fol. 96rI
Passus vicesimus de visione vt supraR.20.0: At the top left of fol. 96r, an early modern italic hand, probably the same as that found at the bottom of fol. 95v, adds the passus heading.
Passus vicessimus
And bete men ouer bitter  and sum-bodyR.20.1: For R's sum-body, beta reads somme of hem. F has summe bodijs. Cx agrees with R. to litel .R.20.1: The manuscript resumes after a lacuna running from KD18.411 to KD20.27.
And greue men grettere  þan gode feith it wolde .
And spiritus iusticie  schal  iugen wol he nol he .
After þe kynges conseil  and þe comune like .
And spiritus prudencie  in many a poynt schal faile .
Of þat he weneth wold falle  if his witt ne were .
wenyng is no wisdom
Wenynge is no wisdom  ne wise ymaginacioun .
Homo proponit & deus disponit  and gouerneth alle . Alpha's and beta's line division differ here. Beta reads as follows:
Homo proponit & deus disponit & gouerneth alle good vertues
Ac nede is next hym for anon he meketh
. The C manuscripts also show considerable variation in how this series of lines is divided.
Gode vertues and nede is next hym  for anon he meketh .
And as lowe as a lamb  for lakkynge þatR.20.10: Beta reads of þat; a majority of the P family of C manuscripts agrees here with beta, but the X family and some P manuscripts agree with alpha. hym nedeth .
For nede maketh nede  fele nedes lowh herted .R.20.11: This line is omitted by beta but attested by the C witnesses.
FilosofresR.20.12: Beta reads Wyse men, taking the line to alliterate on /w/. However, Cx agrees here with alpha. forsoke welth  for thei wolde be nedy .
And woneden wel elenglyR.20.13: For R's wel elengly (cf. F's wol elengely), beta reads in wildernesse. Cx agrees here with alpha.  and wolden nouȝte be riche .
And god alle his grete ioye  gostliche he lefte In the right margin, in black ink, there is an early ownership stamp for the Bodleian Library.
And cam and toke mankende  & bicam nedy .
So he was nedyR.20.16: This phrase is transposed in beta as So nedy he was; F reads He was so needy. The P family of C manuscripts agrees with F on this phrasing, but the X family agrees with R. as seyth þe boke  in many sundri places .
Þat he seide in his sorwe  on þe selue rode .
Bothe fox and foule  may fle to hole and crepe .
And þe fisch hath fyn  to flete with orR.20.19: Beta omits or, as does Cx. to reste .
Þere nede hath I-nome me  þat I mote nede a-byde .
And suffre sorwes ful soure  þat schal to ioye turne .
For-þi be nouȝt a-basshed  to bidde and to be nedy .
Sith he þat wrouȝte alle þe worlde  was wilfullich nedy .
Ne neuere none so nedy  ne pouerere deyede .
Whan ned hadde vnder-nomeR.20.25: At this point F and most beta manuscripts include a direct object, me; but R shares the omission with O, while M supplies the missing pronoun above the line. The same omission of me is seen in three of the best X family manuscripts of C: manuscripts XYcUc. þus  anon I fel a-slepe .
And mette ful merueylously  þat in mannes forme .
Antecrist cam þanne  and alle croppe of treuthe .
Turned it vp-so-doun  and ouertilthR.20.28: R's spelling here is unique (cf. the comments on this lection in the Introduction III.2.2.10, but the meaning is likely to be identical with that found in all the other B manuscripts, which read tilte. Cx has tulde. þe rote .
And madeR.20.29: Beta omits made but the C witnesses include it. fals springe and sprede  & spede mennes nedes .
In ech a contre þere he cam  he cutte a-wey treuthe .
And gert gile growe þere  as he a god were 
Freres folwed þat fende  for he ȝaf hem copes .
And religiousesR.20.33: This plural form is unique to R; beta and F both show the singular, as does the C version. reuerensed hym  and rongen here belles .
fol. 96vI
And alle þe couent camR.20.34: R's reading, cam, is unique among the B copies; F has cam holly; beta reads forth cam. Among the C manuscripts at this point, the P family reads þo cam but the X family agrees exactly with R.  to welcome aR.20.34: For R's a, both beta and F read þat. Among the C manuscripts, the P family and several of the X family agree with the B majority; however, a majority of the X family, including the most reliable copies, agrees with R's reading. tyraunt .
And alle his as wel as hym  saue onliche foles .
Whiche foles were gladdereR.20.36: Beta reads wel leuer. The C manuscripts agree here with alpha.  to deye þan to lyue .
Lengore sethe leuteR.20.37: Alpha's leute is clearly the correct reading here, supported by Cr and Hm as well as Cx, but beta's reading seems to have been lenten. was so rebuked .R.20.37: There is a diagonal smudge of uncertain origin between the <d> of rebuked and the terminal punctus.
And a fals feend antecrist  ouer alle folke regned .
And þat weR.20.39: For alpha's we, beta reads were. Cx agrees with beta. mylde men and holy  þat non meschef dradden .
Defiede alle falsenesse  and folke þat it vsede .
And what kynge þat hem conforted  knowynge hem gyleR.20.41: For alpha's gyle, beta reads any while. Cx agrees with alpha. .
Þei corsed and her conseil  were it clerke or lewed .
¶ Antecrist hadde þus sone  hundredes at his baner .
