Introduction to the Electronic Edition of the B-Version Archetype of Piers Plowman (Bx)
I. Nature of the Edition
The edition aims to establish the archetypal readings of the witnesses to the B-version of Piers Plowman. This unusual procedure is justified by the nature of the B-version tradition and critical perceptions of it. We shall argue that the readings of the B archetype (henceforth Bx) can be established with certainty in the majority of lines. In the great edition by Kane-Donaldson, the editors maintained that all manuscripts of the B-version were pervasively corrupt and that the archetype was itself a highly corrupt text of Langland's B-version. The medium of print did not give them sufficient space or means to distinguish conjectural emendation from emendation based on attested readings, or to discuss adequately the arguments against the received text and in favour of their preferred reading. It is not always easy to see what the Bx reading actually is, and so it is easy to agree with the editors that Bx was irrecoverable by the traditional process of recension. Electronic publication gives us the opportunity of unpacking Kane-Donaldson's work and of attempting to determine, we hope relatively uncontroversially, the readings of Bx, as a preparation for the final step of seeking to establish an inevitably controversial critical text of Piers Plowman. It gives us space to assess the merits of individual variant readings and to express hesitation where we feel it. It is not our purpose to correct Bx, and we only comment where corruption there has a bearing on the interpretation of the text or to offer justification for accepting a manifestly wrong reading. For what it is at this stage worth, we are of the opinion that Bx, though inevitably containing errors,NFor examples see notes to Bx.13.429, 15.387, 18.323-6. Contrast Schmidt (2008), 154: "The archetypal B-Text contains some 600 major and minor errors." Both Kane and Donaldson and Schmidt dismiss many readings on metrical grounds. is not a hopeless representative of Langland's B-version. But even if it is very corrupt, we hope at least to offer a reliable base for a critical edition.
II. The Stemma
II.1 Alpha and Beta
The practice of recension as the basis of editing is sometimes called into question on two principal grounds. The first is purely practical: that the relationship between witnesses may be so thoroughly obscured by contamination and coincidental variation that it is impossible to establish the stemma. The second is a more fundamental objection: that since the relationships can only be established on the basis of identifying erroneous readings, the stemma is not a tool for the editor but a product of the edition. We find the first objection surmountable and the second invalid. A number of scribes of Piers Plowman certainly consulted more than one text of the poem, leading to contamination, and scribes tended to make the same kinds of mistake, leading to coincidental error. However, L and R, being the best representatives of the two hyparchetypes, respectively beta and alpha, establish, where they agree, many unquestionably Bx readings, and this gives us confidence that we can identify non-archetypal readings in most cases. Having thus established the manuscript relationships on the basis of shared error, we can use the stemma to guide us in cases where the direction of error is less certain. We differ from Kane and Donaldson in that we find no evidence that any manuscript offers readings derived from a putative pre-archetypal stage.
In its essential features, the stemma of the B-version was in fact established by Kane and Donaldson (1975), and their collations were refined by Schmidt (1995, 2008),NSchmidt (2008) appeared at a late stage in our editing. While we have taken account of the relevant sections of the Introduction, we continue to cite the textual notes from Schmidt (1995) on the grounds that these are easier for the reader to use, since they refer to the B-text alone, and in any case are more widely accessible. We comment occasionally on substantive revisions to the notes. and further by Adams (2000). It has two independent branches, alpha (represented by R and F) and beta (the remaining manuscripts). The majority of the beta witnesses derive from a hyparchetype, beta1, and may be grouped as [BmBoCot][GY(OC2)C][Cr(WHm)]. L is independent of beta1, while M, though corrected from a CrWHm-family exemplar, is essentially an independent witness for the first part of the poem (see III.2). Beta2 consists of CrWHm, beta3 of WHm alone, beta4 of GYOC2CBmBoCot, beta5 of BmBoCot. Although some of the details are uncertain, Adams supplies us with the following stemma (modifying Schmidt's and slightly revising his own published version):I
Although Kane and Donaldson's collations actually establish a stemma, their view was that "the extreme frequency of convergent variation in the transmission of Piers Plowman manuscripts" obliged them to adopt the "direct method" of editing. They maintained that such frequent convergent variation "is the only possible explanation of the many random agreements of these manuscripts" (p. 63). We believe, on the contrary, that the majority of agreements in error are genetic. Like Kane and Donaldson, Schmidt is in principle (though less so in practice) committed to the "direct method," so that, even though he gives a diagram of the stemma, he says that it "has no claim to be a stemma," and again refers to "extensive contamination" (Schmidt , p. lvi, and cf. Schmidt , 126-7). We have found that convergent variation by coincidental substitution is no more or less prevalent than in the scribal traditions of other Middle English texts, and that contamination is not a feature of the best manuscripts and is generally identifiable in the others. In short, establishing the text of Bx presents no difficulties peculiar to Piers Plowman.
As demonstrated by Adams (2000), the two key witnesses are L and R. Skeat was so impressed by the quality of L that he at first thought it might be Langland's holograph, and Kane and Donaldson, though choosing W as their copy-text, recognised the "superior originality" of L (p. 214). We believe the L scribe to be a remarkably accurate copyist of the beta hyparchetype, uncontaminated by either of the other versions of the poem. Of the only two alpha manuscripts, F is a very eccentric text that reflects the activity of a scribe reshaping his text in both broad features and individual details, and one who had access at certain points to a text of A and probably also of C. We see no evidence to support the view that F had access to a manuscript of B anterior to Bx as argued by Kane and Donaldson (pp. 165-72); see e.g. note to Bx.14.25. Luckily R is as accurate a representation of alpha as L is of beta, and one mark of this is the occasional willingness of the scribe to transmit nonsense from the alpha hyparchetype. As with L, we see no evidence of contamination from AC versions. It follows that agreement of L and R is very strong evidence for Bx.NFor an extreme case of this, see note to Bx.2.121. Unfortunately R has three major gaps as a result of lost leaves, and here F stands alone. Where R has lost text, we have to fall back on F as a very insecure witness to the alpha hyparchetype.
Where the text of R conflicts with that of F, the only other alpha witness, its reading can often be seen to be the origin of F's invention or misunderstanding (see notes to Bx.10.388, 13.110, 14.151, 17.110, 20.265), so confirming R's fidelity to alpha. In the beta tradition, agreement of L with M's original text against all other witnesses is generally sufficient to establish the hyparchetypal reading, though M is heavily corrected from another beta manuscript, so that its original readings, where they can be recovered, need to be distinguished from its revisions. In principle the single witness of either L or M can represent beta against all the other manuscripts. Disagreement between L and M brings the remaining beta manuscripts into play. Cr1WHm form a close group derived from a reasonably good text, beta2, with Crowley's print Cr1 as its most reliable witness, although account has to be taken of its modernisations and Crowley's access to C-text manuscripts. The much less faithful beta4 is represented by GYOC as well as C2, probably a direct copy of O. Apart from C2, which has no independent authority, G is the least useful of this group, a sixteenth-century manuscript showing conflation with AC and introducing quite a number of independent revisions and modernisations. We have not found that the beta5 derivatives BmBoCot offer useful evidence in constructing Bx, and while we have considered their readings at every point, we have not displayed them. Although we have examined the variant readings of all the Bx witnesses, we display and in general cite the readings of only the ten manuscripts LMCr1WHmGOCRF, in that order.
In addition to evidence drawn from stemmatic relationships, readings that are scribal can generally be identified by the usual characteristics of reversion to a commonplace or easier reading, adoption of a prose word-order, omission and misunderstanding. By the use of this "direct method" as well as genetic evidence, the establishment of the alpha and beta hyparchetypes is generally pretty straightforward except where R's text is lost and the determination of alpha depends upon the very unreliable F. We have taken agreement of alpha and beta as conclusive evidence for the readings of Bx.
II.2 Rolling Revision?
The difficulty is greater where alpha and beta lections are divided, since they are of equal standing for the establishment of Bx. In these circumstances, corroboration of one or other may be provided by the support of one or both of the other versions of the poem. This needs to be distinguished from the process for which the Athlone edition has been criticised, that is, importing readings of A and/or C into their critical text of the B-version. Only in those cases where alpha and beta, the two prime witnesses of the B tradition, are in disagreement are we justified in looking in the other traditions for support for one over the other so far as Bx is concerned.
A significant difference between alpha and beta is the absence of lines and longer passages from one or the other: alpha lacks 37 such units that are recorded in beta, and beta lacks 45 in alpha, a total of nearly 200 lines absent from each. All but one are listed in Kane and Donaldson, pp. 66-9, who regard them as accidental omissions usually caused by eyeskip (p. 65). Kane and Donaldson point to the likelihood of scribes skipping from paraph to paraph, which we regard as a major factor in very many cases, but, since they do not record paraphs in their edition, critics have focussed on their additional explanations of other kinds of eyeskip, some of which are unconvincing (Hanna , 219-22, Schmidt , 148-9). Partly for this reason, the view that at least some of these alpha- and beta-only passages represent "rolling revision" has gained currency.
Advocates of "rolling revision," that is, sporadic alteration by the author over a period of time, might argue that a B-text containing both these alpha and beta passages conflates (as traditional editions of King Lear are said to do) two distinct states of the text into a single version that never existed. However, the C reviser quite certainly had both in the B-text on which he worked. Of the 37 alpha-only lines and passages listed by Kane and Donaldson, 27 are either reproduced or developed in C; of the remaining 10, most are lost in more extensive cuts. The figures for beta-only passages are similar: 36 are reproduced or developed, nine are lost. It appears that for the C-poet these materials were all simply part of his B-text, to be preserved, changed or dropped like the rest.
