fol. 1rI
  Pers plowmanO.P.000: A vertical line, hooked at the top, three line-spaces in height, precedes the title. The following lines appear at the head of the text:
Et sine verborum  sonitu . fit doctor eorum
Ipse tuam mentem  regat & faciat sapientem
Recte credentem  monitos que bonos retinentem
Vt bene viuendo  mandata que sana sequendo
Leticiam vere  lucis . merearis habere
Que tenebras nescit  miro que decore nitescit
Et cuicumque datur  sine fine beatificatur
Hoc tibi det munus  qui regnat trinus & vnus . amen.
In the endleaves of the manuscript, Skeat describes these lines as "the tag-end of a Latin poem of small merit" which "has no connection whatever with Pers Plowman." They are the final eight lines of the Carmen Paraeneticum ad Rainaldum, a twelfth-century poem of unknown authorship (PL 184, 1307A-1314C). Thanks are owed to Michael Blum for the research that led to the identification of this fragment.
IN a somer sesoun  whanne soft was þe sunne
I schope me in schroudes  as I a scheep were
In habyt as an heremyt  vnholi of werkis
Wente wyde in þis world  wondres to heere
Ac on a may mornyng  on Maluerne hillis
Me befel a ferly  of fayrie me þouȝte
I was wery for-wandrid  and wente me to rest
Vndir a brood bank  bi a bornes syde
And as I lay & lenede  & lokede in þe watris
I slumbrede in a slepyng  it sweyuedeO.P.10: This word caused scribal confusion. YC2CL share the reading of O; other variants include sweyd (G), swyȝed (HmCRF), sweyed (WM), and sweuenyd (H). Although the MED relates the form swiȝede in the corresponding line of the C-text (Trinity MS) to swevenen, "to dream," Skeat's gloss on sweyued as meaning "flowed, rippled along" (Dan. svæve) accords better with the sense of the line. However, the MED lists no forms of sweien with a medial <u>. Schmidt (363) adopts the reading of ZA, sweyed, which he glosses as "sounded." Kane and Donaldson adopt this form as well. so myrie
Þanne gan I to meten  a merueylous sweuene
Þat I was in wildernesse  wiste I neuere where
As I behelde in-to þe est  on hyȝ to þe sunne
I sawȝ a toure on a toft  triedlicheO.P.14: The form triedliche, meaning "excellently," appears in ME only here and in The Destruction of Troy 3054, 9786, 10583 (cited in MED). Variants include trieliche (WGYLF), trychlych (Cr3), ryaly (H), rieliche (CM), rychely (HMCR12), and reallecle (C2). Kane and Donaldson adopt trieliche. I-maked
A deep dale byneþe  a dongeoun þer-Inne
Wiþ depe dichis & derke  & dredeful of syȝt
A faire feeld ful of folk  fonde I þere bitwene
Of al manere of men  þe mene & þe riche
Worchynge & wandrynge  as þe world askiþ
Summe putte hem to þe plow  pleyede ful seelde
In settynge & souwynge  swonken ful harde
And wonnen þat wastouris  inO.P.22: GOC2 alone have in in place of correctly alliterating with. glotenye distroyen
And summe putten hem to pride  apparayleden hem þer-after
In countenaunce of cloþing  coomen disgysed
In preyereO.P.25: OC2 alone have the singular form. & in penaunce  putten hem many
Al for loue of oure lord  lyueden ful streyte
In hope for to haue  heuene-riche blisse
As ancres & heremytis  þat holden hem in her selles
fol. 1vI
And coueyten not in contre  to cayren aboute
For no likerous lijflode  her lickam to plese
And summe chosen chaffare  þei cheuen þe better
As it semet to oure siȝt  þat swicheO.P.32: OC2 alone lack a word between swiche and þryuen; most B manuscripts have men. þryuen
And summe myrþes to make  as mynystrales kunnen
And geten gold wiþ her gle  notO.P.34: OC2 alone include the negative. synles I leue
As iapers & iangeleris  Iudas children
ÞatO.P.36: YOC2M alone include Þat. feynen hem fantasies  & foles hem maken
And han her witt at her wille  to wirche if þei schuldenO.P.37: OC2 alone have the form schulden; most B manuscripts have schulde.
