<head><foreign>Incipit liber de Petro Plowman</foreign></head>
<l> In a somer seson · whan soft was the sonne</l>
<l> I shope me in[to]<note>Bx.P.2: <hi>into</hi>: In the absence of R in <hi>Bx</hi>.P.1-124 and <ref>1.142-2.41</ref>, we are obliged to rely on F for alpha readings. This is problematic, partly because of F's eccentricity, and more importantly because its text is evidently contaminated from <hi>A</hi>. (See Introduction <xref>III.10</xref>.) We have therefore been very cautious in adopting readings from F, but have accepted F in agreement with <hi>A</hi> when it offers a superior text, and also taken the agreement of F with <hi>AC</hi> against beta as evidence in favour of the F reading. In this line, although L has <hi>in</hi>, the agreement of CrWHm (and M revised) with F insecurely establishes <hi>into</hi>, which is confirmed by <hi>Ax</hi> (<hi>into a shroud</hi>) and <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> shroudes · as i a shepe were</l>
<l> In habite as an heremite · vnholy of workes</l>
<l> Went wyde in þis world [·] wondres to here</l>
<l> Ac on a May mornyng · on Maluerne hulles</l>
<l> Me byfel a ferly · of fairy me thouȝte</l>
<l> I was wery forwandred · and went me to reste</l>
<l> Vnder a brode banke · bi a bornes side </l>
<l> And as I lay and lened · and loked [o]n<note>Bx.P.9: <hi>on</hi>: As with <hi>into</hi> in l. <ref>2</ref>, the reading of MCrWHm and F is supported by <hi>Ax</hi>. LCO have <hi>in</hi>, G <hi>vpon</hi>. <hi>Cx</hi> rewrites.</note> þe wateres</l>
<l> I slombred in a<note>Bx.P.10: <hi>in a</hi>: The reading of LMCO is challenged by CrWHmG <hi>in-to a</hi> and F <hi>into</hi>. <hi>A</hi> mss. read variously <hi>on a</hi>, <hi>in a</hi>, <hi>a</hi>, <hi>into a</hi>, <hi>into</hi>. There is no equivalent in <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> slepyng · it sweyued<note>Bx.P.10: <hi>sweyued</hi>: This is probably the beta reading, supported by LCO, and probably original M, where <hi>swei...</hi> (three or four letters erased) has been altered to <hi>sweyed</hi>, in line with beta2 and GF. See <title>MED</title> <hi>sweiven</hi>, "whirl, sweep", a rare verb cited elsewhere only from <title>Patience</title> and <title>Cleanness</title>. But the noun <hi>sweuene</hi> in the next line might have given rise to the reading. The variant <hi>sweyed</hi> is <title>MED</title> <hi>sweien</hi> v.(1), "sound", or the commoner v.(2), "move along (of water)." There is the same variation in <hi>Ax</hi>.</note> so merye</l>
<l> [¶]<note><hi>Bx</hi>.P.11-40: <hi></hi>: L has no paraphs on fol. 1r because of the decoration running down the left margin, but it has blank spaces before ll. <ref>11</ref>, <ref>23</ref>, <ref>25</ref>, <ref>31</ref> and <ref>40</ref>.</note> Thanne gan I to meten · a merueilouse sweuene</l>
<l> That I was in a wildernesse · wist I neuer where</l>
<l> As I bihelde in-to þe est · an hiegh to þe sonne</l>
<l> I seigh a toure on a toft · trielich<note>Bx.P.14: <hi>trielich</hi>: So LWG and original M. <hi>A</hi> scribes also have trouble with the adverb (from adj. <hi>trie</hi>), and <hi>Cx</hi> rewrites.</note> ymaked</l>
<l> A depe dale binethe · a dongeon þere-Inne</l>
<l> With depe dyches & derke · and dredful of sight</l>
<l> A faire felde ful of folke · fonde I there bytwene</l>
<l> Of alle maner of men · þe mene and þe riche</l>
<l> Worchyng and wandryng · as þe<note>Bx.P.19: <hi>þe</hi>: So beta, supported by the P family of <hi>C</hi>, but F's <hi>this</hi> is supported by the X family.</note> worlde asketh</l>
<l> Some put hem to þe<note>Bx.P.20: <hi>þe</hi>: Dropped in GF. There is the same variation between <hi>to þe</hi> and <hi>to</hi> in <hi>AC</hi>.</note> plow · pleyed ful selde</l>
<l> In settyng and in<note>Bx.P.21: <hi>in</hi> (2): So LHmCG; dropped in others. There is the same variation in <hi>AC</hi>.</note> sowyng · swonken ful harde</l>
<l> And wonnen that [þese]<note>Bx.P.22: <hi>þese</hi>: F has support from <hi>AC</hi>. All other manuscripts omit it.</note> wastours · with glotonye destruyeth</l>
<l> [¶] And some putten hem to pruyde · apparailed hem þere-after</l>
<l> In contenaunce of clothyng [·] comen disgised</l>
