fol. 4r (cont.)I
Passus tercius de visione petri plowman . vt supra &cetera .
Now is mede þe mayde  and namo of hem alle .
With bedelus and with bayliues  y-brouȝt by-for þe kynge
Þe kyng called aclerkea clerke  can I nouȝt his name .
To take mede þe mayde  and maken hire at ese .
I schal assay hire my-selue  and couthlicheR.3.5: R's couthliche is a unique variant, probably reflecting an alpha error (beta = sothelich); F smooths this mistake to sotilly hire. appose .
What man of þis worldR.3.6: The beta reading is molde. However, the entire a-verse represents a problem. F's rendering of this half-line, What wyȝe of þis world, may be the original, descended vertically from alpha. If that were the case, R (which is usually much more faithful to copytext than F) would have slipped into the same modernized form for the first stave word as beta did (man) but preserved the second as rendered in alpha and Bx, (i.e., worlde), creating an instance of faulty alliteration. By contrast, having modernized wyȝe out of this line, beta would then have gone on, in the interest of alliterative regularity, to invoke the archaism molde as a replacement for the original worlde. Unfortunately for this theory, the evidence from the other versions fails to provide it with much support. The evidence of the A witnesses overwhelmingly favors man as the first stave of this half-line. And a significant majority of the same manuscripts supports worlde as the second stave (RaUHaEKWa = molde), agreeing exactly with the testimony of manuscript R in the B tradition (against both F and beta). Among the C copies, the agreement with R's non-alliterating phrase is universal. If Langland's metrics seem too embarrassed by this evidence, it is still possible to theorize that he intended the first stave word of the line to be What rather than man, but this hypothesis remains awkward since it would require an elevation of were in the b-verse from its apparent position in a dip.  þat hire were leuest .
And if heo wurche be my witte  and my wille folwe .
I wile for-gyue hire þis gultesR.3.8: The beta reading is gilte. Ax agrees with beta, but Cx agrees with alpha.  so me god helpe .
Curteysliche þe clerke þanne  as þe kynge hiȝte .
fol. 4vI
Tok mede by þe middel  and brouȝte hire in-to chaumbre .
Ac þere was murthe and ministracie  mede to plese .
Þei þat wonyeth at westmenstre  worschipped hire alle .
Gentiliche with ioye  þe iustices somme .
Busked hem to þe bowre  þere þe buyrde dwelte .
To conforte hire kendeliche  by clergyse leue .
And seyden mourne nouȝt mede  ne make þow no sorwe .
For we wil wyse þe kyng  and þi weye schape .
To be wedded at þi wille  and where þe leef lyketh .
For alle consience crafte  and castR.3.19: R's phrase, crafte and cast, represents the alpha order for this pair (cf. F's craft or cast); in beta manuscripts they are reversed. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta's order. as I trowe .
¶ Mildliche medeR.3.20: Here R uniquely omits þanne (F attests this adverb's presence at the head of the a-verse rather than the tail, as in beta). Both Ax and the X family of C agree with beta's reading. The P family of C positions the adverb as in beta, but reads it as þo.  merciede hem alle .
Of þeire grete godenesse  and gaf hem vcheone .
Coupes of clene gold  and cuppes of siluer .
Rynges with rubies  and ricchesseR.3.23: Beta shows the plural, ricchesses. Both variants are available in the A tradition, but a significant majority of A witnesses agrees with beta's reading. manye .
Þe lest man of here meyne  a motoun of goolde .
Þanne lauȝte þei leue  þis lordes at mede .
¶ With þat comen clerkes  to conforte hire þe same .
And beden hire be blithe  for we beth þin owene .
For to wurche þi wille  þe whyle þow miȝt last .
¶ Hendeliche heo þanne  be-hiȝte hem þe same .
To loue ȝowR.3.30: F and most beta manuscripts show hem here (M has been erased and overwritten to match this majority reading), but L uniquely agrees with R's ȝow. Although two A manuscripts (RaU) agree with the LR reading, it seems clear that Ax supports the F/beta variant. However, the A majority continues in the following line with third-person plural references (RU again dissenting), but a large cluster of fairly reliable B manuscripts (MCOF, as well as the BmBoCot set) all suddenly shift to second-person plural pronouns at this point, coming back into alignment with LR. It appears likely, then, in the light of this attestational pattern, that LR are not randomly agreeing in error but witnessing, at R3.30, what actually appeared in Bx, that the other B copies, by contrast, are merely drifting along with the third-person references established in previous lines of this passage and fail to notice, until the next line, the sudden shift in viewpoint caught here by the two most careful B scribes. lely  and lordes to make .
And in þe constorie at courte  do calle ȝoure names .
Schal no lewednesse lette  þe clerkesR.3.32: Although alpha's third stave shows defective alliteration (cf. beta's leode, which is also the reading of Ax), alpha's clerkes is supported by Cr and universally by the C version. The possibility that alpha and C have randomly converged in error here, both chancing upon the same word that neither alliterates in its line nor is an equivalent for the word replaced, seems unlikely—especially since this particular pattern of alpha / C agreement in editorial change is one that recurs frequently throughout the developing narrative.