This seems a strong argument in favour of the Athlone interpretation of the evidence, viz. that both alpha-only and beta-only passages were present in Bx, with some of them lost in the alpha hyparchetype and some in that of beta. But there are difficulties. It has been objected that such extensive omissions in both alpha and beta posit two copyists more careless than any of the Piers scribes whose work is extant. Furthermore, the distribution of the alpha-only passages is remarkable, since the first of them occurs as late as Bx.10.82-3. Kane informed us in a private communication that he and Donaldson once entertained, on other grounds, the possibility that a second scribe took over in the copying of the beta hyparchetype, and that such a change of scribe might explain the distribution of omissions. There are other possible ways of explaining this. Since almost all the alpha-only passages occur in the B continuation, it may be that this part of the archetypal manuscript was in a much more rough and ready state, having revisions entered in margins and on loose sheets, so that the alpha and beta copyists each overlooked some of the additions. It must be significant that none of the alpha- and beta-only passages represent alternative versions, for surely this is an argument against "rolling revision"?
On the other hand, there is nothing inherently improbable about "rolling revision," as Hanna (1996), 222-3, describes it: "even after B version 'publication,' but before embarking on the major overhaul that produced the C version, Langland continued to tinker." If he thus altered his house-copy bit by bit over a period of time, this manuscript might have served the scribes of alpha and beta and the poet of C as copy-text at different stages of its revision. Hanna (1996), 215-29, in a discussion that makes a powerful argument for "rolling revision," offers a detailed hypothesis as to how this might have happened (esp. 223-5). It is not a new idea. Skeat (1869), xii, first suggested that beta was the earlier copy of the text, while Donaldson (1955) initially argued that the alpha copy came first, in an article that makes some shrewd points. More recent interest in the mouvance of texts has given added impetus to such hypotheses, though Schmidt (2008), 149-51, opposes it with considerable vehemence. The curious fact of the late entry of beta's omitted passages might be explained as a consequence of "rolling revision": the passages were not part of the text when the beta scribe had access to the house-copy, and he copied faithfully enough; but the more careless alpha scribe, making his copy at a stage when revisions had been entered, lost (by eyeskip, loose sheets that had been mislaid, or whatever) passages distributed throughout the text.
In whatever way the alpha- and beta-only passages are explained, the fact remains that both types of passages figure in the B-text upon which the C-poet worked, and to that extent the editor of Bx is justified in including them all.
This issue of the additional passages in either alpha or beta needs to be kept distinct from a matter more troubling for the editor: the variant alpha and beta readings of a word or phrase. In this case the editor is faced with alternatives rather than additions. Some, no doubt the majority, represent misreadings in one hyparchetype or the other, and comparison with AC versions will provide evidence of support for one or the other. However, in a small number of cases the readings of one hyparchetype will be supported by one of the other versions, and that of the other text by the other version. Alpha may thus be supported by Ax and beta by Cx, or more commonly vice versa. Since we see no evidence for contamination of either hyparchetype with the other versions, such shared readings must represent either coincidental error or authorial revision.
To take a clear example: in Bx.1.46, beta (L) reads:
Ac the moneye of þis molde . þat men so faste holdethAlpha (R) has the same line but with kepeth in place of holdeth. Such variation of synonyms looks typically scribal, except that AC have exactly the same line, with A agreeing with beta and C with alpha. Of course, alpha and C could share coincidental error, especially as it is not easy to see Langland as the sort of poet who would fuss over such an apparently inconsequential change. Yet the whole passage is full of such small alterations to C, especially in b-verses; indeed the very next line presents another example:
Telle me to whom Madame . þat tresore appendeth (Bx.1.47; so also K.1.43)The last word corresponds to bylongeth in C. In this line, however, alpha shares the beta reading so that Bx is not in doubt. Bx.1.84 is in A and beta, but is dropped in alpha and C. Most apparent instances of A/beta agreements against alpha/C are far more trivial, with such variation as bouȝte / he bouȝte (Bx.5.225), He is / is (5.602), and for / of (5.620).
Perhaps Bx.10.198 provides an example of the reverse, A/alpha agreement against beta/C. A has a b-verse deficient in alliteration:
Leue lelly þeron ȝif þou þenke do wel (K.11.144).Alpha's b-verse is almost identical:
Loue þou lelly if þou thenke do wel (as R; F reads þynke to).Beta, however, has a correctly alliterating line:
Loke þow loue lelly ȝif þe lyketh dowel.This seems to lie behind the revised C-version:
Lerne for to louie yf þe like dowel (RK.11.133).Yet there are so few instances of A/alpha agreements against beta/C, and the A/alpha reading is so obviously inferior, that we suppose it more likely that alpha presents a coincidental error here.
In theory the editor is presented with an insoluble problem in such cases: once "rolling revision" of individual lections is admitted, it must follow that any alpha reading could be a revision and, especially after passus 10 when the A-text ends, "all unique RF readings present in C could be argued to reflect the intermediate version" (Hanna , 229).NSo, too, Adams (2002), 115: "Conservative editors might see the situation as theoretically hopeless: that is, if R/F were to be regarded as embodying a distinctive, somewhat later (or earlier), authorial moment than beta, we would not be able to draw the line at the few large patches of apparently added or deleted materials but would have to accept every tiny pair of alpha/beta variants as potential evidence of fluctuating authorial purposes. Nevertheless, whatever may be true in theory, in actuality the vast majority of small variations between R/F and beta are readily distinguishable (i.e. not textually neutral at all)." Hanna goes on to point out that though this is a logical possibility, it is not in practice a serious problem for the editor of the B continuation, who must inevitably take agreement of either alpha or beta variant with Cx as strong evidence in its favour. Also inevitably, there may be a few occasions when the editor of B will be rejecting an unrevised reading and adopting a lection from the later version. Yet Hanna, who is an advocate for "rolling revision," concludes: "The poet made some extensive additions to his fair-copy version, but in doing so, he seems almost never to have queried its standing readings" (Hanna , 229). In fact to the end of Passus 10 we find no convincing instances of A/alpha agreement against beta/C, and fewer than thirty instances of A/beta agreement against alpha/C, and many of these can easily be explained as coincidental variation.NFor beta = Ax / alpha = Cx, see notes to Bx.1.46, 1.73, 1.84, 1.126, 1.139, 2.110, 2.156, 2.202, 3.8, 3.32, 3.156, 3.215, 5.129, 5.225, 5.617, 5.641, 6.46, 6.54, 6.83, 6.92, 6.315, 8.59, 9.10, 9.20, 10.76, 10.156, 10.185. In all these cases we present both readings hypertextually, as described in V.3.2 below. For beta = Cx / alpha = Ax, see notes to: Bx.1.72, 9.132, 10.146, 10.198, 10.416. Only in the first of these cases do we think the evidence compelling enough to present both readings.
III. The Bx Witnesses
The manuscripts are described in order of their citation, LMCr1WHmCGORF, followed more briefly by those not regularly cited, YC2BmBoCotHS. Dates and dialects are from Hanna (1993), 39-40. See also Doyle (1986), 35-48.
III.1 L: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 581, ff. 1r-91r.
Edited Hoyt N. Duggan and Ralph Hanna, PPEA, vol. 4 (2004).
s. xiv ex.; SW Worcs relict forms. Duggan-Hanna (Introduction, section III) suggest that the manuscript was actually written in London.
The text is divided by blue paraphs with blank lines between them. (There are no paraphs on f. 1r because there is a red and blue spray along the left margin.) Latin lines and words are boxed in red. The half-line is generally marked with a raised point, though with a punctus elevatus in the opening 25 lines and occasionally thereafter. The punctuation is quite often overlooked by the scribe.
L evidently offers a very careful and accurate copy of beta; in passus 6, for instance, we identify only three certain (Bx.6.9, 32, 207) and three probable (Bx.6.139, 247, 332) departures from beta, all of them minor. Sometimes (but not as often as R) the scribe is content to copy obvious nonsense (e.g. Bx.11.357). The scribe has corrected his own mistakes and supplied omissions at the time of copying. A supervisor has subsequently marked lines for correction with a small <+> in the margin for the attention of the original scribe, although on many occasions the correction was never made. Some of these marks apparently record objection to spellings such as a for as and an for and. Later hands have for some reason marked lines or passages with large crosses. Still mainly legible are the scribe's marginal instructions for the rubricator as a guide to passus headings, which the rubricator often abbreviated (see IV.2 below).
Schmidt (1995), lxvii-iii, argues that L provides independent witness of the B-text citing the following lines (on which see our notes): Bx.14.194, 275, 15.643, 16.28, 18.204, 19.38, 20.6. He postulates that L shares error with R or alpha, where other beta manuscripts offer the correct reading, but in the following lines he discusses we take L + R probably to represent Bx: Bx.5.267, 10.291 (a Bx error), 11.139 (possibly Bx), 14.116 (perhaps Bx), 18.41 (probably Bx). We suppose the following to be easy coincidental error: 13.355 (or for of), 13.402 (omission of I in LR, but possibly a Bx error), 18.208 (again omission of I in LR). In Bx.13.166 alpha and L coincidentally misread deme as sen, but the L scribe spotted the misreading and corrected it. For fuller discussion see our notes to these lines.
III.2 M: London, British Library, MS Additional 35287, ff. 1r-104r.
Edited Eric Eliason, Thorlac Turville-Petre, and Hoyt N. Duggan, PPEA, vol. 5 (2005).
s. xv in.; SW Midl dialect.
The text is divided into verse paragraphs with blank spaces between (as in LWRY), but no coloured paraphs were added. Latin lines are generally boxed in red or in text ink. The original scribe usually punctuated with a mid-line raised point, but the corrector commonly altered this to a punctus elevatus for the first half of the text (up to the middle of passus 13).
M's textual relationships are more complex than the stemma can indicate. For much of the poem its text is relatively independent of other beta witnesses. A good example is Bx.5.209 ware LMR, supported by AC, against chaffare in beta1. Yet there are sporadic indications as early as passus 13 and 14 that M inherited errors shared with beta1; see e.g. notes to Bx.13.78, 13.296, 13.314, 14.1, 14.158, 16.53. In the last four passus M switches exemplar to a beta2 copy, showing affiliations with Cr1WHm. Its text has subsequently been very extensively revised, with corrections from a beta2 text and perhaps other copies as well, although the majority of its revisions are spelling changes to bring the forms into line with those used by sophisticated London scribes such as the W scribe (Turville-Petre , 41-65). For the argument that the corrector is the W scribe, see Horobin (2009). Crucially for our purposes, M is independent of L, so that they cannot inherit wrong readings against correct readings in other beta manuscripts. They can, of course, and frequently do, uniquely share right readings with alpha against all other beta manuscripts.
