fol. 1rI
Assit principio Sanctafilius Mariae meoM.P.0: The heading is written in a similar ink to that of the text but in a much less formal style, and is probably later than the main scribe. Though rubbed, it appears originally to have read Assit principio Sancta Maria meo with Sancta then deleted by way of underlining and replaced by filius, and Maria altered to Mariae. Christopher de Hamel notes that "invocations such as 'assit principio meo ihesus maria'" were typical pen-trials "written in tiny script along the very upper margin of the first page" (Medieval Craftsmen: Scribes and Illuminators [London, 1992] p. 37).
IN a somer seson  whanne softe was the s.onne
I sho..op me intoM.P.2: M's original reading without to agreed with GYOC2CLH. shroudes  as I a sheep were
In habite as an hermite  vnholy of werkes
Wente wyde in þis worlde  won.....dres to here
AcM.P.5: Kane and Donaldson note that Ac is erased. But the word is simply worn—as are many places on this first leaf. on a may mornynge  on maluerne hulles
Me byfel a ferly  of fair.y me thouȝte
I was wery for-wandred  and wente me to reste
Vndur a brode banke  by a ..bournes syde
And as I laiy and lened  and loked on þe wateres
I slombrede in a slepinge  it swey..ed so merye .
Thanne gan I to meten  a meru......eilous sweuene
That I was in a wildernesse  wyste IM.P.12: M's original reading without I agreed with Cr. neuere where
...?...And as I bihelde in-toM.P.13: It may be that the original reading was As I bihelde into, but the corrector miscalculated the space and so had to put in above the line. þe est  an heiȝgh to þe suonne
I sa..y a tour on a tofte .rielycheM.P.14: The erasure of what is probably a <t> is evidence of discomfort with the rare word trielyche. The same erasure is found in C, while H reads ryaly and HmCr12 read rychely. y-makede
A de..ep dale bynethe  a doungeoun þere-...Inne
With depe diches & derke  and dredeful of sighte
A faire fielde ful of folke  fonde I there bitw...ene
Of alle manere of men  þe mene and þe ryche
Worchinge and wandrynge  as þe world askeþ .
Summe put hem to þe plow  pleied ful selde
In settynge and sowynge  swonken ful harde
And wonnen that wastours  with glotonye destruyeth .
And summe putten hem to pruyde  apparailled hem ..þer-aft..rraft..erM.P.23: The scribe usually wrote aftur, and the corrector occasionally alters to after, e.g. at M.1.70. Here he miscorrects. .
In continaunce of clothynge  comen disgisede .
In praiers and in penaunce  putten hem manye
Al for loue of oure lorde  lyueden ful streyte
In hope ...for to haue  heuenriche blisse .
As ancres and herm.ytes  that holden hem in here selles .
And coue....iten nouȝte in contre  to kairen a-bouten
For no likerous l.....iflode  her lykame to plese
And somme chosen chaffare  thei cheued the bettr.e
As it semeþ to oure siȝt  þat suche men thryueth
And somme murthes to make  as mynstrales conneth
And geten gold with here glee  syn.....nelees I leueM.P.34: A wormhole has damaged half the <u>.
AsM.P.35: The <s> on As has an extra blot of ink, but it is the same hand and ink as the rest of the word, pace Kane and Donaldson. iapers and iangelers  Iudas chyldren
ÞatM.P.36: The addition of Þat brings M into agreement with YOC2. Faynen hem fantasies  and fooles hem maketh
And han wyt at wille  to worchen ȝif þei sholde .
That poule precheþ of hem  I nel no...ght preue it heere .
fol. 1vI
Qui loquitur turpiloquium & cetera. est seruus diaboliM.P.39: The abbreviated reading has been expanded by two different fifteenth-century hands. No other manuscript (in any version) lacks the supplied loquitur. The second half-line is lacking also in LCr1C; other manuscripts have is luciferes hyne or variants upon it, of which the added est seruus diaboli in M is a translation. No direct source for the line has been found (see John Alford, Piers Plowman: A Guide to the Quotations [Binghamton, 1992] p. 33), so that the additions presumably derive from another text of the poem.
