I.   Description of the Manuscript: Oxford, Oriel College, MS 79:

I.1   Date:

George Kane and E. Talbot Donaldson assign this manuscript to the first half of the fifteenth century,NGeorge 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), p. 12. as does A. I. Doyle.N"Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman," in Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, 1986), p. 41. Ralph Hanna dates it to the first quarter of the century.N William Langland, Authors of The Middle Ages 3, English Writers of the Late Middle Ages (Aldershot, 1993), p. 39.

I.2   Collation (Piers Plowman only):

i: 8, ff. [1]-[4] (lacks 1-4) O.P.1-01.70
ii: 8, ff. 5-12 O.1.71-O.3.247
iii: 8, ff. 13-20 O.3.248-O.5.314
iv: 8, ff. 21-28 O.5.315-O.6.274
v: 8, ff. 29-36 O.6.275-O.10.20
vi: 8, ff. 37-44 O.10.21-O.11.194
vii: 8, ff. 45-52 O.11.195-O.13.136
viii: 8, ff. 53-60 O.13.137-O.15.7
ix: 8, ff. 61-68 O.15.8-O.16.57
x: 8, ff. 69-73 (lacks 5-7) O.16.58-O.18.71 (missing Kane-Donaldson, ll. 17.99-346)
xi: 8, ff. 74-81 O.18.72-O.19.271
xii: 8, ff. 82-88 (lacks 1) O.19.272-O.20.385 (missing Kane-Donaldson, ll. 19.281-358)

Walter W. Skeat describes the state of the Piers Plowman manuscript thus: "It has lost the first half of the first quire, the first four leaves being held in merely at their edges; then follow eight complete quires of eight leaves each; an incomplete quire of only five leaves (the fifth, sixth, and seventh being lost); one more complete quire; and one more incomplete quire of seven leaves (the first being lost). The rest of the MS. is on paper, of a much later date...."NWalter W. Skeat, ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun: Part 2. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B, EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. xvi-xvii. See also Skeat's remarks in the letters addressed to the Oriel librarian who lent him the manuscript, printed here under the heading "Physical Description and Contents."

I.3   Physical Description and Contents:

Oriel College MS 79 comprises two manuscripts, bound together in the eighteenth century.NGeorge 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), p. 11. The manuscript of Piers Plowman is written on eighty-eight vellum leaves of poor quality, with sixteen frontleaves and fourteen endleaves of paper. The flyleaf is of marbled paper; on its reverse, in various modern hands, is the cataloguing information for the manuscript. On the next leaf, numbered "ii," is written, in various modern hands, "Joseph Ames"; "This formerly belonged to Mr. Ames in his name indented on the cover"; "Given to the library by Francis Page commoner of Oriel College A. D. 1788"; "[For some papers relating to this MS., see near the end of the volume. F.M., 1917]."NFor a life of Joseph Ames, an eighteenth-century merchant and antiquary, see The Dictionary of National Biography 1:353-55. On Francis Page, apparently the former Francis Bourne who adopted the name of Page as a condition of a bequest of his great-uncle Francis Page, see The Dictionary of National Biography 15:40-41. There follow numbered blank leaves, all of paper, through number xvi. The manuscript of Piers begins on the following (vellum) leaf, numbered 1 at the top right, and extends through leaf 88r. 88v contains, at the top, the name "W. Smethwik"; and a Latin quatrain beginning Sunt tria vere que faciunt me dolere , identified by Kane and Donaldson as the Latin and Greek refrain of the Improperia,N 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), p. 11 n. 78. with an English translation. On 89r (the beginning of the second manuscript, of paper) there appear sixteen Latin distichs on the four humors and a "Bess" ballad. There follow (89v-92v) a list of London wards and their taxes, and a list of London parish churches (91v is left blank). 93r-97r contain the privileges of the Abbey Church, Westminster, and 98r-109r contain the version of The Book of Curtesye from which Furnivall prepared his 1868 edition for EETS.NEETS ES 3, 6, 22. For discussions of the contents of the manuscript and their dates, see Walter W. Skeat, The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun: Part 2. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. xvi-xx; 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), pp. 11-12; C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-version (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 87-88. There follows (111r-113v) Skeat's printed preface to the EETS B-text, which is pasted into this manuscript. 115r-116v contain a pasted-in letter on smaller notepaper, written by Skeat on April 30, 1868 to the librarian who had lent him the manuscript. Its text follows:

Dear Sir,
I write to tell you that I have only just discovered that your Oriel MS, of Piers Plowman wants four leaves, much to my regret: it is a great pity, as the MS. is a very good one. I thought it right to let you know this at once.
I have been much hindered in my work, but am now getting on very fast, and hope soon to return the MS. When I do, I will send with it an exact description of its contents, with an explanation of the missing portions, etc.
It is clear to me that these leaves have been lost a very long time: obviously before it was last bound up. The bookbinder's marks can be traced, and one of them falls on a second leaf of a sheet instead of on the first as usual. This is because the first or outer leaf had been torn off. The other three leaves have not been torn away, but cut away with a very sharp knife. That this was also done before binding is very probable; for it could hardly be possible for any one to cut them away so very near the back now that the MS. is bound. Merely very narrow edges can be seen, but of course in collating line by line it was impossible for me to miss finding it out.
I am really much indebted to the college for the loan. It has helped me very much. There are some very good readings in it, and one or two extra lines that do not occur in Mr Wright's edition. There is another curious bit of evidence which renders it probable that the MS has not been used at all recently. The marker put in by Dr Whitaker in 1814 to mark the piece which he printed in his preface is in its place still: and I expect the MS can therefore hardly have been much used between the years 1814 and 1867.
            I remain, dear Sir,
            Yrs very sincerely,
            Walter W. Skeat

117r-v are blank; 118r is the first page of another letter of Skeat, dated July 16, 1868. The text follows.

Dear Sir,
I now return to you MS Oriel 79, for the loan of which I am very grateful, and which has been of very great service. I hope in course of time to send you, for the Oriel College Library, a copy of my edition of Piers Plowman, in which there will be a description of that MS and numerous readings from it, denoted by the letter O.
I also send you, for the College Library, a copy of Mr Furnivall's edition of "Caxton's Boke of Curtesye." The best version of this work is that contained in the paper leaves at the end of MS. Oriel 79, and Mr Furnivall has inserted in his preface a description of the arrangement of these leaves: whilst he has given the text from it in full, for the accuracy of which I am responsible, having copied it out and edited it for him.
It was not known—until we found it out—what the true contents of these leaves really were. In Mr Coxe's Catalogue there is no hint of the Boke of Curtesye, the misplacement of the leaves having rendered it almost impossible for him to guess what it was all about.
There are 3 little markers in the MS. The first shows where the passages occur which Dr Whitaker copied and printed in 1813. The second and third shew where leaves are missing. Will you kindly return me, per book post, my bond for the safe return of the volume, that I may cancel it?
            I remain,
            Dr Sir-
            With many thanks
            Yours very sincerely,
            Walter W. Skeat

120r-v are blank; 121r is the first leaf of Skeat's 1868 description of MS Oriel 79. The text follows:

4 leaves at least are lost from the beginning. Thus the Latin poem of which the first few lines appear at the beginning is imperfect. It has no connection whatever with "Pers Plowman." Besides this, three leaves have been lost in one place and one in another; viz, folios 73, 74, 75 and 85.
Catchwords occur at the bottom of the back of folios 4, 12, 20, 28, 36, 44 (cut off in binding;) 52, 60, 68, 76, and 84. Numbers of the sheets, as marked by the bookbinder, will be found at the top (on the inner edge) of the folios
     13      21      29      37      45      53      61      69      77      86
       2        3       4        5        6       7        8        9       10      11
As the mark 11 ought to have come on fol. 85 instead of 86, it is clear that fol. 85 was lost before the book was bound. So too foll. 73-75 must have been cut off before that time.
The paper leaves contain
N.B. The leaves numbered 88 & 89 ought to precede fol. 78. Also 88 should follow 89. Also, the leaves 88 & 89 have been turned right round being now bound in by what ought to be their outward edges.
Walter W. Skeat

Endleaves 123r-133 are blank; 133 is the final endleaf, with the marbled design on the reverse.

I.4   Damage:

The manuscript generally is in fair condition, in that it is almost entirely legible but with bleedthrough, darkening, wrinkling, scuffing, fading, buckling, staining, crumbling, and tearing, especially at the edges. Most leaves are affected by several of these types of damage. Many leaves show bleedthrough, most commonly of marginalia but on a number of leaves—37r, 48r, 48v, 72r, 79r, 79v, 82r, 84r, 84v, 87v, and 88—affecting most or all of the text. On 84r it renders illegible, without photographic enhancement, a marginal quotation of eight lines.I Fading affects the legibility of 29r, 60v, and 61r, while 1r, 30r, and 31r show severe rubbing and flaking. Folios 2, 6, 7, 48, 53, and 54 are torn; the tear on 53 is a large one which has been patched with paper. Smaller tears in the lower inside quadrants of folios 57 and 60 have also been patched. There is a small round hole about 1 cm in diameter two-thirds of the way down folio 5; an irregular hole about 1 cm in diameter at the widest point, about a fifth of the way down 62; and at the top center of 86 there is a keyhole-shaped hole 4.5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide at the widest point. All these holes were present before copying, as the scribe has copied around them. Folio 30 seems to have been cut, rather than torn; there is a vertical slit in the bottom left margin about 5 cm long. There is a long cut as well in 46, where the bottom third of the outside margin is cut away, and in folio 32, which has lost almost the entire bottom half of its outside margin. A similar but smaller cut has deprived folio 56 of its outside bottom corner. A large portion of the outside margin of folio 72, and a small portion of that of folio 73, have been cut away. Folio 76 has a cut about 3.5 cm in length in the bottom margin. The manuscript has been severely and somewhat carelessly cropped; apparently no text has been lost except the catchwords at the sixth gathering and the tops of those at the fourth and tenth, as well as a number of quire signatures, some of them partially visible. The manuscript is heavily scored throughout, although there is no scoring after folio 85. It should be noted that, on account of damage to the manuscript, features which are visible on close, direct examination are sometimes invisible even in the enhanced photographic images accompanying this edition.

I.5   Size and Arrangement of the Page:

Size: Leaves 215x160 mm, frame 160x110 mm. The text is arranged in a single column, with an average of 39 lines per page. The title appears in the extreme top margin of the first leaf, followed by an eight-line excerpt from a Latin poem unrelated to Piers.N

    The following lines appear at the head of the text: Et sine verborum [punctuselevatus] sonitu . fit doctor eorum Ipse tuam mentem [punctuselevatus] regat & faciat sapientem Recte credentem [punctuselevatus] monitos que bonos retinentem Vt bene viuendo [punctuselevatus] mandata que sana sequendo Letitiam vere [punctuselevatus] lucis . merearis habere Q ue tenebras nescit [punctuselevatus] miro que decore nitescit Et cuicum que datur [punctuselevatus] sine fine beatificatur H oc tibi det munus [punctuselevatus] 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.