III.3 Cr: The printed editions of Robert Crowley, STC 19906, 19907a, 19907. London 1550.
References are to the first edition (Cr1). Hailey (2007), 143-70, discusses the alterations in Crowley's second and third editions (listing them on pp. 165-70).
Crowley makes it clear in his Preface that he has consulted manuscripts of the C-version, and the lines he quotes (RK.8.348-9) share the readings of the early 16th-century manuscript, London, BL Royal 18 B.xvii (a text of the P family). For instance, he adds a C-text line after Bx.3.30.
Crowley uses syntactic punctuation, with a comma to mark pauses within the line, and sometimes full-stops at the end of the line. The line is indented at the start of a paragraph. The text is the best representative of beta2, but with some contamination from C.NSee Hailey (2008), 153 and n. 25.
III.4 W: Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17, ff. 1r-130v.
Edited Thorlac Turville-Petre and Hoyt N. Duggan, PPEA, vol. 2 (2000).
s. xiv ex. London.
Paraphs (more than in any other text) alternate in red and blue, with a blank line between paragraphs, as in LMRY. Latin lines and words are in enlarged script and usually enclosed in a red box. The scribe uses a very regular raised point in mid line.
W is a fully professional metropolitan production. The presentation of the text, including its spellings and grammatical forms, conforms very systematically to the best London practice, as in the Ellesmere-Hengwrt scribe of the Canterbury Tales (see PPEA, vol. 2 , Introduction, Linguistic Description). Horobin and Mooney (2004), 65-112, argue that the scribe of W and Ellesmere-Hengwrt are one and the same, Adam Pinkhurst. W's text is a reasonably good beta2 copy, though readings peculiar to W are not infrequent.
III.5 Hm, Hm2: San Marino, Huntington Library, MS 128 (olim Ashburnham 130), ff.96r-v, 95r (Hm2), 113r-205r (Hm).
Edited Michael Calabrese, Hoyt N. Duggan, and Thorlac Turville-Petre, PPEA, vol. 6 (2008).
s. xv in. SW Warwicks. (LALME, LP 8040).
There are two main text scribes, hand1 copies up to Bx.2.210 and hand2 the rest. Paraphs are in red and blue; the scribes do not leave blank lines. Latin lines are written in text ink without boxing or underlining. Hand1 begins with a raised point at mid line but switches to punctus elevatus at Bx.P.177; hand2 generally uses a raised point.
Hm belongs to the beta2 group, with Cr and W. The scribes are often careless, and have corrected their own work quite heavily. In addition, the rubricator of the manuscript has made numerous corrections, and a corrector or correctors has made hundreds of alterations to spelling (see Turville-Petre , 41-65]. A major disruption has caused the reversal of Bx.11.445-12.93 and 11.113-226.
III.6 C: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.1.17, part 3, ff. 1r-31r.
Latin lines are in enlarged script and often underlined in red. Paraphs are in alternating red and blue. The mid-line punctuation is generally a raised point. With GOC2YBmBoCot, C is a beta4 text.
III.7 G: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.4.31, ff. 1r-101r.
Edited Judith Jefferson, PPEA, vol. 8 (2011).
In later passus, particularly 19-20, the scribe uses a mid-line solidus, and in earlier passus some have been added in brown ink. There are no paraphs, but enlarged capitals, used at the beginning of each passus, also occur fourteen times at significant junctures.
The text is contaminated from A and perhaps also from C, with such contaminated readings sometimes in clusters: e.g. Bx.1.8 wilne, G and A kepe; 1.98 transgressores, G and A (and the P family of C) trespacers; 1.102 wolden al, G and A asketh þe; 1.210 þe, G and AC syght off thes; 5.509 fresshe, G and the X family of C flessche &. Table of contents on 101v-103r (Jefferson, 2010).
III.8 O: Oxford, Oriel College, MS 79, part 1, ff. 1r-88r.
Edited Katherine Heinrichs, PPEA, vol. 3 (2004).
s. xv1. N Herts (LALME LP 6550).
Latin lines are underlined in red and are sometimes placed in the margin, especially after Bx.10.119. Paraphs are indicated by "cc" in ff. 1r-17v (up to Bx.5.80), sporadically in ff. 18r-38v, and after that not at all. The scribe uses a mid-line punctus elevatus.
III.9 R: London, BL MS Lansdowne 398, ff. 77r-80v, and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Poetry 38, ff. 1r-101v.
Edited Robert Adams, PPEA, vol. 7 (2011).
s. xiv ex.; SW Worcs relict forms.
Samuels (1985), 232-47, notes its "south-west Worcestershire dialect" relict forms. Hanna (1996), 40, supposes "several stages of copying; in succession: SW Worcestershire, London, Suffolk." It might be observed that this mix could have been achieved by a Suffolk scribe copying an authorial blend of London and SWMidl. dialects, and need not imply a long chain of copies. The punctuation is generally a mid-line punctus elevatus and often a punctus at the end of the line. There are some paraphs in alternating red and blue, but many are indicated only by "cc". A blank space is left between paragraphs (as in LMWY).
R is a professionally produced manuscript by an extremely literal-minded scribe providing a very accurate copy of alpha and rarely tempted to improve on his exemplar, to the extent that he will copy nonsense (e.g. Bx.10.291, 17.110), and let an implication of homosexuality stand (Bx.5.594). Unfortunately the manuscript has lost the following passages: Bx.P.1-124, 1.142-2.41, 18.428-20.26. In his edition (2011), Adams provides detailed annotations on the relationships of R's text.
III.10 F: Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 201, ff. 1r-93r.
Edited Robert Adams, et al., PPEA, vol. 1 (2000).
s. xiv/xv; Essex (LALME, LP 6110).
F is written by an Essex scribe, using vellum of very variable quality with many singletons, perhaps indicating a limited supply in the area. Yet it was not a cheap production, since it uniquely has an illustration within the first capital. Paraphs are first in red and green, later in red and blue, others indicated but not executed. The scribe uses a mid-line solidus. He also copied the Prick of Conscience, fragments of which are preserved as Ushaw College, Durham, MS 50 (see PPEA, vol. 1 , Appendix, and Doyle ).
The text of Piers is a heavily revised version of alpha, so much altered that Skeat discarded it. For a characterisation of the work of the F-Redactor who produced the text that the F scribe copied, see PPEA, vol. 1 (2000), Introduction. The F-Redactor divides the poem into 16 passus, and by discarding the two inner dreams has ten dreams instead of eight (PPEA, vol. 1 , Presentation of Text: Levels of Inscription  The F Redaction, chart). We accept the argument made by Schmidt (1995), lxiii-iv, that F is at times contaminated from a text of A; Bx.1.75 provides a clear example. Contamination is particularly noticeable in Passus 8, with whole lines imported from A; see the note to Bx.8.18. This, together with the general character of F's text, makes it very difficult to rely on F's agreements with A as evidence of alpha readings in sections where R is lost. Schmidt also points to F's line following Bx.P.94, which Kane and Donaldson, p. 221 agree is from A. In Passus 1, from about l. 177 to the end, is another section where it appears probable that F has derived many readings from an A-text, but since R is lost here, it is possible that F presents the alpha reading, which of course might be Bx. There are also some indications that F may be contaminated from C; e.g. Bx.13.363, and for a fuller discussion see V.3.2 below. F tends to "improve" the alliteration, e.g. Bx.3.6, 3.10 and (an extreme example) Bx.5.92. Invented lines are added for emphasis: an unusually fine example follows Bx.5.112.NFor a list of added lines in F, see Kane and Donaldson, pp. 222-3.
III.11 Texts not Displayed:
We have relied on Kane and Donaldson's collations of the following texts:
Y: Cambridge, Newnham College, MS 4 (the Yates-Thompson manuscript), ff. 1r-104r.
s. xv2/4. London, with underlying N Oxon forms.
C2: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Ll.4.14.
s. xv2-4. Ely (LALME, LP 673).
Bm: London, BL MS Additional 10574, ff. 1r-99v.
Bo: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 814, ff. 1r-92v.
Cot: London, BL MS Cotton Caligula A.xi, part 2, ff. 170r-286r.
Bm, Bo, and Cot are so closely related that they are referred to by the common sigil B. Their B-text begins at passus 3; before that their source is a C-text, with a passage also from an A-text.
H: London, BL MS Harley 3954, ff. 92r-123v.
s. xv med. Norfolk (LALME LP 638).
After Bx.5.128 this is an A-text, and its B-text is heavily contaminated from A. Schmidt (2008), 135-6, rather oddly calls it "a significant witness" to B, while admitting that its "superior" readings could be derived from A. At any rate it is of no use for establishing Bx.
S: Tokyo, Toshiyuki Takamiya MS 23 (olim London, Sion College MS Arc. L. 40).
IV. The Character of Bx
We can determine very little of the language of the archetype and have made no attempt to reconstruct it here. Scribes can never be trusted to have followed the forms and spellings of their exemplars. Indeed the scribe of W has been shown to have imposed with considerable consistency and intelligence a system reflecting the best London usage (PPEA, vol. 2 , Intro. Linguistic Description; Horobin and Mooney ). The scribe very regularly writes final <-e> for nouns and adjectives where historically justified, distinguishes commonly between infinitives ending in <-e> before a consonant and <-en> before a vowel or <h> so that the syllable is retained, uses the <y-> prefix for past participles, and so on (PPEA, vol. 2 , Linguistic Description, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5.1, 2.5.15). Whether or not this restores Langland's own usage and his metre, the system does not appear to be that transmitted by Bx (see Duggan , 157-91, esp. 184 n. 61, 188-90.) The careful scribes of L and R certainly took no such liberties; but even if they did reproduce most of the forms of their exemplars, these can represent no more than the usages of the alpha and beta copies, and not necessarily the archetype from which these copies derived.
