I. Description of the Manuscript:
S. xv in. George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson assign this manuscript to the beginning of the fifteenth century.NPiers Plowman: The B Version, 2nd ed. (London, 1988): 12. Ralph Hanna suggests the end of the fourteenth.NAuthors of The Middle Ages, 3: William Langland (Aldershot, 1993): 40.
I.2 Physical Description:
The manuscript is made up of 105 vellum leaves, the first four of which were long ago separated from Rawlinson Poetry 38 and rebound into BL Lansdowne MS 398 as fols. 77-80. These first four leaves are the interior of an original eight-leaf quire whose fols. 1, 2, 7 and 8 have never been recovered. The vellum is described by A. I. Doyle as "the best matt-finished membrane."NQuoted from George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson, eds., Piers Plowman: The B Version, 2nd ed. (London, 1988): 12. Blanchfield notes that there is evidence of "some damp damage, holes and tears."NC. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-version (Cambridge, 1997): 93. The margins of the Lansdowne leaves (as well as those of the first seven Rawlinson leaves) have been severely cropped (presumably by someone wishing to harvest the parchment for personal notes resembling the one surviving at the top of fol. 2r). This cropping has caused significant text loss, especially on versos. The cropping appears to have occurred at a single moment rather than over an extended time since slit marks aligning precisely with the cropping are visible in the outer margins of the rectos of fols. 8-13 of Rawlinson.
Scattered throughout the manuscript are a variety of marginal notes, pen trials and signatures, most in sixteenth-century hands. A number of these were listed by Kane-Donaldson in their brief physical description of R (1988, 13), and recently Benson-Blanchfield have provided a relatively complete account (95-96, 203-06). All such marginalia are duly recorded at their point of occurrence by notes in our edited text. Insofar as possible, all such entries are dated and transcribed (some are partially erased and others are mere scrawls). However, the verso of the final leaf (101), which has no text on it, is the heaviest single locus for such activity in the manuscript.I Accordingly, it deserves a full description here. In addition to various scribbles and brief pen trials, there are some ten clusters of assorted items on 101v that deserve notice; they are delineated from #1 through #10, beginning at the top left of the page, proceeding down the left side of the page through #5, then moving to the bottom right of the page for #6 and up the right side of the page until #10 is found at the top right:
(1) In a 16th c. hand, in brown ink:
"M... ys a good man for sothe"
(2) In a black secretary hand, ranging over four lines:
- "Walton Walton
- Thomas wright Johani Walton
- John Walton J Johan
- John Walton"
(3) Written several times in a black secretary hand are two names: "James Simpson" and "John Freman"
(4) Drawn sideways are two cartoons, one above the other, with a name entered between them:
- a. a girl, her head pointed toward the outer edge of 101v (i.e., to the left)
- b. in a 15/16th c. bookhand:
- c. a cat[?], its head and ears pointed toward the outer edge of 101v
(5) A seemingly random assortment of items:
- a. various numbers in column
- b. another cartoon figure, drawn with head toward page top
- c. to the right of the cartoon, written sideways downwards (twice) in a black secretary hand:
(6) To the right of the items in #5, in a secretary hand:
a. "D Do tibi istum" (written sideways downwards)
b. "Thomas Wryght" (written twice, once downwards, once horizontal)
(7) Slightly above #6, in a secretary hand: "pers plowman."
(8) Far above #7, both in 16th c. hands:
a. on two successive lines, horizontally, "J James / Simpson."
b. to the right of 8a., written downwards, "Thomas."
(9) Above #8, written sideways downwards, in a secretary hand: "F Freeman"
(10) Crossing #9, and written horizontally, in a large, 16th c. decorative script: "In deo meo sperabo."
Quires, folios and divisions of text correspond as follows:
|i8-4 (-1, -2, -7, -8), ff. 77-80||RP. 1-R1.140 [= KDP.125-1.140]|
|i (end leaf)|
|ii8, ff. 1-8||R2.1-R3.280 [= KD2.41-3.285]|
|iii8, ff. 9-16||R3.281-R5.206|
|iv8, ff. 17-24||R5.207-R6.12|
|v8, ff. 25-32||R6.13-R7.160|
|vi8, ff. 33-40||R7.161-R10.119|
|vii8, ff. 41-48||R10.120-R11.114|
|viii8, ff. 49-56||R11.115-R12.177|
|ix8-1 (-5), ff. 57-63||R12.178-R13.336|
|x8, ff. 64-71||R13.337-R15.26|
|xi8, ff. 72-79||R15.27-R15.566|
|xii8, ff. 80-87||R15.567-R17.192|
|xiii8, ff. 88-95||R17.193-R18.422|
|xv6, ff. 96-101||R20.1-R20.359|
|i (end leaf).|
The section of the manuscript preserved in Rawlinson is foliated 1-101 at the upper right of rectos in modern pencil. Most signatures and catchwords survive. Of the complete quires, only #2 and #13 lack boxed catchwords; and cropped letters at the bottom of fol. 8v indicate that catchwords were originally present in quire #2. They were presumably also present on fol. 95v. Comparative measurement of distance between the top of the last text line and the bottom of the leaf for these two pages indicates that the fol. 95v margin is now considerably smaller than that of fol. 8v (6.9 cm versus 7.6 cm). This difference easily accounts for the missing catchwords at the end of quire #13, and their absence may have caused the loss of quire #14 during binding or rebinding.
I.5 Leaf Size and Arrangement of the Page:
Size: 293 x 205 mm. The pricked frame area is c. 205 mm x 125 mm., with most prickings still visible. The page is arranged for text in one column, but a separate thin column is marked for line initials (though the scribe seldom actually allocates any discernible spacing for initials). Top margins average 24 mm. while bottom margins average 65 mm. All sides through quire #6 are ruled for 36 lines. Beginning at fol. 42v, most sides are ruled for 37, with an occasional 36, but fol. 60 (a singleton —so far as we can now tell, the only quiring anomaly in the original makeup of the manuscript) is ruled for 38 lines on both sides. Between fols. 60 and 61 a leaf was removed (the original cognate of fol. 60) in the course of producing R. Its stub, which measures an average width of 1.4 cm., was pasted down to the current fol. 61, causing this quire (the ninth) to be an irregular one of 7 leaves (8-1). No evidence of text loss or irregularity is apparent in the immediate vicinity of this intervention, but something must have been awry, either with the scribe's initial "casting off" of text, or with his first try at copying fol. 61, to cause such a radical intervention as cancelling a leaf. It may be significant that the text on current fol. 61v begins precisely at a point where the beta manuscripts omit nine lines of authorial material. If this material existed as a marginal addition or an attached slip in R's exemplar, it may have been initially overlooked (as in beta) but then noticed in time to remedy by means of excising a singleton and recopying.
The Middle English text is copied throughout by one hand (a bastard anglicana) in medium brown ink. The scribe's minims average 2.8 mm. to 3 mm. throughout. No stylistic distinction is apparent when the scribe is rendering Latin, but he usually marks Latin text in the margin with a "+" for later boxing in red. An approximate contemporary, using a different ink and style [probably not the scribe himself, since at one point (R11.251) he appears to misread the scribe's hand] is responsible for a handful of marginal and interlinear corrections: at R5.178, R9.1, R9.34, R10.373, R11.82, R11.251, R11.362, R11.384, R12.67, R16.75, R18.53, and R20.74. This person we have labelled "Hand2." He repairs some obvious omissions, but because of the inferior quality of several of his interventions, and especially because of their small total number and their narrow range (8 of the 12 cases occur between Passus 9.1 and Passus 12.67, and fully one-third happen in Passus 11 alone), we are reluctant to label Hand2 a "corrector." He may have been marginally associated with the production of the manuscript, but he may also have been merely an early reader or owner. It seems clear, however, that the copy he was sporadically comparing to manuscript R was an inferior alpha witness similar to Oxford, Corpus Christi, MS 201 (F). Occasional marginal glosses, notae, and pointing hands from perhaps five or six different users appear, as well as some underlining added by a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century reader.
The scribe uses three marks of punctuation—the paraph, the punctus and the punctus elevatus. The caesura is steadily marked with a punctus elevatus. Occasionally, the same mark appears within the half-line to indicate phrasal junctures. Nearly every line closes with a punctus, and there is reason to think that the scribe intended so to end every line, though dozens are omitted. Some parasigns appear in the left margin (alternating red and blue) to mark both verse paragraphs and changes of speaker in dialogues. Locations for later entry of the remaining intended parasigns were marked by the scribe in his margins with "cc," but most were never executed. Failure to follow through with such paragraph marking is not uncommon in early fifteenth-century vernacular manuscripts.NEven a deluxe Chaucer manuscript such as Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.4.27, is marred by partial achievement of the scheme. See M. B. Parkes and Richard Beadle, eds., The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Facsimile of Cambridge University Library MS GG.4.27 (Norman, OK, 1979), 3.41. The textual division manifested by these parasigns and "cc" marks closely parallels that found in B manuscripts of similar format and age, such as W, L, M, and Hm.NFor complete information on this matter, see the "Table of Manuscript Annotations" in C. David Benson and Lynne Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B Version (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 238 ff.
The first letter of each line was intended to be highlighted in red, but the plan is more apparent than real. It has been executed thoroughly on early pages (e.g., fols.78-79) but is almost wholly abandoned thereafter, with occasional examples occurring near the beginning or end of later quires. Most Latin citations, and some English words, are boxed in red. Some light "+" marks in the margin attest to lines where the scribe intended boxings to be drawn. So far as we can now discern, most of his wishes in this regard were properly executed. Passus divisions are usually marked with ornamented blue capitals, pen-flourished in red ink, with sprays (Passus 4 has no colored, oversized initial at all, and the initial for Passus 5 is wholly in red). Occasionally, a cartoon face will be incorporated into the capital, as at Passus 10, 11 and 15. The ornamental capitals vary considerably in size and are unexceptional in quality. As Uhart notes (34), Piers Plowman manuscripts in general tend to display "unsteady, rather flagging decoration," but she remarks that such incomplete schemes "may signify no more than a poorly organised book trade."
Both segments of the manuscript are in modern bindings, Rawlinson in gray boards and Lansdowne in red leather with gold tooling.
Although internal hints of association abound, especially on fol. 101v, not much can be known with certainty about the early ownership of R, beyond a Latin inscription on the frontleaf of Rawlinson Poetry 38: "Suum cuique Tho. Hearne Sept 29 1732. An imperfect manuscript of Piers Plowman." Hearne was a famous antiquarian and non-juror who served for many years as Second Librarian at the Bodleian. However, thanks to research done long ago by Oscar Cargill, we know from Hearne's own diaries that he had actually acquired Rawlinson Poetry 38 on May 29, 1725, as a loan, from an important Norfolk collector and royal herald named Peter Le Neve (Norroy King of Arms).NOscar Cargill, "The Langland Myth," PMLA 50 (1935), 36-56. From Hearne's description, we can plausibly infer that the Prologue-Passus 2 material now comprising BL Lansdowne 398 had already been separated from the book by this time (and perhaps the Passus 18-Passus 20 material as well). What remains something of a mystery is why Hearne kept the book for so long despite its status as a loan (he had noted in his diary that he was supposed to return this and two other books within ten days). In any event, Peter Le Neve died in 1729, and three years later Hearne decided to claim ownership of the Piers Plowman manuscript for himself by inscribing the aformentioned note on the frontleaf.
Most of Peter Le Neve's vast book collection had been acquired through purchases from families and religious foundations in Norfolk, and such an origin seems especially likely for Rawlinson Poetry 38. The most significant of the various names occurring in the manuscript (and one of the oldest), at the bottom of Fol. 101r, is probably the owner's mark of Dr. William Butts (c. 1485-1545). Dr. Butts, a member of a long established Norfolk family, was personal physician to Henry VIII (and the royal family), a friend of Sir John Cheke, associate of Thomas Cranmer and Hugh Latimer, friend of the Boleyns and one of the most important advocates of the Reformation at Henry's court. Butts and his wife (Margaret Bacon, heir of another prominent East Anglian family which intermarried with the Butts repeatedly) were sufficently important court personages to merit individual portraits by Holbein.
Though completely obscure (compared to the learned physician), another member of the Butts family, several generations beyond the time of Dr. Butts, has left his own secretary-styled signature in Rawlinson Poetry 38, at fol. 3r ("M. M. Butte"). This person, moreover, seems to have inscribed the late sixteenth-century note at the top of fol. 2r, which is addressed to "Robart Bente," requiring Bente's appearance at a legal proceeding in Budworth, Cheshire. "Robart Bente" can be identified (from an unrelated legal release signed on October 20, 1598) as then living in Knutsford, Cheshire, approximately seven miles from Great Budworth. Combined with the surnames from fol. 101v ("Freeman," "Simpson," "Walton," and "Wright") — which, in the records of this era, cluster in Cheshire, Shropshire, and Lancashire), this information suggests that the manuscript may have resided, for a time, somewhere in the West Midlands.
One of the most important discoveries made by Cargill in the 1930s (and verified in our recent investigations) is that a major branch of the Rokele family in the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries was located in East Anglia, with extensive residences near the towns of Colchester and Norwich, and that the Rokeles of Norwich were business partners with the Butts for a number of generations.NOscar Cargill, "The Langland Myth," PMLA 50 (1935), 36-56. Another important discovery of Cargill's long-forgotten investigation is a papal letter of May, 1353, transferring one William de la Rokele to a benefice in the diocese of Norwich from the church of Easthorpe in the diocese of London (Easthorpe is a mere four miles south of Colchester).
In his recent revision (2004) of the DNB article on Langland, even George Kane abandoned his agnosticism on this matter and acknowledged the likely relevance of Cargill's discovery to the biography of the poet (Kane also cites some hitherto unpublished research of Lister Matheson concerning the probable date of Langland's entry into lower clerical orders and records of his grandfather's violent partisanship for the Despensers). These facts, and other items I will discuss in an upcoming article on the Butts and Rokele families, cannot prove a connection between the "William Butts" of fol. 101r in Rawlinson Poetry 38 and the "John But" whose famous epilogue terminates the A-version (e.g., in Rawlinson Poetry 137), and whose words seem to reflect a firsthand acquaintance with the author. But the probability of some connection between Langland's immediate family and the Butts family of East Anglia is growing more apparent with each newly uncovered business record or deed. It is implied by Kane, when he remarks that "seven copies of the earliest form of the poem, among them the three with the But coda, are of eastern county provenance."
The direct relevance of these matters to Rawlinson Poetry 38, is this: combined with relict forms found in the text, they suggest that R, though produced in London, was written and owned by a person connected to the Butts family, that the book returned with its owner to Norfolk and long resided there (its only close textual relative, MS Oxford Corpus Christi 201, has a prominent Norfolk relict layer), and that it was passed down through various family heirs (including Dr. Butts) until it was purchased by Le Neve and "borrowed" by Hearne.
|Lansdowne 398, fols. 77r-80v||William Langland, Piers Plowman B|
|begins||"Crist kepe þe sire kynge"|
|ends||"dulle arn þi wittes"|
|Rawlinson Poetry 38, fols. 1r-101r|
|begins||"To on fals fikel of tonge"|
|ends||"gradde after grace til I gan a-wake."|
II. Editorial Method:
II.1. 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 manuscriptsN Mr. Smit refers both to this manuscript and to MS Laud Misc. 581 (S. C. 987) (L). 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.N
(The following notes were supplied by Technical Editor Patricia Bart.)
MS Rawlinson Poetry 38:
The original TIFFs of MS Rawlinson Poetry 38 were delivered with in-picture shelf marks and copyright information, so this was only proofed for accuracy.
Automated color corrections were made based on blackpoint and whitepoint samples taken from each photo session--comprising four sessions in the case of MS Rawlinson Poetry 38. This method has proven to produce more consistent results than adjusting the levels for each image individually using the Photoshop eyedropper tool set to 5x5 pixel average, which will often produce noticeable red-green-blue variations between separate instances of the same image hand color-corrected.
Since the versos and rectos of MS Rawlinson Poetry 38 were shot at 300ppi and 600ppi respectively, all of these TIFFs were downsampled to a uniform 300ppi.
Finally, the filenames were changed to suit the needs of the electronic edition of MsR.
Two sample sets of JPEG output were offered as Pre-publication Proof:
Set 1: Color corrected and downsampled TIFFs were batch JPEGed at quality 9 in Photoshop 6.
Set 2: Color corrected and downsampled TIFFs were batch unsharp masked at level 80%, radius 0.7 pixels and threshold 0 (zero), and then JPEGged at quality 8.
The images were not cropped.
MS Lansdowne 398:
The original TIFFs were color corrected using the automated by-runs method described above.
Since the images came without in-picture shelf marks and copyright information, this information was added using the Photoshop 6 type tool.
