Passus quintus de visione petri plowman . vt supra .
AndR.5.8: R uniquely omits so I before babeled and replaces the presumably original on with vppon ; cf. F's y bablede so on. C omits this passage, but in the A version it reads as in the beta manuscripts of B. babeled vppon my bedes þei brouȝt me a-slepe .
Was perteliche for pruydeR.5.15: R's phrase here is that of alpha (cf. F's virtually indentical wording); the beta copies read pure pryde. The A and C versions both agree with alpha. and for no poynt elles .
AndR.5.17: And is an alpha variant (cf. F's somewhat different rendering of this line), but it is not present in the beta manuscripts, nor is it attested in the manuscripts of the other versions at this point. in ensaumple ȝee segges ȝee schulden do þe bettere .
AndR.5.19: And is an alpha variant completely unattested in beta copies (which begin the line with Torned. However, the alpha reading of this line opening agrees exactly with that of the other two versions. turned vpward here taile R.5.19: Alpha omits beta's in before tokenynge. Both the A and C versions agree at this point with beta. to kenyngetokenynge of drede .
¶ He bad wastour toR.5.24: R's to is unique among the B manuscripts. The others read go, which is also the reading of the A version and of the P family of C witnesses. However, the X family agrees with R's reading. werche what he best coude .
And wynnen his wastinge with som manere crastyscra[f]tys .R.5.25: R's crastys, is probably an alpha error (cf. beta's crafte and F's reconstructed werkys). The phrase is omitted from C, but the A witnesses support beta's rendering.
¶¶ Thomme stouue he tauȝte to take to stones .R.5.28: R's stones is unique. The other B manuscripts, as well as the other versions, read staues.
Þat hire hed was worth half marke his hode nauȝt a groteR.5.31: HmGCotH join R in omitting worth from the final phrase of this line (witnessed by F and most beta copies as nouȝte worth a grote. The majority of A witnesses agrees with this B majority in attesting the word, but RaUChJEK agree with Rawlinson 38 in omitting it. So do all but two of the C witnesses. .
¶¶ AndR.5.32: R uniquely omits the verb bad before bet here. bet cutte a bow other tweye .
¶ And þanne he charged chapmen to chasteR.5.34: The uncovered final <e> makes R's reading unmetrical. R's verb form is unique among the B witnesses; some beta manuscripts have chastize(n). However, R's form is attested in some copies of both A and C. Likewise, some of the A witnesses agree with beta. The Cx form appears to have been chasten, quite possibly the reading of Bx, since it is also the reading of LCrCG. hire childerne .
Late no wynnynge for-wanyen þeR.5.35: R uniquely omits Bx's hem at the end of the a-verse and uniquely adds þe at the head of the b-verse. However, the addition of þe is paralleled in the X family of C manuscripts. while þei ben ȝonge .
Ho-so spareth þe sprynge he spillethR.5.42: Beta omits he. Although three C manuscripts include the pronoun, it seems clear that Cx read here as beta does. his childern .
¶ And sitthen he prouedR.5.43: R's proued is unique and presumably results from scribal anticipation of proue in the next line; beta reads preyed (which is confirmed by both the A and C versions) while F completely rewrites the line. prelatz and prestes to-gyderes .
It is þi tresor if treson weretreson [n]ereR.5.51: R uniquely drops the negative. and triacle at þi nede .
¶¶ And siþþen he preyed þe popeR.5.52: The word pope has been partially erased, though the original reading is visible. The erasure is very old but not the work of the original scribe. haue pite on holy cherche .
HeR.5.68: He, "she." scluldesc[h]ulde vnsowen hire serke and setten þere an haire .
For þisR.5.73: Beta's phrase is For al þis. F has For þ(a)t." I haue I-hated in myn herte .
With þat he schulde on þe dayR.5.76: Cf. beta's þe saterday and F's euery day. The C version is completely revised at this point, but the A reading agrees completely with that of beta. seuen ȝer þere-after .
And carfulliche mea culpa he cumsed to schreweschre[u]e .R.5.79: R's error, schrewe, was not a misreading for shewe (the beta variant) but for schreue, the alpha reading (cf. F's shryve). The A reading agrees with that of beta.
And clutedR.5.81: This is a unique R reading (Bx = clothed). According to MED, s. v. clouten (v. 1), the form is the past participle of clouten, which usually means "to mend" but here and in a few other documented instances clearly signifies "to wear patched or ragged clothes." in a tauri-mauri[c]auri-mauriR.5.81: R, probably by coincidence, shares the <c/t> confusion with Bm. I coude nauȝt itR.5.81: R reverses this phrase, which in the other B manuscripts (as well as the A version) reads it nouȝte. descriue .
Of a frereR.5.83: R's uninflected form, frere, is unique in the B version. The other copies have freres. However, five A-version manuscripts (DJLaEN) agree with R's unmarked genitive. frokke were hisR.5.83: In place of alpha's his, beta reads þe. Ax is unclear on this point, a majority agreeing with beta, but a large minority (HaLaEAKWa) agreeing with alpha. fore-sleues .
And wryngyed withR.5.87: Beta reads wryngynge he ȝede. F has hise hondis he wrong. þe fist to wreke hym-self he thouȝte .
Eche word þat he warp was of an addreR.5.89: Beta shows a genitive, addres or Neddres. tonge .
With bagbityng and withR.5.91: This line's second with is a unique addition in R. bysmere and berynge of fals wytnesse .
And al-soR.5.98: R's al-so is unique; cf. Bx's made. his frendes ben his fon þoruȝ my fals tonge .
By-twene mayne and mayneR.5.100: The form mayne is the R scribe's spelling for meine, "household" (see also R.16.247:). In F the a-verse reads By-twixe hym & manye men; most beta manuscripts have Bitwene many and many. Though MED lists the head form as meine, OED notes that by the opening of the fifteenth century the word was sometimes spelled many, which appears to have been beta's intention. Its authenticity is also supported by a cognate line from the A version, where the phrase reads Betwyn hym & his meyne. I make debate ofte .