However, forms that differ from a scribe's usual repertoire may go back to his exemplar, and, where such forms are shared by beta and alpha (in particular L and R), they probably derive from Bx. Thus Samuels (1985), 241, observed patterns of distribution in the forms of any / eny, ȝif / if, come / cam, byȝunde / byȝende in L and R, concluding that these "must be presumed to be archetypal", and on the basis of spot-checks, Duggan and Hanna (2004), Introduction III.1, confirm these findings. Again, it is telling that -ende as the present participle ending only occurs on the same three occasions in L and in R, at Bx.17.50, 212, and 20.100 (see note to Bx.17.50).
Samuels (1985), 232-47; (1986), 40; (1988), 70-85, argued that Langland's dialect can be placed in SW Worcestershire on the basis of a number of relict spellings, and if this is the case (for reservations see Hanna , 5-8), such forms are necessarily among those transmitted by Bx. Some of these can be established as authorial where they satisfy the requirements of an alliterative pattern. We give three examples of words in Bx where this consideration applies: words for "she", "they", and "church".
The form he/heo occasionally contributes to the alliteration of the line, and in such cases it must be a relict spelling. L and some other scribes write this in alliterative position in place of their regular she: at Bx.1.75 (with MR), at 3.29 (with MRW), and at 5.546 (with WR, and with M corrected to she). At Bx.18.175 alliteration requires he, as in alpha; but this has been altered in L by the addition of the initial s-. In Bx.18.156 alliteration supports alpha's he over beta's she. In Bx.20.198 only R has the alliterating form with h-. Evidently Bx had h- forms in all these lines. Where such forms appear in non-alliterating positions, however, they may or may not be archetypal. L has non-alliterating he at Bx.1.144 (with CrC, and M before correction), 5.645 (with R, and M before correction), 9.56 (with all except Cr), 18.170 (with all except F). In general, alpha seems to have written he(o) for "she" more often than beta. The form is common in R up to the end of passus 5 – it appears eight times between 5.219 and 256, for example – but heo is not used after 5.648, though he(e) appears sporadically after this point. This probably means that R was at first copying out the form of his exemplar, later shifting to that in his active repertoire (Benskin and Laing , 66), which suggests that the form was common at least in alpha.
L uses hij for "they" on ten occasions:
|P.43||L||MCr1WHmCGOF||M corrected; R lost|
|P.66 allit||LWC original M||HmGOF, corrected M||Cr1 I; R lost|
|1.59 allit||LMCr1WHmC||GO||R heo, F he|
|1.195 allit||LMWC||Cr1HmGOF||R lost|
|3.341||LMCR||Cr1WHmG||O he, F hem|
|9.172||LC||Cr1MCr1WGO||Hm her neyther; alpha lost|
|10.336||LMR||WHmCOF||Cr1 the, G om|
Bx must have used the <h-> form in the three lines it alliterates, and it seems reasonable to suppose that L, whose own form is þei, reproduces beta on all ten occasions. L is usually supported by M (twice corrected to thei), but M uses it nowhere else, implying that beta only used hij on those ten occasions. The pattern in W is characteristic of the carefully regularising practice of that scribe: he has hij only where it alliterates, otherwise altering to þei. The form is rarely used in alpha. R has hij just three times (3.341, 5.116, 10.336), and once (6.15) has the reduced form a. In 9.119 alpha has he (perhaps by misunderstanding). Otherwise F never has the h- form, and the evidence suggests that alpha generally avoided it. In 20.301 all manuscripts have alliterating he (F is absent), though the scribes probably misunderstood it as a sg. form.
Significant patterns emerge in the distributions of chirche (OE), in its various spellings, and the synonymous kirke (ON). These occur the following number of times in the six most important manuscripts:
Kirke is a word of the Danelaw, restricted to northern and eastern dialects. Chaucer, Gower and William of Palerne never use it; The Wars of Alexander and the Gawain-poet never use cherche. Langland uses kirke as an alliterative convenience. L has it 21 times,NThe statement in PPEA (2004) that kirke occurs six times does not take account of 18 examples of holikirke and 3 of kyrke. in four cases in final non-alliterating position as holy-kirke agreeing with MCr1W (15.204, 401, 542, 19.455). As can be seen above, F often avoids it, but unusually has kyrke in final position in Bx.19.2, where other manuscripts have cherche. R is strongly resistant, and almost always substitutes cherche, though in 6.150 R uniquely has kerkes in final position. Of the beta witnesses, Hm avoids kirke (once it has the odd spelling kurke). It is also evident that scribes are particular about the spelling of "church": M has the SW form churche, W and F the Midland/London form chirche, and LHmR cherche, a Midland form found especially in eastern counties (LALME, 1, dot maps 384-6). We cannot identify the spelling used by Bx for "church," but we can conclude that many scribes were uncomfortable with the word kirke and tended to substitute ch-.NCr1 has only the forms church- (38x), kirk- (12x), and kyrk- (31x). The prevalence of the ON derived forms is noteworthy in such a late copy.
No other scribes, not even the careful L and R, are systematic in these respects. The editors of L point out that the scribe often writes <-e> as a marker of length in the preceding vowel, so that it no longer has a grammatical function (PPEA, vol. 4 , Intro. III.3.1, Metrical Considerations). In R adjectives tend to end in <-e> whether or not it is historically justified.
The evidence suggests that L and R reproduced many of the spelling features of their exemplars, beta and alpha, with some fidelity, and that they may be closer to the spellings of Bx than other copies. It may also be (as suggested by R's treatment of heo and beta's avoidance) that alpha's language was more distinctively SW Midlands than beta's.
IV.2 Passus Structure and Headings
The B witnesses apart from F are unanimous in their division of the poem into a prologue and 20 passus. Each passus has a heading, and though the precise wording of these headings varies from one manuscript to another, we find good evidence to believe that the marginal guidewords left by the scribe of L for the rubricator originate with Bx. From Passus 3 onwards the rubricator has abbreviated these instructions. The editors of L say: "Presumably, the guides record the form of the exemplar, edited later by the scribe when he went through the manuscript with red ink to add the actual headings" (PPEA, vol. 4 , I.6). Agreement with other early manuscripts, in particular M and W, indicates that these instructions represent at least the headings of beta. There is poorer evidence for the rubrics of alpha, partly because R is defective so that it has lost the headings for Prologue and passus 19-20, and it misnumbers passus 13-18, and partly because F follows its unique scheme which is useless as evidence for alpha.
The headings are set out in Adams (1985), 216-31, and Benson and Blanchfield (1997), passim. Below we revise their descriptions of the ten copies LMCr1WHmCGORF, in particular to include the guidewords still legible in M.
The heading to the Prologue in L is no longer legible, but Skeat read it as Incipit liber de Petro Plowman. F has Incipit pers þe plowman in a later hand. R is lost, and most manuscripts including MW have no heading. Hence Bx is irrecoverable, and we follow copy-text as read by Skeat for want of anything better.
Passus primus de visione: L (rubric and guide), and MWHmCr1C. O omits de visione, while R adds petri plowman. F has the rubric Explicit passus Primus Petri Plouhman . Incipit Passus Secundus. G, which has incipits only for Passus 8, 15 and 20, has Explicit primus passus de visione at the end of the Prologue, and continues in the same form, one step ahead of the other texts except for F, up to the explicit for passus 7. L is thus reliably beta here, challenged only by R which may represent alpha.
Passus secundus de visione vt supra: L (rubric and guide), and MWC; HmCr1 lack vt supra here and onwards, and O has merely Secundus Passus. R is lost, while F has Explicit passus secundus de visione Petri Plouhman / Incipit Passus Tercius, and its incipits continue in this fashion.
Passus tercius de visione vt supra: L guidewords and W, and probably beta. (HmCr1C lack vt supra). L's rubric is merely Passus iijus, as in M which has indications of the erasure of the guidewords. O has Passus tercius de visione in the guide, but not including the last two words in the rubric. R has the fullest heading: Passus tercius de visione petri plowman vt supra & cetera, which is perhaps alpha.
Passus iiijus de visione vt supra: L guidewords and MW (with quartus for iiijus), and probably beta. (HmCr1C lack vt supra). L's rubric is abbreviated to Passus iiijus. R again includes petri plowman.
Passus quintus de visione vt supra: L guidewords (though with v for quintus) and W, and probably beta. L's rubric and MHmCr1C lack vt supra. R again includes petri plowman.
Passus vjus de visione vt supra: L guidewords (rubricated Passus vjus), MW and R; evidently therefore Bx. (HmCr1C lack vt supra).
Passus vijus de visione vt supra: L guidewords (rubricated as Passus vijus), WC and R; evidently therefore Bx. (MHmCr1 lack vt supra).
The variants in the Visio headings, Passus 1-7, are minor. There is always good support for L's guidewords as the beta headings, and R, perhaps representing alpha, differs only by including petri plowman, except in Passus 6-7 where it is identical to beta.
Passus 8 and 9 cause difficulties. It seems clear that the heading primus de Dowel for Passus 9 is archetypal, but some scribes have already used that label for passus 8. Therefore Hm and G (in its explicit) call Passus 9 secundus de Dowel, and continue numeration in that fashion until Passus 14 septimus de Dowell. But in Bx passus 8 is both the end of the Visio and "the beginning of the search (inquisicio prima) for Dowel" and passus 9 is "the first passus of Dowel" (see Burrow ). O has the passus numbers only, to which R adds de visione vt supra. C has the passus number, sometimes with de visione vt supra (8, 9, 14), sometimes with vt supra (10, 11), sometimes on its own (12, 13).
Passus viijus de visione & hic explicit & incipit inquisicio prima de Dowel: L guidewords.NOn inquisicio see Hanna (2005), 243-304, esp. 246-7. MCr1 lack & hic explicit; L's rubric and WHm have instead Passus viijus de visione & primus de Dowel. R's rubric has been overwritten to read Passus octauus de visione petri plowhman. Incipit Dowel. Dobet. & Dobest, but originally seems to have read Passus octauus vt supra, as does C.NSean Taylor argues that the alteration is in the hand of the scribe of F in "The F Scribe and the R Manuscript of Piers Plowman B," English Studies 77 (1996): 530-48. G has at the end Explicit primus passus de dowell, and continues in this style until Passus 14.