The images were downsampled to 300ppi, uniform in resolution with the processed Rawlinson images. They were then also scaled to conform to the screen size of Rawlinson, 35.3% for the rectos and 35.7% for the versos.
Black canvas was added vertical, 100 pixels top and 100 pixels bottom, to make room for the shelfmarks and copyright information.
The images were not cropped. The color scale appears as it does in the original TIFFs.
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/.
II.2 Presentation of Text: Levels of Inscription:
Except in those rare instances in which the scribe is also the author, medieval manuscripts are like palimpsests. Each surviving copy represents the work of its immediate copyist. Each also reflects traces of the efforts of a usually indeterminant number of scribes whose work separates the immediate copy from the author's original text. The evidence suggesting the possible number of copyists is inferential, derived from collation of variant readings or, as is the case of texts surviving in single copies, from analysis of the language.NThe work of the editors of A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English since the early 1960s has provided numerous discussions of the uses of relict forms in Middle English manuscripts. For a practical demonstration of the technique in relation to Langland's texts, see M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum 54 (1985), 232-47. In this instance, we cannot know the number of hands and intelligences intervening between the poet and the immediate copyist of R, but inferential evidence permits us to distinguish at least two layers of inscription between the author's fair copy and the production of R.
II.2.1 The Authorial Text:
Though recent work by Lister Matheson offers fascinating glimpses of William Langland's family background,NLister M. Matheson, paper delivered 3 May 1997 during the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo. For what is known of the life of William Langland, also see Ralph Hanna III, William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, no. 3 (Aldershot and Brookfield, VT, 1993): pp. 1-24. we know almost nothing directly concerning the man who wrote these poems. Certain general resemblances to the fictional circumstances of Long Will, the dreamer-narrator of the poem, seem plausible (e.g., that Langland was married, that his formal education was interrupted, that he lived for a time in London by performing non-sacramental spiritual ministries), but the author's actual life cannot be reliably correlated to that of his character. The linguistic evidence in the surviving witnesses tends to corroborate Langland's identity as a Southwesterner, and many descriptive details in all three versions demonstrate that he must have lived for at least a while in London. We cannot prove more than that. Though The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive ultimately aims to determine and restore the authorial texts, we do not attempt at this level of the Archive systematically to distinguish the work of scribes from his.
II.2.2 The B Archetype (Bx):
At the second level R reflects the work of a scribe who produced the already defective manuscript copy from which all extant B manuscripts descend. Detailed reconstruction of the Bx-scribe's work lies outside the primary concerns of this edition of R. It will then appear paradoxical that we nevertheless cite in our textual notes the readings of Bx. When we refer, as we will numerous times in this edition, to the readings of Bx, those lections represent a preliminary working hypothesis about that text, constructed on the basis of our own careful collation of ten primary B manuscripts as well as from analysis of the variants provided in the Kane-Donaldson edition.NOur first draft of Bx is based upon collation of manuscripts CCr1FGHmLMORW. Having already transcribed all of the B manuscripts, we have had many occasions to check the Athlone collations, and we have found them remarkably accurate. Moreover, preliminary collations by Adams and Hanna in the years before the Archive began clearly supported the essential correctness of the now conventional view that there are two major manuscript families in the B tradition, alpha and beta.N For consideration of the two families, see George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson, eds., Piers Plowman: The B Version, 2d ed. (London, 1988), pp. 57-59, 70-97; A. V. C. Schmidt, ed., William Langland, The Vision of Piers Plowman. A Critical Edition of the B-Text Based on Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17, 2d ed. (London, 1995), pp. lx-lxv. Though some cruxes remain in those lines where R's relation to Bx is at issue, in general it is a simple matter to determine the Bx reading, at least in the light of present evidence. We expect that in a number of details our working hypotheses about Bx will require correction, and it is one advantage of the electronic text that it so readily permits that kind of adjustment.
Though our reconstructions of the readings of Bx must appear logically circular, a moment's thought should suggest that some such provisional reconstruction is inevitable and need not be logically vicious. In one sense, we are beginning the editorial project ab ovo, editing each manuscript witness afresh with the goal of working inductively to construct from the corpus of variant lections the intermediate sub-archetypes, archetypes, and eventually the critical texts of the three canonic versions. A critical question at once poses itself: if we already know the readings of Bx sufficiently to cite them for understanding the relation of this manuscript to others, what is the point of laboring to transcribe documentary editions or of doing either elaborate collations or complex thinking about the relationships among the manuscripts? The fact of the matter, however, is that we are not starting at the beginning, that we come to this task in the middle of a long-standing scholarly project and after more than a century of editorial work on these poems and these manuscripts. A great deal of careful and reliable work by a variety of scholars has been done, and a number of theories about the work exist which, in the light of presently available evidence, we take to be valid. Though we must reconsider the most basic issues in the light of new evidence, we necessarily use those theories we have found persuasive until such time as we have reason to think them wrong. We begin our editorial project with fundamental hypotheses about the author, the number of versions, the relations among the manuscripts, the governing features of the poet's metrical rules, as well as a number of assumptions about what it is that editors ought to do. We are aware that all of these are contestable, some of them hotly. Like scholars in other fields, we can only attempt to revise our hypotheses in the light of the data, as fresh data becomes available. That is, the process of editing a textual archive such as this will consist of a series of provisional passes through the evidence, and we anticipate that at least some of the hypotheses we have formulated now will require revision at a later date when we have more precise and full data to bring to bear on the reconstruction of Bx. Therefore, our citations of Bx are offered as provisional, and we do not devote annotations in this edition to the still-to-be-constructed text of the archetype.N Though for the most part we use the forms of L (our copy text for Bx) to represent the readings of Bx, we cite the spellings of other manuscripts when L's forms are improbable.
II.2.3 The Alpha Family:
At the third level R contains the work of a scribe whom we, following Schmidt, will call "alpha." As is the case with Bx, our ad hoc reconstructions in our notes of the text of alpha are also provisional. They are based upon our detailed comparison of R's lections with those of its sister manuscript F, a task made easier by the careful work of Kane and Donaldson in their edition of the B text.N See the lists and discussion of the relationships between F and R in George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson, eds., Piers Plowman: The B Version, 2d ed. (London, 1988), pp. 16-69. We offer here neither systematic comparison of F with R nor a detailed reconstruction of alpha—both must come at a later stage in the construction of the Archive—but we have incorporated into our apparatus numerous textual notes calling attention to readings in the text of R that are owed to the efforts of alpha.
II.2.4 R's Relationship with F:
It seems clear that neither R nor F was copied from the other. R's having copied from F is simply impossible. F's pervasive eccentricities of text are nowhere mirrored in R. Moreover, F omits several sizeable passages of text that are accurately preserved in R. On the other hand, that F used R as his exemplar is merely very improbable. Because the text of F suggests extensive conflation, it is at least technically possible that R was sporadically consulted by the F scribe (or one of his predecessors). Sean Taylor, in a 1996 article in English Studies, argues that stylistic similarities between an altered rubric in R (at the beginning of Passus 8) and the formal hand of the Corpus scribe, indicate that the latter did, in fact, copy directly from R (534-36, 544-45).NSean Taylor, "The F Scribe and the R Manuscript of Piers Plowman B," English Studies 77 (1996): 530-548. The hands are indeed strikingly similar (although the sample for comparison is miniscule), and the immediate F scribe may well, at some unknown time, have had R in his possession and gone to the trouble of altering (or "repairing" as he might have thought) the aforementioned rubric. But this is a far remove from Taylor's inference that R was his exemplar for copying F.
The weakest point in this hypothesis is that it overlooks a huge number of unique readings in R not reproduced in F, a few of which were noted long ago: e.g., at KD10.307, the careless omission of a crucial negative; in 11.390b, a flat half-line representing an extremely rare effort on R's part to "correct" his copy; at 13.165b-66, a lapse of attention that generates a meaningless phrase, "erl kynge," followed by loss of an essential direct object pronoun, "þee" (cf. Blackman 1918, 502, with Donaldson 1955, 187). Of course the three aforementioned errors appear in sections of B where beta omits text, so there is no external confirmation for the authenticity of F's reading. Here F may simply be showing superior emendational skills. However, dozens upon dozens of other readings, many involving quite subtle errors, occur in every passus of R. They often represent no serious deviation in meaning but simply a slightly less felicitous phrasal variation from the text witnessed by beta; and yet repeatedly in these cases F agrees with beta against R, or offers its own unique reading.NA selection of the relevant evidence (81 individual variants for Prologue-Passus 6) can be seen in Appendix II of my article, "The R/F manuscripts of Piers Plowman B and the Pattern of Alpha / Beta Complementary Omissions: Implications for Critical Editing," in TEXT [vol. 14 (2001), 131-135]. As for F's supposed borrowings of distinctive errors from R, all the ones mentioned by Taylor are more plausibly explained in other ways, most as problems bequeathed to both copies by alpha.NOne allegation in particular, that F must have derived the detail of "foure" nails in the scene describing Christ's crucifixion from a private obsession of his own and then inflicted it as a marginal correction in R—after all, the other B and C manuscripts agree on "thre"— is quite wide of the mark (542-43). This topic was at the heart of a famous, albeit trivial, medieval theological discussion (Skeat 1886, 2, 251) known to many literate people in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Moreover, the hand and ink of R's marginal correction here is indistinguishable from that used by R's editor in at least eight other cases. In seven of these instances of editorial correction, Taylor apparently has no interest in claiming intervention by the F scribe. This is not surprising since in five of these seven cases (9.34, 10.348, 11.82a-83, 11.245, and 11.369), F's reading of the line or verse in question is unparalleled by any other B witness while R always mirrors beta more closely and is usually identical with it. Especially damaging for the hypothesis of the F scribe as R's mysterious occasional corrector is the example at 10.348. Here an interlinear addition by the hand in question has supplied reuth, bringing the text into line with the version preserved in beta ("Ther riche men [R = man] no riȝt may cleyme but of ruþe and grace"). But F's line shows no sign of reuth at all ("For þere may no man ryght cleyme but of goddis grace"). In the only other instance of editorial correction where Taylor wishes to claim the presence of the F scribe (9.1, in which R's grotesque dowelleth has been repaired by a combination of erasure, striking, and the interlinear supply of dwellis), Taylor thinks the inflected form of the correction better fits F's dialect than R's); but we are not told why F, while correcting R in this way, would have written dwelliþ in his own copy.
The theory that F copied directly from R also fails to address the Norfolk relict layer apparent in F but not present in R, which would imply, at the least, that some ancestor of F, rather than F itself, may have consulted R. And yet it is clear from the paleographical arguments offered by Taylor that his claims are wedded to the notion that the Corpus Christi scribe himself used R to produce F. Likewise, it is hard to grasp why the F scribe would have bothered to "correct" R's Passus 8 rubric to reflect the more conventional four-part segmentation of the poem seen in copies like W at the same time that he was creating from scratch, for his own copy (or duplicating from an unknown conflational source), an entirely distinctive set of passus divisions that bears no resemblance to R's pattern or W's.NTaylor tries to avoid this problem by arguing (544-45) that R's altered rubric was intended to be read "Incipit Passus octauus de visione petri plowhman / Dowel . Dobet . & Dobest" and that there was no aim to echo (nor even any awareness of) the typical format of the W family of beta manuscripts. Such an argument stretches credulity since in fact R's altered rubric actually assumes the W family's ordinatio and certainly reads "Passus octauus de visione petri plowhman / Incipit Dowel . Dobet . & Dobest."
II.2.5 The Alpha >< Beta Revision Question:
Owing to R/F's shared preservation of some 170 lines not found in the beta tradition, and their shared omission of an approximately equal amount of text witnessed by beta, some have wondered—Skeat, characteristically, was the first (1869, xii)— whether the R/F shared text may actually represent a discrete version of Piers Plowman, either midway between A and B, or midway between B and C. The best-known argument for the A —> R/F —> B hypothesis was articulated fifty years ago by E. T. Donaldson, who thought that some distinctive A-version features preserved exclusively in alpha revealed its relatively earlier date (a position abandoned by the time he and George Kane published the Athlone B version in the mid 1970s). Recently, the opposite case (A B —> R/F —> C theory) has been argued by Ralph Hanna (supported by Sean Taylor in a second article, in the Yearbook of Langland Studies). Hanna has proposed that all of alpha's omissions with respect to beta can be accounted for as simple scribal oversights, but that some of beta's omissions with respect to alpha are not omissions at all. Instead, these passages are missing from beta because they are later authorial insertions of coherent thematic units, freshly written for alpha, which may have been a sort of "rolling revision" (1996, 215-29). Either way, R/F would remain relevant to editing the B version, but their evidence would necessarily be applied differently to the task of recovering B's original readings and might carry somewhat less weight than it customarily has. In Hanna's opinion, the practical difference would be minimal since well over 95% of the alpha and beta traditions manifest, with regard to each other, no evidence of revision or distinctive authorial intentions.
Endorsing such a thesis would entail seeing the alpha pair of manuscripts as a slightly different authorial text "state" of B, rather than a completely distinct "version." The latter term implies major shifts of theme and plot as well as numerous small touchups of phrasing, and it seems obvious that no such extensive alterations distinguish R/F from the other B manuscripts. At this point, conservative editors might see the situation as theoretically hopeless: that is, if R/F were to be regarded as embodying a distinctive, somewhat later (or earlier), authorial moment than beta, we would not be able to draw the line at the few large patches of apparently added or deleted materials but would have to accept every tiny pair of alpha / beta variants as potential evidence of fluctuating authorial purposes. Nevertheless, whatever may be true in theory, in actuality the vast majority of small variations between R/F and beta are readily distinguishable (i.e., not textually neutral at all), and most of the rest present few practical display problems for a hypertext edition such as the one now in progress at the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive.
Such finespun theorizing about the relationship between alpha and beta may seem labored, or even fruitless, but how one goes about editing Piers Plowman B depends heavily on one's conclusions concerning such matters. George Kane and E. T. Donaldson certainly realized this when they argued in the prolegomena to their edition, that the alpha and beta sub-archetypes are on precisely equal footing, and that all instances of text loss in both are products of ordinary carelessness (1988, 66-69). Having no hypertext format available to them (their first edition appeared in 1975), it is hard to see how they could have edited the B-version at all—other than as parallel alpha and beta texts— had they come to any other conclusion. And in many cases, especially where short passages of text are concerned, the evidence for their view (that these complementary omissions result from typical lapses of scribal attention) is compelling. Unfortunately, as both Hanna and Taylor have noticed, the Athlone claims for simple mechanical error do not always seem so strong. Occasionally, an entire verse paragraph or the heart of a thematic unit has been omitted for no reason easily assignable to the usual slips of eye or memory.
On the other hand, Hanna's counterclaim (that such mysterious gaps are restricted to beta) also looks problematic. Several
of the main textual anomalies in alpha and beta seem easier to explain on other grounds than those of "rolling revision,"
and evidence from the relevant C-version variants is less supportive than such a theory would lead us to expect. Alpha as well as beta omits several sizeable
chunks of lines for no plausibly mechanical reason (e.g., cf. alpha's loss of 15.533-69, 17.39-49, 17.115-26, and 17.221-47
with beta's loss of 12.116-25a, 13. 436-53, 14. 228-38, and 15.511-28). Donaldson himself recognized this problem in 1955,
when he invoked the improbable theory that both traditions have unusual omissions in their latter parts because the same erratic
scribe may have copied both sub-archetypes (1955, 186). It now seems likely that any hypothesis attempting to account for
these phenomena by positing a small, relatively arbitrary set of authorial paragraph revisions between the production of the two sub-archetypes will tend to produce an easily reversible argument, one that highlights some aberrant
features and suppresses others, exaggerating the differences between alpha and beta.N
As for smaller discrepancies between alpha and beta—word and phrasal variations—Hanna is careful to distance his argument
from any claims that individual variants and half-lines from alpha consistently represent a later stage of Bx (i.e., closer to Cx) than that attested by beta. The lectional data, like Janus, points in both directions simultaneously.