¶¶ And whan I come to þechercheþe chercheR.5.106: HmF agree with R in reading cherche, but they omit the article. The beta reading, kirke (also the reading of the A tradition), fits the alliterative pattern of the line; cherche was the alpha reading, shared by convergence with Hm. and schulde knele to þe rode .
And beholde how heleyne hath onR.5.112: R's on is an alpha addition unattested in beta or in the A version. a newe cote
I wysche þenne it were myn and alle þe web after .R.5.113: Here the scribe omits his usual line break before a new verse paragraph, presumably because he has reached the end of a side.
¶¶ And of hisR.5.114: R's his is a unique reading among the B manuscripts (both F and beta attest mennes). However, it is clear that Ax reads as R does. lesynge I lawhe þat lyketh myn herte .
Ac for his wynnygewynny[n]geR.5.115: At the beginning of this phrase, R's Ac is unique among the B manuscripts but is also the reading of Ax; by contrast, F has But and beta reads And). As for his (an alpha variant contrasting to beta's hir), a majority of A witnesses agree with RF. I wepe and wayle þe tyme .
¶ And deme menR.5.116: R's men is unique; F substitutes hem while beta omits it altogether. However, in a slightly different phrase found in the cognate A line (I deme men þere hy don ille), we find unambiguous support for R's reading. þat hij don ylle þere I do wel worse .
Þat alle my body bolneth for bytter inR.5.121: Cf. R's in to F's ys and beta's of; it is unclear what the alpha reading was. The A reading agrees with beta. my galle .
¶ I am euereR.5.129: Beta omits euere. This omission is also found in the A version, but the C version agrees with alpha and includes the qualifier. sory quod þat segge I am but selde other .
Whan he solde and I nauȝt þanne was I aredyR.5.133: Beta reads redy, and F has ful redy. Some C copies agree with beta, but Cx agrees with R's form, aredy. .
To lye and to loure on my neyȝbore and to lakken his wareR.5.134: R's ware is the alpha reading; cf. beta's chaffare. .
¶¶ Now waketh wrotheR.5.136: R's waketh is unique (most of the other witnesses have awaketh). Likewise, R's spelling of the following noun (= wrothe, but rendered as Wraþe or wratthe by most of the others) is unique among the B copies—cf. the same spelling at R5.138 (at which point F and the X family of C concur with R's form). According to OED2, s. v. wrath, and MED, s. v. wroth, this spelling is a late adaptation from the adjective wroth, = "angry." Nominal usage is also found in a manuscript of Gower's Confessio (at 3.217) and in the Trinity manuscript of the A-version (at 5.66). with to white eyȝes .
¶ I am wrotheR.5.138: R's wrothe is a relatively uncommon spelling for this word (cf. R5.136 above), but it is also attested in F and among the X family of C. Beta and the P family of C witness the more usual spellings (e.g, W's wraþe). quatz he I was sumtyme a frere .
And þe couentR.5.139: R's uninflected form is unique; F and beta read a normal genitive, couentes. On the other hand, the R scribe may have taken the phrase couent gardinere as a compound noun. gardinere for to graffe ympes .
And sitthe þei blosmedR.5.142: The beta phrase, which has the advantage of alliterating properly, is blosmed obrode. in boure to here schriftes .
Schewen here schriftes til hem þan schriuen hem tilR.5.144: Both of R's uses of til in this line are unique; F and beta read to in the first instance. F revises the b-verse substantially (so as to be unsuitable for comparison), but beta again deploys to. here persones .
And fyndenR.5.147: The agreement of RF in omitting the first stave of this line (freres in beta) indicates that the error derives from alpha. hem in defaute as folke bereth witnesse .
I wrathe walke with hymR.5.149: R's hym is unique and obviously an error; F and beta read the plural hem, which agrees with all of the surrounding context, including another pronoun reference later in this same line. and wisse hem of my bokes .
¶¶ I haue anauntean aunte to nonne and an abbesseR.5.155: Beta adds bothe at the end of this line. The C version, however, agrees with alpha in omitting it. .
Many monthes with hem and with monkes alse .R.5.158: R's alse is unique; the other B manuscripts read bothe. The C reading agrees with that of the B majority.
¶ Of wikked wordes I wrathe here wortes I-madeR.5.164: Only RLOC2 have the metrically necessary dissyllabic form from OE gemacian. F has a recomposed line, and other B manuscripts have made. .
¶¶ Seynt gregorie was a goed pope and hadde a goed forwitteR.5.168: In this verse paragraph and the next, the scribal hand becomes noticeably smaller, and yet the 36-line ruling is unchanged from the previous leaf.
And ȝeet amR.5.176: R's ȝeet is a unique addition to this line, as witnessed in the other B manuscripts. However, it is also clearly attested in the C version. chalenged in þe chapitelhous .
As I achilda child wereR.5.177: R's line division here is unique and obviously an error; F, beta, and the C version read this phrase as the end of the preceding line .
And baleysed on þe bare hers bakR.5.178: R's cancelled reading, hers, is the Bx original. F agrees with R's "corrected" and euphemized reading, bak, but the C version agrees with the Bx original. and no breche by-twene .
I ete þere vnthende fissh and febleR.5.180: The final <e> of feble is blotted. ale drinke .
¶ Ac other-while whan wyn cometh whan I drynke welR.5.181: Beta reads wyn. at euen .
I couthe it in oure cloystre þat alleR.5.184: R uniquely omits a determiner after alle. A majority of beta copies, and F, read þe here while LMCrW attest owre. Cx agrees with F and the beta majority. couent wot it .
Conseille þat þow knoweste by contenance ne by specheR.5.186: R and F agree with the C version in attesting speche as this line's final stave. By contrast, beta reads riȝte at this point. .
Esto sobrius he seyde and so heR.5.189: R's so he is a unique addition to the text witnessed by both Bx and Cx. assoyled me after .
With hisR.5.198: For alpha's his, beta reads an. The C reading agrees with alpha. hode on his hed a lousy hatt aboue .