Passus ixus de visione vt supra & primus de Dowel: These are perhaps the very faded guidewords in L, though the editors are rightly more cautious in their reading. The words have support from Cr1 (which however does not include vt supra), and from W, despite its confused Passus ixus de visione vt supra & primus de Dobet. Hm, logically, has Passus nonus de visione et secundus de dowel. CR have Passus nonus de visione vt supra, with M dropping the last two words. L's rubric is simply Passus nonus.
Passus xus de visione & ijus de dowel: L guidewords and MCr1W. Hm has the same, but advancing by one as described above. L's rubric is Passus xus, as O. R has Passus xus de visione vt supra.
Passus xjus: L's rubric and guide, as well as WOC, though this may represent an abbreviation of Bx. MCr1 add de visione, and Cr1 continues in this style until Passus 14, but M drops this addition henceforth. As before, R adds de visione vt supra, and continues in this style throughout, and Hm has Passus xjus de visione et iiijus de do weel.
Passus xijus: L's rubric and guide, as well as MWOC. Cr1R have their standard additions, and Hm continues as before.
Passus xiijus: L's guide (Passus terciodecimus as rubric), as well as MWOC. Cr1 has its standard additions, but R miscounts from this point, losing one. Hm continues as before.
Passus xiiijus: L's rubric and guide, as well as MWO. Cr1R have their standard additions, and C has the same as R (which continues to miscount). Hm continues as before.
Passus xvus finit dowel & incipit dobet: L's rubric and guide (which lacks &).NOn the significance of the "split rubrics" for passus 15 and 19, see Burrow (2008). WHmCr1 and M's guide have the same with minor variations; M's rubric and O have merely Passus xv. R, miscounting as before, continues with Passus xiiij de visione vt supra.
Passus xvjus & primus de dobet: L's rubric and guide, WCr1, and M's guidewords. All these count this as the first Dobet passus, regarding Passus 15 as transitional between the Dowel and Dobet sections. However, HmG both refer to this as the second passus of Dobet. CO and M's rubric abbreviate to Passus xvjus. R continues as before.
Passus xvijus & secundus de dobet: L's guide, and W (adding &c after the passus number). L's rubric and MOC abbreviate to Passus xvijus, to which Cr1 adds de visione; HmG continue as before, but from here R miscounts by two (corrected by a later hand adding j): Passus xvus de visione vt supra.
Passus xviijus & tercius de dobet: L's guide, and W (adding &c after the passus number). What is legible of M's guide suggests it had the same, though the LMCO rubrics abbreviate to Passus xviijus, to which Cr1 adds de visione. HmG and R continue as before.
Passus xixus & explicit dobet & incipit dobest: L's guide and W. With this "split rubric" cf. passus 15 and note. M's guide is not visible. L's rubric and OC have just Passus xixus, to which Cr1 adds de visione. R is lost. Hm has Passus vus et vltimus de do bet. Hic incipit passus Ius de do best, and G has the first part of this as an explicit to passus 18.
Passus xxus de visione & primus de dobest: L's guide and W. L's rubric, M's guide and Cr1C drop de visione. M's rubric and O abbreviate to Passus xxus. G has Incipit primus passus de dobest, and Hm, with its usual logic, has Passus ijus et vltimus de do best. R is lost.
At the end of the text LMWGOCC2Y have: Explicit hic dialogus petri plowman.NOn the significance of the description dialogus, see Hanna (2005), 243-304, esp. 246-7. There is no serious opposition to this as the beta explicit: Hm has Explicit visio petri ploughman. R's Passus ijus de dobest (both as guide and rubric) is, as Adams (1985), 214 n. 11, says, "an anomaly," but it appears to be authentically Bx for all that, since L also has in the left margin below the last line the guidewords [Pass]us ijus de Dobest. It seems that Bx, perhaps receiving his copy passus by passus, wrote the guide in expectation of a further section.NThis must also have been the case with the C-text manuscript Laud Misc 656 (late 14th c.) which has as its "explicit": Explicit passus secundus de dobest incipit passus tercius. Seven other manuscripts of C also end with explicit passus secundus. See Adams, YLS 8 (1994), 84. Both L and R copied the words from their hyparchetypes; L, realising that it made no sense, did not follow it when it came to rubrication; R, acting as so often without thought, rubricated it. The implication is that LR are both very close to Bx, and also that L had some other source for his rubricated explicit which became that standard in beta copies. On our principle of following the guidewords in L, we adopt this as the first explicit, and follow that with the rubricated explicit.
All B witnesses have some indication of paragraphing. The archetype evidently had paraph signs reinforced by blank lines between paragraphs, as in LWYR, though in R the paraphs have often been left unrubricated. The same arrangement was planned for M, which has the blank lines, though the paraphs are not usually executed. Hm has paraphs but does not leave blank lines. O has "cc" marks at the start, but progressively fewer as the text proceeds. G has sporadic enlarged capitals. Cr has paragraph indents, frequent in Prol. (21 times, corresponding most often to W), but much fewer thereafter. Paragraphs vary in frequency from manuscript to manuscript; figures for Passus 5-7, assembled from Benson and Blanchfield (1997), 316, are: R 257, W 246, L 223, Hm 214, M 209, C 189, Y 184, F 171. From this it can be seen that R and its alpha partner F vary considerably, not so surprisingly in view of F's recasting of the passus structure. R and W have more paragraphs than other manuscripts, with W using them to emphasise the other aspects of his spacious display. L and M are close, both in total number and in position, suggesting, as in other respects, that their paragraphing is a reliable indication of beta's. What does not emerge from the figures, but is very striking when the positioning is examined, is that L's paragraphs are almost invariably confirmed by R's, though, since R has more of them, the reverse is not true. As a result, LR agreement is, as in other aspects of the text, a secure witness to the paragraphing of Bx.NSee Robert Adams, "The Kane-Donaldson Edition of Piers Plowman: Eclecticism's Ultima Thule," TEXT 16 (2006): 131-41, at p. 137. Where L is not matched by R, there is often an explanation. Both L and R tend to lose a paraph at the top of the page, since there is no blank line to indicate to the rubricator that a paraph is intended. Rather less explicably, R also tends to miss a space and a paraph before the last line on the page; presumably the scribe thought there was no point leaving a blank line so near the foot. R, following alpha if F's witness is anything to go by, tends not to begin a paragraph with "And" where beta has it. Either might represent Bx. R less often has a paraph following a Latin line where beta has it. This might be explained by a scribe leaving a gap after the Latin line to allow for red boxing, as in W, so that a rubricator might assume a paraph was needed.
The only thing that can be said with certainty about the punctuation of Bx is that it marked the caesura, for all manuscripts of B have mid-line punctuation (G only sporadically). However, the marks used vary between a solidus (as F), a punctus elevatus (as O), and a raised point. R consistently has a mid-line punctus elevatus, perhaps representing alpha, and alpha perhaps also marked line-ends with a point, as R does; but most beta manuscripts have no regular punctuation at line-end. Crowley uses syntactic punctuation, usually a comma, but the manuscripts have it only rarely, and we have not often found it to be archetypal. For details of L's punctuation see V.2.3.
IV.5 Latin Lines
In all manuscripts except Cot the Latin lines, and sometimes individual Latin words, are distinguished in some way, with underlining in black or red, or enclosing in a box, and sometimes written red or in enlarged textura. In LMWR the lines are boxed in red ink and often written in display script, so that it is likely these features were inherited from Bx.
Our survey of alliterative patterns in all 7217 lines of Bx (excluding those entirely or mainly in Latin) shows the expected great preponderance of the "normative" pattern aa/ax. We found this in 5796 lines, 80% of the whole. For the rest, the commonest patterns were as follows:
- aaa/ax 291 lines
- ax/ax 219 lines
- aa/aa 199 lines
- xa/ax 198 lines
- aa/xx 161 lines
- aaa/xx 153 lines
- aa/xa 71 lines.
No two such surveys can be expected to arrive at quite the same results. Although the majority of Bx lines show clear and indisputable patterns of alliteration, a sizeable minority are open to more than one possible scansion. Bx.19.331 reads "And grace gaue hym þe crosse . with þe croune of þornes." We recorded this as xa/ax, with alliteration on crosse and croune. Schmidt's text follows Bx, but, because he allows what he calls "cognative" alliteration between /g/ and /k/, he scans the line aaa/ax: Schmidt (2008), 460. Like Schmidt, Kane-Donaldson reject xa/ax, as a pattern that Langland did not allow; but, because they do not accept Schmidt's cognative alliterations, they conjecture garland for croune, giving aa/ax (KD.19.321).NOn xa/ax see Burrow (2011). For editors of Bx, issues concerning the poet's own metrical usage arise only occasionally, as one factor in choosing between manuscript alternatives; but, in order to determine the archetypal patterns, they have to decide what alliterations to recognise. The present editors have allowed those between vowels and /h/, /f/ and /v/, /s/ and /ʃ/, and /w/ and /hw/, but not that between /f/ and /θ/, accepted by both Kane and Donaldson, pp. 132-3, and Schmidt, The Clerkly Maker: Langland's Poetic Art (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 40-1 and n. 69; and like Kane and Donaldson, we reject Schmidt's cognative alliterations between voiceless and voiced /p/ and /b/, /t/ and /d/, and /k/ and /g/.
