impious]” nature of Fortune and Folly, creating a continuity in her political message which is pursued throughout the emblem series (line 18; lines 4, 24). This poem grieves the “laws / Of God and nature” which have been “basely trampled on”, and employs a rhyming tercet to conclude the poem (lines 22-23). This contrasts with the rhyming couplets that precede it, drawing attention to the political intentions motivating the personified qualities. The final line looks to consolation via the restoration of the “princely son”, Charles II (line 27). This eventually occurred in May 1660, some years after Pulter is believed to have written the emblem.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
4Vertue once in the Olympicks fought a Duell
Virtue once in the
Critical Note
Though referring to the famous sporting games held in ancient Greece and dedicated to Zeus, this phrase, as Stefan Christian notes, also had a local reference. Between 1612 and 1644, Robert Dover organized popular annual Olympic games in the Cotswolds with King James I’s blessing, but these were halted because of the civil war (Christian, 281).
Olympics
fought a duel—
Virtue once in the Olympics fought a
Critical Note
Throughout the medieval period, duelling was a common combative practice used by the aristocracy to settle disputes and assert honour. In the Renaissance, however, new attitudes towards duels resulted in attempts to ban them. James I published a treatise in 1616 outlawing the practice and similar movements to control the sport were seen across Europe, including in France under Louis XIII; see The Works of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James [1616], 207. It is interesting then that Pulter makes the duel the subject of this politically charged emblem, emphasising open conflict (“the fray”, line 5) and perhaps the unruliness of Fortune, who disobeys the rules for power and honour by “madly la[ying] about” (line 10).
duel
,
2
Her Second Wiſdome that transcendent Jewell
Her
Gloss Note
the name for the person who acts as a dueller’s assistant and representative, one who helps in loading weapons and other logistics
second
, Wisdom, that transcendent jewel.
Her
Gloss Note
one who renders aid or support; one who acts as representative of a principal in a duel, carrying the challenge, arranging locality and loading weapons (OED 9 and 9b)
second
, Wisdom, that
Gloss Note
surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits (OED 1a)
transcendent
jewel;
3
ffortune Couragiously did her oppoſe
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
4
And Giddily for Second, ffolly choſe
And giddily for second, Folly chose.
And
Gloss Note
foolishly, insanely (OED). Pulter is referring to Fortune “foolishly” choosing Folly as her second in the duel.
giddily
for second Folly chose.
5
The Sad Spectators griev’d to See this ffray
The sad spectators grieved to see this
Gloss Note
fight, brawl, disturbance
fray
,
The
Gloss Note
melancholy, sorrowful; also firmly established in purpose or condition, which could refer to the beliefs of the “spectators” (OED 2)
sad
spectators grieved to see this fray,
6
ffearing that vertues Side would win the Day
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day.
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day;
7
Thus pittying ffortune, and her ffellow, ffolly:
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
8
The Citty Cockneys Satt most Melancholly.
The city
Gloss Note
name for people born in London, sometimes used derisively. The city of London supported the Parliamentary forces in the civil war.
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
The city
Critical Note
“cockneys” refer to people born in the city of London (OED 4a). Pulter references these people as “melancholy” over the prospect of Virtue (which the final tercet of the poem discloses as implying the monarchy) remaining in power. London, during the time of the Civil War, was overwhelmingly parliamentarian in its stance, thought of by royalists as the “sink of all the ill humors of the Kingdom” (C. H. Firth. “London During The Civil War”, History, vol. 11, no. 41 [1926], 25).
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
9
But See the ffate of Warr, ffortune was Blind
But see the fate of war: Fortune was blind
But see the fate of war:
Critical Note
The Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna, was often depicted blindfolded; Pliny in Natural History, a text on which Pulter often drew, describes Fortuna as a “blind, vague, roving, fickle, uncertain patroness of the unworthy” (Pliny 2.22 in Arya’s The Goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: Cult, Art, Text [2002], 135). See also George Wither’s representation of Fortuna in his own emblem collection of 1635; he warns against her “slippery tricks”, depicting her as “blind” and with a “Fickleness /… like the Moones” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 174).
Fortune was blind
10
And Madly lay’d about her ffoes to ffind
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides, made an attack, assailed; acted vigorously
laid about
, her foes to find,
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides (OED 32e)
laid about
her foes to find,
11
Nor car’d on who, or where her blowes did lite
Nor cared on who or where her blows did light.
Nor cared on who, or where, her blows did light.
12
ffolly as bravely did maintain the ffight
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
13
Not valueing what Shee did or what Shee Said
Not valuing what she did or what she said;
Not valuing what she did, or what she said,
14
And now the people that were Soe afraid
And now the people that were so afraid
And now
Gloss Note
the “city cockneys” of line 8; and see note to that line.
the people
that were so afraid
15
Gan to Rejoyce, then vertue Shee
Physical Note
“u” appears to replace other letter, possibly “n”
gaue
place
’Gan to rejoice; then Virtue she
Gloss Note
gave ground, yielded to pressure or force
gave place
.
’Gan to rejoice. Then Virtue, she
Gloss Note
surrendered, yielded
gave place
,
16
Wiſdome drew back w:th Slow but modest pace
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
17
Then Acclamations made the Welken Ring
Then
Gloss Note
enthusiastic expressions of approval
acclamations
made the
Gloss Note
sky, heavens, firmament; to make the “welkin ring” was to create a loud noise
welkin
ring,
Then acclamations made the
Critical Note
“welkin” refers to the sky, or the heavens; it is also used in phrases descriptive of loud sounds (OED 2a and 2c). Pulter is saying that the “acclamations” of the republicans make the sky ring with noise, suggesting the sound of thunder; that is, there is a negative connotation which reflects her anti-parliamentary stance.
welkin ring
,
18
Physical Note
“s” appears to replace other indiscernible, imperfectly erased letter.
Peans
the People unto ffortune Sing
Gloss Note
songs of praise or thanksgiving; shouts or songs of triumph, joy, or exultation
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing.
Gloss Note
songs of praise; thanks-giving for deliverance, for victory (OED 1)
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing;
19
ffolly with ffortunes help did wear the Crown
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown;
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown,
20
Vertue with Wiſdome both were Hiſſed down
Virtue with Wisdom both were hisséd down.
Virtue with Wisdom both were
Critical Note
sibilant verb used to convey the derision of King Charles I by the parliamentarians, led by Cromwell.
hissed down
.
then

