<milestone>fol. 1rI</milestone>
<foreign><hi><hi>Incipit liber de Petro Plowman</hi></hi></foreign>
<l> <hi><hi>I</hi></hi>n<note>L.P.1: The twelve-line ornamental capital is written in blue on an elaborately flourished red ground with oak leaves. The flourishes run all the way down the left side of the page forming a demivinet.</note> a somer seson  whan soft was the sonne<note><p>L.P.1: The old Laudian shelf mark E.64 is written in the right margin.</p> <p>This front leaf is badly rubbed, and we have had in some instances to corroborate our guesses about the reading with Skeat's transcription. For instance, at the top of the leaf, on the very edge of the cropped leaf, Skeat found the following words in red ink: <foreign><hi><hi>Incipit liber de Petro Plowman</hi></hi></foreign>. Skeat records that the rubrication was readable in strong sunlight when he worked with the manuscript. However, it is no longer legible, even under ultra-violet light. We can make out <hi>Pe... Plow.an</hi>. Beneath that is written in a late sixteenth-century hand <hi>.... Robart Langeland borne by malbo<hi>vr</hi>ne</hi> (or perhaps <hi>malbo<expan>ur</expan>ne</hi>?) <lb/>
. . lles.</p>
<p>The first ten lines are boxed with a fine red line.</p>
<l> I shope me in shroudes  as i a shepe were</l>
<l> In habite as an heremite  vnholy of workes</l>
<l> Went wyde in þis world wondres to here<note>L.P.3-4: Some penmarks in a brown ink are written over these lines. The <v> of <hi>vnholy</hi> is partially obscured, and there appears to be no punctus elevatus on line 4.</note></l>
<l> Ac on a May mornyng  on Maluerne hulles</l>
<l> Me byfel a ferly  of fairy me thouȝte</l>
<l> I was wery forwandred · and went me to reste</l>
<l> Vnder a brode banke  bi a bornes side</l>
<l> And as I lay and lened  and loked in þe wateres</l>
<l> I slombred in a slepyng  it sweyued so merye</l>
<l> Thanne gan I to meten  a merueilouse sweuene</l>
<l> That I was in a wildernesse  wist I neuer where</l>
<l> As I bihelde in<seg>-</seg>to þe est  an hiegh to þe sonne</l>
<l> I seigh a toure on a toft  trielich ymaked</l>
<l> A depe dale binethe  a dongeon þere<seg>-</seg>Inne</l>
<l> With depe dyches & derke  and dredful of sight</l>
<l> A faire felde ful of folke  fonde I there bytwene</l>
<l> Of alle maner of men  þe mene and þe riche</l>
<l> Worchyng and wandryng  as þe worlde asketh</l>
<l> Some put hem to þe plow  pleyed ful selde</l>
<l> In settyng and in sowyng  swonken ful harde</l>
<l> And wonnen that wastours  with glotonye destruyeth</l>
<l> And some putten hem to pruyde  apparailed hem þer<expan>e</expan><seg>-</seg>after</l>
<l> In contenau<expan>n</expan>ce of clothyng comen disgised</l>
<l> In prayers and in penance  putten hem manye</l>
<l> Al for loue of owre lorde · lyuede<expan>n</expan> ful streyte</l>
<l> In hope forto haue · heueneriche blisse</l>
<l> As ancres and heremites · that holden hem in here selles<note>L.P.28: An illegible erasure appears in the right margin.</note></l>
<l> And coueiten nought in contre to kairen aboute</l>
<l> For no likerous liflode · her lykam to plese</l>
<l> And so<expan>m</expan>me chosen chaffare · they cheuen the bettere</l>
<l> As it semeth to owre syȝt · that suche men thryueth</l>
<l> And so<expan>m</expan>me murthes to make · as mynstralles conneth</l>
<l> And geten gold with her<expan>e</expan> glee · synneles I leue</l>
<l> Ac iapers & iangelers · Iudas chylderen</l>
<l> Feynen hem fantasies · and foles hem maketh</l>
<l> And han here witte at wille · to worche ȝif þei sholde</l>
<l> That Poule p<expan>re</expan>cheth of hem · I nel nought preue it here</l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Qui turpiloquiu<expan>m</expan> loquitur · &c</hi></foreign><note>L.P.39: LCCr<hi>1</hi>HM omit the b-verse, which reads <hi>is luciferes hyne</hi>.</note></l>