But if a lous coude lepe þe bettere .R.5.201: All the B manuscripts are corrupt, presumably losing most of the original b-verse: But if (þat) a lous couthe (haue lopen / lepen) þe bettre. RF omit þat and avoid the perfect tense. F's reading for this line is unique in other ways as well. The A-version reading for this line's second half is uncertain, with considerable variation between witnesses. Kane chose I may it nouȝt leue. The C b-verse has the appearance of a feeble patch rather than a common original: y leue and y trowe.
He ne schulde nouȝt walkeR.5.202: Cf. beta's She sholde nouȝte haue walked. Evidence from the A and C versions suggests that archetypal B was already misreading the first verb in this line (= wandre in A and C). Though most C manuscripts attest the line's opening as He sholde, manuscripts X and P2 here agree with R's version of the opening phrase, He ne schulde. Among the A copies, the same pattern is apparent, with most opting for some form of he shulde but with ChRaU paralleling R's double-negative syntax. on þat welsch so was it thredebare .
And was his prentis I-pliȝt his profit to wayte .R.5.205: R omits his customary blank line between strophes at the juncture of ll. 205-06, presumably because the latter is to fill the last line ruled for this side.
wikedlyche to weye .R.5.206:These catchwords are partially cropped.
Ne hadde þe grace of gyle I-go amonge my ware .R.5.210: The alpha variant ware is supported by LM, but most beta copies read chaffare. However, as is often the case with such splits, both Ax and Cx support the LMRF variant.
Amonge þe riche rayeresR.5.214: R's rayeres, "a maker or seller of striped cloth," is a unique variant among B witnesses; Bx reads rayes. The same variant occurs in manuscript Uc of the C version, but both Ax and Cx clearly attest the same word here as the B majority. For other citations of this R form, see MED, s. v. raier. I rendred a lessoun .
To brochen hem with a batnedelR.5.215: Most beta manuscripts read paknedle, but L (and perhaps M originally, which has been corrected to pak by erasure and writeover) supports alpha's batnedel. The majority of A witnesses agrees with beta, but manuscripts AE agree with alpha's lection. Batnedel is also the reading of the best C manuscripts (though most of the P family copies agree with the common beta reading). and playted hem to-gyderes .
Heo spak to a spinnesterR.5.219: Beta reads spynnesteres, which is also the reading of Cx. The Ax reading is uncertain since the singular and plural forms are both well attested among extant copies. to spynnen it oute .
Ac þe pound þat heo payed by peysed a quarterR.5.220: Beta reads quarteroun, but Ax and Cx confirm alpha's lection. more .
¶ I bouȝte hire barlyR.5.222: Beta and F read barly malte, but both Ax and Cx confirm R's reading. heo brewe it to selle .
¶¶ Þe best of alleR.5.225: R's of alle is unique; F and beta read ale. Among the C manuscripts, the P family omits this lection entirely (as does the cognate line in A), while the X family agrees with the reading of F and beta. lay in my boure or in my bedde-chaumbre .
And ho-so bummethR.5.226: R is the only B manuscript to render this verb in the present tense (but see the Introduction III.2.2.10 on R's—and alpha's—possibly ambiguous tense marking); the others read bummed. Both Ax and Cx agree with the majority B reading. þere-offe he bouȝte it þere-after .
And ȝet it com in coppe-mele þis crafte my wif vseth .R.5.228: The present-tense marking represents alpha's reading (but cf. see the Introduction III.2.2.10 on R's—and alpha's—possibly ambiguous tense marking); cf. beta's vsed. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta.
Rose þe regrater isR.5.229: The present-tense marking represents alpha's reading; cf. beta's was. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta. hire riȝte name .
Heo hath I-holdeR.5.230: Cf. beta's holden. A and C witnesses show a mixture of verb forms here, but the P family of C agrees with alpha's form. hokkarie alle hire lif-tyme .
¶¶ Repentedest þow euere quod repentaunce neR.5.235: Among the B manuscripts, only LM support R's ne; most beta copies read or and F has &. However, Cx clearly agrees with the LMR reading. restitucion madest .
I ros whan þei were a-reste and I-rifledR.5.237: LR alone have unmetrical I-rifled. Other B manuscripts have riflede. here males .
Þow haddest bettereR.5.239: R shares with LM alone the omission of be in the phrase, be bettere. Their reading is, however, likely to be the original. M later was "corrected" to the majority reading. worthi be hanged þere-fore .
I lerned amonges lumbardes a lessoun and of iewesR.5.245: Cf. beta's and iewes a lessoun. F reads a lessoun be herte. The C reading agrees exactly with R's. .
Ich haue mo maneres þorȝ regagesR.5.249: Beta has rerages; alpha's reading, regages, is unrecorded in both OED2 and MED s. v. rerage, and arrearage, and is presumably nonsense generated by the misreading of a single graph, an anglicana r. þan þorȝ miseretur & comodat .
And ben here brokour after and brouȝtR.5.251: R shares this error (brouȝt for bouȝte) by convergence with Cot alone. it my-selue .
Exchaunges and cheuysaunces with suche chaffaresR.5.252: R uniquely deploys the plural form here. I dele .
And toke it be taille þereR.5.255: Cf. R's þere with beta's here; F omits the adverb entirely. and tolde hem there lasse .
¶¶ Lenedest þow euere lordes for loue of here mayntenance . A design is scratched in drypoint in the left margin beside these lines; its shape is that of three pillars of approximately the same length, a vertical pillar with two supporting pillars on its left side; the higher supporting pillar is a flat horizontal, joining the vertical midway along its length, the lower one running diagonally upwards to join the other two at the same point. The effect is almost that of a reversed capital <K>.
¶ Ȝe I haue lent lordes quod heo louedR.5.257: The attributive phrase, quod heo, is an alpha reading not witnessed in any beta manuscript; cf. F's quod he. me neuere after .
¶ I haue as muche pyte of pore men as þeR.5.261: R's determiner, þe, is an alpha variant; it is not present in beta manuscripts. pedlere hath of cattes .
Þat wolde kulle hem andR.5.262: and, "if." Beta reads yf. he cacche hem miȝte for coueytise of here skynnes .R.5.262: At the bottom center margin of 17v, there is a drypoint figure almost identical to the one noted at R5.256 for the left margin. Now, however, the <K> figure faces downwards, and the top is trapezoidal rather than a simple rectangular pillar.