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21
Then let none by Succes Judg of the Cauſe
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
22
ffor wee have liv’d (Ay mee) to See the Laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
23
Of God and Nature baſely Trampl’d on
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
24
When bold Impiety the Vict’ry won
When bold
Gloss Note
ungodliness; unrighteousness, wickedness
impiety
the vict’ry won;
When bold impiety the vict’ry won.
25
And Such a king Kild at this Isle before
And such a king killed,
Critical Note
the manuscript has “at,” which seems to be an error for the abbreviation “yt,” which meant “that.” What the island of England has never seen is “such a king” rather than the fact of regicide.
that
this isle before
And such
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to the execution of King Charles I, who was beheaded on 30 January 1649. This execution took place after a tumultuous period of rule which observed a split between the royalists and parliamentarians.
a king killed
,
Critical Note
MS = “at”. We have followed the editors of the Elemental Edition in treating this as a a scribal error for the abbreviation “yt” (meaning “that”).
that
this isle
Critical Note
the first line of the rhyming tercet which concludes the poem. Where most of Pulter’s emblem poetry employs rhyming couplets, this emblem diverges at its conclusion, using a rhyming tercet to draw attention to the meaning behind the poem’s personifications: namely, the Civil War and her royalist perspective on it.
before
26
Did never See nor never will See more
Did never see, nor never will see more,
Did never see, nor never will see more,
27
Unles our God his Princely Son Restore.
Gloss Note
This line aligns Charles’s I’s son with the resurrected Christ, as Pulter hopes for a restoration of the monarchy (an event that would happen after this poem was written, but in her lifetime).
Unless our God his princely son restore.
Unless our God his
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to Charles (1630-1685), who was crowned Charles II in Scotland almost immediately after the execution of his father Charles I (see note for line 25). For most of the 1650s, however, he lived in exile in France, until, on 29 May 1660, he was crowned King Charles II of England. Pulter’s appeal in this final line suggests that the emblem was composed during the 1650s, prior to Charles’s restoration.
princely son
restore.
horizontal straight line
X (Close panel)Notes: Elemental Edition

 Editorial note

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

 Headnote

Hissing and cheering urban spectators gather to witness a duel between the forces of right and wrong. In this emblem, Pulter imagines parliamentarian and royalist battling in the English civil war as an allegorical contest reminiscent of the sporting games of classical Greece. Virtue, supported by her “second” or assistant Wisdom, battles mindfully with a frenzied Fortune, aided by Folly. The poem derides London citizens who desperately want Virtue to be bested, and are giddy with happiness when Folly is triumphant. As is typical in Pulter’s emblems, the speaker explicitly interprets the allegory by applying it to the current political situation, daring her reader to feel superior to the foolish crowds (or to see any victory as a sign of its intrinsic righteousness) since all have been complicit in witnessing the destruction of natural and divine law by wickedness (“impiety”). The poem ends with a lament for King Charles’s death, and a hope that Charles II might be restored to the throne, an act that the poem aligns with the resurrection of Christ (God’s “princely son”).
Line number 1

 Critical note

Though referring to the famous sporting games held in ancient Greece and dedicated to Zeus, this phrase, as Stefan Christian notes, also had a local reference. Between 1612 and 1644, Robert Dover organized popular annual Olympic games in the Cotswolds with King James I’s blessing, but these were halted because of the civil war (Christian, 281).
Line number 2

 Gloss note

the name for the person who acts as a dueller’s assistant and representative, one who helps in loading weapons and other logistics
Line number 5

 Gloss note

fight, brawl, disturbance
Line number 8

 Gloss note

name for people born in London, sometimes used derisively. The city of London supported the Parliamentary forces in the civil war.
Line number 10

 Gloss note

dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides, made an attack, assailed; acted vigorously
Line number 15

 Gloss note

gave ground, yielded to pressure or force
Line number 17

 Gloss note

enthusiastic expressions of approval
Line number 17

 Gloss note

sky, heavens, firmament; to make the “welkin ring” was to create a loud noise
Line number 18

 Gloss note

songs of praise or thanksgiving; shouts or songs of triumph, joy, or exultation
Line number 24

 Gloss note

ungodliness; unrighteousness, wickedness
Line number 25

 Critical note

the manuscript has “at,” which seems to be an error for the abbreviation “yt,” which meant “that.” What the island of England has never seen is “such a king” rather than the fact of regicide.
Line number 27

 Gloss note

This line aligns Charles’s I’s son with the resurrected Christ, as Pulter hopes for a restoration of the monarchy (an event that would happen after this poem was written, but in her lifetime).
Sorry, but there are no notes associated with any currently displayed witness.
X (Close panel)Elemental Edition
Elemental Edition

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[Emblem 4]
Virtue’s Duel
(Emblem 4)
Virtue’s Duel (Emblem 4)
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
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Hissing and cheering urban spectators gather to witness a duel between the forces of right and wrong. In this emblem, Pulter imagines parliamentarian and royalist battling in the English civil war as an allegorical contest reminiscent of the sporting games of classical Greece. Virtue, supported by her “second” or assistant Wisdom, battles mindfully with a frenzied Fortune, aided by Folly. The poem derides London citizens who desperately want Virtue to be bested, and are giddy with happiness when Folly is triumphant. As is typical in Pulter’s emblems, the speaker explicitly interprets the allegory by applying it to the current political situation, daring her reader to feel superior to the foolish crowds (or to see any victory as a sign of its intrinsic righteousness) since all have been complicit in witnessing the destruction of natural and divine law by wickedness (“impiety”). The poem ends with a lament for King Charles’s death, and a hope that Charles II might be restored to the throne, an act that the poem aligns with the resurrection of Christ (God’s “princely son”).

— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
Drawing on the didacticism that is present throughout Pulter’s emblem collection, this poem overtly politicizes the instructive affordances of the emblem genre. In this emblem, Virtue (with Wisdom as her “second”) fights a duel with Fortune (and her “second”, Folly), and the people of the city support Fortune and Folly (lines 2, 4). The poem’s final tercet makes overt the implications of these personifications: Virtue is associated with King Charles I, whom Pulter ardently supported, while Oliver Cromwell, republican and Lord Protector following Charles’s execution, is associated with Fortune, which here means chance or luck (OED 1). Pulter has these two characters oppose each other in an “Olympic” duel and, true to this genre’s form, the emblem takes a moralising turn at line 21, condemning the actions of Fortune and Folly. Notably, Pulter uses the female pronouns “her” and “she” when personifying these qualities, feminizing her bitter depiction of the Civil War in contrast to the male figures she alludes to. The representations of these qualities do often take the form of feminized personification; in Wither’s emblem collection of 1635, multiple representations of Fortune depict her as “fickle … [in] the Favour she bestows”, using “slippery tricks” to tempt men, while Virtue offers “Her [beauty]” and “Her safe direction” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 6, 174, 22). See Curation.
Pulter’s characterization of Cromwell and his parliamentarian supporters resonates with her previous representations of republican supporters in the earlier emblems. Pulter’s Nimrod in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] has the same ambitious, “usurping” qualities which she identifies in the “[giddy]” and “[impious]” nature of Fortune and Folly, creating a continuity in her political message which is pursued throughout the emblem series (line 18; lines 4, 24). This poem grieves the “laws / Of God and nature” which have been “basely trampled on”, and employs a rhyming tercet to conclude the poem (lines 22-23). This contrasts with the rhyming couplets that precede it, drawing attention to the political intentions motivating the personified qualities. The final line looks to consolation via the restoration of the “princely son”, Charles II (line 27). This eventually occurred in May 1660, some years after Pulter is believed to have written the emblem.


— Leah Knight and Wendy Wall
1
4Vertue once in the Olympicks fought a Duell
Virtue once in the
Critical Note
Though referring to the famous sporting games held in ancient Greece and dedicated to Zeus, this phrase, as Stefan Christian notes, also had a local reference. Between 1612 and 1644, Robert Dover organized popular annual Olympic games in the Cotswolds with King James I’s blessing, but these were halted because of the civil war (Christian, 281).
Olympics
fought a duel—
Virtue once in the Olympics fought a
Critical Note
Throughout the medieval period, duelling was a common combative practice used by the aristocracy to settle disputes and assert honour. In the Renaissance, however, new attitudes towards duels resulted in attempts to ban them. James I published a treatise in 1616 outlawing the practice and similar movements to control the sport were seen across Europe, including in France under Louis XIII; see The Works of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James [1616], 207. It is interesting then that Pulter makes the duel the subject of this politically charged emblem, emphasising open conflict (“the fray”, line 5) and perhaps the unruliness of Fortune, who disobeys the rules for power and honour by “madly la[ying] about” (line 10).
duel
,
2
Her Second Wiſdome that transcendent Jewell
Her
Gloss Note
the name for the person who acts as a dueller’s assistant and representative, one who helps in loading weapons and other logistics
second
, Wisdom, that transcendent jewel.
Her
Gloss Note
one who renders aid or support; one who acts as representative of a principal in a duel, carrying the challenge, arranging locality and loading weapons (OED 9 and 9b)
second
, Wisdom, that
Gloss Note
surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits (OED 1a)
transcendent
jewel;
3
ffortune Couragiously did her oppoſe
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
4
And Giddily for Second, ffolly choſe
And giddily for second, Folly chose.
And
Gloss Note
foolishly, insanely (OED). Pulter is referring to Fortune “foolishly” choosing Folly as her second in the duel.
giddily
for second Folly chose.
5
The Sad Spectators griev’d to See this ffray
The sad spectators grieved to see this
Gloss Note
fight, brawl, disturbance
fray
,
The
Gloss Note
melancholy, sorrowful; also firmly established in purpose or condition, which could refer to the beliefs of the “spectators” (OED 2)
sad
spectators grieved to see this fray,
6
ffearing that vertues Side would win the Day
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day.
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day;
7
Thus pittying ffortune, and her ffellow, ffolly:
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
8
The Citty Cockneys Satt most Melancholly.
The city
Gloss Note
name for people born in London, sometimes used derisively. The city of London supported the Parliamentary forces in the civil war.
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
The city
Critical Note
“cockneys” refer to people born in the city of London (OED 4a). Pulter references these people as “melancholy” over the prospect of Virtue (which the final tercet of the poem discloses as implying the monarchy) remaining in power. London, during the time of the Civil War, was overwhelmingly parliamentarian in its stance, thought of by royalists as the “sink of all the ill humors of the Kingdom” (C. H. Firth. “London During The Civil War”, History, vol. 11, no. 41 [1926], 25).
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
9
But See the ffate of Warr, ffortune was Blind
But see the fate of war: Fortune was blind
But see the fate of war:
Critical Note
The Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna, was often depicted blindfolded; Pliny in Natural History, a text on which Pulter often drew, describes Fortuna as a “blind, vague, roving, fickle, uncertain patroness of the unworthy” (Pliny 2.22 in Arya’s The Goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: Cult, Art, Text [2002], 135). See also George Wither’s representation of Fortuna in his own emblem collection of 1635; he warns against her “slippery tricks”, depicting her as “blind” and with a “Fickleness /… like the Moones” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 174).
Fortune was blind
10
And Madly lay’d about her ffoes to ffind
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides, made an attack, assailed; acted vigorously
laid about
, her foes to find,
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides (OED 32e)
laid about
her foes to find,
11
Nor car’d on who, or where her blowes did lite
Nor cared on who or where her blows did light.
Nor cared on who, or where, her blows did light.
12
ffolly as bravely did maintain the ffight
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
13
Not valueing what Shee did or what Shee Said
Not valuing what she did or what she said;
Not valuing what she did, or what she said,
14
And now the people that were Soe afraid
And now the people that were so afraid
And now
Gloss Note
the “city cockneys” of line 8; and see note to that line.
the people
that were so afraid
15
Gan to Rejoyce, then vertue Shee
Physical Note
“u” appears to replace other letter, possibly “n”
gaue
place
’Gan to rejoice; then Virtue she
Gloss Note
gave ground, yielded to pressure or force
gave place
.
’Gan to rejoice. Then Virtue, she
Gloss Note
surrendered, yielded
gave place
,
16
Wiſdome drew back w:th Slow but modest pace
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
17
Then Acclamations made the Welken Ring
Then
Gloss Note
enthusiastic expressions of approval
acclamations
made the
Gloss Note
sky, heavens, firmament; to make the “welkin ring” was to create a loud noise
welkin
ring,
Then acclamations made the
Critical Note
“welkin” refers to the sky, or the heavens; it is also used in phrases descriptive of loud sounds (OED 2a and 2c). Pulter is saying that the “acclamations” of the republicans make the sky ring with noise, suggesting the sound of thunder; that is, there is a negative connotation which reflects her anti-parliamentary stance.
welkin ring
,
18
Physical Note
“s” appears to replace other indiscernible, imperfectly erased letter.
Peans
the People unto ffortune Sing
Gloss Note
songs of praise or thanksgiving; shouts or songs of triumph, joy, or exultation
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing.
Gloss Note
songs of praise; thanks-giving for deliverance, for victory (OED 1)
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing;
19
ffolly with ffortunes help did wear the Crown
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown;
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown,
20
Vertue with Wiſdome both were Hiſſed down
Virtue with Wisdom both were hisséd down.
Virtue with Wisdom both were
Critical Note
sibilant verb used to convey the derision of King Charles I by the parliamentarians, led by Cromwell.
hissed down
.
then