<l> [¶] In prayers and in<note>Bx.P.25: <hi>in</hi> (2): Agreement of LMCOF is good support for <hi>Bx</hi>, but it is not in <hi>Ax</hi> or <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> penance<note>Bx.P.25: <hi>penance</hi>: The plural of WHmF is probably prompted by <hi>prayers</hi>; <hi>C</hi> mss. are similarly split, but <hi>Ax</hi> has sg. For variation with and without <-s>, see note to <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.14.211</ref>.</note> · putten hem manye</l>
<l> Al for loue<note>Bx.P.26: <hi>loue</hi>: Beta2 (CrWHm) and GF have <hi>the loue</hi>. <hi>AC</hi> mss. are split.</note> of owre lorde · lyueden ful streyte</l>
<l> In hope forto haue<note>Bx.P.27: <hi>forto haue</hi>: Beta2 (CrWHm) and G read <hi>to haue after</hi>. This is also the reading of two <hi>A</hi> mss. <hi>Cx</hi> is revised.</note> · heueneriche blisse</l>
<l> As ancres and heremites · that holden hem in here selles</l>
<l> And coueiten nought in contre [·] to kairen<note>Bx.P.29: <hi>kairen</hi>: So LMGOF, supported by <hi>Ax</hi> and <hi>Cx</hi>; CrWHm regularly alter to <hi>carien</hi>; e.g. <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.4.23</ref>, <ref>5.310</ref>.</note> aboute</l>
<l> For no likerous liflode · her lykam to plese</l>
<l> [¶] And somme chosen chaffare · they cheuen<note>Bx.P.31: <hi>cheuen</hi>: In all three versions the present tense varies with the past. LMGOF support the present for <hi>Bx</hi>.</note> the bettere</l>
<l> As it semeth to owre syȝt · that suche men thryueth</l>
<l> And somme murthes to make · as mynstralles conneth</l>
<l> And geten gold with here glee · synneles I leue</l>
<l> Ac<note>Bx.P.35: <hi>Ac</hi>: So LWHm, with GF's regular substitution of <hi>But</hi>. MCrCO have <hi>As</hi>. <hi>A</hi> mss. split between <hi>Ac</hi> and <hi>But</hi>. <hi>Cx</hi> has no equivalent line.</note> iapers & iangelers · Iudas chylderen</l>
<l> Feynen hem fantasies · and foles hem maketh</l>
<l> And han here witte at wille · to worche ȝif þei sholde</l>
<l> That Poule precheth of hem · I nel nought preue it here</l>
<l> <foreign>Qui turpiloquium loquitur · &c<note>Bx.P.39: <hi><foreign>&c</foreign></hi>: The absence of the b-verse in L, original M, Cr<hi>1</hi>C (F misses the line) suggests that the English completion was added to the Latin phrase from other versions. WHmG <hi>is luciferes hyne</hi> is <hi>Ax</hi>; O's <hi>is lucifers knaue</hi> (which is added in Cr<hi>23</hi>) is <hi>Cx</hi>. A later hand has added <hi>est seruus diaboli</hi> in M.</note></foreign></l>
<l> [¶] Bidders and beggeres · fast aboute ȝede</l>
<l> With her bely and her bagge<note>Bx.P.41: <hi>bely ... bagge</hi>: The distributive sg. as in LM is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>; <hi>A</hi> mss. vary. F misses the line.</note> · of bred ful<note>Bx.P.41: <hi>of bred ful</hi>: Presumably an error in beta or <hi>Bx</hi> for <hi>AC</hi> <hi>bretful</hi>.</note> ycrammed</l>
<l> Fayteden for here fode · fouȝten atte ale</l>
<l> In glotonye god it<note>Bx.P.43: <hi>it</hi>: Supported by LMHmCO though omitted by CrWG and <hi>Ax</hi> (<hi>Cx</hi> rewrites). F's reversed a-verse also omits it. For a parallel, see <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.4.81</ref>.</note> wote · gon hij to bedde</l>
<l> And risen<note>Bx.P.44: <hi>risen</hi>: <hi>Cx</hi> has <hi>ryseþ</hi>. F's <hi>rysen vp</hi> is <hi>Ax</hi>.</note> with ribaudye · tho roberdes knaues</l>
<l> Slepe and sori sleuthe · seweth hem eure</l>
<l> ¶ Pilgrymes and palmers · pliȝte[n]<note>Bx.P.46: <hi>pliȝten</hi>: The form could represent the past tense or the present. LMO with <hi>pliȝted</hi> take it as past, in line with the verbs in ll. 48-61, but the form receives no support from <hi>Ax</hi> or <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> hem togidere</l>
<l> To seke seynt Iames · and seyntes in rome</l>
<l> Thei went forth in here wey · with many wise tales</l>
<l> And hadden leue to<note>Bx.P.49: <hi>to</hi>: MGOF's <hi>for to</hi> has limited support from <hi>A</hi> mss. and none from <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> lye · al here lyf after</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.50-54: These five lines are omitted in F by eyeskip from <hi>after</hi> to <hi>after</hi>.</note> I seigh somme that seiden · þei had ysouȝt seyntes</l>