Only two explanations seem plausible for this array of variants and for many similar ones; however, at this distance the two explanations are almost indistinguishable: (1) While he was working on B, Langland began to be much more concerned about his London readers not understanding obsolescent words like leode than about small metrical lapses and therefore entered a series of marginal "updatings" into Bx's exemplar, moving it away, at times awkwardly, from original A readings in order to meet his changed perception of audience needs. When confronted with such evidence of authorial ambiguity in his exemplar, the scribe of Bx usually hedged his bets by copying the text unaltered, with the authorial change reproduced in his own margin (perhaps thinking it a gloss). In the final stage of this process, alpha and beta followed their respective proclivities, with alpha normally taking such an entry as authorial revision and using it to supplant the original text while beta usually took it as a mere gloss, ignored it, and copied what he saw in the body of the line of Bx. Or, (2) like its many anomalous relatives in other "revised" lines, clerke(s) was indeed a purely scribal gloss in the immediate ancestor of Bx and had no warrant from the author, but still seemed sufficiently ambiguous to the Bx scribe to deserve exact reproduction. The roles of alpha and beta in this scenario remain the same as in the first. But what is painfully evident is that, by the time he began using the exemplar of Bx to create the C text, Langland either didn't care anymore about such small aesthetic matters or had completely forgotten who had authored clerkes—or both!
þat I louye .
Þat heR.3.33: Only the two alpha manuscripts here omit ne before the verb. The A version here agrees completely with beta. worth furst vaunsedR.3.33: R's vaunsed is a unique form among the B witnesses but dominates the X family of C. The P family tends to agree with the F/beta reading, auaunced. As would be expected, MED, s. v. vauncen, categorizes vaunsed as a clipped form derived from the verb avauncen. Citations for this form are mostly from the fifteenth century (but the passage from manuscript R is also cited as well as one from Robert Manning).  for ich am by-knowe .
Þere connynge clerkes  schulle clokke by-hynde .
¶ Þanne com þere a confessoure  ycoped as a frere .
To mede þis mayde  he mellud þisR.3.36: R's phrase þis mayde is unique. F's has þat Mayde while beta reads þe mayde. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta. wordes .
And seyde ful sotelyR.3.37: R's sotely is unique; the other B witnesses read softly; the C version is revised at this point, but Ax agrees with the B majority and no A copy agrees with R .  in schrift as it were .
Þeiȝ lewed men and lered men  had leyne be þe bothe .
And falsedeR.3.39: Cf. F's Fals and beta's falsenesse. Though all three variants are available in the A tradition, Ax almost certainly agreed with R. As for C, the manuscript support in that version for R's lection is almost universal. hauede I-folwed þe  al þis fifty wynter .
I schal assoyle þe my-selue  for a seme of whete .
fol. 5rI
And al-so be þi bedeman  and bere wel þi message .
Amonges kniȝtes and clerkes  consience to turne .
Þanne mede for here misdedes  to þat man kneled .
And schrof hire of hire schrewednesse  schameles I trowe .
Tolde hym a tale  and toke hym a noble .
For to ben hire bedeman  and hire brocoure alse .
Þanne he assoyled hyre sone  and sytthen aR.3.47: A, "he." sayde .
We han a wyndow a-werchynge  wil sytten vs ful hiȝe .
Waldestow glase þat gable  and graue þereR.3.49: R's þere is unique; the other B manuscripts have þere-inne. However, almost all C witnesses agree with R. þi name .
Syker schulde þi soule be  heuene to haue .
Wist I þat quatz mede  þere nys wyndow no wowȝ .R.3.51: Beta's version of the b-verse reads I wolde nouȝt spare. It seems likely that the long passage of damaged or missing text in alpha after this point (cf. R3.52) may actually begin with this b-verse.
Þat I ne wolde make and amende  it with of myne . These two lines are offered by alpha instead of eleven lines preserved in beta (= KD3.52-62); it appears that the beta passage is archetypal but was somehow overlooked or unavailable to alpha and that the two lines in their stead were introduced to patch the resulting incoherence, adapted from two cognate lines in A (= Kane 3.50-51). Beta's cognate lines are as follows:
Wist I that quod þat womman I wolde nouȝt spare
For to be ȝowre frende frere and faille ȝow neure
Whil ȝe loue lordes þat lechery haunteþ
And lakkeþ nouȝt ladis þat loueþ wel þe same
It is a frelete of flesche ȝe fynde it in bokes
And a course of kynde wher-of we komen alle
Who may scape þe sklaundre þe skaþe is sone amended
It is synne of seuene sonnest relessed
Haue mercy quod Mede of men þat it haunte
And I shal keure ȝowre kirke ȝowre cloystre do maken
Wowes do whitten and wyndowes glasen
And my name writeopenliche þere-Inne .
Þat vch aR.3.54: For alpha's vch a, beta reads eury. Alpha's reading is supported by a majority of A witnesses, but beta's variant agrees with C. segge schal IseR.3.54: This form (cf. F's see) is an alpha reading that agrees with both Ax and Cx against beta's seye(n) (= modern "say").  Ich am suster to ȝow alle .R.3.54: R's to ȝow alle is from alpha; beta reads of ȝowre hous. Both Ax and Cx here support beta, the former by complete agreement, the latter by being an obvious revision of the beta phrase (C = of ȝoure ordre).
Ac god to alle goed folke  suche grauynge defendeth .
To writen in wyndowes  of here wel-dedes .
