I. Description of the Manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Laud misc. 581
England (probably London), s. xiv ex. or s. xiv/xv
I.2. Physical Description:
The manuscript is of vellum, its quires constructed hair side out. Fols. i + 93, with two paper leaves from a printed book pasted to the stub of fol. i (see further Binding). The foliation was imposed by the hand usual in many Bodleian books, probably Henry O. Coxe, librarian in the 1840s. There is a second and equivalent foliation in the lower corners, perhaps s. xvi (but after c. 1540), more likely s. xvii. Overall 270 mm x 190 mm (writing area 225 mm x 125 mm). About forty-five long lines, but as many as fifty, to the page. Partial marginal prickings appear in lower halves of fols. 48r and 55r and impressions of prickings on fol. 56r, otherwise all cut away; bounded and ruled in brown ink, often rather sloppily, the rules both to and across the bounds. Page rules run all the way to the margins for the top and bottom lines, and a double bounding line on the left sets off a column 8-9 mm wide to accommodate an offset littera notabilior at the head of each line.
Fols. 1r-91v: "<Incipit liber de> Pe<tro> Plow<m>an | In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne | I shop me in shroudes — til I haue piers þe plowman | And sitthe he gradde after grace · til I gan awake | Explicit hic dialogus petri plowman."
Piers Plowman, B version, the manuscript which formed Skeat's base text, now conventionally collated as L. The title has been partly cut away by the binder and is no longer legible, even under ultraviolet light; we assume that Skeat could indeed see it, as he says, "in strong sunlight"NWalter W. Skeat, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit and Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), p. vii n1. and that he transcribed it correctly. The remainder of the volume was originally blank, although fols. 92r-93v have been bounded and ruled.
A small number of interlinear glosses, typically of ambiguous spellings, are written in the original hand, e.g. 10.373 bakkis identified as "clothes," not "backs," by interlined id est panni (fol. 42r).NA full list of these appears in C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, 1997), p. 194 (superseded by our presentation here). I On fol. 82r, the omitted line 19.47 (the scribe's "notional homeoteleuthon") is written in the right margin preceded by signe de renvoi to indicate its proper placement between 46 and 48.I Corrections include the scribe's own, e.g. 16.44-46, an omitted line supplied by erasing two already written and cramming all three into the same space;I 13.166, sen cancelled and correct deme supralinear;I 3.90, oute supplied above the line;I and also later medieval emendation, e.g. frequent supply of <d> in the interlinear space to fill out the scribe's an, "and," in P.90 or seuene in the margin to correct its omission from 13.127;N To search for such corrections in the electronic text, click on the large single binoculars icon on the toolbar. Then click on the "Context search" tab and search for the element "ADD" where attribute is "HAND" and the value is "handcorr," "hand1," "handX," "contemp," "rubrisher," or "hand17x." as well as some examples of correction by hands of s. xvi ex. or xvii, e.g. most of 13.79a supplied.I N The first line of 8v is supplied by a later fifteenth-century hand.I
There are numerous marginal annotations, in the main in hands of s. xvi ex. See Marginalia below for descriptions.N A listing is made by C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 195-97.
1-118, 126 (-6, bits of the stub visible in the binding). Catchwords, generally extensive and running across the inner bounding line into the gutter, all but two boxed in red; no signatures.
Quires, folios and divisions of text correspond as follows:
|i: 8, ff. 1-8||L.P.1-L.2.177|
|ii: 8, ff. 9-16||L.2.178-L.4.188|
|iii: 8, ff. 17-24||L.4.189-L.5.594|
|iv: 8, ff. 25-32||L.5.595-L.7.201|
|v: 8, ff. 33-40||L.7.202-L.10.258|
|vi: 8, ff. 41-48||L.10.259-L.11.403|
|vii: 8, ff. 49-56||L.11.404-L.13.345|
|viii: 8, ff. 57-64||L.13.346-L.15.232|
|ix: 8, ff. 65-72||L.15.233-L.17.48|
|x: 8, ff. 73-80||L.17.49-L.18.394|
|xi: 8, ff. 81-88||L.18.395-L.20.139|
|xii: 6 (-6), ff. 89-91 (the remainder blank)||L.20.140-L.20.386|
The text is written in anglicana formata (the hand reproduces as foreshortened and considerably squarer than it appears on examination in situ), occasional exaggerated ascenders in top lines (regularly in quire 1 and sporadically thereafter, e.g. fols. 32r, 48v, 51r, 76r, 79r, etc.); the scribe uses a raised punctus to mark the caesura. A. I. Doyle comments to us in correspondence (17 May 2001), "Looking at the hand again, it occurs to me that it is quite like in appearance, although more upright and set, the hand of the St. John's, Cambridge Troilus, with accompanying discrepancies in variation of letter-forms."N For St. John's College, MS L.1 (s. xiv/xv or s. xv in.), see the full facsimile, ed. Richard Beadle and Jeremy J. Griffiths, St. John's College, Cambridge, MS L.1., Facsimile Series of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 3 (Norman, Oklahoma, 1983).
I.6. Decoration and Textual Presentation:
Passus titles are in red and centered. These do not correspond to more extensive instructions left in the right margins; cf. that to passus 8, (fol. 33r)I where the guide reads "passus viijus de visione et hic explicit et in<cipit [cut away by the binder]> inquisicio prima de dowel," rendered in red as "Passus octauus de visione et primus de dowel." Presumably, the guides record the forms of the exemplar, edited later by the scribe when he went through the manuscript with red ink to add the actual headings.
A six-line blue lombard with red flourishing, forming floral infill to the letter and extending into leafy sprays in the margin (most elaborate in the eleven-line example at the opening of the poem) usually opens each passus. But seven- to nine-line examples are normal in quires 7-10, and a different style appears at the head of passus 20.I The scribe's guide letters survive in the margins just outside the edge of the writing area. The lombards have fairly routinely been smeared, with offset on facing leaves; the hand which provided them was not careful about letting them dry before passing on in the manuscript.
The text is divided by blue paraphs. Their effect is re-enforced by blank lines between textual units. The feature is unique, among all manuscripts of the poem in all versions, to this manuscript and four other B version copies, all inferentially London work of s. xiv/xv: Cambridge, Trinity College MS B.15.17 (W); Cambridge, Newnham College MS 4 (Y); British Library, MS Additional 35287 (M); and Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson poet. 38 (R). All these except R share a further feature, the colophon identifying the poem as a "dialogus"; its appearance elsewhere in the B manuscripts probably occurs by (? lateral) transmission from Y into its congeners OC2CG.
Latin verses and words, proper names, and other words deemed important are boxed in red, as are the few marginal additions, some also in red (e.g., a marginal pointing hand, fol. 14;I the Sins, fols. 18r-22r; some scattered Nota's).I
The scribe appears to have intended to begin each line with a littera notabilior. When the letter form is not distinct, we have chosen to realize the initial letter as a capital. The caesura is regularly marked with a raised point, though in sixty lines it is marked with a punctus elevatus. On two occasions, 12.148 and 20.77, the caesura is marked with a solidus, the first of these in a line of Latin. Three times the solidus appears immediately before or after a raised point (12.20, 15.64, 13.146). There is no apparent reason for the use of the solidus or punctus elevatus, though fully one third of the latter appear on the first leaf. Occasionally a smaller raised point is repeated at the end of a line (P.132-133), but we could not always be confident that such points were intended. The solidus is twice used to punctuate a list (12.30, 13.146).
A number of different hands contributed marginalia and other additions.
(i) The scribe provided his own headings in red ink, as well as red boxes around names and Latin, and a few corrections in red in the text. He was conceivably also responsible for providing the initial lombards and the blue paraph signs.
(ii) Skeat, who thought L the best manuscript of the B version, first drew attention to a variety of marginal marks — crosses of various sizes in ink, lead, or plummet near the heads of lines.NWalter W. Skeat, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit and Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. viii-ix. Since in many cases the lines marked in ink near the head of the line with a small <+> were corrected by the original scribe, we take these marks to be the work of a corrector associated with the original production of the book.N For lists of these large and small crosses, see Walter W. Skeat, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit and Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. ix-x and C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, 1997), p. 197. In this edition, these marginal corrector's marks are identified in codicological or textual notes, usually within <add> tags.I The author of these marks frequently objected to the scribe's use of a for "as" and an for "and," although both may be authorial forms. Skeat himself cited corrected a for "as" at 1.182, 4.138, and the marked but uncorrected an for "and" in 8.53, 14.269, 15.580.
(iii) A later hand (or hands?) made larger, somewhat sprawling X-crosses in lead in the margins.N In the attached image, the smaller and darker <+> marks an error in 10.445. It is not clear what the larger <X> was intended to note.I These crosses Skeat found yet more significant than the smaller inked ones: "I believe . . . that they mark passages which the author intended to alter, and, in every case, actually did alter, viz. in the C-text. . . . I cannot see any reason why we should not attribute these marks to the author himself . . . ."NWalter W. Skeat, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit and Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), p. ix. On this basis, Skeat went so far as to suggest that the manuscript is possibly Langland's autograph. But the crosses are scarcely so extensive as was Langland's revision of B into C, and Skeat failed to consider that they might represent the activity of a reader collating the two versions of the poem. He equally failed to notice that, as Nicholson pointed out early on in marginal notes to Skeat's preface,I I some large crosses in fact have been been written over notes added by various sixteenth-century annotators (Nicholson's example was that at 9.71 [fol. 35v]).I L is not the universal guide Skeat thought, although it remains, for many readings, a very plausible reproduction of materials from archetypal B (presumptively the fair-copy prepared for the poet's use, although not carefully supervised or corrected).
(iv) A late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century secretary hand provides a number of marginal glosses and brackets to call attention to segments of text. Its ink is lighter and the script somewhat thicker than that of the next. We have labelled in <add> tags this scribe's contributions as being by "hand16b."I
(v) A late sixteenth-century secretary hand which we have labelled "hand16a" is responsible for a number of marginal glosses and notes throughout the text. It is easily distinguished from the other secretary hand by its darker ink and distinctively spindly script.I
(vi) A scribe, identified as "hand2," earlier than the later fifteenth- and sixteenth-century secretary hands, has written "nota" in the margins of fols. 37r-47r.I
(vii) Another fifteenth-century scribe who wrote the gloss for 2.117 on fol. 8r is identified as "hand5."I
(viii) A seventeenth-century hand supplies 13.79.I
(ix) When we have not been able to identify with confidence the hands responsible for additions or changes to the text, we have identified them as "handX" in the <add> tags.
The binding is brown calf over millboards, s. xvii, with Laud's arms goldstamped on both boards.NFor images of the exterior and interior front and back boards, click on the blue superscript "I" icons.I I I I It is sewn on five thongs, apparently cloth and from a modern Bodleian rebacking. The leaves have been awkwardly planed, with some fragments partly separated from the pages but intact, and a pronounced slant from the spine (where the leaves are typically 275 mm high) toward the leading edge at both head and foot. At the front appears a single vellum flyleaf (fol. i), followed by its stub.I This leaf, perhaps the remains of a pre-Laudian binding, has been used at least twice as a wrapper, once, as the subscription "<Te>rmino sancti Michaelis Anno x< >" upside down along the upper edge indicates, for a legal book; a second time, given a horizontal crease at the middle of the leaf, for a book in octavo. The manuscript, particularly soiled at its ends, may have been unbound for a protracted period. Two modern paper leaves (fols. ii-iii)I I I I have been pasted to the stub of fol. i, with proof(?) pages of Skeat's description of the manuscript;NWalter W. Skeat, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit and Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. vii-x, with the head of the entry on p. vi pasted to the first of these. marginal notes critical of Skeat's views were added by E. W. B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian in the 1880s.I I The final extant leaf (fol. 93) has been used as a pastedown, probably in a binding of s. xvi, given fragments of printed material pasted to the page.I I
1. "R <....> L <.....>," illegible under ultraviolet light, perhaps simply a reference to the author (see # 3 below) (fol. 92r).I
2. "Liber Ricardi Iohnson" (fol. 92r, defaced and partly cut away at the upper edge).I This signature is to be distinguished from that of the Richard Johnson discussed by Doyle,NA. I. Doyle, "Books Belonging to R. Johnson," Notes and Queries 197 (1952), 293-94. owner of at least one manuscript and several books printed by Caxton. Although they admit the hands are not similar, Manly and Rickert suggested that Richard Johnson might be connected with a man of that name from Spalding (Lincs.).N John M. Manly and Edith Rickert, eds., The Text of the Canterbury Tales (Chicago, 1940), 1:318-19. He corrected Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 739 against Caxton's text of The Canterbury Tales. Our signature also differs from that in Manly and Rickert's manuscript.