A single instance which seems to support "rolling revision" on this level is, however, worth examining as a prophylactic against
hasty generalizations: at 6.218, beta's b-verse shows the variant fortune in the phrase "þat Fortune haþ apeired." This is also the variant attested by the A version. By contrast, R has falshed and F reads False. At this same place, Cx reads fals men (8.228). An eagerness to discover some clear pattern of versional evolution, combined with a judicious neglect of conflicting
evidence, could easily lead one to infer from a handful of such examples that alpha here represents exactly the sort of intermediate
stage between B and C that we have been looking for. However, a glance at the unanimously attested Bx line following this one ("Or any manere false men, fonde þow swiche to knowe")—a line completely missing from C— makes it obvious that the reading attested in alpha's b-verse resulted from scribal anticipation of a key phrase in the
next verse and created an absurd redundancy. No one believes that Cx used alpha itself as his exemplar (passages missing from alpha regularly appear in C), and no one can believe that alpha's version of these two lines (or of this variant) is authorial. In fact, the Bx a-verse of 6.219 is also metrically corrupt (x a | a y), and therein lies the best clue to the entire puzzle. The common
parent of Bx / Cx presumably botched the phrase corresponding to 6.219a (it would originally have read, as A, "Wiþ fuyr or wiþ false men") and then later tried correcting it with a marginal insertion, "false men." When the scribe
of Bx came to this passage, he probably couldn't read the original a-verse at all, but he could read the correction (which might
have seemed to him a gloss), so he improvised a new a-verse. In addition, he may well have reproduced the exemplar's "false
men" as a marginal note, an extra inducement to alpha's subsequent error (easy enough to commit in its own right). Later,
when Langland worked from the same document in creating C, he was no more successful than the Bx scribe at reconstructing his original verse at 6.219 and chose instead to delete the garbled line entirely and rewrite the
previous one, substituting the "false men" of the marginal correction for "fortune." As on many other occasions, Langland's
attempt at rescuing C from a passage from hopeless textual corruption involved him in adopting a hint from an earlier scribal error, but that is
a far cry from any suggestion that falshed / Fals in alpha represents "authorial revision" of the text found in beta.
As for smaller discrepancies between alpha and beta—word and phrasal variations—Hanna is careful to distance his argument from any claims that individual variants and half-lines from alpha consistently represent a later stage of Bx (i.e., closer to Cx) than that attested by beta. The lectional data, like Janus, points in both directions simultaneously.
A single instance which seems to support "rolling revision" on this level is, however, worth examining as a prophylactic against hasty generalizations: at 6.218, beta's b-verse shows the variant fortune in the phrase "þat Fortune haþ apeired." This is also the variant attested by the A version. By contrast, R has falshed and F reads False. At this same place, Cx reads fals men (8.228). An eagerness to discover some clear pattern of versional evolution, combined with a judicious neglect of conflicting evidence, could easily lead one to infer from a handful of such examples that alpha here represents exactly the sort of intermediate stage between B and C that we have been looking for. However, a glance at the unanimously attested Bx line following this one ("Or any manere false men, fonde þow swiche to knowe")—a line completely missing from C— makes it obvious that the reading attested in alpha's b-verse resulted from scribal anticipation of a key phrase in the next verse and created an absurd redundancy. No one believes that Cx used alpha itself as his exemplar (passages missing from alpha regularly appear in C), and no one can believe that alpha's version of these two lines (or of this variant) is authorial. In fact, the Bx a-verse of 6.219 is also metrically corrupt (x a | a y), and therein lies the best clue to the entire puzzle. The common parent of Bx / Cx presumably botched the phrase corresponding to 6.219a (it would originally have read, as A, "Wiþ fuyr or wiþ false men") and then later tried correcting it with a marginal insertion, "false men." When the scribe of Bx came to this passage, he probably couldn't read the original a-verse at all, but he could read the correction (which might have seemed to him a gloss), so he improvised a new a-verse. In addition, he may well have reproduced the exemplar's "false men" as a marginal note, an extra inducement to alpha's subsequent error (easy enough to commit in its own right). Later, when Langland worked from the same document in creating C, he was no more successful than the Bx scribe at reconstructing his original verse at 6.219 and chose instead to delete the garbled line entirely and rewrite the previous one, substituting the "false men" of the marginal correction for "fortune." As on many other occasions, Langland's attempt at rescuing C from a passage from hopeless textual corruption involved him in adopting a hint from an earlier scribal error, but that is a far cry from any suggestion that falshed / Fals in alpha represents "authorial revision" of the text found in beta.
The following scenario offers what seems to us (at this admittedly hazy stage of our knowledge) a more convincing explanation: Bx's exemplar, also the source for Cx, was probably a scribal fair copy (already replete with small errors). It was then subjected to extensive, direct authorial revision, especially over the second half of the poem (giving that section some of the appearance of foul papers). It had blocks of recently composed or revised text attached at various points as extra leaves or scraps of membrane. A limited number of these authorial revisions appear to have passed down into Bx in the same form—as marginalia and attached slips of parchment. Some of these cases presumably occurred because the Bx scribe overlooked them until after he had already copied his base text, or because he was uncertain about their placement. However, some of these passages may have come into Bx as addenda because Langland actually wrote them shortly after Bx was originally copied. Having begun life, like its exemplar, as a scribal "fair" copy, although a rather mediocre one, Bx ended up being garbled by some such set of late authorial revisions added in ramshackle fashion. Hence, Bx was very confusing to follow when, in its turn, it came to be used as an exemplar by alpha and beta.
While another limited revision process, such as the one we have just postulated, may also have occurred between the production of the two sub-archetypes (as Hanna believes), the actual pattern of complementary omissions bequeathed by alpha and beta to the extant B manuscripts simply cannot be accounted for in terms of some hypothetical temporal sequence of those two documents. (Although one of the two sub-archetypes must have been copied before the other, their order of production looks irrecoverable.) Nor is this pattern of lost text the product of merely mechanical oversights. Instead, some of these differences may result from scribal censorship of sensitive topics, but most of the larger omissions probably reflect the relative luck of the alpha and beta scribes in locating Langland's marginalia and addenda slips and tracking them to the correct points for insertion.
II.2.6 The Relationship of R to L:
Whatever account of production history might best explain the subtly divergent textual states in which Piers Plowman B survives (as alpha and beta), one fact remains staring us in the face, just as it stared at Skeat more than a hundred years ago: the two surviving manuscripts that most faithfully reflect Langland's original are R and L (Oxford Bodleian Laud Misc. 581). And although they derive from different textual traditions (R from alpha, L from beta), these two witnesses closely resemble each other in all sorts of surprising (albeit superficial) ways, including many details of layout as well as uncommon morphological and orthographic features. More importantly, in an extraordinary number of cases, manuscripts R and L will agree on a good variant (or even share an error of omission) against all, or nearly all, of the other copies—a fact that long ago misled Elsie Blackman into hypothesizing a sibling relationship for them.
What now seems apparent, however, is that when two unusually good copies have descended, as these have, from separate branches of a textual tradition as complex as that of Piers Plowman—and yet display such strong affinities with each other—they likely must be positioned very near the original transmission point. Ralph Hanna has offered his opinion that both R and L date from the late fourteenth century, not the early fifteenth (as Kane believed); moreover, some six years ago Hanna noted that these two copies share a sufficient number of distinctive layout features with at least three other B manuscripts (manuscripts W, M, and Y) to suggest that they all may have been produced by a single loosely organized group working in London during the 1390s and early 1400s. Of the lesser three witnesses in this hypothetical production group, the most erratic is manuscript Y and the best is manuscript M; but a recent study by Thorlac Turville-Petre has demonstrated that M was extensively "corrected" after its completion, into forced agreement with the textual tradition of manuscript W (a good London-normalized copy whose readings are, nevertheless, often inferior to those witnessed by R and L).
Where has this gradual accumulation of evidence led us as editors? To the realization that it would be impossibly timid to hide behind an affected agnosticism about Langland's own linguistic forms (in the absence of a holograph) and thus embrace as our critical base a witness like manuscript W (used as copytext by both Schmidt and Kane-Donaldson). The choice we have made, instead, is to return to Skeat's usage of manuscript L as copytext, corrected and supplemented, where necessary, by readings from any other relevant Piers manuscript (including those of other versions), but especially and continuously checked for authenticity against R. Hence the importance of R to the critical editing of the B-version of Piers is that, more than any other surviving evidence, it validates the authority and primacy of L. The unusual word forms and inflections that it shares uniquely with L (some of clear Southwestern origin) cannot all be Langland's; some must have been original to the scribe of Bx. But manuscripts R and L, with only two documents probably separating them from a holograph, inevitably reflect better than any other B copies the mixed usage and dialect of William Langland himself.
II.3 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 indicates the color of ink used by the scribe, while any other colors — aqua, dark gray, lime, olive, pink, purple and violet — 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, marginalia not in the text hand, 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 the text as it was intended to appear after correction. 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.
An example of the effects of the four style sheets may be offered by the "shadow-hyphen," which we have used to join the elements of compound words that the scribe had left separate. In the Scribal style sheet the elements of the compound are joined by a pink hyphen to indicate editorial intervention: so for-wandred, MP.7. In the Diplomatic style sheet the two words appear as the scribe wrote them: for wandred. In the Critical style sheet the elements of the compound are joined without a space: forwandred. In the Alltags style sheet the pink hyphen again joins the parts of the compound for-wandred.
II.4 Presentation of Text: Transcriptional Policy:
We have two major goals in creating documentary editions. Since we intend ultimately to produce critical editions of the authorial texts, we look at each manuscript text and its documentary edition as a step toward restoration of an authorial text. From that perspective, much of what interests us in a manuscript lies in its relations to other witnesses and to the texts that lie between it and the archetype. Because each documentary text will be electronically collated with all the other texts, we have transcribed a few more aspects of the manuscript than has become the fashion in editing vernacular texts in the late twentieth century. We are also aware that these manuscript texts are often of considerable interest in their own right. As George Kane has argued, the recent trend in literary criticism to speak of such manuscript versions as medieval "readings" of the poem tends to sentimentalize the scribal role.NIn recent years, encouraged by persistent rumors of "The Death of the Author" and by legitimate interest in the reception history of literary texts, some scholars have tended to blur or ignore the distinction between scribal and authorial inscription, literalizing the trope of the scribe as literary critic, an idea initially proposed by Barry A. Windeatt in his important study, "The Scribes as Chaucer's Early Critics," Studies in the Age of Chaucer 1 (1979), 119-41. For Kane's response, see his "The Text," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John Alford (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988), p. 194. Derek Pearsall has also spoken to the desirability of studying scribal texts in a number of articles, perhaps most fully in "Editing Middle English Texts," in Textual Criticism and Literary Interpretation, ed. Jerome J. McGann (Chicago, 1985), pp. 92-106, as well as in "Texts, Textual Criticism, and Fifteenth-Century Manuscript Production," in Fifteenth-Century Studies: Recent Essays, ed. Robert F. Yeager (Hamden, CT, 1984), pp. 121-36. See also Wendy Scase, Piers Plowman and the New Anticlericalism (Cambridge, 1989), passim.
In the interest of reflecting as accurately as possible the features of the scribal document, we mark with XML tags all changes in hand, style of script, or color of ink. We retain scribal punctuation, introducing none of our own. We display all marginal and interlinear textual insertions entered in R by the original scribe and/or his corrector and attempt, where possible, to identify the hand responsible for such additions. Material entered in R by later marginal annotators we indicate with marginalia notes (symbolized by the red capital "M" icon in the browser). Similarly, we mark all deletions, subpunctions, and erasures. We record our resolutions of all abbreviations, suspensions, and brevigraphs, sometimes including material of dubious significance. When we eventually do machine collation, such elements will almost certainly constitute only distracting informational noise.NWe remind readers who do not wish to be distracted by such paleographic or codicological details that they are suppressed when the Critical style sheet is selected.
The scribe's mise en page, his use of colored paraph markers, as well as changes in style of script and color of ink all provide textual information available to medieval readers and usually lost in modern printed editions. Using XML tagging, we are able to render on screen a partial representation of that information.
Our edited pages are not intended to reproduce literally the manuscript page, only to represent abstractly its salient features. Those readers who want to see color images of the manuscript page may click on the blue superscript capital <I> at the end of folio indicators.
Transcription into an electronic medium is quite as interpretive an activity as that into printed texts, though the electronic edition offers greater flexibility. Extensive as our present markup of the text is, it would have been possible to provide an even more fine-grained transcription than we have chosen to do. The scribe, for instance, deploys more than one distinctive letter form for <r> and <s>. We could have distinguished sigma <s> with entity references. However, since those distinctions represent allographic forms with a readily determinable rationale for their distribution, we, like Peter Robinson and Elizabeth Solopova in their transcriptions of the manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales, concluded that our text might most reasonably aim at graphemic rather than graphetic representation.N"Guidelines for the Transcription of the Manuscripts of the Wife of Bath's Prologue," in Norman Blake and Peter M. W. Robinson, eds., Canterbury Tales Project Occasional Papers 1 (Oxford, 1993), pp. 19-52. To that end, we have not distinguished allographic forms.NConsistency occasionally runs afoul of well-established convention. We have treated the long <i> when it appears in the manuscript usually as <I> whether it represents consonant, glide, or vowel. However, when it appears after the short <i>, we transcribe it with <j>.
The R scribe deploys comparatively few suspensions and abbreviations. Those that are used customarily signify the same compressions as in other English vernacular manuscripts of its era (ca. 1400). We have expanded the scribe's regular abbreviations and suspensions.
In English words the R scribe uses a superscript <t> above <þ> for "þat" but always spells out "with" fully; he indicates with a superscript <i> or <a> the omission of <r> before these vowels in such words as "vncristene" (R10.379) or "graunte" (R11.129). The suspended <er> is indicated by a superscript loop at the end or within a word: "þer" (R12.138), "auerel" (R13.281). Rarely, depending on the etymon, the same superscript loop can signify a suspended <our>, as with "fauourable" (R3.145) or "vnsauourly" (R13.37). However, the R scribe has a very strong preference for spelling out such words when they occur. A line through the descender of <p> represents either "per" or "par," as in "perkyn" (R6.113) and "parfit" (R20.82); a loop through the descender indicates "pro," as in "prophite" (R3.225), while suspended <re> is represented by either a backward or a forward superscript loop after the <p>, as in "prechynge" (R5.656) or "presentes" (R12.156). A slanting line through long <s> represents "ser" as in "asserued" (R12.198). A curved or flat stroke over a vowel represents a nasal, as in "resoun" (R10.57) or "passioun" (R5.417).
Loops and curls on final letters are notoriously difficult to interpret, since they may be meaningless ornamentation. In general, however, the R scribe is sparing in his use of them and almost all of them appear to be significant. We have taken the curl on final <r> to represent an implied <-e>, as in "ȝoure" (R11.305). Final <g> sometimes has a short horizontal stroke or a loop. We have interpreted the loop, large or small, as <-e>, e.g. in "kynge," or "thynge" (R16.267), or with the present participle ending "-ynge." Final <k> also is found at times with a short vertical stroke added to its right side; based on such forms as "folke" at R20.38 (the scribe's uniform preferred spelling of this word), we have construed final <k> with the terminal vertical stroke as signifying as <-e> e.g., "folke" (R20.257, 262). We have interpreted the bar through the ascenders of <-ll>, and that through <h>, as signifying <-e> The latter abbreviation (e.g. "flesche" at R6.159) is rare in R, but the use of both bars seems unambiguous. When spelling out in full, the R scribe renders modern "flesh" at least half a dozen times as "flesche" (e.g., R6.18, 11.418, 12.247). In approximately an equal number of cases, he spells the same word without final <e>. His treatment of words like "fisch/e" and "fresch/e" is parallel to "flesch/e" in its inconsistency. Nevertheless, since he frequently renders these words, in full, with final <e>, and since the spelling forms throughout R represent a mixture of the scribe's own preferences with those of his exemplar, we must take his very limited use of the barred <h> as significant and not mere ornament.
Wherever the R scribe spells modern "all" in full, it appears either as "al" or as "alle." The only occasions where the bar is deployed through the <-ll> are those where the word is spelled "all" (some fifteen times, versus the dozens of times when the word is spelled in complete form). The same practice is discernible with regard to other <-ll> words, such as "helle" (R10.401), "wille" (R3.260, 10.481, and 18.91) and "bulle" (R5.663, 7.70). The commonest such word, apart from "alle," is "conseille," which occurs with several variations in the spelling of its morphemic base, but almost always with barred <-ll>—around a dozen times. The barred <-ll> never occurs in contexts where a final <e> is actually written out.
A similar situation to that of barred <h> exists with regard to final <d>, which occasionally is found with a terminal vertical descender. The fact that the R scribe always writes "quod" with this final stroke (dozens of times), and does not add this stroke on the two occasions when he writes out "quod," indicates that he understands it as signifying a suspension or compression; so where he uses this vertical stroke at the end of a word showing no internal suspensions, we have taken it to represent final <e> and have expanded accordingly. Only a handful of occurrences are involved, as with "kniȝhode" at R10.361, "blessede" at R11.169, "erde" at R6.203, and "mydelerde" at R11.339. No evidence contradicts these expansions (there are no occurrences of the slashed <d> in the presence of a written final <e>), but because of the mixed spelling forms typical of R, examples of three of these four words may be found at other points in the manuscript spelled with no final <e> and no indication of any suspension.