AndAn aunter pruyde be ypeynted þere  and pompe of þe world
For godR.3.58: R's god fails to alliterate properly (cf. the F/beta reading, crist, which does alliterate). Nevertheless, all the C witnesses agree with R against F and beta. knoweth þi consience  and þi kende wille .
ÞiR.3.59: The opening of this line in F reads Boþe þe coost; cf. beta's And þi coste. However, the P family of C agrees with R's line opening (the X family has no reading here at all as a result of an earlier error that merged two lines in its subarchetype). cost and þi coueytyse  and who þe catel owȝte .
For-thi I lere ȝow lordes  leueth suche werkes .
To writen in wyndowes  of ȝoure wel-dedes .
Or to grede after goddes men  whan ȝe delen doles .
An aunter ȝe han ȝoure hire here  and ȝoure heuene alse
Nesciat sinistra quid faciat dextera R.3.64: The right end of this red boxing has been cropped.
Lat nouȝt þi left half  late ne rathe .
Wite what þow worchest  with þi riȝte syde .
For þus bitt þe gospel  goede men do here almesse .
Meyres and maceeres  þat menes ben by-twene .
Þe kyng and þe comoune  to kepe þe lawes .
To ponysch vpponR.3.70: Beta reads on. Ax clearly agrees with beta here, but the C families are divided, the P group supporting beta while the X group agrees with alpha's vppon. pilaries  and pynynge stoles .
fol. 5vI
Brewsteres and bakesteres  bocheres and kokes .
For þese aren men vppounR.3.72: Beta reads on. C is revised at this point, but the A version attests an identical line, in which witnesses are mostly divided between beta's reading and of þis molde  þat moste harme werchen .
To þe pouere poeple  þat parcelmel buggen .
And alsoR.3.74: R's And also is unique but may derive from alpha; cf. beta's For they and F's &. C is revised at this point, but the A version attests an almost identical line, in which nearly all manuscripts agree with beta's opening phrase. poysene þe poeple  priuelich and ofte .
Þei richen thorȝ regratrie  and rentes hem buggeth .
With that þe pouer poeple  schulde putte in here wombe .
For toke þei on-trewely  þei tymbrede nouȝt so heyȝe .
Ne bouȝte none burgeageR.3.78: R's use of the singular burgage is unique but may reflect alpha (beta attests the plural); cf. F's bargayn. Although manuscripts EWa of the A version agree with R's singular, it seems clear that both Ax and Cx read as beta does here.  be yeR.3.78: Beta has ȝe. F and G clearly have þe, but R's y and þ show sufficient overlap that the scribe's intentions here are ambiguous. ful certeyne .
¶ Ac mede þe mayde  þe mayre hath be-souȝte .
Of alle suche selleres  siluer to take .
Or presentz with-oute pans  as peces of siluer .
Rynges other othere ricchesseR.3.82: This awkward phrase, other othere richesse, almost certainly derives from alpha; cf. F's smoothing omission, or rycchesse. Beta has or other ricchesse.  þe regratoures to meyntene .
¶ For my lordR.3.83: Beta reads loue, which is also the reading of Ax in an identical line. The C version is revised at this point, but an analogous line (Loue hem for my loue quod this lady mede) confirms the originality of beta's variant. quod þat lady  loue hem vchone .
And suffre hem to selle  somdel aȝeynes resoun .
¶ Salamon þe sage  a sarmoun he made .
For to amende meyres  and men þat kepe lawes .
And tolde hem þis teeme  þat I telle thenke .
Ignis deuorabit tabernacula eorum qui libenter.R.3.88: Beta finishes the citation with a phrase omitted by alpha: accipiunt munera. &cetera .
Amonge þis letterede ledeR.3.89: R's lede (a unique reading) is to be construed as a collective singular (="these lettered folk"); the other B manuscripts witness the plural ledes. Both Ax and Cx attest a completely different word for this alliterative stave: lordes.  þis latyn is to mene .
Þat feer schal falle and beerne  al to bloo askes .
Þe houses and þe homes  of hem þat desireth .
Ȝiftes or ȝereȝiftes  be-cause of here office .R.3.92: Beta has the plural, Offices.
¶ Þe kyng fram conseyle cam  and called after mede .
And ofsent hire alswitheR.3.94: Only L (= alswythe) and M (= alsswythe) agree precisely with R in attesting this exact phrase and writing it as a single word (cf. manuscript O = als wythe, WC = as swiþe, and F = swyþe). However, both OED2 s. v. alswith and MED in a quotation from the early fourteenth-century King Alexander s. v. certe and smert(e), attest the phrase's occurrence in this merged form in the fourteenth century, the former in Kyng Alisaunder (He þonked Kyng Alisaundre þerof, certe, And starf alswiþe, wiþouten smerte) and the latter in Barbour's Bruce (His ansuer he tald alswith VIII. 153). The same a-verse occurs in the A version, where the archetypal reading appears to be that found in manuscripts WC of B, but one of the oldest of the A copies, Vernon, merges the words, reading aswiþe. The LMR form is likely to be that of Bx.  with seriantes manye .
Þat brouȝten hire to bowre  with blisse and with ioye .
¶ Curteysliche þe kyng þanne  cumseth to telle .
To mede þe moayde  melleth þis wordes .
Vnwittiliche womman  wrouȝt hastow ofte .