Bidders and beggers  faste aboute yeden
Wyþ here bely and here bagge  of breed ful ycrammed .
Faiteden for here fode  fouȝten atte ale 
In glotonye god it wot  goon ..thei to bedde
And rysen with rybaudie  þo Roberdes knaues .
Sleep and sory sleuthe  suweth hem euere .
PilgriymesPilgri[r]ymesM.P.46: Pilgymes was formed inadvertently when the corrector combined the <r>and the <i> to form a <y>. and palmers  pliȝted hem to-g.idre
To seke seint Iames  and saintuys in Rome .
Thei wenten forth in here way  with many wyse tales
And hadden leue for to lie  al hire l..yf a...fter .
I seigh somme that saiden  þei had ysouȝte
To eche a tale that þei toolde  here ...tongeM.P.51: The intent was to alter the <u> of tunge to <o>, but the result looks more like <a>. was tempred to lie
More ....than to saie soth  it semed by here speche .
Hermytes on a heep  with hokud staues
Wenten to walsingham  and here wenches aftur .
Grete lobyes and longe  þat loþe weren to swynke
Cloþ.eden hem in Copus  to be knowen from othere
And shoopen hem heremytes  here ese to haue .
I fo..ond there  offM.P.58: The addition of off brings M into agreement with H. alle the foure ordres
contra Glosers euaungeli
Precheden þe p.eple  for profit of hem-seluen
Glosud þe gospell  as hem good liked
For couetise of copus  construede it as þei wolde
Many of þise maystur freres  mowe clothen hem at likynge
For here money and marchaundise  marchen to-g.idre .
For sith charitee haþ be chapman  and chief to shryue lordus
Many ferlis han fallen  in a fewe ȝyeeres .
But holy churche and hijM.P.66: And hij has been crossed through. Kane and Donaldson erroneously read hir, combining the top of the punctus elevatus with the <j>. amend itM.P.66: This addition, along with the following and, is in a different hand and ink than the surrounding text. The alteration does not agree with any other B manuscripts.and holde bettur to-g.idres
The mooste meschief on molde  is mountynge wel faste. vpwardis FastM.P.67: The alteration is not supported by any other B manuscript. The same scribe is probably responsible for drawing the hand in the left margin and for the underlining, and perhaps also the alteration in M.P.66 above.
Þere prechud a pardoner  a preest as he were .
Brouȝte forth a bulle  with bisshopus seales
And saide þat hym-selue myȝte  assoillen hem alle .
Of falshed of fastynge  of vowes y-brokun .
contra pardoners
Lewede men leued hym wel  and lykede his wordus .
Comen vp knelynge  to kiss..en his bulles 

a j
fol. 2rI
He bonched blessidM.P.74: The substitution of blessid for bonched is much later than the main hand. The altered reading blessid agrees with FH. hem with his breuet  and blered hire e....yes
And rauȝte with his raggeman  rynges and broches 
Þus þei g.iuen hire gold  glotones to kepe
And leneth itM.P.77: M's original reading without it agreed with OC2CLH. such loselus  þat lecherie haunten
Were þe bisshop y-blessud.  or worth boþe his eres
His seel shulde not be sent  to desceyue þe p.eple .
Ac it is nouȝt by þe bysshop  þat þe boy precheth .
For þe parissh preest and þe pardoner  parten þe syluer .
That the pore .....poraileM.P.82: The original word was shorter than poraile. F has men but most A manuscripts have peple, which may well be M's original reading. of þe parissh  haue if þei ...? were .
¶ Persones and parisch preestus  playned hem to þe bisshop
Þat here parisshes were pore  sith þe pestilence tyme .
contra Episcopos & Curatos
To haue a licence and leue . at london to dwelle
And syngen þereM.P.86: M's original reading without þere was shared by H. for symonye  for siluer is swete .
