Þat seruus nequam had a nam · L.6.245: The scribe added a besaunt (besaunt, "coin" or "talent") above the line to gloss nam or mnam, "a Biblical coin." He was, perhaps, drawing attention to the source of the tale, the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
A similar gloss appears in HmMW. and for he wolde nouȝte chaffare
besaunteM.6.245: This gloss on nam appears directly over the word. WHmL also attest this gloss.
Þat seruus nequam had a nam . and for he wolde not chaff...are
That Seruus nequam had a besaunt , & for he nolde chaffer
That seruus nequam hadde a MnamW.6.245: The gloss .id est. A besaunt is written above Mnam in a smaller script but by the main hand. The red box around Mnam was drawn subsequently and left incomplete at the top. A similar gloss appears in HmLM. C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield,
The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-version (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997), 162, mistakenly offer to correct Kane-Donaldson's Mnam to amam. . and for he wolde noȝt chaffare
that seruus nequam · hadde a Mnam · id est · besaunt & for he nolde nougth chaffare
That seruus nequam had a Mnam and for he nolde nat chaffare
that seruus nequam had a beysantG.7.245: Mnam, the majority B reading, is glossed besaunt in L M W Hm, and this may well be the source of the G Cr12 reading beysant. & for he wold not chaffare
nequam had a manR.6.243:
Although MED, s. v.
mnam, lists man as a possible form taken by mnam, it seems clear that this spelling is merely a scribal error (Langland
is the only source cited by the dictionary for the word itself) evoked by an unfamiliar
foreign term. Alpha passed this error to R and F, which share it with BoCot (and with AH of
the A tradition). & for he wolde nouȝt
Þat seruus nequam hadde a man / þat wolde nout chaffare.F.5.893: Alpha had changed mnam to man, and F further revises the line to make this spurious man the antecedent of þat by omitting Bx's he.