AcR.3.99: The cropped word cannot be supplied with confidence, since F has synonymous But in place of beta's Ac. wors wrouȝtestow neuere  þan þo þow fals toke .
But I for-gyue þe þat gulte  and graunte þe my grace .
fol. 6rI
Hennes to þi deth-day  to doR.3.101: R's to do is a unique variant. Most betas read simply do; cf. F's yf þou do. The same phrase occurs in A, where its form agrees with that found in beta. so namore .
I haue a kniȝt consience  cam late fram by-ȝunde .
Ȝif he wilneth þe to wyue  wil-tow hym haue .
Ȝee lord quatz þat lady  lord it me for-bede .R.3.104: R's b-verse is unique in the B tradition ; F and beta read lorde forbede elles, which agrees with Ax. However, R's phrasing is identical to that found in Cx.
But I be holy at ȝoure heste  lete hange me sone .
And þanne was consience I-called  to comen and appere .
By-forn þe kyng and his conseylle  as clerkes and othere .
Knelynge consience to þe kyng lowtede .
To wite what his wille were  and what he do schulde .
Wiltow wedde þis womman quod þe kyng  ȝif I wole assenten .
For sche is ofR.3.111: Here R omits a key word; beta reads is fayne of þi felawship. The fact that F appears to try smoothing this passage (is of fair shap) suggests that R's omission was inherited from alpha. Both Ax and Cx read the phrase as beta does. þi felaschippe  for to be þi make .
quatz consience toto [þe] kynge  crist it me for-bede .
Er I wedde swich a wif  wo me bytyde .
For sche is frele of hire feyth  and fykelR.3.114: R's and fykel is paralleled by Hm and H in the beta tradition; however, beta itself omitted the conjunction. F reads & fals. The beta reading agrees with that of Ax, but R's phrasing is identical to that found in Cx (emended out of the Athlone text by Russell and Kane). of hire speche .
And maketh men mys-do  many score tymes .
Trust of hire tresor  treyeth ful manye .
Wyues and wydewes  wantownnesse heo techeth .
And lereth hem lecherie  þat loueth hire ȝiftes .
Ȝoure fader heR.3.119: He, "she." R's he, repeatedly deployed by the scribe in this passage, is uncommon in form among the B manuscripts but not substantive; OED2, s. v. heo, and MED, s. v. he (pron. 2), indicate that he is a variant for heo between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. feelde  þoruȝ faireR.3.119: R's faire is an alpha variant. Cf. beta's fals. The same line occurs in A, where the original reading is clearly the same as in beta; however, three A witnesses, VHaMa, agree with alpha's variant. beheste .
And hath appoysond popes  and appayrethR.3.120: R's present tense for this verb is unique among the B copies ; the others show its form as a preterite. However, Cx clearly agrees with R's verb form and the A manuscripts are split between present and past-tense forms. Cf. see the Introduction III.2.2.10 on a potential ambiguity of tense marking in R. holy cherche
Is nouȝt a bettere baude  by hym þat me made .
By-twene heuene and helle  andR.3.122: Beta reads in, but Ax and Cx both agree here with the reading of alpha. eerthe þeyȝ men souȝte
For sche is tykil of hire taile  tale-wise of tongeR.3.123: R's phrase at the end of this line represents the alpha reading; beta has talwis of hir tonge. However, Cx clearly agrees with alpha's phrasing while the A manuscripts are split between the alpha and beta lections. .
As comoun as a carte-wey  to ech a knaue þat walketh
To monkes and to menstrales  to mesels in hegges .
Sysours and sompnoures  suche men hire preyseth .
Schirryues of schires  were schent ȝif sche nere .
For sche doth men lese her londe  and here lif bothe .
Sche latR.3.129: R's lat is unique in form and appears, at first glance, to be a preterite; the other B witnesses show a common present-tense inflection (e.g., LMCrWHmOGF = leteth); however, MED attests this form as 3rd sing. pres., and it seems clear that R intends the same meaning as the other B manuscripts rather than a preterite (cf. payeth later in this line). In the C version, lat is actually the predominant reading among the X family. A similarly inflected form also appears in several A manuscripts. See the Introduction III.2.2.10 for a full discussion of ambiguities in R's tense marking. passe prisonsR.3.129: R's prisons is uniquely spelled (F and beta read prisoneres); however, MED, s. v. prisoun, verifies that the R form is viable as a variant of the Bx word. The plural, prisons (= "prisoners"), actually appears in Bx at R7.30: Pore poeple or prisones  fynden hem here fode. R's form is also found in some A witnesses at this point, and is the predominant form in the cognate line of the C version.  and payeth for hem ofte .
And gyueth þe gayleres gold  and grotes to-gyderes .
fol. 6vI
To vnfettere þe false  fle where hym lyketh .
And taketh trewtheR.3.132: R's trewthe is an alpha variant. Beta has þe trewe. Both phrasings occur in the other two versions. They seem almost equally distributed in the A copies, while a majority of C manuscripts, including the most important members of the X family, agrees with alpha (but a significant minority, especially among the P family, agrees with beta). by þe toppe  and teyeth hym faste .
And hangeth hym for hatrede  þat harme dede neuere .
To be cursed in constorie  heR.3.134: He, "she." conteth nouȝt a rusche .