The text of Piers follows, beginning with a rubricated initial six lines in height. The text is copied below the top line of ruling. Passus divisions are marked, in most cases, by marginal passus headings and large rubricated initials. (See Decoration). Marginal rubrics appear at intervals throughout the text, but with greater frequency in the first half. There are occasional glosses and corrections in the margins. This scribe most often places Latin lines in the right margin, separated by a double solidus from the preceding line of English text. These line separators have not been transcribed in the edition. Where the Latin line is too long to fit into the margin, the scribe most often continues it in the margin directly beneath, usually beginning with a red "P"-style parasign. Sometimes—as at 15.206, 16.221, 18.113, 18.186, 18.250, 18.360, 18.424, 19.76, 19.396, and 20.255—the line is continued in the margin directly above. In a unique instance, at 19.267, individual words are divided, each continued in the margin above.

I.6   Handwriting:

The text of Piers Plowman is copied in black ink and in the same small, expert anglicana formata throughout.NSee 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. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, 1986), p. 41, and Walter W. Skeat, ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun: Part 2. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), p. xvii. The main scribe has written, in addition to the text, marginal glosses and corrections, notae, and small "cc" parasigns in the left margins. He most often places Latin lines in the right margins of the English lines they follow. When a letter or word is unclear or ill-formed, he sometimes rewrites it above the line or in the margin, as he does for example at P.179 and 11.397. He has also written the passus headings, except for that of Passus 7, and it seems likely, from the appearance of a few words written entirely in red in his hand, that he was the rubricator. It is impossible to determine how many of the marginal crosses are in the main scribal hand, although a distinctive type composed of dots, with flourishes sometimes in red, appears to be.NI owe to Rhonda McDaniel the observation that the flourishes are similar to those surrounding notae which are clearly in his hand.

Although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish capital letters from lower-case in this scribe's hand—especially for <A>, <K>, <S>, <V>, <W>, <Y>, and sometimes <H>, þ and ȝ—it is apparent that his intention was to capitalize the initial letter of each line, and so we have transcribed them as capitals. Most of his capitals are distinguished by barring or double strokes; for the <F>, he uses the doubled letter. <B>, <C>, <D>, <E>, <G>, <I>, <L>, <N>, <O>, <Q>, <R>, and <T> have distinctive majuscule forms; capital <M> is distinguished by a leftward-slanting descender from the final minim. In his script the yogh and zed have the same form, but we have distinguished them in transcription. The scribe uses a few variant letter forms: the sigma <s> initially, the long <s> medially, and terminally a form shaped like the number eight (occasionally, and especially where space is inadequate, he uses a form of the sigma <s> terminally.) <R> takes three forms: a short, angular form similar to a modern lower-case printed <r> appears initially, terminally and often medially; also medially, and especially after <o>, the scribe uses a form shaped like the Arabic numeral <2>; in a few instances, he uses a long <r>. The sound [v] is written as <v> initially, as <u> medially.

The scribe was conscientious, but not an innovator; he took some trouble to insure the correctness and legibility of the text—noting in margins or above the line words or phrases inadvertently omitted, providing (or copying) glosses on unfamiliar words, and offering corrections—but gives no sign of having departed from it significantly. (The one possible exception is 15.126, a line occurring only in OC2 and entirely different from the corresponding line in the other manuscripts.) Although there are a number of erroneous or nonsensical corrections in the manuscript, most corrections in the main scribal hand are good; two significant exceptions are the addition of lust at 20.71, a reading unique to O, and the substitution of leuenynges for leuynges at 5.369.

There are only two instances in which the main scribal hand uses a different script. They are at 11.164, where a rubric is written in a larger, more formal version of his characteristic hand, and at the explicit.

The first trace of a different hand appears in a marginal rubric at 1v. This hand, which we have designated "hand2," is a larger, looser one also of the fifteenth century, writing with a broader nib than the main scribal hand. It is responsible for the rubric charitas I at 1v; two other rubrics in the right margin of 23r;I a scrawled marginal note at 39v;I "cc" parasigns at 10.68I and 12.209;I memoranda at 13.161,I 13.273,I and 18.26;I and, probably, marginal crosses at 39v;I 50r; 51r,v; 53v; and 54r,v.NFor discussion of similar crosses in the margins of manuscripts F and W, see Andrew Galloway, "Reading Piers Plowman in the Fifteenth and the Twenty-First Centuries: Notes on Manuscripts F and W in the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive," JEGP 103 (2004): 247-67.

The only other hand prominent in this manuscript, which we have designated "hand3," is so similar to that of the main scribe that it is impossible to be entirely certain they are distinct. However, these additions to the manuscript are written with a thinner nib, in script that is generally smaller than that of the main scribe and which exhibits forms of the letters <r> and <s> that the main scribe rarely (although occasionally) uses. This hand is probably responsible for the guide words opposite passus headings at 6v,I 9v,I and 14r;I for marginal crosses at 3.268,I 5.430,I 5.445,I and in the bottom margin of folio 39r;I for the marginal caret/punctus devices indicating deletion; and for some thirty corrections and interpolations throughout the manuscript, some of which are puzzling or obviously defective. Among those are the change from archetypal temple to peple at 1.47; from feyre to fare at 5.206; from ȝyuen to lyue at 6.131; from pore to pure at 10.103 and 11.243; and from boone to loue at 11.154. In addition, it is difficult to see why this hand added the incoherent now haþ þe per opposite 7.187, or why it deleted the corrupt reading crepers at 15.467 and then rewrote it in the right margin. George Kane cites O as an example of "amateur 'correction'."N"The Text," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988), p. 187. This hand does, however, make some good corrections; see 2.28, 4.23, 4.181, 9.71, 13.91, 13.412, 14.125, and 19.179.

Other hands, as well, appear in the manuscript. The modern ones responsible for foliation, quire numbers and incidental notations such as the note "three leaves missing" in the top margin of folio 73r are mentioned in notes to the text, but are not assigned numbers for identification. In addition, there are three inscriptions in the manuscript in completely unidentifiable hands. The first is the passus heading of Passus 7, written in a fifteenth-century hand which exhibits neither the same script nor the same conventions as the main scribal hand, and which does not appear elsewhere in the manuscript.I The second appears in the right margin of folio 73r: the large, formal, neatly written initials "A-S," with a flourish between, in a modern hand.I Skeat noted these and assumed them to be the initials of a former owner of the manuscript.N The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun: Part 2: The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), p. xx. The last is the scrawled final notation following the explicit on 88r,I which reads f(i)nit in an uneven, primitive script also not seen elsewhere in the manuscript.

Finally, it is difficult to understand the function of the marginal crosses, in whichever hand. Some—such as those at 5.269, 10.322, 10.333, 13.196, 13.246, and 13.256-257—occur opposite lines with at least one obvious instance of scribal corruption, so that it is possible they are intended to point to the error. But most of the marginal crosses, in all three hands, appear opposite lines exhibiting no obvious corruption. Perhaps some of these were singled out because they are memorable—12.212, which is marked with crosses in two different hands, is probably one such—but others which do not appear especially memorable are marked as well.

I.7   Abbreviations:

The O-scribe makes liberal use of standard abbreviations. And is most often represented by an ampersand, that by a thorn accompanied by a supralinear <t>,I and thou by a thorn accompanied by a supralinear <u>.I A tilde indicates a following nasal;I tildes are sometimes misplaced, and a few otiose marks appear (for example, in olde 6.316;I peers 13.138;I and was 16.169I). A supralinear curl represents <er>I or <re>;I a vertical line looped at the top, <es>,I <is>,I <us>I(and, judging by the scribe's practice in some passus headings, sometimes <mus>); a supralinear swirl, <ra>I or <a>; a supralinear hook, <ur>;I a barred <p>, following <ar>I or <er>;I a barred <p> with hook, following <ro>;I a barred <l>, following <es>I or <is>;I and a double-facing <q> with barred descender, quod.I In Latin passages, <r> with barred descender indicates following <um>;I a character resembling a yogh substitutes for terminal <us>;I and a tilde above the line can substitute for any number of omitted letters: e.g., mi˜a stands for misericordia. I Combinations of letters are often indicated by a single superscript letter suggesting the correct sequence, as <e> for <re> in credentem , <o> for <oc> in hoc, I <i> for <ri> or <ui> in april I or principibus, I and <u> for <ua> in Quare. I The same device is sometimes used for English as well. A long superscript hook resembling a <c> may stand for <e> or <ec> in words such as nec I or peccatum. I Common Latin words are routinely abbreviated; examples are quia ,I represented by a double-facing <q> with an extension on the line, and qua ,I represented by a <q> with a supralinear swirl.

The words Christi ,I Christo ,I and Christum I are rendered by the scribe with an <x> together with the final character in superscript. Christus is abbreviated in two ways: as xpc˜ I or as xpus˜.I Christe is rendered xpe˜.I The names iesu and iesus, of much commoner occurrence, are rendered ihu˜ I and Ihus˜,I and rarely capitalized. Once only, at 15.592, the scribe writes iesum, rendering it as ihm˜.I

Abbreviations in the manuscript are often ambiguous, not with respect to which word is intended but with respect to which characters are substituted. The most striking example is the standard abbreviation Mia for Misericordia I. It is impossible to know which <i> of the three is represented and which are encompassed by the tilde. Similar cases include michi ,I tibi ,I and nisi .I At times, the resemblance of certain characters in this scribe's hand occasions ambiguity; for example, because the <c> and <t> are often indistinguishable, it is sometimes impossible to tell which letters are substituted in such words as peccatum ,I factum ,I sanctus ,I and patefacta .I Because <u> and <n> are indistinguishable, it is impossible to tell which is substituted in the word dominus .I In addition, the resolution of the curved <er> suspension is in doubt in the case of the word better,I where this scribe, when he does not abbreviate, may use either the <er> or <re> spelling. We have dealt with these ambiguities by settling, arbitrarily, on a single rendering of each word and using it consistently throughout.

For a somewhat fuller and less discursive list of abbreviations and suspensions used by the scribe, click here.

I.8   Decoration and Textual Presentation:

Although the manuscript has no illustrations, the scribe has followed throughout, with general fidelity, a modest plan of ornamentation. The title appears at the top of the first leaf, the first initial touched in red. The initial letter of the Prologue, like that of the other passus, is rubricated and very large: in this case, six lines in height, where the initials of other passus are two to four lines in height. Passus headings, which are present for every passus except the fourth, are underlined in red, except for the seventh, and those of the second and third passus are rubricated. The initials of the headings for passus 10, 15, and 16 are touched in red. The initial of each line of the text is touched in red, with the following exceptions: Prol. 133-138; 3.1-12; 4.1-5; 5.158; 6.115-117; 7.13-15; 15.57; 15.107-122; and the initials of the following leaves: 68v, 75v, 76v, 79r, and 80r. In many of these cases, it is difficult to determine whether the red touches were never added at all or have faded into invisibility, since elsewhere many are present which are now barely discernible.

Some initials have long, decorative ascenders or descenders with flourishes or sprays; these tend to occur at the top or bottom of leaves. A few are worthy of special note. One of these, in a decorative touch unique in the manuscript, is not a line initial but the ascender of the <h> in the word helle at 3.130, which rises some three vertical spaces above the line and is given a large, barred loop.I Another initial, at 16.18, is barred with red and has a decorated descender of some six lines in length, in a pattern of vertical bars interspersed with short horizontal bars touched in red.I A similar, smaller design without red touches may be seen at 10.473.I Initials with sprays are at 5.549,I 10.390,I 11.26,I 11.367,I 12.232,I 16.58,I 16.182,I and 16.264.I The one at 16.58 is the most elaborate, with red touches, a spray, and a height of about five vertical spaces.

