fol. 8v (cont.)I
BPassus 3
Incipit Passus Qvartus.
NOwF.4.1: The ornamented capital is produced in red and green ink with flourishes in red to within an inch of the top of the written space. is Meede þe Mayde / & no mo of alle.
I-browht by-fore þe kyng / with bedel & bayly
A-non þe kyng kallid a Clerk / y knowe not his name.
To take Meede þe Maide / & make hire a teseat ese.
But y wille hire first a-sayȝe / & sotilly hire apose.
What wyȝe of þis world / þat she were levest.
fol. 9rI
& if she wirche be my wit / & my wille folwe.F.4.7: IIIIus with red flourishes is written in the top right margin to indicate the passus.
I wil for-gyve hire þe gyltisF.4.8: Alpha is responsible for plural gyltis. Beta manuscripts have gilt. / so me god helpe.
Þanne þe Clerk curteysly / dyde as þe kyng hym hyghte.
He took Meede by þe myddil / & menteF.4.10: F alone has this probably original reading. We have not determined whether it represents F-Redactor's (or F-Scribe's) intelligent conjecture or (as Kane and Donaldson have proposed) his access to a pre-archetypal manuscript. hire to chambre.
& þe Clerk gan conforte hire / for gret conynge he hadde.F.4.11: This line appears only in F.
& fette furþ merthe with menstralcy / Meede with to plese.
Summe þat whonen at westmenstre / worchepe þey hire make.
Ful Ientylly with Ioyȝe / of þe Iustises manye.
Busked hem boldly to hire bour / þere þe beerde dwelliþ.
To conforte hire konyngly / by Clergyes leve.
Þey seide moorne not Meede / ne make þou no sorwe.
For we wille wisse þe kyng / & þy weyȝe shape.
To be weddid at þy wille / & wher þe levest lykeþ.
For al consyecysconsye[n]cys craft / or castF.4.20: Alpha is responsible for this word order. Beta manuscripts have "cast or craft." / as y trowe.
Þanne Myȝldely Meede / mercyed hem alle.
Of here grete goodnesse / & gaf to hem ecchone.
Cowpis / of klene gold / with cases of syluer.
Ryngis with rubyes / & rycchesseF.4.24: Alpha is responsible for rychesse. Beta manuscripts have richesses. ful thykke.
For þe leeste of here men / hadde a motoun of goolde.
Þan lawhte þei here leve / þo Lordis at Meede.
& with þat  kemen Clerkys / & confortid hire þe same.
& beedyn hire be blythe / For we ben þyn owene.
For to wirche þy wille / þe whyles þou may laste.
Þanne she dede hendely / & be-hyghte hem þe same.
To loven hem lelly / & Loordis hem to make.
For in þe constorie in þe court / I shal do cowþe ȝour name.
Shal no lewidnesse lettyn / þo clerkysF.4.33: Alpha is responsible for clerkys. Beta manuscripts have leode. þat y lovye.
Þat he worþF.4.34: Bx reads "That he ne worþ first auaunced . . . ." The negative was omitted in alpha. first a-vauncyd / for y am wel be-knowe.
Þere þat konynge clerkys / shulle knokkek[l]okkeF.4.35: F supplies non-sensical knokke to replace klokke, "limp," an unfamiliar word which appears only in Piers Plowman. by-hyȝnde.
Þanne com þere a Confessoure / was coped as a Frere.
To Meede þatF.4.37: Beta witnesses read þe, exactly what Langland's usual formula would suggest. However, R has þis, and alpha may simply have had a thorn without the suspended <s>, <t>, or <e>. Mayde / & meelyde þese wordis.
& seyde ful softly / as in scryfte it where.
Þey leernede men / & lewede men / have leyn by þe boþe.
& þey Fals have defoulyd þe / þis fyftene wynter.
I shal a-soyle þe my-selue / for a seem of wheete.
& also ben þyn bedeman / & beere wel þyn name.
A-mongys Clerkys & knyghtys / here consyence to turne.
Þan Meede for hire mysdedis / to þat man turnede.
& shrof hire of hire shrewidnesse / shameles y trowe.
Whan she hadde told hire tale / she took hym a noble.
For to been hire bedeman / & hire brokour alse.
A-non he assoylyd hire soone / & sytthen he seyde.
fol. 9vI
We have a wyndowe wirchynge / wille sytte vs ful hyȝe
Wolde ȝe glase þat gable / & grave þere-In ȝoure name.
Sykirly sholde ȝoure soule / in-to hevene styȝe.
Ȝee wiste y þat quod Meede / þer is[n]is wyndowe ne awhter.F.4.52: This line and the following one correspond roughly to A 3.50-51. Alpha omits eleven lines attested by beta witnesses. Possibly the addition of this line and the next reflects alpha's attempts to restore material missing in his exemplar from his memory of A. Beta reads as follows:
Wiste I þat quod þat womman I wolde noȝt spare
For to be youre frend frere and faile yow neuere
While ye loue lordes þat lecherie haunten
And lakkeþ noȝt ladies þat louen wel þe same
It is a freletee of flessh ye fynden it in bokes
And a cours of kynde wherof we comen alle
Who may scape þe sclaundre þe scaþe is soone amended
It is synne of þe seuene sonnest relessed
Haue mercy quod Mede of men þat it haunteþ
And I shal couere youre kirk youre cloistre do maken
Wowes do whiten and wyndowes glazen.
Þat yy [ne] wolde do mende it / or make it at þe fulle.
& do peynte me & myn name / a-pertly þere-InneF.4.54: The line is unique to F. Beta reads "Do peynten and portraye and paie for þe makynge." F is possibly influenced by A's "Þat I ne shulde make or mende & myn name writen."
Þat ech aF.4.55: Alpha is responsible for ech a. Beta manuscripts have euery. segge sholde see / I am syster to ȝow alle.F.4.55: Alpha is responsible for "to ȝow alle." Beta manuscripts have "of youre house."