Qui non laborat
non manducet
O.P.38: This line is divided after laborat, so that it appears opposite ll. 38-39. Kane and Donaldson (224) exclude this gloss, which occurs only in OC2, on the grounds that it is scribal.
Þat poul prechiþ of hem  I nyle not preue it heere
Qui turpiloquium loquitur  is lucifers knaue
Bidderis & beggeris  faste aboute ȝiedenO.P.40: OC2 alone have the form ȝieden; all other beta witnesses have yede.
Wiþ her bely & her baggys  of breed ful I-crammyd
Faiteden for her fode  fauȝten atO.P.42: OC2 alone lack þe before ale. ale
In glotenye . god it woot  goon þei to bedde
And rysen wiþ ribaudie  þeO.P.44: OC2 alone have þe; most B manuscripts have þo. roberdis knaues
Sleep & sory slouþe  suen hem euere
Pilgrymys & palmeris  pliȝtedenO.P.46: OC2 alone have the form pliȝteden; variants include plyght (Cr), plighted (YLM), pyghtyn (F), pyth (H), gedir (C), and pliȝten (WHmG). hem to-gyderes
To seke seynt Iames  & seyntis in Rome
Þey wenten forþ in her wey  wiþ many wise tales
And hadden leue for to lye  al her lijf after
I seyȝ summe þat seyden  þei hadden I-souȝt seyntis
To iche a tale þat þei toldenO.P.51: OC2 alone have the form tolden in place of tolde.  her tunge was temperid to lye
More þanO.P.52: OC2 alone lack to before the infinitive. seye soþ  it semede . bi her speche
Heremytis on an heep  wiþ hoked staues
Wenten to walsyngham  & her wenchis after
Grete lobyes & longe  þat loþ weren to swynke
Cloþeden hem in copis  to be knowen from oþere
And schopen hem heremytis  her ese to haue
I fonde þere freris  alle þe foure ordres
Precheden þe peple  for profiȝt of hem-seluen
Gloseden þe gospel  as hem good likede
For coueytise of copes  construeden it . as þei woldenO.P.61: OC2 alone have the form wolden; most B manuscripts have wolde.
Many of þeise maystre freris  mowen cloþen hem at likyng
For her money & marchaundisesO.P.62: OYC2C alone have the plural form.  marchen to-gyderis
For siþ charite haþ ben chapman  & cheef to schryue lordis
Many ferlies han fallen  in a fewe ȝieris
But holi chirche & þei  holde bettre to-gyderis
Þe moost myscheef on erþeO.P.67: OC2 alone have erþe in place of molde.  is mountynge vp welO.P.67: OC2 alone include both vp and wel. faste
fol. 2rI
Þere prechede a pardoner  as he a preest were
Brouȝte forþ a bulle  wiþ bischoppis seelis
And seyde þat hym-self myȝte  assoylen hem alle
Of falshed of fastyng  & of vowes Ibroken
Lewede men leuedenO.P.72: O alone has the form leueden; most B manuscripts have leued. hym wel  & likeden hise wordis
Comen vp knelynge  to kissen hise bulles
He bunchede hem wiþ his breuet  & blerede her yen
And rauȝte wiþ his ragman  rynges & broches
Þus þei gyuen her gold  glotounes to kepe
And louenO.P.77: OC2 alone have louen; most B manuscripts have leneþ. siche loselis  þat leccherie haunten
Were þe bischop Iblessid  & worþ hise boþeO.P.78: O alone transposes boþe hise. eres
His seel schulde not be sent  to disceyue þe peple
Ac it is not bi þe bischop  þat þe boye prechiþ
For þe parisch preest & þe pardoner  parten þe siluer