Other features of the manuscript show regular use of decorative red touches. Latin words, phrases, and lines are most often underlined in red; rubrics are underlined in red, and a few—at 6.90, 7.110, 10.92, 14.83, and 15.343—are rubricated, together with a nota at 13.80. Other rubrics—at 2.116, 2.176, 3.26, 5.310, 15.123, 18.169, 18.172, and 20.58—have initials touched in red. The "P"-style parasigns, which often appear when Latin lines written in the margins are continued above or beneath, are written in red; the name iesu[s] is often underlined in red; flourishes surrounding notae are sometimes touched in red, some notae are underlined in red, and one nota, at 16.97, is rubricated; marginal crosses of the type formed with dots are sometimes given flourishes in red; rubrics may be followed by punctus in red; a few lines are followed by small red flourishes, as at 5.58 and 15.121; the slashes which separate lines or signal line placement are occasionally rubricated; and boxes enclosing catchwords at 4v, 13r, 73v, and 81v show red touches at the corners.

In addition, there are isolated decorative touches in unexpected places. At 3.237, the initial of the name David is touched in red; a very large "P"-style parasign, touched in red, appears preceding the rubric Paupertas at 14.277, and another, this one rubricated, precedes 16.97-98; and several lines are bracketed in red beginning at 15.343.

Two isolated designs, probably not in the main scribal hand and perhaps not decorative in intent, appear in the manuscript, one at 74r and the other at 83r. At 74r a double-heart design is drawn in very pale ink, centered on the column ruling at the top left margin. In the bottom right margin of 83r there appears a jagged design filled in with black ink and linked at the bottom to the quire signature, which is partially cropped. This is even more likely than the first to be a "doodle" rather than an attempt at decoration.

The scribe has made some attempt to ornament the explicit, writing the concluding sentence in a formal display script two lines in height, outlining its initial in red, and adding red touches between each word. The final notation, Lauderis (christe) q(uia) finit(ur) liber iste , is underlined in red, with the initial outlined in red and the same small red touches between words.

I.9   Punctuation:

The caesura is marked throughout with a punctus elevatus; in a few instances, as at P. 211, 3.3, 5.288, 8.89, 10.43, and 13.359, the scribe has neglected to include it. Occasionally a line closes with a punctus elevatus as well. We have retained the scribal punctuation throughout. Passus beginnings are indicated for all passus by a rubricated initial two to four lines in height (at the incipit, six). In addition, all passus except the fourth are marked by a heading in the right or left margin, written in the main scribal hand and underlined in red. At Passus 10, 15, and 16, the headings are touched in red as well; those of Passus 2 and 3 are written entirely in red, and that of Passus 7, which does not seem to be in the main scribal hand, is neither underlined nor rubricated. Although most of the headings are written opposite the first line of the passus they designate, those of Passus 2, 3, 8, and 20 appear opposite the final lines of the preceding passus. For clarity, they have nevertheless been represented in this edition as accompanying the passus they designate.

The manuscript contains two sorts of parasigns. The first, the small "cc" parasigns, appear frequently in the left margin in the first eighteen folios, sometimes at intervals of only two or three lines. From folios 19 to 38 they appear less often, and after folio 38 they no longer occur at all (except for one occurrence in the right margin at 50r, apparently not in the main scribal hand). Their function is difficult to determine, and they may indeed have more than one. Because they never occur in conjunction with the larger "P"-style parasigns, they do not seem to have been intended as guides to the placement of those. Often enough, they do occur at obvious points of transition, as with the introduction of each new group of characters in the Prologue (ll. 31-95, where they occur opposite ll. 31, 40, 46, 53, 58, 68, 72, 83, 87, and 95); they may also occur with a change of speakers, as at ll. 123, 139, and 158, or with the introduction of new action, as at ll. 146 and 175. But sometimes their occurrence appears unmotivated. A parasign of this type, for instance, appears opposite the left margin of OProl.99, splitting a clause in two. Another occurs at 1.94, in the midst of a discussion of those who should keep Truth, and at 1.154, interrupting a list of the qualities of Love. Although the function of these parasigns in O is not entirely clear, they show a high degree of correlation to such parasigns in other MSS, especially CFHmLMW. The issue of function will be addressed by John Burrow and Hoyt N. Duggan in their forthcoming edition of Bx.

The second type of parasign is the large "P," used by this scribe principally to mark the continuation of marginalia occupying more than one line; at the beginning of the second and subsequent lines, he often places a parasign of this type, almost always rubricated. On three occasions he makes use of this type of parasign for other purposes: twice, at 12.16 and 16.97, an apparently ornamental large red parasign precedes lines of Latin, and once, at 14.277, a large red parasign precedes the marginal rubric Paupertas.

Other marks of punctuation used by the scribe include the raised dot, the solidus, the caret, and various combinations of those used for special purposes. He makes occasional use of the raised dot, most often to punctuate (or perhaps merely to emphasize) marginal rubrics or passus headings, but also—although infrequently—within the line. Occasionally, as at 14.280, he uses raised dots to separate phrases within a line of text, a purpose for which—as at 15.39 and 15.121—he more commonly uses the solidus. He uses the solidus most often in groups of two or three, to separate the end of English lines from the beginning of Latin lines, which he most often places in the right margin. Sometimes, as at 11.110, 14.3, 18.321, and 18.326, one of the solidi is in red. Rarely, as at 1.31, double solidi may mark the continuation of a line of text above or below its beginning point. Solidi appear also, as at 11.91, 11.185, 12.97, and 12.178, as part of a scheme to indicate line placement, in which a solidus with one or two punctus above it appears both above the line to be inserted and, as a visual cue, at the point of insertion. Double solidi above consecutive words indicate transposition.

Especially in extended passages of Latin, line divisions are sometimes difficult to determine. Evidence seems to indicate that the scribe intended as new lines only those which begin at the left margin—or within the margins following double solidi—and with a capital letter. Within extended passages he uses solidi to mark off syntactic units, and sometimes whole sentences, and he sometimes begins sentences in the middle of the line-space with a capital letter. But instances such as P.132-138, an extended passage of Latin within which lines are clearly separated both by placement and by capital letters at the beginning of each, seem to show unambiguously his conventions of line division.

The scribe uses a variety of punctuation to indicate corrections. To indicate the substitution of one word or phrase for another, he most often places a solidus/punctus above both the word to be deleted and that to be substituted, which he usually places in the margin. (Examples are at 1.141, 3.302, 5.194, 7.64, 14.341, and 18.345; this is the form of deletion which we have designated <del rend="a">.) In a unique instance, substitution is indicated by a string of short horizontal slashes connecting the original reading with the substitute reading, placed below it in the bottom margin (5.353). Sometimes, the scribe indicates substitution only by the presence of the marginal word or phrase, without any accompanying punctuation of it or of the elements to be deleted; we have designated this form of deletion/substitution as <del rend="b">.

The scribe sometimes uses a light vertical bar to separate words he has inadvertently joined together. In such cases, we do not transcribe the bar but merely separate the words.

The scribe deletes by subpunction, lining through, and scraping. To indicate a substitution, he places a solidus/punctus above the word or phrase to be deleted; in the margin he write the substitution and places another solidus/punctus above it as well. The caret/punctus device indicating deletion appears to be that of hand 3. It is important to note that, although the marginal caret/punctus for deletion may be the device of a corrector alone, both the main scribe and a corrector use the supralinear solidus/punctus, making it difficult at times to distinguish scribal corrections from later ones.

Insertion of a word or phrase is indicated by a caret or double solidi on the line at the point of insertion and, most often, accompanying the item to be inserted. Examples are at 3.11, 4.109, 6.176, 9.71, 10.317, and 13.412. Glosses are marked with a solidus/punctus above both the marginal gloss and the word or phrase on the line (see 5.85, 5.182, and 6.64).

The scribe makes occasional use of hyphens, which take the form of a short double slash. In six locations (P.169, 2.212, 10.199, 10.480, 15.344, and 18.9-13) there are brackets connecting groups of lines; three of them—at P.169, 10.480, and 15.344—are in red. Only in three instances—2.12, 10.199, and 10.480—are they certainly in the main scribal hand; those at 18.9-13 almost certainly are not.

In this edition, we have not transcribed the punctuation indicating corrections, although where it is interesting or puzzling we have mentioned it in notes to the text. Hyphens are transcribed; brackets are mentioned in notes.

I.10   Forme Work:

Both frame ruling and line ruling are present and sometimes still easily visible, frame ruling especially in the later folios and line ruling most clearly at folios 38v, 63v, 68r, 74v, and 81r. Pricking for line or column ruling is also sometimes visible. Guides for underlining—in this manuscript, almost always in red—take the form of double dots in the right or left margin, visible for example at 7r, 11r, 14r, 17v, 19r, 20v, 26r, 28v, 30r, 34r, 80r, and 81r. Foliation in modern pencil appears consistently throughout; beginning with folio 73, two numbers appear in the top right margin of each folio: one, in brackets, indicating the "new" foliation which takes into account the three missing folios, and one which continues to follow the "old." Modern quire numbers appear in the top left margins of folios 1, 13, 21, 29, 37, 45, 53, 61, 69, 74, and 82. Quire signatures or traces of quire signatures, some very severely cropped, appear in the bottom right margins of folios 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 31, 64, 72, 77, 82, 83, and 84. For the second, third, and fourth passus, unobtrusive guide words for passus headings appear in the right margin. Very small and faint guide initials for the rubricator appear in the left margins of all passus except 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 16; these are so faint that it seems likely that those might originally have been present as well, but faded to invisibility. Once, at l. 161 of the Prologue, a guide initial appears in a location other than the beginning of a passus. Catchwords, boxed in black sometimes touched with red at the corners, appear at folios 4, 12, 20, 28, 36, 44, 52, 60, 68, 73, and 81.

I.11   Binding:

Dimensions: 225 mm height x 170 mm width x 35 mm depth. The two manuscripts, one vellum and one paper, are sewn into a binding of gold-tooled red leather with the name Ioseph Ames stamped upside down within a box on back and front. The spine is divided into six compartments by raised bands; within the second is stamped Dialogue of Pers Plowman M: S:. Kane and Donaldson note that the binding is of the eighteenth century.NGeorge 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), p. 11.

I.12   Provenance:

Notes on the second leaf of the book indicate that it "formerly belonged to Joseph Ames" and was given to the college by Francis Page, commoner of Oriel College, in 1788. Kane and Donaldson note that the name of a fifteenth-century owner, William Rogger, is visible by ultraviolet light on 88v, as well as a deed signing over "the manuscript to Roger Sambrok before John at Style and other witnesses."I NGeorge 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), p. 12. On the same folio, there appear also the names "Johannes Mallyng" and, twice, in a sixteenth-century hand, "W. Smethwik." Skeat notes the presence, on 73r, of the initials "A-S," which he assumes to be those of a former owner of the manuscript.NWalter W. Skeat, ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun: Part 2. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS OS 38 (London, 1869), pp. xx.

I.13   Previous Descriptions:

Benson, C. David, and Lynne S. Blanchfield, with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-version (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997), pp. 86-90, 198-202.

Coxe, H. O., introduced by K. W. Humphreys, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Oxford Colleges (Catalogus Codicum MSS. qui in Collegiis Aulisque Oxoniensibus Hodie Adservantur). Vol. 1. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1852; Rpt. East Ardsley, Wakefield, Yorkshire: E. P. Publishing, 1972), pp. 27-28.

Doyle, A. I. "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman." in Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1986), p. 41.

Kane, George, 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: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 11-12.