/ [¶] But god / to goode folk / swich grauynge defendiþ.
& wrytynge in wyndowis / of here wel-dedys.
Ne awhter do peynte / for pompe of þe peple.F.4.58: The line is unique to F. Beta reads "An auenture pride be peynted þere and pomp of þe world."
For crist knoweth þyn consyence / & þyn kende wille.
Boþe þe coost & þy coueytyse / & who þe catel awhte.F.4.60: F omits the following lines from Bx:
Forþi I lere yow lordes leueþ swiche werkes
To writen in wyndowes of youre wel dedes
Or to greden after goddes men whan ye delen doles
On auenture ye haue youre hire here and youre heuene als.
The lines are missing from H as well.
Nesciat sinistra  quid faciat dextera.
Leete nowht þyn lyft half / neyþir late ne rathe.
Weetyn what þou wyrchist / with þyn ryght syde.
For þus biddis þe gospel / good men dosdo[n]F.4.64: F has missed the point, substituting a finite form for the required infinitive. þerafter.
/ [¶] Meyȝres with here Macerys / þat meenys been be-twene.
Þe kyng / & þe Comounys / to kepen wel þe Lawys.
& punsshynF.4.67: The scribe corrected this word by writing a second <s> over original <c>. See F4.195, 10.561 for similar corrections. vponF.4.67: Alpha is responsible for vpon. Beta manuscripts have on. pylory / & on pynygepyny[n]ge stolys.
Boþe websteres & bakesterys / & bocheres & Cookys.
For þo are men vponF.4.69: Alpha is responsible for vpon. Beta manuscripts have on. moolde / þat mest harm wirche.
To þe poore peple / þat parcel-meel byggyn.
& poysene þe peple / pryvyly & softe.
Þey rychen þoru regratrye / & rentys hem byggyn
With þat  þe pore peple / sholde pytte in here wombe.
For tooke þey on trewly / þey tyȝmbred not so hyȝe.
Ne bowhte no bargayn / be þeF.4.75: This alpha reading is shared by BmBoCot; most other beta manuscripts have ye. fulle serteyn.
But now þe Maide meede / þe Mayr haþ she prayed.
Of alle swiche selleres / syluer to taken.
Or presentys with-outyn pens / as pecys of syluer.
Or rynges or rycchesse / þe regratoures to meynghtemeyn[ten]e.
For my LordF.4.80: Alpha reads Lord for Bx's loue. / quod þat Lady / loveþ hem ecchone.
& suffreþ hem to selle / sumdel a-geyn resoun
/ [¶] Kyng Salomon þe sage / a sermoun he made.
To a-Mende Meyȝhrys / & men þat kepe þe Lawis
& þus he tolde his teeme / þat y shal telle ȝou after.
Ignis deuorabit tabernacula eorum qui libenterF.4.85: Alpha omits beta's accipiunt munera.
A-mong lettryd leedis / þis latyn ys to meene.
Þat feer shal falle & brenne / al to bloo askys.
Þe howses / & þe homes / of hem þat dysyren.
Gyftys / or ȝeris-gyftys / be-cause of here offyȝs.F.4.89: Alpha is responsible for offyȝs, a reading shared by H. Beta manuscripts have plural offices.
Þanne þe kyng fram conseyl cam / & callyd after Meede.
& sente after hire swyþe / with sergauntys manye.
fol. 10rI
Þat browhtynbrowhtyn [hire] to bowre / wiþ blysse & with Ioyȝe.
/ [¶] A-non þe kyng curteysly / comsed for to telle.
& to Meede þe Maide / he melede þese wordis.
Þou womman vn-wittyly / wrought hast þou ofte.
But worse wroughtist þou neuere / þan whan þou fals tooke.
But y forgyve þe þat gylt / & graunte þe myn grace.
Fram hens to þyn deþ-day / yf þou do so no moore.
/ [¶] But y have a knyght hatte consyence / kam late fram by-ȝounde.
If he wilne þe to wyve / wilt þou with hym holde.
Ȝee Lord quod þe Lady / oure Lord for-beede ellys.
But y be holly at ȝour heste / hyȝe hangehange [me] soone.
/ [¶] & þan was Consyence clepd / to comen & a-peren.
By-fore þe kyng & his cunseyl / as Clerkys & oþere.
Þanne Consience knelynge / vnto þe kyng lowhtede.
To wete what his wille were / & what he do sholde.
/ [¶] Wilt þou weddyn þis womman quod þe kyng / if she wille a-sente.
For she is of fair shapF.4.108: F's reading is unique. Beta manuscripts read "fayn of þi felaweshipe." / for to ben þyn make.
Quod Consience to þe kyng / crist it me for-beede.
& er y wedde swich a wyf / woo me by-tyȝde.
For she is fykel of feyþ / & fals of hire speche.
& makþ men mys-doon / manye skore tyȝmes.
& þo þat tristne on trewþe / she treyȝeþ hem ofte.F.4.113: F's line is unique. Bx reads "Trust of hire tresor trayeþ ful manye."
Boþe wyvis & wedewis / & wantowne wenchis.F.4.114: The b- verse is unique to F. Bx reads "wantounnesse she techeþ."
& lerneþ hem Leccherye / þat loveþ hire loore.
Ȝowre fader she felde / þorhȝ hireF.4.116: BmBoCot read hire, which is otherwise unique to F. fayreF.4.116: Alpha is responsible for fayre. Beta manuscripts read false. heste.
& she haþ y-poysoned popis / & a-peyred holy chirche
Þer is nawht a bettre bawde / by hym þat me maade.
By-twexe hevene & helle / þey men al erthe sowhte.
For she is tykyl of hire tayl / & talewyȝs of tunge.