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21
Then let none by Succes Judg of the Cauſe
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
22
ffor wee have liv’d (Ay mee) to See the Laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
23
Of God and Nature baſely Trampl’d on
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
24
When bold Impiety the Vict’ry won
When bold
Gloss Note
ungodliness; unrighteousness, wickedness
impiety
the vict’ry won;
When bold impiety the vict’ry won.
25
And Such a king Kild at this Isle before
And such a king killed,
Critical Note
the manuscript has “at,” which seems to be an error for the abbreviation “yt,” which meant “that.” What the island of England has never seen is “such a king” rather than the fact of regicide.
that
this isle before
And such
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to the execution of King Charles I, who was beheaded on 30 January 1649. This execution took place after a tumultuous period of rule which observed a split between the royalists and parliamentarians.
a king killed
,
Critical Note
MS = “at”. We have followed the editors of the Elemental Edition in treating this as a a scribal error for the abbreviation “yt” (meaning “that”).
that
this isle
Critical Note
the first line of the rhyming tercet which concludes the poem. Where most of Pulter’s emblem poetry employs rhyming couplets, this emblem diverges at its conclusion, using a rhyming tercet to draw attention to the meaning behind the poem’s personifications: namely, the Civil War and her royalist perspective on it.
before
26
Did never See nor never will See more
Did never see, nor never will see more,
Did never see, nor never will see more,
27
Unles our God his Princely Son Restore.
Gloss Note
This line aligns Charles’s I’s son with the resurrected Christ, as Pulter hopes for a restoration of the monarchy (an event that would happen after this poem was written, but in her lifetime).
Unless our God his princely son restore.
Unless our God his
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to Charles (1630-1685), who was crowned Charles II in Scotland almost immediately after the execution of his father Charles I (see note for line 25). For most of the 1650s, however, he lived in exile in France, until, on 29 May 1660, he was crowned King Charles II of England. Pulter’s appeal in this final line suggests that the emblem was composed during the 1650s, prior to Charles’s restoration.
princely son
restore.
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X (Close panel)Notes: Amplified Edition

 Editorial note

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

 Headnote

Drawing on the didacticism that is present throughout Pulter’s emblem collection, this poem overtly politicizes the instructive affordances of the emblem genre. In this emblem, Virtue (with Wisdom as her “second”) fights a duel with Fortune (and her “second”, Folly), and the people of the city support Fortune and Folly (lines 2, 4). The poem’s final tercet makes overt the implications of these personifications: Virtue is associated with King Charles I, whom Pulter ardently supported, while Oliver Cromwell, republican and Lord Protector following Charles’s execution, is associated with Fortune, which here means chance or luck (OED 1). Pulter has these two characters oppose each other in an “Olympic” duel and, true to this genre’s form, the emblem takes a moralising turn at line 21, condemning the actions of Fortune and Folly. Notably, Pulter uses the female pronouns “her” and “she” when personifying these qualities, feminizing her bitter depiction of the Civil War in contrast to the male figures she alludes to. The representations of these qualities do often take the form of feminized personification; in Wither’s emblem collection of 1635, multiple representations of Fortune depict her as “fickle … [in] the Favour she bestows”, using “slippery tricks” to tempt men, while Virtue offers “Her [beauty]” and “Her safe direction” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 6, 174, 22). See Curation.
Pulter’s characterization of Cromwell and his parliamentarian supporters resonates with her previous representations of republican supporters in the earlier emblems. Pulter’s Nimrod in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] has the same ambitious, “usurping” qualities which she identifies in the “[giddy]” and “[impious]” nature of Fortune and Folly, creating a continuity in her political message which is pursued throughout the emblem series (line 18; lines 4, 24). This poem grieves the “laws / Of God and nature” which have been “basely trampled on”, and employs a rhyming tercet to conclude the poem (lines 22-23). This contrasts with the rhyming couplets that precede it, drawing attention to the political intentions motivating the personified qualities. The final line looks to consolation via the restoration of the “princely son”, Charles II (line 27). This eventually occurred in May 1660, some years after Pulter is believed to have written the emblem.
Line number 1

 Critical note

Throughout the medieval period, duelling was a common combative practice used by the aristocracy to settle disputes and assert honour. In the Renaissance, however, new attitudes towards duels resulted in attempts to ban them. James I published a treatise in 1616 outlawing the practice and similar movements to control the sport were seen across Europe, including in France under Louis XIII; see The Works of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James [1616], 207. It is interesting then that Pulter makes the duel the subject of this politically charged emblem, emphasising open conflict (“the fray”, line 5) and perhaps the unruliness of Fortune, who disobeys the rules for power and honour by “madly la[ying] about” (line 10).
Line number 2