For heR.3.135: He, "she." copeth þe comissarie  and coteth his clerkes .
HeR.3.136: He, "she." is assoyled assoneas sone  as hire-selue liketh .
And may neiȝ as muche do  in amonetha moneth ones 
As ȝoure secret seal  in six score dayes .
For heR.3.139: He, "she." is priue with þe pope  prouisoures it knoweth .
For sire symonye and hire-selue  sealeth here bulles .
He blisseth þes bisshopes  and prestes am.eyntenetha m.eynteneth .R.3.141: R's phrasing in this line represents a unique compression of two lines from Bx, apparently necessitated by textual loss in alpha since F also improvises at this point. Beta, which here appears to reflect Bx better, reads:
She blesseth þise Bisshopes þeiȝe þey be lewed
Prouendreth persones, and prestes meynteneth
Nevertheless, when R and F witness an alpha variant in this last half-line, with their inclusion of a reasserted pronoun (cf. F's & prestys she meynteneþ), they are presumably attesting Bx accurately since both the A and C versions agree on this point.
To haue lotebies and lemmanesR.3.142: R here offers a reversal of the beta phrase, lemmannes and lotebies; F uniquely omits and lotebies. Both the A and C versions agree with beta on this phrase.  alle here lif-dayes .
And bringen forth barnes  aȝeyne forbode lawes .
Þere heR.3.144: He, "she." is wel with þe kynge  wo is þe reume .
For heR.3.145: He, "she." is fauourable to þe fals  and fouleth trewth ofte .
¶ By ihesus with hire ieweles  þeR.3.146: Beta reads ȝowre, which agrees with Ax. The alpha reading is supported by Cx. iustices heo schendeth .
And lith aȝeyne þe lawe  and letR.3.147: R's let is unique; cf. Bx's letteth. hym þe gate .
Þat feyth may nouȝt haue his forth  hire floreynes go so thikke .
Heo letR.3.149: R's let is unique; Bx has ledeth. Cx agrees with Bx here. Cf. R's lat at R.3.129:. þe lawe as hire leste  and louedayes maketh .
And doth men lese thoruȝ hire loue  þat lawe miȝt wynne .
Þe mase for a mene man  þouȝ he mote hire euere .
Lawe is so lordliche  and loth to make ende .
With-owten presentz otherR.3.153: R's other is unique; the other B witnesses read or. Nevertheless, R's reading may well be original here since it agrees with the majority of C witnesses, including the best copies from the X family. pans  heR.3.153: He, "she." pleseth fulR.3.153: R's ful is an alpha variant shared with F; beta has wel, which agrees with the lection found in half of the A manuscripts. Most of the other A copies agree with RF, as does the archetype of the C version. fewe .
¶ Barouns and burgeys  heo bringeth in sorwe .
And alle þe comoun in care  þat coueyten lyfR.3.155: R's lyf is unique among the manuscript witnesses of the B version but is shared with Cr2-3. The other B copies read lyue. in trewthe .
For clergiseR.3.156: R shares this reading (clergise for Bx's clergye) with Hm by convergence. The A version agrees with the majority B reading here. and coueytise  heR.3.156: He, "she." coupleth to-gyderes .
Þis is þe lyf of þat lady  now lord ȝif hire sorwe .
And alle þat meyteneth here men  meschaunce hem bytyde .
For pore men mow haue no powere  to pleyne hem þoȝ þei smerte .
Suche a maister is mede  amonges men of goode .
R.3.161: Because the left margin has been lost to cropping, it is not possible to be confident that it lacked the parasign that appears in LMWHmO. The scribe frequently fails to skip a line between strophes when the last line falls at the foot of a page. Þanne mornede mede  and mened hire to þe kynge .
fol. 7rI
To haue space to speke  spede ȝif aR.3.162: A, "she." miȝte .
Þe kynge graunted hire grace  with a goede wille .
Excuse þe if ȝow canst  I can namore seggen .
For consience acuseth þe  to congey þe for euere .
Nay lord quatz þat lady  leue hym þe worse .
When ȝe witen witterly  where þe wronge lyggeth .
Þere þat mischief is grete  mede may helpe .
And þatR.3.169: Only RF attest þat; beta omits it. The A version agrees with beta; by contrast, a majority of C manuscripts attests the presence of þat, but most of these omit þow. XIFc read þat knowestou. þow knowest consience  I cam nouȝt to chyde .
Ne depraue þi persone  with a proude herte .
Wel þow wost wernard  but if þow wilt gabe .
Þow hast hangen on myn half  elleuen tymeR.3.172: R's tyme is unique in form, an unmarked plural. Compare R.3.89:, R.10.224:, and R.15.407:). Both Ax and Cx agree with the ordinary plural of the other B manuscripts. .
And al-so I-gripeR.3.173: Beta reads griped. my gold  gyue it where þe liked .
And whi þow wrathest þe now  wonder me thenketh .
Ȝet I may as I miȝte  menske þe with ȝiftes .
And mayntene þi manhode . more þanne þow knoweste .
Ac þow haste famed me foule  by-fore þe kyng here .
For kuld I neuere no kniȝtR.3.178: R's kniȝt is an alpha reading; cf. beta's kynge. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta.  ne conseyled þere-after .
Ne dede as þow demest  I do it on þe kynge .