Skeat, Walter W., ed., The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B, EETS OS 38 (London: N. Trübner, 1869), pp.xvi-xx.

Uhart, Marie-Claire. 1986. The early reception of Piers Plowman. Ph.D. diss., University of Leicester.

II.   Editorial Method:

II.1   Transcription of the Manuscript:

We have expanded the scribe's regular abbreviations and suspensions (for a list of these, see "Abbreviations"). Resolved abbreviations appear in italics, or as roman characters where italics are used for anglicana formata script.

We have not distinguished allographic forms, such as the three forms of <s> or <r>. We have, however, distinguished between <u> and <n> as well as <t> and <c>, although the scribe does not always do so clearly. We have distinguished between <ȝ> and the letter <z>, although the scribe has only one form for both.

Since it was evidently the scribe's intention to capitalize the initial of each line, we have done so consistently, although there are some letters (<a>, <k>, <s>, <v>, <w>, <y>, <h>, <þ>, and <ȝ>) for which it is difficult to distinguish the capital from the lower-case form. Within the lines, we have capitalized these letters only when the scribe has indicated his intention to capitalize by the greater size or rubrication of the letter.

The word-division of the manuscript is followed as far as practicable, though no attempt is made to represent the variety of spacing between words and letters. The interpretation of the scribe's word division, though it is generally unambiguous, is occasionally a matter of fine judgment. Where judgment is called for, we have consulted the scribe's usual practice with respect to the word or collocation in question. For example, fordo appears as a single word in five instances within the manuscript; when, therefore, it appears at 9.68 and 13.264 with a small space between for and do, we have interpreted that space as inadvertent and transcribed it a a single word. It should be noted, however, that this method is not infallible, since the scribe often enough writes a single collocation in two ways: with the elements joined and with the elements unambiguously separated. He does so in the case of adoun, alarme, amyddis, arere, awake, befalle, domesday, herwiþ, heueneward, hy(m)selue, idipsum , into, lechecraft, madame, ou(er)leepe, ou(er)longe, þ(er)after, þ(er)inne, þ(er)on, þ(er)wiþ, þiselue, vnto, vpon, werkemen, weteschod, and wherfore. A hyphen in the transcription indicates a space in the manuscript within a word, or a compound or phrase conventionally hyphenated today; we have consulted OED in doubtful cases.

We have retained scribal punctuation, with the following exceptions: the double solidi used by the scribe to separate lines of text which are run together; the vertical line used to separate words inadvertently joined; punctuation—caret, caret/punctus, double solidi, solidus/punctus—used to indicate corrections or additions (where this is ambiguous, it is described in a note); and brackets, which are not transcribed but are mentioned in codicological notes. Insertions are recorded as such; erasures are tagged and described in a note attached to the line. Annotations by later hands are marked with the number identifying the hand in question, or are described in a textual note.

II.2   Presentation of Text: Style Sheets:

Using XML markup and four different style sheets, we offer four different views of the text of O. The Scribal style sheet represents as closely as possible the readings and features of the manuscript text. Changes of ink color in the original are reflected in the displayed text. Scribal lapses are noted by means of purple ink. We have used <sic> tags to indicate those instances in which we take the scribe not to have written what he intended to write, but we have not used such tags for errors preserved by other manuscripts in addition to O; those readings are indicated by notes.

The Critical style sheet is designed to indicate what we believe the scribe intended to have written. Emendations displayed in the Critical style sheet appear in the conventional square brackets. Since the text displayed in the Critical style sheet is a reconstructed, putative text, it lacks the color features that appear in the more nearly diplomatic transcriptions of the manuscript. We have supplied line references to the Athlone B-text both for the convenience of readers and to provide a basis for later machine collation of documentary texts. Eccentric word divisions are silently corrected in this style sheet. That is, atones appears as at ones, though a scholar who wishes to find all such divisions can still search for them in the Scribal and AllTags style sheets as well as in the underlying XML text.

In addition to the Scribal and Critical style sheets, we have included a Diplomatic style sheet that suppresses all notes, marginalia, and indications of error or eccentric word division. Its text is otherwise identical to that presented in the Scribal style sheet. The AllTags style sheet, as its name implies, is intended to display the full content of markup in XML tags. For a key to our use of color and other conventions in each style sheet, see Instructions for first-time users.

II.3   Presentation of Text: The Annotations:

Two sets of annotations are provided—codicological and textual:

     (a) Codicological: These draw attention to physical features of the manuscript, especially those which can not be clearly interpreted from the images, and also to later additions in the margins. Codicological notes are marked by a red superscripted " C ."

     (b) Textual: These notes require more justification and explanation. Since O is a close copy of a good witness of the beta tradition, its unique readings are few, and they are worth recording, firstly to indicate how generally faithful the scribe is to his exemplar, and secondly as an aid to understanding the text on those relatively rare occasions when O has misread or corrupted it. Because of the unique relationship of OC2, which share more agreements in error than any other pair of the beta tradition, all variants—including even formal variants, those recognized by standard dictionaries as different forms of the same word—are noted where they are peculiar to OC2 alone. Variants other than formal are noted where they are shared by O and not more than three other B manuscripts.

Variation in number or tense is also recorded for readings unique to O or OC2. It must be emphasised that these notes are no more than an aid to the reader of O's text as it is presented at this stage. They do not in any sense constitute a listing of variant readings or a first step in establishing the relationship of O to other manuscripts. They may imply that O's reading is not that of the B archetype, though whether that is in fact the case in an individual instance and which of the recorded variants best represents Bx are matters that can be firmly established only at a later stage. The notes are, then, an interim statement that will be of no use once the B Archive is complete and the variant listings can be mechanically generated. The information for them is drawn from the listing of variants in the Kane-Donaldson edition, which we have checked against those transcripts that are already available in the Archive. Since it is not at this stage relevant which of the witnesses share the majority reading against O's unique variant, the majority readings are where possible presented in very simplified form, usually with the designation "other B witnesses" or "most other manuscripts" or "all others." It is true that in most cases this means "Bx," but it is important not to prejudge the issue. Readings shared with one or two other witnesses are often indicative of genetic affiliation, and since this relationship will be tested when the Archive is sufficiently advanced, such group variation is not noted here, except in cases of particular interest, for example where a word or line essential to the sense has been lost. Textual notes are marked with an superscripted <T>.

II.4   The Color Facsimile:

Images were scanned at 2,000 ppi from slides on a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000ED scanner with sharpening set to normal. In order to take into account any individual variations in the slides, focus and black and white point adjustments were made for each slide at the time of scanning, with black and white points drawn from the in-picture Kodak Q-13 color separation guide and gray scale. The scans were saved as TIFFs with LZW compression.

The resultant images were large, about 35 megabytes per image. Based as they were on 35 mm slides, the TIFF images are far less satisfactory than images made directly from the manuscript using a digital camera as has been the case in Archive facsimiles of manuscripts F Hm L and M. Readers who wish to have copies of the TIFF images may write to the Librarian, Oriel College, Oxford or at URL The TIFF images of O are deposited there.

The TIFFs were then processed in Photoshop 6.0.1 by unsharp masking each file at 250% with a radius of 0.7 and a threshold of 0 (zero). These unsharped files were saved as jpegs at quality 7, in order to bring them in at a file size supportable by the single CD-ROM format of the edition. We considered the grain artifact produced by the unsharp masking to be offset by the gain in clarity.

III.   Linguistic Description:

A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (LALME) locates the scribal dialect in northern Hertfordshire.N A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, ed. Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels, and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen, 1986), LP 6550, 3:177. We have found no evidence inconsistent with LALME's finding and much to confirm the editors' placement. In view of T. L. Burton's challenge to LALME's standards of accuracy, particularly in the southern sections, we have compiled the evidence afresh for each of the relevant questionnaire items.NT. L. Burton, "On the Current State of Middle English Dialectology," Leeds Studies in English 22 (1991), 167-208; Michael Benskin, "In reply to Dr. Burton," Leeds Studies in English 22 (1991), 209-62. The machine-searchable text may be surveyed quickly and accurately for all forms, and it should come as no surprise that we have both added to the recorded forms and in some instances discovered that LALME's relative frequencies were in error. The LALME project, though it made sophisticated use of computer technology in compiling and analyzing the masses of data accumulated in field workers' notes, necessarily lacked significant access to reliable electronic texts of the manuscripts from which they collected that data. Accumulation of such data manually is necessarily marred by the problems of fatigue and inattention that plague all scribal productions, including our own. We have found a number of spellings and forms not noticed in the original LALME survey. Nevertheless, LALME's list of forms is essentially correct. In virtually every instance of forms not noticed in their survey, the form turns up in other Linguistic Profiles in the area near or adjacent to its placement or they are explicable as relict forms from the B archetype. (Click here to view the table of forms.)

III.1.   Phonology:

1.1   Vowels in Tonic Syllables:
1.1.1   Quantity:

Vowel length of <a>, <e>, <i>, and <o> is often marked by doubling in closed syllables. Final <-e> and <-es> are alternative signs of length.

For /a:/: <a> ~ <aa>

caas; chaast; gaf (13x) ~ gaue (4x) ~ gaaf (3x); hast- (7x) ~ haast (2x); made (74x) ~ maad (16x) ~ i-maad (1x) ~ ymaad (1x); paast (2x); saaf (6x); taste (2x) ~ taastes (1x), etc.

There are only 44 instances of <aa> in the text.

For /e:/ and /ɛ:/: <ee> ~ <e>

a-feeld; a-feerd; beeldyng; beem; breed (30x) ~ brede (1x); deeþ (52x) ~ deþe (8x); feet; heed "head"; heed "heed"; leef "leve"; leef "leaf"; preest, preestes ~ prestis (1x); weenge "wing," etc.

The spelling <ee> is very common, with more than 1,250 instances in the manuscript.

For /i:/: <ij> ~ <i> ~ <y> ~ <iy>

actijf; c(h)aytijf; chiyld; contrijt; fijr; I; ymaginatijf; kijn; lijf (144x) ~ liyf (1x) ~ lyflode (1x); pijk; wiyn (6x) ~ wijn (1x); wijf; wijld; wijnd (7x) ~ wiynd (1x); etc.

The spelling <ij> appears some 252 times in the text, usually in tonic syllables or where secondary stress is probable. Very few spellings (14) appear with <iy>.

For /o:/ and /ɔ/: <oo> ~ <o>

blood (18x) ~ blode (1x); flood; fode; goon; hool ~ hole; honde ~ hoond (2x); loomb ~ lombe; scorn(e) ~ scoorn; etc.

The spelling <oo> occurs over 1,050 times in the manuscript.

1.1.2   Quality:

1. OE, ON /a/: <a>

caste 4.88; happe (4x) 3.290 ~ hap 12.114; lappe (8x) 2.36; etc.

2. OE, ON /a/ before a nasal: <a> ~ <o>

from (23x) P.56 ~ fram (6x) 8.120; can 58x P.111 ~ kan (5x) 4.105; man P.122; wan 5.470; etc.

3. OE, ON /a/ before lengthening consonant groups: <a> ~ <o>

hand (6x) 9.21 ~ honde (1x) 18.108; handis (7x) 5.299 ~ hondis (1x) 10.442; hange (8x) P.170 ~ hongen (1x) 1.173; longe P.55; lombe (1x) 8.83 ~ pl. lambren (1x) 15.212; stond- (21x) 5.358 ~ stande (2x) 6.116; ~ stant (2x) 15.511.