 Gloss note

one who renders aid or support; one who acts as representative of a principal in a duel, carrying the challenge, arranging locality and loading weapons (OED 9 and 9b)
Line number 2

 Gloss note

surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits (OED 1a)
Line number 4

 Gloss note

foolishly, insanely (OED). Pulter is referring to Fortune “foolishly” choosing Folly as her second in the duel.
Line number 5

 Gloss note

melancholy, sorrowful; also firmly established in purpose or condition, which could refer to the beliefs of the “spectators” (OED 2)
Line number 8

 Critical note

“cockneys” refer to people born in the city of London (OED 4a). Pulter references these people as “melancholy” over the prospect of Virtue (which the final tercet of the poem discloses as implying the monarchy) remaining in power. London, during the time of the Civil War, was overwhelmingly parliamentarian in its stance, thought of by royalists as the “sink of all the ill humors of the Kingdom” (C. H. Firth. “London During The Civil War”, History, vol. 11, no. 41 [1926], 25).
Line number 9

 Critical note

The Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna, was often depicted blindfolded; Pliny in Natural History, a text on which Pulter often drew, describes Fortuna as a “blind, vague, roving, fickle, uncertain patroness of the unworthy” (Pliny 2.22 in Arya’s The Goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: Cult, Art, Text [2002], 135). See also George Wither’s representation of Fortuna in his own emblem collection of 1635; he warns against her “slippery tricks”, depicting her as “blind” and with a “Fickleness /… like the Moones” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 174).
Line number 10

 Gloss note

dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides (OED 32e)
Line number 14

 Gloss note

the “city cockneys” of line 8; and see note to that line.
Line number 15

 Gloss note

surrendered, yielded
Line number 17

 Critical note

“welkin” refers to the sky, or the heavens; it is also used in phrases descriptive of loud sounds (OED 2a and 2c). Pulter is saying that the “acclamations” of the republicans make the sky ring with noise, suggesting the sound of thunder; that is, there is a negative connotation which reflects her anti-parliamentary stance.
Line number 18

 Gloss note

songs of praise; thanks-giving for deliverance, for victory (OED 1)
Line number 20

 Critical note

sibilant verb used to convey the derision of King Charles I by the parliamentarians, led by Cromwell.
Line number 25

 Gloss note

Pulter is referring to the execution of King Charles I, who was beheaded on 30 January 1649. This execution took place after a tumultuous period of rule which observed a split between the royalists and parliamentarians.
Line number 25

 Critical note

MS = “at”. We have followed the editors of the Elemental Edition in treating this as a a scribal error for the abbreviation “yt” (meaning “that”).
Line number 25

 Critical note

the first line of the rhyming tercet which concludes the poem. Where most of Pulter’s emblem poetry employs rhyming couplets, this emblem diverges at its conclusion, using a rhyming tercet to draw attention to the meaning behind the poem’s personifications: namely, the Civil War and her royalist perspective on it.
Line number 27

 Gloss note

Pulter is referring to Charles (1630-1685), who was crowned Charles II in Scotland almost immediately after the execution of his father Charles I (see note for line 25). For most of the 1650s, however, he lived in exile in France, until, on 29 May 1660, he was crowned King Charles II of England. Pulter’s appeal in this final line suggests that the emblem was composed during the 1650s, prior to Charles’s restoration.
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X (Close panel)Amplified Edition
Amplified Edition

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[Emblem 4]
Virtue’s Duel
(Emblem 4)
Virtue’s Duel (Emblem 4)
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
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.

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Hissing and cheering urban spectators gather to witness a duel between the forces of right and wrong. In this emblem, Pulter imagines parliamentarian and royalist battling in the English civil war as an allegorical contest reminiscent of the sporting games of classical Greece. Virtue, supported by her “second” or assistant Wisdom, battles mindfully with a frenzied Fortune, aided by Folly. The poem derides London citizens who desperately want Virtue to be bested, and are giddy with happiness when Folly is triumphant. As is typical in Pulter’s emblems, the speaker explicitly interprets the allegory by applying it to the current political situation, daring her reader to feel superior to the foolish crowds (or to see any victory as a sign of its intrinsic righteousness) since all have been complicit in witnessing the destruction of natural and divine law by wickedness (“impiety”). The poem ends with a lament for King Charles’s death, and a hope that Charles II might be restored to the throne, an act that the poem aligns with the resurrection of Christ (God’s “princely son”).

— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
Drawing on the didacticism that is present throughout Pulter’s emblem collection, this poem overtly politicizes the instructive affordances of the emblem genre. In this emblem, Virtue (with Wisdom as her “second”) fights a duel with Fortune (and her “second”, Folly), and the people of the city support Fortune and Folly (lines 2, 4). The poem’s final tercet makes overt the implications of these personifications: Virtue is associated with King Charles I, whom Pulter ardently supported, while Oliver Cromwell, republican and Lord Protector following Charles’s execution, is associated with Fortune, which here means chance or luck (OED 1). Pulter has these two characters oppose each other in an “Olympic” duel and, true to this genre’s form, the emblem takes a moralising turn at line 21, condemning the actions of Fortune and Folly. Notably, Pulter uses the female pronouns “her” and “she” when personifying these qualities, feminizing her bitter depiction of the Civil War in contrast to the male figures she alludes to. The representations of these qualities do often take the form of feminized personification; in Wither’s emblem collection of 1635, multiple representations of Fortune depict her as “fickle … [in] the Favour she bestows”, using “slippery tricks” to tempt men, while Virtue offers “Her [beauty]” and “Her safe direction” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 6, 174, 22). See Curation.
Pulter’s characterization of Cromwell and his parliamentarian supporters resonates with her previous representations of republican supporters in the earlier emblems. Pulter’s Nimrod in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] has the same ambitious, “usurping” qualities which she identifies in the “[giddy]” and “[impious]” nature of Fortune and Folly, creating a continuity in her political message which is pursued throughout the emblem series (line 18; lines 4, 24). This poem grieves the “laws / Of God and nature” which have been “basely trampled on”, and employs a rhyming tercet to conclude the poem (lines 22-23). This contrasts with the rhyming couplets that precede it, drawing attention to the political intentions motivating the personified qualities. The final line looks to consolation via the restoration of the “princely son”, Charles II (line 27). This eventually occurred in May 1660, some years after Pulter is believed to have written the emblem.