3. "Raffe Coppynger" (fol. 93r);I he also wrote two further notes in the manuscript , the first partly cut away: "Robart langeland borne by malbovrne (or perhaps "malbourne"?) <hi>lles" (fol. 1r, upper margin);I "Memorandum þat I haue lent to Nicholas brigham the pers ploughman which I borowed of Mr. Le of Addyngton" (fol. 93r, beneath the signature).I
Doyle informed Kane and Donaldson (10 n70) that Coppinger died in 1551; in the proved copy of his will,N Index of Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury ... And now preserved in the principal Probate registry, Somerset house, London (London, 1893-1926), 23 Bucke. he is identified as a knight of Davington (Kent) who had died in Portsmouth. He was presumably there because he had been appointed 6 November 1546 as second collector of custom and subsidy of wool, leather, and fells in the port of London.N See Public Record Office, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, Preserved in the Public Record Office, The British Museum, and Elsewhere in England. Arranged and Catalogued by James Gairdner and R. H. Brodie of the Public Record Office. (1910; repr. Vaduz, 1965), 21:2 §§ 199 and 476, pp. 87 and 233 respectively. He replaced in this function one William Thynne (who served 1529-46, his death), better known as the first editor of Chaucer's Workes.N The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, ed. Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee (Oxford, 1917), 19.853-854. See further # 5 below. James Alsop notes that Coppinger was knighted in 1547 during service in Scotland and that in addition to his relations with Nicholas Brigham was also an acquaintance of the royal auditor Anthony Bouchier, a mid-century figure involved with humanists and patrons of learning.N James Alsop, "Nicholas Brigham (d. 1558), Scholar, Antiquary, and Crown Servant," Sixteenth Century Journal 12 (1981), 62.
We have found no trace of Coppinger in Davington (in the Middle Ages site of a Benedictine nunnery, now part of Faversham), but other Coppingers appear frequently in the area.NSee Edward Hasted, History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, Classical County Histories (1797-1801; Menston, Yorkshire, 1972), 3:184, 223, 414 (Francis, esquire of Stoke, Isle of Grain, 1598 and later); 4:31 (Elizabethan Coppinger monuments in All Hallows church, also in the Isle of Grain); 6:378 (Henry Coppinger, from a branch in Buxtall [Suf.] owned Davington Hall from the late 1550s to 1603 or so), 390 (Ambrose Coppinger as an Elizabethan owner of "Nashes" in Oare). Presumably also related were two John Coppingers active in the earlier 1530s, one Keeper of the Mint in the Tower, the second the last confessor of Syon, who makes his final appearance in the record in 1540 seeking appointment as the vicar of any church formerly served by Leeds priory (OSA), preferably Borden, near Sittingbourne.N Letters and papers, foreign and domestic, of the reign of Henry VIII (Vaduz, 1965), 15, § 603, p. 271; § 942 , pp. 467-68 For Coppinger's widow, see # 6 below.
Nicholas Brigham, to whom Coppinger lent a borrowed copy of the poem, was a teller of the Exchequer who died 1558; see further Alsop.N James Alsop, "Nicholas Brigham (d. 1558), Scholar, Antiquary, and Crown Servant," Sixteenth Century Journal 12 (1981), 49-67. Anthony Wood thought he had attended Oxford as a student at Hart Hall (now Hertford College), a view for which there is no confirmation. He is supposed to have written a lost work on medieval authors, used extensively by John Bale, and to have restored Chaucer's tomb in Westminster Abbey, adding an epitaph and a portrait. Alsop identifies three of Brigham's surviving books: British Library, MS Harley 1620; Lambeth Palace, MS 1106 (both Flores historiarum); and Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, MS 153/203 (Aelred's Life of Edward the Confessor in verse).NJames Alsop, "Nicholas Brigham (d. 1558), Scholar, Antiquary, and Crown Servant," Sixteenth Century Journal 12 (1981), 64. Brigham's father-in-law, the London fishmonger Richard Warner, was a customs official c. 1530-45 and thus a connection of Coppinger's.NJames Alsop, "Nicholas Brigham (d. 1558), Scholar, Antiquary, and Crown Servant," Sixteenth Century Journal 12 (1981), 53. See also Anthony Wood, with additions by Philip Bliss, Athenae Oxonienses, 3rd ed. 4 vols. (1813; repr. New York, 1967), 1:309-310; DNB 2:1238-39; Alfred B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford, A.D. 1501 to 1540 (Oxford, 1974), p. 70; Joseph A. Dane, Who is Buried in Chaucer's Tomb: Studies in the Reception of Chaucer's Book (East Lansing, 1998), pp. 11-32 et passim. Oscar Cargill's derisive comments in "The Langland Myth," PMLA 50 (1935), 43-45, are not well taken.
"Mr. Le of Addyngton" is pretty certainly Nicholas Leigh (1495-1581), lord of the manor of Addington (Surrey), the builder of Addington Place (1544) but, unless it is his name in Bodleian Library, MS Lyell 47 (Lorens, Somme le roi), not otherwise known as an owner of medieval books. His brother-in-law, Thomas Hatcliffe (d. 1540) was one of Henry VIII's four masters of the household;N H. S. Sweetman, A Genealogical Memoir of the Ancient, Honourable,and Extinct Family of Leigh of Addington ([Torquay], 1887), pp. 6-7. Nicholas' burial from Addington church appears in the parish register.N See W. Bruce Bannerman, The Parish Registers of Addington, co. Surrey, The Publications of the Surrey Parish Register Society 5 (London, 1907), p. 34. His great-grandfather, John Leigh the elder (the name presumably derives from adjacent Lee), was granted the manor in 1446.NH. C. Maxwell Lyte, ed., Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Preserved in the Public Record Office. Henry VI. A.D. 1422-: Vol. 5 (1446-1452) (London, 1909), p. 6. His will was proved 1479,N Index of Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury ... And now preserved in the principal Probate registry, Somerset house, London (London, 1893-1926??), 1 Logge. and Nicholas succeeded his father, also John, as a minor (see John III's will 1509 at Canterbury Reg. F, fol. 201).NSee H. E. Malden, ed., A History of the County of Surrey, 4 vols., The Victoria History of the Counties of England (London, 1967), 4:165; Owen Manning and William Bray, The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey (1804-14; repr. Ilkley, Yorkshire, 1974), 2:559-60 (with a full genealogy); H. S. Sweetman, A Genealogical Memoir of the Ancient, Honourable,and Extinct Family of Leigh of Addington ([Torquay], 1887), pp. 8-11, 18; DNB 11:871-72 (for Nicholas' grandson Charles, adventurer in Guyana). For another view, see Hanna, "Two New (?) Lost Piers Manuscripts (?)," Yearbook of Langland Studies 16 (2003): 169-77.
Brigham, to whom Coppinger lent a copy of the poem, was John Bale's source for two of the four "Robert Langland" ascriptions in his Index Britanniae scriptorum (and thus for his note on the poet's name at San Marino, Huntington Library, MS HM 128, front pastedown). With these, Coppinger's truncated note clearly agrees in detail (including the peculiar spelling for "Malvern").NSee further George Kane, Piers Plowman: The Evidence for Authorship (London, 1965), pp. 37-39, and plate III facing p. 33; Ralph Hanna III, William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages 3, (Aldershot, 1993), pp. 26-27. Given the apparent association of MS Laud Misc. 581 with Brigham's circle, Kane's statement that the ascription here is "probably later and derivative"NGeorge Kane, Piers Plowman: The Evidence for Authorship (London, 1965), p. 38 n1. stands in need of at least revision: Coppinger testifies to the activities of a little-known group of antiquaries during the 1530s or 1540s, of whose researches Bale was the beneficiary. This is particularly the case, since the hand which wrote, above Bale's inscription, on the pastedown of Huntington HM 128 "Robert or william langland made pers plough<ma>n" is almost certainly that of Ralph Coppinger.
4. Pen trials and verses ("?<Am>ongest all other take hede of one ?thinge | I<n> other mennes matters make lyttle medling," partly repeated), none signed (mostly s. xvi, fol. 93v).I
5. "In desire spede is tariaunce. Ion [mark] Tynne" (fol. 92r).I Thynne, nephew of William, the editor of Chaucer, made his career as steward to the eventual "Protector" and Duke of Somerset, Edward Seymour. He acquired Longleat in 1541 and built the House there from 1567 (as well as initiating its library, for which a 1577 book-list survives). He died in 1580.NSee DNB, 19:845-46.
Ogilvie-Thomson describes what appears to be a similar mark in Longleat House, Marquess of Bath MS 29, where the signature forms part of an ex-libris.N S. J. Ogilvie-Thomson, ed., Richard Rolle: Prose and Verse Edited from MS Longleat 29 and Related Manuscripts, EETS OS 291 (Oxford, 1988), p. xxi. John Thynne also signed another B version, British Library, MS Additional 10574 (Bm), fol. 91v: "Brought from Kelsey xxvjo. october xxxiiijo. Regni henrici viijui. per me Ion Thynne."N C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, 1997), p. 63. Kate Harris, the Longleat librarian, generously informs us that neither this volume nor ours appears in Thynne's 1577 booklist. Given the next entry, John Thynne presumably had the manuscript as a loan during Coppinger's lifetime; in addition to service with Thynne's uncle, Coppinger had, like Thynne, been associated with "Protector" Seymour, who was his commander in Scotland when he received his knighthood.
6. "T. Long of Dorchester" (fol. 92r, s. xvi/xvii).I He remains unidentified, although late sixteenth/early seventeenth-century probate evidence suggests this was a common surname across a broad band of adjacent Wiltshire and Somerset, and nowhere else. One should note that a woman, presumably Ralph Coppinger's widow (described as "formerly Copinger"), may have resumed this as her birth-name in widowhood; see the will of Cicely Longe, widow of St. Laurence Jurie, London, Essex, and Surrey, 1559.N Index of Wills Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury ... And now preserved in the principal Probate registry, Somerset house, London (London, 1893-1926), 44 Chayney.
7. "Liber Guilielmi Laud Archiepiscopi Cantuarij et Cancellarij Vniuersitatis Oxoniensis 1633" (fol. 1r lower margin), with his shelfmark "E.64" (fol. 1r, upper leading edge).I
8. Our manuscript formed part of Laud's "First Donation" to the Bodleian Library, sent 22 May 1635.NSee R. W. Hunt, A Summary Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Volume 1: Historical Introduction and Conspectus of Shelf Marks, (Oxford, 1953), p. 129, and H. O. Coxe, revised by R. W. Hunt, Laudian Manuscripts, Quarto Catalogues 2 (Oxford, 1858-85; 1973), pp. xix-xx. Inside the upper board, the Library's tab "S[ummary] C[atalogue] 987" (s. xix).
We are particularly grateful to A. I. Doyle and Andrew G. Watson for suggestions and information indispensable in preparing this description, especially the discussion of provenance.
I.11. Previous Descriptions:
C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-Version (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1997), pp. 82-85, 191-97.N See also the reviews by Ralph Hanna III in the Review of English Studies 50 (1999), 74-75, and Hoyt N. Duggan in Speculum 77 (2002), 870-72.
H. O. Coxe, revised R. W. Hunt. Laudian Manuscripts Quarto Catalogues 2. (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1858-85; 1973), pp. 415, 572.
A. I. Doyle, "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman," in Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1986), pp. 39-40.
George Kane 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; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 10-11.
Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford, Volume 3: British, Irish, and Icelandic Schools with Addenda to Volumes 1 and 2 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973), 69 (#781).
Walter W. Skeat, ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman . . ., Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B, EETS o.s. 38 (London: N. Trübner, 1869), vi-x.
I.12. Published Facsimiles:
J. A. W. Bennett, ed., Piers Plowman: The Prologue and Passus I-VII of the B Text as Found in Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 581 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972), facing p. [iii] (fol. 1, upper portion).
C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-Version (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1997), 82 (fol. 69).N See also the reviews by Ralph Hanna III in the Review of English Studies 50 (1999), 74-75, and Hoyt N. Duggan in Speculum 77 (2002), 870-72.
Richard Garnett, English Literature: An Illustrated Record. 4 vols. (London: MacMillan, 1903), 1.facing p. 98 (fol. 1).
Walter W. Skeat, Twelve Facsimiles of Old English Manuscripts with Transcriptions and an Introduction (Oxford: Clarendon, 1892), plate IX (fol. 32).
I.13. Additional Commentary
As Hanna has argued, there is some evidence to suggest that the manuscript has been copied as a by-the-page image of its exemplar.N Ralph Hanna III, review of C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-Version, (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1997), Review of English Studies 50 (1999), 74-75. The differing sizes of lombards suggest that quires 7-10 (L.11.404 - L.18.394) may have come from materials produced in a different fashion from the remainder, perhaps from a different exemplar. But our hopes that we might discover confirmatory evidence from variations in the manuscript's spellings have been dissipated by close examination. We would only add to the previous statement that the scribe's occasional provision of omitted lines might offer some confirmation for this view, as he would have always discovered such an error on arriving at the page foot.