Issues of a different kind arise with those lines that have, or appear to have, three alliterating staves in their first half. We have recorded 153 lines with aaa/xx, having no alliteration after the mid-line pointing. This pattern (generally accepted as authorial) raises no problems: examples are Bx.15.383, "Now failleth þe folke of þe flode . and of þe londe bothe," and 19.27, "That knyȝte kynge conqueroure . may be o persone." However, where alliteration is present after the caesura, among the 291 lines here recorded as aaa/ax, there may be uncertainties of interpretation. In many cases it may seem sufficiently clear that the line does indeed have three alliterating staves in its a-verse. Examples are Bx.15.440, "Grace sholde growe & be grene . þorw her good lyuynge," or 17.83, "And spes sparklich hym spedde . spede if he myȝte." But what is one to make of a line such as Bx.16.7, "Þe blosmes beth boxome speche . and benygne lokynge"? Normal sentence stress would not accent beth in this context, so we have registered the line as aa/ax.NOn sentence stress in relation to alliterative verse, see Ad Putter, Judith Jefferson, and Myra Stokes, Studies in the Metre of Alliterative Verse (Oxford, 2007), pp. 145-216. There are many doubtful cases where it is not easy to decide whether all three alliterating words can claim metrical recognition, and our high count of 291 aaa/ax lines certainly includes many lines that would be read as aa/ax by those who favour two-stress scansion for such so-called "extended" a-verses.
Duggan (1987), 41-70, recapitulates the Metrical Rules that he had identified in b-verses of classical alliterative verse, and lists lines from Bx that do not accord to these patterns (and see Duggan ). Rule 5 states that the b-verse requires between four and eight syllables and that one of the dips preceding either lift must be strong and one must be weak. A weak dip is of one syllable, a strong dip is of two or more. In contravention to this rule are archetypal lines with two strong dips: e.g. Bx.P.56, P.175, P.203, 1.49, 1.159, 1.161, 162 etc. (Duggan , n. 4). B-verses of the form x / x / (x) are inherently uncommon, since Langland tends to write longer lines than other poets; Duggan identifies 15.413, in mysbileue, as archetypal, and another example is discussed below, V.3.5.
Scribes using the forms of their own dialect can often alter the syllable-count of their exemplar, by dropping or supplying an -e(n) ending, adopting a syncopated form of a word for the full form or vice versa, and so on. It is often impossible to be sure of the forms of Bx, but agreement of the most reliable manuscripts, LMR, is a guide. From this it appears that Bx happily transmitted b-verses that contravene Metrical Rule 5. Many of the forms of W are unsupported by LMR and, whether or not they "improve" the metre, they are unlikely to be those of Bx; it seems clear that the highly professional London scribe of W has adopted the forms used by metropolitan scribes of Chaucer and Gower and by Hoccleve. It is these forms that we can observe the corrector inserting into M's original copying.
V. Editorial Procedures
V.1 Choice of Copy-Text
Our choice of L as copy-text is really inevitable. It was the basis for Skeat's edition, who was so impressed by the quality of its text and the nature of its corrections that he thought it might even be written by Langland himself, a view which he later retracted (Brewer , 141 and note). Kane-Donaldson, followed by Schmidt, based themselves on W, while admitting that it had more errors than L (Kane and Donaldson, p. 214). They chose W because of its consistent spelling and systematic grammar (Kane and Donaldson, pp. 214-15), although they admitted that "the ideal basic manuscript or copy-text is the one which first provides the closest dialectal and chronological approximation to the poet's language, and then second, most accurately reflects his original in substantive readings" (Kane and Donaldson, p. 214). Later study suggests that the sophistication of W's hand is matched by the sophisticated accidentals of his text, which has been processed for a London audience by imposing standard London spellings and Chaucerian grammar (see PPEA, vol. 2 , Introduction, Linguistic Description; Horobin and Mooney ). The only alternative copy-text is R, but its major losses make it an impractical basis.
We believe that both L and W (and perhaps R as well) are London productions, but L is on a much more modest scale with none of W's consistently imposed spelling system and grammar. While it cannot be relied on to represent the forms of Bx, still less of Langland himself, it is clear that many forms significant for alliteration and metre are well preserved. Thus Langland uses the <g-> forms of "give, forgive" for alliteration and the SW Midlands <ȝ-> forms elsewhere; of the fifty occasions on which L has the <g> spelling, all but one alliterate, and that one (Bx.19.341) is spelt gaf in all manuscripts and therefore must be archetypal. In contrast, Hm very frequently, and W quite often, use the <ȝ> forms in lines alliterating on /g/. Parallels with R, who also preserves many of the spellings of his exemplar, reinforce the impression that L accurately represents Bx in this respect. Though the spelling system of L is not an entirely consistent representative of a single dialect, it is probable that Bx was also inconsistent, and likely enough that Langland himself, as a London immigrant, wrote forms reflecting his new environs as well as his native dialect.
Copy-text is therefore the text of L as presented in our diplomatic edition (PPEA, vol. 4 ). All alterations to the text are enclosed in square brackets, though omissions are not marked. Every emendation is discussed in a note, except for most corrections of straightforward miswriting, such as tran[s]gressores in Bx.1.98.
V.2 Textual Presentation
V.2.1 Passus Headings
We follow the guide headings of L, our copy-text, which we believe to offer the closest representation of the headings of beta. For reasons explained above IV.2, there is poorer evidence for the headings in alpha. On extra-textual grounds put forward in Burrow (2008), we believe that beta's headings are also those of the archetype, and that these were reduced by alpha.
Our documentary editions have reproduced as far as possible in print the layout and pointing of the manuscripts, and we have followed the practice here in so far as we can infer the format of Bx. We have found no information about its page-breaks, so they are not recorded. There is considerable agreement among the manuscripts as to the division into paragraphs and to the placing of paraphs (see Benson and Blanchfield (1997), 240-313), and the four important witnesses LMWR emphasise these divisions by a blank space between line-groups. We believe this arrangement to be archetypal, and indeed eyeskip from paraph to paraph to be a frequent explanation of major omissions in alpha and beta (see Burrow ; Burrow and Turville-Petre ), and so we have marked the line-groups with blank spaces and with paraphs. L's paragraphs are consistently matched in M, and so give good evidence of beta's scheme. More surprisingly, L's paragraphs are almost invariably matched by R's, and give us confidence that in these cases we are reproducing the arrangement in Bx (see earlier, IV.3.). Where L is not supported by R, there is often some identifiable reason for this, suggesting why one of the two scribes might have dropped or supplied a paragraph break. Where we have not followed the scheme in L, we have added a note to explain our reason for departing from it, and also noted where L is not supported by R.
All the early manuscripts of Langland's poem have mid-line pointing, whether it is a solidus, a raised point or a punctus elevatus. Modern editors, unlike Skeat, do not reproduce the mid-line pointing, and Kane and Donaldson, 138 n. 37, speak of "a subjective element in the reading of verse which may affect identification of the caesural pause." But the manuscripts largely agree in their placement of punctuation, offering evidence of Bx's usage which editors are wrong to neglect. At Bx.15.120, for example, all manuscripts that mark the caesura do so after prestes:
Riȝt so many prestes . prechoures and prelatesbut Schmidt (2008), 425, says that prelates is to be "pronounced with two full stresses," evidently placing the caesura after prechoures to give the normative scansion aa/ax. Yet the pointing in the manuscripts provides evidence that the line should be scanned xa/aa, a pattern which both Kane and Donaldson and Schmidt regard as non-authorial.
Our copy text, L, begins with a punctus elevatus, perhaps because it was more formal, but switches to a raised point after P.25, perhaps because it was quicker. The L scribe occasionally uses a punctus elevatus thereafter in particular circumstances. Inserted punctuation is usually by punctus elevatus, presumably because it is clearer (e.g. Bx.12.287, 15.237). Where the scribe has placed a raised point too early in the line, he adds a punctus elevatus at the correct position without erasing the earlier punctuation (e.g. 7.143, 19.461). A punctus elevatus is sometimes employed in Latin quotations (e.g. 15.124, 358). We cannot say what form the pointing took in Bx, but since we suppose that this pointing was a formal device and part of the ordinatio of the page, we have used a mid-line raised point throughout.N With one exception, where we retain a punctus elevatus; see note to 8.74. Relying on the witness of other scribes, we have supplied it in square brackets where the L scribe missed it, which he does about 5% of the time. This is usually straightforward, but see the note to 4.29. Where other witnesses indicate that L has misplaced the punctuation, we have moved it; see the note to 9.203 for an interesting case. L has double punctuation in 63 lines, but in only four (3.270, 8.74, 11.317, 16.24) does the evidence suggested to us that it goes back to Bx; see notes to these lines (and Smith ). L also has raised points at the ends of 24 English lines, but we have not recorded it. There is sporadic end-line pointing in some manuscripts (notably R), but the distribution does not suggest derivation from Bx, so we have not recorded it. Latin lines in prose and verse are commonly punctuated, and we have retained the punctuation of copy text.
Beta manuscripts identify the seven sins in Passus 5 in the margin in the scribal hand, formal and boxed in LWHm, and we have presented them in our text. These marginal identifications are not in alpha, though in F the names of the sins are highlighted and underlined in red in the text. We also keep L's interlinear glosses to 6.245, 9.34, 9.172, 15.90 and 15.153, all with beta support. Of course it is possible they are not archetypal. The unusual identification of the quotation in Bx.15.605 as Isaiah 3 is in exactly the same form in LRF, strongly suggesting that it is archetypal.
V.3 Choice of Variants
V.3.1 Forms and Spellings
We have almost always retained the forms and spellings of L. So we do not generally alter L's forms of the personal pronouns. Bx uses hij for "they" in at least three lines where it alliterates (see above, IV.1). The L scribe, whose own form is þei, uses it on these occasions and in seven further lines, and we suppose L reproduces beta on all ten occasions. In other lines the attestation suggests that beta uses the th- form. There is no evidence to suggest that alpha differs. In all cases, therefore, we take L's form of the third person nominative plural pronoun. For reasons explained above, IV.1, we also follow L's form of the nominative feminine pronoun, except on two occasions where alliteration demands an h- form (Bx.18.156, 20.198). For example, in Bx.1.75 L's heo is supported by MR and participates in the alliteration; in 1.77 only R has he which is not necessary for alliteration even though the line alliterates on /h/ + vowel, so we do not emend L's she; in 1.87, in the same position, R again reads quod he against quod she in all other manuscripts in a line alliterating on /t/, and again we take L's pronoun. It seems that alpha had the h- form for "she" much more often than beta, and we can only determine when Bx used the h- form where it is necessary for the alliteration. Similarly in Bx.3.47, where R uniquely has a for "he," we have no reason for thinking that this reduced form was that in Bx. L several times has an for "and," sometimes in lines that are marked for correction, as Bx.5.361 and 6.215; we have left the form to stand. Some nouns have genitives without ending, many presumably inherited from Bx and perhaps also representing Langland. In Bx.5.550 L has soules (gen.) where other reliable manuscripts have the form soule (so MHmG + alpha, as in AC), but we have not emended L's form. If we were to make alterations in cases of this sort, it would be difficult to know where to stop, and we have recognised that we cannot recreate the spellings of Bx with any assurance. Where L is lost, we have adapted the spellings to L's usual forms, so that where beta has lost a passage extant in alpha, we have modified alpha's (usually R's) forms without notice.