In normandy was he nouȝt  I-nuyed for my sake .
Ac þow þi-selue sothelich  schamedest hym ofte .
Crope in-to a caban  for cold of þi nayles .
Wendest þat wynter  wold a lastR.3.183: R's last is matched only by Hm; F and beta read (y)lasted. Nevertheless, the Ax form agrees with RHm. euere .
And draddest to be dede  for a dym clowde .
And heȝedest homward  for hunger of þi wombe .
With-oute pite pyloure  pouer men þow robbedest .
And bere here bras at þi bak  to caleys to selle .
Þere I lefte with my lord  his lif for to saue .
I made hys men merie  and murnygemurny[n]ge lette .
I batered hem on þe bak  and bolded here hertes
And dede hem hoppe fore hope  to haue me at wille
Hadde I be marschal of his men  be marie of heuene
fol. 7vI
I durste haue leid my lyf  and no lesse wedde 
He schuld haue be lord of þat lond  a lenthe and a brede .
And al-so kynge of þat kyth  hys kyn for to helpe .
Þe leste brol of his londR.3.196: Here alpha's alliteration fails; cf. beta's blode, a reading which is also found in Ax and Cx.  a barounes pere .
¶ Cowardlich þow consience  consayledest hym þennes .
To leuen his lordschippe  for a litel siluer .
Þat is þe riccheste rewme  þat reyn ouer-houeth .
¶ It bycometh to a kuynge  þat kepeth a rewme .
To ȝiue mede to men  þat mekeliche hym serueth .
To alyenes and to alle men  to honoure hem with ȝiftes .
Mede maketh hym by-loued  and for a man holden .
¶ Emperoures and erles  and alle maner lordes .
ÞurȝR.3.205: Beta reads For, but both Ax and Cx agree with alpha. ȝiftes han ȝoumenR.3.205: Beta's phrase is ȝonge men, a reading also found in Ax; however, Cx agrees with alpha.  to ȝernenR.3.205: Here beta reads synonymous renne. Ax agrees with this non-alliterating reading, as does the P family of the C tradition, but the X family clearly agrees with alpha's ȝernen, a choice endorsed by both Russell-Kane and Schmidt. and to ride .
¶ Þe pope and alle prelates  presentes vnderfongen .
And medeth men hem-selue  to meyntene here lawes .
¶ Seruantz for here seruise  we seth wel þe sothe .
Taken mede of her meystres  as þei mowen acorde .
Beggeres for here beggynge  bydden men mede .
Minstrales for here murthe  mede þei aske 
¶ Þe kynge hath mede of his men  to make pes in londe .
Men þat techetR.3.213: Here most B witnesses (including F) read teche(n). Manuscript C reads techeþ, which may be what was intended by R (C's form is used by R on many other occasions). MED, s. v. techen, acknowledges techet as a possible 3rd sing. pres. inflection of techen, but the few citations are almost all from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. children  crauen of hem mede .
¶ Prestes þat preche þe poeple  to godR.3.214: Here beta reads gode, but Hm agrees with alpha, specifically with F (= of god). Ax agrees with beta. asken mede .
And masse-pans and here mete  atR.3.215: Beta reads at þe while F has at here. meal-tymes .
¶ Alle kynnes crafty men  crauen mede for here prentyces .
Marchauntz and mede  most nede go to-gyderes .
No wiȝt as I wene  with-oute mede may lybbe .
¶ Quatȝ þe kyng to consience  by crist as me thenketh .
fol. 8rI
Mede is worthyR.3.220: Beta reads wel worþi while F revises the entire a-verse, producing Now ys Meede worthy. Ax reads this verse exactly as R does, and though the C version introduces a phrasal revision in mid-line, it also omits beta's qualifier before worthi, supporting the originality of R's reading.  þe maystrie to haue .R.3.220: The eighth leaf of Rawlinson is slit (part of the same act as the cropping of leaves 1-7) at the right edge of the writing area for a space of some 12.5 cm, from R3.229-49.
Nay quatz consience to þe kynge  and kneled to þe erthe .
Þere arn to manere of medes  my lord byR.3.222: Beta reads with, but Ax agrees with alpha. ȝoure leue .
.....ratio bonorum qui.
operans iusticiam
In the right margin, in a brown contemporary hand, an early reader left behind this partially legible note.
Þat on god of his grace  graunteth in his blisse .
To þo þat wel werchen  while þei ben here .
Þe prophite precheth þere-offe  and putte it in þe sauterR.3.225: In the right margin, just inside the ruling, someone has added an oversized punctus for this line in a darker shade of ink than that used by the original scribe.
Domine quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo . &cetera .
Lord who schal wonie in þi wones  withR.3.227: Beta reads and with; the line does not appear in either A or C. þi holy seyntes .
Or resten onR.3.228: The alpha reading is here confirmed by LM, but the other beta copies show in. þin holy hilles  þis askedR.3.228: Beta shows the present form, asketh. dauid .
And dauid assoyleth it hym-selue  as þe sauter telleth .
psal xivR.3.230: The appropriate scriptural reference has been inscribed in the right margin by an early reader.
Qui ingreditur sine macula  & operatur iusticiam .
Þoo þat entren of o coloure  and of one wille .
And haue I-wrouȝt werkes  with riȝt and with resoun .