& as comoune as cartewey / to ech knave of towhne.
She takþ MasonysF.2.122: F's reading "She takþ Masonys" is unique. Other manuscripts have "To Monkes." F also uniquely has & twice in place of Bx's to. & Menstralys / & Meselys in heggys.
Boþe Sysoures & Sumnowres / swiche shulle hire preyse.
But Sherevis of Shyres / wheryn shent if she neere.
For she doþ men leesen here lond / & here lyf boþe.
& she leetyþ passe prisonerys / & payeþ for hem ofte.
& gyfþ þe gailer gold / & grootys to-gydre.
To vnfetere þe false / & flee where hym lykeþ.
& trewþe ys take be þe top / & teyȝed fyȝn faste.
& he hangyd for hatterede / þat harm dyde neuere.
To don curse in constorye / she a-counteþ not a resshe.
For she copeþ þe Comyssarie / & klokiþF.4.132: klokiþ, "provides with a cloak." This is the first instance we have found of the finite form of this verb. OED's earliest citations are from the early sixteenth century, while the only MED citation is a participial adjective dated c. 1450 in the related sense "encased, enclosed." alle hise clerkys.
& she ys a-soyled soone / as hire-selue lykyþ.
fol. 10vI
She may neeyh doon as myche / in a Moneþ ones.
As ȝowre secret seel / sire kyng / in sixe skore dayes.
For she is prive with þe pope / alle provisoures it knoweþ.
For Maister Symony & hire-selue / a-seelyn þe billys
& she blessiþ bisshopis / & beggerys she hateþ. A problem in alpha has led F to invent new b-verses for these two lines. Beta witnesses attest:
She blesseþ þise Bisshopes þeiȝ þei be lewed
Prouendreth persones, and preestes maynteneþ
& prestys she meynteneþ / with mennes wifes to deele.
& to have lemannysF.4.140: F alone begins the line with & and omits and lotebies. / alle here lyf-dayes.
& so ben browht forþ barnes / a-geyn for-boode Lawis.
/ [¶] & þere she is weel with þe kyng / woo ys / to þat Rewhme.
For she is fauerable / to Fals / & defouleþ trewþe ofte.
By Iesus with hire Iewelis / þeF.4.144: Alpha is responsible for þe. Beta manuscripts have youre. Iustises she shendiþ.
& lyȝeþ a-geyn þe Lawhe / & lettyþ so þe gate.
Þat feyþ may not have his furþ / for Floreynys goo so þykke.
She leediþ þe lawe as she lyst / & swiche love-dayes makeþ.
Þat men leese be hire love / þat lawe wolde þey wonne.
Ȝee þe Mase for a meene man / þeyhȝ he moote euere.
For þe Lawe is so lordly / & looþ to make an ende.
With-outyn presentys or pens / it plesiþ but fewe.
Boþe Baronys & burgeisis / she bryngiþ in sorwe.
& alle þe comonis in care / þat coueyten truthe.
For Clergye & Coueytyse / she cowpleþ to-gydre.
Þis is þe Lyf of þat Lady / oure Lord gyve hire sorwe.
& allealle [þat] hire meyntene & hire men / myschawnce hem by-tyȝde.
For poore men have no powher / to pleyne þeyhȝ þey smerte.F.4.157: F omits the following line from Bx: "Swich a maister is Mede among men of goode."
THanneF.4.158: A small guide <t> for the rubricator appears to the top left of the finished <T>. mornede Meede / & made mychil sorwe.F.4.158: F combines and reconfigures Bx's b-verse with the a-verse of the following line. Bx reads as follows:
Thanne mournede Mede and mened hire to þe kynge
To haue space to speke spede if she myȝte.
& prayede þe kyng to speke / speede if she myghte.
Þe kyng grauntyd hire grace / with a glad wille.
Excuse þe if þou canst / I can no moore . þis tyme.
For Consience haþ accused þe  to kunge þe for euere.
Nay Lord quod þat Lady / now leve hym þe worse
Whan ȝee wetyn wyttyrly / where þe wrong lyggiþ.
For þere þat Mischeef ys gret / Meede may it helpe.
& þatF.4.166: Alpha is responsible for þat. Beta manuscripts lack it. þou knowist Consience / y can not with þe chyde.
Ne deprave þy persone / with a prowd herte.
But wel þou woost wernard / but if þou wylle gabbe.
Þou hast hangid on myn half / eleuene tymes.
& also y-gripe my gold / & gyve ytF.4.170: An otiose tilde appears above the <y>. where þe lyked.
But why  þou wratthest þe now / wondir me þynkyþ.
For ȝit y may as y myghte / menske þe with gyftys.
& meyntene þyn manhod / moore þan þou knowyst.
But þou hast defameddefamed [me] foule / by-fore þe kyng heere.
For truly y kyllyde neuere knyghtF.4.175: Alpha is responsible for knyght. Beta manuscripts have kyng. / ne contrivede þat dede.
Ne dyde as þou demest me / y doo it on þe dede.F.4.176: F has picked up dede from the preceding line. Bx has kynge.
For in Normondyȝ þe kyng was nout / noyhed for my sake
fol. 11rI
But þou þy-selve sothly / þou shamedist hym ofte.F.4.178: The top of the page has a five-line illustration with a human head at the left end of a decorated tube and a lion's head at the right end. The drawing incorporates the ascenders from the text.
For cropeCrope in a Caban / for cold of þyn naylys.
& wendist þat wynter / wolde have lasted euere.
& also þou dreddist to dyȝe / for a dym clowhde.
& hyȝedist homwarde / for hungir of þy wombe.
& with-outyn pyte þou pylour / pore men þou robbedist.F.4.183: An otiose curl appears over the <o>.
& bere here bras at þy bak / In Caleys to selle.
Þere y lefte with my Lord / his lyf for to save.