<l> Bidders and beggeres · fast aboute ȝede<note>L.P.40: The Laud librarian has added in the bottom margin the following inscription: <hi><foreign>Liber Guilielmi Laud Archiep<expan>iscop</expan>i Cantuar<expan>ij</expan> <lb/>
: et Cancellarij Vniuersitatis Oxon<expan>iensis</expan> <lb/>
<milestone>fol. 1vI</milestone>
<l> With her bely and her bagge · of bred ful ycrammed</l>
<l> Fayteden for here fode · fouȝten atte ale</l>
<l> In glotonye god it wote · gon hij to bedde</l>
<l> And risen with ribaudye · tho roberdes knaues</l>
<l> Slepe and sori sleuthe · seweth hem eure</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Pilgrymes and palmers · pliȝted hem togidere</l>
<l> To seke seynt Iames · and seyntes in rome</l>
<l> Thei went forth in here wey · with many wise tales</l>
<l> And hadden leue to lye · al here lyf after</l>
<l> I seigh so<expan>m</expan>me that seiden · þei had ysouȝt seyntes</l>
<l> To eche a tale þat þei tolde · here tonge was te<expan>m</expan>pred to lye</l>
<l> More þan to sey soth · it semed bi here speche</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Heremites on an heep · with hoked staues</l>
<l> Wenten to walsyngham · and her<expan>e</expan> wenches after</l>
<l> Grete lobyes and longe · that loth were to swynke</l>
<l> Clotheden hem in copis · to ben knowen fram othere</l>
<l> And shopen hem heremites · here ese to haue</l>
<l> <hi></hi> I fonde þere Freris alle þe foure ordres</l>
<l> Preched þe peple · for profit of hem<seg>-</seg>seluen</l>
<l> Glosed þe gospel · as hem good lyked</l>
<l> For coueitise of copis · construed it as þei wolde</l>
<l> Many of þis maistres Freris mowe clothen hem at lykyng</l>
<l> For here money and marchandise · marchen togideres</l>
<l> For sith charite haþ be chapman · and chief to shryue lordes</l>
<l> Many ferlis han fallen · in a fewe ȝeris</l>
<l> But holychirche and hij · holde better togideres</l>
<l> The moste <sic>mychief</sic><corr>my[s]chief</corr><note>L.P.67: A <+> appears in the left margin at the head of this line, marking erroneous <hi>mychief</hi>. The correction was not made. The scribe also wrote <hi>mychief</hi> at L.3.178, but he corrected it there.</note> on molde · is mountyng wel faste</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Þere p<expan>re</expan>ched a Pardonere · as he a prest were</l>
<l> Brouȝte forth a bulle · with bishopes seles</l>
<l> And seide þat hym<seg>-</seg>self myȝte · assoilen hem alle</l>
<l> Of falshed of fastyng · of vowes ybroken</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Lewed men leued hym wel · and lyked his wordes</l>
<l> Comen vp knelyng · to kissen his bulles</l>
<l> He bonched hem with his breuet · & blered here eyes</l>
<l> And rauȝte with his ragman · rynges and broches</l>
<l> Thus þey geuen here golde · glotones to kepe</l>
<l> And leneth<note>L.P.77: The reading could as well be <hi>leueth</hi>.</note> such loseles · þat lecherye haunten</l>
<l> Were þe bischop yblissed · and worth bothe his eres</l>
<l> His seel shulde nouȝt be sent · to deceyue þe peple</l>
<l> Ac it is nauȝt by þe bischop · þat þe boy precheth</l>
<milestone>fol. 2rI</milestone>
<l> For the parisch prest and þe pardonere · parten þe siluer</l>
<l> That þe poraille of þe parisch · sholde haue ȝif þei nere</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Persones and parisch prestes · pleyned hem to þe bischop ·</l>
<l> Þat here parisshes were pore · sith þe pestilence tyme</l>
<l> To haue a lycence and a leue · at London to dwelle</l>
<l> And syngen þere for symonye · for siluer is swete</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Bischopes and bachelers · bothe maistres and doctours</l>
<l> Þat han cure vnder criste · and crounyng in tokne</l>