<l> To eche a tale þat þei tolde · here tonge was tempred to lye</l>
<l> More þan to sey soth · it semed bi here speche</l>
<l> ¶ Heremites on an heep · with hoked staues</l>
<l> Wenten to walsyngham · and here wenches after</l>
<l> Grete lobyes and longe · that loth were to swynke</l>
<l> Clotheden hem in copis · to ben knowen fram othere</l>
<l> And shopen hem heremites · here ese to haue</l>
<l> ¶ I fonde þere Freris [·] alle þe foure ordres</l>
<l> Preched<note>Bx.P.59: <hi>Preched</hi>: <hi>AC</hi> have the pres. part., as W, and Hm by correction. Schmidt (1995), 363 explains the source of what is presumably an error in <hi>Bx</hi> as "the unexpectedness of a participle in a sequence of preterites".</note> þe peple · for profit of hem-seluen</l>
<l> Glosed þe gospel · as hem good lyked</l>
<l> For coueitise of copis · construed it as þei wolde</l>
<l> Many of þis maistres<note>Bx.P.62: <hi>maistres</hi>: The reading also of <hi>Ax</hi>, meaning "learned professional theologian" (Kane, 2005), cf. <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.13.25</ref>. The retention of the pl. form <hi>maistres</hi> in L suggests that <hi>Freris</hi> was an interlinear gloss in beta, but not present in alpha. <hi>Cx</hi>'s explanatory revision "Mony of þise maistres of mendenant freres" (RK.P.60) might imply that the gloss was in his exemplar.</note> [·] mowe clothen hem at lykyng</l>
<l> For here money and<note>Bx.P.63: <hi>and</hi>: Beta2 (CrWHm) has <hi>and her</hi>. <hi>AC</hi> show the same variation.</note> marchandise · marchen togideres</l>
<l> For sith charite haþ be chapman · and chief to shryue lordes</l>
<l> Many ferlis han fallen · in a fewe ȝeris</l>
<l> But holychirche and hij<note>Bx.P.66: <hi>hij</hi>: The form in L, original M, and WC is necessary for alliteration. See Introduction <xref>IV.1</xref>.</note> · holde better togideres</l>
<l> The moste my[s]chief<note>Bx.P.67: <hi>myschief</hi>: In L the line is marked for correction.</note> on molde · is mountyng<note>Bx.P.67: <hi>mountyng</hi>: F has <hi>mountynge</hi>. The beta reading is <hi>mountyng wel</hi>, though GO share the reading <hi>vp</hi> with <hi>AC</hi>. We suppose, with Schmidt (1995), 364, that <hi>Bx</hi> dropped <hi>vp</hi>, and beta supplied the adverb for the metre. F's final <hi>-e</hi> compensates for the omission of the adverb, avoiding the x / x / x b-verse rhythm, but there is no reason to suppose it represents <hi>Bx</hi>. See note to l. <ref>104</ref>.</note> faste</l>
<l> ¶ Þere preched a Pardonere · as he a prest were</l>
<l> Brouȝte forth a bulle · with bishopes seles</l>
<l> And seide þat hym-self myȝte · assoilen hem alle</l>
<l> Of falshed of<note>Bx.P.71: <hi>of</hi> (2): LMWHmCO in agreement with <hi>Cx</hi>; CrGF have <hi>and</hi> or <hi>and of</hi>. <hi>A</hi> mss. vary in the same way.</note> fastyng · of vowes<note>Bx.P.71: <hi>vowes</hi>: LMCrCO in agreement with <hi>Cx</hi>; others have <hi>auowes</hi>. <hi>A</hi> mss. vary in the same way.</note> ybroken</l>
<l> ¶ Lewed men leued hym wel · and lyked his wordes</l>
<l> Comen vp knelyng · to kissen his bulles</l>
<l> He bonched hem with his breuet · & blered here eyes</l>
<l> And rauȝte with his ragman · rynges and broches<note>Bx.P.75: F follows this with two lines not supported by <hi>AC</hi>.</note></l>
<l> Thus þey geuen here golde · glotones to kepe</l>
<l> And leneth [it]<note>Bx.P.77: <hi>it</hi>: Supported by <hi>AC</hi> as well as by sense. Omitted by LC and original M, presumably taking the verb as <hi>leueth</hi>, "believe": see F's <hi>be-leven on</hi>.</note> such loseles · þat lecherye haunten</l>
<l> Were þe bischop yblissed · and worth bothe his eres</l>
<l> His seel shulde nouȝt be sent · to deceyue þe peple</l>
<l> Ac it is nauȝt by þe bischop · þat þe boy precheth<note>Bx.P.80: F follows this with a line not supported by <hi>AC</hi>.</note></l>
<l> For the parisch prest and þe pardonere · parten þe siluer</l>