4. OE, ON /a/ in an open syllable: <a>

fadir 1.14; game 5.419; lape 5.369; schame 4.31; etc.

5. OE, ON /a/ + <-nk>: <a>

bank P.8; dranke 13.65; sanke 18.69; stanke 15.574; þankede (2x) 8.106.

6. OE, ON /a:/: <o> ~ <oo>

abrode (2x) 5.142 ~ a-brood (1x) 2.178; foo 9.213; fro 1.113; hole "whole" 6.62; hoot (1x) 18.212 ~ hote (3x) P.226; lore 5.38; roper 5.329; sore 5.99; stoon (2x) 15.563 ~ ston(es) (3x) 12.227 ~ stoones (1x) 12.82; etc.

7. OE, ON /a:/ + w: <ow> ~ <ou> <ouȝ>

blowynge 16.27; knowe P.122; nouȝt 1.110; nouȝwher 2.219; soule 1.37; etc.

8. OE, ON, OF /o/: <o>

box (2x) 5.665 ~ boxe (1x) 13.196; crosse (24x) 5.11 ~ croos (1x)NThe one instance of croos (8.93) perhaps indicates lengthening. For the complex history of the word see OED s.v. cross sb. ; folk P.17; god P.43 "God" (never gode); lokke "lock" 1.203; mosse 15.292; pecokkis 11.364; spottes 13.312; etc.

9. OE, ON /o/ + lengthening consonant group: <o> ~ <oo> ~ <a>

bordis 10.412; gold P.34; moold(e) (10x) 1.44 ~ molde (4x) 2.198; word 1.13; etc.

10. OE, ON /o:/: <o> ~ <oo>

book (33x) P.101 ~ book(e) (1x) 7.144 ~ boke (1x) 10.182; bokis (13x) 1.185 ~ bokes (6x) 10.178 ~ bookis (1x) 13.203 ; broþer 1.66; come P.185 ~ coom(e) 19.119 ~ coomen (9x) P.24N All spellings of comen with <oo> except P.24 appear in passus 19-20.; doom (17x) 2.207 ~ domes (4x) 15.27; dooþ (18x) 2.213 ~ doþ (12x) 5.45; fote (4x) 5.6 ~ foot(e) (2x) 13.369; good(e) "good" (never gode) P.60; rote 12.62; tooles 10.186; toþ-aches 20.81; etc.

11. OE, ON, OF /u/: <u> ~ <o>

biswonken pa. t. pl. 20.290; butter 5.449; drunken (pa. t. pl.) 14.86; flux 5.180; ful (a.)(87x) P.17 ~ fulle (n.) 13.194; pulle 16.75; sunne "sun" (20x) P.1 ~ sonne (1x) 19.348; wolle "wool" (2x) 6.13, wollen (6x) P.220; etc.

The <o> spelling is used primarily in proximity to minims.

12. OE, ON, OF /u/ with lengthening: <ou> ~ <oo> ~ <o> ~ <u>

dombe (1x) 19.126 ~ doombe (2x) 10.146; dore 1.187; ground 1.90; hound 5.262; morne 3.16; turne 3.42; wode 16.58; etc.

The <ou> spelling is an indication of length, as below.

13. OE, ON /u:/: <ou> ~ (<ow>)

aboute P.29; adoun 1.95; cloude 3.193; corown 4.141; how P.102; mous P.182; now 1.209; þou (290+x) ~ þow (21x) P.215; etc.

14. OE, ON /y/: <i> ~ <y> ~ (<u>)

bigge(n) "buy" P.168 ~ bigger "buyer" 10.314 ~ biggyng 19.226; brugges (1x) 13.390 ~ brygges (1x) 7.28 ~ brigge (1x) 5.616; chirche (60+x) P.66 ~ cherche (1x) 6.51 ~ chyrche (1x) 12.31; dide 1.28; fillede (1x) 15.341 ~ fullede (1x) 15.454; gylt (n.)(7x) 3.8 ~ agulten (v.)(2x) 15.396; hilles 5.535; kyn P.223; myrie P.10; synne 1.204.

The <u> spelling in brugges is Western.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Langland's Dialect," Medium Ævum, 54 (1985), 241, 243; reprinted in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries, ed. J. J. Smith (Aberdeen, 1989), pp. 78, 80.

15. OE, ON /y/ before lengthening clusters: <y>

blynde 5.192; kynde P.114; mynde 5.291; etc.

16. OE, ON /y:/: <i> ~ <y> ~ <ij> ~ (<ee>)

beerdes (1x) 19.131 ~ bryde (1x) 3.14; fijr 3.98 ~ feers "fire(s)" 19.203; fist 5.87; hyre (13x) 5.571 ~ hire (2x) 6.69; kijn "kine" 6.144; wissche 5.113; etc.

17. OE, ON /i/: <i> ~ <y>

bitter 10.299; nyme 6.15; widewe 16.220; wiȝt (13x) 8.4 ~ wyȝt (13x) P.208 ~ wyȝt- (4x) 2.210; etc.

18. OE, ON /i/ plus lengthening group: <i> ~ <y> ~ <iy> ~ <ij>

child(e) (7x) 5.38 ~ chyld (1x) 15.222 ~ chiyld 1.180; wijnd (n.) (7x) 5.14 ~ wynde (2x) 9.4 ~ wiynd (1x) 3.337; etc.

19. OE, ON /i:/: <i> ~ <y> ~ <iy> ~ <ij>

bliþe 2.159; chide 4.53; knyf 5.82; lijf (102x + compounds) P.49~ liyf (1x) 1.205 ~ lyflode (1x) 1.18; ride(n) 3.214; wiyn "wine" (6x) P.229 ~ wyn (4x) 16.254 ~ wijn (1x) 10.374; wise (28x) P.48 ~ wyse (4x) P.208 ~ wijs (1x) 5.534; etc.

20. OE, ON, OF /e/: <e>

do-wel 7.182; feþered 20.115; reckene (4x) 1.22 ~ rekene (2x) 11.136 ~ rekkene (1x) 14.223, rekkenyng (3x) 5.433; web(be) 5.113; wrecche 17.100; etc.

21. OE, ON, OF /e/ before lengthening clusters: <e> ~ <ee>

beest(e) (6x) 11.367 ~ beestis (31x) 3.271 ~ bestes (2x) 5.564 ~ bestis (2x) 6.32; eelde (12x) 5.194 ~ elde (6x) 11.27; eend(e) (15x) 1.97 ~ ende (13x) 2.102; feeld P.17; feeste (4x) 11.214 ~ feestis (3x) 10.98 ~ feste v. (1x) 15.345 ~ festede (1x) 15.570; heend- (11x) 5.262 ~ hende (1x) 9.20; selde(n) (17x) 10.481 ~ seelde (1x) P.20; sende 6.142; etc.

22. OE, ON, OF /e:/: <e> ~ <ee>

beches; bedeman; cleer; cuntree(s) (5x) 8.11 ~ contre (1x) P.29; deme; fede; heed "heed"; kene; kepe (31x) P.76 ~ keep (4x) 11.342; mede 2.20; swete P.86; etc.

23. OE /æ/: <a>

appel 112.237; bak- (5x) 2.92 ~ bakke (2x) 13.203; blak 10.446; had(de) 11.12; masse 1.183; wasche 5.92; water 5.64; etc.

24. OE /æ:/ (1) & (2): <e> ~ <ee>

breþ 14.66; clene 1.196; drede P.98; er 1.73; lete (19x) P.155 ~ leete (7x) 1.166 ~ leeten (3x) P.181; addres 5.89; slepe (7x) 5.373 ~ sleep(e) (3x) 12.32; seed 3.281; teche 1.83; etc.

25. OE /ea/: <e> ~ <a>

barn "child" 2.3; flex "flax" 6.13; etc.

26. OE /ēa/: <ee> ~ <e>

breed P.41; deed (11x) 1.187 ~ dede "dead" 3.271; deef(e) 10.139; leef 1.155; rede "red" P.229; etc.

27. OE /eo/, /ēo/ (and OF /ue/): <e> ~ <ee> ~ (<eo>)

bernes 3.271; cherl 5.366; crepe 20.43; depe (9x) ~ deep (1x) P.15; freend(is) (15x) 5.103 ~ frendis (9x) 5.98; herte 1.41; leode (4x) 17.65 ~ lede (3x) 3.32 ~ leed (2x) 5.615 "man"; leem 18.141; swerd 3.309; tree (9x) 16.4 ~ tre (3x) 1.187; þeef 12.193; etc.

1.2   Atonic vowels:

Spellings in unstressed syllables suggesting vowel length: <ee>, <ij>, and <oo> ~ <ou>

In each case alliteration clearly indicates the tonic syllable, but the spellings suggest either a strong secondary or even level stress for these words in the scribe's dialect: angrees 15.276; baneer 20.90; bapteem 11.85; benfeet 5.442; bewpeer 18.236; citee 18.240; myscheef P.67; paradice (7x) 5.514 ~ paradijs (1x) 11.413; persoun(es) (17x) 11.101 ~ persoone(s) (16x) 3.179 ~ persone (1x) 10.479; etc.

1.3   Consonants:

1. OE /hw/: <wh> ~ (<w>)

The spelling <wh-> is common for reflexes of OE /hw/. Instances of wich "which" 10.247 and wylom "whilom" 15.364 as well as the inverted spelling whyles for "wiles" at 10.113, 19.96, 20.121, whanhope 7.35, whiȝtlich 16.286, suggest that at some point in the tradition a scribe, possibly the immediate one, had lost aspiration in these words.

2. OE, ON <þ and ð>: <þ> ~ <Th> ~ <th>

The scribe uses <þ> for both the small letter and for the littera notabilior. Twice (11.224, 19.309) the scribe begins a line with <Th>, but there are 1,616 instances of þat to two of that and 1,955 instances of the definite article þe to one of the. Only theologie, thesaurus, and Thomas are written with <th>, all alliterating on /t/. There are only a few cases of <-th>, for example: lith 16.189; with 3x; worth 10.17; and in proper nouns of foreign origin: Astaroth 18.420; Iosaphath 18.381; loth 1.32; Machometh 3.335; and nazareth 19.133.

3. OE /š/: <sch> ~ <-ssch->

The usual spelling is <sch> in initial, medial and final positions (1006x to 39x for <ssch>): bischop (16x) P.78 ~ bisschop (13x) 9.14; childisch 15.152; englisch(e) 5.41; fisch 5.178; flesch(e) 1.40; punysche(n) 2.50; schip 3.332; scholde 15.263 (never sholde).

4. OE, ON, OF /sk/: <sk> ~ <sc>

asken 3.220; buskes 11.350; scole 7.31; skile 14.285; skipte 11.111; skynnes 5.260; etc.

Spellings with initial <sc> and <sk> occur with about the same frequency.

5. OE /xt/: <ȝt> ~ (<ght>)NThis form occurs only once at 18.165 in the form of a marginal correction added by the third scribal hand.

almyȝti 5.135; bryȝt(e) (4x) P.161 ~ briȝt (2x) 14.22; fiȝt(e) 4.55; nouȝt(e) 1.110; riȝt(e) P.167; etc.