<l> And signe þat þei sholden · shryuen here paroschienes</l>
<l> Prechen an<add>d</add> prey for hem · and þe pore fede</l>
<l> Liggen in London · in lenten an elles</l>
<l> So<expan>m</expan>me seruen þe kyng · and his siluer tellen</l>
<l> In cheker and in chancerye · chalengen his dettes</l>
<l> Of wardes and wardmotes · weyues and streyues</l>
<l> <hi></hi> And some seruen as seruantz · lordes and ladyes</l>
<l> And in stede of stuwardes · sytten and demen</l>
<l> Here messe and here matynes · and many of here oures</l>
<l> Arn don vndeuoutlych · drede is at þe laste</l>
<l> Lest crist in constorie · acorse ful manye</l>
<l> I parceyued of þe power · þat Peter had to kepe</l>
<l> To bynde and to vnbynde · as þe boke telleth</l>
<l> How he it left wiþ loue · as owre lorde hight</l>
<l> Amonges foure vertues · þe best of alle vertues</l>
<l> Þat cardinales ben called · & closyng ȝatis</l>
<l> Þere crist is in kyngdome · to close and to shutte</l>
<l> And to opne it to hem · and heuene blisse shewe</l>
<l> Ac of þe cardinales atte Courte · þat cauȝt of þat name</l>
<l> And power presumed in hem · a Pope to make</l>
<l> To han þat power þat peter hadde · inpugnen I nelle</l>
<l> For in loue and letterure · þe elecciou<expan>n</expan> bilongeth</l>
<l> For<seg>-</seg>þi I can and can nauȝte · of courte speke more</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Þanne come þere a kyng · knyȝthod hym ladde</l>
<l> Miȝt of þe comunes · made hym to regne</l>
<l> And þanne cam kynde wytte · and clerkes he made</l>
<l> For to conseille þe kyng · and þe comune saue</l>
<l> <hi></hi> The kyng and knyȝthode · and clergye bothe</l>
<l> Casten þat þe co<expan>mun</expan>e shulde hem<seg>-</seg>self fynde</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Þe co<expan>mun</expan>e contreued · of kynde witte craftes</l>
<l> And for profit of alle þe poeple · plowmen ordeygned</l>
<milestone>fol. 2vI</milestone>
<l> To tilie and trauaile · as trewe lyf askeþ</l>
<l> Þe kynge and þe co<expan>mun</expan>e · and kynde witte þe thridde</l>
<l> Shope lawe & lewte · eche man to knowe his owne</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Þanne loked vp a lunatik · a lene þing with<seg>-</seg>alle</l>
<l> And knelyng to þe kyng · clergealy he seyde</l>
<l> Crist kepe þe sire kyng · and þi kyngriche</l>
<l> And lene þe lede þi londe · so leute þe louye</l>
<l> And for þi riȝtful rewlyng · be rewarded in heuene</l>
<l> <hi></hi> And sithen in þe eyre an hiegh · an angel of heuene</l>
<l> Lowed to speke in latyn · for lewed men ne coude .</l>
<l> Iangle ne iugge · þat iustifie hem shulde</l>
<l> But suffren & seruen · for<seg>-</seg>thi seyde þe angel</l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Sum Rex sum Princeps · neutru<expan>m</expan> fortasse deinceps</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>O qui iura regis · <expan>cristi</expan> specialia regis</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Hoc quod agas melius · iustus es esto pius</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Nudu<expan>m</expan> ius a te · vestiri vult pietate</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Qualia vis metere · talia grana sere</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Si ius nudat<expan>ur</expan> · nudo de iure metat<expan>ur</expan> ·</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Si serit<expan>ur</expan> pietas · de pietate metas ·</hi></foreign> </l>
<l> <note>L.P.139: A very light <X> appears in the left margin.</note><hi></hi> Thanne greued hym a Goliardeys · a glotou<expan>n</expan> of wordes</l>