A parallel situation to the one outlined above exists with respect to final <t>, which in a handful of cases shows the same sort of downstroke off the tail of its crossbar. For example, "schorte" occurs twice in R (at 14.259 and at 18.299); neither time is the final <t> marked by the downstroke. However, at R12.132, the word is spelled "schort," and here the <t> is so marked. Similarly, the R scribe spells out "conforte" some 17 times in the course of his labor; on 5 other occasions he omits the final <e>, but in three of these cases (R 12.92, 14.162, and 14.185) the final <t> is marked with the downward slash, albeit quite lightly in the last instance. In these examples, as with "schorte" above, we have expanded to indicate the presence of a suspended final <e>.
R shows a notable tendency toward shorter spellings of some characteristic derivational suffixes, such as "-schipe" rather than "schippe" and "c/sion" rather than "-c/sioun." As a result, common expansions of forms such as final barred <p>, as signifying "-ppe," or barred <-cou> as implying "-cioun," are here either erroneous (in the former case) or problematic (in the latter). The evidence regarding these two situations is sizeable but, in the latter case, not always clear in its implications. On a number of occasions the R scribe renders "-schipe" words in full, explicitly, as with "werkmanschipe" (R2.53), or "lordschipe" (R10.14, 14.276, and 14.354), or "felaschipe" (R2.169), or "worschipe" (R6.103). By contrast, only once in the entire course of his copying does R write out "-schippe" ("lordschippe" at R2.6). This is so despite his fondness for rendering monosyllabic words, especially those with middle or back vowels, with <-ppe>, as with "hoppe" (R3.191), or "cuppe" (R5.346), or "lappe" (R5.367), or even "lippe" (R15.540). However, he never spells these monosyllables with a barred <p>. Equally significant, on one occasion R writes "felachippe," using the bar over the second <p> to indicate the suspended <-e>. Hence, we will always treat his renderings of this morpheme with barred single <p> as "schipe."
Likewise, almost never does the R scribe write out "-c/sioun" in full (one exception occurs at R20.301 = "confessiouns"), even though he is in the habit of spelling other morphemes with "-oun," as with "resoun," or "religioun" (R7.32), or "londoun," (R2.96), or "legioun" (R20.61). Instead, he regularly writes "sauacion"(R11.149 and 15.537), and "deuocion" (R15.324), and "restitucion" (R5.235 and 17.276), and "contricion" (R20.336), and "permutacion" (R3.253), to name only a few. Unfortunately, however, there are also a number of instances in his work of this morpheme being treated as "-c/sioun" (e.g., "remissioun" at R6.92, "presumpcioun" at R10.58, and "contricioun" at R11.79). The inconsistency may be the result of mere unconcern on the part of the R scribe, but it is likelier to reflect a conflict between R's own preferred spelling, "-c/sion," and the form of his exemplar, "-c/sioun." The problem is rendered more difficult by the fact that the scribe makes no reliable distinction between <u> and <n>, which can lead to ambiguity in words unrelated to this final morpheme, such as "leue" / "lene." Hence, when the R scribe abbreviates this suffix, the only real evidence of his intent for spelling it is the position and length of the bar over these characters. When the bar covers only the -co-, we will expand this syllable as "cion;" when it covers the ambiguous <u/n> as well, we will expand this syllable as "-cioun."
The shapes of <þ> and <y> are generally distinct, with the descender of the former tending to be shorter and completely vertical while the descender of the latter is more elongated with a diagonal slant towards the left; intermittently, the scribe will dot his <y> to make the distinction clearer. The graph usually referred to as "yogh," <ȝ>, is indistinguishable from the character used by the R scribe to represent <z> in words such as "artz" and "baptize." When it occurs in such contexts, we have always transcribed this graph as <z>. Scribal capitalization has been followed, except that <w> has always been transcribed as a small letter within the line, since the scribe makes no distinction between small and capital. Similarly, the distinction between small and capital <Þ> is virtually non-existent, as is the distinction between small and capital <s>, <h>,and <ȝ>. We always use capital forms of these letters in line-initial position since it is clear that the scribe intends them there. Otherwise, only lower case forms are ordinarily deployed.
The R scribe's system of Latin abbreviations appears completely typical for an English manuscript of his era, though it is interesting to note that he seems to draw a categorical distinction between <&> when it represents "et" and the same character when it represents English "and." The distinction is enforced by his use of a bar over the character whenever he uses it for "and" and the absence of the bar whenever it signifies "et." There may be an exception to this rule at R15.618. But since the sign here occurs at a linguistic boundary between English and Latin within the line, we are inclined to credit the massive evidence of R's general intentions as indicating that, in this case, the scribe carelessly generated a unique variant and truly intended the <&> to signify "and" (against the reading of the other B manuscripts). Throughout the manuscript, some lines have beside them (or occasionally above) a nota sign so cursive that it looks more like an N or S-shaped squiggle. These may have been written by the main scribe, but that is not ultimately determinable. We have recorded them as "nota." They need to be distingished from the "#" marks (representing nota as a visual symbol from contemporary musical scores), which we have recorded as "nota."
The word division of the manuscript is followed as far as possible. Words that are written separately in the manuscript are hyphenated if OED2 hyphenates them or presents them as one word. Words written as one in the manuscript which OED2 records as separate words are silently expanded unless there is some phonological implication (as with the elision of "at ese" written as "atese"), in which case they are tagged with the regularized form. Scribal intention is not always clear, especially with one-letter prefixes such as a- and the i- or y- of the past participle. There is regularly a small gap between prefix and stem, so that it would be possible to interpret the form as one word or two. The interpretation of the scribe's word division, though it is generally unambiguous, is sometimes a matter of fine judgement. The scribe has a category of halfway house, in which a single word is written in two sections, with what might be interpreted as a small space between them. This is usually the case with the past participle with y- or i- prefix. There is an example of this in "ywroȝt" at R2.79, where the space is clearly smaller than with "betyde" later in the same line; and yet the space is obviously visible and constitutes a gray area in transcription. In essence, where such spacing between the <i> or <y> prefix and the past participle cannot be attributed to chance variation or to aesthetic requirements induced by the shape of the characters neighboring each other, we have transcribed the words in question by joining their segments with hyphens. The same ambiguity commonly occurs in the writing of "dowel," "dobet" and "dobest." In our transcription we have ignored the tiny space but (as in other cases where words regarded as single in OED2 are written as two words in the manuscript) have marked the definite spaces with a hyphen.
Line numbering in the printed editions is not consistent from edition to edition. In general, Sister Carmeline Sullivan's tripartite division of the Latin quotations and tags provided a basis for the Athlone and other modern editors for deciding when to provide serial line numbering and when to treat the Latin materials as supplementary to the English text.NThe Latin Insertions and Macaronic Verses in Piers Plowman (Washington, DC, 1932). Derek Pearsall's explicit statement of his practice in his edition of C is essentially that of modern editors: "The practice here is to number Latin lines which contain any word of English or which are integral to the syntax of the surrounding English lines. The remainder, mostly biblical quotations, are unnumbered and indented."NWilliam Langland: Piers Plowman: The C-Text, 2d ed., Exeter Medieval English Texts and Studies (Exeter, 1994; original edition Los Angeles and Berkeley, 1978), p. 23 [quoted in John A. Alford, Piers Plowman: A Guide to the Quotations, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 77 (Binghamton, 1992), pp. 3-4]. The problems we face in providing hypertextual linkages between every manuscript text and the editorially constructed hyparchetypes, archetypes, and critical texts have led us to provide for each documentary edition a set of absolute line numbers of both English and Latin texts. Even that policy is not entirely straightforward, since long prose passages often occupy more than a single line of manuscript text. We have let the scribal indications of structure determine when and where to assign a single line number. In addition to our own line numbers, there is also supplied a reference to the Kane-Donaldson line numbering in every line in the poem. That is, we have assigned to every line its unique identifier in a line tag (<l>) and a reference number which will serve eventually as a basis for hypertextual linkages among the documentary texts. We are using the Kane-Donaldson numbers for reference in the early documentary texts both because they represent a rational modern standard and because they can serve as place-holders until such time as we have established our own text of B. The Kane-Donaldson numbers are displayed immediately following the R passus and line number in parentheses. R, of course, has a few lines rejected in the Kane-Donaldson text, and these are designated by the number for their last line before the added material followed by a decimal and numbers for each additional line.
We have used <milestone> tags to provide readers an indication of foliation.
III. Linguistic Description:
III.1 Relict Forms from the B Archetype:
A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English (LALME) does not record the linguistic forms of Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson Poet. 38 (R), but M. L. Samuels deems this East Midlands manuscript, together with L, to preserve better than all other B-version witnesses a stratum of SW-Worcestershire dialect features which is likely to be authorial.NM. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, 1988), pp. 201-21. An earlier article by Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum, 54 (1985), 232-47, contains much of the same linguistic information. In it Samuels compares the manuscript traditions of the various (A, B, C) versions and their distribution to isolate archetypal dialect features and thence to argue for an authorial provenance of Malvern. He extracts from the poet's alliterative practices four criteria which, taken together, restrict the dialect to the "southwestern portion of Worcestershire, including Malvern" (1988: 209). These criteria are: 1) relatively more frequent use in alliterating positions of heo (occasionally he) than sche or scheo; 2) plural forms ar(e)n as well as beþ, beoþ, buþ, ben in alliterating positions; 3) alliteration of f- with v-; and 4) alliteration of h- with vowels. As linguistic features indicative of this SW-Worcestershire relict stratum he lists (1985, 241; 1988, 210):
- 1) <oe> for [o:], as in goed "good," noet "knows not."
- 2) pronominal forms heo "she," and a for "he" or "she."
- 3) noyther "neither" and no "nor."
- 4) the conjunction ar "ere, before."
- 5) 3ut "yet."
- 6) <u> and <uy> for [y(:)], as in huyre "hire," pruyde "pride," buggen "buy."
Here follow samples of these features with their comparative distribution in R:
|<oe>=[o:]||goed(e) (51x) ~ good(e) (11x), god(e) (2x); floed (5x) ~ flod(e) (5x); boek (6x) ~ book (4x), bok (1x).|
|pronominal heo, a,NThe forms marked by bold initial consonants alliterate in the lines in which they are found. To facilitate comparison, they are included also in the overall (normal typeface) distribution figures for these pronouns. Pronominal a does not alliterate in any of its occurrences: = "she" 11.254, 11.255; = "he" 16.244, 17.10, 17.45. heo (4x); he "she" (2x); ho 5.648 [but heo (25x); he "she" (12x)]; a "she" (2x);NIn 11.254 and 11.255 a means "she." a "he" (3x);NIn 16.244, 17.10 and 17.257 a means "he." a "they" 6.15; sche (2x)NLines 3.127 and 10.13 have <sch-> alliteration. [but sche (37x); she (1x)].|
|noyther "neither"||noyther (12x), noither (2x), but also nother (16x) and noþer (8x)||neyther (9x), neither (2x).|
|no "nor" ~ ne "nor."|
|ar "ere, before"||ar "ere" (43x); cf. also arst (2x), er(e) (20x).|
|ȝut "yet"||ȝut (14x), yut (1x),||ȝet (25x), yet (1x), ȝeet (4x).|
|<u, uy> = [y(:)]||pruyd(e)(s) (13x), pruid(e) (10x) ~ pride (3x); huyr(e)(d) (10x), huir(e) (4x) ~ hire (2x), hyre (1x); bugge(n) (9x) ~ byggen (1x); muys (1x) ~ mys (1x).|
Most of these features isolated by Samuels are dominant. No "nor" is a conspicuously recessive form in comparison with ne "nor." ȝut is only slightly less well represented than ȝet and its variants. The use of heo/he in alliterative staves outnumbers that of sche by 3 to 1; with respect to the statistical frequency of these pronominal forms, feminine heo/he alliterates in 16% of the instances in which it occurs, sche in just over 5%. Moreover, heo is not found at all after Passus 5.NThe distribution of the feminine personal pronoun he, on the other hand, is not confined to the early passus. It is found in Passus 1 (3x), 5 (4x), 9 (1x), 11 (1x), 12 (1x), 18 (4x). For the preservation of reflexes of OE weak verbs in <-ian> and <-rian> see also III.3.5.1 below; this feature points to a Southern or Southwest Midland dialect (Samuels 1988, 217).
Vowel length of <e> and <o> is occasionally marked by doubling in closed syllables, but on the whole spellings with doubled vowels are recessive.N <e> is distinctly more common for /e:/ and /ε:/ than is <ee>. An exception to this is the word pees, where it would appear that the doubled vowel has become to this scribe a spelling convention, rather than a productive marker of length. This is true as well for word-final open syllables <a> is not doubled to indicate vowel length.N The anomalous and phonologically suspect form haad 3.332 for had/ hadde occurs once; the (Biblical) loan proper noun Isaac 16.243 is the only other instance of <aa>. ME <ii> occurs only as word-final <ij> in hij "they" (3x). Final <-e> and <-es> are more usual signs of length. <ee> is not infrequently found in word-final open syllables, especially for personal pronouns, <oo> much less commonly so. The digraph <oe>, which elsewhere in ME often indicates the [ö] sound, is regularly used in R to represent the long vowel /o:/.
made (87x), mad "made" (3x); take; tale(s).NME word-final <-a> is extremely rare, for the long /a:/ will by this time have regularly shifted to /ɔ:/; na marks an exception to this general rule, but it is relatively scarce (18x) [cf. no (265x)] and occurs only in the collocation na more, which suggests that it is in fact a fossilized idiom serving to dissimilate; the collocation no more does not occur at all. Not even in open syllables [e.g. fareth (11x), taketh (24x) saued (27x) fader (26x)] does <a> necessarily mark /a:/; e.g., catel (25x), water (18x), maner(e) (39x).
|For /e:/ and /ε:/:||<e> ~ <ee>|
bred(e) "bread" (27x); deth; erth(e) (34x) ~ eerth(e) (5x); ete (15x) ~ eet (6x); feet (4x) ~ fete (3x); hed(e)(s) "head(s)"; hede "heed"; pees (27x) ~ pes (8x); preste(s) (34x) ~ preest (1x); sen (3x) ~ seen (3x).N<e> and <ee> to mark /e:/ and /ε:/ show similar distribution in word-final open syllables. <ee> is most common for the verb "see" (as well as the noun "sea"), and the personal pronouns: se "see" (57x) ~ see (7x) (= "see" (4x) + "sea" (3x)); ye (5x), ȝe (166x) ~ ȝee (9x); he (805x) ~ hee (3x); me (330x) ~ mee (3x), etc. Forms of the verb "be" are never written with <ee>: e.g. be (436x), ben (135x), beth (30x), best (1x).
|For /o:/ and /ɔ:/:||<o> ~ <oe>NSee the discussion of dialect above and III.188.8.131.52 below. ~ <oo>NWord-final <oo> is extremely rare: foo (1x), pl. foes (2x); goo (5x) ~ go (49x); loo (1x) ~ lo (16x); þoo (4x) ~ þo (121x), tho (1x). Forms of "do," like those of "be," never show the doubled vowel: do (87x), doen (2x), don (22x), dos (1x), dost (2x), doth (44x).|
blod(e) (18x) ~ bloed R9.144; bok(e)(s) (38x) ~ book(e)(s) (6x) ~ boek (6x); don(e); fode "food"; fote (5x) ~ foot (2x) ~ foet R17.45; gode (58x) ~ goed(e) (51x) ~ good(e) (11x); gost(e).