¶¶ I am holden quod he as hende as hound in hisR.5.264: R's in his kychyne is a metathesis of beta's presumably original text (= is in kychyne). Cf. F's in þe kycchene. kychyne .
Ne þin vssueR.5.268: R reads vssue, agreeing with L alone (= ysue); M has been erased and overwritten to match the other beta manuscripts' reading, heires. F reads houswif. after þe haue ioye of þat þow wynneste .
Ne þi seketouresR.5.269: RF's seketoures is an aphetic form of beta's excecutours. wel bi-sette þe seluer þat þow hem leuest
I wolde nouȝt cope vs with þi catel ne oure chercheR.5.272: Two alpha variants are attested here, the second inadequate for the line's alliterative pattern; cf. RF's wolde nouȝt and cherche with beta's nolde and kyrke. amende
Til þow make restitucion quod repentanceR.5.279: Only R records quod repentance. The other B witnesses, including F, are here content with a line having only two alliterating staves. The B manuscript that Langland used in creating C appears to have shared this faulty alliteration since the alliterative key is there shifted from /r/ to /m/ in order to make use of make (=B) / ymad (= C) in the first stave position. and rekene with hem alle .
Þat þow hast made vch man goed I may þe nauȝt saue .R.5.281: R's saue is unique. The other manuscripts read assoille.
Non dimittitur peccatum nisiR.5.282: The predominant beta variant here is donec, but Cr agrees with alpha. restituatur ablatum .
Is haldyngeR.5.284: Only LMF agree with R's Is (but F's verb occurs in a completely rewritten line). The other copies show be(n). R's haldynge is unique; the other B copies all show holde(n) as do many P manuscripts in the C tradition. However, the X family of C agrees with R's lection. at þe heyȝ dome to helpe þe restitueR.5.284: With reference to beta, R's lection here appears at first glance to involve a unique omission. Beta reads þe to restitue. However, the supposition of omission collapses when we notice that the nearly unanimous C reading at this point is identical to R's (F rewrites the line completely). .
And ho-so leueth nauȝt þis be soth loke in aR.5.285: R's lection is unique; the other manuscripts read þe, as does the C version. sauter glose .
¶ Þere is no laborere wolde leue with hem þat knoweth peres þe plowman .R.5.288: Kane-Donaldson dismiss this alpha line as spurious because of its reference to Piers Plowman, who has not yet been introduced into the narrative.
ForR.5.289: For is an alpha variant; beta omits it. schal neuere werkman in þis worlde thriue with þat þow wynnest .
Ne hadde repentance þe rathere confortedR.5.292: Although Hm and G agree with R (presumably by convergence), beta itself had a compound of this verb, needed for alliteration: reconforted; F offers, in a rewritten b-verse, reersyd, which looks like an attempted repair. hym in þis manere .
Misericordia dominiR.5.295: This is a unique variant in R; the beta copies that contain this citation read eius, the accurate Vulgate form. Approximately half the beta copies and F omit the entire citation. super omnia opera eius . &cetera .
And cayres hym to cherchewardeR.5.312: As is frequently the case, R's unique reading here is defective in alliteration (cf. Bx's kirke-ward). his coupe to schewe .
¶¶ Hastow auȝt in þi purce any hote spices .R.5.318: Although the scribe customarily enters a blank line between paragraphs, following this line he seems to have forgotten to do so because of the heavy prevalence of paraph markers to indicate dialogue.
¶ I haue peper and pioyneR.5.319: R's singular is unique among the B manuscripts but agrees with the reading found in Ax and in the X family of C. The P family of C shows the same plural as the B majority. quod sche and a pound of garleke .
SymmeR.5.324: R's non-alliterating Symme is shared with HmYCBoCot among the B manuscripts but also agrees, oddly, with the reading found in A manuscripts TRaDH2H and with the reading of C manuscript P2. Presumably the cause of these overlapping errors is the mutual resemblance of the relevant capitals. þe tynkere and tweyne of his prentys .
AndR.5.327: And is an alpha variant; beta begins the line with Sire. The C version of this line agrees exactly with beta. sire peres of pridie and peronele of flaundres
A roper a redyng-kynge and rose þe dissheres douȝter .R.5.330: The phrase dissheres douȝter is an alpha variant; cf. beta's disshere(s). Both the A version and the C version agree with beta on this reading.
Godefrey of garlek-hethe and grifythR.5.331: F reads Geffrey while beta has gryfin. Both the A version (some copies omit the line completely) and the P family of the C version agree with beta's name form here (P family = griffyng), but the X family of C agrees with R's otherwise unique form. þe walshe .
And badde bette þe bochere toR.5.337: The verbal particle to is an alpha variant completely absent from the beta manuscripts. It does, however, appear in a few A manuscripts (RaUDJ) and in approximately half of the C manuscripts. It may, in fact, be the family reading of the P group. ben on his side .
ÞereR.5.338: R uniquely omits the Bx verb were at this point, treating the participle Ichose at the end of the a-verse as the verb. chapmen Ichose þis chaffare to preyse .
¶ ÞoR.5.340:R and Bm are the only witnesses in the B tradition beginning this line with Þo (= not the common adverb but rather the plural demonstrative pronoun, equivalent to Modern English, "Those." See Kane, Glossary, pp. 207-8). The other beta copies all attest Two while F begins the line with Þan. The P family of C is joined by manuscripts Uc and Dc in support of the beta reading, but manuscripts X, I and P2 (probably reflecting the X subarchetype) agree with R and Bm in reading Þo. The A archetype also supports the RBm variant. Presumably R attests this reading by descent from alpha while Bm has it through correction, perhaps from the C exemplar used for its opening passus. Schmidt is probably correct in hypothesizing (II, 353) that Bx actually spelled Þo in this line as To, thus inviting the common subsequent scribal error of Two. risen inR.5.340: R uniquely omits a word from this phrase. Beta reads risen vp in while F has ryse þey ful. The reading of beta is also found in many A manuscripts and is clearly archetypal in that tradition; among the C witnesses, the P family mostly agrees with R (omitting vp from the phrase) while the X family attests its presence. However, many C manuscripts in both families omit in. rape and rowned to-gyderes .