III.2.   Morphology:

2.1   Metrical Considerations: The Status of Final <-e> and <-en>:

Since the inflectional final <-e> carrying the distinction between definite and indefinite singular adjectives was lost last in most dialects, this scribe's near complete indifference to it suggests strongly that the forms retaining the traditional inflectional <-e>s are relicts of the conservative usage of the B archetype and not a feature of the scribal dialect. The scribe's monosyllabic adjectives with and without <-e> appear in free variation. See section 2.4 below. Similar patternless and free variation appears among verb inflections. Curiously the spellings of some possessive pronouns reflect significantly less deterioration of the inflectional system manifested in Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17 (W), though the evidence is mixed. See section 2.3.3 below.

In nouns, scribal <-e> is usually, but not always retained where the OE noun ended in a vowel: e.g. chirche (OE cyrice), erþe (OE eorþe), herte (46x) ~ hert (2x) (5.65, 5.70) (OE heorte); tunge (OE tunge); wraþþe (26x) ~ wraþþ (1x) 5.186 (OE wræððu). It is not consistently retained as a dative singular ending (see below section 2.2.3).

Some remnants of Langland's practice in regard to the reflexive forms of pronouns remain largely intact in the manuscript. That is, of 85 instances of forms of self(e), all but 5.289 and 13.287 occur within the line. Evidence that the scribe paid attention to this form appears at 14.327 where the scribe corrects line-terminal selfe to selue. Of 94 instances of dissyllabic selue(n), only thirteen occur within the line, seven at the end of an a-verse, and another four in lines the alliteration shows to be corrupt.NThe four corrupt lines are 9.34, 10.321, 11.378, and 20.289. The dissyllabic form in the head stave of 7.140 is itself metrically motivated.

2.2   Nouns:

2.2.1 Nominative/Accusative Singular: nil

2.2.2 Genitive Singular: <-is> ~ <-es> ~ <-s> ~ (<-e>) ~ (nil)

abrahams 16.185; adamis 11.202 ~ adams 18.227; addres 5.89; broþeris 10.279; caymes 9.134; disouris 13.174; dowelis 9.12; fadris 15.267 (cf. fadir 16.90); gabrielis 16.92; iesues 18.103; iustises 16.94;NThe form with <-es> is noteworthy here since it is followed by a word beginning with <s->. Nine B manuscripts read Iustice son. mannes 13.263; pharaoes 7.178; soulis 5.552 (Cf. soule 11.227).

With <-e>: heuene P.106; soule 11.227 (Cf. soulis 5.552).

Without ending: fadir 16.90; lady 18.346; marie 2.2;NThe form is ascribed to the influence of Latin feminine genitives by Tauno F. Mustanoja, A Middle English Syntax, Part 1: Parts of Speech (Helsinki, 1960), p. 72. modir 19.120; Peers 6.82 etc.; prioresse 5.159.

2.2.3 Dative Singular: nil ~ <-e>

Though some spellings with <-e> reflect spellings of the scribe's exemplar, the forms are in free variation for this scribe.

2.2.4 Nominative/Accusative Plural: <-is> ~ <-es> ~ <-s> ~ <-en> ~ <-n>

abbotes 10.284; artis 11.165; beggers (29x) 2.161 ~ beggeris (1x) P.40; bodies 1.196; brawlers 16.44; cardynalis (4x) P.104 ~ cardynales (1x) 19.265; clerkis (55+) 19.330 ~ clerkys (1x) 15.94; colouris 19.11; experymentis 10.223; eyris (2x) 8.86 ~ eyres (1x) 5.266 (cf. eyren); fadris 5.590; fooles (2x) 20.60 ~ foolis (2x) 2.164; foos 5.605 (cf. foon); heremytis (6x) P.28 ~ heremytes (1x) 15.420; land-lepers 15.219; schoos 20.216 (cf. schoone); werkis 20.368; wordes 1.43; ȝeris (4x) 5.122 ~ ȝeres (1x) 7.18; etc.

With <-en> ~ <-n>: children 9.72; yen P.74; foon 5.98; huen 4.58; lambren 15.212; oxen 19.252; eyren (1x) 11.357; schoone 14.344; sistren 5.643.

Mutated: gees P.227; men 10.24; teeþ 15.13.

2.2.5 Genitive Plural: <-es> ~ <-s> ~ <-is> ~ <-en>

beggers 4.127; losellis 10.52; mennes 15.426; harlottes (2x) 20.141 ~ harlottis (1x) 13.405; etc.

With <-en>: children 4.120; clerken 4.122; Iuen (2x) 18.263 ~ Iuwen (1x) 1.67; kyngen 1.105; wyuen 5.29.

2.3   Pronouns:

2.3.1   Nominative Singular:

1st Person: I ~ ich ~ (iche) ~ (ik)

The most common form by far is simply <I> with well over one thousand occurrences. The minority form ich occurs 19x, usually before <h->, a vowel or semivowel (e.g. Ich haue 11.77). Its distribution may be significant. Of the 19 instances of the spelling ich for the first person pronoun, all but three (5.263, 5.571, 7.156) occur after 11.77. Ich is the scribe's usual spelling of "each" up to that point, and it does not recur after that point, suggesting perhaps a change of exemplar. Iche appears only once for I, at 13.249, and it is the scribe's usual spelling for "each" both before and after 11.77. Archetypal ik occurs in the phrase "so thee ik" (5.229), where Langland's joke is at the expense of the Norfolk dialect of Sir Hervey, as in Chaucer's Reeve's Tale.

2nd Person: þou ~ þow

The predominant form is þou (293x) with 21 instances of þow.

3rd Person:

        Masculine: he

The single instance of ho at 20.55 appears to have been a lapse of the pen, though it is possibly a relict. See MED, s.v. he pron. (1) for the range of forms.

        Feminine: sche ~ (she)

The only instance of she appears at 20.192.

        Neuter: it

2.3.2   Accusative and Dative Singular:

1st Person: me

2nd Person: þee

3rd Person:

        Masculine: hym

        Feminine: hir

        Neuter: it

2.3.3   Genitive Singular:

1st Person: my ~ myn ~ myne

Myn (38x) occurs as a dependent possessive, occasionally with plural nouns (e.g., 6.31, 6.150, etc.), but more often with singular nouns before vowels or <h> and disjunctively in 5.113 and 13.363. It is used as an absolute meaning "my possessions" at 6.152 and myne as "my people" 18.361. The form myne (13x) also is used before a vowel or <h>, usually modifying a plural noun but not always, and it appears disjunctively in 18.286, 338.

2nd Person: þi ~ (þy) ~ þin ~ þine

The standard spelling is þi (192x), with only one instance of þy 3.109, and that instance is a correction by overwriting. Þi modifies both singular and plural nouns. The form þin (25x) occurs as a dependent possessive for both singular and plural nouns before vowels or <h> and disjunctively. Þine modifies a plural noun in three of four appearances. Þin is used as an absolute meaning "thy possessions" in 13.158.

3rd Person:

        Masculine: his ~ hys~ hise

The general form is his (506x), used predominantly with singular and only three times with plural nouns; his lijf-dayes 1.27; his customes 12.105; and his felawes 18.203. The six instances of hys all modify singular nouns. His is used disjunctively in 5.472 and 15.163. The inflected form hise (154x), developed by analogy with myne and þyne, is used only with plural or collective nouns. One may see the scribe's usual practice in "His grace and hise goode happis ..." (5.99), "his blessyng & hise bulles ..." (13.251), and "Hise colouris & his cote armure ..." (19.11). The scribe's consistency in this respect is in curious contrast to his practice with the first and second person pronouns.

        Feminine: hir ~ (hire)

The single occurrence of hire at 2.17 modifies the singular noun aray. It is curious that the feminine pronoun lacks the distinction largely maintained in the masculine.

        Neuter: his (1x) 12.260

2.3.4   Nominative Plural:

1st Person: we

2nd Person: ȝe

3rd Person: þei (345x) ~ þey (2x) ~ he (1x?)N The only instance appears at O.3.340. It is not clear that the scribe took it to be a plural form since a singular masculine pronoun would make sense in the context.

The form þey occurs only in P.48, 15.489.

2.3.5   Accusative and Dative Plural:

1st Person: vs

2nd Person: ȝow

3rd Person: hem

2.3.6   Genitive Plural:

1st Person: oure

The form is never found without <-e>.

2nd Person: ȝoure

The form is never found without <-e>.

3rd Person: her

The scribe has no form with final <-e>.

2.3.7   Personal pronoun with "self":

Forms are: my-self ~ (-selue ~ -seluen (2x)); þi-selue (-self, -seluen); hym-self (-selfe, -selue, -seluen); hir-selue ~ -self; oure-selue ~ -seluen; ȝoure-self ~ -selue(n). Though there is a significant tendency to write the <-e> and <-en> forms in the line terminal position, the forms appear to be in free variation for number and case. That is, all forms appear for both nominative and oblique cases and both plural and singular.

For line-terminal position the -selue(n) forms are always used.

2.4   Adjectives and Adverbs:

Monosyllabic adjectives ending in a consonant inconsistently reflect the remnants of an earlier state of the text in which a distinction was maintained between definite singular and plural adjectives on the one hand and indefinite adjectives on the other. As in W, the spelling grete uniformly appears for the plural or definite singular forms, and the majority of the greet forms of "great" are singular and indefinite. Nevertheless, one finds the strong forms following possessive pronouns, demonstratives, and the definite article (e.g. 15.541, 18.126, 20.39, etc.), indicating that this scribe has not himself maintained this feature in his grammar. Note the following phrases in which a definite adjective is given an indefinite form or an indefinite adjective is given a final <-e>:

P.17 A faire feeld
1.114 a depe derk helle
2.30 þe greet god
2.31 his good douȝter
2.183 a longe cart
5.90 his cheef lijflode
5.192 a blynde hagge
6.120 his half acre
9.19 his first wijf
10.142 his bold boruȝ
16.163 þi glad chere
18.101 his greet wounde

The evidence from monosyllabic adverbs ending in a consonant is mixed. In some cases, the scribe maintains the same distinction one finds in W. For instance, hard is the spelling for strong adjectives and the adverb is always harde. However, no similar distinction is maintained for fast ~ faste. Both spellings appear in free variation for the adverb (e.g. P.40, 60; 1.44, 96; 2.202; 3.140; etc.) First is the form for both adjectives and adverbs, with no instances of firste at all.

Polysyllabic adjectives of French derivation ending in <-ous> generally display the same vestiges of a pattern: leccherous (sg.) 6.274 ~ lecherouse (pl.) 2.126; likerous (sg.) P.30 ~ likerouse (pl.) 10.173, (weak sg.) 10.170; precious (sg.) 16.272 ~ preciouse (pl.) 19.92. However, religious is plural in 4.123. Nor does this pattern account for the alternation between cristen and cristene.

Much the same is true of "all." The usual singular form is al and the usual plural alle, including collective nouns and notional plurals. "Both" as an adjective is always boþe, with gen. boþer (2.67, 16.174) and boþ(ere)s (18.39).

2.4.1 Comparative:

Adjectives: <-er> ~ <-re>

balder 4.110; better (43x) 5.17 ~ bettre (3x) 11.387 ~ bettere (1x) 4.196; blessider 11.256; clenner 19.242; douȝtier 5.104; heyer 2.29.

Adverbs: <-er> ~ (<-ere>)

ferþer 2.203; lenger 1.210; sonner 12.171; swetter 6.222; leuere 1.142; a-rere 5.360.

2.4.2 Superlative:

Adjectives: <-est>

boldest 18.421; brounest 6.314; clennest 14.48; douȝtiest 19.130; hyest 10.464; etc. The final <-e> spellings constitute a distinct minority.