— Millie Godfery and Sarah C. E. Ross
1
4Vertue once in the Olympicks fought a Duell
Virtue once in the
Critical Note
Though referring to the famous sporting games held in ancient Greece and dedicated to Zeus, this phrase, as Stefan Christian notes, also had a local reference. Between 1612 and 1644, Robert Dover organized popular annual Olympic games in the Cotswolds with King James I’s blessing, but these were halted because of the civil war (Christian, 281).
Olympics
fought a duel—
Virtue once in the Olympics fought a
Critical Note
Throughout the medieval period, duelling was a common combative practice used by the aristocracy to settle disputes and assert honour. In the Renaissance, however, new attitudes towards duels resulted in attempts to ban them. James I published a treatise in 1616 outlawing the practice and similar movements to control the sport were seen across Europe, including in France under Louis XIII; see The Works of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James [1616], 207. It is interesting then that Pulter makes the duel the subject of this politically charged emblem, emphasising open conflict (“the fray”, line 5) and perhaps the unruliness of Fortune, who disobeys the rules for power and honour by “madly la[ying] about” (line 10).
duel
,
2
Her Second Wiſdome that transcendent Jewell
Her
Gloss Note
the name for the person who acts as a dueller’s assistant and representative, one who helps in loading weapons and other logistics
second
, Wisdom, that transcendent jewel.
Her
Gloss Note
one who renders aid or support; one who acts as representative of a principal in a duel, carrying the challenge, arranging locality and loading weapons (OED 9 and 9b)
second
, Wisdom, that
Gloss Note
surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits (OED 1a)
transcendent
jewel;
3
ffortune Couragiously did her oppoſe
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
Fortune courageously did her oppose,
4
And Giddily for Second, ffolly choſe
And giddily for second, Folly chose.
And
Gloss Note
foolishly, insanely (OED). Pulter is referring to Fortune “foolishly” choosing Folly as her second in the duel.
giddily
for second Folly chose.
5
The Sad Spectators griev’d to See this ffray
The sad spectators grieved to see this
Gloss Note
fight, brawl, disturbance
fray
,
The
Gloss Note
melancholy, sorrowful; also firmly established in purpose or condition, which could refer to the beliefs of the “spectators” (OED 2)
sad
spectators grieved to see this fray,
6
ffearing that vertues Side would win the Day
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day.
Fearing that Virtue’s side would win the day;
7
Thus pittying ffortune, and her ffellow, ffolly:
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
Thus pitying Fortune and her fellow, Folly,
8
The Citty Cockneys Satt most Melancholly.
The city
Gloss Note
name for people born in London, sometimes used derisively. The city of London supported the Parliamentary forces in the civil war.
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
The city
Critical Note
“cockneys” refer to people born in the city of London (OED 4a). Pulter references these people as “melancholy” over the prospect of Virtue (which the final tercet of the poem discloses as implying the monarchy) remaining in power. London, during the time of the Civil War, was overwhelmingly parliamentarian in its stance, thought of by royalists as the “sink of all the ill humors of the Kingdom” (C. H. Firth. “London During The Civil War”, History, vol. 11, no. 41 [1926], 25).
cockneys
sat most melancholy.
9
But See the ffate of Warr, ffortune was Blind
But see the fate of war: Fortune was blind
But see the fate of war:
Critical Note
The Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna, was often depicted blindfolded; Pliny in Natural History, a text on which Pulter often drew, describes Fortuna as a “blind, vague, roving, fickle, uncertain patroness of the unworthy” (Pliny 2.22 in Arya’s The Goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: Cult, Art, Text [2002], 135). See also George Wither’s representation of Fortuna in his own emblem collection of 1635; he warns against her “slippery tricks”, depicting her as “blind” and with a “Fickleness /… like the Moones” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 174).
Fortune was blind
10
And Madly lay’d about her ffoes to ffind
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides, made an attack, assailed; acted vigorously
laid about
, her foes to find,
And madly
Gloss Note
dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides (OED 32e)
laid about
her foes to find,
11
Nor car’d on who, or where her blowes did lite
Nor cared on who or where her blows did light.
Nor cared on who, or where, her blows did light.
12
ffolly as bravely did maintain the ffight
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
Folly as bravely did maintain the fight,
13
Not valueing what Shee did or what Shee Said
Not valuing what she did or what she said;
Not valuing what she did, or what she said,
14
And now the people that were Soe afraid
And now the people that were so afraid
And now
Gloss Note
the “city cockneys” of line 8; and see note to that line.
the people
that were so afraid
15
Gan to Rejoyce, then vertue Shee
Physical Note
“u” appears to replace other letter, possibly “n”
gaue
place
’Gan to rejoice; then Virtue she
Gloss Note
gave ground, yielded to pressure or force
gave place
.
’Gan to rejoice. Then Virtue, she
Gloss Note
surrendered, yielded
gave place
,
16
Wiſdome drew back w:th Slow but modest pace
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
Wisdom drew back with slow but modest pace;
17
Then Acclamations made the Welken Ring
Then
Gloss Note
enthusiastic expressions of approval
acclamations
made the
Gloss Note
sky, heavens, firmament; to make the “welkin ring” was to create a loud noise
welkin
ring,
Then acclamations made the
Critical Note
“welkin” refers to the sky, or the heavens; it is also used in phrases descriptive of loud sounds (OED 2a and 2c). Pulter is saying that the “acclamations” of the republicans make the sky ring with noise, suggesting the sound of thunder; that is, there is a negative connotation which reflects her anti-parliamentary stance.
welkin ring
,
18
Physical Note
“s” appears to replace other indiscernible, imperfectly erased letter.
Peans
the People unto ffortune Sing
Gloss Note
songs of praise or thanksgiving; shouts or songs of triumph, joy, or exultation
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing.
Gloss Note
songs of praise; thanks-giving for deliverance, for victory (OED 1)
Paeans
the people unto Fortune sing;
19
ffolly with ffortunes help did wear the Crown
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown;
Folly with Fortune’s help did wear the crown,
20
Vertue with Wiſdome both were Hiſſed down
Virtue with Wisdom both were hisséd down.
Virtue with Wisdom both were
Critical Note
sibilant verb used to convey the derision of King Charles I by the parliamentarians, led by Cromwell.
hissed down
.
then