Bisshoppus and bachelers  boþe maistrus and doctours
Þat han cure vndur Crist  and crounedeM.P.88: M's reading is not shared by other B manuscripts, which vary, though most read crownynge. in tokene
And signe þat þei shulden  shryuen here paroschiens
Prechen and prayen for hem  and þe pore fede 
Liggen in london  in lenten and elles
Suomme seruen þe kynge  and his syluer tellen
In chekker and in Chauncerye  chalengen his dettes
Of wardes and wardemotes  weyues and streyues
And somme seruen as seruauntz  lordus and ladys
And in stede of stywardus  sitten and demen
Here messesM.P.97: M shares the form messes with Cr. Other B manuscripts have messe. and hire matynes  and many of here houres
Arn don vndeuoutlich  drede is atte þe laste .
Lest Crist in Consistorie  acorse ful manye
I parceiuede of þe power  þat Petur had to kepe .
To bynde and to vnbynde  as þe book telleþ .
How he lefte .itM.P.102: The revised reading lefte it is shared with CrFH; OC2 have it self; other B manuscripts have it lefte. with loue  as oure lord highte
Amonges foure vertues  þe beste of alle vertues
Þat Cardinales ben called  and closynge ȝyates
Þere Crist is in kyngedome  to close and to shutte .
mistice loquitur
And to open it to hem  and heuene blisse shewe
Ac of þe Cardinales atte Courte  þat cauȝt of þat name
And power presumed in hem  a Pope to make
To han þat power þat Petur hadde  inpugnen I nelle
For in loue and lettrure  þe eleccioun bilongeth .
For-þi I can and can nouȝte  of courte speke more .
a ijM.P.111: A mark resembling a large, drypoint <a> is found on the bottom of this leaf.
fol. 2vI
Þanne come þere a kyng  knyȝthode hym ladde
Miȝte of þe comunes  made hym to regne
And þanne come kynde & M.P.114: It looks likely that the earlier reading was witte followed by and inserted above. The corrector makes the usual alteration to wit and that leaves space for &. No other manuscript omits and. clerkus he made .
For to conseille þe kyng.  and þe comune saue .
The kynge and þe knyȝthodeM.P.116: M shares the reading þe kniȝthode with Hm. Most other B manuscripts omit þe.  and the .clergieM.P.116: Above the rewritten clergie is an erasure, apparently of the same word written as a guide to the corrector. All other B manuscripts read clergie. boþe
Kesten þat þe comune  shulde hem-selue fynde .
Þe comune contreued  of kynde wit.. craftus .
And for profit of þe p.eple  plowmen
To til.enM.P.120: In place of the revised form tilen all other B manuscripts read tilie. and to trauaille  as trewe lif asketh
Þe kynge and þe comune  and kynde wit.. þe þridde .
Shoop lawe and leaute  eche man to knowe his owne .
Thanne lokud vp a lunatyk  a lene þinge with-alle
And knelynge to þe kynge  clergealy he saide .
Crist kepe. þe sire kynge  and þ.iM.P.125: All B manuscripts share M's revision þi, except for G which reads the. kynngryche
And lene þe to lede þi lond  þatM.P.126: M's inclusion of þat is not shared by other B manuscripts. le.ute þe louye .
And for þi riȝtful rewlyng  be rewardud in heuene
And sithen in þe an heiȝgh  an angel of heuene
Lowed to speke in latyn  for lewede men ne couþe .
Iangle ne iuge  þat iusticeM.P.130: M shares the reading iustice with C2. Other B manuscripts read Iustifie. hem shulde .
But suffren and seruen  for-þ..i saide þe angel .
vox angeli
Sum rex . sum princeps  neutrum fortasse deinceps .M.P.132: In addition to the underlining, these Latin verses are bracketed with a curly bracket in the left margin. The same marginal hand, which is much later than the main text (perhaps 16th-17th century), has written vox angeli in the left margin.