And pride it bare  boldely aboute .R.20.44: There is a diagonal smudge of uncertain origin between the <e> of aboute and the terminal punctus.
With a lorde þat lyueth  after lykynge of body .
Þat cam aȝeyne consience  þat keper was and gyoure .
Ouer kynde cristene  and cardinalesR.20.47: R's plural is unique in the B tradition; both F and beta read the singular cardynale. Among C copies, though manuscripts EcRcMcVcNc agree with R, Cx agrees with the B majority. vertues .
¶ I conseile quod consience þo  cometh with me ȝe foles .
in-to vnite holy cherche  and holde we vs there .
And crie we to kende  þat he come and defende vs .
Foles fro þis fendes lymes  for peres loue þe plowman .
And crie we onR.20.52: For alpha's on, beta reads to. Cx agrees with alpha. alle þe comune  þat þei come to vnite .
And þere abide and bikere aȝeyne  belialles children .
¶ Kende consience þo herde  and cam out of þe planetes .
And sendeR.20.55: Only G agrees with R in reading an apparent present tense here; all other B manuscripts read sent. However, in light of the morphological and phonological ambiguities discussed in the Introduction III.2.2.10, and since R20.54 clearly depicts a situation in the preterite, it may well be that the R scribe intended sende here as a preterite. Although several C copies (DcQScFc) share the RG reading, Cx agrees with the B majority. forth his forreores  feueres & fluxes
Couȝhes and cardiacles  crampes and tothaches .
Rewmes and radegondes  and roynouse skalles .
Byles and boches  and brennynge aguwes .
Frenesyes and foule eueles  forageres of kende .
Hadde I-priked and praied  polles of peple .
LargelicheR.20.61: Beta reads Þat largelich. Cx agrees with alpha. a legioun  loseR.20.61: R's form here is unique, but L also attests a present-tense form, lese; most B witnesses, including F, show a preterite (e.g., W's loste). The Cx reading (lees) agrees with L. here lif sone .
¶ Þere was harrow and helpe  here cometh kende .
With deth þat is dredful  to vndoen vs alle .
¶ Þe lorde þat lyuede after lust  þo a-loud criede .
After kniȝteR.20.65: In place of R's truncated kniȝte, which clearly involves an omission, beta reads conforte a knyghte. The omission appears to have occurred in alpha, with F attempting a typical repair by fleshing out a komely knyght. Cx agrees with beta, and no C manuscript shows a comparable error to that attested by the alpha manuscripts.  to come and bere his banere .
fol. 97rI
Alarme alarme quod þat lord  ech lyf kepe his owene .R.20.66: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason beyond oversight is apparent.
ÞanneR.20.67: Beta begins this line And þanne; the C manuscripts agree with alpha. mette þise men  er mynstralz miȝt pipe .
And er heraudes of armes  hadden descreued lordes .
Elde þe horelR.20.69: Kane-Donaldson thought that the <l> of R's horel (= "whoremonger") was inserted later. The ink color is identical to that used by the R scribe, though the character form is much more compressed than his typical final <l>, so the likelihood is that he himself added the character, possibly even before copying the next line, in order to "correct" R to the alpha reading also found in F. Beta shows hore, which is also the reading of C. One would normally assume, when confronted by such an array, that the beta / C reading is authorial; however, in this instance it would be easy to argue that their shared phrase, Elde þe hore, is not only a classical example of an "easier reading" (because stereotypical) but that the initial omission of final <l> in R's transcription offers evidence of another motive that may explain the widespread presence of the dominant lection: censorship.  he was in vaunt-wardeR.20.69: Following in, R uniquely omits þe. The C manuscripts here agree with the B majority. .
And bare þe baner bifore deth  bi riȝt he it claymed .
Kende cam after hymR.20.71: Beta omits hym. Cx agrees with alpha.  with many kene sores . .
As pokkes and pestilences  and muche poeple schente .
So kende thoruȝ corrupciouns  kulled ful manye .
¶ Deth cam driuende after  and al to duste pdaschte .R.20.74: Once more, R began with the correct reading, paschte (cf. beta's passhed and Cx's paschte) but was "corrected" by Hand2 to the erroneous reading attested in F. The likeliest cause for this seemingly bizarre series of "corrections" (cf. R5.178 and R18.53) is that Hand2 was comparing R to a debased alpha copy; in this particular instance, the scribe of that debased copy would have found daschte appealing on grounds of extra alliteration (aa|aa) as well as greater familiarity.
Kynges and kniȝtes  caiseres and popes .
Lered ne lewed  he leftR.20.76: Beta reads let. Cx agrees with alpha. no man stande .
Þat he hitte euene  þat euer stired after .
Many a louelyR.20.78: Here R shows a unique omission: the other B and C witnesses attest louely lady.  and lemmanesR.20.78: Once more, R shows a unique reading (relative to its B cousins): most of them attest lemmanes of knyghtes. F shows an entirely unique half-line. However, in this instance, Cx agrees with R. kniȝtes .
Swouned and swelted  for sorwe of dethes dyntes .
¶ Consience of his curtesie  to kende he be-souȝte .
To sese and suffre  and se where þei wolde .
Leue pride priueliche  and be parfit cristene .
¶ And kende sesed þo  to se þe poeple amende .
Fortune gan flateren þanne  þo fewe þat weren alyue .
And be-hiȝte hem longe lif  and leccherie he sente .