And he þat ne vseth nauȝt  þe lyue of vsurie .
And enformeth pouere men  and pursueth trewthe .
mor  wmR.3.235: In the right margin are the remains of what appears to have been a pen trial.
Qui pecuniam suam non dedit ad vsuram & munera super innocentem . &cetera .
And alle þat helpeth þe innocent  and holt with þe riȝtful .
With-oute mede doth hem goed  and þe treweR.3.237: Beta reads trewthe. helpeth :
Richard A sixteenth-century reader has recorded a pen trial, written vertically downwards in the right margin.
Suche maner men my lorde  schal haue þis furste mede .
Of god at a grete nede  whanne þei gon hennes .
Þere is an-othere mede mesurles  þat maystres desireth .
To meytene misdoeres  mede þei take .
And þere-offe seith þe sauter  in a salmes ende .
In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt  dextra eorum repleta est muneribus .
And he þat gripeth here gold  so me god helpe .
Schal abye it ful bittere  or þe book lyeth .
Prestes and persones  þat plesinge desireth .
Þat taked mede and mone  for masses þat þei songen .R.3.247: R's past-tense verbs in this line are unique; all other B manuscripts use present-tense forms. Cf. see the Introduction III.2.2.10 on R's problematic tense marking. Both the A and C versions of this line agree with Bx on these verbs being in the present tense.
Taketh here mede here  as mathew vs techeth .
Amen amen recipiebant mercedem suam .
Þat laboreres and lewed folke  taketh of here meystres .
fol. 8vI
It nisR.3.251: The negative verb is unique to R; all other B manuscripts read is. no maner mede  but a mesurable hire .
In marchaundise is no mede  I may it wel a-vowe .
It isR.3.253: Beta reads a permutacioun. This is also the reading found in the other two versions. permutacion apertly  a peny-worth for another .
Ac reddestow neuere Regum  þow recrayede mede .
Whi þe vengaunce fel  on saul and on his children .
God sente to saul  by samuel þe prophete .
Þat agag of amalec  andR.3.257: In the B tradition, R uniquely omits al before the phrase his poeple. However, though Ax reads the phrase exactly as the B majority, a significant, closely interrelated set of A manuscripts (TDChH2) also omits al at this point. The same phenomenon can be seen among the C witnesses, a small minority reading with R while most agree with F/beta. his poeple after .
Schulde deye for a dede  þat don hadde here elderes .
For-thi sayde samuel to saul  god hym-selue hoteth .
Þe be buxum at myR.3.260: Beta reads his biddynge, which is also the reading found in the A version, but the C text agrees with alpha's my. byddynge  his wille to fulfille .
Wend to amalec with þin host  and what þow fynst þere slee it .
Bernes and bestes  brenne hem to dede .
Wydewes and wyues  wommen and chyldren .
Mebles and vnmebles  and al þat þow miȝt fynde .
Brenne it bere it nauȝt a-way  be it neuere so riche .
For mede ne for mone  loke þow destruye it .
Spille it and spare it nauȝt  þow schalt spede þe bettere .
And for he coueytede here catel  and þe kyng spared .
For-bare hym and his bestes bothe  as þe bible wytnesseth .
Otherwise þan he was  warned of þe prophete .
God seyde to samuel  þat saul schulde deye .
And alle his seed for þat synne  schentfulliche endede .R.3.272:The RF usage of past tense here (beta = ende) reflects alpha and is shared by convergence with Hm. Though both A and C traditions attest—in isolated manuscripts—preterite forms for this verb, it is obvious that the beta uninflected base form is archetypal in both of the poem's other versions.
Suche a meschief mede made  saul þe kyng to haue .
Þat god hated hym for euere  and alle his heires after .
Þe culorum of þis cas  kepe I nouȝt to schewe .
AunterR.3.276: Beta opens this line with An auenture; F begins it with For hap. The witness of the other two versions is in favor of An aunter. it nuyed men  non eende wille I make .
For so is þis worlde went  with hem þat han powere .
Þat who-so seyth hem sothes  is sonnest I-blamed .
I consience knowe þis  for kynde witt me it tauuȝte .
Þat rosounr[e]soun schal regne  and rewmes gouerne .
And riȝt as agag hadde
fol. 9rI
And riȝt as agag hadde  happe schulle somme . The ninth leaf of Rawlinson is slit (part of the same act as the cropping of leaves 1-7) at the right edge of the writing area for a space of some 10 cm, from R3.296-309.
Samuel schal scleen hym  and saul schal be blamed .
And dauid schal be diademed  and daunten hem alle .
And on cristene kyng  kepen hem alle .
Schal namore mede  be mayster as heR.3.285: Alpha's he does not differ substantively from beta; he is a variant of heo, "she." See note at R.3.119:. is nowthe .
IR.3.286: In the extreme right margin, beyond the pricking, is what appears to a modern eye to be a barred 9, probably an <I> or <Q> in this hand, though it is unclear what it signifies.
Ac loue and lowenesse  and lewte to-gyderes .
Þese schul be maystres on molde  trewthe to saue .
And hoo-so trespaseth aȝeynes trewthe  or taketh aȝeynes his wille .
Lewte schal don hym lawe  and no lif elles .
Schal no seriaunt for here seruise  were a silk howue .
Ne non pelure in his clook  for pledyng atte barre .