V.3.2 Comparison with the A and C Versions
Wherever the reading of Bx is in doubt, we compare the readings of Ax and/or Cx if there is an equivalent line. Our references to Ax and Cx are inevitably provisional, since neither has yet been established. We therefore rely on our own assessment of the evidence presented by Kane and Russell-Kane, and report in more detail where the evidence is divided. This applies most often to variation between the two great families of C, X and P. It follows that references to lines in Kane and Russell-Kane are to our reconstructions of archetypal readings, not to the edited texts.
Readings from Ax and Cx cannot, of course, be imported when evidence for Bx is supported by a consensus of the better B manuscripts, in particular L, M and R. We recognise that other texts, especially Cr1GF, are at times contaminated from A and/or C, so that their witness can be discounted or at least regarded with suspicion if not confirmed by others. AC attestation becomes an important factor, however, where alpha and beta are divided. As a straightforward example: in the a-verse of Bx.5.569 beta makes acceptable sense with Ich haue myn huire wel, against alpha's Ich haue my huyre of hym wel, but AC have the line as in alpha, and therefore we conclude that beta has dropped of hym. The beta reading in Bx.5.185, bi contenaunce ne bi riȝt makes poor sense: Repentance instructs Wrath not to reveal privities by contenance ne by speche as alpha has it, in a reading supported by C (the passage has no parallel in A). More uncertain is Bx.5.579, in which LR and HmW (but not M) read a longe tyme þere-after, attestation that would usually secure Bx. However, there is conflicting support from AC for the reading of other manuscripts, a long tyme after. It is perhaps relevant that this b-verse, though presumably authorial, is unmetrical (x / x / x), so we suppose that either Bx or LR and beta2 supplied the necessary syllable. If the former, we should retain þere; if the latter we should emend L. In the face of such equal attestation on either side, we follow copy-text. At Bx.14.116 LR have the reading it against he in other beta manuscripts and omission in F. Cx has he in a revised line, but LR agreement is usually decisive, and we follow it here.
On a number of occasions where the alpha/beta variation is paralleled by A/C variation, and where we think authorial revision within the B tradition is a strong possibility, we have presented both variants. For an example see Bx.1.46. The weighing-up of the evidence — split readings in either A or C, variation within alpha or beta, the inherent probability of coincidental agreement, and so on — is conducted in a note. After passus 10, where there is no A-text to compare, we have used the parallel text in C to help determine the reading of Bx. In a number of cases this may mean that we have designated an unrevised but authorial variant preserved in beta as an error, and we are thus presenting the revised text as in alpha and C, but there is no reason to suppose that revision was much more thorough in the second half of the poem than the very sporadic revision in the first half. We have, of course, discussed the possibilities in individual notes.
The passage from Bx.18.428 to 20.26 presents a particular difficulty. Here R has lost a quire, leaving the unreliable F as the only witness to alpha. Since the C-text is only lightly revised in the last two passus of the poem, we initially followed the principle that readings of F supported by Cx generally represented Bx, and we adopted most of those readings against beta. Further considerations, however, caused us to rethink. Kane and Donaldson and Russell-Kane state categorically that C is unrevised in its passus 21-2:
These passus were untouched by the revising poet, and the manuscripts of the two traditions were treated as constituting two great families with an exclusive common ancestor, a single scribal B copy, and as differentiated only scribally. (RK, 118-19)But it became apparent to us that the C-text has indeed undergone a certain amount of revision (see notes to Bx.19.150, 245, 257, 259-60, and especially in the final lines Bx.20.371, 376, 377, 378, 380), a fact of course obscured by the Athlone's adoption of readings from one tradition into the other. It is also clear, as was to be expected, that Cx is at times corrupt. Having found instances of F and Cx agreeing in error, we were forced to conclude that we could not unquestioningly regard F/Cx agreement as representing Bx. Coincidence might account for a number of such agreements, but some were of a character that suggested contamination. There are sporadic indications of F's contamination from a C-text elsewhere in the poem: a notable instance is Bx.13.361-8 (see notes). Indications of contamination do not extend for the entire section where R is absent, but for most of it, from the beginning of Bx.19 up to 20.13. Striking instances are: 19.12 Pieres beta, cristis F/ Cx; 19.43 conquest beta, his conquest F/ Cx; 19.119 holy beta, onely F/ Cx; 19.477 seke beta, tooken F and Cx?; 20.7 þi bylyf beta, lyve by F / Cx.
There is no wholly satisfactory way of restoring Bx in these circumstances. Where beta readings and those of F/Cx are equally strong, or the differences are trivial, we have preferred beta on our usual grounds that L is copy text. For instances see the notes to Bx.19.39, 136, 147, both notes to 228, and 288. In cases where one reading seems to us superior and the variant reading a scribal error as judged by the usual criteria, we have chosen the better reading. So in Bx.19.96, 142, 151, 291, 435 and 471 we have judged beta to offer scribal readings, and 19.56-9, 154, and 242b-243a are lines omitted in beta that we have restored. As a result, we may sometimes have rejected an error in Bx, though this is perhaps not a high price to pay. For a particularly difficult case see the note to Bx.19.493. All such instances have been discussed at length in the annotations, but it is fair to warn the reader that the section where R is absent is the part of our text of which we are least confident.
V.3.3 Conjectural Emendation
It might be supposed that conjectural emendation had no place in an edition of the archetype, and was appropriate only in the reconstructed B-version. In theory, however, reconstruction of the archetype from its misrepresentation in all extant witnesses must be a possibility. In practice there are very few occasions where we had the confidence to do this. One case is Bx.13.92 where, in a line alliterating on /p/, beta reads wynked and alpha bad. There can be little doubt that the authorial reading was the rather rare and dialectal verb preynte, "winked in admonition" as conjectured by Kane and Donaldson. But it was probably also the reading of Bx; how can the alpha and beta variation be accounted for otherwise? Beta substituted a common synonym for the movement of the eye, while alpha replaced with a word conveying the intention of the winking. There is a similar situation at Bx.11.190, where beta calls Jesus owre hele, while R has the nonsensical oure euel. We suppose that alpha and Bx had iuel, meaning "jewel," misread by R and replaced by beta. This is a little more problematical because F replaces it with helthe, but we see a Bx reading "jewel" as the most probable source of the variants. Again the reading was conjectured by Kane and Donaldson. In 17.337 we are confident that the authorial reading is þe borre in þe throte, "the burr in the throat," i.e. "hoarse," as adopted by Kane and Donaldson from C. We suppose that, in order to avoid a rare word, alpha altered alliterating þe borre to cowȝe, "coughing," and beta to hors. In conjecturing þe borre we are aware of the danger of emending to B rather than Bx, but it provides an explanation for the variant readings of alpha and beta, neither of which is likely to have given rise to the other. In a quite exceptional case in Passus 19 we introduce a line from Cx that is not in any B manuscript: see the note to 19.450, and for the particular circumstances affecting this passus, see V.3.2 above.
Irregular alliteration is not sufficient evidence on its own to cast doubt on Bx (see IV.6 above), but it may be one factor in the choice of variants. See the variants in Bx.11.6, 138, 416, 12.222, 13.205. We have also to consider the possibility that a scribe improved the alliteration on his own initiative, as is quite often the case with F. As in other matters, comparison with parallel lines in Ax and Cx has been used to guide a choice between variants.
V.3.5 Metrical Criteria
We have of course not corrected an unmetrical b-verse where the distribution of variants suggests that it was the reading of Bx. L's unmetrical b-verse in Bx.5.610 or þow beest noȝte ysaued (x x / x x / x) could easily be "improved" by dropping the y- prefix, but it has good support for Bx from MR. Although other B manuscripts drop the prefix, this presumably reflects the scribal dialects rather than metrical sensitivities. Though A manuscripts and the P family of C are without the prefix here, the X family has it, as would be standard in their SW Midland dialect (LALME dot map 1195). Exceptionally, we have emended L in Bx.10.115 þei went to helle (x / x / x), since all other manuscripts have disyllabic wente(n).
Our aim is to restore the readings of Bx, not of the poem that Langland wrote. This means that we are bound at times to preserve a text that we know or suspect to be corrupt if it is what Bx wrote, and even, though it goes against the grain for editors to do so, to preserve nonsense. In Bx.5.341 we take R's b-verse describing how Robin the roper arise þe southe to be another example of that scribe copying exactly what he had before him. F typically rewrites, while beta makes a small adjustment to give superficial sense with arose bi þe southe. The evidently correct reading is that offered by C, aryse they bisouhte. We follow R's meaningless reading. In Bx.10.291 the L scribe first wrote the nonsensical For goddis worde wolde nouȝt be boste, then corrected the last word to loste, thus agreeing with all other manuscripts except one. In the usual circumstances, we would suppose boste to be a mere miswriting. However, R also has boste, without correction. We know that R is both accurate and often mindless, copying whatever is in front of him, however nonsensical; we therefore suppose that Bx had the reading boste, easily corrected by all scribes except R to loste. How else could we otherwise account for the agreement of the two most careful scribes? Since L is self-corrected, we record the reading as [b]oste. Fortunately, there are not many occasions on which we have to preserve self-evident nonsense.