III.2.1.1 Vowels in Tonic Syllables:
|1. OE, ON /a:/:||<o> ~ <oo> ~ <oe> ~ <a>|
abrode; foo (1x), foes (2x); fro (34x) ~ froo (1x); hole "whole"; holy (98x) ~ holi (2x) ~ haly (2x); hote "hot"; lore; no (265x) ~ na (18x);NThe stressed form no (265x) is overwhelmingly dominant, but stressed na (18x) survives with the unchanged OE spelling in the collocation na more, where it appears to the complete exclusion of no. On the other hand, mo and mor(e) completely replace the comparative ma, suggesting that vocalic dissimilation may account for the preservation of this a: > a/o hybrid. non (57x) ~ none (22x) ~ noen (3x); roper(e); sore; stone(s); wrot(e).
|2. OE, ON /a:/ + w:||<ow> ~ <ou> ~ (<oo>) ~ (<o>)|
blow(e); know(e)(n) (55x); low(e) (21x), lowh (1x) ~ loo (1x);NThe <ow> in lowe does not come from a native /a:/ + w. The /w/ sound in this case is a reflex of the voiced velar fricative following the long /a:/ in ON lagr "low," just as OE agan vb., agen adj. > ME ow(e)n. soule(s) (104x) ~ sole(1x).
|3. OE, ON /a/:||<a>|
caste (8x) ~ cast (6x); hap (1x), happ(e)(s) (2x) sb. "luck"; happe (3x) vb. "happen"; lappe.
|4. OE, ON /a/ + nasal:||<a> ~ (<o>)|
fram (44x) ~ from (4x); can(st); game; man; ran; wan "won"; name(s); s(c)hame.
|5. OE, ON /a/ + lengthening consonant group:||<a> ~ <o>|
bonde "bound"; cold; hand(e)(s) (20x) ~ honde(s) (15x); hange(n) (12x), hangeth (3x), hanged (2x) ~ honged (1x); lond(e)(s) (37x) ~ land(e) (2x); longe (53x) ~ lange (1x); lombe (2x) ~ lamb (1x); stonde(n) (9x), stondeth (3x) ~ stande (5x).
|6. OE, ON /a/ + <-nk>:||<a> ~ <o>|
banke(s); dronke;NThese three occurrences are 3rd sing. preterite, where OE /a/ > ME <o>. The OE plural has /u/. sanke; stanke; thanked (1x) ~ thonked (1x).
|7. OE, ON /o:/:||<o> ~ <oo> ~ <oe>|
blod(e) (17x) ~ bloed (1x); bok(e)(s) (38x) ~ book(e)(s) (6x) ~ boek (6x); brother(e).
dom(e)(s); flod(e) (5x) ~ floed (5x); fode (14x); fote (5x) ~ foot (2x) ~ foet (1x); god(e) (62x)N12.203 god friday and 12.274 god is so god are the only two occurrences of god "good." ~ goed(e) (51x) ~ good(e) (11x); loke; rote(s); schope (3x);NR also has the weak preterite (for-)schupte (3x) < OE scieppan with <u>, but it is not possible to say whether the historical stem vowel /o:/ of the class VI strong preterite underlies the analogical weak form. toles; toþaches.
|8. OE, ON, OF /o/:||<o> ~ (<u>) ~ (<a>)|
box; cros(se); folk(e); god; hulpe(n); mosse; pecok; sonner R10.495 ~ sannore R12.173 "sooner";NSannore is the comparative of OE sōna, and as such has experienced a shortening of the tonic vowel. spottes; wedlok(e).
|9. OE, ON /o/ + lengthening consonant group:||<o> ~ (<oo>)|
bold(e); borde; gold(e) (14x) ~ goolde (1x); molde; word(e).
|10. OE, ON /u:/:||<ou> ~ <ow> ~ (<o>) ~ (<ouȝ>)|
aboute; adoun(e) (10x) ~ adowne (2x); cloudes (1x) ~ clowde (1x); doun(e); hous~ (12x) ~ hows~ (4x) ~ hosewif R14.3; how; mous; now (x) ~ nouȝ R17.254; proud(e); þow (200x+) ~ þou (5x).
|11. OE, ON, OF /u/:||<o> ~ <u>NThe semi-vocalic glide consonant <w> not infrequently represents the combination of consonant + rounded (high) back vowel: /wu/ (or /wo/). Thus for example in wlueliche 15.131, a derivation from OE wulf, the historical short /u/ is rendered by the consonant graph alone. The scribe of R frequently uses <w> to represent Latin <vu> as well: wlt, wltis for vult, vultis. ~ (<i>)|
by-swonke; buttere; kunnen (5x), cunne R20.315 ~ conne (3x); dronke(n);NBoth the indicative past plural and the past participle, whether verbal or adjectival in function, are included here. flix R5.182;NThe spelling flix for "flux" < L. fluxus by way of OF is attested elsewhere in ME sources, but does not in this manuscript represent a regular development of short /u/. ful; pulle; sone "son"; sonne "sun";NThe <n> vs. <nn> orthographic distinction to mark the two words "son" and "sun" respectively is scrupulously maintained in R. þoruȝ (88x), thoruȝ (31x), þorȝ (13x), thorȝ (10x) ~ þurȝ (3x), thurȝ (1x); woke (3x) "week";NAccording to Campbell §218 the word "week," deriving from Primitive OE wicu, underwent "combinative back umlaut" in WS but not in Angl. This means that the back vowel /o/ or /u/ in the syllable following the affected vowel, working together with the back semivowel /w/ preceding the affected vowel, caused u-umlaut even in the environment of a back consonant /k/, which normally prevented back umlaut in both WS and Angl. See Campbell §210. A ME realization of the word with a front vowel is thus of Angl. origin from wicu, whereas a spelling with <o> or <u> is WS from wucu. wolle "wool"; (I-)wonne.
|12. OE, ON, OF /u/ + lengthening consonant group:||<ou> ~ <ow> ~ <o> ~ <u>|
doumbe; grounde (14x) ~ grownde (1x); hound(es) (4x) ~ hownde (1x); morned(e) (3x) ~ mourned (2x) ~ murned (1x); mornynge (1x) ~ murny[n]ge (1x); turne (11x) ~ torne (2x); wonden "wound";NThis is the past plural and participle of "wind." wounde(s) n. & vb. "wound, injury/injure."
|13. OE, ON /y:/:||<uy> ~ <ui> ~ <u> ~ <i> ~ <y> ~ (<ue>) ~ (<ee>) ~ (<e>)|
fuir(e) (3x) ~ feer (2x) ~ fuyr (1x) ~ fuer (1x); fust(e) (11x) ~ fist (1x); huyre (7x) ~ huire (4x) ~ hire (2x); ken 6.142 "kine"; lys 5.200; mys P.22 ~ muys P.71; pruyd(e) (13x) ~ pruid(e) (10x) ~ pride (3x); whi (20x), whies pl. 12.221 ~ why (2x); wisched(e) (3x), wischedun (1x), wischen (1x) ~ wysche 5.113.
|14. OE, ON /y/:||<u> ~ <i> ~ <y> ~ <e>|
bugge(n) (9x) ~ a-byggen 2.89; brugge(s); dede (28x) ~ dide 9.85; fulfille(d) (7x), fille v. 5.346 ~ fulled 15.369; fille n.; furst(e) (43x) ~ first(e) (4x) ~ ferst (2x); gult(es) (8x) ~ gyltes (1x) ~ giltes (1x) "guilt, sin"; gulte (3x) ~ gilte (1x) "gilded"; hudden; hilles (3x) ~ hulles (2x); kyn(ne); left adj. "left"; lofte (6x) ~ lift (1x) "air, heaven"; muche (61x) ~ miche (1x) ~ myche (3x); muchel (3x) ~ michel (1x); merie (5x), mery (1x) ~ murie (3x) ~ myrie (2x) ~ murgur (1x) 1.108 "more merry, merrier"; synne; which(e).
|15. OE, ON /y/ + lengthening consonant group:||<e> ~ <y>~ (<uy>) ~ (<u>)|
buyrde (1x) ~ burde (1x) ~ berde (1x);NThe a-verse of 9.186 has Ne schulde no berde a-bedde be. Following the A and C texts, K-D emend here to bedbourde. B-text witnesses agree overwhelmingly with one another in reading here bourde o(n) bed(de) or some slight variation of this. Although this reading may not be authorial, it seems clear that a strong scribal consensus understood the sense to call for the word meaning "girl" or "young woman." The <e> representing the reflex of OE /y/ + lengthening consonant group in R is thus unlikely to be a confused or unreliable spelling of a misunderstood word, for it is a usual sign for the unrounded vowel. kende (88x) ~ kynde (9x); mynde (9x) ~ mende (3x).
|16. OE, ON /i:/:||<i> ~ <y>|
blithe (1x) ~ blythe (1x); chid(d)e(n) (8x), chidyng (1x) ~ chyde (2x), chydynge (1x); knyf (2x), knyues (1x) ~ kniues (1x); lif (+ compounds) (111x), liue(s) (2x) ~ lyf (+ compounds) (20x) ~ lyue(s) (14x); ride(n) (13x) ~ ryden (2x); tyme(s) (100+x) ~ time (3x); wide (5x) ~ wyde (3x); wis(e) (24x) ~ wyse (7x); wyn(e) "wine."
|17. OE, ON /i/:||<i> ~ <y> ~ (<o>)|
bitter(e) (7x) ~ bytter 5.121; lyue(n) (37x) ~ liue 12.37; nyme; whider (3x) ~ whyderward 5.314 ~ whoder 16.12; wydewe(s) (9x) ~ widewe(s) (5x).
|18. OE, ON /i/ + lengthening consonant group:||<i> ~ <y>|
bynde(n); blynd(e) (11x) ~ blinde (5x); child(e) (8x), childrenNChildren is in fact only one of eight or nine forms, depending on how one normalizes expansions, orthographic/morphological realizations of the plural of "child" in R. Singular and plural taken together, there are in all 32 forms with the stem vowel <i> against the single instance with <y>. (24x) ~ chyldren 3.263; fynde; mylde (4x) ~ milde 10.159; wiȝt(e) (21x), wiȝth (1x) ~ wyȝt(e) (2x), wyȝth (2x); wild(e); wynd(e)(s) (12x) ~ winde 8.27.
|19. OE, ON, OF /e:/:||<e> ~ <ee> ~ <ey>NIn R <ey> appears more often than not as a spelling of French <ei>. As such it indicates length, though it is probably nearly always a diphthong. In the case of a plural where there is an open tonic vowel at the end of the singular form of the word, it clearly indicates syllable juncture. This may indeed be the more important function.NThe samples here show orthographic representations of the ME long vowel. In most environments where a long vowel was followed by two or more consonants in OE, even if these were a combination that caused lengthening, /e:/ will have become short in late ME. Cf. for example the infinitive fede(n) "feed" with the preterite fedde(n) "fed."|
beches; brede(n); contre, contreyes pl.; crede; deme(n); fede(n); feet (4x) ~ fete (3x); grene; hede "heed"; kene; kepe(n); mede; seke; spede; swete.
|20. OE, ON, OF /e/:||<e> ~ <a>|
dowel; federes; geste(s); peny (7x) sg. ~ pans (9x) pl.;NThe sg. of pans in R is peny (7x). rek(e)n(e); sarmon(s) (3x); web; wed(de); wel; wre(c)ched.
|21. OE, ON, OF /e/ + lengthening consonant group:||<e> ~ (<ee>)|
best(e)(s); blende(th); elde (18x) ~ eelde 12.8; fest(e)(s);NFeste "feast" is a borrowing from OF. While <st> is not regularly in OE a consonant cluster that led to vowel lengthening, when <st> occurred between syllables, the syllable division juncture tended not to separate them. Thus the entire cluster came to be perceived as syllable-initial and the preceding syllable became open, occasioning the lengthening of the short vowel. See Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford: Oxford U P, 1928), §97, and Richard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. Eugene J. Crook (The Hague: Mouton, 1974), §§220, 225. feld(e); selde(n).
|22. OE /æ:/ (1) & (2):||<e> ~ <a> ~ (<ee>) ~ (<o>) ~ (<oe>)|
breth; clene; dele(n); drede;NAlthough the reflexes of OE class VII verbs generally show considerable vacillation between <a> and <e> in the preterite, R has only <e> for the present indicative, infinitive and imperative as well as for the substantive, while preterite verb forms are spelled exclusively with <a>. any (72x), eny (18x) ~ ani (1x); ar (43x) ~ er(e) (20x) ~ or 14.148 ~ oer 1.131; euen(e); euer(e); hele; lasse (18x) ~ lesse (5x); leste (18x)NLest spells "lest" (< OE [ðȳ] lǣs ðe) 9x, "least" (< OE lǣst) 3x, and "list" (< OE lystan) 2x. Leste spells "least" 6x but never spells "lest." It also spells "list" 2x. Of these only the reflexes of OE /æ:/ are included in the statistics recorded here. ~ last(e)(th) (10x);NThe recorded occurrences of last, laste and lasteth include various present tense or infinitive verbal forms (< OE lǣstan "last") together with reflexes of "least" (< OE lǣst) (6x). Not recorded here, moreover, is one instance of a past participle last, in which the assimilation of the <-st> cluster of the stem with a weak tense marker <-t> would likely already in OE have produced a short /æ/, of which this <a> is a reflex. Most common is the assimilated superlative form last(e) (< latest; pos. late) (21x), where <a> is not a reflex of OE /æ:/. Compare n.26 above. Note that although "least" may be spelled either with <a> or <e>, in R the verb forms are never spelled with <e> and "lest" is never spelled with <a>. This latter distribution not only conforms to modern English usage, but also suggests that the /æ/ vowel which characterizes the verb today persisted throughout the ME period. lat(e) (37x) ~ let(e)(n) (30x), letun P.54, lett 4.163; reden (3x) ~ reeden 11.100; see (4x) ~ se 11.378 "sea"; seed (6x) ~ sede 5.563; slepe;NBoth the noun (7x) and present forms of the verb (OE VII) (9x) are reflexes of OE /æ:/. The strong preterite slep 5.563, slepe 5.373 is a reflex of OE /e:/. swete "sweat" (5x) ~ by-swatte 13.419;NSwete represents the infinitive and present tense of the verb (3x) as well as the noun (2x). The vowel of the preterite will likewise have been a reflex of OE /æ:/, though the double consonant caused shortening in late OE or early ME. According to Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford: Oxford U P, 1928), §89, the vowel in a word which had undergone this shortening early is /a/ (< /æ/ < OE /æ:/; see also Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford: Oxford U P, 1928), §43). In the language of R, however, <a> can be a regular reflex either of the shortened or the long OE /æ:/. teche(n); weet 14.47.
|23. OE /æ/:||<a> ~ <e> ~ (<ee>)|
apple(s); bak(e), pl. backes "back"; blak; faire (39x) ~ fare (1) 5.485LX This form is unique, and Kane-Donaldson treat it as a possibly substantive variant, but it is likelier to be merely an unusual spelling variation for standard faire found in the other B witnesses, as well as in Ax. Cf. MED, s. v. fair (adj.), where this spelling is documented, sporadically, for c. 13-15.; feelde 3.119 vb. pret. "felled"; had(de); masse(s) (15x) ~ (miȝhel)messe (3x); wasche(n) (6x) ~ wesche(n) (3x); water; what.
|24. OE /éa/:||<e> ~ (<a>) ~ (<ee>) ~ (<u>) ~ (<eu>)|
bem; brede; chepe(d) (3x), chepyng(e) (2x) ~ chapmen (4x); ded(e) "dead, death"; def; deuh 5.636 "dew"; dreme; ere; grete; hed(e)(s), heued(es); hepe; lef(e) (5x) ~ leef 5.206; lepe (6x) ~ luppe 11.333.NThe infinitive luppe is recorded by the on-line MED as "early S."
|25. OE /éa/ + voiceless velar fricative:NWhile the range of graphic variation is not particularly remarkable, all the variants here indicate that the reflex of OE /éa/ + /x/, unlike that of simple /éa/ (see §24), is a diphthong.||<ey> ~ <eyȝ> ~ <eiȝ> ~ <eȝ> ~ (<eyh>) ~ (<ei>)|
hey(e) (12x) ~ heyȝ(e) (8x) ~ heiȝ (5x) ~ heȝ(e) (3x); heie 7.17;NAlthough this might appear to be a vocalic trigraph, a preponderance of manuscripts reads a definite article þe preceding the adjective, which suggests that the R scribe may have inadvertently omitted the article but nonetheless copied the weak adjectival ending. Another possibility is that the scribe, misanalyzing singular dayes "dais" for the plural "days," regarded the weak <-e> ending as apt even where the article was lacking. neyȝ (4x), neyȝ(e)bore(s) (9x) ~ neiȝ (2x) ~ neȝ 20.174, neȝbore 13.380 ~ neyh 14.124; þeiȝ (6x) ~ þeyȝ (2x).
|26. OE /ea/:||<a> ~ <e> ~ <o>|
al(l)(e); barn(e)(s); calf; fall(e)(n); flex 6.13; half(e); holde(n) (9x) ~ halde(n) (3x) ~ helde 4.21;NThese examples are all infinitives. Breaking, or the development of the /ea/ diphthong before an lC consonant cluster, does not normally occur in Anglian. One would thus regularly expect halden either if the vowel remains short or otherwise does not undergo raising and rounding - that is, does not become a monophthong until after the early /a:/ raising is completed. Holden, where the vowel is lengthened when followed by the lC cluster and then undergoes raising, is the regular form we have in PDE. The helde form is possibly Southern. salt; schafte; wex~ (21x) ~ wax~ (3x) ~ wox~ (2x).NThe verb waxen has a complicated phonology; the distribution of forms in R is likewise extremely complex. A comparison with its Gmc cognates makes it evident that it once belonged to the class VI strong verbs (a - ō - ō - a), but by the time of historical OE it generally conforms to the class VII gradation pattern (ea - éo - éo - ea), which naturally affects its development in ME. See Randolph Quirk and C. L. Wrenn. An Old English Grammar, 2nd ed. (London, 1957), §83(a), and Karl Brunner, An Outline of Middle English Grammar, trans. G.K.W. Johnston (Cambridge, MA, 1965. §69, note 21. In some ME witnesses, moreover, at least some stem forms analogically follow the pattern of strong class IV verbs (e - a - o - o). Cf Brunner §69, note 21 and Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford, 1928), §412. The development of ME wex/wax as a class VII verb varies according to dialect because of differences in the monophthongization of OE diphthongs: wex < WS e + h < OE /ea/, but wax < Anglian æ + h < OE /ea/. See Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford, 1928), §28. Forms which fall under 2) and 3) below do not derive from the /ea/ diphthong. They do, however, provide evidence of the analogical shifting between strong verb classes, which in turn may serve in part to explain the forms found under 1) and 4) in cases where the phonological development seems otherwise anomalous for R.