<l> That þe poraille<note>Bx.P.82: <hi>poraille</hi>: Not elsewhere in the poem. O expands to <hi>pore porayle</hi> to explain the word; M perhaps originally read <hi>pore peple</hi>, which is the reading of <hi>Ax</hi> and <hi>Cx</hi>. F's <hi>pore men</hi> seems a typical avoidance of a difficult word, as is Cr's <hi>pouerty</hi>. However, the reading of <hi>Bx</hi> lacks alliteration in the b-verse.</note> of þe parisch · sholde haue ȝif þei nere</l>
<l> ¶ Persones and parisch prestes · pleyned hem to þe bischop </l>
<l> Þat here parisshes were pore · sith þe pestilence tyme</l>
<l> To haue a lycence and leue<note>Bx.P.85: <hi>leue</hi>: LC have <hi>a leue</hi>, induced by <hi>a lycence</hi>. A few <hi>AC</hi> mss. have the same error.</note> · at London to dwelle</l>
<l> And syngen þere for symonye · for siluer is swete</l>
<l> ¶ Bischopes and bachelers · bothe maistres and doctours</l>
<l> Þat han cure vnder criste · and crounyng in tokne</l>
<l> And signe þat þei sholden · shryuen here paroschienes</l>
<l> Prechen and prey for hem · and þe pore fede</l>
<l> Liggen in<note>Bx.P.91: <hi>in</hi> (1): Supported by <hi>Cx</hi>. Beta2 and G have <hi>at</hi>, perhaps influenced by the same phrase six lines above. Lines 87-210 are not in <hi>A</hi>.</note> London · in lenten an<note>Bx.P.91: <hi>an</hi>: "and". See Introduction <xref>V.3.1</xref>. The form has been corrected in L in the line above.</note> elles</l>
<l> Somme seruen þe kyng · and his siluer tellen</l>
<l> In cheker and in chancerye · chalengen his dettes</l>
<l> Of wardes and<note>Bx.P.94: <hi>and</hi> (1): LMCrCG, and so likely to be beta. WF have <hi>and of</hi>, which is probably the <hi>Cx</hi> reading. HmO have <hi>of</hi>.</note> wardmotes · weyues and streyues<note>Bx.P.94: F's additional line is from <hi>A</hi> (KProl.95).</note></l>
<l> ¶ And some seruen as seruantz · lordes and ladyes</l>
<l> And in stede of stuwardes · sytten and demen</l>
<l> Here messe and here matynes · and many of here oures</l>
<l> Arn don vndeuoutlych · drede is at þe laste<note>Bx.P.98: An entirely different line referring to Sarum Use replaces this and the next line in F.</note></l>
<l> Lest crist in constorie · acorse ful manye</l>
<l> I parceyued of þe power · þat Peter had to kepe</l>
<l> To bynde and to vnbynde · as þe boke telleth</l>
<l> How he it left<note>Bx.P.102: <hi>it left</hi>: This word-order is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> wiþ loue · as owre lorde hight</l>
<l> Amonges foure vertues · þe best of alle vertues<note>Bx.P.103: <hi>þe best of alle vertues</hi>: Beta alliterates aa/xa with /f/ + /v/ alliteration. F's reading, <hi>most vertuous of hevene</hi>, might represent alpha. See KD, p. 180, for discussion. It could be that the Cx b-verse, <hi>most vertuous of vertues</hi> (RK.P.131), was also <hi>Bx</hi>, with alpha and beta taking different action to avoid the repetition.</note></l>
<l> Þat cardinales ben called · & closyng<note>Bx.P.104: <hi>closyng</hi>: We have retained L's spelling, though final <hi>-e</hi> as in MWHm would improve the metre; see Duggan (1988), 143 and n. 58, and for the disyllabic ending in Hoccleve, see Burrow (1999), liii. F characteristically rewrites to avoid the short b-verse. Among <hi>C</hi> mss., X has and <hi>closyng ȝates thare</hi>, P has <hi>and closynde yates</hi>.</note> ȝatis</l>
<l> Þere crist is in<note>Bx.P.105: <hi>in</hi>: WHmF have <hi>in his</hi>, not supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> kyngdome · to close and to shutte</l>
<l> And to opne it to hem · and heuene blisse shewe</l>
<l> Ac of þe cardinales atte<note>Bx.P.107: <hi>atte</hi>: "at the", as usual in L. The reading of LMHmCF establishes this as <hi>Bx</hi>, even though <hi>at</hi> in CrWGO is the <hi>Cx</hi> reading.</note> Courte · þat cauȝt of þat name</l>
<l> And power presumed<note>Bx.P.108: <hi>presumed</hi>: Beta has pa.t. (or ppl.) following from <hi>cauȝt</hi> in l. <ref>107</ref>. F's present tense appears to have support from <hi>Cx</hi>, but in <hi>Cx</hi> this follows from <hi>cauȝt han</hi>.</note> in hem · a Pope to make</l>
<l> To han þ[e]<note>Bx.P.109: <hi>þe</hi>: Beta has <hi>þat</hi>, but F is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> power þat peter hadde · inpugnen I nelle</l>