And preysed þeR.5.341: Beta reads þese in place of alpha's þe. The A reading agrees with alpha, but the C version is split by families, with the P family supporting alpha while the X family agrees with beta. penyworthes a-part by hym-selue .
Til robyn þe ropere arise þe southe .R.5.343: R may well represent Bx here, but the b-verse is plainly wrong. It is obvious that the F redactor has completely recast the b-verse because of its archtypally defective sense; in beta, the b-verse is similarly lacking, reading arose bi þe southe. Both Kane-Donaldson and Schmidt emend this verse conjecturally to conform to the C version: aryse they bisouhte.
And nempned hym for a noumper þat no debate wereR.5.344: Beta and F read nere in place of R's were, but both G and Hm agree with R (presumably by correction). The A witnesses are split, but a majority agrees with R; the C version reading is unambiguously the same as R's. .
And sitten so til euesonge and syngenR.5.351: The present tense, syngen, is unique to R; cf. F's sunge and beta's songen. R also shows a present-tense form earlier in this line, sitten, where most B witnesses record a past-tense form (but Cr and G agree with R). Context alone would suggest that the past tenses are correct, but the unanimous witness of C manuscripts as well as the attestation of a clear majority of A manuscripts in favor of these forms decides the question. Cf. see the Introduction III.2.2.10 for a discussion of R's problematic tense marking. vmb-while .
His guttes gonne to godlyR.5.353: R's godly is shared exclusively with LM. As odd as it first seems, this was almost certainly the form of the verb in Bx. F has gowle while most beta manuscripts read goþelen. The same phrase occurs in the C version, where it reads His gottes gan to gothly. Significantly, a sizeable number of C witnesses agree exactly with manuscripts LMR of B on the spelling of the verb form, and MED, s. v. gothelen, acknowledges both -dly and -þly forms as viable for gothelen, but citations are solely to Piers Plowman. The same limited acknowledgment of these forms is found in OED2, s. v. gothele, and godele(n), -y. as to gnedyg[r]edy sowes .
HeR.5.355: He is a unique variant; the other B manuscripts read And. However, R's reading is also that of four A manuscripts and of the X family of the C version. Both Kane-Donaldson and Schmidt prefer the F/beta reading, presumably on stylistic grounds since And avoids a syntactic repetition (the previous line begins with He) that modern tastes find clumsy. blew his round rowet at his rigges bonesR.5.355: Most manuscripts have the compound riggebone, but both rigges and bones are genitives. Manuscript C has the same reading. ende .
Þat alle þatalle [þat herde] þatR.5.356: Here R uniquely omits a key phrase from the archetypal text. horne held here nose after .
¶¶ AcR.5.362: Ac is unique to R; the other manuscripts read And. The A archetype seems to omit any connective here, but the C version agrees with F / beta. whan he drouȝ to þe dore þanne dymmed hys eyȝes .
He tremledR.5.363: R's tremled is uniquely supported by L (M having been altered once more to conform to the typical beta reading—for which, see below); F reads tripplid while most betas offer the non-alliterating stombled. Among the A manuscripts, only Vernon offers a viable reading, þrompelde, while the others attest various forms of stombled. As for the C version, though a few opt for stumblet, the majority attest thromblede. Based on its alliterative pattern, this is presumably what Langland wrote originally, but the LR form is almost certainly what it became in Bx. on þe threswolde and threw to þe erthe .
Durst lape of þe leuyngR.5.369: Beta shows the plural form, leuynges, while F rewrites the a-verse beyond recognition. The C version agrees here with R's singular. so vnlouely it smauȝte .
Baren hym toR.5.371: Beta reads home to; although three A copies (VHaN) agree with beta here, both Ax and Cx concur with alpha's omission of hom. his bed and brouȝte hym þere-inne .
Of þatR.5.381: R's Of is unique; the other B witnesses begin the line with Þat. However, the C reading here is identical to R's. I haue trespased with my tonge I can nauȝt telle how ofte .
Sworen godes soule and his sydesR.5.382: Beta omits the entire R phrase for the end of the a-verse (and his sydes); F reads an abbreviated version, & side. The C reading is probably that of the X family (which agrees exactly with R's). The P family reading (& sides) agrees with F's omission of the possessive but with R's plural number. and so help me god & holy-domeR.5.382: Beta appears to reverse a key alpha phrase (the latter being more colloquial), rendering alpha's so help me god as so god me help. The C reading for the end of this b-verse is revised but its opening agrees exactly with alpha's phrasing, so helpe me god. Beta's motive for revision was probably metrical, but manuscript M somehow still agrees with alpha and displays a form that may explain both Langland's intention and the apparent lapse in alliteration. Alpha and M read the line as aliterating on /s/ (hence M's selpe) but beta judges that it must alliterate on /g/ and generates the aformentioned phrase reversal to highlight that possibility. .
¶ And ouer-seye me at my soper and sum-tymesR.5.384: R's -s form here is unique. The other B copies show some-tyme, a reading shared with C. at nones .
And I-spilt þat myȝt be spared and spendR.5.386: R's spend is an alpha variant; cf. F's spend it and beta's spended. on sum hungry .
¶¶ Ouer delicatlyR.5.387: There is a gap in the parchment between de and licatly caused by a pre-existing tear; the same gap occurs on the other side at R5.417. on fastyng-dayes dronken and eten bothe .
And sat sum-tyme so longe þere and slepR.5.388: R's and slep is unique; beta appears to reflect Bx accurately with its þat I slepe. Cf. F's þere-at y sleep. and eet at ones .
For loue of tales in tauernes to eteR.5.389: R's ete is unique and redundant with the preceding line; cf. Bx's drynke. þe more I dyned .
¶¶ And þanne gan glotoun to grete and mucheR.5.392: R's muche is unique and may have been adopted to avoid the apparent repetition of the archetype, which reads grete here. doel to make .
And auowedR.5.394: Most beta manuscripts read to fast, as does F. GLM agree with R's omission of to. M's corrector adds to above the line. On the other hand, like the beta majority, the A version attests the presence of to in this phrase. faste for hunger or for thurst .