A combination of Southern (West Saxon) and Midland (Anglian) variants of both classes VII and IV allows for the following possibilities:
1) present indic., infinitive: <e> = S VII, IV; <a> WM VII
2) pret. sing.: <e> S, WM VII; <a> S, WM IV
3) pret. pl.: <e> S, WM VII; <o> S, WM IV
4) participle: <e> S VII; <a> WM VII; <o> S, WM IV
In addition to the noun wex (2x) "wax," R has the following distribution of verbal forms:
1) wex(e) infin. (3x), wexeth pres. (7x) ~ wax infin. 4.176, waxeth pres. 13.364
2) wex(e) pret. sg. (8x) ~ wax pret. sg. 16.224
3) wexen pret pl. (2x) ~ woxen pret. pl. 16.58
4) wexed participle 5.357 ~ woxen participle 10.79
|27. OE /éo/:||<e> ~ <ee> ~ <eo> ~ (<u>)N16.110 reads if any perel fulle. The sense is that of "befall" in the subjunctive, where the stem vowel of the strong verb corresponds to that of its preterite plural indicative. The <u> is thus a reflex of OE <ēo>. ~ (<eu>)|
crepe; depe; felle(n); fende(s) (25x) ~ feend 20.38; frende; heo (25x) ~ he (12x) "she"; lede(s) (9x) ~ leedes 4.186 "man"; lef (4x) ~ leef (4x); lem; leep(e) (2x) ~ lepe 5.512 ~ leup 2.29;NThese forms are reflexes of the preterite hléop of the OE VIIa hléapan. The on-line MED records leup as "early SW." swerde; thef.
|28. OE /eo/:||<e> ~ <o> ~ <u> ~ <ee> ~ (<ui>) ~ (<uy>) ~ (<a>)|
buyrn (2x) ~ buirn 16.188 ~ barnes 12.73N Kane and Donaldson, following W, have the correct reading burnes "men." Manuscripts CrHmYOC2CBR read barnes, normally "children," but the MED records barn as a late spelling for burn, in part owing to the conflation of the two words in cases where either term satisfies the general sense "human," in part owing to the adoption of AN baro(u)n (<OF <Frankish ber, cognate with the OE beorn), with a similar meaning, into ME. Although most of the manuscripts cited will have been following an exemplar with <a>, this variant likely came into existence in the first place as an error that needed no correction, producing adequate sense as it does, for the reasons given here. "man"; cherle; erl(es) (7x) ~ eerldam 2.44 "earldom"; erth(e) (34x) ~ eerth(e) (5x); fele "many"; fer(re) "far"; hert(e); heuen(e); lerne; -selue(n) (123x) ~ -sulue(n) (18x); siluer (25x) ~ seluer (10x) ~ suluer (4x); ster(r)e(s); sterueth; werk~ (72x),NOf the 72 instances of the <werk-> spelling, sixteen are found in variants of the compounds "workman," "workmen," or "workmanship." No other spelling of the element "work" is used in these compounds. werch(e)~ (38x) ~ worche~ (8x) ~ wurche~ (4x); world(e)(s) (39x) ~ werld(e)(s) (5x).
|29. OE /éo/ or /eo/ + /w/:||<ew> ~ <eu> ~ <e> ~ (<euȝ>) ~ (<ee>) ~ (<ou>) ~ (<ow>) ~ (<we>) ~ (<u>)|
blew; brewe; gleman (3x) ~ glwemannes 5.359; greu3 11.381; knowes 5.365; rewe; tre(s) (13x) ~ trees 11.376; treuth(e) (63x) ~ trewth(e) (34x) ~ trouthe 10.48 ~ truthe 5.619.
|30. OF /ue/:||<oe> ~ <e> ~ (<eu>) ~ (<o>)|
doel (3x) ~ deul 6.122 ~ delfol 15.562 "doleful"; mebles; meue; poeple (70x) ~ peple (9x) ~ pople 15.92.
III.2.1.2 Non-tonic vowels:
It is not always possible to be certain precisely when, or if, a borrowing from a Romance language has adopted the Germanic "left-handed" stress. See Lass §2.6 for a description of stress shift. The examples provided here all occur in lines where the alliteration provides evidence that the primary stress falls on the initial syllable. In such words the spelling of the vowel of the syllable with secondary stress, usually a digraph, may thus indicate a non-central quality. In native compounds the second element very often retains secondary stress, in which case the retention of non-centralized vowel quality is to be expected: e.g. -full, -lich, etc.
barefoet 18.11; bethleem, bischopes 15.550; citee P.35 ([s]-alliteration); contee 2.47 ([k]-alliteration); monee 1.46; patroen 12.231; pharaoes 7.181 ([f]-alliteration).
|III.2.2.1. OE /hw/:||<wh> ~ (<w>) ~ (<h>)|
whan, when; what; wher(e); which(e) (39x) ~ wich(e) (2x); while; white; whete; whistlyng; ho(o)-so (45x) ~ who-so (8x), who (18x).
The OE <hw> is very consistently spelled <wh>, only rarely <w>. There seem, moreover, to be only two single word-initial instances of the reverse spelling of <wh> for /w/. One at R13.337 is orthographically suspect and suggests possible scribal confusion: 13.337 whitus weyus "wit's men." The spelling whithliche (16.286) for wiȝtliche occurs at this point uniquely in R. A word-final <wh> for /w/ occurs in 20.11 lowh herted. OE hwā becomes both who (10x) and ho (18x) as well as in collocations such as ho-so (43x) ~ hoo-so (2x) ~ who-so (8x), where it is recessive.
|III.2.2.2. Loss of initial aspirate /h/:|
Of the words beginning with inorganic <h> in this sample, several alliterate in lines marked by vocalic alliteration, frequently realized as an alternation of words beginning with vowels and words beginning with <h>: hacre, hasked, heir, herly, holde.
The evidence of inverse spellings and the consistent use of the n-final possessives (e.g. myn, þin, etc.) before words beginning with <h-> as well as before words beginning with vowels suggest that initial aspirate /h/ has been lost in the dialect of the immediate scribe.NFollowing his useful discussion of "orderly variation in spelling" (134-136), James Milroy, Linguistic Variation and Change: On the Historical Sociolinguistics of English (Oxford, 1992), devotes considerable space to the relationship of orthographic <h> to the loss or dropping of the aspirate sound in Middle English pronunciation (137-145). Particularly valuable is his reasoning as to what use it is possible to make of manuscript evidence in this regard, and the pitfalls of disregarding such evidence. The indefinite article an regularly precedes words with initial <h->.
hacre "acre" 6.108; hasked 1.75, 10.167; heir "air" P.4; heres "ears" 10.282; herly "early" 5.332; hers 5.178 "arse"; hesily "easily" 20.352; his; holde "old" 6.86.
Note also the loss of <h-> in the compound falsed 1.66 "falsehood."
|III.2.2.3. Word-final <h>:||<ȝ> ~ <uȝ> ~ <w> ~ <yȝ> ~ <iȝ> ~ (<gh>) ~ (<wȝ>) ~ (<wh>) ~ (<y>) ~ nil|
Word-final /x/, for the most part spelled <h> in OE, though sometimes by analogy with oblique forms <g>, followed either a vowel or a liquid.
burgh 2.59 ~ borewe 6.311 "burg, borough"; fee 4.133; heiȝ (5x) ~ heie 7.17; ynowe, Inow(e), I-now(e), a-now 13.274NRichard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. Eugene J. Crook (The Hague, 1974), §133, finds that this prefix takes on a more open sound between /i/ and /e/ in the fifteenth century; today's spelling "enough" is the result of this development. The spelling <a-> is attested as "scattered" by Jordan. The MED produces many variants with the <a-> prefix under inough (adv.), though none with <-w> as a reflex of the word-final fricative. (17x); lawhe 5.114 "laugh"; neyȝ(e)bore(s) (9x) ~ neiȝ (2x) ~ neȝbore 13.380; plow~ (47x) ~ plowȝ 14.32; seiȝ (14x) ~ say (3x) ~ saw 5.9 "saw"; þouȝ (58x), thouȝ 14.2 ~ þeiȝ (6x) ~ þowe (2x), þow ȝ.349 ~ þei 5.622; þoruȝ (88x), thoruȝ (31x) ~ þorȝ (13x), thorȝ (10x), þurȝ (3x), thurȝ 15.79.
|III.2.2.4. OE /xt/:||<ȝt> ~ (<ȝth>) ~ (<ght>) ~ (<ȝct>) ~ (<wt>) ~ (<th>)|
abouȝte < OE abycgan "redeem"; almiȝti, almiȝty; auȝt; bouȝte; brouȝt(e); cauȝt(e); douȝt(e)r(es) (6x) ~ dowtres 1.28; eyȝte(the) (2x) ~ eyghte 6.332; hiȝt(e), hyȝte (30x) ~ hiȝcte 1.17; kniȝt(e)(s); lauȝte; liȝt(e); miȝt(e); nauȝt(e) (227x), nouȝt(e) (102x) ~ nauȝth 10.295; niȝt(e)(s); riȝt(e); siȝthe 17.52 "sight"; sle(y)ȝte(s) (3x) ~ slithes 13.424 "sleight(s)"; thouȝthe 2.13 "thought."NBut cf. deliȝt 10.393 < AN/OF delit < L delict-. Deliȝt 10.393 derives from AN/OF delit, which in turn derives from L delict-. The yogh here is as likely to be otiose or the product of scribal error as to be a "learned" respelling based on the scribe's knowledge of the Latin etymon. Luick § 769.2 considers the modern spelling a reversed spelling (cf. spright(ly) < OF esprit) owing to the falling together of the long /i:/ + <t> in <-it(e)> and <-ight> once the /x/ was lost. This fluctuation shows up in earlier spellings of <-ite> for present day <-ight> and vice versa.
|III.2.2.5. OE /š/:||<sch> ~ (<sh>) ~ (<ssh>) ~ (<ch>) ~ (<ssch>) ~ (<s>)|
bischop(p)(e)(s) (15x) ~ bisshop~ (8x) ~ bishop(es) (2x); childisch; englisch(e) (9x) ~ englich (2x) ~ englys 7.118; felaschip~ , felaschypp (4x) ~ felachipp(e) 11.455; fisch(e)(s) (10x) ~ fissches 10.318 ~ fissh 5.180; flesch(e); lord(e)schip(p)(e); punische(n); schafte; schal; schame~ (14x) ~ shame 20.256; schip(p)(e)(9x); schrift(e)(s) (13x) ~ shrifte (2x); schul~ (178x) ~ shulde 18.388; worschip~ (3x) ~ worchip~ (3x), wurchip 3.332.
|III.2.2.6. OE, ON /sk/:||<sc> ~ <sk>NThe forms aschaped 6.80 ~ asckapen 2.164 "escape(d)" reflect normal developments from OF and AN.|
ask~; buske(d); descreue~; scarlet; scathe; scolde; scole; score; scorne(d); scribes; skil(l)(e)(s); skynnes.
|III.2.2.7. OE, ON <þ> and <ð>:||<þ> ~ <th> ~ <Th> ~ (<tȝ>) ~ <tth> ~ <d>|
The R scribe's distribution of line initial <Th> and <Þ> manifests fewer than twenty instances of the former in line-initial positionNR1.43; R5.1; R6.1, 329; R10.251, R16.189, 238; etc. Just over eight hundred lines begin with <Þ>, though inside the line, <þ> and <th> appear to be in free variation, with about five instances of <þ> to four of <th>.
quatz (20x) = "quoth" < OE cwæð ~ q(uo)d (200+x).NSee Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford, 1928), §408. Verner's law produces plosive /d/from the old preterite plural; early rounding of /a/ < OE /æ/ produces ME /o/. Richard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. Eugene J. Crook (The Hague: Mouton, 1974), § 32 remark 4, suggests that the /w/ (i.e. <qu> = /kw/) had an influence in the rounding of the vowel, once /æ/ had become /a/.; sitth 17.18; hatz 8.85 ; outȝ 1.121 = "out."NCf. ouȝt (4x) "out"; Note that all but one of these appear in a seven-line section at 1.117, 124, 127; 17.189. See also 13.312 ouȝt "aught."
The graphies <th>, <-the>, and <ȝth> occasionally are written for /t/; e.g., a-thachud 2.198 "attached"; nauȝth 10.295; siȝthe 17.52 "sight"; thouȝthe 2.13 "thought"; thouche 17.150 "touch"; wyȝth 10.295; etc.
Yogh appears in the usual ME contexts, word-initially as the on-glide [j], e.g., ȝates, ȝeue, ȝif, etc., and inside or closing a syllable as the voiceless velar [x]. The spelling of OF quand as quantz (or perhaps quantȝ?) suggests that at least in some contexts no phonetic value is attached to word-final <z> (or <ȝ>). Compare also <souȝd>, "wages, stipend" (3.350) from OF soudee. In this case, yogh appears to function as a lengthening graph.
In one instance, <g> appears to be a relict form representing the on-glide /j/: murgur, "more merry" (1.108).
|III.2.2.10. <-t> ~ <-th>|
A serious and systemic problem with R's spelling system (influencing our understanding of R's morphology and potentially the authority of the B archetype) must here be addressed: in a wide variety of circumstances, especially evident in his finite verb suffixes, R seems to use word-final <-th> to signify something completely unexpected. This feature first came to our attention when we noticed that R shares an apparently nonsensical past-participle inflection (engendreth for engendred) with beta witnesses LCY. Any RL shared form, however odd, is intrinsically likely to be archetypal, albeit perhaps non-authorial, because of their extraordinary accuracy as well as their definitive stemmatic positions. If this lection is not merely a blatant archetypal error (one "corrected" by most later copyists to the expected form), it may be that the R and L scribes (or the Bx scribe) understood the <-eth> suffix in this word as allomorphic with the past participle suffix <-ed / -et> attested in other B copies. The final phone of engendreth would then probably have been construed by L and R as /t/ or /d/ (not the /θ/ which the spelling would suggest to us). A few pieces of evidence scattered throughout manuscripts L and R may support such a conclusion. One wonders, for example, whether the strong preference in manuscripts L and R for the ON-derived spelling of the cardinal number 100 (= hundreth) over the OE-derived form (= hundred) indicates that these scribes, or their models, would have pronounced that word with /θ/ as the final phoneme, rather than /d/. Such a conclusion seems doubtful. Rather, this spelling preference for the number 100 probably attests the same trivial orthographic anomaly hypothesized above concerning engendreth. A similar phenomenon seems illustrated by L's unique, anomalous spelling of a proper noun at KD13.266 (stretforth) in place of the usual Stratford. Another odd <th> verb ending occurs at R20.28, where all the other manuscripts, including L, read a preterite (most of them attesting ouertilte) while R has ouertilth. Yet this is almost certainly intended by R as a preterite (terminal phone to be articulated as /t/) since the line begins with another preterite in all copies, including R (Torned).
A similar oddity shows up in R's unique spelling of a Latin verb form at R18.166: fallereth versus falleret (which is found in the other manuscripts). As with hundreth and ouertilth, it seems implausible to regard the terminal <h> for this Latin verb form as having any phonological value at all. Finally, a similar circumstance occurs at R11.390, where manuscripts Bo and Cot join R in what seems to be an obvious misreading: R attests misfeith at a point where the context clearly endorses the beta reading, mysfait (= ModEng "misdeed"). But the implication of lections such as the aforementioned (e.g., hundreth and fallereth) is that R's apparent disagreement with beta at 11.390 may be illusory.