<l> For in loue and<note>Bx.P.110: <hi>and</hi>: WF have <hi>and in</hi>, not supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> letterure · þe eleccioun bilongeth</l>
<l> For-þi I can and can nauȝte · of courte speke more</l>
<l> ¶ Þanne come þere a kyng · knyȝthod hym ladde</l>
<l> Miȝt of þe comunes · made hym to regne</l>
<l> And þanne cam kynde wytte · and clerkes he made</l>
<l> For to conseille þe kyng · and þe comune saue</l>
<l> ¶ The kyng and knyȝthode · and clergye bothe</l>
<l> Casten þat þe comune [·] shulde hem-self fynde</l>
<l> ¶ Þe comune contreued · of kynde witte craftes</l>
<l> And for profit of alle<note>Bx.P.119: <hi>of alle</hi>: LCrWCO, and probably beta, but MHmGF drop <hi>alle</hi>. There is no help from the revised line in <hi>Cx</hi>. We retain copy-text.</note> þe poeple · plowmen ordeygned</l>
<l> To tilie and [to] trauaile<note>Bx.P.120: <hi>to trauaile</hi>: All mss. have this second <hi>to</hi> except LCO. For the same pattern with initial "to", cf. <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.2.83-4</ref>, <ref>5.134</ref>, etc. This passage is dropped in <hi>C</hi>.</note> · as trewe lyf askeþ</l>
<l> Þe kynge and þe comune · and kynde witte þe thridde</l>
<l> Shope lawe & lewte · eche [lyf]<note>Bx.P.122: <hi>lyf</hi>: So F. Although the reading could derive from two lines above, it is probable that non-alliterating <hi>man</hi> is a substitution in beta.</note> to knowe his owne</l>
<l> ¶ Þanne loked vp a lunatik · a lene þing with-alle</l>
<l> And knelyng to þe kyng · clergealy he seyde</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.125: R begins with this line.</note> Crist kepe þe sire kyng · and þi kyngriche</l>
<l> And lene þe lede þi londe · so leute þe louye</l>
<l> And for þi riȝtful rewlyng · be rewarded in heuene</l>
<l> ¶ And sithen in þe eyre an hiegh · an angel of heuene</l>
<l> Lowed to speke in latyn · for lewed men ne coude</l>
<l> Iangle ne iugge · þat iustifie hem shulde</l>
<l> But suffren & seruen · for-thi seyde þe angel</l>
<l> <foreign>Sum Rex sum Princeps · neutrum fortasse deinceps</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>O qui iura regis · cristi specialia regis</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Hoc quod agas melius · iustus es esto pius</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Nudum ius<note>Bx.P.135: <hi><foreign>ius</foreign></hi>: Alpha picks up <hi>vis</hi> (in the sense "force") from the line below (where it means "you wish", from <hi>volo</hi>), and it is an easy minim error. Beta is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> a te · vestiri<note>Bx.P.135: <hi><foreign>vestiri</foreign></hi>: Alpha has <hi>vestire</hi>, but beta is supported by most <hi>C</hi> mss.</note> vult pietate</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Qualia vis metere · talia grana sere</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Si ius<note>Bx.P.137: <hi><foreign>ius</foreign></hi>: Alpha again has <hi>vis</hi>. See note to l. <ref>135</ref>.</note> nudatur · nudo de iure metatur ·</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Si seritur pietas · de pietate metas ·</foreign> </l>
<l> ¶ Thanne greued hym a Goliardeys · a glotoun of wordes</l>
<l> And to þe angel an heiȝ · answeres<note>Bx.P.140: <hi>answeres</hi>: All mss. except LR have the past tense following <hi>greued</hi>, though both MHm probably shared the present before correction. Lines 139-45 are not paralleled in <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> after</l>
<l> <foreign>Dum rex a regere · dicatur nomen habere</foreign></l>
<l> <foreign>Nomen habet sine re · nisi studet iura tenere ·</foreign></l>
<l> ¶ And<note>Bx.P.143: <hi>And</hi>: LRC only; others omit. Although this is strong evidence for <hi>Bx</hi>, it could of course be coincidental error.</note> þanne gan alle þe comune · crye in [a]<note>Bx.P.143: <hi>a</hi>: "one". R probably represents alpha, obscured by F's rewriting. Beta's omission loses the sense, "one line", referring to <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.P.145</ref>.</note> vers of latin</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.144: The line is omitted by alpha. The passage differs in <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> To þe kynges conseille · construe ho-so wolde</l>