I made hise men meryȝe / & here Murnynge y lette.
I batered hem on þe bak / & bolded here hertys.
& dide hem hoppyn on hope / to have me at wille.
Hadde y be Marchal of hise men / be Marie of hevene.
I durste haue leyd my lyf / & no lesse gage.
He shulde havehave [be] lord of þat lond / in lengþe & in brede.
& also kyng of þat kyþ / al his keen to helpe.
Þe leeste brolle of þis londF.4.193: The substitution of lond for Bx's blood is owed to alpha. / a baronys peere.
& þou Consience / cowardly / þou conseyledist hym þenne.
To levyn so his LordshepeF.4.195: The scribe initially wrote Lordchepe and then corrected the <c> to <s>. Cf. F4.67, 10.561. / for a lytyl syluer.
Þat ys þe ryccheste regne / þat reyȝn ouere-hoveþ.
It be-comeþ wel a kyng / þat kepiþ a rewhme.
To ȝyve Meede to men / þat menskly hym serue.
& alyenys & oþire men / to honoure hem with gyftys.
For Meede makþ hym by-loved / & a man y-holde.
Emperoures / & Erlys / & alle erthely Lordis.
Þorghȝ ȝiftys have ȝoomenF.4.202: Alpha is responsible for ȝoomen. Beta manuscripts have yonge men. / to ȝeerne & to ryȝde.
Þe Pope also / of prelatys / presentys he vndir-fongyþ.
& þey Meede men hem-selue / to meyntene þe lawis.
& seruauntys for here seruyse / who can seyȝ þe sothe.
Take Meede of here Mayster / as þey moun a-corde.
& beggerys for here beggyngF.4.207: Alpha is responsible for beggyng. Beta manuscripts have biddynge. / byddyn for men meede.
& Menstralis for here merthe / meede / men hem profre.
/ [¶] Þe kyng haþ Meede of hise men / to make pees in londe.
& men þat techen chyldryn / craven of hem meede.F.4.210: A pointing finger is added in the margin by a later hand.
Preestis þat preche þe peple / of god þey aske meede.
& messe-pens & here meel / at here mete tyȝme.
Alle manere of crafty men / crave meede for here prentyȝs.
& Marchauntys & meede / muste nedys goon to-gydre.
No wyȝht as y wene / withoutyn meede may lybbe.
F.4.216: This ornamental capital, more elaborate than the one at 4.158, is red with green flourishes. A small guide <t> is visible in its midst. Than seyde þe kyng to consience / by crist as me þynkiþ.
Now ys Meede worthy / þe Maystrie to have.
Nay quod consience to þe kyng / & kneled on þe erþe.
Þere ben two manere of meedis / my lord be ȝour leve.
fol. 11vI
Þe firste is þat god of his grace / grauntyþ to his blysse.
To þo þat wel wirche / whilis þey ben on erthe.
Þe prophete prechiþ þer-of / & is pyt in þe Sawter.
Domine quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo  atque quis requiescet in monte sancto eius . imocensi[nn]ocens manibus & mundo corde.F.4.223: F significantly augments the tag. Bx ends after tuo.
He seyþ Lord who shal wone in þyn wones / with þyn holy seyntis.
Er restyn on þyn holy hillis / þus askedeF.4.225: Alpha is responsible for askede. Beta manuscripts have askeþ. dauyd.
/ [¶] & dauyd asoyled it / hym-selue / as þe sawhter tellyþ.
Qui ingreditur sine macula  & operatur iusticiam.
Þo þat entryn of o colour he seiþ / & also of o wille.
& haven wroght werkis / with ryght & with resoun.
& he wil nowht vse / þe lyf of vseryȝe.
But en-formeþ pore men / to pursue trewþe.F.4.231: F omits Bx's "Qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad vsuram et munera super innocentem."
& þo þat helpe þe Innocent / & holde with þe ryghtful.
& with-outyn Meede doon hem good / & trew menF.4.233: Alpha is responsible for trew. Beta manuscripts have truþe. F alone adds men. helpe.
Swiche manere of men my lord / shulle have þe for-seyd mede.
Of god / at his grete neede / whan þey goon hennys.
/[¶] Þe seconde Meede ys Mesourles / þat Maystris dysyren
To Meyntene mysdoerys / Meede þey taken.
& of hem seyþ þe sawhter / in a Spalmes ende.
F.4.239: An X appears in the left margin by this line. In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt  dextra eorum repleta est muneribus.
He þat grypeþ so gold / so me god helpe.
F.4.241: Note is written in the left margin by a later hand along with a pointing finger, probably marking the passage and no one line. He shal a-byȝe it bytterly / if þe book be trewe.
Boþe prestys & parsones / þat preysynge dysyreþ.
Þey take Meede & Mone / for Masses to synge.
& þerfore is here Meede / as Seynt Mattheu vs tellyt
Amen dico vobis . receperunt mercedem suam.
/ [¶] But þat Laboris & lewid men / taken of here Maystris.
It is no manere Meede / but a mesurable hyȝre.
Ne in Marchantdyse / is no meede / y may it wel a-vowe.
It isF.4.249: Alpha is responsible for the omission of a before Permvtacioun. Permvtacioun apertly / a peny-worþ / for a-noþir.
But reddist þou neuere regum / þou recreyȝede Meede.
Why  þe vengaunce fel on / Saul & hise childryn.
God sente to Saul / be Samuel the prophete.
Þat Agag & Amalek / & al here peple after.
Shulden dyȝe for þe dede / þat doon hadde here eldres.
/ [¶] Þus seyde Samuel to Saul / god hym-selue þe hoteþ.
Þou be buxum at myF.4.256: RF agree against beta family manuscripts which read his. byddyngge / his wille to fulfylle.
Wende to Amelek with þyn oost / & what þou fynst sle it.