Þat þe pore porayleO.P.82: YOC2M alone have pore porayle; variants include pore men (F), poraille (WHmCL), and pouerty (Cr). Kane and Donaldson emend to pouere peple. of þe parisch  schulde haue . if þei ne were
Persounes & parisch prestis  pleynedenO.P.83: O alone has the form pleyneden; most B manuscripts have pleyned. hem to þe bischop
Þat her parisches weren pore  siþ þe pestelence tyme
To haue a licence & leue  at london to dwelle
And syngen þere for symonye  for siluer is swete
Bischoppis & bacheleris  boþe maystres & doctouris
Þat han cure vndir crist  & crownyng in tokene
And signe . þat þei schulden  schryuen her parischenes
Prechen & preye for hem  & þe pore fede
Liggen in london  in lenten and ellis
Summe seruen þe kyng  & his siluer tellen
In checker & in chauncerie  chalengen hise dettis
Of wardis ofO.P.94: HmOC2H alone have of; variants include & (CrGYCLM) and and of (WRFH). wardmotes  of weyues ofO.P.94: HmOC2 alone have of in place of and before streyues. streyues
And summe seruen as seruauntis  lordis & ladyes
And in stede of stiwardis  sitten & demen
Her messe & her mateyns  & many of her ouris
Arn doon vn-deuoutliche  drede is at þe last
Lest crist in consistorie  curseO.P.99: OC2 alone have curse; most B manuscripts have acorse. ful many
I parceyuede of þe power  þat peter hadde to kepe
To bynde & to vnbynde  as þe book telliþ
How he . it selfO.P.102: OC2 alone have self; most B manuscripts have lefte. wiþ loue  as oure lord hyȝte
Amongys foure vertues  þe best of alle vertues
Þat cardynalis ben clepid  & closyng ȝatis
Þere crist is in kyngdam  to close & to schitte
And to opene it to hem  & heuene blis schewe
fol. 2vI
Ac of þe cardynalis at court  þat cauȝten of þat name
AcO.P.108: O alone has Ac; all other beta witnesses have And. power presumedenO.P.108: O alone has presumeden; all other beta witnesses have presumed. in hem  a pope to make
To haue þat power þat petir hadde  Impugne itO.P.109: OC2 alone include it before I. I nylle
For in loue & lettrure  þe eleccioun bilongeþ
For-þi I can & IO.P.111: OC2H alone include I before the second occurrence of can. can not  of court speke more
Þanne cam þer a kyng  knyȝthod hym ladde
Myȝt of þe comunes  made hym to regne
And þanne kam kynde witt  & klerkis he made
For to counceyle þe kyng  & þe comune saue
Þe kyng & knyȝthod  & clergye boþe
Casten þat þe comune  schuldenO.P.117: OC2 alone have the form schulden in place of sholde. hem-self fynde
Þe comune contreuede  of kynde witt . craftes
And for profiȝt of al þe peple  plowmen ordeynedenO.P.119: O alone has the form ordeyneden; all other beta witnesses have ordeyned.
To tilie & trauayle  as trewe lijf askeþ
Þe kyng & þe comune  & kynde witt . þe þridde
Schopen lawe & leute  iche man to knowe his owne
Þanne lokede vp a lunatyk  a lene þing wiþ-al
And knelynge to þe kyng  clergiali he seyde
Crist kepe þee sir kyng  & þe þi kyng-riche
And lene þee toO.P.126: OYC2M alone include to before lede. lede þi lond  so leute þee louye
And for þi riȝtful rewlyng  be rewardid in heuene
And siþþen in þe eir on hyȝ  an aungel of heuene
Lowede to speke in latyn  for lewede men ne koudenO.P.129: OC2M alone have the form kouden; all other beta witnesses have koude.