For each line of the edited text, transcripts of the ten most important manuscripts are presented in parallel. Clicking on the line number invokes them below the line. The annotations discuss all variants we take to be significant for the establishment of the text.
Bennett, J. A. W., ed. Langland. Piers Plowman. The Prologue and Passus I-VII of the B Text as Found in Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 581. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972.
Kane, George, ed. Piers Plowman: The A Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman and Do-Well, An Edition in the Form of Trinity College Cambridge MS R.3.14 Corrected from Other Manuscripts, with Variant Readings. Rev. ed. London: Athlone Press, 1988.
Kane, George, and E. Talbot Donaldson, eds. Piers Plowman: The B Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman, Do-Well, Do-Better and Do-Best. An Edition in the Form of Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17 Corrected and Restored from the Known Evidence, with Variant Readings. Rev. ed. London: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.
Pearsall, Derek, ed. Piers Plowman: A New Annotated Edition of the C-Text. Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2008.
Russell, George, and George Kane, eds. Piers Plowman: The C Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman, Do-Well, Do-Better and Do-Best. An Edition in the Form of Huntington Library MS HM 143, Corrected and Restored from the Known Evidence, with Variant Readings. London: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.
Schmidt, A. V. C., ed. The Vision of Piers Plowman: A Critical Edition of the B-Text Based on Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17. London, Melbourne, and Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1978; 2nd ed., London: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.; Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1995.
—, ed. Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C and Z Versions: Vol. 2. Introduction, Textual Notes, Commentary, Bibliography and Indexical Glossary. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, 2008.
Skeat, Walter W., ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS, OS 38. London: N. Trübner, 1869.
—, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, in Three Parallel Texts together with Richard the Redeless. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1886.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 1: Corpus Christi College, Oxford MS 201 (F). edited by Robert Adams, Hoyt N. Duggan, Eric Eliason, Ralph Hanna, John Price-Wilkin, and Thorlac Turville-Petre. SEENET Series A.1, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 2: Trinity College, Cambridge MS B.15.17 (W). edited by Thorlac Turville-Petre and Hoyt N. Duggan. SEENET Series A.4, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 3: Oriel College, Oxford MS 79 (O). Ed. Katherine Heinrichs. SEENET Series A.5, Cambridge: for SEENET and the Medieval Academy of America by Boydell and Brewer, 2004.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 4: Bodleian Library MS Laud Misc. 581 (L). edited by Hoyt N. Duggan and Ralph Hanna. SEENET Series A.6, Cambridge: for SEENET and the Medieval Academy of America by Boydell and Brewer, 2004.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 5: British Library MS Additional 35287 (M). edited by Eric Eliason, Thorlac Turville-Petre and Hoyt N. Duggan. SEENET Series A.7, Cambridge: for SEENET and the Medieval Academy of America by Boydell and Brewer, 2005.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 6: Huntington Library Ms Hm 128 (Hm). edited by Michael Calabrese, Hoyt N. Duggan and Thorlac Turville-Petre. SEENET Series A.9, Cambridge: for SEENET and the Medieval Academy of America by Boydell and Brewer, 2008.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 7: London. British Library, MS Lansdowne 398 and Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson Poetry 38 (R). edited by Robert Adams. SEENET Series A.10, Cambridge: for SEENET and the Medieval Academy of America by Boydell and Brewer, 2011.
Piers Plowman Electronic Archive. Vol 8: Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.4.31 (G). edited by Judith Jefferson. SEENET Series A.11, Charlottesville: Society for Early English and Norse Electronic Texts, 2013.
Adams, Robert. "The Reliability of the Rubrics in the B-Text of Piers Plowman." Medium Ævum 54 (1985): 208-31.
—. "Editing and the Limitations of the Durior Lectio." YLS 5 (1991): 7-15.
—. "Langland's Ordinatio: The Visio and the Vita Once More." YLS 8 (1994): 51-84.
—. "Evidence for the Stemma of the Piers Plowman B Manuscripts." Studies in Bibliography 53 (2000): 173-94.
—. "The R/F MSS of Piers Plowman and the Pattern of Alpha/Beta Complementary Omissions: Implications for Critical Editing." TEXT 14 (2002): 109-37.
Alford, John A. Piers Plowman: A Glossary of Legal Diction. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1988.
—. Piers Plowman: A Guide to the Quotations. Binghamton: State University of New York, 1992.
Barney, Stephen A. The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman. Vol. 5. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.
Benskin, Michael, and Margaret Laing. "Translations and Mischsprachen in Middle English Manuscripts." In So Meny People Longages and Tonges: Philological Essays in Scots and Mediaeval English Presented to Angus McIntosh, eds. Michael Benskin and M. L. Samuels. Edinburgh: Middle English Dialect Project, 1981. 55-106.
Benson, C. David, and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart. The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997.
Brewer, Charlotte. Editing Piers Plowman: The Evolution of the Text. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 28. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Burrow, J. A. "Reason's Horse." YLS 4 (1990): 139-44.
—. Thinking in Poetry: Three Medieval Examples. London: Birkbeck College, 1993.
— (ed.). Thomas Hoccleve's Complaint and Dialogue. EETS 313. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
—. "Hoccleve's Questions: Intonation and Punctuation." Notes & Queries 49 (2002): 184-8.
—. Gestures and Looks in Medieval Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
—. "Wasting Time, Wasting Words in Piers Plowman B and C." YLS 17 (2003): 191-202.
—. "The Structure of Piers Plowman B XV-XX: Evidence from the Rubrics." Medium Ævum 77 (2008): 306-312.
—. "Piers Plowman B XIII 190." Notes & Queries 55 (2008): 124-5.
—. "Conscience on Knights, Kings, and Conquerors: Piers Plowman B.19.26-198." YLS 23, (2009): 85-95.
—. "Piers Plowman B: Paragraphing in the Archetypal Copy." Notes and Queries 57 (2010): 24-6.
—. "An Alliterative Pattern in Piers Plowman." YLS 25 (2011): 117-29.
Burrow, J. A., and Thorlac Turville-Petre. "Editing the B Archetype of Piers Plowman and the Relationship Between Alpha and Beta." YLS 26 (2012): 98-119.
Cable, Thomas. "Middle English Meter and Its Theoretical Implications." YLS 2 (1988): 47-69.
Donaldson, E. T. "MSS R and F in the B-Tradition of Piers Plowman." Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 39 (1955): 177-212.
Doyle, A. I. "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman." In Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, edited by Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1986. 35-48.
—. "Ushaw College, Durham, MS 50." In The English Medieval Book, edited by A. S. G. Edwards, Vincent Gillespie and Ralph Hanna. London: The British Library, 2000. 43-9.
Duggan, Hoyt N. "Notes Towards a Theory of Langland's Meter." YLS 1 (1987): 41-70.
—. "Langland's Dialect and Final -e." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 12 (1990): 157-91.
—."Notes on the Metre of Piers Plowman: Twenty Years On." Leeds Texts and Monographs n.s. 17 (2009): 159-86.
Galloway, Andrew. "The Rhetoric of Riddling in Late-Medieval England." Speculum 70 (1995): 68-105.
—. The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.
Hanna, Ralph. William Langland. Authors of The Middle Ages: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages 3. Aldershot: Variorum, 1993.
—. "Studies in the Manuscripts of Piers Plowman." YLS 7 (1993): 1-25.
—. Pursuing History. Middle English Manuscripts and Their Texts. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.
—. London Literature, 1300-1380. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Hailey, R. Carter. "Robert Crowley and the Editing of Piers Plowman (1550)." YLS 21 (2007): 143-70.
Horobin, Simon. "Adam Pinkhurst and the Copying of British Library, MS Additional 35287 of the B Version of Piers Plowman." YLS 23 (2009): 61-83.
— and Linne R. Mooney. "A Piers Plowman Manuscript by the Hengwrt/Ellesmere Scribe and its Implications for London Standard English." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 26 (2004): 65-112.
Jefferson, Judith A. "Divisions, Collaboration and Other Topics: The Table of Contents in Cambridge, University Library, MS Gg.4.31." In Medieval Alliterative Poetry, edited by John A. Burrow and Hoyt N. Duggan. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2010. 140-52.
Jordan, Richard. Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. and revised Eugene J. Crook. The Hague and Paris: Mouton, 1974.
Kane, George. Piers Plowman Glossary. London: Continuum, 2005.
McIntosh, Angus, M. L. Samuels and Michael Benskin, with the assistance of Margaret Laing and Keith Williamson, eds. A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English. 4 volumes. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1986.
Mustanoja, Tauno F. A Middle English Syntax. Part I: Parts of Speech. Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 23. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 1960.
Samuels, M. L. "Langland's Dialect." Medium Ævum 54 (1985): 232-47. Reprinted in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries. edited by J. J. Smith. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1989. 70-85.
—. "Corrections to 'Langland's Dialect'." Medium Ævum 55 (1986): 40.
—. "Dialect and Grammar." In A Companion to Piers Plowman, edited by John A. Alford. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1988, 201-21.
Schmidt, A. V. C. The Clerkly Maker: Langland's Poetic Art. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1987.
Smith, Macklin. "Langland's Unruly Caesura." YLS 22 (2008): 57-101.
Turville-Petre, Thorlac . "Emendation on Grounds of Alliteration in The Wars of Alexander." English Studies 61 (1980): 302-17.
—."Putting it Right: The Corrections of Huntington Library MS. HM 128 and BL Additional MS. 35287." YLS 16 (2002): 41-65.
—. Review of Galloway (2006). YLS (2006): 231-4.
Wittig, Joseph S. Piers Plowman: Concordance. London: Athlone Press, 2001.
Wordsworth, Iohannes, and White, Henricus Iulianus, eds. Nouum Testamentum Latine Secundum Editionem Sancti Hieronymi. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911.
|K||George Kane and his A text|
|KD||George Kane and E Talbot Donaldson and their B text|
|LALME||McIntosh et al. A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English|
|MED||Middle English Dictionary|
|OED||Oxford English Dictionary|
|RK||George Russell and George Kane and their C text|
|YLS||Yearbook of Langland Studies|