II. Editorial Method
II.1. Transcription of the Manuscript:
We have expanded the scribe's regular abbreviations and suspensions. Resolved abbreviations appear in italics. For a somewhat fuller, though less discursive list of abbreviations and suspensions used by the scribe, click here.
It is not always easy to distinguish between abbreviations and ornamentation. Loops and curls on final letters are notoriously difficult to interpret. In particular, there are the flourishes on final <-d>,I <-g>,I <-k>,I <-p>,I <-r>,I <-t>,I and the bars through <-h>I and <-ll>.I Each of these needs to be considered separately.
We have taken final <r> with a curl to represent <re>, as infrequently (3x) in ȝowr(e) I (which is elsewhere ȝowre) or in words with <-er> which are elsewhere spelt <-ere>, such as auarouser(e),I lyer(e),I Ther(e),I robber(e).I
Final <g> sometimes has a short horizontal stroke, and sometimes, especially after the ending <-yng> (30x), it has a loop.I I We take these to represent a flourish only since both gerunds and present participles appear with and without a final <-e> in free variation.N See sections III.220.127.116.11 and III.18.104.22.168 of the linguistic description. Similarly, we can find no consistent significance in the strokes on final <-d> and <-k>. The one following <-k> occurs but twice, once on Renk (12.169)I and once on the proper noun amalek (3.267).I The former appears in four other lines in the poem, always spelled renke (P.193, 5.403, 14.115, and 18.2). Amalec (3.271) is the spelling in the only other occurrence of the latter. We have followed the scribe's practice, resolving each as it appears elsewhere fully spelled out.
The mark on final <-t> in fact appears only after word-terminal <-tt> and in a small number of words: bett (the woman's name), hitt, ritt, sett (all unique usages) and on (In)witt (13x). Witte appears spelled with final <-e> 76x, probably reflecting the spellings of the scribe's exemplar which could not have been that distant from Bx. The eleven instances of witt probably reflect the scribe's indifference to final <-e>, but he likely intended the stroke following <-tt> to represent <-e>. We have resolved it to <-e> in all instances.
Final <-p> has a tilde above it in three words: schipp(e) 3.333,I chep(e), 5.327,I and cropp(e) 16.73.I The first is spelled with a final <-e> in its only other appearance in the manuscript (15.31), as is croppe (16.43, 72, 78). Shipp appears once at 15.374, but the usual form is shippe as at 9.143, 153; 10.412, 419. We would offer the same explanation as for the final <-e> on witt(e) above, that the scribe himself is indifferent to final <-e>, but is usually faithful to his exemplar.N There are forty-two instances in the text of word-terminal <-ppe>, three instances where <-pp> alone appears, and these three ambiguous cases.
A single instance of barred <ll> appears at 8.125.I In 107 appearances in the poem "will" is always spelled wille, and we have resolved this instance with a final <-e>.
Barred <-h> in L is ambiguous. Since the grammar of final <-e> has been lost in the scribe's dialect but relict forms reflective of the B archetype remain in good plenty, it appears that though the scribe probably attached no phonological value to it, he may have intended at least some instances of barred <-h> to represent a final <-e>. For instance, the word flessh(e) appears six times with a terminal barred <-h>. It is written without an <-e> just once (L.15.510) and with a final <-e> thirteen times. The adverbial form flessheliche suggests that the scribe's typical spelling was with the <-e>. The scribe appears to favor fissche over fissch by six instances to one. On the other hand, for just two instances of þough with a barred <-h>, there are forty-two instances of unadorned þough and no instances with a final <-e>. The word paris(c)h with barred <-h> appears twice, but none of the other six instances of the word has final <e>. In the case of fresch, there are four instances, two with barred <-h> and one each of fresch and fresche. Similarly, adverbs ending in -lich(e) are evenly divided between forms with and without final <-e>. Preterite verb forms in <-igh(e)> as well as conjunctive adverbs like þeigh(e) appear to be in free variation, though forms without the final <-e> are dominant with a ratio of forty-nine instances to nineteen. In short, the scribe's forms appear to be in free variation, but with certain preferences attached vaguely to some words. Since there are no occasions on which it is grammatically necessary or etymologically probable that it should be resolved as <-e>, we have not done so. However, it is possible to suspect that our concern for consistency distances us considerably from the scribe.N It is worth observing that in his recent edition of Hoccleve, J. A. Burrow argues on metrical grounds that the strokes added to final letters in Hoccleve's holograph are not to be expanded, with the exception of Hoccleve's flourish after <r> and the barred <ll>. See Thomas Hoccleve's Complaint and Dialogue, ed. J. A. Burrow, EETS, OS 313 (Oxford, 1999), p. li. Hoccleve's language is London English Type III, and so a little later than W, but scribal practice is the same in this respect. See M. L. Samuels, "Chaucer's Spelling," in Middle English Studies Presented to Norman Davis, ed. Douglas Gray and E. G. Stanley (Oxford, 1983), pp. 17-37. The chapter is reprinted in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries: Essays by M. L. Samuels and J. J. Smith, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 23-37.
We have not distinguished allographic forms, such as the three forms of <s> or the single-lobed <a> from the double-lobed form. On the other hand, we have distinguished between <u> and <n> although the scribe does not always do so clearly, and we have noted occasions where there is a possibility of a different choice, such as lene instead of leue. We have resolved the ambiguity caused by the identical graph used to represent both yogh and zed. On those occasions where /z/ is intended, we print <z>. We reserve <ȝ> to represent the conventional uses of the letter yogh, an alternative to <y> and <gh>.
Our capitalization follows the scribal use of litterae notabiliores , although there are some letters, in particular <w> and sigma-shaped <s>, where there is no clear distinction. We have interpreted such letters according to their context: thus they are capitalized at the beginning of the line, but printed as lower case within the line unless their enlarged size suggests otherwise.
The word-division of the manuscript is represented as far as practicable, though no attempt is made to represent the variety of spacings between words and letters. The interpretation of the scribe's word division, though it is generally unambiguous, is occasionally a matter of fine judgment. It is not practical to attempt to account for degrees of spacing. We use a hyphen in the transcription to indicate a space in the manuscript within a word or compound conventionally hyphenated today; we have consulted both OED and MED in doubtful cases. Conversely, some phrases, in particular cristen men, kynde witte and atte rekenyng, the scribe occasionally wrote as one word, cristenmen 10.364, kyndewitte 12.77, and atterekenyng 14.117.N The forms of "holy writ" are so steadily written together that it is clearly the scribe's intent so to write them. Other words marked with <orig>/<reg> tags are gowe P.227 (twice); falsewitnes 2.149; goddesforbode, 4.196; godefryday 5.503; newfaire 5.333; sadman 8.28; trewemen 15.490; alitel 16.146; goddessone 18.70; godesbody 18.237; and parishprestes 20.280. We have marked these with <orig> and <reg> tags. The scribal form appears in the Scribal and Diplomatic style sheets, the regularised form in the Critical style sheet, and of course, the plain ascii text can always be separately searched for such instances.
Scribal punctuation is retained. For the most part this is entirely regular, consisting of a raised point to mark the half-line, with the occasional virgule or punctus elevatus, particularly in Latin lines, and a very occasional smaller point at the end of some lines. These are not always easy to see, and the difference in their size and that of the medial points suggests they are not intended to be significant.
The several dozen insertions in the text itself are recorded as such (e.g. P.162, 209; 1.89, 125, etc.). Erasures made by scraping the parchment are recorded, and they will show primarily in the AllTags style sheet.NOther factors can occasionally cause discoloration or roughness in the manuscript, and we have marked those deletions we thought probable. Certainty is not always possible. Additions to the text, including annotations by later hands are contained within codicological notes. Original rubrics and an occasional "nota" in the hand of the original scribe are represented in the Scribal, Diplomatic, and AllTags style sheets.
The scribe provided emphasis for some words, phrases, or lines by boxing them (usually in red ink), and we attempt to represent that feature in our text. The greatest number of such boxes mark Latin words and phrases, but they are not the only words so highlighted. It is not always easy to determine whether the scribe considered a word or phrase to be non-English or whether highlighting by boxing was intended to call attention to some other significance. Determining whether to identify the word as "foreign" is thus an imprecise process. We have been guided by OED and MED, but even so, our desire for editorial consistency is often frustrated by scribal practice.NTwelve manuscripts of the B version highlight individual words by boxing, underlining or rubrication; see C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, Eng., 1997), p. 17. There is considerable variation among the manuscripts in words so treated; See the comparative tables, pp. 238-313. For example, although MED citations from the fifteenth century support the conclusion that the word tran[s]gressores in l.97 was regarded as Latin, the scribe did not mark it by boxing. The readings of Hm.1.92 and O.1.96 — trangressours and transgressouris — suggest that those scribes perceived the word to be English, but MED, rather oddly, does not cite Langland's use, presumably on the grounds that the word did not become English before c. 1425.N We may speculate that the agreement of L and R in this spelling reflects Bx. To further complicate matters, the scribe, like the scribe who copied W, frequently employs boxing to highlight proper names, both English and non-English. Troianus (11.163) and dismas (5.477) are boxed, but so is Douere (4.233), a thoroughly English name. Also, English words used as allegorical names may be boxed as well, for example, conscience (2.141) though in only four of many occurrences in the poem. Initially, we adopted the principle that a word would be classed as English if given an English inflection, so that we treated Mnames (6.248) as English, even though the singular form Mnam in the same line we regarded as non-English because it was boxed in red. But this principle had to be jettisoned when we came to the two instances of beatus vir with an English genitive inflection, Beatus virres (10.328, 13.55), which we decided to tag as Latin despite the English ending. See also the genitive Cesaris (1.52) without a <foreign> tag but two instances of cesari tagged as Latin because of the Latin dative ending (1.53). In the end we have been obliged to take eclectic decisions in each instance; we have taken account of the treatment in OED and MED, and we have been influenced by the scribal boxing and highlighting, but not bound by it, since that treatment in any case shows up in the textual display.
II.2. Presentation of the Text: Style Sheets
Using XML markup, we offer four different views of the text accessible through four different style sheets: Scribal, Diplomatic, Critical, and AllTags.
The Scribal style sheet's presentation of the text represents as closely as possible both the readings and features of the manuscript text as well as the most information about editorial interventions. Changes of script and style are reflected by changes in the font style. The Middle English text's anglicana formata is represented in roman letters. Resolved abbreviations and suspensions appear in italics. Color in this style sheet serves two functions: red, green, and blue indicate colors of ink used by the scribe, while any other colors — aqua, gray, lime, olive, and purple — mark editorial functions. For a detailed key to the conventions we have adopted for identifying editorial functions by means of color shifts, see the Instructions for First Time Users.
The Diplomatic style sheet suppresses all notes and indications of error or eccentric word division. Its text is otherwise identical to that presented in the Scribal style sheet.
The Critical style sheet is designed to indicate what we believe the scribe intended to write. Emendations displayed in the Critical style sheet appear in conventional square brackets. Since the text displayed is a reconstructed, putative text, it lacks the color features that appear in the more nearly diplomatic transcriptions of the manuscript. We conventionally use italics for Latin and French words and phrases in this style sheet. We have supplied line references to the Athlone B-text for the convenience of readers. Eccentric word divisions are silently, at least in the surface display, corrected in this style sheet. That is, atones appears as at ones. A reader who wishes to find all such divisions can still search for them in the views provided by the Scribal and AllTags style sheets as well as in the underlying XML text.
The AllTags style sheet, as its name implies, is intended to display the full content of markup in XML tags. In this style sheet, deleted text (where it is legible) appears within curly brackets. When erased text is illegible, we have indicated each with one punctus per deleted character up to six characters. When longer stretches of text are involved, we indicate half line deletions with "...?..." and longer deletions with "...?...?...".
II.3. Presentation of the Text: The Annotations
Four sets of annotations are provided—codicological, lexical, paleographic and textual.
(a) Codicological: These notes draw attention to physical features of the manuscript and to later additions in the margins such as brackets, names, pointing hands and other drawings. Codicological notes are marked by a red superscriptedCSample codicological note..
(b) Paleographic: These notes comment on letter forms, in particular ambiguous abbreviations, curls and other features. Paleographic notes are marked by a red superscriptedPSample paleographic note..
(c) Lexical: These notes provide brief glosses for unusual, ambiguous, or difficult words. Lexical notes are marked by a red superscripted LXSample lexical note..
(d) Textual: These notes record unique readings in L and those it shares with M and/or alpha manuscripts F and R. Since L is the best witness of the beta tradition, its unique readings are few, and they are worth recording, firstly to indicate how generally faithful the L scribe is to his exemplar, and secondly as an aid to understanding the text on those relatively rare occasions when L has misread or corrupted it. Orthographic and dialectal variants are not noted, but we have recorded variations in number or tense.