Amonges alle manere men  wedded and vnwedded .
And gadered a grete hoste  al agayne consience .
Þis leccherie leyde on with lawhyngeR.20.88: Beta reads a laughyng. Cx agrees with alpha. chere .
And with priue speche  and peynted wordes .
And armed hym in Idelnesse  & in heȝ berynge .
He bare a bowe in his hande  and many blody arwes .
Weren fethered with faire beheste  and many a fals treuthe .
With vntidyR.20.93: At this point, beta reads his vntydy. Cx agrees with alpha. tales  he tened ful ofte .
Consience and his companye  of holy kerkeR.20.94: Alpha is responsible for correctly alliterating kyrke, and is joined by Cr in that reading. The remaining beta and almost all C witnesses attest either chirche or cherche. þe techeres .R.20.94: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ Þanne cam coueytise  and cast how he miȝte .
Ouercome consience  and cardinalesR.20.96: Once more (cf. R20.47), R's rendering of this word as a plural is unique; the other B manuscripts attest the singular, cardynal. Among C copies, though manuscripts EcMcNc agree with R, Cx agrees with the B majority. vertues .
And armed hym in auarice  & vngriselicheR.20.97: R's vngriseliche is unique; cf. beta's hungriliche and F's vngryly. R's form is not found in any C manuscript; moreover, the sole attestation for the word in MED, s. v. ungriseliche, is from this passage. MED offers a possible gloss of "Not hideously, sumptuously" but also notes that it may be merely an error for the commonly attested form, hungriliche. liuede .
His wepne was al wyles  to wynnen and to hyden .
fol. 97vI
With glosynges and gabbynges  he giled þe peple .
Symonye hym seudeR.20.100: R uniquely deploys this apparent nonsense word; almost all other B manuscripts read sent. However, on the basis of R's apparent metathesis of a very plausible reading unanimously attested in C manuscripts, Kane-Donaldson proposed emending B to that reading, suede.  to assaile consience .
And preched to þe peple  and prelates þei hem maden .
To holde with antecrist  here temporautes to saue .
And come to þe kynges conseil  as a kene baroun .
And kneled to consience  in courte be-fore hem alle .
And gert goed faith fle  and fals to abide .
And boldliche bare adoune  with many a redeR.20.106: In place of alpha's rede, beta and Cx correctly alliterate with briȝte. noble .
Muche of þe witt and wisdomm  of westmynster halle .
He iugged til a iustice  and iusted in his ere .
And ouertilte al his treuthe  with take þis vp amendement .
And in-toR.20.110: Beta copies (except for Hm, which agrees with alpha), read to. Among the C manuscripts, the P family agrees with beta while the X family agrees with alpha. þe arches in haste  he ȝede anon after .
And turned syuile into symonye  & sitth he toke þe official .
For a menyuere mantelR.20.112: Beta reads mentel of menyuere. Cx agrees with alpha.  he made lele matrimonie .
Departen ar deth cam  and a deuosR.20.113: Beta reads & deuos where alpha attests and a deuos. Cx agrees with alpha. schupte .
¶ Allas quod consience and cride þo  wolde crist of graceR.20.114: R uniquely omits his before grace. Cx agrees with the B majority. .
Þat coueityse were cristene  þat is so kene to fiȝte .R.20.115: For alpha's to fiȝte, beta reads a fiȝter. Cx agrees with alpha.
And bolde and abydyngeþe whileR.20.116: In place of alpha's þe while, beta has while. Cx is uncertain here since the manuscripts are almost evenly divided, with members of both major families supporting alpha and others agreeing with beta. However, those that agree here with alpha include most of the best copies of both X and P groups. his bagge lasteth .R.20.116: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ And þanne louȝ lif  and lete dagge his clothes .
And armed hym in haste  in harlotes wordes .
And helde holinesse a iape  and hendenesse a wastoure .
And lete leute a cherle  and lyere a fre man .
Consience and conseil  he counted it folye .R.20.121: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ Þus relied lif for a litel fortuefortu[n]e .
And priked forth with pruyde  preiseth he no vertue .
Ne careth nauȝt how kende slow  & schal come atte laste .
And calleR.20.125: For alpha's calle, beta reads either kille (the lection found in WCrCO) or, more likely, culle (the reading of LM). The latter reading is also that of the C version. All three choices are textually and theologically viable, but the agreement of LM with C probably indicates the authorial original. alle erthly creature  saue consience one 
Lif seith occideR.20.126: For R's non-alliterating seith occide, F has seyde occide, but beta (agreeing here with C) reads leep asyde.  and lauȝte hym a lemman .
Hele and I quod hee  and heyȝenesse of herte .
Schal do þe nauȝt drede  nother deth ne elde .
And to forȝete sorwe  and ȝif nauȝt of synne .
¶ Þis liked lif  and his lemman fortune .
And geten in here glorie  a gedelynge at þe laste .
On þat muche wrouȝteR.20.132: Here alpha omitted a word; cf. the phrase from beta and the C version: moche wo wrouȝte.  slewthe was his name
Slewthe wex wondere ȝerne  and sone was of age .
fol. 98rI
And wedded on wanhope  a wenche of þe stues .
Hire sire was a sisoure  þat neuere swore treuthe .
On tohomme to-tongge  ateynte at vch a queste .R.20.136: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ Þus sleuthe was war of werre  and a slynge made .