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21
Then let none by Succes Judg of the Cauſe
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
Then let none by success judge of the cause,
22
ffor wee have liv’d (Ay mee) to See the Laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
For we have lived (ay me) to see the laws
23
Of God and Nature baſely Trampl’d on
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
Of God and Nature basely trampled on,
24
When bold Impiety the Vict’ry won
When bold
Gloss Note
ungodliness; unrighteousness, wickedness
impiety
the vict’ry won;
When bold impiety the vict’ry won.
25
And Such a king Kild at this Isle before
And such a king killed,
Critical Note
the manuscript has “at,” which seems to be an error for the abbreviation “yt,” which meant “that.” What the island of England has never seen is “such a king” rather than the fact of regicide.
that
this isle before
And such
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to the execution of King Charles I, who was beheaded on 30 January 1649. This execution took place after a tumultuous period of rule which observed a split between the royalists and parliamentarians.
a king killed
,
Critical Note
MS = “at”. We have followed the editors of the Elemental Edition in treating this as a a scribal error for the abbreviation “yt” (meaning “that”).
that
this isle
Critical Note
the first line of the rhyming tercet which concludes the poem. Where most of Pulter’s emblem poetry employs rhyming couplets, this emblem diverges at its conclusion, using a rhyming tercet to draw attention to the meaning behind the poem’s personifications: namely, the Civil War and her royalist perspective on it.
before
26
Did never See nor never will See more
Did never see, nor never will see more,
Did never see, nor never will see more,
27
Unles our God his Princely Son Restore.
Gloss Note
This line aligns Charles’s I’s son with the resurrected Christ, as Pulter hopes for a restoration of the monarchy (an event that would happen after this poem was written, but in her lifetime).
Unless our God his princely son restore.
Unless our God his
Gloss Note
Pulter is referring to Charles (1630-1685), who was crowned Charles II in Scotland almost immediately after the execution of his father Charles I (see note for line 25). For most of the 1650s, however, he lived in exile in France, until, on 29 May 1660, he was crowned King Charles II of England. Pulter’s appeal in this final line suggests that the emblem was composed during the 1650s, prior to Charles’s restoration.
princely son
restore.
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Transcription

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

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

 Editorial note

Our priority in editing these poems has been to modernise, and to achieve interpretative and visual clarity, in order to make the poems as accessible as possible to as wide a modern audience as is possible. Spelling is modernised, as is punctuation. Modernising the latter, in particular, often involves a significant act of editorial interpretation, but in our view this is one of the most productive areas of editorial intervention, particularly for a manuscript text such as Pulter’s where the punctuation is erratic compared to modern usage (and, indeed, compared to early modern printed texts).
1. See Alice Eardley, “‘I haue not time to point yr booke … which I desire you yourselfe to doe’: Editing the Form of Early Modern Manuscript Verse”, in The Work of Form: Poetics and Materiality in Early Modern Culture, ed. Ben Burton and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 162-178.
1
All biblical references are to the King James Version (1612).
Elemental Edition

 Headnote

Hissing and cheering urban spectators gather to witness a duel between the forces of right and wrong. In this emblem, Pulter imagines parliamentarian and royalist battling in the English civil war as an allegorical contest reminiscent of the sporting games of classical Greece. Virtue, supported by her “second” or assistant Wisdom, battles mindfully with a frenzied Fortune, aided by Folly. The poem derides London citizens who desperately want Virtue to be bested, and are giddy with happiness when Folly is triumphant. As is typical in Pulter’s emblems, the speaker explicitly interprets the allegory by applying it to the current political situation, daring her reader to feel superior to the foolish crowds (or to see any victory as a sign of its intrinsic righteousness) since all have been complicit in witnessing the destruction of natural and divine law by wickedness (“impiety”). The poem ends with a lament for King Charles’s death, and a hope that Charles II might be restored to the throne, an act that the poem aligns with the resurrection of Christ (God’s “princely son”).
Amplified Edition

 Headnote

Drawing on the didacticism that is present throughout Pulter’s emblem collection, this poem overtly politicizes the instructive affordances of the emblem genre. In this emblem, Virtue (with Wisdom as her “second”) fights a duel with Fortune (and her “second”, Folly), and the people of the city support Fortune and Folly (lines 2, 4). The poem’s final tercet makes overt the implications of these personifications: Virtue is associated with King Charles I, whom Pulter ardently supported, while Oliver Cromwell, republican and Lord Protector following Charles’s execution, is associated with Fortune, which here means chance or luck (OED 1). Pulter has these two characters oppose each other in an “Olympic” duel and, true to this genre’s form, the emblem takes a moralising turn at line 21, condemning the actions of Fortune and Folly. Notably, Pulter uses the female pronouns “her” and “she” when personifying these qualities, feminizing her bitter depiction of the Civil War in contrast to the male figures she alludes to. The representations of these qualities do often take the form of feminized personification; in Wither’s emblem collection of 1635, multiple representations of Fortune depict her as “fickle … [in] the Favour she bestows”, using “slippery tricks” to tempt men, while Virtue offers “Her [beauty]” and “Her safe direction” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 6, 174, 22). See Curation.
Pulter’s characterization of Cromwell and his parliamentarian supporters resonates with her previous representations of republican supporters in the earlier emblems. Pulter’s Nimrod in Mighty Nimrod (Emblem 1) [Poem 67] has the same ambitious, “usurping” qualities which she identifies in the “[giddy]” and “[impious]” nature of Fortune and Folly, creating a continuity in her political message which is pursued throughout the emblem series (line 18; lines 4, 24). This poem grieves the “laws / Of God and nature” which have been “basely trampled on”, and employs a rhyming tercet to conclude the poem (lines 22-23). This contrasts with the rhyming couplets that precede it, drawing attention to the political intentions motivating the personified qualities. The final line looks to consolation via the restoration of the “princely son”, Charles II (line 27). This eventually occurred in May 1660, some years after Pulter is believed to have written the emblem.
Elemental Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Though referring to the famous sporting games held in ancient Greece and dedicated to Zeus, this phrase, as Stefan Christian notes, also had a local reference. Between 1612 and 1644, Robert Dover organized popular annual Olympic games in the Cotswolds with King James I’s blessing, but these were halted because of the civil war (Christian, 281).
Amplified Edition
Line number 1

