Readings for line KD.3.32

Shal no lewdnesse lette · þe leode þat I louye
Shal no lewdenesse lette  þe leode þat I louye
Shal no lewdnes lette the clerke that I loue
Shal no lewednesse lette . þe leode þat I louye
schall no lewednesse lette · the lede that y louye
Schal no lewednesse · lette þe leode þat I louye
shall no lewdnes let þe lede / that I louve
Schal no lewidnesse lette  þe lede þat I loue
Schal no lewednesse lette  þe clerkesR.3.32: Although alpha's third stave shows defective alliteration (cf. beta's leode, which is also the reading of Ax), alpha's clerkes is supported by Cr and universally by the C version. The possibility that alpha and C have randomly converged in error here, both chancing upon the same word that neither alliterates in its line nor is an equivalent for the word replaced, seems unlikely—especially since this particular pattern of alpha / C agreement in editorial change is one that recurs frequently throughout the developing narrative.
Only two explanations seem plausible for this array of variants and for many similar ones; however, at this distance the two explanations are almost indistinguishable: (1) While he was working on B, Langland began to be much more concerned about his London readers not understanding obsolescent words like leode than about small metrical lapses and therefore entered a series of marginal "updatings" into Bx's exemplar, moving it away, at times awkwardly, from original A readings in order to meet his changed perception of audience needs. When confronted with such evidence of authorial ambiguity in his exemplar, the scribe of Bx usually hedged his bets by copying the text unaltered, with the authorial change reproduced in his own margin (perhaps thinking it a gloss). In the final stage of this process, alpha and beta followed their respective proclivities, with alpha normally taking such an entry as authorial revision and using it to supplant the original text while beta usually took it as a mere gloss, ignored it, and copied what he saw in the body of the line of Bx. Or, (2) like its many anomalous relatives in other "revised" lines, clerke(s) was indeed a purely scribal gloss in the immediate ancestor of Bx and had no warrant from the author, but still seemed sufficiently ambiguous to the Bx scribe to deserve exact reproduction. The roles of alpha and beta in this scenario remain the same as in the first. But what is painfully evident is that, by the time he began using the exemplar of Bx to create the C text, Langland either didn't care anymore about such small aesthetic matters or had completely forgotten who had authored clerkes—or both!
þat I louye .
Shal no lewidnesse lettyn / þo clerkysF.4.33: Alpha is responsible for clerkys. Beta manuscripts have leode. þat y lovye.