It must be emphasized that these notes are no more than an aid to the reader of the documentary text of L. They do not in any sense constitute a complete listing of variant readings nor anything beyond a first step in establishing the relationship of L to other manuscripts. They may imply that L's reading is not that of the B archetype, though we reserve all judgments about Bx until a later stage of our work, currently in progress. These notes are, then, an interim statement that will be of limited or no use once the B archive is complete and the variant listings can be electronically generated. The information for these notes is drawn from the listing of variants in the Kane-Donaldson edition which we have checked against those transcripts that are already available in the archive. Since it is not at this stage relevant which of the witnesses share the majority reading against L's unique variant, the majority readings are where possible presented in very simplified form, usually with the designation "other B witnesses" or "most other manuscripts" or "all others." It is true that in most cases this means Bx, but it is important not to prejudge the issue. Textual notes are marked with an icon of a gray dog-eared manuscript leaf, e. g. TSample textual note..
II.4. The Color Facsimile
Mr. Julius Smit of the Bodleian Library's Imaging Services was kind enough to provide us with the following account of the creation of the original TIFF files from which the present JPEG versions were made:
The manuscriptsT Mr. Smit refers both to this manuscript and to Rawlinson Poetry 38 (R). were captured using a Phase One Digital Camera Back, with the capacity of 6000 x 8400 pixels, at an input resolution of six hundred pixels per inch. The output 24 bit TIFF files are 144 Mb in size, though prior to capture, the scanned preview images were cropped down to the leaf size. Lighting was supplied by two sets of two tube fluorescent flicker-free daylight-balanced Photon Beard Highlight lamps, 5400K, each lamp having a lumen output of 4800. Each manuscript was securely, yet safely held in place on the Buchanan Conservation Book Cradle, which allowed for a scanning time of around three minutes per leaf in controlled conditions. First, the rectos were scanned, and then the manuscript was subsequently turned around in order for the versos to be scanned.Using Photoshop 6.0, we color corrected each image against the Kodak Color Separation Guide (Q-13) included in each TIFF image before converting them to JPEG format.
The original TIFF images may be ordered from the Bodleian Library's Imaging Services. The website address for information and order-forms is: http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/imaging/.
III. Linguistic Description
Unhappily, this manuscript was not among those selected by the editors of A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (LALME) for linguistic profiling.N A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986). A. I. Doyle in "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman" noted of L in passing that the editors of LALME had "in a residual way" linked its dialect to South Worcestershire.N In Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. G. Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, Eng., 1986), p. 39. About the same time, M. L. Samuels in his seminal article on "Langland's Dialect" noted of L that it contains relict forms "in a fainter and more diluted form" than those of R (London, British Library, MS Lansdowne 398, and Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Rawlinson Poet. 38) "unmistakeably the same south-west Worcestershire dialect as found in MSS X, U, and I of the C-Text" (241, emphases his).N Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 232-47, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 70-85. However, Samuels ventured no statement on the dialect of the scribe responsible for L itself, and we have not been able to localize the scribe's dialect more precisely. His spellings appear pervasively in a broad band from London westward to Gloucestershire and northward through much of the midlands.
Everything suggests that the manuscript is a London product. Many of its features are consonant with that notion, but little serves to identify with precision the scribe's own dialect. In view of the relatively early date of the manuscript, the advanced deterioration of the grammar of final <-e> alone serves to suggest a youthful scribe or one who grew up in a region well to the north of London and Worcestershire. See below, sections III.3.1, III.3.3.7, III.3.4.
III.1. Relict Forms from the B Archetype:
Our interpretation of the evidence tends toward the skeptical; one of us has previously expressed considerable befuddlement about Samuels' presentation of "Langland's Dialect."NRalph Hanna III, "Studies in the Manuscripts of Piers Plowman," Yearbook of Langland Studies 7 (1993), 5-8, and M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 232-47, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 70-85. In this study, Samuels argues that Langland's dialect can be placed in SW Worcestershire on the basis of four details of his alliterative practice:NM. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 234-35 with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 70-85.
1. The use of heo, "she" in lines with /h/ alliteration: in L, as in most B manuscripts, she is overwhelmingly the dominant form. In L, heo appears at 1.74, 3.29, 5.645, 5.646, rhyming in three instances.N In the first case, though it is conceivable that Langland, who frequently alliterated /h/ with vowels, intended the head stave to be ar, the agreement of manuscripts LMR (representing the best texts in both alpha and beta families) in reading heo strongly supports its originality here. For Langland's alliteration on function words, see Hoyt N. Duggan, "The Authenticity of the Z-Text of Piers Plowman: Further Notes on Metrical Evidence," Medium Ævum 56 (1987), 25-45; and "Notes Toward a Theory of Langland's Meter," Yearbook of Langland Studies 1 (1987), 64-68. The non-alliterating 5.645 is quite probably archetypal, given R's he. The B archetype was presumably already defective in respect to such forms. For example, note that all manuscripts read she in alliterating position at 2.29: "I auȝte ben herre þan she · I cam of a better." For manuscript forms of the third person feminine nominative singular pronoun, see below, section III.3.3.1.
2. The use of are, as well as b-forms: the forms beth and ben occur frequently, though only occasionally in alliterating positions, e.g., 1.6, 3.27, 46, 7.70, etc., though most frequently not alliterating. Less frequent are forms of ar(e)n, appearing but once in alliterating position (9.30).
3. The use of cross-rhyme between /f/ and /v/ is common in the poem, but the scribe of L never uses spellings of the type vire/vuyre.
4. Cross rhyme of /h/ and vowels testifies to the loss of initial /h/ in Langland's dialect. Although the scribe routinely writes <h->, such persistent forms as an hode 5.197, an hepe 5.235 and 330, an horne 5.525, an hundreth, 5.539, etc. — there are over five dozen such instances in the text — suggest that word-initial /h/ had been lost in the L scribe's dialect as well.
Samuels also identifies a residue of SW Worcestershire forms in R, and argues that "The same combination is found in a fainter and more diluted form in L" (241). This residue includes six features:
1. The spelling <oe> for /o:/: L retains only a few instances. See sections III.2.1.9, III.2.1.24 and III.2.1.25 below for discussion.
2. heo, "she," and a, "he/she": We have dealt with the first of these under alliteration, point 1 above; a to represent a reduced pronomial form occurs only once in L, and that single instance at 20.149 is ambiguous.
3. noyther, "neither" and no, "nor": In L, noyther ~ noither . . . ne appears 26x,NThe unique reading in L of noither ... no appears at 13.99. neither ~ neyther . . . ne 14x, nother . . . ne 1x 17.181. The combination Noyther (A) ne (B), (C) noither (D) appears only at 4.132. But however strong the showing, these forms likely reflect the ingrained habits of a London scribe. In London dialects until c. 1380, noiþer, noþer, neiþer, and neyþer are the normal forms in this context.N M. L. Samuels, Linguistic Evolution with Special Reference to English, Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 5 (Cambridge, Eng., 1972), p. 167. Coordinating no, "nor" is distinctly a minority form (the scribe regularly has no . . . ne, e.g. 11.299 or 12.280), only appearing at 3.74, ?8.75, 14.297.
4. ar, "ere/before," conj.: The form is certainly widely attested, occurring about four times more often than er. The distribution is somewhat uneven within the manuscript: ar only becomes normal late in passus five, and ten of the examples of er occur before 6.149 (the next at 10.387, the last four after 15.560, with both forms in 15.569).
5. ȝut, "yet": The form is weakly attested: P.185, 12.277, 13.247, 17.286 (versus ȝet (31x) or ȝit (19x), and ȝette (1x).
6. <u(y)> for OE /y/ and /y:/: A number of relict forms appear with characteristic West Country spellings. See sections III.2.1.13, III.2.1.14, and III.2.1.15 below.
A few odds and ends may be Western relict forms:
(a) The exceptional item is the word church, which occurs with the u-spelling church only in marginal glosses (7.185 and 15.526). The scribe's forms are cherch(e) 56x, chirche 2x (P.66, 6.50), and and (holi)kirke ~ kyrke (21x), an expected Northernism borrowed for alliterative convenience, always alliterating on /k/. For the form cherch(e), see Charles Jones' foldout map.N Charles Jones, An Introduction to Middle English (New York, 1972), facing p. 196. According to Samuels, it is legitimately a Langlandism, recorded in a band across central and SW Worcestershire extending into the northern Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border.N Compare also mellere 2.114 (but mylner 10.47). Although London is located at the conjunction of three common ME forms chirch(e), church(e), and cherch(e) and although the recorded London forms of the thirteenth century are mixed,N Compare the forms Samuels cites for did in Linguistic Evolution with Special Reference to English, Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 5 (Cambridge, Eng., 1972), p. 167. Compare kuneriche and iwersed in the 1258 proclamation, MED, s. v. kineriche and wersen. Samuels implies that the expected form of s. xiv/xv would be chirche. However, there is ample London evidence, not simply in wills but in literary manuscripts transmitting London texts and copied in London so late as 1460, that the Essex form cherch(e) remained an acceptable spelling (e.g. as it did, c. 1420, for the scribe of San Marino, Huntington Library MS HM 114).
(b) Rounding of OE /a/ before nasals: see section III.2.1.2 below.
(c) Samuels argues that "numerous variables . . . can be regarded as part of the same Worcestershire dialect," citing ech(e) and vch(e), the former occurring in L 40x and the latter 19x.N M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 243, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 70-85. Uche is the usual north Worcestershire form, eche that of south Worcestershire, and a combined form euche (not in L) appears as a blend between them.N For a map illustrating the distribution, see M. L. Samuels, "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology," English Studies 44 (1963), 82.
(d) The scribe varies forms of "from": fro (59x), fram (34x), from (1x). The spelling fram is consistent with south Worcestershire.N See A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), 2:127, Item Map 28 FROM (5).
(e) Variant forms of "though" are possibly relicts as well. The scribe overwhelmingly prefers þough (40x) and þouȝ (10x),N There are two instances of Thouȝ, both occurring at the beginning of a line (P.185, 1.177). The same preference for line-initial <Th-> over <Þ-> appears in other Piers manuscripts as well. See Thorlac Turville-Petre and Hoyt N. Duggan, eds., The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive, vol. 2: Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17 (W), SEENET, Series A.2 (Ann Arbor, 2000), Introduction, search for <Th>. but note the forms þeigh (2x), Theigh (2x), Theiȝ (1x), and þeighe (1x), which in the later s. xiv typically are squeezed toward peripheral areas in the South.N See M. L. Samuels, "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology," English Studies 44 (1963), 82.
(f) Although the dominant form is worlde (48x), the unique spelling wordle at 20.381 is consistent with Worcestershire. The spelling appears with some consistency throughout the entire southern half of the country and does little to localize the text.N See A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), 2.210-212, Item Map 48 WORLD (4)(5)(6).
(g) For forms of the present participle, see below, section III.22.214.171.124. The three -ende forms are possibly significant; that in -ande may be another London Type II relict.N M. L. Samuels, Linguistic Evolution with Special Reference to English, Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 5 (Cambridge, Eng., 1972), p. 167.
(h) Somewhat to the consternation of an early corrector (see Marginalia above), the scribe seems on scattered occasions to retain what are perhaps the B archetype's (or Langland's) reduced forms: a for and at P.227, 7.104, 13.88, and 15.418;N Another instance at 20.149 is probably a unique use of a for "he". See section III.3.3.1 below. a for as 10.146; an for and (14x) 2.210, 4.158, 5.350, 361, 421 etc.
(i) The scribe has several forms for the plural of eye: eyghen (11x) ~ eyen (10x) ~ eyes (5x),N The distribution of this form is perhaps of interest. It appears for the first time at P.74 and again in a cluster at 11.14-52. ~ eyȝen (1x) ~ eyghes (1x) ~ eyhen (1x). The form eghen may well be a Northernism provided by a London scribe, although eiȝen and eyȝen occur in four of LALME's Worcestershire profiles.N A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), 2.265, Item Map 115 EYE pl (5). Most of these forms also appear in London texts. With this form, one might compare hiegh-type spellings at P.13, 123; 1.74, 6.319, 10.107, 15.85, 20.115, 152; and niegh once 20.199. The distribution of spellings for "high" is striking. The more common forms are with <ei> heigh (31x), hei3 (10x), and heygh (1x). However, hei3 appears ten times but only between P.140 and 5.70; heigh appears just once in that stretch of text (3.48), and the remaining thirty instances appear after 5.283. The scribe spells neighe just once at 16.30, but his usual form of "neighbor" is spelled with neigh- (9x) and just once with neiȝ-, 5.262.