And threw drede of dispaire  a doseine myle aboute .
For care consience þo  criedencriedR.20.139: R's plural form for this line's verb is unique error. vppon elde .
And badR.20.140: After bad, alpha omits hym, witnessed by beta and the C version. fonde to fiȝte and afere wanhope .
¶ And elde hente gode hope  & hasteliche he schifte hym .
And wayued away wanhope  and with lif he fiȝteth .
And lif fleyȝ for fere  to fisike after helpe .
And bisouȝte hym of socoure  and of his salue hadde .
And gaf hym goelgo[ld] goed wone  þat gladede here hertesR.20.145: R's plural possessive in this phrase is unique among the B manuscripts; both beta and F read his herte. However, all but six of the C manuscripts agree with R's reading. .
¶ And þei gyuen hym a-geyne  a glasen houe .
Lif leuede þat lechecrafte  lette schulde elde .
And toR.20.148: Beta omits to. More than half a dozen of the P family manuscripts of C concur with alpha on this reading, but the rest—and all of the X family—agree with beta's omission. driue awaye deth  with dayesR.20.148: R's dayes occurred as an error in alpha for dyas, witnessed in beta and in Cx. and dragges .R.20.148: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ And elde auntrede hym on lyf  and at þe last he hitte .
A fisisian with a furred hode  þat he fel in a palsie .
And þere deyede þat doctour  ar thre dayes after .
Now I se seyde lif  þat surgerie ne fisike .
May nouȝte a myte auayle  to medelen aȝeyne elde .
¶ And in hope of his hele  gode herte hente .R.20.154: The Bx phrase is herte he hente; Bo and Cot also omit he, but F includes it. Cx agrees with the B majority.
And rode so to reuel  a riche place and a myrie .
Þe companye of conforte  men clepeden it sum-tyme .R.20.156: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ And elde anon after hymR.20.157: Where alpha reads hym, most beta copies read me. Cx agrees with alpha.  and ouer myn hede ȝede .
And made me balled before  and bare on þe croune .
So harde he ȝede ouer myn hede  it wol be sene euere .R.20.159: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason is apparent.
¶ Sire euel ytauȝte elde quod I  vnhende go with þe .
Sith whanne was þe waye  ouer mennes hedes .
Haddestow be hende quod I  þow woldest haue asked leue .
¶ Ȝe leue lordeyne quod he  and leyde on me with age .
And hitte me vnder þe ere  vnnethe may ich here .
He buffeded me aboute þe mouthe  & bet out my wange tetheR.20.165: The beta version of this b-verse is uncertain but is likely to have been that now attested in LMCr: & bett out my tethe. F reads the verse as R does, except that F's verb is the uniquely represented buscht. The reading of Cx agrees with R.
And gyued me in goutes  I may nouȝt go at large .
p iijus
fol. 98vI
And of þe wo þat I was inne  my wif hadde reuthe . A bracket drawn in brown ink in the left margin focuses attention on these six lines; opposite the space between R20.169-70, at the nose of the bracket, a small nota is inscribed.
And wischede welR.20.168: Cf. beta's ful and F's often. Cx agrees with R. witterly  þat I were in heuene .
For þe lyme þat sche louede me fore  & leef was to fele .
An niȝtes nameliche  whan we naked were .
I ne miȝte in non maner  maken it at hire wille .
So elde and heeR.20.172: Hee, "she."it haddeR.20.172: Here R shows a unique word order for a phrase which reads hadde(n) it in most other B manuscripts, including F. However, Cx agrees with R's phrasing. forbete .
¶ And wasR.20.173: For alpha's was, beta reads as. Cx agrees with beta. I seet in þis sorwe  I say how kende passed .
And deth drouȝ neȝ me  for drede gan I quaken .
And cried to kende  oute of care me bringe .
Lo elde þe hore  hauethR.20.176: R's inflection for this verb is unique among B copies, but manuscripts RcMcQScZNc of C show the same form, haueth. F, beta, and Cx all attest hath. my lif seyeR.20.176: R's seye is unique; both F and beta read biseye, as does Cx. The preceding phrase in R, my lif, is from alpha; beta and Cx read me. .
Awreke me ȝif ȝoure wille be  for I wolde be hennes .R.20.177: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason for this omission is apparent.
¶ If þow wilt ben IwrekeR.20.178: R's form for this verb is unique among B copies but closely resembles the spelling favored in many C manuscripts, awreke.  wende into vnite .
And halde þe þere euere  til I sende for þe .
And loke þow cune sum crafte  ar þow come þennes .R.20.180: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason for this omission is apparent.
ConseilethR.20.181: R's inflection for this verb is unique among B copies, but most C manuscripts agree with R. F and beta attest Co(u)nseille. me kende quod I  what crafte beR.20.181: R's be is unique; beta reads is while F rephrases the entire b-verse as what craft y myȝhte leerne. Though several C manuscripts agree with beta, Cx agrees with R. best to lerne .R.20.181: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason for this omission is apparent.
Lerne to loue quod kende  and leueR.20.182: Cr joins alpha in omitting of after this verb. The other beta copies include it, reading leue of alle othre. Cx agrees with Cr and alpha in reading simply leef alle othere. alle othere .R.20.182: In the left margin opposite this line, in a black, late-medieval cursive hand, the word love appears.
How schal I come to catel so  to clothe me and to fede .