<l> <foreign>Precepta Regis · sunt nobis vincula legis ·</foreign></l>
<l> ¶ Wiþ þat ran þere a route [·] of ratones at ones</l>
<l> And smale mys with<note>Bx.P.147: <hi>with</hi>: W has <hi>mid</hi>, an interesting case of scribal improvement to the alliteration. <hi>Cx</hi> also has <hi>with</hi>. Cf. <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.1.117</ref> and note.</note> hem [·] mo þen a þousande</l>
<l> And comen to a conseille · for here<note>Bx.P.148: <hi>here</hi>: LMCOR supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> comune profit</l>
<l> For a cat of a courte<note>Bx.P.149: <hi>courte</hi>: The reading of LCO and alpha is obviously right and supported by <hi>Cx</hi>. Beta2 (CrWHm), joined by G, read <hi>contree</hi>, either a simple misreading or avoidance of a politically sensitive reference. M's <hi>contre</hi> is a correction, but apparently just a respelling.</note> · cam whan hym lyked</l>
<l> And ouerlepe hem lyȝtlich · and lauȝte hem at his<note>Bx.P.150: <hi>his</hi>: omitted in F and also <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> wille</l>
<l> And pleyde wiþ hem perilouslych · and possed [hem]<note>Bx.P.151: <hi>hem </hi>(2): Supported by alpha (though F switches to first-person pronoun in both instances in the line), as well as by MCO. <hi>Cx</hi> includes <hi>hem</hi> in a revised b-verse.</note> aboute</l>
<l> For doute of dyuerse dredes · we dar nouȝte wel loke</l>
<l> And ȝif we grucche of<note>Bx.P.153: <hi>grucche of</hi>: "complain about". Alpha drops <hi>of</hi>, but beta is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> his gamen · he wil greue vs alle</l>
<l> Cracche vs or clowe vs · and in his cloches holde</l>
<l> That vs lotheth þe lyf · or he lete vs passe</l>
<l> Myȝte we wiþ any witte · his wille withstonde</l>
<l> We myȝte be lordes aloft · and lyuen at owre ese</l>
<l><note>Bx.P.158: <hi></hi>: The paraph is in beta and F. The line is at the top of the page in R.</note> A raton of renon [·] most renable of tonge</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.159: L has an otiose paraph. The line is at the top of the page.</note> Seide for a souereygne · help to hym-selue<note>Bx.P.159: <hi>hym-selue</hi>: Skeat (1886) translates: "`Said for a sovereign remedy for himself'; i.e. as far as himself was concerned". Alpha's <hi>hem alle</hi> is suspiciously easier, and credits the rat with a community spirit which he probably does not deserve. The line is not in <hi>Cx</hi>.</note></l>
<l> I haue ysein segges quod he · in þe cite of london</l>
<l> Beren biȝes ful briȝte · abouten here nekkes</l>
<l> And some colers of crafty werk [·] vncoupled þei wenden</l>
<l> Boþe in wareine & in waste · where hem leue lyketh<note>Bx.P.163: <hi>leue lyketh</hi>: So LCOR. F alters<hi>leue</hi> to the superlative, <hi>best</hi>; beta2 and G corrupt to the common phrase. CrWG switch to the past tense both here and in the previous line; the M corrector alters both verbs from present to past. </note></l>
<l> And otherwhile þei aren elles-where · as I here telle</l>
<l> Were þere a belle on here beiȝ · bi Ihesu as me thynketh</l>
<l> Men myȝte wite where þei went · and awei renne</l>
<l> And riȝt so quod þat ratoun · reson me sheweth</l>
<l> To bugge a belle of brasse · or of briȝte syluer</l>
<l> And knitten [it]<note>Bx.P.169: <hi>it</hi>: LCGO omit, and M adds. Probably lost by beta and supplied by individual scribes. <hi>Cx</hi> also reads <hi>hit</hi>.</note> on a colere · for owre comune profit</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.170: The line is lost in beta2 (CrWHm) and G.</note> And hangen it vp-on þe cattes hals · þanne here we mowen</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.171-72: Alpha omits two lines as a result of eyeskip.</note> Where he ritt or rest · or renneth<note>Bx.P.171: <hi>renneth</hi>: Y has the <hi>C</hi> reading <hi>rometh</hi>, by contamination or coincidence.</note> to playe</l>
<l> And ȝif him list for to laike · þenne loke we mowen</l>
<l> And peren in his presence · þer-while hym plaie liketh</l>
<l> And ȝif him wrattheth be ywar · and his weye shonye</l>