Samuels further argues that LR share distribution of variant forms inherently Worcestershire.N M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 241, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1988), pp. 70-85. He mentions alternation in which the two manuscripts show the same distribution among any/eny, 3if/if, come/cam, byȝunde/byȝende, and states that such shared readings must come from an archetype common to both (if so, it can only be Bx). This view we confirm on the basis of spot-checks of all Samuels' cited forms in 2.40-5.664.N R is defective for the first 40 lines of passus 2. We find any occurring 15x in L and eny 4x. The two manuscripts have the same form in fourteen of these fifteen instances of any and all four instances of eny. We find at 2.79 one example of L ani, R any).N The spelling ony appears once in L at 3.330, where R has any. In the same sample of the thirty-three instances in L of if, twenty-seven correspond to the same form in R. Of nineteen instances of ȝif just over half (10x) correspond to ȝif in R. The forms com and came, "came" appear eight and five times each in L. Of these, five instances of come agree with the same form in RN L.4.45, 46, 49; 5.396, 544. as do three of cam.N L.3.102, 111, 179. Another two instances of L's come correspond to com in R.NL.2.193 and L.3.35. The variant spellings biȝunde 4.111 and byȝende 4.130 correspond to R's spellings of the tonic vowels.
|1. OE, ON /a/:||<a>|
caste (11x) 11.404 ~ cast (4x) 5.332; happe (4x) 20.385 ~ happ (1x) 12.114; etc.
|2. OE, ON /a/ before a nasal:||<a> ~ (<o>)|
can P.111; fram (34x) P.56 ~ from (1x) 1.23; man P.122; wan 5.468; schame 12.87; etc.
|3. OE, ON /a/ before lengthening consonant groups:||<a> ~ <o>|
amonge P.197; halde 19.466 ~ holde P.66; hande/handes (25x) 9.21 ~ honde/hondes (10x) 12.122; hange (7x) 2.198 ~ hanged (4x) P.176 ~ hangen (4x) P.170 ~ honged (1x) 1.69; lombe 5.572; londe/londes (35+ x) P.124 ~ land(e)/landes (3x) 6.314; stonde (12x) 5.356 ~ stande (5x) 16.227; etc.
|4. OE, ON /a/ + <-nk>:||<a> ~ (<o>)|
banke P.8; dranke 13.64; sank 18.69; stanke 15.583; thonked (1x) 8.108 ~ thanked (1x) 17.88 ~ þonkynge (1x) 2.151; etc.
The spelling is always <a> except in þonk-.
|5. OE, ON /a:/:||<o> ~ (<oo>)|
abrode 2.179; foo 9.215; fro (59x) 1.114; goste (26x) 1.38 ~ goost (3x) 9.47; hole "whole" 6.61; hote P.226; lore 10.115; low(e) 20.36; ropere 5.328; sore 5.99; stone 12.82; wrote (7x) 10.178 ~ wrot (1x) 12.85; etc.
|6. OE, ON /a:/ + w:||<ow> ~ <ou>|
blowe 16.33; knowe P.121; ouerthrowe 8.36; soule (83x) 1.42 ~ sowle (4x) 7.53; etc.
|7. OE, ON, OF /o/:||<o>|
box (2x) 5.661 ~ boxe (1x) 13.196; crosse 5.12; folke (73x) P.17 ~ folk (1x) 9.117; god (240x) P.43 ~ goddes/-is "God" (never gode) 4.196; lokke "lock" 1.205; mosse 15.297; pekokes 11.363; spottes 13.314; etc.N Both L and R have the anamolous form walk(e)ne at 15.375 and 18.243. See OED, s. v. welkin.
|8. OE, ON /o/ + lengthening consonant group:||<o>|
borde 6.272; golde (25x) P.76 ~ gold (1x) P.34; molde P.67; worde 1.13; etc.
|9. OE, ON /o:/:||<o> ~ (<oo>) ~ (<oe>)NM. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman , ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1988), 210, remarks that "especially prominent as a diagnostic criterion is the oe-spelling as in goed 'good'." For other spellings with <oe>, see below. The spelling <oe> for /o/ and /o:/ is a residual West Midlands feature, appearing commonly in R and occasionally in other B and C manuscripts. Richard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. and revised Eugene J. Crook (The Hague and Paris, 1974), § 53 Remark 1, attributes the use of <oe> as a lengthening sign to French influence.|
boke P.101; brother 1.67; cokes (2x) 3.80 ~ cook (1x) 5.157; come P.112; dome 2.208 ~ domes (6x) 11.149; doth(e); fote) 5.655; good(e) "good" (87x) ~ gode (46x) P.227 ~ goed (2x) 1.184; moot 4.154; noet "ne woot" 11.209; rote 12.62; shoed 18.1; toles 10.186; tothaches 20.81, etc.
|10. OE, ON, OF /u/:||<u> ~ <o>|
biswonke pa. t. pl. 20.292; butter 5.448; dronke (pa. t. pl.) 14.86; fluxe 5.181; ful (85x) P.15; fulle (n.) (4x) 6.231; pulle 16.76; sonne "sun" P.1; wolle "wool" 6.13; etc.
The <o> spelling is used predominantly in proximity to minims.
|11. OE, ON, OF /u/ with lengthening:||<ou> ~ <oo> ~ <o> ~ <u>|
doumb(e) (2x) 10.146 ~ dombe (1x) 19.128; dore 2.208; grounde 2.30; hounde 5.263; mourne (2x) 3.16 ~ morned (3x) 3.171; torn- (18x) 3.42 ~ tourne (5x) 15.524 ~ turne (2x) 5.111; wode 8.63; etc.
We have included in this paragraph words lengthened in open syllables as those affected by following homorganic consonant clusters. The <ou> spelling is an indication of length, as below.
|12. OE, ON /u:/:||<ou> ~ <ow> (the latter appears mostly in final position)|
aboute (45x) P.29 ~ about (2x) 4.83; adown(e) (13x) 5.7 ~ adoun(e) (3x) 4.94 ~ ; cloude 3.194; how P.102; mous P.182; now 1.211; þow (256x) P.215 ~ Thow (5x) 5.277;NAll instances of this spelling are line-initial. etc.
|13. OE, ON /y/:||<u> ~ <i> ~ <y> ~ <uy> ~ <ui>|
bugge(n) (7x) P.168 ~ bigge(n) "buy" (3x) 5.433 ~ buggynge (1x) 19.236; brugge(s) 7.28; bruydale 2.45; did (21x) 1.104 ~ dyd (4x) 11.122N The spellings with <y> appear between 11.122 and 18.162, though <i> forms occur within that stretch of text as well. fulle (n.) (3x) 6.271 ~ fylle (2x) 1.155, 16.11; gult (8x) 5.459 ~ gylt- (5x) 5.378 ~ gilt (5x) 3.8; hulles (4x) P.5 ~ hilles (2x) 3.238; kyn 1.195; list(e) (v.) (4x) P.172 ~ luste (1x) 18.430; mery(e) (11x) P.10 ~ myrie (2x) 6.161; murthe (14x) 3.221 ~ muirth (1x) 13.63; pryde (26x) 1.127 ~ pruyde (10x) 2.45; synne 1.145; thurst(e) 20.19; etc.
The <u>, <ui>, and <uy> spellings are Western and did not occur in the authorial dialect before nasals.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 241, 243, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 70-85. The ambiguous form sundry at 12.36 as well as the majority form sondry (10x) probably derives from OE sundrig rather than syndrig. Words like kind, mind, sin, and stint have universal <i> forms (as Samuels notes, the expected forms of the dialect). But several widespread <u> forms make no appearance at all: did, evil, hide pres. and sb., and lit(tle) show universal forms in <i/y>.
|14. OE, ON /y/ before lengthening clusters:||<i> ~ <y> ~ (<uy>)~ (<ui>) ~ (<e>)|
berdes (1x) 19.133 ~ birde (1x) 3.14 ~ buirde (1x) 18.120; buildynge 15.337 ~ buylden 12.23; kynd(e) P.114; mynde 5.291; etc.
|15. OE, ON /y:/:||<i> ~ <y> ~ <u> ~ <uy> ~ <ui>|
fyre (10x) 3.99 ~ fuire (2x) 12.287; fust(e) (8x) 17.151 ~ fiste (1x) 5.87 ~ fyst (1x) 17.140; hyre (6x) 2.125 ~ huyre (6x) 6.142; hudde(n) (3x) 11.356 ~ hydde (1x) 19.100; hyde 19.463; kyne 6.143; lither (3x) 5.391 ~ luther (2x) 18.363; wisshe 5.113; etc.
The <u>, <ui>, and <uy> spellings are Western.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 241, 243, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 70-85.
|16. OE, ON /i/:||<i> ~ <y>|
bitter (9x) 5.121 ~ byttere (1x) 10.299; nym(e) 15.170; widwe 9.176; wyght (10x) 5.117 ~ wight (2x) 18.233; etc.
|17. OE, ON /i:/:||<i> ~ <y>|
blithe 2.160; chyde (6x) 4.54 ~ chide (3x) 3.179; knyf 5.82; lyf (104x + 40 compounds) ~ lif (1x + five compounds); ryde(n) (6x) 15.239 ~ ride(n) (3x) 1.96; wys(e) (24x) 2.173 ~ wis(e) (12x) P.48; wyn P.229; etc.
|18. OE, ON, OF /e/:||<e>|
dowel 7.125; fether 19.418; rekene 2.63; webbe 5.113; wrecched 1.40; etc.
|19. OE, ON, OF /e/ before lengthening clusters:||<e>|
bestes 3.272; elde 5.195; feste 11.213; felde P.17; selde P.20; etc.
|20. OE, ON, OF /e:/:||<e> ~ <ee>|
beches 5.18; bedeman 3.41; contre (8x) P.29 ~ contrees (4x) 8.15 ~ contree (2x) 13.225; deme 1.87; fede P.90; feet (5x) 4.88 ~ fete (2x) 2.170; grene 6.288; hede "heed" 6.15; kene 9.194; kepe P.76; mede 2.20; swete P.86; etc.
|21. OE /æ/:||<a>|
apple 9.160; bak- 2.83 ~ bakke (8x) 3.197; blake 10.488; had(de) P.109 ~ hade (1x) 13.114; masse 1.185; wasshen 14.437; water 5.175; etc.
|22. OE /æ:/ (1) & (2):||<e> ~ (<ee>) ~ (<a>)|
breth 14.67; clene 1.198; dred(e) 13.389; er 2.206; lete (23x) P.155 ~ leet (1x) 20.142; slepe P.45; seed(9x) 19.278 ~ sede (7x) 3.282; teche 1.84; etc.
|23. OE /ēa/:||<e> ~ (<ee>)|
bred P.41; ded "dead" 1.189; def 10.139; leef 1.157; red "red" P.220; etc.
|24. OE /eo/, /ēo/:||<e> ~ <ee> ~ <eu>~ (<eo>) ~ (<ui>) ~ (<uy>) ~ (<ie>)|
buirn "man" (3x)11.366 ~ buyrn 16.276 ~ biernes 3.272; cherl 1.35; crepen 13.18; depe P.15; frend 3.52; heo "she" (4x) 1.74; herte 1.42; leode (5x) 3.32 ~ lede (6x) "man" P.126; leme18.128; reuthe 15.11; swerde 1.104; tre (4x) 16.8 ~ tree (3x) 16.10; thef 12.192; etc.N Note that western sulf/sulv-, "self," from broken OE <eo>, does not occur in L.
The three words of Western distribution, bu(y)rn, leode and heo, retain Western rounding at least in spelling, presumably because there was no London spelling convention for them. For the <eo> forms see Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," 241-43.NM. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 241-43, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 70-85.
|25. OF /ue/:||<oe> ~ <o> ~ <e>|
doel (1x) 5.390 ~ dole (3x) 6.123; moebles (3x) 3.274; meue (4x) 8.119 ~ moeue (2x) 8.33 ~ moeued (3x) 11.373 ~ moeuen (1x) 15.76; peple (70x) P.59 ~ poeple (21x) P.118 ~ pople (1x) 5.107; etc.N See Richard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. and revised Eugene J. Crook (The Hague and Paris, 1974), § 232, for the preservation of rounding in the West and Southwest.