& beernes & beestis / brenne hem to dethe.
Boþe wyvis & wydewis / & wommen with chylde.F.4.259: F alone has "with chylde." Other manuscripts read "and children."
Mevable & vn-mevable / al þou may þere fyȝnde.
Brenne yt / bere it nowht a-way / be it neuere so ryche.
fol. 12rI
For Meede ne for mone / mak no þynþyn[g] on lyve.F.4.262: Bx fails in alliteration, and F has revised to provide alliteration on nasalization. Bx reads "For Mede ne for monee loke þow destruye it." Cx also revises the b-verse, but differently.
But spille it / & spare it nowht / & þou shalt spede þe bettre.
/[¶] & for he coueytyd here catel / & þe kyng he sparede.
& for-bar hym / & hise beestis / as þe book telliþ.
Othir-wyse þan he was / warned of þe prophete.
/ [¶] Þan seyde god / to Samewel / þat savl sholde dyȝe.
& al his seed / for þat synne / synfully þan endede.F.4.268: Alpha is responsible for the preterite endede, a lection shared with Hm. Other beta manuscripts have ende(n).
Swich a Myschef / Meede made / kyng saul to have.
Þat god hatyd hym for euere / & alle hyse eyȝres after.
Þe construyng of þis caas / kepe y nowht expowne.
For hap if it noyede men / non ende wil y make.
For so is þis world went / with hem þat have powher.
Þat who-so seyþ hem here soþis / he ys sunnest blamed.
I knowe it wel quod consience / for wit me it tawhte.
Þat resoun shal reygne / & rewhmes gouerne.
& ryght as Agag hadde no harm / so happe shulle summe.
For Samvel shal fle[s]le hym / & saul shal be blamed.
& dauid shal be dyademed / & adawntyn hem alle.
& .o. cristene kyng / shal kepen al þe frape.F.4.280: Other B witnesses have the relatively pedestrian b-verse variants "kepen hem echone" or "kepen hem alle."
Shal no moore meede be mayster / so mychil as heF.4.281: he, "she." Alpha preserves this form. All beta witnesses read she. is nowþe.
But boþe love & lowenesse / & lewte to-gydre.
Þese shulle be Maystris on Moolde / trewþe to save.
& who trespaseþ a-geyn trewþe / or takþ a-geyn his wille.
Lewte shal doon hym lawe / & no lyf ellys.
Shal no sergaunt for no seruyse / were a sylk howe.
Ne no pelewre in his cloke / for pletynge at þe barre.
But ofte Misdoeris þoru Meede / ys meyntened be lordis.
& þoru þe Lordys be Lawes / for to rewle þe rewhme.
/ [¶] But kyȝnde love shal come ȝit / & consyence to-gydre. Two abbreviations for nota were written in very pale ink in the right margin by a later scribe.
& make of Lawe a laborer / swich love shal a-ryse.
& swich peesF.4.292: Alpha is responsible for the omission of a before pees. a-mong þe peple / & parfyȝt trewþe.
Þat Iewis shulle wene in here wit / & waxe wondir glade.
Þat Moyses or Messye / be comen in-to erthe.
& have wondir in hertis / þat men be here so trewe.
/ [¶] & alle þat beryn baselarde / orF.4.296: The initial character could be either an <e> or an <o>. Both forms appear in the manuscript. brod-swerd or lawnce.
Er ex or hachet / or ony wepene ellis.
Shulle be dampned to þe deþ / but he do it smythie.
In-to sykil or in-to sythe / to shar er to cultyr.
fol. 12vI
Et conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres.
Ech man shal pleyȝe with þe plowh /. or pykoyse or spade.
Or spynne or sprede dunk / or leseF.4.302: Alpha is responsible for lese. Beta manuscripts have correctly alliterating spille. hym-selue with slewþe.
Prestis & parsonys / with Placebo shulle hunte.
& dynggyn vpon dauid / euery day til eve
Huntynge or hawkynge / if ony of hem it vse.
For his boost / his benefyȝs / worþ by-nome hym after.
Shal neyþir kyng ne knyght / ne Meyȝr ne constable.
Ouer leede þe comoune / ne to here court hem somowne.
Ne pitte hem in panel / to do plyghte here trewþe.
But after þe dede / þat is doon / o doom shal rewarde.
Er with Mercy / or with no Mercy / as trewthe wylle a-sente.
Boþe kyngis court / & comoun cowrt / Constorye & chapetle.
Alle shulle be but .o. court / & .o. baroun be Iustise
Þan worþ trewe tunge / a tydy man / þat tenede men ofte.F.4.314: A series of misunderstandings lies behind F's reading. Bx reads "me neuere." That in turn has been redivided to "men euere" and then translated to "men ofte."
Ne þanne shulle no batailes be / ne no man shal bere wepne
& what smeþ þat ony smythieF.4.316: Alpha is responsible for smythie. Beta manuscripts have smyteth or smyþeþ. / he shal be smyte þer-wiþ.
Non leuabit gens contra gentem gladium.
& er þis Fortune falle / men shulle fyȝnde þe werse.
F.4.319: The left margin is cropped, leaving "..te" in the hand with italic <e>. A second annotator has written "nota" again, and a possibly original nota brevigraph appears inside a bracket for 319-20. For þer shul be sixe sunnes & a ship / & half a shef of arwis.
& þe Myddil of a Moone / shal make þe IewisF.4.320: Alpha and G lack to after Iewis. turne.
& þe sarsynes for þe syghte þerofF.4.321: Alpha is responsible for "þe syghte þerof," while beta manuscripts have "þat siȝte." / shulle syngyn Gloria in excelsis.
ÞorghȝF.4.322: F alone has this reading. All other B witnesses have For. Machamet & Meede / mys-shapen shulle þeyF.4.322: F alone has this reading. All other B witnesses omit þey. þat tyme.