And þow loue lellyR.20.184: At the end of this a-verse, the beta manuscripts interject quod he. Cx agrees with alpha in omitting the phrase.  lakke schal þe neuere .
WedeR.20.185: In place of alpha's Wede ne worldly mete, beta reads Mete ne wordly wede; Cx agrees with alpha's phrasing. ne wordly mete  while þi lif lasteth .
And þere be conseile of kende  comsedR.20.186: R here omits any reference to the subject; cf. beta's I comsed and F's he comsed; F's reading suggests an inept attempt to restore a word sensed as grammatically necessary. Among the C copies, RcMcQScZFc read the b-verse as beta does, while the majority agrees with R. However, it is clear that, unlike any B manuscript, Cx positioned the pronoun reference in the a-verse: And y bi conseil of kynde. to rome .
Þoruȝ contricioun and confessioun  til I cam to vnite .
And þere was constableR.20.188: Again R omits a stave (cf. conscience constable, the reading of beta and of Cx), presumably reflecting an error in alpha since F tries to patch up the same omission with he was mad a cunstable.  cristene to saue .
And biseged sothly  with seuene grete geauntes .
Þat with antecriste helden  harde aȝeine consience .
¶ Sleuthe with his slynge  and harde saute he made .
Proude prestes come with hym  passynge an hundreth .R.20.192: Beta's b-verse breaks the alliterative pattern of the line, reading the b-verse as moo þan a thousand. Although two C manuscripts—P2Fc—agree with beta's reading (presumably through lateral contamination), Cx agrees exactly with alpha's b-verse.
In paltokes and piked shoes  and pisseres longe kniues .
Comen aȝeyne consience  with coueitise þei helden .
¶ Be þeR.20.195: R's þe is unique among the B witnesses; the others omit the word. However, Cx agrees with R in including it. marie quod a mansed prest  wasR.20.195: Beta omits alpha's was. Several C copies support beta but Cx agrees with alpha. of þe marche of erlande .
I counte namore consience  bi so I cacche siluer .
Þan I do to drinke a drauȝte  of gode ale .
And so seide sixti  of þe same contray .
And shoten aȝeine with shote  many a shef of othes .
And brode hoked arwes  godes herte and his nailes .
fol. 99rI
And hadden almoste vnite  and holinesse adowne .R.20.201: After this line, the R scribe failed to leave a blank line, his usual custom for dividing verse strophes. No reason for the omission is apparent.
¶ Consience cride helpe  clergie or elles I falle .
Þoruȝ inparfit prestes  and prelates of holy cherche .
Freres herden hym crie  and comen hym to helpe .
Ac for þei coude nauȝt wel her crafte  consience forsoke hem .
¶ Nede neyȝede þo neere  and consience he tolde .
Þat þei come for noR.20.207: Erroneous no appeared in alpha. C manuscripts support beta witnesses here in omitting it. coueytise  to haue cure of soules .
And for þei aren pouer par auenture  for patrimonye hem faileth .
Þei wil flatere to fare wel  folke þat ben riche .
And sitthen þei chosen chele  and cheytifteR.20.210: F is uniquely garbled in this b-verse, reading this variant as chastite. The most commonly attested reading in beta manuscripts at this point is cheitif (MCrHmCO); but the original beta reading is probably that of LW, which agrees with R and Cx: cheytifte. The widespread misreading of this word is probably owed to its comparative rarity relative to the adjective—as well as to the unexpected syntax. pouerte .
Late hem chewe as þei chese  and charge hem with no cure .R.20.211: Alpha omits the following two lines, which are attested by beta and by Cx:
For lomer he lyeth þat lyflode mote begge
Þan he þat laboureth for lyflode & leneth it beggeres
ForR.20.212: Beta reads And. Cx agrees with beta. sitth freres forsokeR.20.212: Beta reads þe felicite. Cx agrees with beta. felicite of erthe .
Late hem be as beggeres  or lyue be angeles fode .
¶ Consience of þis conseileR.20.214: Immediately after conseile, beta adds þo. Though a number of P family manuscripts (RcMcQScZWaFcNc) agree with alpha in omitting þo, the word seems clearly attested in all other C manuscripts.  comsed for to lauȝwe .
And curteisliche conforted hem  and calde in alle freres .
And seide sires sothly  welcome be ȝe alle .
To vnite and holy cherche  ac o thyng I ȝow preye .
Holdeth ȝow in vnite  and haueth non enuye .
To lered ne to lewed  but lyueth after ȝoure reule .
And I wil be ȝoure borwe  ȝe schul haue brede & clothes .
And other necessaries Inowe  þow schaltR.20.221: For R's þow schalt, beta reads ȝow shal and F shows for ȝee shal. Though a sizeable number of C manuscripts read ȝe shal, the majority agrees with beta. nothynge lakkeR.20.221: Beta reads faille, but Cx agrees with alpha's lakke. .
With þat ȝe leue logik  and lerneth for to louye .
For loue lefte þei lordschipe  both lond and scole .
Frere franceys and dominik  foR.20.224: Neither MED nor OED2, s. v. for, cites an example of fo as viable for the preposition signified here, but it occurs in R in four widely separated contexts (cf. R2.64, R14.60, and R15.379) and probably represents an instance of idiolect apocope. loue to be holy .
¶ And ȝif ȝe coueyte cure  kende wol ȝow telle .R.20.225: For alpha's telle, beta reads teche. Cx agrees with alpha's reading.