Adverbs: <-est>

best 5.24, 6.91, etc.; hardest 12.180; sonnest 3.59; etc.

2.4.3 Adjectives and adverbs in <ly>: <-li> ~ <-ly> ~ <-lich> ~ <-liche> ~ <-lie>

The ending <-li> (181x) varies with <-lich> (107x), <-liche> (49x), <-ly> (25x), and <-lie> (1x) (there are no examples of <-lye>). There is no consistent pattern of usage. Comparatives of <-ly> adverbs: <-liker> ~ <-leker> ~ <-loker> ~ <-lier>

bisiloker 13.341; frendeleker 10.236; liȝtliker (3x) 12.157 ~ liȝtlier (1x) 5.593. Superlative of <-ly> adverbs: <-lokest>

The single instance of -lokest appears as hastlokest 19.384. The form -est appears once in wickedest 10.436.

2.5   Verbs:

2.5.1   Non-finite forms: Infinitive: <-e> ~ <-en>

kepe P.76 ~ kepen 1.94; knowe P.122; laste 17.8; louye 1.142; rule 8.104 ~ rulen 8.98; se(e) 17.4 ~ seen 4.89; techen 17.42 ~ teche 5.12; vndertake 13.140.

Endings derived from OE <-ian> verbs are quite well preserved; thus the following infinitive forms with <-i-> or <-y->: erie 6.4; prykye 18.11; tilie 7.2; wanye 7.58; wonye 2.108. This is a feature of southern and southwestern dialects.NSee M. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988), p. 217. Gerund: <-yng(e)> ~ <-ing(e)> ~ <-eng(e)>

In both the gerund and the pres. ppl. the ending is <-yng> (285x) in free variation with <-ynge> (119x). The forms <-ing(e)> appear rarely, in cloþing (6x) P.24 and deþ-deying(e) 11.171.

biddyng 1.77; feestynge 11.189; housyng 15.81; iangelyng 5.160; liynge 13.320; lykyng 10.312; louryng 5.350; pledyng 3.300; settynge P.21; techyng 20.8; etc.

There are the following examples of the ending of the verbal noun with the spelling <-yng(e)> or <eng(e)> after <i> or <y>:

biryeng 11.80; deyeng 18.219; tiliying 14.71. Present participles: <-yng(e)> ~ <-inge> ~ (<-enge>)

biddynge 19.289; fleynge 8.52; fullynge 15.459; goynge 19.153; hangynge 12.295; lakkynge 13.290; lorkynge 2.218; pleyenge (1x) 18.172 ~ pleyinge (1x) 16.267; semynge 13.344; waggynge 8.29; wyndynge 11.5; etc.

There are no examples of other forms such as <-ande>, <-ende>, <-inde> or <-enge>. Weak past participles: <-ed> ~ <ide> ~ <id> ~ <-t> ~ (<-ede>)NThe scribe is usually very careful to use the <-ede> forms only for finite forms. In over 700 instances of this ending, only blessede 5.514 (used as a plural noun), crabbede 10.110, 12.156, cursede (3x) 13.328, mansede 12.31, and yschrewede 13.328 (all as attributive adjectives modifying a plural noun) are exceptional. Similarly, with <-id> ~ <-ide>, one finds curside 16.244, but modifying a plural noun.(with or without <y-> prefix)NOf twenty-nine instances of initial <I-> in place of <y->, just over two-thirds are weak participles.

abassched 10.305; Ibete 4.96; Iblessid P.78; acombred (2x) 1.197 ~ acombrid (1x) 1.204; ascaped 6.81; called (15x) ~ ycalled (3x) ~ callid (1x) 15.22; cloþed (2x) 5.81 ~ cloþid (1x) 13.277 ~ ycloþed (6x) ~ icloþed (2x) 1.3NIn 1.3 the <I-> prefix on I-cloþed is necessary for the meter of the b-verse, as most of the scribes recognise; in 13.277 (where it is again line-end) it is not, and seven manuscripts read clothed. ~ ycloþede (1x) 15.502; demed 3.311; diademed 3.292; yentred 10.386; yglosed 17.11; hatid 9.106; maad (16x) 5.280 ~ maked 9.27 ~ y-maked (4x) 6.191 ~ I-maad (1x) 5.519 ~ I-maked (1x) P.14 ~ I-makid (1x) 2.73; yspered 19.163; I-tryed 1.85; vsed 16.156; ywasschid (1x) 13.312 (Cf. ywasschen below); went 3.286. Strong past participles: <-e> ~ <-en> ~ (<-un>)(with and without <y-> prefix)

baken (3x) 6.198 ~ ybake (2x) 15.439 ~ ybaken (2x) 6.291; I-born 2.132; Ibroken P.71; comen 3.307; drunken (3x) 11.423 ~ ydrunken (1x)15.530 ~ ydrunke (1x) 6.287 ~ drunkun (1x, used attributively) 11.428; founden 7.198; geten 5.300; gyuen (1x) 2.122 ~ gyue (1x) 2.150; holden (13x) 4.121 ~ yholden (3x) 1.84; holpen (4x) 4.172 ~ yholpen (1x) 17.62; knowen (6x) P.56 ~ yknowe (2x) 11.230 ~ yknowen (1x) 18.25 ~ knowe (1x) 5.664 ~ I-knowe (1x) 15.17 ~ I-knowen (1x) 11.402; yseye (1x) 16.223 ~ yseyn (1x) 11.429 ~ I-sye (1x) 5.4; ysoþe 15.439; taken (8x) 4.51 ~ ytake (1x) 11.261; ywasschen (1x) 9.144 (cf. ywasschid above.); wonne (2x) 18.364 ~ wonnen (1x) 15.132 ~ I-wonnen (1x) 5.95, etc.

2.5.2   Finite verb forms:   Present tense forms:   Indicative:

Present 1st Singular: <-e> ~ (nil)

haylse 5.103; holde 5.425; leue P.34; schonye 5.171; seye P.202; swere 5.229; walke 5.149; warne P.208; wisse 1.42.

As in OE, stems ending in a vowel have no inflexion: do 1.86; se P.202 ~ see 4.20.

Present 2nd Singular: <-est> ~ <-ist> ~ <-st> ~ (<-xt>) ~ (<-este>) ~ (<-yst>)

The most common forms are with <-est> (80+x), <-ist> (60+x) and <-st> (after vowels, /r/ and nasals) with a smattering of other forms: (<-xt>)N The two relicts from Bx appear in 5.165: Til þou lixt & þou lixt [punctuselevatus] loupen out at ones.; (<-este>) (1x) 11.380; and <-yst> (3x): awaytist 16.268; beest 5.613; borwyst 5.301; coueytist 11.11; ȝeldist 5.301; getest 18.366; greuest 14.121; lernest 4.12; lyuest 2.126; lixt 5.165; mayst 6.46; myȝtist P.215; ouȝtest 1.75; seest 1.5; sueste 11.380; wilnest 6.267; worchest 3.75.

Present 3rd Singular: <-eþ> ~ <-iþ> ~ ~<-þ> ~ (<-yþ>) ~ (<-jþ>) ~ (<-t>)

The most common forms for both third person singular indicative and the present plural are with <-eþ> (650+x) and <-iþ> (390+x). The minority form <-yþ> appears only seven times, <-jþ> only in the reflexes of OE līþ "reclines, lies down," and OE lȳhþ "tells lies."

akeþ 6.264; beggyþ 7.72; bereþ 11.161 ~ beriþ 2.39; bit (< bidden) 3.76; brekiþ 4.60; falleþ 11.102 ~ falliþ 1.165; fareþ 12.203; fyndeþ (1x) 15.183 ~ fyndiþ (1x) 15.184 ~ fynt (4x); forfretiþ 16.30; gooþ 5.320; halt 3.245 ~ holdeþ 13.403; putteþ 12.231 ~ puttiþ 3.234; restiþ P.171; rit P.171; seiþ 3.251 ~ seyþ 9.37; smyt 11.430; smyþeþ 3.329; stant (2x) 18.45 ~ standiþ (1x) 2.5; wanyeþ 8.37.

OE preterite-present verbs without inflexion in the present 1st and 3rd sg. are, e.g.: can P.200; dar P.210; may 1.62; schal 2.36; woot 5.182.

Present Plural: <-e> ~ <-en> ~ <-eþ>

abide 15.316; abite "bite" 16.27; arn (55x) P.98 ~ ar (2x) 13.185; asken 3.220; borwen 20.283; boriounen 15.78; crauen 3.222; dwellen 4.34; fecche 9.181 ~ fecchen 4.54 ~ feccheþ 16.46; fynden (8x) 15.375 ~ fynde (2x) 6.61; folewiþ 3.354; holden 1.44; taken 3.355; techen 3.222; writen 14.208.

The minority form <-eþ> is not uncommon. Samuels points out that this plural form is very rare in the London English of Chaucer, but is retained in southern and southwestern areas until after Langland's death. He also comments on the form arn in alliterating position as evidence for Langland's west midland dialect.NM. L. Samuels, "Dialect and Grammar," in A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988), pp. 209, 216. Some of the <-e> ~ <-en> forms will historically be subjunctives since they occur in contexts where a subjunctive is to be expected.

The plural forms of preterite-present verbs are, for example, kan ~ konne ~ konneþ; may ~ mowe ~ mowen; shul; wite.   Subjunctive:

Subjunctive Singular: <-e> ~ (nil)

do 3.311; gladye 18.261; folewe 3.7; gyue 2.122; like 11.24; rede 4.5; worche 3.7.

The forms are the same as those of the 1st indic. sg.

Subjunctive Plural: <-e> ~ <-en>

axe 5.436; carpen 10.54; coueyte 20.250; grucche 6.221; haue 14.183; like 13.188; lyuen 5.46; loue 5.586; mette 6.174; reuerence 18.264; folewen 1.187; weren 11.285; etc.   Imperative:

Imperative Singular: <-e> ~ (nil)

be 13.410; come 5.596; coueyte 5.597; ete 6.269; go 1.46; holde 18.150; kepe 6.271; lakke 6.230; latte 6.230; rise 6.272 sitte 6.271; take 12.160; telle 1.45, etc.

Imperative Plural: <-(e)þ> ~ <-e>

beþ 2.139; claweþ 10.302; comeþ 20.73; correcteþ 10.302; fareþ 13.182; holdeþ 20.243; kenne 6.14; makeþ 6.14; nyme 6.15; spynneþ 6.13; wadeþ 5.592, etc.

The form with <-e> (without ending in stems in <-e>) is often, though not always, used before a subject pronoun:

be 3.87; dyuyne P.210; loke 5.599; stynte 5.600;NIn these lines 5.599-600 (KD.5.575-6) Kane-Donaldson emend the second person plural pronouns to singular to match the singular pronouns of the surrounding passage. wasche 5.592, etc.   Preterite forms:   Weak preterites:

Preterite 1st Singular: <-ede> ~ <-ide> ~ <-de> ~ <-te>

awakede 11.401; babelede 5.8; boldede 3.199; circumciside 16.244; courbede 1.79; deyede 18.378; dwelte 20.342; fraynede 16.182; lokede P.9; makede 9.138; payede 6.97; rendride 5.212; spilte 5.386; waytede 7.153; wente P.4.

The forms with an <-e> after the dental suffix predominate for the finite verbs. There are no instances of <-id> for finite forms and only a handful of <-ed> inflections for finite verbs, mainly third person singular and plurals.