For melius est bonum nomen habere  quam diuicie multe
Þo as wrothȝ as þe wyȝnd / wex Meede in a qwhyle.
Quod she y can lytyl latyn / clerkys knowe þe sothe.
Now see ȝee what salomon seyþ / In sapience bokys.
Of hem þat gyveþ gyftys / þe victorie wynneþ.
& myche worchepe haue þerfore / as holy wryt telliþ.
Honorem adquiret . qui dat munera.
I leve wel Lady quod consience / þat þyn Latyn be trewe.
But þou art lyk a NunneF.4.331: F uniquely inserts Nunne. Lady / þat a lessoun redde ones.
It was þus omnia autem probate / & þat plesede here herte.
For þat Lyȝne was no lengere / þan þe levis ende.
Hadde she lokyd on þe oþir half / & þe leef y-turned.
She sholde have fownde fele wordis / folwynge after.
Þat seyde quod bonum est tenete / Trewthe þat tyxt made.
& so feerde ȝee Madame / no moore cowhde ȝee fyȝnde.
Of þat ȝee seyȝe in Sapience / syttynge in ȝoure stodye.
But þis tyxt þat ȝee have told / ȝee takyn nout þe ende.F.4.339: The b-verse is unique to F. Bx reads "were good for lordes."
But ȝee faile a konynge clerk / þat can þe leef wel turne.F.4.340: The b-verse is unique to F. Bx reads "þat kouþe þe leef han torned."
& yf ȝee seke in Sapience eft / fyȝnde shal ȝee þat folweth.
fol. 13rI
A ful teeneful tyxt of þat tale / þat ȝee to me pitte.F.4.342: F omits two lines and re-arranges others, melding KD3.349 and 3.351. Bx reads as follows:
A ful teneful text to hem þat takeþ Mede
Animam autem aufert accipientium &c.
And þat is þe tail of þe text of þat ye shewed.
& þeyȝ ȝe wynne worchepe / & of meF.4.343: Alpha is responsible for me. Beta manuscripts have Mede. have þe victorye.
Ȝit þe sowle / þat þe syluer takþ / be so myche ys bownde.
BPassus 4
NOw sesiþ seyde þe kyng þo / y suffre ȝow no lengere.
Ȝee shul sawhtle for-soþe / & seruyn me boþe.
Kysse hire now quod þe kyng / þou consience y hoote.
Nay be crist quod Consyense / hongeF.4.348: F alone reads honge. Bx reads congeye. me rather sone.
But if Resoun rede me þerto / rathere y wille dyȝe.
Þanne y comawnde þe quod þe kyng / F.4.350: The scribe inexplicably left a space of 13 mm after kyng. We have interpreted the flourish following <g> as a virgule since one does not otherwise appear. Consyence he seyde.
Rape þe to ryde a-non / & Resoun þat þou fecche.
& comawnde hym þat he come to me / myn conseil to here.
For he shal rewle my rewhme / & reede me to þe beste.F.4.353: F, like most B manuscripts, lacks the following line attested in YCr 23OC2 as well as in versions A and C: "Of Mede and of mo oþere what man shal hire wedde."
& a-Cowntre with þe Consience / so me crist helpe.
How þou leernyst þe peple / boþe lerede & þe lewede.
/ [¶] I am fayn of þis forward / seyde þat freke þanne.
& to resoun he rood ryght / & rownede in his ere.
& tolde hym as þe kyng seide / & sytthe he took his leve.
I wille go a-rayȝe me quod Resoun / go reste þe þerwhile.
A-non he klepede Catoun his knave / ful curteyȝs of speche.
& also Tomme trewe tunge / þat tolde fewe talys.
Ne lesyngis to Lawhe of / for he lovede hem neuere.
He bad / go sette a sadil vpon suffre / tyl y se my tyme.
& let warroke hym with gyrtys / þat is with witty wordis.
& hange on hym þe hevi brydil / to holde his heed lowe.
For he wil makyn . we  he  to trewþeF.4.366: The reading to trewþe is unique to F. Bx reads twies. er he be þere.
/ [¶] Þan Consience vpon his capil / cayreþ forþ faste.
& Resoun with hym rydis / rownynge to-gydre.
Whiche Maystryes on erthe / Meede þe Maide makeþ.F.4.369: Alpha is responsible for the word order of this line. Beta manuscripts read "Whiche maistries Mede makeþ on þis erþe."
A-non waryȝn wyȝsdom / & watte witty his feere.
Folwed hem faste / for þey haddyn to doone.
In þe Chekkeryȝe / & Chawncerye / to be dischargid þere.
Faste þey ryden for resoun / þat he wolde rede hem for þe beste.
For to saven here syluer / & hem fram shame & harmes.
& Consyence knew hem wel / þat koueytyse þey loveden.
& he bad resoun ryde faste / & recche of þem neythir.
For þere are whilis / in here woordis / & with Meede þey dwelle.
& þere as wratthe / & wranglynge is / þere wynne þey siluer.
& where þat love & lewte ys / þey leete nowht come þere.
For þey gyve nowht god / nowht .o. goos feedre.F.4.380: F transposes this line with the Latin quotation.
Contricio & infelicitas in uijs eorum.
Non est timor dei ante occuloso[c]ulos eorum.
fol. 13vI
For god wot þey wille doon / moore / for a doseydosey[n] chykes.
Or for as manye Caponys / or for a seem of ootes.
Þan for þe love of oure lord / or for hise leve seyntys.
ÞerforeF.4.386: Alpha is responsible for the omission of Reson before lete. lete hem ryde / þo ryche men by hem-selue.
For Conciense knowe þey nowht / ne crist as y trowe.
/ [¶] Þanne reson rood faste / þe ryght hyȝe gate.F.4.388: An otiose curl appears above the <g>.
As Consience hym kennede / til þey to þe kyng keme.