More important than a few isolated anomalies such as these, two complementary sets of apparently contrasting tense inflections (between R and beta) seem central to the question of a potentially variable role for the <-eth> tense marker in R:
(1) In ten cases involving verbs other than be, R deploys a seemingly present-tense <-eth> morpheme where beta (and usually F) shows a preterite. In addition to R2.80, these include
|R2.76||teneth versus tened|
|R3.120||appayreth versus (ap)peired|
|R5.226||bummeth versus bummed|
|R5.228||vsethNHere an alpha reading. versus vsed|
|R5.489||hath versus had|
|R6.134||apayreth versus appeyred|
|R12.147||repreueth versus repreueden|
|R14.68||wexeth versus wexen|
|R17.30||bileueth versus bileued|
2) In seventeen cases of this sort (finite verbs other than be), R uniquely deploys a past-tense morpheme where the other witnesses show a present tense (with one or more important copies using the -eth inflection). These include the following examples:
|R2.88||nuȝet versus noyeth / noyen|
|R3.129||lat versus leteth|
|R3.213||techet versus teche(n) / techeth|
|R3.247||taked versus taketh (L) / take(n)|
|R3.247||songen versus synge[th]|
|R7.88||bit versus biddeth|
|R9.42||semed versus semeth|
|R9.96||bit versus biddeth|
|R9.102||drad versus dredeth|
|R11.298||seide versus seith|
|R12.101||dampned versus dampneth|
|R12.291||lyued versus lyueth|
|R14.279||folwed versus folweth|
|R15.465||called versus calleth|
|R15.580||nedede versus nedeth|
|R16.195||hat versus hath|
|R17.194||clensede versus clenseth|
By comparison, there are only eight instances where R uniquely attests a preterite but no beta copy's present-tense form is marked by <-eth>. These include
|R4.21||helde versus holde|
|R6.122||deyede versus deye(n)|
|R13.116||prentede versus preynte|
|R13.344||Auenged versus Auenge|
|R14.76||rett versus rede|
|R15.232||semed versus semen|
|R20.230||kepten versus kepen|
Also of great importance is the fact that there is only one tense disagreement in the entire text between R (as unique witness) and the other manuscripts where a be verb is at issue (at R16.142).
Collectively, these examples may reveal nothing more than R's oddly systematic dissent from its cousins. But, on the other hand, they may indicate that the R scribe is reflecting a written language (that of alpha?) in which a terminal inflection <-eth> normally used for third-person present-tense tagging had encroached on the usual role of -<et> / <-ed> in marking preterites. Moreover, MED documents a few early instances (cf. note at R3.213) of the <-et> suffix moving in the opposite direction, being used as a present-tense marker. Embracing such an explanation for R's behavior would not require believing that the present-tense <-eth> was vocalized identically as the same suffix when it occasionally denoted a past tense, nor that they were equally and randomly distributed markers. All it would assume is that the <-eth> suffix could serve either tense-marking purpose (as may also have been the case with <-et>).
While the X family of the C-version agrees somewhat more often with B's alpha than with beta in situations where the two versions share textual variants, in most of these cases outlined above, the Cx reading agrees with beta, indicating either that R (or alpha) was very prone to tense errors - or that we have not been reading some of R's ambiguous tense cues accurately. Hence there may be somewhat less substantive textual variation in the B tradition than we have usually thought.
III.3.1 Metrical Considerations: The Status of Final <-e> and <-en>:
Although adjectives with the <-e> ending are overwhelmingly more common than endingless forms in constructions where the historical weak adjectival declension is to be expected, adjectives marked with <-e> are also decidedly more common where the unmarked form would be historical. See § III.3.4 below.
|III.3.2.1 Nominative / Accusative||nil|
At this period in the development of ME there is no longer any significant distinction between the accusative and the dative. The two cases had long since coalesced into a single "object" case, which itself is formally distinct from the subject case only for the personal pronouns. It is thus necessary to understand "accusative" here as "oblique, not genitive," and not necessarily as accusative in the historical sense.
|III.3.2.2 Genitive Singular:||<-es> ~ (<-ys>) ~ (<-us>)NThis genitive <-us> is the expansion of a suspension and occurs but a single time in a reading otherwise not consonant with the usual scribal practices of R: 13.337 whit(us) wey(us) "wit's ways." ~ nil|
bernes 4.59 "barn's"; cattes; craftys 5.25;NAlthough it is possible that the form craftys 5.25 is plural, in that it follows som manere it is likely that this is an instance of the partitive genitive. cristes (24x) ~ criste 14.81; fendes; herlotes 13.433; kynges; kniȝtes; lordes; mannes; prestes; rigges 5.355; sapiences 3.330.
Some nouns, especially proper names ending with <-s>, remain unchanged in the genitive:
Iudas felawes 9.89; with mammonas mone 8.85; in seynt fraunceys tyme 15.258.
Reflexes of certain declensions in OE that had no <-s> genitive and nouns of romance origin occasionally occur in R in an unmarked form:
of an addre tonge 5.89; in þi brother eyȝe 10.282; of adames issue and eue 11.211; of a frere frokke 5.83; euery man(er) goed man 17.236; Anomalous beggere chambres at 4.126 is probably textual error rather than analogy.
|III.3.2.3 Nominative / Accusative Plural:||<-es> ~ <-s> ~ (<-us>)NSee the note to III.3.2.2 above. ~ <-z>NMost likely following French scribal practice (cf. e.g. filtz 7.179), the <-z> plural marker regularly follows <t> (22x). The three exceptions are mynstralz 20.67; eu(au)ngeliez 10.259; pestilensez 5.13. ~ <-e> ~ (<-(V)n(e)>) ~ (<-re>) ~ (<-(V)r- + -(V)n(e)>) ~ (<-r- + -es>) ~ nilNIncluded are the mutated endingless plurals such as men, teth(e), gees, muys, as well as reflexes of old neuter endingless plurals: scheppe, hors (2x), with gris (3x) "pigs" (< ON gríss, pl. grísir) probably falling into this group by analogy. Gris occurs all three times in alliterative collocation with gees: gode gris and gees P.100, bothe my gees and my gris 4.53, ne noyther gees ne gris 6.286. In the example from the prologue the word gris might best be construed to mean "pork," despite its being paired with the plural gees. The MED and Schmidt agree in this regard in reading "pork," but J. A. W. Bennett, ed. Langland: Piers Plowman: The Prologue and Passus I-VII of the B text as found in Bodleian MS. Laud Misc. 581 (Oxford, 1972), p.240, cites this passage and gives only the plural "pigs, piglings."|
The regular plural in R is <-es> and it predominates almost to the exclusion of other <-s> variants:
armes; clerkes; creat(o)ures; dayes (34x) ~ daȝes 1.103; eyȝes (21x) ~ eyes (6x) ~ eiȝes 2.51; fis(s)ches; fyng(e)res; kynges; ladyes (8x) ~ ladies (2x); prestes; ratones; synnes; soules; wyues
There are no examples of the <-is> plural; there is but a single suspect instance of <-us> (see note to section III.3.2.2). Other plurals, including bare <-s> unpreceded by an unstressed linking vowel, are recorded below:NR omits the a which is common to most manuscripts in many place 15.17. G, one of the two manuscripts with which it shares this distinction, reads pl. places. A scribal omission seems the most likely explanation for place, which is not likely to have been understood as an unmarked plural.
argumentz (2x); brether(e)n (3x); burgeys (4x) ~ burgeis P.90; child(e)r(e)n(e) (16x), chyldren 3.263 ~ childurne (2x) ~ childrun 15.277 ~ childre 16.126 ~ childres 6.99; cristene;NCristen is not only a noun but also an adjective, and as such may have a plural or weak adjectival <-e> ending. That the noun has the plural ending <-e> rather than the regular <-(e)s> probably reflects its origin as a substantivized adjective. dys 6.73 "dice"; enemys (4x); foes (2x) ~ fon 5.98; gees (3x); gris (3x); hors 6.216, 11.358;NThe two occurrences of the singular are both spelled with final <-e>: horse 17.95, 17.96. knes (4x); leopartz; lys 5.200; marcha(u)ntz (3x) ~ marchauntes 7.18; mareys 11.368 "marshes"; minstrales 3.211, mynstrales 10.55 ~ mynstralz 20.67; mys P.22, muys P.71; pans (9x) (never pens) "pence";NThe sg. of pans in R is peny (7x). religious(s)es (3x) ~ religiouse 10.314, 10.336 ~ religious 15.346, 15.373; scheppe 15.395 "sheep"; shoes 20.193 ~ schone 14.357; teth(e) (3x); þing(e) 9.30, 10.470, 13.317NIn OE þing was a long-stemmed monosyllabic neuter, and consequently had no ending in the nom. and acc. pl. Perhaps because it falls into the category of "collectives" (see Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford: Oxford U P, 1928), §331.2; Fernand Mossé, A Handbook of Middle English, trans. James A. Walker (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U P, 1968), § 60.1) it preserves the older inflection longer in ME than many other historical neuters. It is not always easy to tell whether the s-less form is singular or plural in R, for the indefinite article does not always precede the singular, e.g.: Ac þing þat alle þe worlde wote wherefore schuldestow spare / And reeden it in rethorike 11.99-100; astronomye is hard þinge and euel for to knowe 10.221; Ac þinge þat wikkedliche is wonne and with fals slei3tes / Walde neuere wit of witty god but wikked men it maked 15.151-2. For unmarked plurals see the examples cited in III.3.2.3 above. There are also, though less frequently, regular <-s> plurals, e.g.: clergie þat can many þinges 10.179.
|III.3.2.4 Genitive Plural:NThere are ambiguous constructions where adjectives may be construed as genitive plural substantives. Although there is no reason to rule out cristene as an adjective, on cristene kyng 3.284 has the characteristic indefinite pronoun governing a possible genitive plural noun, which is particularly common when a people is referred to. oen of godes chosene 11.117 has oen possibly governing the plural substantivized deverbative adjectival participle chosene: "one + GEN [of the chosen (ones)] of God." Corresponding to modern usage, godes chosene may on the other hand together constitute the object of the preposition: "one of + OPREP [God's chosen].||<-es> ~ <-s> ~ <-(e)ne> ~ (<-erne>) ~ (<-ren>)|
bischopes; bones 5.355;NAlthough most manuscripts have a genitive plural compound such as ruggebones "backbones" here, C and R preserve two independent genitives, a singular and a plural: his rigges bones ende 5.355. childerne 4.119 ~ children 9.175;NThe phrase non children 9.175 would seem to be an instance of the partitive genitive "none of children," for the indefinite pronoun + genitive plural noun construction is very common in Old English and its Germanic relatives. By late ME, however, it is possible that such a construction could be interpreted much in the way of today's Adj + N pl., e.g. "no children." kyn(n)e;NAs with modern English "kind of," kynne regularly occurs as the governing element of the partitive genitive: none kyne riche 11.193; of alle kynne landes 13.216. lechores; lordes; mennes; names; seyntes; tailoures 15.490; þinges 9.2
With the possible exception of iewen, iewene,NTribal and ethnic proper names, often adjectival in origin, are commonly declined weak. none of the following words would have had the weak <-ena> genitive plural in OE:
clerkene 4.121; iewen 15.590; iewene 18.259;NR reads here alle þe iewene ioye 18.259. Throughout R Iew- is nonetheless regularly declined as a noun with <-es> plural and genitive singular. There is, however, another probable, though ambiguous, example of the same genitive plural form (with loss of final <-e>) of this word: is parfit iewen lawe 15.590. F's þe iewes confirms this sense, although it is also possible to understand iewen here as an adjectival formation in <-en>, following the pattern of "wooden," "golden," "leaden," etc., where the derivational suffix makes an adjective out of a noun. Likewise offering circumstantial support for this interpretation, W conversely reads Iewen 1.67 where R has the regular genitive pl. with Iewes siluer 1.69. kyngene 1.106; menne 6.104; wyuene 5.29
III.3.3.1 Nominative Singular:
|1st Person:||I, ich, Ich,NCapitalization in line-initial position is regular (11x). Capitalization in other positions is common: Ich (18x) ~ ich (11x). Iche 13.233|
|2nd Person:||þow, þou, þu 12.294|
Various realizations of the 2nd person subject case enclitic -tow are not uncommon; they occur in positions where the verb regularly precedes the pronominal subject, such as yes-no questions: þow art welcome quod conscience canstow hele syke 20.329.
Already the replacement of singular 2nd person pronominal forms by the historically plural forms ȝow, ȝe is sometimes evident in the subject-verb agreement: if þow canst 2.7; if ȝow canst 3.164.
|Masculine:||he, hee (2x), aNSee §III.1 Relict Forms from the B Archetype above and note for the distribution of the recessive forms.|
|Feminine:||sche, she 1.10, heo, he, aNSee §III.1 Relict Forms from the B Archetype above and note for the distribution of the recessive forms.|
III.3.3.2 Accusative and Dative Singular:
|2nd Person:||þe, the|
|Masculine:||hym, him (2x)|
|Feminine:||hire, hyre 1.75, hir 18.174NThe forms with the <e> stem vowel are frequent in the plural and for the genitive sg. fem., but do not occur as object case sg. fem. personal pronouns.|
|Neuter:||it, hit (3x)|
III.3.3.3 Genitive Singular:
|1st Person:||my, myn,NWith the single exception of I wysche þenne it were myn 5.113, myn (45x) is always conjunctive, having consequently an adjectival or determinative function, never disjunctive or pronominal. In 14 instances it is plural, e.g. myn eyes, myn eres, myn hennes, myn hewes. As it does today, the <-n> form of the possessive precedes words beginning with a vowel, but it also regularly precedes words beginning with <h-> (see §III.2.2 above). The lone anomaly is 6.93 and kepe myn bones, where the <-n> quite unexpectedly precedes a word beginning with a consonant. myne.NMyne with the <-e> ending occurs 7x and is exclusively disjunctive.|
|2nd Person:||þi, thi, þin, þine (2x)NÞine is disjunctive in 5.272, conjunctive in 17.114.|
|Feminine:||hire, here, her (3x), hyre 3.47|
|Neuter:||hisNThere is very little clear contextual evidence of a genitive singular neuter. Allegorical personifications are referred to in the subject case by the personal pronouns "he" and "she," and even the cat in the Prologue is referred to as "he." There are but few examples where a non-human referent combined with a pronominal antecedent "it" confirms the identification of the possessive his as a neuter. Referring to the flesh of a peacock (12.258 his caroyne; 12.259 it flaume ful foule), 12.260 reads: And alle þe othere þere it lith enuenymed þoru3 his atter be. In 17.204 the pronoun it refers to fire: For may no fuire flaume make faile it his kende.|
III.3.3.4 Nominative Plural:
|2nd Person:||ȝe, ȝee, ye|
|3rd Person:||þei, thei, þe, þo,NWhen no strong deixis is indicated, and an antecedent is lacking, þo simply means "they": Þo risen in rape and rowned to-gyderes 5.340. Perhaps þo fals iewes 18.114 is likewise an article; compare þe fals iewes 18.95, which may, however, be the immediate notional antecedent of the former phrase. This usage of the demonstrative form is very rare, and would seem to be nothing more than a spelling variant of þe. he (R9.119), hij (3x, 3.331, 5.116, 10.337), and a (1x, 6.15)|
III.3.3.5 Accusative and Dative Plural:
|2nd Person:||ȝow, ȝowe 15.98, yow 6.281|
|3rd Person:||hem ~ (hym)NSee R6.16 where R's spelling is unique. See also LALME 4.13.|
III.3.3.6 Genitive Plural:
|2nd Person:||ȝoure, youre (2x)|
|3rd Person:||hire, here, her|
III.3.3.7 Personal pronoun with "self":
my-self ~ my-selue ~ me-self 10.240 ~ me-selue 6.139; þi-self ~ þi-selue ~ þi-seluen 18.56 ~ thi-self 4.73 ~ thy-selue 1.24; hym-self ~ hym-selue ~ hem-self 6.152 ~ hem-selue ~ hym-seluen (sg. "himself"); hire-selue 3.140, 18.249; oure-selue 13.29 ~ vs-selue 7.143; ȝow-selue ~ ȝow-seluen 10.305 ~ ȝoure-selue P.74 ~ ȝoure-seluen 10.293; hym-selue ~ hem-selue ~ hem-seluen ~ hem-self 18.308 ~ him-selue 14.213 ~ here-selue 11.181 (pl. "themselves")
With the exception of hym seluen 11.388, where the form divides at the caesura and then is followed by the vocalic personal pronoun I, all forms ending in <-n> are line-final. Conversely, there is no constraint on the position of <-n>-less forms, which occur very often in line-final as well as medial position. There is but a single instance of a personal pronoun with <-self> written as a single word: hireselue 3.136 "herself."
The demonstrative forms with the stem vowel <e> are invariably plural, whether or not there is an <-e> ending. The forms with <i> may be either singular or plural in R, though the singular outnumber the plural by about three to one.
|Plural:||þo, þes(e), þis, this|
III.3.4 Adjectives and Adverbs:
The samples below only take into account historical monosyllables, of which "black," "broad," "false," "glad," "good," "great," "long" and "small" are the present-day reflexes. Although the <-e> ending is dominant where it would be expected, namely in definite and plural constructions, it is also distinctly dominant for the indefinite usage. Endingless adjectival forms occur, moreover, for the definite singular and plural. It would appear that the scribe of R tends more often than not to mark any and all monosyllabic adjectives with final <-e>, though not fastidiously.