Þat in mesure god made  alle manere thynges .
And sette it at a certeyne  and at a siker nombre .
And nempned hemR.20.228: Beta omits alpha's hem, but Cx includes it. names  and neweR.20.228: Beta transposes the alpha phrase to newe and. None of the C manuscripts attests newe in the line in either position. nombreR.20.228: R's uninflected verb form is a unique error; F, beta, and C all attest noumbred. þe sterres .
Quis numerat multitudinem stellarum .R.20.229: R's Quis is unique; all other B and C manuscripts read Qui. R's complete omission of much of this Latin citation is unique among the B witnesses; O shares R's gap for the initial part of the omission, a phrase that beta renders as & omnibus eis (cf. F's & omnia eis). The most interesting feature of the attestational array for the B manuscripts here is that the C-version's citation of this text agrees completely in its shape with that of R.
Kynges and kniȝtes  þat keptenR.20.230: R's preterite form is unsupported by any other B copy; the others all show kepen. Nevertheless, though most C witnesses agree with beta, three of the most authoritative X family manuscripts (XIP2) agree with R's preterite. and defenden .
Han officeres vnder hymR.20.231: R is joined by Bm and Bo in reading hym, but F agrees with beta and with Cx on the plural pronoun, hem.  and vch of hem certeyne .
And if þei wage men to werre  þei writen hem in nombre .
Wil no tresorere taken hymR.20.233: Once more F agrees with beta in reading the plural pronoun (hem) against R's singular; however, the entire phrase in which the pronoun occurs (take hem wages) has been corrupted in beta to read hem paye. The C version reads the phrase in exact agreement with F. wages  trauaile þei neuer so sore .R.20.233: The final punctuation here appears ambiguous because it has been partially rubbed away; it may have been a punctus elevatus originally. After this line, the R scribe omits his customary practice of inserting a blank line to divide poetic strophes, presumably because the next line is the last one ruled for this side.
¶ Alle other in bataille  ben yholde briboures .
fol. 99vI
Piloures and pike-herneys  in vch a parischeR.20.235: The beta variant is place. C attests the same variant as alpha. acursed .
Monkes and moneales  and alle men of religion .
HeraudeR.20.237: Alpha is responsible here for a botched a-verse (apparently alpha omitted ordre, leaving Her ande, which R took to be Heraude). F attempted a complete revision of alpha's a-verse to Þer is in here rewle wel. Beta and C witnesses have Her ordre and her reule wil. here reule wol  to haue a certeyne nombre .
Of lewed and of lered  þe lawe wil and asketh .
A certeyn for a certeyne  saue onlich of freres .
For-þi quod consience be criste  kende witt me telleth .
It is wikked to wage ȝow  ȝe wexeth of onR.20.241: Cf. R's of on to F's ouer ony and beta's out of. Once again it appears that R probably reproduces an alpha error here, which F attempts to correct. The C reading is the same as beta's. nombre .
Heuene hath euene nombre  and helle is withoute nombre .
For-þi I wolde witterly  þat ȝe were in þe registre .
And ȝoure nombre vnder notari sygne  & noþer mo no lesse .
Enuye herde þis  and hett freres go to scole .
And lerne logik and law  and eke contemplacioun .
And preche men of plato  and preuen it be senecca .
Þat alle thynges vnder heuene  ouȝte to be in comune .
He lyethR.20.249: Beta reads And ȝit he lyeth. Cx agrees with alpha. as I leue  þat to þe lewed so precheth .
For god made to men a lawe  & moyses it tauȝte .
Non concupisces rem proximi tui &cetera .
And euele is þis I-holde  in paresches of englonde .
For persones & paresch prestes  þat schuld þe peple schryue .
BethR.20.254: R's Beth is a unique form but semantically equivalent to the predominant Ben. curatoures calde  to know and to hele .
Alle þat ben here parshiens  penauncesR.20.255: Beta reads the singular, penaunce. The C manuscripts are divided between these two options, with members of both major families attesting each reading. enioynen .
And bethR.20.256: Beta reads shulden be. The C manuscripts agree with alpha. Once more, only R shows the verb form as beth. aschamed in here shrifte  ac shame maketh hem wende .
And fle to þe freres  as fals folke to westmenster .
Þat borweth and bereth it þider  & þanne biddeth frendes .
Ȝerne of forȝyuenesse  or lengere yere leue .R.20.259: R's unmarked possessive (=yere) is completely unique. For the entire phrase, the beta majority reads ȝeres loone. F's bleve seems an obvious editorial conjecture. R's leue is uniquely shared with L and is almost certainly the original B reading. It is shared with Cx.
¶ Ac while he is in westmynstre  he wil be bifore .
And maketh hym merie  with other menR.20.261: R's unmarked possessive (=men) is unique among the B copies; however, though a majority of C manuscripts agrees with beta on mennes, a significant group of good copies in both families agrees with R. godes .
And so it fareth with muche folke  þat to freresR.20.262: Though Cr reads this phrase in agreement with alpha, beta apparently had to þe freres. Cx concurs with alpha. shriueth .
confession made to Fryers
As sisoures and executoures  þei schulR.20.263: Beta reads wil. Cx agrees with alpha. ȝyue þe freres .