O qui iura regis . .CristiM.P.133: The first graph of this abbreviation is written over an erasure. specialia regis .
Hoc quod agas melius  iustus es esto pius
Nudum ius a te vestiri vult pietate
Qualia vis metere  talia grana sere
Si ius nudatur . nudo de iure metatur .
Si seritur pietas  de pietate metas .
Thanne greuede hym a Goliardeys  a glotoun of wordus .
A..nd to þe angel an heiȝh  answere.dM.P.140: In place of M's revised form answered LR have the present tense. Hm also corrects. aftur .
Dum rex a regere . dicatur nomen habereM.P.141: Kane and Donaldson record this line as being written in the margin. This line, however, is written in the main text area, although the following three are added in the margin.
Nomen habet sine re nisi studet iura tenereM.P.142: Underlining, in red ink, from the main text to the margin indicates the intended location of the inserted lines.
Thanne biganM.P.143: M's reading of bigan is not shared by other B manuscripts, which, except for F, read gan. al þe comune crie . in vers of latinM.P.143: The end of the word is lost in the binding.
To þe kyng & hisM.P.144: M's reading of kyng & his is not shared by other B manuscripts, which read kynges. conseill  construe whoso wolde
PreciptaPrec[e]pta Regis sunt nobis vincula legis .
The route off Ratons
With þat ran þere a route  of ratones at ones
And smale mys wyth hem  mo þan.. a þousande .
And comen to a conseil.  for here comune profite
For a ...Cat of a ..contre  cam whanne hym lik..eed .
fol. 3rI
And ouerle..ep hem liȝtly  and lauȝte hem atte his wille .
And pleyde with hem perillou...sly  and possed hem aboute .
For doute of diuerse dredus  we dar nouȝt wel looke .
And ȝif we grucchen . of his gamen  he wil.. greuen vs alle .
Cracche vs and clawesM.P.154: M's original reading clawes is shared by no other B manuscripts, most of which read clawe vs, though in the b-verse Cr has clawes instead of clochus. vs  and in his clochus holde
Þat vs lotheth þe lif  oer he lete vs passe
Miȝte we wiþ any witte  his wille with-stonde
We myȝten be lordus a-lofte  and l.yuen at oure ese .
A Ratoun of renoun mooste renable of ..tonge .
Seide for a souerain  help to hym-selue .
I haue y-se.yn segges quod he  in þe Cite of Londoun
Beren biȝes ful briȝt  abouten here .
And summe Colers of crafty werk  vncouplede þei wendtenM.P.162: M's original reading agreed with YOC2CLR. The alteration brings M into agreement with WHmCrG.
Boþe in wareine and in waste  where hem leue like.dM.P.163: M shares its revised form liked with WCr1GH. Other manuscripts have the present tense.
And oþerwyle þai arne ellus-where  as I here telle .
Were þere a belle on ...hireM.P.165: The original reading may have been his, as in G. beiȝe  by Ihesu as me th..ynkeþ .
...?...M.P.166: Something no longer legible is erased in the right margin. Likely it was a guide for alteration to renne.
Men myȝten witen wher þei wente  and away .....renne
And riȝt so quod þat Ratoun  resoun me sheweþ
To bugge a belle of bras  or of briȝte siluer
And knytten itM.P.169: M's original reading without it was shared by Cr23GOC2CL. The alteration brings M into agreement with all other B manuscripts. on a Coler  for oure comune profite .
And hangen it vpon þe Cattus hals  þanne heere we mowen .
Where he rit.. or reste  or renneth to playe
And ȝif hym lust for to layke  þanne loke we mowen .
And peren in his presence  þere whyle hym plaie likeþ .
And ȝif him wrattheth be war  and his weye shonye .
