fol. 124rI
Passus .xxus.vicesimus de visione & primus de Dobest

Thanne as I wente by þe wey . whan I was thus awaked
Heuy chered I yede . and elenge in herte
I ne wiste wher to ete . ne at what place
And it neghed neiȝ þe noon . and wiþ nede I mette
That afrounted me foule . and faitour me called
Kanstow noȝt excuse þee . as dide þe kyng and oþere
That þow toke to þi bilyue . to cloþes and to sustenaunce
And by techynge and by tellynge . of Spiritus temperancie
And þow nome namoore . þan nede þee tauȝte
And nede ne haþ no lawe . ne neuere shal falle in dette
For þre þynges he takeþ . his lif for to saue

That is mete whan men hym werneþ . and he no moneye weldeþ
Ne wight noon wol ben his boruȝ . ne wed haþ noon to legge
And he cauȝte in þat caas . and come þer-to by sleighte
He synneþ noȝt sooþliche . þat so wynneþ his foode

And þouȝ he come so to a clooþ . and kan no bettre cheuyssaunce
Nede anoon righte . nymeþ hym vnder maynprise

And if hym list for to lape . þe lawe of kynde wolde
That he dronke at ech dych . er he for þurst deide
So nede at gret nede . may nymen as for his owene
Wiþ-outen conseil of Conscience . or Cardynale vertues
So þat he sewe and saue . Spiritus temperancie

For is no vertue bi fer . to Spiritus temperancie
NeW.20.24: W alone reads Ne; all other manuscripts have Neiþer. Spiritus Iusticie . ne Spiritus fortitudinis
For Spiritus fortitudinis . forfeteþ ful ofte
He shal do moore þan mesure . many tyme and ofte
And bete men ouer bittre . and some of hem to litel
And greue men gretter . þan good feiþ it wolde

And Spiritus Iusticie . shal Iuggen wole he nel he
fol. 124vI
After þe kynges counseil . and þe comune like
And Spiritus prudencie . in many a point shal faille
Of þat he weneþ wolde falle . if his wit ne weere
Wenynge is no wysdom . ne wys ymaginacion
Homo proponit & deus disponit . and gouerneþ alle goode vertues
Ac nede is next hym . for anoon he mekeþ
And as lowe as a lomb . for lakkyng of þat hym nedeþ
Wise men forsoke wele . for þei wolde be nedy
And woneden in wildernesse . and wolde noȝt be riche

And god al his grete Ioye . goostliche he lefte
And cam and took mankynde . and bicam nedy
So nedy he was as seiþ þe book . in manye sondry places
That he seide in his sorwe . on þe selue roode
Boþe fox and fowel . may fle to hole and crepe
And þe fissh haþ fyn . to flete wiþ to reste
Ther nede haþ ynome me . þat I moot nede abide
And suffre sorwes ful soure . þat shal to Ioye torne
For-þi be noȝt abasshed . to bide and to be nedy
Siþ he þat wroȝte al þe world . was wilfulliche nedy
Ne neuere noon so nedy . ne pouerer deide

Whan nede haþW.20.50: W alone reads haþ; all other manuscripts have hadde. vndernome me þus . anoon I fil aslepe
And mette ful merueillously . þat in mannes forme
Antecrist cam þanne . and al þe crop of truþe
Torned it vp-so-doun . and ouer-tilte þe roote
And fals sprynge and sprede . and spede mennes nedes
In ech a contree þer he cam . he kutte awey truþe
And gerte gile growe þere . as he a god weere

Freres folwede þat fend . for he gaf hem copes
And Religiouse reuerenced hym . and rongen hir belles
And al þe Couent forþ cam . to welcome þat tyraunt
And alle hise as wel as hym . saue oonly fooles
fol. 125rI
Whiche foolis were wel leuere . to deye þan to lyue
Lenger siþ Lenten . was so rebuked
And asW.20.63: W alone reads as; all other manuscripts omit it. a fals fend Antecrist . ouer alle folk regnede
SaueW.20.64: W alone reads Saue; all other manuscripts have And. þat were mylde men and holye . þat no meschief dradden
Defyed alle falsnesse . and folk þat it vsede
And what kyng þat hem conforted . knowynge hem any while
They cursed and hir conseil . were it clerk or lewed

Antecrist hadde þus soone . hundredes at his baner
And pride it bar . boldely aboute
Wiþ a lord þat lyueþ . after likyng of body
That kam ayein conscience . þat kepere was and gyour
Ouer kynde cristene . and Cardynale vertues

I conseille quod Conscience þo . comeþ wiþ me ye fooles
In-to vnite holy chirche . and holde we vs þere
And crye we to kynde . þat he come and defende vs
Fooles . fro þise fendes lymes . for Piers loue þe Plowman
And crye we to al þe comune . þat þei come to vnitee
And þere abide and bikere . ayeins Beliales children

Kynde / Conscience þo herde . and cam out of þe planetes
And sente forþ his forreyours . Feueres and Fluxes
Coughes and Cardiacles . Crampes and tooþaches
Rewmes and Radegundes . and roynouse scabbesW.20.82: W alone reads scabbes; all other manuscripts have scalles.
Biles and bocches . and brennynge Agues
Frenesies and foule yueles . forageres of kynde
Hadde ypriked and prayed . polles of peple
That largeliche a legion . loste hir lif soone

There was harrow and help . here comeþ kynde
Wiþ deeþ þat is dredful . to vndo vs alle