<l> ¶ Alle þis<note>Bx.P.175: <hi>þis</hi> (1): Beta is supported by the X family of <hi>C</hi>, alpha's <hi>þe</hi> by the P family.</note> route of ratones · to þis reson þei assented</l>
<l> Ac þo þe belle was ybouȝt<note>Bx.P.176: <hi>ybouȝt</hi>: Beta2 and G read <hi>(y)brouȝt</hi>. The P family of <hi>C</hi> have the former, most of the X family the latter.</note> · and on þe beiȝe hanged</l>
<l> Þere ne was ratoun in alle þe route · for alle þe rewme of Fraunce</l>
<l> Þat dorst haue ybounden þe belle · aboute þe cattis nekke</l>
<l> Ne hangen [it]<note>Bx.P.179: <hi>it</hi>: Omitted by LG and added in M, but supported by <hi>Cx</hi>. As in l. <ref>169</ref> it was probably lost by beta and supplied by individual scribes.</note> aboute [his]<note>Bx.P.179: <hi>his</hi>: Beta has <hi>þe cattes</hi>, but the alpha reading is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> hals · al Engelonde to wynne</l>
<l> And helden hem vnhardy · and here conseille feble</l>
<l> And leten here laboure lost · & alle here longe studye</l>
<l> ¶ A mous þat moche good · couthe as me thouȝte</l>
<l> Stroke forth sternly · and stode biforn hem alle</l>
<l> And to þe route of ratones · reherced þese wordes</l>
<l> Thouȝ we [had] culled<note>Bx.P.185: <hi>had culled</hi>: Beta2 (CrWHm) and G have the present tense, other beta mss. the past, and alpha the pluperfect, as does <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> þe catte · ȝut sholde þer come an-other</l>
<l> To cracchy<note>Bx.P.186: <hi>cracchy</hi>: As in <hi>Cx</hi>. M alters to <hi>cacche</hi>, the reading of beta2, G and F.</note> vs and al owre kynde · þouȝ we croupe<note>Bx.P.186: <hi>croupe</hi>: The various spellings of the verb may all be understood as past tense, "crept".</note> vnder benches</l>
<l> For-þi I conseille alle þe comune · to lat þe catte worthe</l>
<l> And be we neuer so bolde · þe belle hym to shewe</l>
<l> For I herde my sire seyn · is seuene ȝere ypassed</l>
<l> Þere þe catte is a kitoun · þe courte is ful elyng</l>
<l> Þat witnisseth holiwrite · who-so wil it rede</l>
<l> <foreign>Ve terre vbi puer [est rex]<note>Bx.P.192: <hi><foreign>est rex</foreign></hi>: The order in HmOR and <hi>Cx</hi>; reversed in others. Scribes tend to copy quotations in the form with which they are familiar.</note> &c</foreign></l>
<l> For may no renke þere rest haue · for ratones bi nyȝte</l>
<l> Þe while he caccheþ conynges · he coueiteth nouȝt owre caroyne</l>
<l> But fet hym al with venesoun · defame we hym neuere</l>
<l> For better is a litel losse · þan a longe sorwe</l>
<l> Þe mase amonge vs alle · þouȝ we mysse a schrewe</l>
<l> For many mannus<note>Bx.P.198: <hi>mannus</hi>: The gen. sg. of LMCR is supported by <hi>Cx</hi> against the plural of others.</note> malt · we mys wolde destruye</l>
<l> And also ȝe<note>Bx.P.199: <hi>ȝe</hi>: LMW + alpha; among <hi>C</hi> mss. the P family has <hi>ȝe</hi> and the X family <hi>þe</hi>.</note> route of ratones · rende mennes clothes</l>
<l> Nere þ[e] cat of þ[e]<note>Bx.P.200: <hi>þe ... þe</hi>: So HmGF and <hi>Cx</hi>; MCrW have <hi>þe ... þat</hi>, reversed in R; LO have <hi>þat ... þat</hi>. No certainty is possible.</note> courte · þat can ȝow ouerlepe</l>
<l> For had ȝe rat[ones]<note>Bx.P.201: <hi>ratones</hi>: The form in alpha and G, supported by <hi>Cx</hi> against <hi>rattes</hi> in others.</note> ȝowre wille · ȝe couthe nouȝt reule ȝowre-selue</l>
<l> I sey [it]<note>Bx.P.202: <hi>sey it</hi>: R is supported by <hi>Cx</hi>. F has <hi>sey þis</hi>, and beta drops <hi>it</hi>.</note> for me quod þe mous · I se so mykel after</l>
<l> Shal neuer þe cat ne þe kitoun · bi my conseille be greued</l>
<l> Ne carpyng of þis coler · þat costed me neure</l>
<l> And þouȝ it coste<note>Bx.P.205: <hi>coste</hi>: Beta's <hi>had coste</hi> is not supported by <hi>Cx</hi>.</note> me catel · biknowen it I nolde</l>
<l> But suffre as hym-self wolde · to do as<note>Bx.P.206: <hi>do as</hi>: F's <hi>slen what</hi> shows his propensity to correct alliteration. The line is rewritten in <hi>Cx</hi>. See Schmidt (1995), 364-5.</note> hym liketh</l>
<l> Coupled & vncoupled · to cacche what thei mowe</l>