A parcel to preye for hem  & make hemR.20.264: The other B manuscripts read hemself here, but Cx agrees with R's reading; the alliterative pattern of the archetypal b-verse fails in C as well as B, probably through an error in line division. murie .
With residue & remenauntR.20.265: R omits two determiners from the beta (and presumably Bx) phrase, which reads With þe residue and þe remenaunt. Cx shows a major difference here, completely omitting þe residue and.  þat other men by-swonke .
And suffre þe dede in dette  to þe day of dome .
¶ Enuye here-fore  hatede consience .
fol. 100rI
And freres to filosophie  he fonde hem to scole .
Þe while coueytise and vnkendenesse  consience assailed .
In vnite holy cherche  consience helde hym .
And made pees portere  to pynne þe ȝates . .
¶ Of alle tale telleres  and tytereres anR.20.272: R's an is unique in the B tradition; beta has in; F reads of. However, among the C manuscripts, most of the X family agrees with R. The P family and several members of the X family agree with beta. ydel .
Ipocrisie and he  an harde sawte þei made .R.20.273: In the right margin, there are remains of a pen trial, in light brown ink.
Ipocrisie at þe ȝate  harde gan fiȝte .
And wounded wel wikkedliche  many aR.20.275: Though Cr1W agree with alpha on the presence of a here, the other beta copies omit it. A few C copies agree with beta on this point, but Cx agrees with alpha. wise techere .R.20.275: As with R20.273, here there are remains of a pen trial, in the same hand.
Þat with consience acorded  and cardinalesR.20.276: R's use of the plural form here is unique in the B tradition (cf. R20.47, 96); the other B witnesses read cardinale. Manuscripts EcRcMcNc of the C tradition agree with R, but Cx agrees with the B majority. vertues .
¶ Consience calde a leche  þat cowde wel shriue .
Go salue þo þat syke wereR.20.278: In contrast to alpha's preterite form (cf. F's weren), beta reads ben. Cx agrees with alpha.  and thoruȝ synne ywounded .
Shrifte shuppte scharpe salue  and made men do penaunce .
For here misdedes  þat þei wrouȝt hadden .
And þat peres were payed  redde quod debes .
¶ Summe liked nouȝt þis leche  and lettres þei sente .
Ȝif any surgien were in þe segeR.20.283: In place of alpha's in þe sege (also attested by Cr), beta reads þe segge. Cx agrees with alpha.  þat softer coude playstre .
Sir lifR.20.284: Beta reads lief for alpha's lif, but the alpha reading is supported by Hm and Cr as well as by Cx. The Russell-Kane edition emends this reading, replacing it with that of beta. to lyue in leccherie  lay þere and groned .
For fastynge of o fridayR.20.285: All other B manuscripts read a fryday. Although one manuscript of C shows the same numerical determiner as R, Cx agrees with the B majority.  he ferde as he wolde deye .
Þere is a surgien in þis sege  þat softe can handele .
And more of fisike be fer  and fairere he plastreth .
On frere flaterere  is fisisien and surgien .
QuatzR.20.289: R's spelling for this verb, quatz, is anomalous and unique, probably attesting the Northeastern origins of the immediate scribe. Both Bx and Cx read Quod. contricioun to consience  do hym come to vnite .
For here is many a man hert  þoruȝ Ipocrisye .
¶ We han non nede quod consience  I wote no bettere leche .
Þen persone or parisch prest  penauncerR.20.292: R's penauncer is unique; beta has penytancere and F reads pentawncer. No C copy supports R's lection. or bischope .
Saue peres þe plowman  þat hauethR.20.293: Both beta and F render this form as hath (although F transposes the phrase). Mss RcNc in the C tradition replicate R's form, but Cx agrees with the B majority. power ouer alleR.20.293: Beta reads ouer hem alle. Cx agrees with alpha. .
And indulgence may do  but if dette lette it .
I may wel suffre seyde consience  synnes ȝe desiren .
Þat frere flaterere be fette  and fisike ȝow seke .
¶ Þe frere here-of herde  and hyȝede faste 
To a lorde for a lettere  leue to haue to curen .
As a curatoure he were  and cam with his lettereR.20.299: Beta here shows a plural, lettres. The reading of Cx is uncertain; the P family agrees with beta while the X family agrees with alpha's singular form. .
fol. 100vI
Boldely to þe bischope  and his breef hadde .
In contreyes þere he camR.20.301: The beta form of the verb is come. All beta copies except W (which agrees with alpha in omitting the postpositional particle) read the phrase as come in. Cx agrees completely with alpha's lection.confessiouns .R.20.301: R uniquely omits the end of this line, which in Bx reads to here.
And cam þere consience was  & knocked at þe ȝate .
¶ Pees vnpynned it  was porter of vnite .
And in haste asked  what his wille were .
In faith quod þis frere  for profit and for helthe .
Carpe I wolde with contricioun  & þerefore cam I hider .
¶ He is syke seyde pees  and so ar many other .
Ipocrisie hath herte hem  ful harde is if þei keuere .
¶ I am am a surgyan seyde þe frereR.20.309: The beta reading for alpha's frere is segge, presumably intended to resolve an anomaly in the line's alliteration. However, Cx agrees with alpha.  & salues can make .
Consience knoweth me wel  & what I can do bothe .
I preye þe quod pees þo  ar þow passe forther .
What hatestow I preye þe  hele nauȝte þi name .
penetrans domos
¶ Certes seyde his felawe  sir penetrans domos .