Other OF and AN forms account for the minority spellings oest "host" 19.339; recoeure "recover" 19.245; and soeffre "suffer" 5.156. MED s.v., soverain n. identifies soeuereigne 19.74 as a West Midlands form.N The spellings soeffre and coest appear in C manuscripts. For the former, see the Ilchester manuscript; for the latter, see George Russell 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, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1997).
|1. OE /hw/:||<wh>|
The single instance of weye 5.95 = "whey" is owed to Bx. There are no other suggestions that /hw/ had become /w/ in the scribe's dialect.
|2. OE, ON <þ> and <ð>:||<þ> ~ <th>|
The scribe uses both forms in free variation, though word-initial <þ> is about five times more common than <th>, while word-terminal <-th> occurs well over two thousand times to only forty-three instances of <þ>. A single instance appears of stem-terminal <th> for /t/ in sleiȝthes 15.139.
|3. OE /š/:||<sh> ~ <ssh> ~ <sch>|
The most common spelling is <sh>, but the other spellings occur and appear to be random, though <ssh> appears only medially and terminally: bisshop 11.295; childissh 15.158; englissh 10.468; fisshe 5.393; flesshe 15.35 ~ flesch(e) 1.41; punysshen 10.381 ~ punyschen 2.50; schame 12.87; schaft 9.31; shepe 15.374; shipp 15.374 ~ schipp 3.333; sholde 3.50 (never scholde); wisshe 5.113; etc.NSince the corrector marked scrof "shrove" at 10.426 as an error, we have not included <sc> as a spelling of /š/, though of course the form appears in some dialects.
|4. OE, ON /sk/:||<sk> ~ (<x>) ~ (<sc>)|
asked (6x) 1.74;NThe axed form (8x) represents not OE /sk/ but OE axian. buskes (n.) 11.349;N MED notes that the forms in ME with <sk> are derived from medieval Latin rather than Old Norse. buske (v.) 9.145; skipte 11.110; skil 12.218; skynnes 5.261; scolde 2.84; etc.
|5. OE /xt/:||<ȝt> ~ <ght>|
The spelling with <ȝt> predominates with well over five hundred instances to about two hundred of <ght>, e. g. myȝt (127x) ~ might (4x).
The distribution of spellings with <ȝ> and <gh>, and <y> for the medial velar spirant is of some interest. The spellings with vowel + <ȝ> appear regularly and as the usual form up to passus five, and after that point are replaced with vowel + <gh> or <y>: heiȝe 2.34, 3.86, 4.44, 4.164 ~ heigh(e) 3.148, 6.115, 10.164,166, etc.; neiȝe 3.146 ~ neighe 11.209, 20.4, etc.; eiȝen 5.396 ~ eighen 5.360 ~ eyen (16x) 5.64; seiȝe 4.154 ~ seighe 11.339, 12.129, etc. ~ seye 5.382, 10.71, etc.;N At 10.71 only L and R have yseye, where other B witnesses have seiȝen. þeiȝe 3.359, 4.68, 5.273 ~ þeighe 5.621; etc.
III.3.1 Metrical Considerations: The Status of Final <-e> and <-en>
The immediate scribe's writing of final <-e> is not entirely random, but clearly the structural significances attached to its use are no longer determined by grammar or etymology, though some relicts of Langland's usage survive. The infinitive ending varies between <-e> and <-en>; the covered form offers the option of preventing the assimilation of <-e> before a following vowel or <h> (see 2.5.1). Such spellings sometimes have metrical consequences; these have been analyzed by Duggan, who discusses to what extent these features of the scribal language are also features of Langland's dialect.NHoyt N. Duggan, "Langland's Dialect and Final -e," Studies in the Age of Chaucer 12 (1990), 157-91. And see the two studies by M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), especially 243-44, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 70-85; and "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1988), pp. 217-18. However, it is clear that the immediate scribe had completely lost a grammatical rationale for writing final <-e>. As Walter W. Skeat noted over a century ago, the L scribe often uses written <-e> as an indicator of length in the preceding tonic vowel rather than for a syllable.N Walter W. Skeat, ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman in Three Parallel Texts Together with Richard the Redeless by William Langland (about 1362-1399 A. D.) (Oxford, 1886), 2:lviii. The historically motivated final <-e> is elided about as frequently as it appears on weak and plural monosyllabic adjectives. Since those dialects of Middle English in which such final <-e>s was longest retained did so into the fifteenth century,N See Norman Davis, "Notes on Grammar and Spelling in the Fifteenth Century," in The Oxford Book of Late Medieval Verse and Prose, ed. Douglas Gray (Oxford, 1985), pp. 493-508, and Judith Jefferson, "The Hoccleve Holographs and Hoccleve's Metrical Practice," in Manuscripts and Texts: Editorial Problems in Later Middle English Literature, ed. Derek Pearsall (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1987), pp. 95-109. it is distinctly odd that so early a manuscript as this should so completely have lost its grammar of final <-e>. That fact possibly reflects the dialectal features of a northerly scribe in London who had picked up many of the spelling conventions of the capital but not its conservative usage in respect to final <-e>.
|3.2.1 Nominative/Accusative Singular:||nil|
|3.2.2 Genitive Singular:||<-es> ~ <-s> ~ (<-is>) ~ (<-e>) ~ (<-us>)N The single instance occurs at P.198 where the scribe attaches the suspension used elsewhere in the text only on Latin roots to mean <-us>. At this same point in M, an original and now illegible suspension has been replaced by the one commonly used in that manuscript for <-es>, and the spelling mannus appears only once more in M.19.498. See below, III.3.2.4 note for discussion of the <-us> plurality marker as possibly archetypal. ~ (nil)|
Abrahames 16.185; Adames 11.201; brotheres 10.279; Caymes 9.138; cattis P.178; dysoures 13.174; doweles 9.12; faderes 9.124 (cf. fader 16.91); Gabrieles 16.93; goddis 3.71; hostelleres 17.116; ladyes 20.345 (cf. lady 18.344); mannes 18.241; pharaoes 7.179.
The usual ending is <-es>. The <-is> spelling occurs most commonly after the laterals <l> and <r> and the voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/, and after voiced /d/.
With <-e> ~ nil: heuene 14.166; soule 11.226;LG Here and at 18.377 both <-es> and s-less forms of the genitive appear: for mannes soule helthe(~ sake). treuth 15.98; etc.
Without ending: fader 16.91; lady 18.344;N Both fader and lady represent minor OE declensions. Marie 2.2;NThe form is ascribed to the influence of Latin feminine genitives by Tauno F. Mustanoja, A Middle English Syntax, Part 1: Parts of Speech, Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 23 (Helsinki, 1960), p. 72. moder 19.122.
With apocope: Ihesus 18.103, and iustice 16.95 (from Bx).
|3.2.3 Dative Singular:||nil ~ <-e>|
|3.2.4 Nominative/Accusative Plural:||<-es> ~ <-is> ~ <-s> ~ (<-z>) ~ <-en> ~ <-n> ~ (<-us>)N This spelling occurs three times only, but there is some reason to think it archetypal and perhaps Langland's form. Two
instances occur in a single two-line passage:
Ac þanne cared þei for caplus · to kairen hem þider And fauel fette forth þanne · folus ynowe (2.164-165).The third instance is the word caractus at 12.85. In each case, R also has the same spellings with <-us>. Curiously, perhaps, the inflection written by the original scribe in M.2.164-165 has been corrected to <-es>. It is not possible to determine whether <-us> was originally written, though folus is the usual spelling in M for the plural of "fool."
acountes (1x) 6.92 ~ acountis (1x) 7.204; artz 10.159; beggeres (24x) 13.143 ~ beggers (3x) 5.151; bodies 1.198; brawleris 16.44; caples (2x) 19.335; caplus (1x) 2.164; caractus 12.85 ~ caractes 12.99; cardinales P.104; clerkes P.114; coloures 11.334; eyes (5x) P.74 ~ eyghes (1x) 11.41 (cf. eighen and eiȝen); eres P.78; experimentz 10.223; foes 13.327 (cf. foon); lolleres 15.225; lond-leperis heremytes 15.221; monyales 10.326; religiouses 10.324; shoes 20.218 (cf. shoon); sustres 18.206 (cf. sustren); werkes 1.151; wordes (62x) P.72 ~ wordis (3x) 3.349; ȝeres 5.122 ~ ȝeris (1x)n P.65; etc.
With <-en> ~ <-n>: child(e)ren (16x) 3.265 ~ childern (1x) 13.116; eyghen (11x) 5.111 ~ eyen (10x) 5.64 ~ eyhen (1x) 16.46 ~ eiȝen (1x) 5.396; foon (1x) 5.98; lambren 15.218; shone "shoes" (1x) 14.348; sustren 5.640.
Mutated: gees P.227; men P.18; teeth 15.13.
|3.2.5 Genitive Plural:||<-es> ~ <-s> ~ (<-en>) ~ (<-yn>)|
beggeres 4.126; loseles 10.52; mennes P.199; harlotes 4.120; etc.
With <-en> ~ (<-yn>) ~ (<-ene>) (1x) : childryn 4.119; clerken 4.121; iewen 15.573; kyngene 19.76; wyuen 5.29; etc.
III.3.3.1 Nominative Singular:
|1st Person:||i ~ ich ~ iche|
The form ich occurs 20x, in all but one instance before a vowel or semivowel (e.g. ich yede 7.157).LG The single exception appears at 15.19 in an inversion: dynge ich neure so late. Iche appears once before a vowel at 13.249. Archetypal ik occurs in the phrase so the ik (5.230), where Langland's joke is at the expense of the Norfolk dialect of Sir Hervey, as in Chaucer's Reeve's Tale.
|2nd Person:||þow (256x) ~ Thow (5x)|
All instances of Thow occur at the beginnings of lines.
|Masculine:||he ~ a NThe only instance of this form is ambiguous, since L alone reads a. Most other B manuscripts have he, but HmB have and, which is also a possible reading.|
|Feminine:||she ~ heo ~ he|
At L.3.348-349 the scribe uniquely writes ȝe where other manuscripts have forms of she. This is quite possibly a relict form, though the scribe may have construed the word as a form of ye.
Three of the four occurrences of heo (1.74, 3.29, and 5.646) are in alliterating positions.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 232-47, with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986), 40; repr. in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 70-85. In 18.175, the scribe initially (and correctly) wrote he and then "corrected" it to she. He is required by alliteration and is attested in alpha.
L has he, "she", in non-alliterative position at L.1.143 (agreeing with CCr and uncorrected M), L.9.56 (agreeing with all mss. except Cr), and at L.18.170 (where F has she).
III.3.3.2 Accusative and Dative Singular:
|2nd Person:||þe ~ (the )|
The two instances of the appear at the beginning of 3.270 and the end of 20.185.
|Masculine:||hym (400+) ~ him (15x)|
|Feminine:||hire ~ hir|
III.3.3.3 Genitive Singular:
|1st Person:||my ~ myn ~ myne ~ (mi) LGThis form appears only once, at 2.30.|
Both myn (27x) and myne (30x) are used conjunctively with both singular and plural nouns before vowels or <h>; myn does not appear disjunctively.
|2nd Person:||þi ~ (Thi) ~ þine ~ þyne ~ þyn ~ (Thyn)|
The standard spelling is þi (198x). Thi is found at 2.124 and 5.299, and the two forms occur only conjunctively. The usage of the forms ending in <-n(e)> is as with the 1st person: þine (14x) ~ þyne (9x) ~ þyn (3x) ~ Thyn (1x) occur most often conjunctively with both singular and plural nouns before vowels or <h>, and occasionally disjunctively.LG Þyne appears before a consonant in 5.518.
|Masculine:||his ~ hise|
The general form is his (680+) used with both singular and plural nouns: e. g. his mysdedes 11.139. The inflected form hise (3x), developed by analogy with myne and þyne, is used twice with plural nouns (4.41, 5.292) and once (20.60) in absolute use to mean "his people."
|Feminine:||hir ~ hire ~ (her)|
As in the accusative and dative, the forms with and without <-e> are used in free variation. The dominant spelling is with <i>, though a handful of her spellings appear.
III.3.3.4 Nominative Plural:
|2nd Person:||ȝe (204x) ~ ȝee (5x)|
|3rd Person:||þei (305x) ~ þey (14x) ~ they (13x) ~ thei (8x) ~ hij (10x)|
Seven of ten instances of hij occur in lines in which it does not carry alliteration. For its distribution, see A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), Map 7, 2.21-26. It is a typical Type II London form.
III.3.3.5 Accusative and Dative Plural:
|3rd Person:||hem (460+x) ~ hom (1x)N The single instance appears at 9.178.|
III.3.3.6 Genitive Plural:
|1st Person:||owre N The form is never found without <-e>.|
|2nd Person:||ȝowre (104x) ~ ȝoure (6x)|
|3rd Person:||hir ~ hire ~ her ~ here|
The forms with and without <-e> are used in free variation. There are no oblique plural forms beginning with <þ->.
III.3.3.7 Personal Pronouns with "Self":
Forms are: my-self (25x) ~ -selue (9x) ~ -seluen (1x); þi-selue (12x) -self (12x), -seluen (3x); hym-self (43x) ~ -selue (28x) ~ -seluen); her-selue (1x, pl.); her-self (1x, sg.); owre-selue ~ vs-selue; ȝow-self (2x) ~ ȝow-selue (1x) ~ ȝow-seluen (2x) ~ ȝowre-selue ~ ȝowre-seluen. Remnants of Langland's practice of using the selue(n) forms at the end of b-verses are still detectable, though the scribe is inconsistent.
The western forms with sulf-/sulv-, from broken OE <eo>, do not occur in L.