Preterite 2nd Singular: <-dist> (31x) ~ <-tist> (19x) ~ <-dest> (18x) ~ <-edest> (8x) ~ <-test> (9x) ~ <-diste> (2x)

aresoundest 12.222; brouȝtest 1.77; counceyledist 3.206; deydist 5.504; didist 7.196; feledist 5.506; gredist 19.340; laddist 7.195; lakkedist 11.417; madiste 5.233; robbedest (1x) 18.347 ~ robbedist (1x) 3.195; schamedest 3.190; suffredist 5.517; tauȝtiste 14.195; etc.

Preterite 3rd Singular: <-ede> ~ <-ide> ~ <-de> ~ <-te>~ (<-ed>)

a-bostede 6.158; armede 20.113; askede 1.49; baptisede 16.260; blessede 11.234; comaunded 13.48; coueytide 3.277; deyede 10.364; demede 10.393; dremede 8.67; folewede 11.26; hatede 3.283; lyued 10.445; lokede 4.176; mamelede 11.414; mouþed 6.245; payede 5.218; plukkide 11.117; preched 15.406; rewarded 14.167; weylede 14.346; wente 16.154; wepte 2.238.

The forms are of course the same as those for the 1st singular.

Preterite Plural: <-eden> ~ <-ede> ~ <-den> ~ <-de> ~ <-t> ~ <-ten> ~ (<-ed>)

adreynten 10.419; apposede 1.47; awayteden 16.146; blustreden 5.535; careden 2.163; cryeden P.226; deyeden 18.369; demeden 19.144; diggeden 6.111; dursten 13.117;N OC2 alone have this form. Other B manuscripts read dorste. foloweden 15.112; harmed 13.114; hateden 18.309; herden 15.529; lokede 3.351; maden (8x) 2.214 ~ made (3x) 6.193; mortiseden 15.324; pleyede P.20 ~ pleyeden 12.28; pleyneden P. 83; seyden 1.51; senten 20.307; tendeden 18.245; þirled 1.173; vsede 20.65 ~ vseden 12.128; wenten (15x) P.48 ~ wente 13.28; wepten 7.37; writen 10.437; etc.   Strong preterites:

Preterite 1st Singular: <-e> ~ nil

cam 2.29 ~ come 13.24 ~ coome 20.210; gate 4.82; knewe 18.281; songe 19.209; sawe P.231 ~ saw 5.10 ~ sawȝ P.14 ~ seyȝ "saw" P.50; spake 19.287.

Preterite 2nd Singular: <-e> (often with vowel gradation) ~ nil

breke 18.293; gete 18.293; knewe 11.32; leyȝ "lied" 18.418; speke 19.75; toke 20.7.

Preterite 3rd Singular: <-e> ~ (nil)

brake 1.112; cam P.112 ~ come 1.4 ~ coome 19.119 ~ coom 19.87; gaf 2.70 ~ gaue 19.252; gate 1.33; knewe 2.228; songe 18.442; spake 1.49; stode P.183; toke 4.15, etc.

The forms are of course the same as those for the 1st singular.

Preterite Plural: <-e> ~ <-en> ~ nil

cam 13.34 ~ coomen (9x) P.24 ~ come 9.131 ~ coom 19.68; drunken 14.86; geten 20.154; helden 2.230; knewen 10.476 ~ knewe 11.112 ; seyȝ "saw" 17.50; solden 15.298; spoken 2.227; stoden 18.86; sungen 18.333; toke 3.86 ~ token 11.339.

Preterite Subjunctive Singular: <-e> (often with vowel gradation)NIt is sometimes maintained that Middle English has a preterite subjunctive plural, but the form which was sometimes distinct from the indicative in Old English had become indistinguishable in Middle English, and the use of the subjunctive in Middle English is in any case unsystematic.

come 5.546 ~ coome 19.335; drunke 20.19; knewe 11.112; stode 19.276.

The forms are the same as the 2nd singular.

IV. List of Manuscript Sigils:

For The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive we are introducing a list of sigils that departs in some respects from the sigils used since Skeat's editions. Changes have been made to eliminate ambiguities inherent in the older set of sigils which, to a considerable degree, reflects 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. For example, British Library Additional 10574, for instance, has no sigil at all for the A text, is B's Bm, and C's L. We have 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, Eng., 1986), 35-48; and C. David Benson and Lynne S. Blanchfield, The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: The B-Version (Cambridge, Eng., 1997).

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 [1550]). 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 19907aN 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)," (Ph.D. diss., 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)
JbT 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: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages (Aldershot and Brookfield, Vermont, 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)
SbT 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: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages (Aldershot and Brookfield, Vermont, 1993), p. 40. London, British Library, MS Sloane 2578
W Cambridge, Trinity College, MS B.15.17
WbT 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: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages (Aldershot and Brookfield, Vermont, 1993), p. 40. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Wood donat. 7
Y Cambridge, Newnham College, MS 4 (the Yates-Thompson manuscript)

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)

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 The fragment, olim Cambridge, John Holloway, a damaged bifolium, presently in the private collection of Martin Schøyen, Oslo, Norway, (olim C's H)
I London, University of London Library, MS S.L. V.88 (the Ilchester manuscript, olim C's J) NThe sigils I and J have both been used. Skeat (The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman in Three Parallel Texts Together with Richard the Redeless by William Langland (about 1362-1399 A. D.) (Oxford, 1886), 2, lxxi), Hanna (William Langland, Authors of the Middle Ages, 3 (Aldershot, Hants.: Variorum, 1993), p. 41), and Charlotte Brewer (Editing Piers Plowman: The Evolution of the Text. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 28. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 456) all use "I," while Russell and Kane use "J" in their edition of the C text (Piers Plowman: The C Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman, Do-Well, Do-Better and Do-Best. An Edition in the Form of Huntington Library MS HM 143, Corrected and Restored from the Known Evidence, with Variant Readings. London: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997, p. 6).
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, (olim C's V)
X San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm 143
Yc Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 102, (olim C's Y)

4. AB Splices:

H London, British Library, MS Harley 3954, (olim A's H3 and B's H)

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, and Brookfield, Vermont, 1993), p. 39. Its present location is unknown to us. (olim A's W and C's W)
Z Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 851

6. ABC Splices:

Bm London, British Library, MS Additional 10574, (olim B's Bm and C's L)
Bo Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 814 (S. C. 2683), (olim B's Bo and C's B)
Cot London, British Library, MS Cotton Caligula A.xi, (olim B's Cot and C's O)
Ht San Marino, Huntington Library, MS Hm114 (olim Phillipps 8252)

V.   Bibliography:


Brewer, Charlotte, and A. G. Rigg, eds. Piers Plowman: A Facsimile of the Z-Text in Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Bodley 851. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1994.

Kane, George, ed. Piers Plowman: The A Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman and Do-Well, An Edition in the Form of Trinity College Cambridge MS R.3.14 Corrected from Other Manuscripts, with Variant Readings, rev. ed. London: Athlone Press, 1988.

Kane, George, 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: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.

Russell, George, and George Kane, eds. Piers Plowman: The C Version: Will's Visions of Piers Plowman, Do-Well, Do-Better and Do-Best. An Edition in the Form of Huntington Library MS HM 143, Corrected and Restored from the Known Evidence, with Variant Readings. London: Athlone Press; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997.

Pearsall, Derek, ed. William Langland: Piers Plowman. The C-Text, 2d ed., Exeter Medieval English Texts and Studies. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1994.

Rigg, A. G., and Charlotte Brewer, eds. Piers Plowman: The Z Version. Studies and Texts 59. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1983.

Schmidt, A. V. C., ed. The Vision of Piers Plowman: A Critical Edition of the B-Text Based on Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17. London, Melbourne, and Toronto: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1978; 2d ed., London: J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.; Rutland, Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1995.

———, ed. Piers Plowman: A Parallel-Text Edition of the A, B, C and Z Versions: Vol. 1. Text. London and New York: Longman, 1995.

Skeat, Walter W., ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman together with Vita de Dowel, Dobet, et Dobest, Secundum Wit et Resoun by William Langland: Part II. The "Crowley" Text; or Text B. EETS, OS 38. London: N. Trübner, 1869.

———, ed. The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman, in Three Parallel Texts together with Richard the Redeless. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1886.


Benson, C. David, and Lynne S. Blanchfield, with acknowledgements to the work of Marie-Claire Uhart. The Manuscripts of Piers Plowman: the B-version. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1997.

Burton, T. L. "On the Current State of Middle English Dialectology." Leeds Studies in English. New Series 20 (1991): 167-208. And Benskin, Michael. "In reply to Doctor Burton." Leeds Studies in English. New Series 20 (1991): 209-262.

"Carmen Paraeneticum ad Rainaldum." Patrologiae cursus completus: Series Latina 184: 1307A-1314C. Paris: Garnier Frères, 1862.

Coxe, H. O. introduced by K. W. Humphreys. Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Oxford Colleges (Catalogus Codicum MSS. qui in Collegiis Aulisque Oxoniensibus Hodie Adservantur). Vol. 1. Reprint, East Ardsley, Wakefield, Yorkshire: E. P. Publishing, 1972.

Doyle, A. I. "Remarks on Surviving Manuscripts of Piers Plowman." In Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell. Ed. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson, 35-48. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1986.

Furnivall, Frederick J. Caxton's Book of Curtesye: Printed at Westminster about 1477-8 A.D. and now Reprinted, with Two MS. Copies of the Same Treatise, from the Oriel MS. 79, and the Balliol MS. 354. London: N. Trübner, 1868.

Galloway, Andrew. "Reading Piers Plowman in the Fifteenth and the Twenty-First Centuries: Notes on Manuscripts F and W in the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 103 (2004): 247-67.

Hanna III, Ralph. William Langland. Authors of The Middle Ages 3: English Writers of the Late Middle Ages. Aldershot and Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, 1993.

Kane, George. "The Text." In A Companion to Piers Plowman. Ed. John A. Alford, 175-200. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988.

The Dictionary of National Biography, founded in 1882 by George Smith; edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee; from the earliest times to 1900. London: Oxford University Press, [1973].

McIntosh, Angus, M. L. Samuels and Michael Benskin. A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English. 4 vols. Volume 3: Linguistic Profiles. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1986.

Mustanoja, Tauno F. A Middle English Syntax: Part I: Parts of Speech. Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki 23. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique, 1960.

Samuels, M. L. "Some Applications of Middle English Dialectology." English Studies 44 (1963): 81-94. Reprinted in Middle English Dialectology: Essays on Some Principles and Problems by Angus McIntosh, M. L. Samuels and Margaret Laing, edited and introduced by Margaret Laing, 64-80. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1989.

———. "Chaucer's Spelling." In Middle English Studies Presented to Norman Davis in Honour of his Seventieth Birthday. Ed. Douglas Gray and E. G. Stanley, 17-37. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983. Reprinted in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries: Essays by M. L. Samuels and J. J. Smith. Ed. J. J. Smith, 23-37. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988.

———. "Langland's Dialect." Medium Ævum 54 (1985): 232-47 with corrections at Medium Ævum 55 (1986): 40. Reprinted in The English of Chaucer and his Contemporaries. Ed. J. J. Smith, 70-85. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1989.

———. "Dialect and Grammar." In A Companion to Piers Plowman. Ed. John A. Alford, 201-221. Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 1988.

Uhart, Marie-Claire. "The Early Reception of Piers Plowman." Ph.D. diss., University of Leicester, 1986.