Iangle ne Iugge  þat Iustifie hem schulde
But suffren & seruen  for-þi seyde þe aungel
Sum rex sum princeps  neutrum fortasse deinceps
O qui iura regis  cristi . 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 metasO.P.138: A bracket in the right margin connects the preceding seven lines; horizontal wavy lines join each line of text to the bracket.
Þanne greuede hym a goliardeys  a glotoun of wordis
And to þe aungel on hyȝ  answerede after
CumO.P.141: YOC2C alone have Cum in place of Dum. rex a regere  dicatur nomen habere
Nomen habet sine re  nisi studet iura tenereO.P.142: A bracket in the right margin connects the preceding two lines; a wavy line joins l. 141 to the bracket.
Þanne gan alle þe comunes  crie . in vers of latyn
To þe kyngys counceyl  construe . who-so wolde
Precepta regis  sunt nobis vincula legisO.P.145: This line is followed by three ticks.
fol. 3rI
Ratounes .
Wiþ þat ran þer a route  of ratounes at ones
And smale myce wiþ hem  moo þan a þousand
And comen to a counceyl  for her comune profiȝt
For a cat of a court  cam whanne hym likede
And ouerleepe hem lyȝtly  & lauȝte hem at his wille
And pleyede wiþ hem perelouslich  & possede hem aboute
For doute of dyuerse dedesO.P.152: OC2 alone have dedes in place of drede(s).  we dorenO.P.152: O alone has doren; all other beta witnesses have dar. not wel loke
And if we grucchen of hys gamen  he wole greue vs alle
Cracche vs & clawe vs  & in hise cloches holde
Þat vs loþeþ þe lijf  or he lete vs passe
MyȝtenO.P.156: OC2 alone have the form Myȝten; all other beta witnesses have Miȝte. we wiþ any witt  his wille wiþ-stonde
We myȝten be lordis a-loft  & lyuen at oure ese
A Ratoun of renoun  moost renable of tunge
Seyde for a souereyn  help . to hym-seluenO.P.159: OC2 alone have hym-seluen; all other beta witnesses have hymselue.
I haue seyn segges quod he  in þe cite of london
Beren byes ful bryȝt  abouten her neckis
And summe colers of crafty werk  vncoupled þei wenden
Boþe in wareyn & in wast  where hem leue likiþ
And oþer-whyle . þei arn ellis-where  as I here telle
Were þer a belle on her byesO.P.165: YOC alone have the plural form.  bi iesu as me þinkeþ
Men myȝten wite where þei wentenO.P.166: OC2 alone have the form wenten in place of wente.  & awey renne
And riȝt so quod þeO.P.167:   GOC2F alone have þe in place of þat. ratoun  resoun me schewiþ
To bigge a belle of brasse  or of bryȝt siluer
And knytte on a koler  for oure comune profiȝt
And hange it vp-on þe cattis hals  þanne . here we mowenO.P.170: This and the preceding line are encompassed by a very lightly written red parenthesis in the right margin.
Where he rit or restiþ  or renneþ to pleye
And if hym liste for to layke  þanne loke we mowen
And peren in his presence  þer-while hym pleye likiþ
And if hym wraþþeþ be ywar  & his weye schonye
Al þis route of ratounes  to þis resoun assentedenO.P.175: O alone has the form assenteden in place of assented.
Ac þoo þe belle was I-bouȝt  & on þe bye hangyd
Þer ne was ratoun in al þe route  for al þe rewme of fraunce
Þat durste haue bounde þe belle  aboute þe cattis necke
Ne hangen it aboute þe cattis hals  al Englond to wynneO.P.179: The letter <E> has been rewritten in the right margin in the main scribal hand, apparently because the <E> in Englond is ill-formed.