III.3.4 Adjectives and Adverbs
Monosyllabic adjectives ending in a consonant do not steadily distinguish definite and indefinite inflections; i.e. <-e> appears on adjectives modifying singular nouns as well as plural, and frequently on adjectives following an indefinite article. We cite a few instances of "great":
|3.4.1 Indefinite Singular:|
- 3.249 a grete nede
- 8.9 of grete witte
- 14.57 ne grete lordes wrath NIn other B manuscripts lordes is gen. sg. in this line, though of course it is ambiguous here. The scribe need not have taken it to be plural.
|3.4.2 Definite Singular:|
- 3.21 þeire gret goodnesse
- 2.71 his gret othes
- 9.22 gret lordes
- 13.84 his gret chekes
Polysyllabic adjectives of French derivation ending in <-ous> reflect relicts of earlier texts in which weak and plural adjectives were differentiated from strong singulars. One finds lecherous (sg.) 6.273 ~ lecherouse (pl.) 2.127, and likerous P.30 ~ likerouse (definite) 10.170 and plural in 10.173. However, precious is weak in 10.12 and preciouse appears appropriately for the plural in 19.94 and unhistorically motivated for the strong singular in 16.274. Neither religious nor cristen/cristene maintains the distinction.
The inflected concord of foles sages at 13.415 and materes inmeasurables at 15.76 appear to be archetypal.N For discussion of this form derived from French, see Tauno F. Mustanoja, A Middle English Syntax, Part 1: Parts of Speech, Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 23 (Helsinki, 1960), p. 277.
"All" has the following inflections: al and alle are in free variation with gen. pl. aller (16.213) inherited from Bx. "Both" as an adjective is always bothe or boþe, with gen. pl. boþeres.
|3.4.4 Comparative:N The forms cited here include adverbs as well as adjectives.||<-er(e)> ~ (<-re>)NThis inflection appears only on bettre, though note nerre 16.72. ~ (<-or(e)>) (2x)|
auarousere 1.194; balder 7.199; better(e) (48x) 6.168 ~ bettre (5x) 5.49; blisseder 11.255; clenner 19.252; douȝtier 5.103; fairere 14.28; ferther(e) 5.655; gretter(e) 17.317; hyere 2.29; lenger (8x) 1.212; ~ lengore (1x) 20.62; liȝter (2x) 1.157 ~ liȝtor 17.45; lower(e) 7.171; pouerere 20.49; sikerer(e) 5.520; sonner(e) 10.428; swetter(e) 6.221; etc.
|3.4.5 Superlative:N The forms cited here include adverbs as well as adjectives.||<-est> ~ (<-este>) ~ <-st(e)> ~ (<-xte>)|
Baldest 13.300 ~ boldest 18.419; best(e) P.103; brounest 6.313; clenneste 16.73; doughtiest 10.464; hexte 12.143; leuest(e) 3.6; merueillousest 8.68; nexte 17.292; trewest 17.25; etc.
|3.4.6 Adjectives in <-ly>:|
The ending <-ly> varies with <-lich> and <-liche/-lyche> (there are no examples of <-lye> or <-lie> and only one of -lyche, 5.562). No clear pattern of usage appears. The spelling louely/-li (8x) is always used for the attributive adjective, and loueliche (4x), louelich (1x), vnlovelich (2x) appear indiscriminately with or without <-e> for the predicative, usually before of. But other adjectives, e. g., dedliche and dedly are both used before pl. synnes (9.221, 14.98). The most common form by far is with -ly or -li: only dedliche, flesshelich, lordeliche, lothliche, and louelich(e) appear as adjectives.
|3.4.7 Adverbs in <-ly>:|
The same endings <-ly>, <-lich(e)> and <-lych(e)> are used as in adjectives, and are equally unpatterned.NSee Hoyt N. Duggan, "Langland's Dialect and Final -e," Studies in the Age of Chaucer 12 (1990), 157-91. Comparative endings are <-lier> and <-loker>: frendeloker 10.236; liȝtloker 5.590; wisloker 13.344. Superlatives end in <-lokest>: hastlokest 19.475; wikkedlokest 10.437.
III.3.5.1 Non-finite Forms:
|126.96.36.199 Infinitive:||<-e> ~ <-en> ~ <-n> ~ (<-n>) ~ (<-ene>) ~ nil ~ (<-y>)N The single instance, labory probably reflects the Southwest Midlands tendency to model OF loan words on OE Class II weak verbs. See S. R. T. O. d'Ardenne, ed. Þe liflade ant te passiun of Seinte Iuliene, EETS, OS 248 (London, 1961), p. 237. ~ (<-un>)NThe single instance, bredun, appears at 2.100.|
fordo 18.30 ~ fordone 18.44 ~ fordon 5.20; to kepe 17.5 ~ kepen 4.140 ~ kepin 8.105; knowe 17.9 ~ knowen 8.15; laste 17.8; to louye 17.129 ~ louyen 11.112; rekene 4.179; To reule 17.3; se(e) 17.4 ~ seen 4.88; segge 17.31; to techen 17.42 ~ teche 1.146; vndertaken 17.17 ~ vndertake 13.139; wytene 8.13; etc.
Endings derived from OE <-ian> verbs are frequently but not steadily preserved; thus the following infinitive forms with <-i-> or <-y->: erye 6.4; hatyen 10.99; louye 19.112; swerye 14.39; tulyen 7.2; wanye 7.58; wonye 3.109. However, forms such as pryke at 18.11 or were at 14.347 show the scribe's lack of consistency in this respect. This is a feature of southwest midlands dialects.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1988), p. 217.
|188.8.131.52 Gerund:||<-yng(e)> ~ (<-ing(e)>)|
In both the gerund and the pres. ppl. the ending is <-yng(e)>. The forms with and without <-e> appear in free variation; e.g. With bakbitynge and bismer . and beryng of fals witness 5.91.
drynkynge 11.340; etynge 14.61; laughynge 18.430; seggyng 8.109; slepyng P.10; slepynge 5.6; wenynge 20.33; etc.
There are the following examples of the ending of the verbal noun with the spelling <-ing(e)> after <y>:
burying 11.80; deyinge 7.34; lyinge 13.322; tulyinge 14.72.
The only other examples of <-ing(e)> are bakbitinge 5.132 and knowing 1.138.
|184.108.40.206 Present participle:||<-yng(e)> ~ (-ande) (2x) ~ (-enge) (1x) ~ (-ende) (3x)N Note that the -ende/-ande forms appear after 16.269 and largely coincide with alpha readings. ~ (<-inge>) (1x)N For the distribution of present participle forms, see A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), Map 57, 2.237-242. The <-ande> form is characteristic of the Type II London dialect. See M. L. Samuels, "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology." English Studies 44 (1963), 81-94, repr. in Middle English Dialectology: Essays on Some Principles and Problems by Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels and Margaret Laing, edited and introduced by Margaret Laing (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 64-80|
abydynge 19.296; dryuende 20.99; etyng 10.107; flaumende 17.208; glowande 17.220; hangynge 5.137; hippyng 17.61; libbing 9.117 lorkynge 2.219; playinge 18.172 ~ pleyande 16.269; rennyng 18.103 ~ rennynge 18.169 ~ rennenge 15.476; sittynge 3.352 ~ sittende 17.50; slepyng 7.159; waggynge 8.31; etc.
The forms with and without final <-e> are in free variation.
|220.127.116.11 Weak Past Participle:||<-ed> ~ <-t> (with or without <y-> prefix)N We remarked in our discussion of the language of the scribe who copied Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17 (W), that "he is more conservative than others in the preservation of the <y-> prefix, retaining it even on verb-stems of more than one syllable; e.g.: yherberwed 5.234 (against all other manuscripts); yperissed 17.190; even yrebuked 14.173 (where it is necessary for the meter, but against all other manuscripts)." The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive, vol. 2: Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17 (W), ed. Thorlac Turville-Petre and Hoyt N. Duggan, SEENET Series A.2 (Ann Arbor, 2000): Linguistic Introduction, section 2.5.15. L also retains (or introduces) a substantial number of such forms, occurring 193x to W's 203x.|
abasched 10.305; acombred 1.34; ascaped 6.80; ybarred 19.165; called P.104 ~ ycalled (2x) 11.14; clothed (1x) 5.81 ~ yclothed (6x) 1.3;NIn 1.3 the <y-> prefix yclothed is necessary for the meter of the b-verse, as most of the scribes recognize; in 13.277 (where it is again line-end) it is not, and seven manuscripts read clothed. demed 3.312; diademed 3.293; yentred 10.386; yglosed 17.11; yhated 9.108; made 5.408 ~ ymaked (6x) P.14 ~ maked (3x) 7.158; vsed 18.390 ~ yvsed 16.155; went 3.287; etc.
|18.104.22.168 Strong Past Participle:||<-e> ~ <-en> ~ nil (with and without <y-> prefix)|
bake (2x) 6.197 ~ ybake (3x) 6.290 ~ ybaken (1x) 6.185 ~ baken (1x) 6.300; chosen 11.119 ~ ychose 5.336; comen 16.96 ~ come 3.308; dronke (1x) 18.193 ~ dronken (3x, twice attributively) 13.96 ~ ydronke (3x) 6.286 ~ drunken (1x) 5.385; founde (3x) 7.208 ~ yfounde (3x) 10.267 ~ founden (3x) 14.72; geten 5.300; gyuen (1x) 2.123 ~ ȝiue (1x) 5.394 ~ ȝoue (1x) 2.32;N This form, a nonce spelling in this manuscript, appears in this line in manuscripts MH as well. ygo 5.209 ~ gone (2x) 5.483; holden (12x) 12.275 ~ yholde (2x) 20.261 ~ yholden (1x) 1.85; yholpe 17.62 ~ holpe 4.171; knowen (4x) P.56 ~ yknowe 11.229 ~ yknowen 11.401; taken 1.156 ~ ytake (2x) 11.260; wonne (3x) 5.269 ~ ywonne (3x) 5.95; writen 17.11; etc.
For comments on the retention of the <y-> prefix, see paragraph III.22.214.171.124 above.
III.3.5.2 Finite Verb Forms:
III.126.96.36.199 Present Indicative
|Present 1st Singular:||<-e> ~ (nil)|
couth 5.183; hailse 5.103; holde 5.423; leue P.34; rest 5.153; sey P.202; shonye 5.171; swere 5.230; walke 5.149; warne P.208; wisse 1.43.
As in OE, stems ending in a vowel have no inflection: do 5.116 se P.202.
|Present 2nd Singular:||<-est> ~ <-st> ~ (<-ist>) ~ (<-xte>)|
beest 5.610; coueytest 11.11; getest 18.364; greuest 14.122; lernest 4.11; lyuest 2.127; lixte 5.164;N This relict form derives from a contracted present of OE lēogan. myȝtest P.215; myȝte 6.227; seest 12.175; wost 3.181.
The usual ending is <-(e)st>. As in MS W, the only example of <-ist> is seist 6.236, 18.436.
|Present 3rd Singular:||<-eth> ~ <-th> ~ <-eþ> ~ <-þ> ~ <-t> ~ (<-yth>)N The most common form by far is <-eth> for the 3rd sg. present indicative, present plural indicative, and for the imperative plural. Only sixteen instances of <-eþ> appear in these three functions to over twelve hundred instances of <-eth>.|
aketh 6.263; bereth 11.160; biddeth 7.88 ~ bit 7.72;N Contracted forms on stems ending in a dental consonant (e.g. bit, fynt, halt, etc.) are used in southern texts. breketh 4.59; falleth 8.38; fareth 13.53; fet P.194 ~ fedeth 6.257; fyndeth 15.189 ~ fynt (7x) 7.142; forfret 16.30; goth 1.208; halt 17.106 ~ holdeth 13.406; playeth 19.297; putteth 12.230; rest P.171; ritt (ryden) P.171; seith 7.135; sheweth 17.157 ~ sheweþ (1x) 4.131; slepyth 11.264; smit 11.429; smyteth 3.330; stant 18.45 ~ standeth 2.5; strengtheth 8.47; wanyeth 8.39; welt 10.88; etc.
With a single exception, this scribe, like the one who wrote manuscript W, distinguishes "tells lies" (OE lȳhþ) from "lies down" (OE līþ). For the former, one finds lieth (1x) 6.237 and lyeth (7x) 1.70, and a single instance of lith at 3.157. For "lies down" the forms are lith 1.126, lyth 4.61, and lithe 18.397
OE preterite-present verbs without inflection in the present 1st and 3rd sg. are, for example, dar P.210; kan P.199; May 1.63; Shal 2.34; etc.
|Present Plural:||<-e> ~ <-en> ~ <-eth> ~ (<-eþ>) ~ (<-yn>)|
abiden 15.321; abite "bite" 16.27; aren (38x) P.164 ~ arn (3x) P.98 ~ beth (20x) 3.27; aske (2x) 3.221 ~ asken (3x) 3.224; biswynkyn 15.490; borweth 20.285; burgeouneth 15.80; crauen (2x) 3.226 ~ craueth (1x) 17.122; dwelle (7x) 1.129 ~ dwelleth (1x) 4.33; fecche 9.183 ~ feccheth (2x) 4.53; fynde (2x) 5.147 ~ fynden (4x) 5.587 ~ fyndeth (2x) 5.147 ~ fynt (2x) 15.288; folweth 1.41; holden (3x) P.28 ~ holdeth 1.45; smyteth 17.330; teche (1x) 3.223 ~ techen (2x) 10.395 ~ techeth (2x) 7.190; writeth 14.212 ~ writen 14.209 ~ write 20.259; etc.