<l> And to þe angel an heiȝ · answeres<note>L.P.140: LR alone read <hi>answeres</hi>; all other <hi>B</hi> manuscripts have a preterite form here.</note> after</l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Dum rex a regere · dicatur nomen habere</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Nomen habet sine re · nisi studet iura tenere ·</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <hi></hi> And þanne gan alle þe co<expan>mun</expan>e · crye in vers of latin</l>
<l> To þe kynges conseille · construe ho<seg>-</seg>so wolde</l>
<l> <foreign><hi>P<expan>re</expan>cepta Regis · sunt nobis vinc<expan>u</expan>la legis ·</hi></foreign></l>
<l> <hi></hi> Wiþ þat ran þere a route of ratones at ones</l>
<l> And smale mys with hem mo þen a þousande</l>
<l> And comen to a conseille · for here co<expan>mun</expan>e profit</l>
<l> For a cat of a courte · cam whan hym lyked</l>
<l> And ouerlepe hem lyȝtlich · and lauȝte he<expan>m</expan> at his wille</l>
<l> And pleyde wiþ hem perilouslych · and possed aboute</l>
<l> For doute of dyuerse dredes · we dar nouȝte wel loke</l>
<l> And ȝif we grucche of his gamen · he wil greue vs alle</l>
<l> Cracche vs or clowe vs · and in his cloches holde</l>
<l> That vs lotheth þe lyf · or he lete vs passe</l>
<l> Myȝte we wiþ any witte · his wille withstonde</l>
<l> We myȝte be lordes aloft · and lyuen at owre ese</l>
<l> <hi></hi> A raton of renon most renable of tonge</l>
<milestone>fol. 3rI</milestone>
<l> <hi></hi> Seide for a souereygne · help to hym<seg>-</seg>selue</l>
<l> I haue ysein segges q<expan>uo</expan>d he · in þe cite of london</l>
<l> Beren biȝes ful briȝte · abouten here nekkes</l>
<l> And <add>some</add><note>L.P.162: The correction here--the supralinear addition of <hi>some</hi>--is probably entered by the original scribe.</note> colers of crafty werk vncoupled þei wenden</l>
<l> <note>L.P.163: The corrector's <+> appears in the left margin, probably intended to note the error in the preceding line.</note> Boþe in wareine & in waste · where hem leue lyketh</l>
<l> And otherwhile þei aren elles<seg>-</seg>where · as I here telle</l>
<l> Were þere a belle on here beiȝ · bi <expan>Ihesu</expan> as me thynketh</l>
<l> Men myȝte wite where þei went · and awei renne</l>
<l> <note>L.P.167: An illegible mark appears in the left margin.</note> And riȝt so q<expan>uo</expan>d þat ratou<expan>n</expan> · reson me sheweth</l>
<l> To bugge a belle of brasse · or of briȝte syluer</l>
<l> And knitten on a coler<expan>e</expan> · for owre co<expan>mun</expan>e profit</l>
<l> And hangen it vp<seg>-</seg>on þe cattes hals · þanne here we mowen</l>
<l> Where he ritt or rest · or renneth to playe</l>
<l> And ȝif him list for to laike · þenne loke we mowen</l>
<l> And peren in his presence · þer<seg>-</seg>while hym plaie liketh</l>
<l> And ȝif him wrattheth be ywar · and his weye shonye</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Alle þis route of ratones · to þis reson þei assented</l>
<l> Ac þo þe belle was ybouȝt · and on þe beiȝe hanged</l>
<l> Þere ne was ratou<expan>n</expan> in alle þe route · for alle þe rewme of Frau<expan>n</expan>ce</l>
<l> Þat dorst haue ybounden þe belle · aboute þe cattis nekke</l>
<l> Ne hangen aboute þe cattes hals · al Engelonde to wynne</l>
<l> And helden hem vnhardy · and here conseille feble</l>
<l> And leten here laboure lost · & alle here longe studye</l>
<l> <hi></hi> A mous þat moche good · couthe as me thouȝte</l>
<l> Stroke forth sternly · and stode biforn hem alle</l>
<l> And to þe route of ratones · reherced þese wordes</l>
<l> Thouȝ we culled þe catte · ȝut sholde þer come an<seg>-</seg>other</l>
<l> To cracchy vs and al owre kynde · þouȝ we croupe<note>L.P.186: LMR alone read <hi>cro(u)pe</hi>; most other <hi>B</hi> manuscripts have <hi>cropen</hi> or <hi>crepe</hi>.</note> vnder benches</l>
<l> For<seg>-</seg>þi I conseille alle þe co<expan>mun</expan>e · to lat þe catte worthe</l>