 Critical note

Throughout the medieval period, duelling was a common combative practice used by the aristocracy to settle disputes and assert honour. In the Renaissance, however, new attitudes towards duels resulted in attempts to ban them. James I published a treatise in 1616 outlawing the practice and similar movements to control the sport were seen across Europe, including in France under Louis XIII; see The Works of the Most High and Mighty Prince, James [1616], 207. It is interesting then that Pulter makes the duel the subject of this politically charged emblem, emphasising open conflict (“the fray”, line 5) and perhaps the unruliness of Fortune, who disobeys the rules for power and honour by “madly la[ying] about” (line 10).
Elemental Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

the name for the person who acts as a dueller’s assistant and representative, one who helps in loading weapons and other logistics
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

one who renders aid or support; one who acts as representative of a principal in a duel, carrying the challenge, arranging locality and loading weapons (OED 9 and 9b)
Amplified Edition
Line number 2

 Gloss note

surpassing or excelling others of its kind; going beyond the ordinary limits (OED 1a)
Amplified Edition
Line number 4

 Gloss note

foolishly, insanely (OED). Pulter is referring to Fortune “foolishly” choosing Folly as her second in the duel.
Elemental Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

fight, brawl, disturbance
Amplified Edition
Line number 5

 Gloss note

melancholy, sorrowful; also firmly established in purpose or condition, which could refer to the beliefs of the “spectators” (OED 2)
Elemental Edition
Line number 8

 Gloss note

name for people born in London, sometimes used derisively. The city of London supported the Parliamentary forces in the civil war.
Amplified Edition
Line number 8

 Critical note

“cockneys” refer to people born in the city of London (OED 4a). Pulter references these people as “melancholy” over the prospect of Virtue (which the final tercet of the poem discloses as implying the monarchy) remaining in power. London, during the time of the Civil War, was overwhelmingly parliamentarian in its stance, thought of by royalists as the “sink of all the ill humors of the Kingdom” (C. H. Firth. “London During The Civil War”, History, vol. 11, no. 41 [1926], 25).
Amplified Edition
Line number 9

 Critical note

The Roman goddess of fortune, Fortuna, was often depicted blindfolded; Pliny in Natural History, a text on which Pulter often drew, describes Fortuna as a “blind, vague, roving, fickle, uncertain patroness of the unworthy” (Pliny 2.22 in Arya’s The Goddess Fortuna in Imperial Rome: Cult, Art, Text [2002], 135). See also George Wither’s representation of Fortuna in his own emblem collection of 1635; he warns against her “slippery tricks”, depicting her as “blind” and with a “Fickleness /… like the Moones” (A Collection of Emblemes [1635], 174).
Elemental Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides, made an attack, assailed; acted vigorously
Amplified Edition
Line number 10

 Gloss note

dealt violent and repeated blows on all sides (OED 32e)
Amplified Edition
Line number 14

 Gloss note

the “city cockneys” of line 8; and see note to that line.
Transcription
Line number 15

 Physical note

“u” appears to replace other letter, possibly “n”
Elemental Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

gave ground, yielded to pressure or force
Amplified Edition
Line number 15

 Gloss note

surrendered, yielded
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

enthusiastic expressions of approval
Elemental Edition
Line number 17

 Gloss note

sky, heavens, firmament; to make the “welkin ring” was to create a loud noise
Amplified Edition
Line number 17

 Critical note

“welkin” refers to the sky, or the heavens; it is also used in phrases descriptive of loud sounds (OED 2a and 2c). Pulter is saying that the “acclamations” of the republicans make the sky ring with noise, suggesting the sound of thunder; that is, there is a negative connotation which reflects her anti-parliamentary stance.
Transcription
Line number 18

 Physical note

“s” appears to replace other indiscernible, imperfectly erased letter.
Elemental Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

songs of praise or thanksgiving; shouts or songs of triumph, joy, or exultation
Amplified Edition
Line number 18

 Gloss note

songs of praise; thanks-giving for deliverance, for victory (OED 1)
Amplified Edition
Line number 20

 Critical note

sibilant verb used to convey the derision of King Charles I by the parliamentarians, led by Cromwell.
Elemental Edition
Line number 24

 Gloss note

ungodliness; unrighteousness, wickedness
Elemental Edition
Line number 25

 Critical note

the manuscript has “at,” which seems to be an error for the abbreviation “yt,” which meant “that.” What the island of England has never seen is “such a king” rather than the fact of regicide.
Amplified Edition
Line number 25

 Gloss note

Pulter is referring to the execution of King Charles I, who was beheaded on 30 January 1649. This execution took place after a tumultuous period of rule which observed a split between the royalists and parliamentarians.
Amplified Edition
Line number 25

 Critical note

MS = “at”. We have followed the editors of the Elemental Edition in treating this as a a scribal error for the abbreviation “yt” (meaning “that”).
Amplified Edition
Line number 25

 Critical note

the first line of the rhyming tercet which concludes the poem. Where most of Pulter’s emblem poetry employs rhyming couplets, this emblem diverges at its conclusion, using a rhyming tercet to draw attention to the meaning behind the poem’s personifications: namely, the Civil War and her royalist perspective on it.
Elemental Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

This line aligns Charles’s I’s son with the resurrected Christ, as Pulter hopes for a restoration of the monarchy (an event that would happen after this poem was written, but in her lifetime).
Amplified Edition
Line number 27

 Gloss note

Pulter is referring to Charles (1630-1685), who was crowned Charles II in Scotland almost immediately after the execution of his father Charles I (see note for line 25). For most of the 1650s, however, he lived in exile in France, until, on 29 May 1660, he was crowned King Charles II of England. Pulter’s appeal in this final line suggests that the emblem was composed during the 1650s, prior to Charles’s restoration.
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