The minority forms in <-eth> and <-eþ> are not uncommon. Samuels points out that this plural form is very rare in the London English of Chaucer, but is retained in Southern and Southwestern areas until after Langland's death. He also comments on the form aren in alliterating position as evidence for Langland's west midland dialect.NM. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 209, 216. Some of the <-e> ~ <-en> forms will historically be subjunctives since they occur in contexts where a subjunctive is to be expected.
The plural forms of preterite-present verbs are, for example: can ~ conne ~ conneth; may ~ mowe ~ mowen; shul ~ shulle; etc.
III.188.8.131.52 Subjunctive Singular
|Subjunctive Singular:||<-e> ~ (nil)|
carpe 17.136; come 5.423; do 3.312; folwe 3.7; ȝif 5.109 ~ gyf 2.123; gladye 18.261; lyke 11.24; rede 4.5; repent 5.265; wil 9.195;N All other B witnesses have wolt at this point. worche 3.7; etc.
The forms are the same as those of the 1st indic. sg.
III.184.108.40.206. Imperative Forms:
|Imperative Singular:||nil ~ (<-e>)|
awake 5.403; beth 2.140; come 18.57; coueyte 5.594; dampne 5.482; ete 14.56; Go 1.47; helde 18.150; kepe 6.270; lakke 2.49; Lat 6.272; Arise 6.271 sitte 6.270; take 12.159; Telle 1.46; ware 5.456; etc.
|Imperative Plural:||<-(e)th> ~ <-e> ~ <en> ~ (<(e)þ>)|
beth 10.457; claweth 10.302; cometh 20.73; corecteth 10.302; fareth 13.182; gyueth 17.272; harweth 19.318; hatien 15.113; holdeth 20.245; kenneth 6.14; maketh 6.14; spynneth 6.13; wadeþ 5.589; etc.
The form with <-e> (without ending in stems in <-e>) is usually used before a subject pronoun, though compare coueyte 5.594.N The scribe of L is not so consistent in this respect as the scribe of W. Cf. W.5.587 wasshe yow to L.5.589's wascheth ȝow.
be 3.87; deuine P.210; loke 5.596; stynte 5.597;NIn these lines 5.594-5 (KD.5.575-6) Kane-Donaldson emend the second person plural pronouns to singular to match the singular pronouns of the surrounding passage. take 10.90; etc.
III.220.127.116.11 Preterite Forms:
|Preterite 1st Singular:||<-ed> ~ <-ede> ~ <-de> ~ <-te>|
affrayned 16.287; awaked 14.350; babeled 5.8; bolded 3.200; courbed 1.80; deyde 18.376; dwelt 20.344; loked 14.54; maked 9.140; payed 6.96; wayted 13.344; went P.4.
The forms with <-ed> and <-ede> are in free variation, with the former predominating. The endings <-id(e)> ~ <-yd> do not occur.
|Preterite 2nd Singular:||<-dest> ~ <-edest> ~ <-test>|
aresonedest 12.221; brouȝtest 1.78; conseiledest 3.207; deydest 19.173; gredest 19.431; keptest 7.205; laddest 7.205; lakkedest 11.416; madest 5.234; robbedest 18.345; tauȝtest 14.195; þoledest 19.173; etc.
|Preterite 3rd Singular:||<-ed> ~ (<-de>) ~ <-t> ~ (<-ud>)NThe single instance appears at 3.36 mellud.|
abosted 6.157; armed 20.115; axed 5.312 ~ asked 20.331; baptised 16.262; blessed 11.233; deyde 10.364; demed 10.393; dremed 8.69; folwed 11.26; mameled 11.413; payed 5.219; weyled 14.342; wept 2.239; etc.
|Preterite Plural, Weak Verbs:||<-ed> ~ (<-ede>) ~ <-eden> ~ <-den> ~ <-t(e)> ~ <-ten>|
amortesed 15.329; apposed 1.48; awaited 16.145; blustreden 5.533; cared 2.164; crieden P.226; deyden 18.367; demed 19.146; digged 6.110; eryed 19.269; hateden 18.308; herde 5.354 ~ herden 16.136; made 20.300 ~ maden 10.420; parceyued 18.248; pleyed P.20; sente 2.224; tendeden 18.245; vsed 20.65 ~ vseden 12.128; went P.166 ~ wenten P.54; wepten 7.37; etc.
|Preterite 1st Singular:||<e> ~ nil|
cam 15.14 ~ come 13.308; gat 4.81; knewe 19.419; songe 19.211; saw 5.9 ~ seigh "saw" P.50 ~ say 5.10; spak 19.378; etc.
|Preterite 2nd Singular:||<-e> (often with vowel gradation)|
breke 18.293; gete 18.341; knewe 11.32; lowe "lied" 18.416; speke 19.77; toke 20.7; etc.
|Preterite 3rd Singular:||<-e> ~ nil|
brake 1.113; cam P.114 ~ come P.112; gaf 2.71 ~ gaue 19.263; gat 1.35; knewe 2.229; songe 18.439; spak 5.218 ~ spake 1.50; stode P.183; wepe 5.474;N The strong verb form appears in this verse in FRM as well and is, perhaps, likely to be that of Bx. Most beta witnesses have wepte. etc.
The forms are of course the same as those for the 1st singular.
|Preterite Plural:||<-e> ~ <-en> ~ nil|
cam 13.34 ~ come 4.45 ~ comen P.24; dronke 14.86; geten 20.156; knewe 8.12; seye "saw" 17.50; stode 18.86; songen 18.331; toke 19.39 ~ token 11.338.
|18.104.22.168 Preterite Subjunctive Singular:||<-e> (often with vowel gradation)NIt is sometimes maintained that Middle English has a preterite subjunctive plural, but the form which was sometimes distinct from the indicative in Old English had become indistinguishable in Middle English, and the use of the subjunctive in Middle English is in any case unsystematic.|
come 5.544; dronke 20.19; stode 19.367; etc.
The forms are the same as the 2nd singular.
IV. List of Manuscript Sigils
For The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive we are introducing a list of sigils that departs in some respects from the sigils used since Skeat's editions. Changes have been made to eliminate ambiguities inherent in the older set of sigils which, to a considerable degree, reflects the sequence of discovery of the relationships among them. If we were to use the traditional sigils, we would court ambiguity in an electronic text with identical sigils representing different manuscripts and different sigils identifying single manuscripts. For example, British Library Additional 10574, for instance, has no sigil at all for the A text, is B's Bm, and C's L. We have chosen to represent each manuscript with a unique sigil.
For descriptions of the B manuscripts see George Kane 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, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988), pp. 1-15; A. I. Doyle, "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman," in Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. G. Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, Eng., 1986), pp. 35-48; and C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, Eng., 1997).
IV.1. B Manuscripts
|C||Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Dd.1.17|
|C2||Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Ll.4.14|
|Cr1||THE VISION / of Pierce Plowman, now / fyrste imprynted by Roberte / Crowley, dwellyng in Ely / rentes in Holburne (London, 1505 ). STC 19906.|
|Cr2||The vision of / Pierce Plowman, nowe the seconde time imprinted / by Roberte Crowley dwellynge in Elye rentes in Holburne. / Whereunto are added certayne notes and cotations in the / mergyne, geuynge light to the Reader. . . . (London, 1550). STC 19907a.N Robert Carter Hailey (personal communication) informs us that the Short Title Catalogue designations are confused. Cr2 is actually 19907a and 19907 is Cr3. See his unpublished dissertation, "Giving light to the reader: Robert Crowley's editions of Piers Plowman (1550)," (University of Virginia, 2001).|
|Cr3||The vision of / Pierce Plowman, nowe the seconde tyme imprinted / by Roberte Crowley dwellynge in Elye rentes in Holburne / Whereunto are added certayne notes and cotations in the / mergyne, geuyng light to the Reader. . . . (London, 1550). STC 19907|
|F||Oxford, Corpus Christi College, MS 201|
|G||Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.4.31|
|Hm, Hm2||San Marino, Huntington Library, MS 128 (olim Ashburnham 130)|
|JbT This manuscript, like Sb and Wb below, is not described in the above sources, but they are listed by Ralph Hanna III in William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 40.||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS James 2, part 1|
|L||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 581 (S. C. 987)|
|M||London, British Library, MS Additional 35287|
|O||Oxford, Oriel College, MS 79|
|R||London, British Library, MS Lansdowne 398; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Poetry 38 (S. C. 15563)|
|S||Tokyo, Toshiyuki Takamiya, MS 23 (olim London, Sion College MS Arc. L.40 2/E)|
|SbT This manuscript is not described in the above sources, but it is listed by Ralph Hanna III in William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 40.||London, British Library, MS Sloane 2578|
|W||Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17|
|WbT This manuscript is not described in the above sources, but it is listed by Ralph Hanna III in William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 40.||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Wood donat. 7|
|Y||Cambridge, Newnham College, MS 4 (the Yates-Thompson manuscript)|
IV.2. A Manuscripts
|A||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1468 (S. C. 7004)|
|D||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 323|
|E||Dublin, Trinity College, MS 213, D.4.12|
|Ha||London, British Library, MS Harley 875, (olim A's H)|
|J||New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M 818 (the Ingilby manuscript)|
|La||London, Lincoln's Inn, MS Hale 150, (olim A's L)|
|Ma||London, Society of Antiquaries, MS 687, (olim A's M)|
|Pa||Cambridge, Pembroke College fragment, MS 312 C/6, (olim A's P)|
|Ra||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Poetry 137, (olim A's R)|
|U||Oxford, University College, MS 45|
|V||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Eng. poet. a.1 (the Vernon MS)|
IV.3. C Manuscripts
|Ac||London, University of London Library, MS S.L. V.17, (olim C's A)|
|Ca||Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College 669/646, fol. 210|
|Dc||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 104, (olim C's D)|
|Ec||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 656, (olim C's E)|
|Fc||Cambridge, University Library, MS Ff.5.35, (olim C's F)|
|Gc||Cambridge, University Library, MS Dd.3.13, (olim C's G)|
|Hc||The fragment, olim Cambridge, John Holloway, a damaged bifolium, presently in the private collection of Martin Schøyen, Oslo, Norway, (olim C's H)|
|I||London, University of London Library, MS S.L. V.88 (the Ilchester manuscript, olim C's I or J)NThe sigils I and J have both been used. Skeat (The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman in Three Parallel Texts Together with Richard the Redeless by William Langland (about 1362-1399 A. D.) (Oxford, 1886), 2,lxxi), Hanna (William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 41), and Charlotte Brewer (Editing Piers Plowman: The Evolution of the Text. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 28. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 456) all use "I," while Russell and Kane use "J" in their edition of the C text (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, p. 6).|
|Kc||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 171, (olim C's K)|
|Mc||London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian B.xvi, (olim C's M)|
|Nc||London, British Library, MS Harley 2376, (olim C's N)|
|P||San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm 137 (olim Phillipps 8231)|
|P2||London, British Library, MS Additional 34779 (olim Phillipps 9056)|
|Q||Cambridge, University Library, MS Additional 4325|
|Rc||London, British Library, MS Royal 18.B.xvii, (olim C's R)|
|Sc||Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 293, (olim C's S)|
|Uc||London, British Library, MS Additional 35157, (olim C's U)|
|Vc||Dublin, Trinity College, MS 212, D.4.1, (olim C's V)|
|X||San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm 143|
|Yc||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 102, (olim C's Y)|
IV.4. AB Splices
|H||London, British Library, MS Harley 3954, (olim A's H3 and B's H)|
IV.5. AC Splices
|Ch||Liverpool, University Library, MS F.4.8 (the Chaderton manuscript)|
|H2||London, British Library, MS Harley 6041|
|K||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 145, (olim A's K and C's D2)|
|N||Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 733B, (olim A's N and C's N2)|
|T||Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.3.14|
|Wa||olim the Duke of Westminster's manuscript. Sold at Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1966, lot 233, to Quaritch for a British private collector.N Ralph Hanna III, William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 39. Its present location is unknown to us. (olim A's W and C's W)|
|Z||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 851|
IV.6. ABC Splices
|Bm||London, British Library, MS Additional 10574, (olim B's Bm and C's L)|
|Bo||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 814 (S. C. 2683), (olim B's Bo and C's B)|
|Cot||London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.xi, (olim B's Cot and C's O)|
|Ht||San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm114 (olim Phillipps 8252)|
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