Þan Curteysly þe kyng anon / kam a-geyn resoun.
& by-twene hym & his sone / he sette hym on þe deyȝse.
& wordeden wol wyȝsly / a long while to-gydres.
/ [¶] & þanne cam pees to þat parlement / & pitte furþ a bylle.
How Wrong a-geyn his wille / hadde his wif y-taken.
& he ravysshid Rose / Reygnoldis leve dowhter.
& be-revede Margrete hire Maydenhed / mawgre hire wille.
& also myn gees & myn gryȝs / hise gadelyngys fecchen.
& y dar nowht for feere / fyghtyn ne chyden.
He borwid of me Bayard / & browhte hym a-geyn neuere.
Ne no ferthyng þerfore / for nowhtF.4.400: Alpha and LM read nowht. Other beta manuscripts have ouȝt. y cowhde pleete.
Also he meynteneþ hise men / to moþerem[u]rþere myn heuuys.F.4.401: The spelling heuuys for hewen, "servants," occurred in alpha. What the immediate scribe thought he was writing is a matter of speculation, since the combination <uu> never again appears in the English text. F is unique in reading moþere.
& to& for-staleþ myn feyrys / & fyghteþ in þe chepyng.
He brakiþ vp my beerne dore / & beryþ a-wey my whete.
& takþ me but a tayle / for teen qwarteris otes.
& ȝit he thretiþ me þerto / & lyggeþ by my Mayde.
I am nowht hardy for hym / vnneþe for to looke.
/ [¶] Þe kyng knew wel he seyde soþ / for Conciense so hym tolde.
Þat wrong was a wykkid wyght / & wroghte mycheF.4.408: The scribe initially wrote muche and then corrected to his usual form. sorwe.
Þanne wex wrong a-ferd / & wysdom he sowhte.
To make pees with hise pens / he proferede manye.
& seyde / haddehadde [y] love of þe kyng / lytil wolde y recche.
Þeyhȝ / pees with his powher / pleygned hym ofte.F.4.412: F omits the following lines from Bx:
Tho wan Wisdom and sire waryn þe witty
For þat wrong hadde ywroȝt so wikked a dede
And warnede wrong þo with swich a wis tale
Whoso wercheþ by wille wraþe makeþ ofte.
I seyȝ it to þyn-selue / þou shalt it wel fyȝnde.
For but yf Meede / it make / þy Mischeef is vppe.
For boþe þyn lyȝf & þyn londe / lyȝþ in his grace.
/ [¶] Þanne whowede wrong / wyȝsdom ful ȝeerne.
To make his pees with pens / y-payed handy dandy
Þanne wit & wisdom a-non / wentyn to-gydres.
& token Meede myd hem / Mercy to wynne.
Pees pitte forþ his heed / & his pate al blody.
With-outyn gylte god it whot / gat y þis skathe.
Boþe Concyense & þe comones / knowe wel þe soþe.
/ [¶] & þerwhilis wit & wisdom / wentyn a-bowtyn faste.
To ouer-come þe kyng / with catel if þey myghten.
fol. 14rI
Þe kyng swor by Cryst / & be his Crowne boþe.
Þat wrong for hise werkys / woo sholde þolye.
A-non he comaundid a Cunstable / to caste hym in stokkis.F.4.427: The correction with interlinear in is inserted in brown ink, but the caret is written in red.
& nowht after þis sevene ȝeer / he se hise feet ones.
/ [¶] A  god whot quod Wisdom þo / þat were not þe beste.
But he a-mendis mowe now make / let Meinprise hym holde.
& if he have borghȝ of his bale / þey mowe bygge hym boote.
& so a-mende / þat is mys-do / & he shal do euere þe bettre.
A-non wit a-cordit þerwith / & seyde þe same resoun
Þat bettre it were / þat boote / sholde bale doun brynge.
Þan bale be y-beete / & boote neuere þe bettre.
/ [¶] & þanne gan Meede to Meke hire / & mercy by-sowhte.
& proferede pees a present / al of pure syluer
Have þis man of me quod she / to a-menden þy skaþe.
For y wille wage me for wrong / he wil do so no more.
Þanne Pees pytously / prayede to þe kyng þere.
He wolde have mercy on þat man / þat mysdede so ofte.
For he haþ waged me wel / as wyȝsdom hym tawhte.
& y for-gyve hym my gilt / with a good wille.
So þe kyng a-sente þerto / y can seyȝ no bettre.
For Meede haþ maad myn a-mendis ./ y may no more aske.
/ [¶] Nay  quod þe kyng þo / so me god helpe.
Wrong wendiþ not so aweyȝ  y wille first wete more.
For lowpe he so lyghtly a-wey / lawhen he myghte.
& eft þe boldere to be / to beetyn myne hewen.
But resoun have rewþe on hym / he shal reste in stokkys.
& þat as longe as he lyviþ / but lowhnesse hym borwe.
Fele radde resoun þo / to have rewþe on þat shrewe.
Þat he myghte conseile þe kyng / & consience seyde after.
Þat Meede myghte be his paramour This curious revision of Bx reflects one of the scribal editor's more bizarre moments. Bx reads as follows:
Som men radde Reson to haue ruþe on þat shrewe
And to counseille þe kyng and Conscience after
That Mede moste be maynpernour Reson þei bisouȝte.
/ resoun þey be-sowte.
/ [¶] Now  rede me nowht / quod Resoun / ony rewthe to graunte.
Til Lordis & Ladijs / loven lovely trewþe.
& haten al harlotriȝe / to heren it / of Mowthis.
& til Peronellis pelure / be pit in hyre chiste.
& Chydene ChyrsyngeChy[l]d[r]ene Chyr[y]synge / be chastysed with ȝerdes
& harlotis holynesse / be holde for vanyte.