Til abstinence myn aunte hathR.5.396: R's hath is the alpha form (shared exclusively with F); beta copies show haue, a reading shared with both Ax and Cx. Iȝeue me leue .
¶ Þanne come sleuthe al by-slobred with to slymedR.5.398: Beta reads slymy. A significant majority of C witnesses (XIP2PRcVcAcQScKcGc) agrees with the alpha reading. eyȝes .
I most sitte seyde þe segeR.5.399: R's sege is an unusual spelling of an old-fashioned word (= "man"). More commonly, the word appears in Middle English as segge, but this form is cited by MED, s. v. segge, in one manuscript of the Awntyrs of Arthur, Lincoln Cathedral Library 91: A knyghte salle...at carelyone be crownede for kynge; That sege salle be sesede at a sesone (289). The spelling is likewise attested in OED2, s. v. segge, for the fourteenth through the sixteenth century, and a passage from Dunbar is cited. or elles schulde I nappeR.5.399: There is a superfluous bar over the final <-pe> of nappe. .
¶¶ If I schulde deye bi þis daye quod heR.5.406: Beta omits quod he. The P family of C manuscripts agrees with the alpha reading, but the X family agrees with beta and omits the phrase. me lest nouȝt to loke .
Ac noþer of oure lorR.5.409: R's clipped form for lord is unique among the B manuscripts both here and in R18.61. See Richard Jordan, Handbook of Middle English Grammar: Phonology, translated and revised by Eugene Joseph Crook (The Hague: Mouton, 1974): §199, remark 3. ne of oure lady þe leste þat euere was maked .R.5.409: Here the scribe omits his customary line break before a new verse paragraph, presumably because the next line will be the final one of this side.
¶ I haue mad vowes fourti and forȝete hem or morweR.5.410: This occurrence of or is unique; the full phrase in most B witnesses reads on (þe) morne. C has amorwen. .
Godes peyne and his passioun ful selde thenke I þere-on .R.5.417: A repaired tear in the parchment (existing before its use by the scribe) partially obscures the loop from the <r> in þere-on by which the following <e> is signified.
¶ I visitede neuere sekeR.5.418: R's seke is a non-alliterating alpha variant; cf. beta's fieble, which is also the reading of the C version.. men ne fetered folke in puttes .
I haddeR.5.419: Cf. alpha's hadde to beta's haue; alpha's reading is also that of the C version. leuere here an herlotrie or a somer game of souteres .
Or lesynges to lawhe ofR.5.420: R's of is an alpha variant; beta reads at, but Cx agrees with alpha here. and bilye my neyȝbore .
R.5.421: R uniquely omits a transitional word here in linehead position; cf. F's & and beta's Þan. The C reading agrees with beta's. Al þat euere marke made mathew Iohan and lucas .
And vigilies and fastyngdayes alle þis I lateR.5.422: Beta transposes this phrase as late I. F reads the entire phrase as y leet hem passe .
Construe it clausemelR.5.432: R's it clausemel is an alpha variant; cf. beta's oon clause wel. and kenne it to my parochiens .
I can holde louedayes orR.5.433: Beta reads and. here a reues rekkenynge .
Sixe sithes or seuene I forsake it witR.5.437: R's spelling of with here is unique among the Piers Plowman manuscripts and also fairly unusual in the Middle English corpus. The same spelling is found extensively in Cursor Mundi; it also occurs several times in the Prose Alexander (ca. 1440), once in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, line 113 (where Andrew and Waldron emend it away), and once in Havelok the Dane, line 2489. othes .
And þus I teneR.5.438: Beta transposes this phrase as tene I. trewe men tete[n] hundreth tymes .
So with wikked wille and wrathe my werk-men I paye .R.5.441: R omits his customary blank line between strophes at the juncture of ll. 441-42, presumably because the latter is to fill the last line ruled for this side.
I am nauȝt lured with loue but þere ligge auȝt vnder thoumbeR.5.445: Here the beta manuscripts have a determiner, making the phrase þe thombe. This discrepancy is also apparent in the two major families of C: the P family here agrees with alpha and the X family supports beta. .
Sixty sitheR.5.447: This R form is unique; both F and beta read sythes. Once more, the P family of C manuscripts here agrees with R and the X family supports beta (with F's collateral attestation). I slewthe haue foreȝete it setthe .
¶¶ Bothe flesche and fische and mynR.5.449: Cf. R's erroneous myn to F's fele and beta's many. other vitailes
Heu michi quodR.5.454: This alpha variant is supported by BoCot, but beta reads quia. The C reading at this point agrees with alpha's. sterilem vitam duxi iuuenilem .
And flatte it on his face and onR.5.457: R uniquely omits the third stave; the other B manuscripts read and faste on. hym cried .
¶ Ich am sori for my synnes sey soR.5.459: Although most beta copies omit so and F reads now so, LM support R's so to. Cx shows the same reading as the beta majority. Among the A manuscripts, only EAH attest so in this phrase. to þi-selue .
Schal no soneday be þis seuen ȝere but ȝif sekenesse meR.5.464: R's me is unique; the other manuscripts read it. Both Ax and Cx read (h)it make. lette .
What I namR.5.469: The defective opening phrase of R's a-verse (What I nam) may well reflect alpha accurately; cf. F's & what y have take to and beta's And ȝete wil I. ȝelde aȝen if I so muche haue .
¶ And þouȝ meR.5.471: R's me is unique among the B witnesses; the other manuscripts read my, which is also the reading of most manuscripts for the other two versions of Piers. However, manuscripts X and Yc in the C tradition, two of the most authoritative copies, agree at this point with R. lyflode lakke leten I nelle .
Þo bymas[d]y[s]masR.5.479: Kane-Donaldson commit a rare mistranscription here, rendering this R variant as bysmas. my brother by-souȝte ȝow of grace .
Ne neuere wene to wynne with craft þat I knowe .R.5.482: For alpha's knowe, all but Cr among the beta copies read owe. However, both Ax and Cx agree with alpha's reading.