And helden hem vnhardi  & her counceyl feble
And leeten her labour lost  & her longe studie
A mous þat myche good  couþe . as me þouȝte
Stroke forþ sterneli  & stode bi-forn hem alle
And to þeO.P.184: OC2 alone here lack the object of the prepositional phrase, and thus the first alliterating stave. Most B manuscripts have route of. ratounes  rehercede þeise wordis
fol. 3vI
Þouȝ we killedenO.P.175: O alone has the form killeden; variants include haddyn kyllyd (F), had Iculled (R), kylled (C2), kulled (CLM), killen (WHmG), and kylle (HYCr). þe cat  ȝet schulde þer come an-er
To cracche vs and al oure kynde  þouȝ we cropen vnder benchis
For-þi I counceyle al þe comune  to latte þe cat worthe
And be we neuere so bold  þe belle hym to schewe
For I herde my sire seyn  is seuene ȝer ypassed
Þere þe cat is a kitoun  þe court is ful elenge
Þat witnessiþ holi writ  who-so wole it rede
Ve terre  vbi puer est RexO.P.192: HmOC2R alone transpose Rex est. & cetera .
For may no renke þere rest haue  for ratouns bi nyȝt
Þe whyle he cacchiþ conynges  he coueitiþ not oure careyne
But fet hym wiþ venysoun  defame we hym neuere
For better is a litil losse  þan a longe sorwe
Þe mase amongys vs alle  þouȝ we mysse a schrewe
For many mennys malt  we myce wolden distroye
And also þe route of ratouns  rende mennys cloþis
Nere þat cat of þat court  þat can ȝow ouer-lepe
For haddenO.P.201: O alone has the form hadden in place of hadde or omission. ȝe rattis ȝoure wille  ȝe couþenO.P.201: O alone has the form couþen in place of kouþe. not reule ȝow-selue
I seye for me quod þe mous  I se so mykil after
Schal neuere þe cat ne þe kitoun  bi my counceyl be greuyd
Ne carpyng of þis coler  þat costede me neuere
And þouȝ it hadde cost me catel  biknowe it . I nolde
But suffre . as hym-self wolde  to do as hym likiþ
Couplid & vncouplid  to cacche . what þei mowen
For-þi . iche a wyse wyȝt  I warne . wite wel his owne
What þeiseO.P.209: YOC2 alone have the plural form. metels bemenettO.P.209:It would seem that O alone has bemenett, which Kane and Donaldson do not record. C2 has bemenet.  ȝe men þat ben myrie
Dyuyne ȝe . for I ne dar  bi dere god in heuene
Ȝet houedenO.P.211: O alone has the form houeden; most B manuscripts have houed. þere an hundred in howues of silk
Sergeauntis it semeden  þat serueden at þe barre
Plededen for penyes  & poundis . þe lawe
And not for loue of oure lord  vnlose her lippis ones
Þow myȝtist better . mete þe myst  on malueren hillis
Þan gete a mumme of her mouþe  but money be schewid
Barouns & burgeys  and bonde-men also
I seyȝ in þis assemble  as ȝe schul here after
Baxters & brewsters  and bocheris manye
Wollen websteris  and weueris of lynnen
Taylouris & tynkeris  & tolleris in markettis
Masouns & mynouris  & many oþere craftis
Of alle kyn libbynge laboreris  lopen forþ summe
fol. 4rI
As dykers & deluers . þat doon her dedis ille O.P.224: In the top right margin of this folio is a mark resembling an <n>, partially effaced by smearing with water. The hand responsible cannot be identified with certainty, but resembles hand 2.
And dryuen forþ þe longe day . wiþ dieu vous saue dame Emme
Cookes & her knaues  cryeden hote pyes hote
Goode gees & grys  go we dyne go we
Tauerners vn-til hem  tolden þe same
Whyte wiyn of Oseye  & rede wiyn of Gascoigne
Of þe Ryne & ofO.P.230: O alone lacks þe before Rochel. Rochel  þe roost to deffye
Al þis sawe I slepynge  & seuene syþes more .