III.3.4.1 Indefinite Singular:
As we have noted, it would appear that the scribe of R tends more often than not to mark any and all monosyllabic adjectives with final <-e> with unmarked spellings in free variation.
3.163 with a goede wille; 3.168 þere þat mischief is grete; 3.239 a grete nede; 5.161 a goed pope ; 5.504 on gode friday; 5.580 a longe tyme; 7.81 gregorie is a good man; 8.17 he was longe and lene; 8.26 a-midde a brode water; 8.90 with glade wille; 10.339 here londe lith so brode; 10.448 a goed friday; 12.158 I toke ful gode hede; 14.9 any gode man; 15.472 ȝif hem gode euydence; 20.87 gadered a grete hoste; etc.
III.3.4.2 Definite Singular:
|III.3.4.2 Definite Singular:||<-e> ~ (nil)|
5.267 þi good wel to bi-sette; 9.48 of his grete grace; 10.235 þe gode man as þe gode wif; 10.247 þe grete god; 10.315 þe goed pope; 16.161 in þi glade chere; 17.203 al þi longe travaile; 18.215 of his gode wille; 20.14 alle his grete ioye; etc.
|III.3.4.3 Plural:||<-e> ~ (nil)|
P.22 And smale mys with hym; 5.99 his good happes; 5.551 gode seyntes; 6.10 ȝoure longe fyngeres; 10.349 gregories gode childerne; 10.453 many longe ȝeres; 10.471 Feith hope and charite alle ben goed; 10.472 I leue fewe ben gode; 10.479 if alle þinge blak were; 13.80 with his grete chekes; 13.250 folk with brode crounes; 16.9 god and gode men; 18.95 þe fals iewes; 18.111 ȝoure gode dayes be do; 20.189 with seuene grete geauntes; etc.
|III.3.4.4 Comparative:NSee III.3.4.7 below for the comparative suffixes of adverbs ending in <-lich(e)>. <-er(e)> ~ (<-re>)NThe recessive syncopated comparative ending <-re> occurs only in bettre (3x). The same syncopation is occasionally found elsewhere in nouns, usually following <-t->. ~ <-ur> (1x) ~ (nil).NOnly suppletive forms such as lasse / lesse, mo, wors(e) do not form the comparative regularly with an <-r>-suffix.|
|III.3.4.5 Superlative:NSee III.3.4.6 and III.3.4.7 below for the superlative suffixes of adjectives and adverbs ending in <-lich(e)>. <-est(e)> ~ <-st(e)>.NThe suppletive forms such as "best," "most," and "worst" form the superlative by adding <-st> directly to the stem without any linking vowel. Nex(s)t < nei3 likewise adds the superlative suffix directly to the stem, though the fricative /x/ has become /k/ in combination with /st/; cf. OE níehst < néah.|
As with the comparative (§III.3.4.4 above), the geminated consonant in certain superlative forms suggests that the stem vowel is short: clennest (2x) < clene; grettest (2x) < grete; sonnest(e) (2x) < sone. See Joseph Wright, An Elementary Middle English Grammar (Oxford: Oxford U P, 1928), §§86d, 90, 359.
|III.3.4.6 Adjectives in <-ly>:||<-lich(e)> ~ <-ly> ~ (<-lych(e)>)|
comely 15.487; dedly (11x) ~ dedlich(e) (2x); kendeliche 14.98; lou(e)lich(e) (7x) ~ louely (4x); manliche 5.263; spracliche 18.12 "lively, vigorous."
There are a few instances of adjectives in <-lich(e)> taking the <-lokest> superlative ending: louelokest 13.307; merueylokest 8.64. Note as well the curious combination of comparative and superlative in douȝtiorokest at 10.487. This form does not appear in the other B witnesses at this point.
|III.3.4.7 Adverbs in <-ly>:||<-lich(e)> ~ <-ly> ~ (<-lych(e)>)|
curteis(e)lich(e), curteyslich(e) (10x) ~ curteyslyche 13.206; dedly (2x); kendely (5x) ~ kendeliche (2x) ~ kendelyche 15.60; liȝt(e)liche (5x) ~ liȝtly (4x) ~ liȝtlych 17.293; man(e)liche (3x) ~ manlyche 10.96; nam(e)lich(e) (11x); softeliche 13.204 ~ softly 5.7 ~ softlyche 2.126
Adverbs ending in <-lich(e)> have distinct comparative and superlative forms:
liȝtloker (3x), lyȝtloker 5.591; sykerloker 5.521; wikkedlokest 10.460; wisloker 13.359, etc.
III.3.5.1 Non-finite forms:
|III.184.108.40.206 Infinitive:||<-e> ~ <-en> ~ (<-un>) ~ (<-n>) ~ (nil)|
aske (4x) ~ asken (4x); bere (9x) ~ beren 15.341; borwe 5.260; bredun 2.59; bringe (8x), brynge (6x) ~ bringen 3.143; come (23x) ~ comen 3.106, 12.5; do (43x) ~ don (4x); drinke, drynke; gyue (5x) ~ gyuen 7.81; go; haue (100+x) ~ hauen 11.424; helpe (23x) ~ helpen 6.212; holde (7x), helde 4.21 ~ holden (2x); se (33x) ~ sen 18.254; sitte (8x) ~ sitten (4x), etc.
Although nearly every common verbs shows some examples of the <-en> infinitive ending, it is statistically much less common than the simple <-e>.
The reflexes of a number of OE class 2 weak verbs in <-ian> and class 1 weak verbs in <-rian> preserve in their infinitives endings in <-ie(n)> or <-ye(n)>.NOther verbs of these kinds in R no longer show the <-ian> reflex in the infinitive: aske(n) (9x) < OE ascian; blisse 16.248 < OE blissian; dere(n) (5x) "harm" < OE derian; etc. The finite forms of these types of verbs also continue to show the <i/y> link between stem and suffix.
answer(e) (2x) ~ answerie 10.126; (h)erye(n) (3x), erie(n) (3x); hatyen 10.102; helyen 12.235; louye (17x), louie (6x), loueyen 11.108 ~ loue (9x),NIn addition to the infinitives, finite verb forms without the <i/y> element are common, but the noun (< OE lufu) is always spelled loue (80+x). louen 10.210; schonie 5.171 "shun"; swere(n) (4x) ~ swerie 5.578; tholie 13.275; tulye(n) (2x), tilye 6.237, tylie 6.240; wanye 7.58 "wane"; werie (2x) "wear"; wonye(n) (3x), wonie 3.227; etc.
|III.220.127.116.11 Gerund:||<-yng(e)> ~ <-ing(e)>|
The forms ending with <-Vng(e)> may be either gerunds or participles. The nominal function is much more common.
beryng(e) (7x) ~ beringe 11.315; bid(d)yng(e)(s) (5x) ~ byddyng(e) (4x); ; deying(e) (2x) ~ deynge 7.34; lernyng(e); plesinge; slepynge 5.6
|III.18.104.22.168 Present participle:||<-yng(e)> ~ <-ing(e)> ~ (<-ende>) ~ (<-ynde>) ~ (<-ande>) ~ (<-en>)NThe form ryden at R17.40 perhaps reflects loss of /d/ in final position after a consonantNRichard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, trans. Eugene J. Crook (The Hague: Mouton, 1974), § 200), given that alpha's form was probably rydende, as retained by F.|
The dominant endings for the present participle, as for the gerund, are <-yng(e)> and the slightly less common orthographic variant <-inge>. There are a five participles with the older <-Vnde> ending: <-ende> (3x), <-ynde> and <-ande>. None of these occurs as a gerund.
abydynge 20.116; biddyng(e) 15.254; comynde 17.41; driuende 20.74; dwellynge; engendringe ; flawmende 17.189; hangynge; lyuynge; louring 5.85; pleyinge; schewynge; sittynge 3.342 ~ sittende 17.39 ~ sittande 16.147; slepinge ~ slepynge P.104; sparinge; wastinge; wepinge 15.217; wilnynge (2x); etc.
|III.22.214.171.124 Past participles of weak verbs:||<-e(n)> ~ <-ud(e)> ~ <-t> (with and without <y-> ~ <I-> prefixes)|
abasched 10.308; a-combred 1.34; amaysterud 2.115; I-clothed 9.54; diademed 3.283; demed 3.302; Iglosed 17.11; I-hated 5.73; made 5.281 ~ y-maked 2.33 ~ I-maked 9.41; I-wayted 5.564; etc.
|III.126.96.36.199 Past participles of strong verbs:||<-e(n)> (with and without <y-> ~ <I-> prefixes)|
Past participles of strong verbs are in free variation between <-e> and <-en>: broke 5.110 ~ broken 11.142; Ichose 5.338 ~ chose 11.116; I-hulpe 4.171 ~ hulpe 5.647 ~ yholpe 17.51; take 16.212 ~ taken 4.50; I-wonne 5.95 ~ wonne 5.270; etc.
III.3.5.2 Finite forms:
|III.188.8.131.52 Imperative Singular:||nil ~ <-e>|
fond 6.221; rest 10.171; ride 10.171; slee 3.261; etc.
In Passus V Piers gives directions to a group of pilgrims. He more often employs plural address (ȝe, ȝow, ȝoure) and the plural imperative, but shifts on occasion to singular address (þow, þe, þi(n)) and the singular imperative. He thus frequently seems to be addressing an interlocutor in the singular and switching abruptly to a plural imperative form. See R5.578-651, and Tauno F. Mustanoja, A Middle English Syntax: Part I: Parts of Speech, Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki, no. 23. (Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 1960), p. 474, who points out that singular and plural imperatives are often used together without distinction and gives an example where the 2nd person addressee indicates that a plural form ("plural of respect") is being used where a singular is called for: hwon God beot þe, recheþ forþ mid boþe honden (Ancr. 153).
|III.184.108.40.206 Imperative Plural:||<-(e)th> ~ (<-t>) ~ (<-eþ>)|
Beth 10.480; claweth 10.302; cometh 20.73; corecteth 10.302; fareth 13.188; gyueth 17.226; Holdeth 20.218; kenneth 6.14; Maketh 6.14 ~ makeþ 2.143 (1x); nemeth 6.14; spynneth 6.13; etc.
|III.220.127.116.11 1st Singular:||<-e> ~ nil|
borwe 5.435; couthe 5.184; hayls 5.103; holde 5.423; late 5.423; rest 5.153; seye P.75; schonie 5.171; walke 5.149; warre P.81; wisse 1.44; etc.
|III.18.104.22.168 2nd Singular:||<-est> ~ <-st> ~ <-t> ~ (<-xt>) ~ nil|
canst; dost; dryst 1.25 "are dry"; fyndest 17.77 ~ fynst 3.261; lixt 5.165 "lie"; sest (2x) ~ seest (2x); wilt (7x) ~ willest 12.223NFor preterite-present verbs the inflectional endings of the present tense correspond to the personal endings for strong preterites, thus early modE 2nd person sg. wilt, shalt, 3rd pers. sg. will, shall, etc. A "regular" present tense 2nd pers. sg. willest 12.223 is thus an anomaly, but the verb here is not a modal and has the lexical sense of "will, desire." This corresponds to the sense of the weak verb wilnen, which shows regular forms: 2nd sg. wilneste 6.264; 3rd sg. wilneth (10x). Clearly the verb was understood to be different from the modal not only in sense but formally also. The MED records 2nd pers. sg. <-es> and <-est> endings of willen. The majority of Piers manuscripts read willest here, though Hm, M and F read wylnest.
After nasals <-est> undergoes syncope, the <-st> ending which remains assimilates with stem-final <-d>: fynst 3.261 ~ fyndest 17.77 "finds."
|III.22.214.171.124 3rd Singular:||<-eth> ~ <-th> ~ <-(e)s> ~ nil ~ (<-e>) ~ (<-eþ>)N<-eþ> occurs only twice: lykeþ P.38 ~ lyketh (7x); makeþ 2.143 ~ maketh (35x). ~ (<-ith>)NThe scribe of R uses the <-ith> (never <-iþ>) ending only for two verbs, where the <i> is dissimilatory, distinguishing a disyllabic verb form from what would be a long monophthong: seith (38x) ~ seth (2x) "says" and leith (3x) "lays." This compares with many hundreds of instances of the <-th> suffix. A third form, lith (6x) ~ lieth 10.118 "lies," shows syncope of the suffix vowel and thus provides no example of the <-ith> suffix.|
beth; bor(e)weth; cometh (28x) ~ comes (1x) 9.200; doth (44x) ~ dos 13.119; fareth; leith (3x) "lays"; maketh (35x) ~ makeþ 2.143; mot(e); mow(e); scheweth (18x) ~ schewes 7.16; seith (38x) ~ seth (2x) "says"; taketh; thenketh (20x) ~ þinketh (3x) ~ þenketh (2x) ~ thinketh 8.19; etc.
A number of verbs with stems ending in a dental undergo syncopation and assimilation of the inflectional suffix.
bit(t) (12x) "bids"; drat 13.429 "dreads"; fynt (4x); flet 12.170 "floats"; forfret 16.29 "devours"; ȝelt 18.103 "yields"; halt 17.96 "holds"; last 4.197; leet 10.197 < lent (2x) "grants"; lest 5.406, 11.95 ~ list 11.446 "pleases"; quit 11.197; sitt 12.204; welt 10.90 "wields, possesses"; etc.
|III.126.96.36.199 Present Indicative (and Subjunctive) Plural:||<-en> ~ <-e> ~ <-n> ~ <-eth> ~ <-th> ~ (<-t>)|
bereth 20.258; biddeth; borewen 7.89 ~ borweth 20.258; don 5.116; dwelle 8.102 ~ dwelleth 4.33; fareth (3x); fle(e)th; han; kepen 7.9; lopen P.96 sen (2x) ~ se (2x).
Assimilated forms of the plural with final <-t> are rarer than those of the third person singular (cf. III.188.8.131.52 above):
fynt 7.144, 15.307; halt 17.141, holt 3.236; etc.
|III.184.108.40.206 Subjunctive Singular:||<-e> ~ nil|
fle 3.131; hurt 10.396; etc.
III.220.127.116.11 Weak Verbs:
|1. 1st Singular:||<-ed> ~ <-ede> ~<-te> ~ <-d>|
awaked 5.8; babeled 5.8; bolded 3.190; courbed, dwelte 20.317; afrayned 16.285; herde; payede 6.95; slepte 13.14; etc.
|2. 2nd Singular:||<-dest> ~ <-test> ~ <-edest> ~ (<-deste>) ~ (<-st>)|
deyedeste 5.478 ~ dyedest 5.503; keptest 7.207; knoweste 3.176; laddest 7.207; woldest 12.218; etc.
|3. Preterite 3rd Singular:||<-ed(e)> ~ <-te> ~ <-de> ~ <-ud>NThe <-ud> spelling does not occur after 10.304. Though the forms for first and third singular are usually the same, the scribe does not use the <-ud> form for first person.|
assented P.48; carpud 2.153; destruyde 16.173; flatte "splashed" 5.457; iugede 7.178; mellud 3.36; pleyede 16.269; etc.
|4. Preterite Plural:||<-ed(e)> ~ <-ede(n)> ~ <-ud(e)> ~ <-de> ~ <-t(e)> ~ <-ten> ~ (<-uden>)|
amortised 15.352; apposede 1.49; apposed 7.155; called 4.168; digged 6.109; lyuede 14.73 ~ lyueden 14.79; serueden P.85 wischedun 5.537; etc.
III.18.104.22.168 Strong Verbs:
Strong verbs inflections and ablaut forms are unremarkable and do not affect determination of dialect or text.
IV. List of Manuscript Sigils:
The following list of sigils of the manuscripts of Piers Plowman differs in some respects from the traditional sigils used since Skeat's edition. To a degree the inconsistencies in the sigils reflect 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. British Library Additional 10574, for instance, has no sigil for A, is B's Bm, and C's L. We have, therefore, 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), 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, 1986), 35-48; and C. David Benson and Lynne Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, 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)|
|JbN 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., 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)|
|SbN 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., 1993), p. 40.||London, British Library, MS Sloane 2578|
|W||Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17|
|WbN 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., 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||New Haven, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS Osborn fa45, a damaged bifolium, (olim C's H), the Holloway fragment|
|I||London, University of London Library, MS S.L. V.88 (the Ilchester manuscript)|
|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|
|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: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages (Aldershot, 1993), p. 39. It is presently on loan to the Borthwick Institute for Historical Research in York. (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 C's L|
|Bo||Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 814 (S. C. 2683), olim C's B|
|Cot||London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.xi, olim C's O|
|Ht||San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm114 (olim Phillipps 8252)|
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