¶¶ What be-fel of þis feloun I can nauȝt fareR.5.485: This form is unique and Kane-Donaldson treat it as a possibly substantive variant, but it is likelier to be merely an unusual spelling variation for standard faire found in the other B witnesses, as well as in Ax. Cf. MED, s. v. fair (adj.), where this spelling is documented, sporadically, for c. 13-15. schewe .
Wel I wote he wepte faste water with bothe his eyȝes .R.5.486: Immediately after this line, the alpha tradition omits a line present in beta (and also present with slight differences in Ax and Cx):
And knowleched his gult to cryst ȝete eftsones.
And knowleched his gult to cryst ȝete eftsones.
For he hathR.5.489: F omits this verb entirely and the beta copies render it in the past tense as had. Among the A and C manuscripts, only Vernon agrees with R's reading. The others support beta. Cf. the Introduction III.2.2.10 regarding R's problematic tense marking. leyne be latro luciferes aunte .
And sitthen suffredest hymR.5.495: In place of alpha's hym, beta reads for, completely misconstruing the meaning of the preceding verb. The C reading is identical to R's form of the alpha phrase. to synne a sekenesse to vs alle .
O felix culpa . O nessariumne[ce]ssariumR.5.497: The correcting scribe marked the line for correction with a marginal <+>. peccatum ade .
¶ And sitthe with þeR.5.503: R's þe selue sone (= "the Son Himself") is unique and probably signifies nothing more than a casual error by the scribe for Bx's þi-self sone ("Thine own Son"). selue sone in oure seute dyedest .
On godefriday for mannes sake at fulle tyme of day .R.5.504: The other B witnesses read of þe daye.
Þere þi-selue andR.5.505: Only G agrees with R here; beta and F read ne. þi sone no sorewe in deth feledest .
But in oure secte was þatR.5.506: Beta reads þe. sorewe and þi sone it ladde .
Feddest þoR.5.510: Beta omits þo while F transposes the phrase to Þo feddyst. The C reading here is identical to R's. with þi fresch blode oure forfadres in derkenesse .
¶ And thorȝ þe liȝt þat lepe oute of þe lucifer itR.5.512: Beta reads was while F omits the word entirely. The C reading agrees with R's. blent .
And blew alle þin blissed þennesR.5.513: Alpha's þennes (in F = þens boldely) is omitted by beta. However, in a revised version of this line, C includes it. in-to þe blisse of paradys .
And alle to solace synful þow suffredest it so were .R.5.516: There is an ink blot over the final <e> of were.
¶¶ And by so m.yche itR.5.521: Cx agrees with alpha. semeth þe sykerlokerR.5.521: This is a unique form in R; F has sikere while beta reads sikerere; nevertheless, Cx agrees exactly with R's comparative, an odd form that appears restricted to texts from the West Midlands (as evidenced by citations from both MED, s. v. sikerli [adv. 3], and OED2, s. v. sickerly.) we mowe .
And haue mercyR.5.524: Cf. the beta variant, reuthe, which properly alliterates and agrees with the reading of the C version. on þes ribaudes þat repenten hem sore
Þat euere þei wrathed þeR.5.525: Beta here attests an additional phrase: in þis worlde . in worde thouȝt or dedes .
And heR.5.527: Before this verb, R uniquely adds he; the C version reading agrees with the B majority in omitting the pronoun. blew it with beati quorum remisse sunt iniquitates .
Grace to godR.5.532: This b-verse of this line appears to have been defective in Bx, but beta's version of the a-verse (To haue grace to go . . .) seems more likely to be original than either F (To graunte swich grace . . .) or R's truncated and semantically deficient Grace to god. The C version reading for the a-verse agrees with that of beta. with hem trewthe to seke .
A bulleR.5.539: Beta reads bolle which is clearly the intended meaning. Alpha's form is not documented as a variant spelling for this word (= mod. bowl. The C reading agrees with beta's. and a bagge he bare by hys syde .
Sygnes of a-siseR.5.541: Cf. F's seyntys and beta's Synay. R's reading is supported by Cx and by several A-version manuscripts (including Bodley 851, i.e., Z). Most A copies agree with beta's reading. and schelles of gales .
And many cruche on his cloke and þeR.5.542: The beta manuscripts do not attest þe. Both the A and C versions also omit this determiner. cayes of rome .
And se by his seynesR.5.544: Seynes, "signs." wham he souȝt hadde .
In ermony and inR.5.548: R's phrase, and in, is unique. Cr includes and but omits in; both F and the majority of beta copies omit and. The Ax and Cx reading here appears to agree with the F/beta lection. alisaundre in many other places .
Koudest þow auȝt wissen vs þe wey þereR.5.553: R's þere is unique in the B tradition (LaAMaH among the A manuscripts agree with R); F and beta read where, which is also the reading of the A majority. þat wyȝteR.5.553: R's wyȝte agrees only with Cr; F and the beta majority read wy(e), which is also the reading of the A version. dwelleth .
And deden me suren hemR.5.560: R's hem is an alpha reading, shared exclusively with F, and the plural reference is presumably to the two figures mentioned in the previous line. By contrast, beta deploys a third-person singular accusative, presumably understanding treuthe as the referent. The P family of C witnesses supports the beta reading, but the X subarchetype appears to have omitted the pronoun altogether. sikerly to serue hym for euere .
I dike and I delue I do þat heR.5.565: Beta reads treuthe for alpha's he. hoteth .
Sum-tyme I sowe and sum-tyme I thresche .R.5.566: There is a superfluous bar over the final <e> of thresche.
In tayloures crafte inR.5.567: F omits this entire line, but beta reads and here. tynkeres crafte what treuthe can deuise .
Ich haue my huyre of hymR.5.570: Beta omits of hym, but both Ax and Cx witness this alpha phrase. wel and otherwhiles more .