<l> And be we neuer so bolde · þe belle hym to shewe</l>
<l> For I herde my sire seyn · is seuene ȝere ypassed</l>
<l> Þere þe catte is a kitou<expan>n</expan> · þe courte is ful elyng</l>
<l> Þat witnisseth holiwrite · who<seg>-</seg>so wil it rede</l>
<l> <foreign><hi>Ve terre vbi puer rex est &c</hi></foreign><note>L.P.192: A scribe has written a pointing hand in the left margin and drawn a line over and under the Latin text.</note></l>
<l> For may no renke þere rest haue · for ratones bi nyȝte</l>
<l> Þe while he caccheþ conynges · he coueiteth nouȝt owre caroyne</l>
<l> But fet hym al with venesou<expan>n</expan> · defame we hym neuere</l>
<l> <hi>For better is a litel losse · þan a</hi> longe sorwe</l>
<l> Þe mase amonge vs alle · þouȝ we mysse a schrewe</l>
<l> For many mann<expan>us</expan><note>L.P.198: This abbreviation occurs only once in the manuscript as a marker for the genitive singular. See <xref>III.3.2.2</xref> in the Linguistic Description above.</note> malt · we mys wolde destruye</l>
<l> And also ȝe route of ratones · rende mennes clothes</l>
<l> Nere þat cat of þat courte · þat can ȝow ouerlepe</l>
<l> For had ȝe rattes ȝowre wille · ȝe couthe nouȝt reule ȝowre<seg>-</seg>selue</l>
<milestone>fol. 3vI</milestone>
<l> I sey for me q<expan>uo</expan>d þe mous · I se so mykel after</l>
<l> Shal neuer þe cat ne þe kitou<expan>n</expan> · bi my conseille be greued</l>
<l> Ne carpyng of þis coler · þat costed me neure</l>
<l> And þouȝ it had coste me catel · biknowen it I nolde</l>
<l> But suffre as hym<seg>-</seg>self wolde · to do as hym liketh</l>
<l> Coupled & vncoupled · to cacche what thei mowe</l>
<l> For<seg>-</seg>þi vche a wise wiȝte I warne · wite wel his owne</l>
<l> <hi></hi> What þis meteles b<del>i</del><add>e</add>meneth · ȝe men þat be merye</l>
<l> Deuine ȝe for I ne dar · bi dere god in heuene</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Ȝit houed þere an hondreth · in houues of selke</l>
<l> Seriauntz it semed · þat serueden atte barre</l>
<l> Plededen for penyes · and poundes þe lawe</l>
<l> And nouȝt for loue of owre lorde · vnlese<note>L.P.214: LR alone read <hi>vnlese</hi>; most other <hi>B</hi> manuscripts have <hi>vnlose</hi>.</note> here lippes onis</l>
<l> <hi>Þow myȝtest better mete þe myste · on maluerne hulles</hi></l>
<l> Þan gete a mo<expan>m</expan>me of here mouthe · but monoy were shewed</l>
<l> <hi></hi> Barones an burgeis · and bonde<seg>-</seg>men als</l>
<l> I seiȝ in þis assemble · as ȝe shul here after</l>
<l> Baxsteres & brewesteres · and bocheres manye</l>
<l> Wollewebsteres<note>L.P.220: L alone reads <hi>wollewebsteres</hi> as one word, though alpha has <hi>wolle websteres</hi>. All other <hi>B</hi> manuscripts have <hi>wollen webbesters</hi>.</note> · and weueres of lynnen</l>
<l> Taillours and tynkeres · & tolleres in marketes</l>
<l> Masons and myno<expan>ur</expan>s · and many other craftes</l>
<l> Of alkin libbyng laboreres · lopen forth so<expan>m</expan>me</l>
<l> As dykers & delueres · þat doth here dedes ille</l>
<l> And dryuen forth þe dere<note>L.P.225: L alone among <hi>B</hi> witnesses reads <hi>dere</hi>. Most other manuscripts read <hi>longe</hi>.</note> day · with <foreign><hi>dieu vo<expan>us</expan> saue dame Emme ·</hi></foreign></l>
<l> Cokes and here knaues · crieden hote pies hote</l>
<l> Gode gris a<note>L.P.227: <hi>a</hi>, "and." L alone reads <hi>a</hi>. All other manuscripts of <hi>B</hi> have <hi>and</hi>.</note> gees · <orig>gowe</orig><reg>go we</reg> dyne <orig>gowe</orig><reg>go we</reg></l>
<l> <hi></hi> Tauerners vn<seg>-</seg>til hem · tolde þe same</l>
<l> White wyn of Oseye · and red wyn of Gascoigne</l>
<l> Of þe Ryne and of þe Rochel · þe roste to defye</l>
<l> Al þis seiȝ I slepyng · and seuene sythes more</l>