Nayled him with thre nayles naked on the rode
Nayled hym with thre nayiles · naked on the rode
Nayled hym with threR.18.53: At this point, beta reads thre while F has fowre. Hand2 has written foure
in the left margin and placed a caret before thre (the R scribe's choice).
However, thre has not been struck through nor erased, and we see no
evidence for Hand2's having had supervisory authority in the production of MS R. The marginal
note engages a famous medieval controversy about the details of the Crucifixion. Skeat notes
that a "long essay might be written on the wholly unimportant question whether three or four were used in the Crucifixion." The
Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, in Three Parallel Texts (Oxford:
Clarendon, 1886): 2.251. Because of the commonplace nature of the nail dispute, the reading
of alpha itself must remain in doubt, but the usual patterns of copying in R and F suggest
that alpha was much likelier to have read thre than foure. Kane-Donaldson certainly saw it that way: since R's original reading has not
been subpuncted or struck out, they treat R's intended reading as thre,
ignoring the marginal foure. nailes naked vp-onR.18.53:
R's vp-on is unique; the other B witnesses show on. Nevertheless, vp-on may well represent Bx here since the X family of C manuscripts also attests this
reading (the P family agrees with beta). þe rode .
& nayled hym with fowreF.14.53: F alone reads fowre nayles. All other manuscripts refer to three nails, though a later hand has inserted foure in R, without deleting three. The dispute is something of a theological commonplace, as Skeat's note suggests, and has no bearing on F's relationship
to R. nayles / naked on þe roode.