“They laughed, which vexed the Porcu at the heart.
Arrows from’s living quiver he did dart”
An early modern depiction of the porcupine from Edward Topsell’s The History of four-footed beasts and serpents (London, 1658). Topsell describes how “the four formost teeth hang over his lips, and that which is most admirable in him, the Quills or Thorns growing upon his back in stead of hair, he useth for hands, arms, and weopans” (p. 457).
Which made the furious porcupine to skip,
Then drove their cart over the Tortoise shell,
But she in spite of all their spite was well.”
Pulter’s poem reworks the theme found in ‘Of the Tortoise and the Frogs’ from John Ogilby’s lyrical translation of Aesop’s fables (London, 1651). Ogilby’s tortoise complains of his shell until he notices that the frogs are easily devoured whilst he is protected when “one drove a loaden cart” across his back.