¶ Ȝee go þi gate quod pees  bi god for alle þi fisike .
But þow cunne anyR.20.315: R's any is unique in the B tradition; cf. F's more and beta's somme. However, though seven P family copies (RcMcQScZWaFc) read other, most C manuscripts agree with R. crafte  þow comest nouȝt hehe[r]-Inne .
I knewe swich on ones  nouȝt eyȝte wynter passed .
Come in þus Icoped  at a court þere I dwelte .
And was my lordes leche  and my ladyes bothe .
And at þe last þis lymitoure  þo my lord was oute .
He salued so oure wymmen  til summe were with childe .
Hende speche heet pees þoR.20.321: Beta omits þo. However, Cx agrees with alpha. opene þe ȝates .
Late in frereR.20.322: R uniquely omits the determiner in the Bx phrase, þe frere. Only one C manuscript (Sc) duplicates this error. and his felawe  and make hem faire chere
He may se and here her  soR.20.323: Cf. F's er so. As the testimony of Cx suggests, this Bx line probably read as in R: He may se and here her so may befalle. Surviving beta manuscripts read He may se and here so it may bifalle. may befalle .
Þat lif thoruȝ his lore  schal leue coueitise .
And be adrad of deth  and withdrawe hym fram pride .
And acorde with consience  and kysse her eyther othere .
Þus þoruȝ hende speche  entred þe frere .
And cam in to consience  and curteiseliche hym grette .
Þow art welcome quod consience  canstow hele sykeR.20.329: Beta renders this phrase as hele þe syke; Cx agrees with alpha. .R.20.329: In the lower left margin of fol. 100v, there are the smudged, partially erased remains of various pen trials.
fol. 101rI
Here is contricion quod consience  my cosyn I-wounded .
Conforte hym quod consience  and take kepe to his sores .
Þe plastres of þe persone  and poudres benR.20.332: R's ben is unique in the B tradition; cf. F's byte and beta's biten. However, Cx agrees with R. to sore . There is a black ink stain about 2 cm. long in the right margin beside these lines.
AndR.20.333: Among the B copies, And is unique to R; beta and F read He. However, Cx agrees with R. late hem liggen ouerlonge  and lothe is to chaunge hem .
Fro lente to lente  he lette his plastres bitte .
¶ Þat is ouer-longe quod þis lymitoure  I leue I schal amende it .
And gothR.20.336: R's reading is unique; F and beta show goth and. Nine C manuscripts, mostly of the P family, agree with F and beta, but the majority of C witnesses, including most of the X family, agrees with R. gropeth contricion  and gaf hym a plaistre .
Of a priue paiement  and I schal praie for ȝow .
For alle þat ȝe be holde to  al my Iif-tyme .
And make ȝow my lady  in masse and in matynes .
As freres of oure fraternite  for a litel siluer .
¶ Þus he goth and g.adereth There is a hole in the leaf here, the result of damage after copying.  and gloseth þere he schriueth .
Til contricioun had .clene for-ȝetene  to crie and to wepe .
And wake for his wikked werkes  as he wonedR.20.343: From the b-verse of beta (as he was wont to done) and that of F (þat he was whont to doone), as well as that of Cx (as he was woned bifore), it appears that R accidentally omitted alpha's was; nevertheless, F's general adroitness and eagerness to repair corruption make it difficult to rule out the possibility that R's error is derived from an omission in alpha itself. to done .
For confort of his confessoure  contricion he lefte .
Þat is þe souereynest salue  for alle kynne synnes .
¶ Sleuthe seye þat  and so dede pruyde .
And come with a kene wille  consience to assaile .
Consience cride eft  and bad clergye helpe hym . Between these two lines, there is a hole in the manuscript, but no text has been affected.
And al-so contricion  for to kepe þe ȝate .
¶ He lyeth and dremeth seyde pees  and so doth many other .
Þe frere with his fisyke  þis folke hath soR.20.351: Beta omits so. Cx agrees with beta. enchaunted .
And plastred hem so hesily  þei drede no synne .
¶ By crist quod consience þo  I wil become a pilgrime .
And walken as wide  as alle þe worlde lasteth .
To seke peres þe plowman  þat pruyde myȝteR.20.355: Beta reads may. Cx agrees with alpha. destruye .
And þat freres had a fyndynge  þat for nede flateren .
And contrepleteth me consience  now kende me auenge .
And sende me hap and hele  til I haue peres þe plowman .
And siththeR.20.359: Someone has scribbled these replacements in modern pencil in the right margin opposite this line.
And sithe heR.20.359: Although the erasure here is thorough, with manipulation in Photoshop it is possible to make out the probable original reading. gradde after grace  til I gan a-wake .

William Buttes

Passus ijus de dobest R.20.359: Regarding the location and purport of this rubric, I have noted ("The Reliability of the Rubrics in the B-Text of Piers Plowman," Medium Aevum 54 (1985): 214, n.11) that it "is an anomaly with no significance other than as an indication of incidental contamination in the ordinatio of the MS. . . . It appears at the very end of the text of Piers Plowman and would seem to be an explicit, but this MS uses no explicits elsewhere and there is no clear indication that the scribe even realized he had reached the end of the entire poem." In actuality, the only manuscripts with an identical rubric are four C copies (XDcYcUc), which use the phrase as an incipit for the final passus.
passus ijus de dobest