<l> For-þi<note>Bx.P.208: <hi>For-þi</hi>: The beta reading. R has <hi>For</hi>, F has <hi>&</hi>. The line is not in <hi>AC</hi>.</note> vche a wise wiȝte I warne · wite wel his owne</l>
<l> ¶ What þis meteles bemeneth · ȝe men þat be merye</l>
<l> Deuine ȝe for I ne dar · bi dere god in heuene</l>
<l> ¶ Ȝit houed þere an hondreth · in houues of selke</l>
<l> Seriauntz it semed · þat serueden atte barre</l>
<l> Plededen for penyes · and poundes þe lawe</l>
<l> And nouȝt for loue of owre lorde · vnlese<note>Bx.P.214: <hi>vnlese</hi>: LR, so good evidence for <hi>Bx</hi>. Formally a different verb from <hi>vnlose</hi> (<title>MED</title> <hi>vnlesen</hi> v.(2) and <hi>unlosen</hi>). <hi>A</hi> mss. also vary, but <hi>Cx</hi> (RK.P.164) has the latter. At <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.17.142</ref> the reading is <hi>vnlosen</hi>.</note> here lippes onis</l>
<l> Þow myȝtest better mete myste<note>Bx.P.215: <hi>myste</hi>: So alpha + WG and the X family of <hi>C</hi>. Other mss. supply <hi>þe</hi>, as the scribe of O does. <hi>A</hi> mss. are split.</note> · on maluerne hulles</l>
<l> Þan gete a momme of here mouthe · [er]<note>Bx.P.216: <hi>er</hi>: LMCO support for <hi>but</hi> suggests this is the reading of beta, though comparison of <hi>AC</hi> versions suggests that the choice lies between alpha <hi>er</hi> and <hi>til</hi> in beta2 and G. The X family of <hi>C</hi> has the former, but most <hi>A</hi> mss. read <hi>til</hi>, as does the P family of <hi>C</hi>. We suppose <hi>til</hi> arises by contamination or coincidence.</note> monoy [be]<note>Bx.P.216: <hi>be</hi>: So beta2, GOF (R has <hi>hem by</hi>), against <hi>were</hi> in LMC. <hi>Ax</hi> seems to have <hi>be</hi> (K.P.89); the P family of <hi>C</hi> also have <hi>be</hi>, though the X family probably read <hi>wer</hi> (RK.P.166).</note> shewed</l>
<l> ¶ Barones an burgeis · and bonde-men als</l>
<l> I seiȝ in þis assemble · as ȝe shul here after</l>
<l> Baxsteres & brewesteres · and bocheres manye</l>
<l> Wollewebsteres · and weueres of lynnen</l>
<l> Taillours and tynkeres · & tolleres in marketes</l>
<l> Masons and mynours · and many other craftes</l>
<l> Of alkin<note>Bx.P.223: <hi>alkin</hi>: The beta reading has force in a list of labourers, but it is challenged by alpha's <hi>alle</hi>, shared by Z (Bodley 851). <hi>AC</hi> versions do not have the line.</note> libbyng laboreres · lopen forth somme</l>
<l> As dykers & delueres · þat doth here dedes ille</l>
<l> And dryuen forth þe dere<note>Bx.P.225: <hi>dere</hi>: The choice is not obvious. The fact that L has <hi>dere</hi> and that M's <hi>longe</hi> is a correction (apparently of a shorter word) suggests the possibility that beta1 derives <hi>longe</hi> by contamination with <hi>A</hi> or by coincidental error. Alpha is uncertain: F's <hi>fayre day</hi> has no support, but R's <hi>here dayes here</hi> is supported by <hi>Cx</hi> <hi>her days</hi>. See Donaldson (1955), 197. We retain copy-text by default.</note> day · with <foreign>dieu vous<note>Bx.P.225: <hi><foreign>vous</foreign></hi>: So <hi>Bx</hi>, though omitted by CrWG, <hi>Ax</hi> and the P family of <hi>C</hi>.</note> saue dame Emme ·</foreign></l>
<l> [¶]<note>Bx.P.226: Alpha and W here start a paragraph (the line is at the top of the page in M).</note> Cokes and here knaues · crieden hote pies hote</l>
<l> Gode gris a<note>Bx.P.227: <hi>a</hi>: "and", as also at <ref><hi>Bx</hi>.7.104</ref>, <ref>8.53</ref>, <ref>13.88</ref> etc. See <title>MED</title> <hi>a</hi> conj.</note> gees<note>Bx.P.227: <hi>gris ... gees</hi>: this order has the support of LMC + alpha, but is challenged by <hi>AC</hi>.</note> · go we dyne go we</l>
<l> ¶ Tauerners vn-til hem · tolde þe same</l>
<l> White wyn of Oseye · and wyn<note>Bx.P.229: <hi>wyn</hi> (2): Beta reads <hi>red wyn</hi>, making explicit the contrast with <hi>White wyn</hi> in the a-verse. Alpha omits the adjective (R's b-verse, though defective, is also that of the P family of <hi>C</hi>), as do the <hi>AC</hi> versions.</note> of Gascoigne</l>
<l> Of þe Ryne and of<note>Bx.P.230: <hi>of</hi> (2): Beta is supported by <hi>AC</hi>.</note> þe Rochel · þe roste to defye</l>
<l> <note>Bx.P.231: The line is omitted in WF. It is in <hi>AC</hi>.</note> Al þis seiȝ I slepyng · and seuene sythes more</l>