Al þis route of ratouns  to þis resoun assent..eed
Ac þo þe belle was y-bouȝte  and on þe beiȝe hanged .
Þere nas ratoun in þe route  for al.. þe reume of Fraunce
Þat durste haue bonden þe bieȝM.P.178: M shares bie with Hm. Other B manuscripts have belle.  a-boute þe cattus nekke .
Ne hangen itM.P.179: M's original reading without it agreed with GL. aboute þe cattus hals  al Englon...d to wynne .
And helden hem vn-hardy  and here conseille feble
And leten here labour  and here longe studye .
A mous þat moche goode  couthe as me thouȝte
Stro..ok forþ sternly  and stoode byforn hem alle .
And to þe route of Ratons  reherced þes wordus .
Thouȝgh we cullede þe cat  ȝyet shulde þere come a-noþur .
To craccheM.P.186: M's original reading cracche agreed with OYCLR. vs and alle oure kynde  þouȝ we croupe vndur benches .
Forthi .I conseille .. alle þe comune  to late þe catte worþe .
a iij
fol. 3vI
..And be we neuere so bolde  þe belle hym to shewe .
For I herde my sire sain  is seuen ȝyere y-passed .
Þere þe catte is a kytoun  þe court. is ful elenge .
Þat w..ytnesseþ holy writte  whoso wol it rede .
Ve terre vbi puer rex est & cetera .
For may non renc þere reste haue  for ratones by nyȝte
Þe while he caccheþ conynges  he coueiteþ nouȝt oure caroine .
But fet hym wiþ venesoun  defame we hym neuere
For bettur is a litul losse  .....than a longe sorwe .
Þe mase amonge vs alle  þouȝ we mysse a shrewe
For many malt  we mys wolde
And also ȝye route of ratouns  rende clothes
Nere þe cat.. of þat courte þat can ȝyow ouer-lepe .
For hadde ȝye rattes ȝyoure wille  ȝye couthe not reule ȝyoure-selue.
I say for me quod þe mous  I see so mukel aftur .
Shal neuere þe catt / ne þe kytoun  by my conseill be greued .
Ne carpinge of þis coler  þat costud me neuere .
And þouȝ it had costed me . catel  byknowen it I nolde .
But suffre as hym-self wolde  to do as hym likeþ .
Couplede and vncouplede  to cacche what þei mowe .
For-þi eche a wyse wiȝte I warne  wite wel his owne .
What þis meteles bemeneth  ȝye men þat ben merie
Dyuyne ȝye for I ne dar  by dere god in heuene .
ȜYet houed þere an hundred  in ho....vues of silke
Sergeauntes it semed  þat serued atte þe barre
# Momming off Men off law For Mone
Pleteden for penies  and poundes þe lawe
And nouȝt for loue of oure lord  vnlose here lippus onys .
Þow miȝteste bettur mete þe myste  on maluerne hulles
.....Than gete a momme of here mouthe but monoye were shewed
Barouns and burgeis  and bonde-men als .
I sa.y in þis assemble  as ȝye shul here aftur
Baxters and brewsters  and bochers manye
Wollenwebsters  and weuers . of lynnen
Taillours and tynkers  and tollers in marketes
Masouns and mynours  and many moM.P.222: M's reading of mo is not shared by other B manuscripts, which read oþer. craftes
Of alkyn libbyng laborers  lopun forþ summe
As dikers & deluers  þat doth here dedes ille
And dryuen forþ þe ...longeM.P.225: M shares its revised adjective longe with the majority of B manuscripts, but L has dere and F fayre. day  with dieu vous saue dame Emme .
fol. 4rI
Ius passus
Cokus and hire knaues  crieden hote pies hote
Gode grys and gees  gowego we dyne gowego we .
Tauerners vn-til hem  toolde þe same
White wyn of Oseye  and rede wyn of Gascoigne
Of þe ryne and of þe rochell  þe roste to defie
Al þis seiȝ I slepinge  and seuen sythes more .