Mede of mysdoeres  maketh many lordes .
And ouer lordes lawes  reuleth þe realmes .
Ac kende loue schal come ȝut  and consience to-gydere .
And make of lawe a laborere  suche loue schal aryse .
And suche peesR.3.296: Beta reads such a pees; the C version agrees with alpha. amonge þe poeple  and a parfit trewth .
Þat Iuwes schal wene in here witt  and wexen wonder glade .
Þat moyses or messye  be come in-to þis eerthe .
And haue wonder in here hertes  þat men beth so trewe .
Alle þat bereth baslard  brode-swerde or launce .
Ax other hachet  or eny wepne elles .
Schal be demed to þe deth  but ȝif he do it smythye .
Into sycul or to sythe  to schare or to cultere .
Conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres &cetera .
Ich man to pleye with aplowa plow  pycoys or spade .
Spynne otherR.3.306: R's other is unique; the remaining B witnesses attest or. sprede dong  or leseR.3.306: This non-alliterating third stave (lese for Bx's spille) is an alpha reading. hym-self with slewthe .
Prestes and persones  with placebo to hunte .
And dyngen vppon dauid  vch a day til eue .
Huntynge or haukynge  ȝif any of hem vse .
His boste of his benefice  worth by-nomme hym after .
Schal neyther kyng ne kniȝt  constable ne meyre .
fol. 9vI
Ouer-lede þe comune  ne to þe court sompne .
Ne putte hem in panel  to don hem pliȝt here trewthe .
But after þe dede þat is don  on dom schal rewarde .
Mercy or no mercy or no mercyor no mercy  as trewthe wil acorde .
Kynges court and comune court  constorie and chapitele .
Alle schal be but on court  and on baron be iustice .
Þanne worth trewe tonge  a tydy man þat tened me neuere
Batayles schul non be  ne noman bere wepne .
And what smyth þat any smithieR.3.320: R's smithie is the alpha variant; most of the beta copies attest either smyþeþ (e.g., WO) or smyteth (LC).  be smiten þere-with to dedeR.3.320: R's dede is a unique variant, but its meaning is identical to the common reading (dethe) found in other witnesses, both from the B and the C traditions. .
Non leuabit gens contra gentem gladium &cetera .
And ere þis fortune falle  fynde men schal þe werste .
By six sonnes and a schippe  and half a schef of arwes .
And þe meddel of a mone  schal make þe Iewes torneR.3.324: Cf. beta's Iewes to torne; but the C reading clearly agrees with alpha's omission of to. .
And sarasyns for þe siȝte þere-offeR.3.325: R's þe siȝte þere-offe reflects alpha; cf. beta's þat siȝte. The C reading is identical to beta's.  schul synge gloria in excelsis .
For makomet and mede  myshappe schal þat tyme .
For melius est bonum nomen quam diuicie multe .
Also wroth as þe wynde  wex mede in a while 
I can latynR.3.329: R's omission of the negative in this phrase is unique among the extant B manuscripts but is shared by convergence with Cr3. quatz sche  clerkes wote þe sothe .
See what salomon seith  in sapiencesR.3.330: R's genitive sapiences is unique; F and beta both attest the unmarked possessive form. bokes .
Þat hij þat ȝiueth ȝiftes  þe victorie wynneth .
And muche wurchip haad þerewith  as holy writt telleth .
Honorem adquiret qui dat munera .
I leue wel lady quod consience  þat þi latyn be trowetr[e]we .
Ac þow art lyk a lady  þat radde a lesson ones .
Was omnia probate  and þat plesede hire herte .
For þat lyne was no lengere  atte þe leuesendeleues ende .
Had sche loked þat other half  and þe lef I-turnedR.3.338: R's I-turned reflects an alpha reading; cf. beta's torned. The Cx reading is identical to beta's. .
Heo schulde aR.3.339: R's a is unique in form but represents the same semantic element as the majority's haue. founde fele wordes  folwyng þere-after .
Quod bonum est tenete  trewthe þat tixt made .
And so ferd ȝe ma-dame  ȝe coude namore fynde .
Þo ȝe loked on sapience  sittynge in ȝoure stodie .
fol. 10rI
Þis tixt þat ȝe haue Itolde  were goed for lordes . The tenth leaf of Rawlinson is slit (part of the same act as the cropping of leaves 1-7) at the right edge of the writing area for a space of some 4 cm, from R4.12-18.
Ac ȝow failede a cunnyng clerk  þat coude þe lef attorneda tornedR.3.344: a, "have." .
And if ȝe seke sapience eft  fynde schal ȝe þat foleweth .
A ful teneful tixt  to hem þat taketh mede .
And þat is animam autem aufert accipientiumR.3.347: After this Latin tag (completely omitted by F), beta adds &c.. Cx agrees with R in omitting it. .
And þat is þe taile of þe tixt  of þat þat ȝe schedeR.3.348: R's schede is unique in form but probably represents the same intention as beta's schewed (F omits the entire line). Nevertheless, neither MED, s. v. sheuen (v. 1), nor OED2, s. v. show, acknowledges R's form as a viable inflected spelling for the verb in question. .
Þat þow we wynne worchipe  and with meR.3.349: Alpha introduced the error of me for original mede. haue victorie .
Þe soule þat þe souȝd taketh  be so muche is bounde .