& Clerkene coueytyse / cloþe wel þe PoPo[re & fede]F.4.461: At least one character is erased after Po. Bx reads "to clothe þe pouere & fede." The b-verse is heavy, and we cannot be certain that the F-Redactor would have concurred with Bx.
& religyous rome renneris / recorde in here cloystre.
As seynt Benyght hem bad / & Bernard & Fraunces.
& til prechores prechynge / be previd on hem-selue.
fol. 14vI
& tyl þe kyngys conseyl / be þe comoune profyȝht.
& tyl þe Bisshopis barganoures / be beggerys in chambres.
& here hawkys & howndis / helpe relygyouse howsys.
& tyl Seynt Iemys be sowht / þere y shal a-sygne
Þat no man goo to Galys / but he goo for euere.
& also / Rome rennerys / for robberis be-ȝounde.
Bere no syluer ouer þe see / þat sygne of kyng sheweth.
Neyþir graue / ne vngraue / gold neyþir syluer.
Vpon forfeture of fee / who fynt hym at douere.
But he be Marchaunt . er his man / er Messager with lettris.
Er provysour or preest / er penaunt for hise synnys.
& ȝit quodF.4.476: The scribe has written the abbreviation for <ra> above the usual brevigraph for "quod." Reeson be þe roode / y shal rewþe[no] rewþe have.
While Meede haþ þe Maystrie / in þe moot halle.
For y shal shewe ensample / as y see oþirwhyle.
I seyȝ it be myn-selue / quod he  / if it so now were.
Þat y were kyng with crowne / to kepen þe rewme.
Sholde neuere wrong in þis world / þat y wete myghte.
Ben vnpunshid / in my powher / for pereyl of my sowle.
Ne getyn my grace þoru gyftys / so me god save.
Ne for no Meede have Mercy / but Meeknesse it made.
For nullum malum þe man / mette with inpunitum.
& bad nullum bonum / ben irremuneratum.
Leete ȝoure confessour sire kyng / construe þis clause vnglosid /
& if hewerkehe werke it in werk / y wedde þanne myne erys.
Þat Lawe shal be a laborer / & leede dunk to feelde.
& Love shal leede þyn Lond / as þe leevest lykyþ.
Anon Clerkis & confessoures / cowpled hem to-gydre.
To construe wel clawse[þis] clawse / al for þe kyngis profyȝt.
But not for confort of þe comoun / ne for þe kyngis sowle.
For y seyȝ Meede in þe Moot halle / on men of lawe wynke.
& þey lawhenge lope to hire / & leftyn aloone resoun.
Sire Waryȝn Wyȝsdom / wynkede vp-on Meede.
& seide Madame y am ȝoure man / what-so my mowþ Iangle.
I stumble at floreynes quod þe freeke / þat y faile speche ofte.
& anon Ryghtful recordid / þat resoun trewþe tolde.
& wit a-cordyd þerwith / & comendyd wel hise wordis.
A-non alle þe peple / in þe halle / & manye of þe greete.
Þey helden Meeknesse for a Mayster / & meede a manshid shrewe.
Þanne Love leet of hire lyght / & Lewhte wel lasse.
& cryeden so hyȝe / þat al þe halle hem herde.
fol. 15rI
Who þat wylneþ Meede to wyve / For welthe of wordly goodis.F.4.505: The scribe wrote a large red V in the top right margin to indicate the passus.
But he be knowe for a kokewold / kytte of boþe oure erys.
Þanne Meede Murnede faste / & made hevy cheere.
For alle þe comonys of þe cowrtF.4.508: An otiose curl appears over the <c>. / callide hire asa[n] hoore.
Boþe a Sysour & a sumnour / þanne sewid hire faste.
& also a sherevis clerk / y shrewe alle þe rowhte.
A ofte have y quod she / holpe ȝow / at þe barre.
& ȝit neuere ȝeve ȝee me / þe worþ of a rysshe.
Þanne clepede þe kyng Concyense / & so he dede resoun.
& recordid þat Resoun / hadde Ryghtfully shewid.
Þanne Moodely vp-on LaweF.4.515: An otiose curl appears above <we>. / myghte þe kyng looke.
& wex wroothȝ with Lawe / for Meede made hym a-shamed.
& seyde þorghȝ ȝoure Lawe / as y leve / y lese fele cheetys.
For Meede ouer-Maystriþ so Lawe / & Michil trewþe lettyþ.
But resoun shal rekne with ȝow / yf y reyghne a stounde.
& deme ȝow be þis day / as ȝee have disseruyd.
MeeMee[de] shal not menprise ȝow / be Marie qween of glorie.
I wille have lewte for Lawe / & leeve al ȝour Ianglynge.
& as alle wyȝes witnesse / wrong shal be demed.
Sire  quod Concyense to þe kyng / but þe comonys assente.
It ys ful hard by myn heed / her-to / to brynge it
Alle ȝoure londys leedys / to leede hem alle evene.
By hym þat was reed on roode / quod Resoun to þe kyng
But if y rewle þus ȝoure rewme / reerde out my guttis.
If ȝee wille bydde Buxumnesse / to be assocyed tometo me.
Þerto y assente quod þe kyng / by seynte Marie my Lady.
To myn conseyle þat ȝee kome / a-mongys Clerkis & Lordis.
But redely resoun / þou ryde shalt not fromefro me.
For as longe as y lyve / leeve þe y nylle.
I am al redy quod Resoun / to reste with ȝow euere.F.4.534: F omits Bx's "So Conscience be of oure counseil I kepe no bettre."
& y graunte quod þe kyng / god for-bede þou fayle.
As longe / as oure lyvis laste / leeve we to-gydre.
BPassus 5
/ [¶] Thanne þe kyng with hise knyghtis / to þe kyrke wentyn.
To heryn Matinys of þe day / & a Messe after.
Explicit Passus Quartus.