He with-halt no menR.5.572: R's men is unique (cf. beta's hewe and F's man) and forces the following pronoun choice, here, shared by convergence only with Cot. At first glance, F's reading seems closer to alpha (man his), because of the pronoun agreement with beta, but the plural forms shared by R and F later in this line (R = þei ne haue it; F = þat þey haue it) indicate that R is probably, as usual, closer to their common parent. Either way, the beta phrasing, hewe his hyre þat he ne hath it , is almost certainly the original since it preserves the line's alliteration and exactly parallels the text of Ax (and of the a-verse of Cx). here huyre þat þei ne haue it anone .R.5.572: For R's anone, F has soone while beta reads at euen. Both Ax and Cx support the beta reading.
¶ Nay by my soule perelR.5.578: R's perel is unique but may well represent Bx. The alliterative pattern is no more adequate than that of its only competitor, helth (= WCrGLM), but both Ax and Cx attest R's lection. quod peres and gan for to swerie .
Otherwise þan þow woldest he wrouȝte to þi-selue .R.5.586: In the right margin, beginning here and written vertically up the page to R5.580, there is a signature which has been erased. It appears to be the same hand as on fol. 94r. Still discernible are traces of an initial and a surname in full.
¶ And so bouh forth by a broke be buxum of þiR.5.587: R's þi (cf. F's þyn) is not attested in beta nor in the A version. speche .
Honora patrem et matremR.5.589: R's Latin tag omits a final &c found in beta (also, cf. F's unique added phrase ut sis longeuus super terram). Most C witnesses agree on this point with beta.
Þe crofte hate coueyte nauȝt menR.5.595: R uniquely omits a word after men, but the omission probably goes back to alpha. F rewrites by dropping men altogether and uniquely substituting the phrase neyþir maydins, while beta deploys a phrase that parallels Ax : mennes catel. The Cx phrase, menne catel, involves an unmarked genitive that might help account for the error in alpha. ne here wyues .
Loke þow breke no bowes þere but if it be onR.5.597: R's on is a unique addition. ȝoure owen .
R.5.603: Among the B witnesses, R uniquely omits the subject of this line, which is He in beta (as well as in most A manuscripts) and It in F. However, R's reading (with its ellipsis) is also attested in Cx Is frythed in with floreynes and other fees manye .
Loke ȝe plukke no plante þere for perel of ȝoure soulesR.5.604: The plural pronouns in this line represent alpha readings, the first of which is also attested in F; cf. beta's Loke þow and þi soule. However, R's soules is a unique reading since F here goes his own way, rendering the final phrase of this line as þe heyward. Both Ax and Cx agree with beta. .
And Icarneled with cristendome þat kendeR.5.610: In the B tradition, R's þat kende is unique; both F and beta read mankynde. However, both Ax and Cx agree with R and verify that its reading is original. to saue .
His man hatte amende ȝow many manR.5.618: Most beta manuscripts read men here, but LM support alpha's singular, which also happens to be the reading of both Ax and Cx. hym knoweth .
And am ful sori ofR.5.621: Beta reads for here, which is also the reading of the A version; though a majority of C manuscripts also agrees with beta's preposition, some of the most reliable X family witnesses (XYcUcDc) agree with alpha's of. my synnes and so I schal euere .
Per euam cunctis clausa est & per mariam virginem iterum &ceteraR.5.626: Beta omits iterum and finishes the citation with the phrase patefacta est. The C version includes both elements, reading iterum patefacta est .
To suffre hym and toR.5.631: R shares this repeated verbal particle solely with G, presumably by convergence. seggeR.5.631: Here R uniquely omits a word; most of the other manuscripts read segge nouȝte. F rewrites the line but also omits the negative, suggesting that the error originated in alpha. aȝeynes þi sires wille .
And puckethR.5.634: In the beta tradition, as in many of the A manuscripts and in Cx, this phrase reads pukket forþ. pruyde to preyse þi-selue .
¶¶ Ac þere aren seuen ȝiftesR.5.641: The Bx reading here was sustren (as in Ax and Cx), and alpha obviously was in error; cf. F's reading, seruauntys, which is probably a characteristic smoothing rather than the original alpha variant. þat seruen treuthe euere .
And aren porteres ouerR.5.642: Cf. F's at and beta's of. The beta reading agrees with the predominant reading among A witnesses, while the reading of R is that of Cx. þe posternes þat to þe place longeth .
Þat on hatte abstinence and vmbleteR.5.643: R's form here is obviously synonymous with the F/beta humilite (which is also the lection found in Ax). However, R's form is treated by MED and OED2, s. v. humblete, not as a spelling variant but as a different, rarer noun, derived from humble by suffixing. MED cites examples from manuscripts of Chaucer's Physician's Tale, Parson's Tale, and the Tale of Melibee. The P family of the C version agrees with the prevalent F/beta reading, but the X family shows the same rare form as R, suggesting that it may well have been the reading in both Bx and Cx. an-other .
¶ And hoR.5.648: ho, "who, whoever." is sib to þis seuene so me god helpe .
And but if þatR.5.650: R's þat is a unique addition to this phrase, which reads in Ax exactly as it does in beta. ȝe be sib to summe of þis seuene .
¶ Wite god quod a wafrestere wiste I þis sothe .R.5.655: F reads this b-verse as þat y wiste þe sothe. Beta has wist I þis for sothe. Obviously, R is closer to beta here, differing only in omitting for. Ax appears to have had the same reading as beta. Cx is uncertain (a major group of P manuscripts reading þe soþe), but the X family clearly supports beta's version of the phrase.
Schulde I neuer forthere a foot for no frereR.5.656: Among the B copies, R's frere is a unique reading, an unmarked genitive; many C witnesses agree with the B majority, but most of the X family reads this lection in agreement with R. prechynge .
Mercy is a maydeR.5.658: R's mayde is unique in the B tradition; all other witnesses attest maydene. However, witnesses in the C tradition are split on this reading, most of the X family agreeing with the B majority while most of the P family (as well as several of the X grouping) concur with R's form. þere hath miȝt ouer hem alle .
Þow miȝt gete grace þere be so þow go by-tyme .R.5.661: There is an apparently random ink blot, partially erased, immediately below the punctus, giving it, at first glance, the appearance of a modern semicolon.
¶ By seint poule quod a pardonere par-aunter I be nauȝt welcome .R.5.662: Where the alpha manuscripts have welcome, the beta copies read knowe þere.