The lord þat lyued after lust . þo aloud cryde
fol. 125vI
After Confort a knyght . to come and bere his baner
A-larme a-larme quod þat lord . ech lif kepe his owene

And þanne mette þise men . er Mynstrals myȝte pipe
And er heraudes of Armes . hadden discryued lordes
Elde þe hoore . þatW.20.94: W alone reads þat; all other manuscripts have he. was in þe vauntwarde
And bar þe baner bifore deeþ . bi riȝt he it cleymede

Kynde cam after . wiþ many kene soores
As pokkes and pestilences . and muche peple shente
So kynde þoruȝ corrupcions . kilde ful manye

Deeþ cam dryuynge after . and al to duste passhed
Kynges and knyghtes . kaysers and popes
Lered and lewed . he leet no man stonde
That he hitte euene . þat euere stired after
Manye a louely lady . and lemmans of knyȝtes
Swowned and swelted . for sorwe of hiseW.20.104: W alone reads hise; most other manuscripts have deþes. dyntes

Conscience of his curteisie . to kynde he bisouȝte
To cesse and suffre . and see wher þei wolde
Leue pride pryuely . and be parfite cristene

And kynde cessede þo . to se þe peple amende
Fortune gan flatere þanne . þo fewe þat were alyue
And bihighte hem long lif . and lecherie he sente
Amonges alle manere men . wedded and vnwedded
And gaderede a greet hoost . al agayn Conscience

This lecherie leide on . wiþ a Ianglynge chiere
And wiþ pryuee speche . and peyntede wordes
And armede hym in ydelnesse . and in heigh berynge
He bar a bowe in his hand . and manye brode arewes
Weren feþered wiþ fair biheste . and many a fals truþe
fol. 126rI
Wiþ hise vntidy tales . he tened ful ofte
Conscience and his compaignye . of holy chirche þe techeris

Thanne cam Coueitise . and caste how he myȝte
Ouer-come Conscience . and Cardinale vertues
And armed hym in Auarice . and hungriliche lyuede
His wepne was al wiles . to wynnen and to hiden
Wiþ glosynges and wiþ gabbynges . he giled þe peple

Symonye hym sente . to assaille Conscience
And preched to þe peple . and prelates þei hem maden
To holden wiþ Antecrist . hir temporaltees to saue
And cam to þe kynges counseille . as a kene baroun
And kneled to Conscience . in Court afore hem alle
And garte good feiþ flee . and fals to abide
And boldeliche bar adoun . wiþ many a bright Noble
Muche of þe wit and wisdom . of westmynstre halle
He IoggedW.20.133: W alone reads Iogged to, a nonce usage which apparently means "spurred his horse towards" (MED jaggen v. 2(b)). Most other scribes wrote Iug(g)ed til, presumably understanding the phrase to mean "condemned" (MED jugen, v. 2(b)). to a Iustice . and Iusted in his eere
And ouer-tilte al his truþe . wiþ tak þis vp amendement

AnAn[d]W.20.135: W alone reads An; all other manuscripts have And. The W scribe nowhere else uses this form for And. to þe Arches in haste . he yede anoon after
And tornede Cyuyle in-to Symonye . and siþþe he took þe Official
For a Mantel of Meneuer . andW.20.137: W alone reads and; all other manuscripts have he. made lele matrymoyne
Departen er deeþ cam . and deuors shapte

Allas quod Conscience and cryde þo . wolde crist of his grace
That Coueitise were cristene . þat is so kene a fightere
And boold and bidynge . while his bagge lasteþ

And þanne lough lyf . and leet daggen hise cloþes
And armed hym anhastean haste . wiþW.20.143: W alone reads anhaste wiþ; all other manuscripts have in haste in. harlotes wordes
And heeld holynesse a Iape . and hendenesse a wastour
And leet leautee a cherl . and lyere a fre man
Conscience and hisW.20.146: W alone reads his, which is inserted above the line; all other manuscripts omit it. counseil . he counted at a flyeW.20.146: W alone reads at a flye; all other manuscripts have it (or it a/it but/at) folye.
fol. 126vI
Thus relyede lif . for a litel fortune
And prikeþW.20.148: W alone reads prikeþ; all other manuscripts have priked. forþ wiþ pride . preiseþ he no vertue
Ne careþ noȝt how Kynde slow . and shal come at þe laste
And kille alle erþely creatures . saue conscience oone
Lyf lepte aside . and lauȝte hym a lemman
Heele and I quod he . and heighnesse of herte
Shal do þee noȝt drede . neiþer deeþ ne elde
And to forȝyte sorwe . and ȝyue noȝt of synne

This likede lif . and his lemman fortune
And geten in hir glorie . a gadelyng at þe laste
Oon þat muche wo wroȝte . Sleuþe was his name
Sleuþe wax wonder yerne . and soone was of age
And wedded oon wanhope . a wenche of þe Stuwes
Hir sire was a Sysour . þat neuere swoor truþe
Oon Tomme two tonge . atteynt at ech enquesteW.20.161: W alone reads enqueste; all other manuscripts save F have a queste.

This Sleuþe was war of werre . and a slynge made
And threw drede of dispair . a dozeyne myle aboute

For care Conscience þo . cryde vp-on Elde
And bad hym fonde to fighte . and afere wanhope

And Elde hente good hope . and hastiliche he shifte hym
And wayued awey wanhope . and wiþ lif he fighteþ
And lif fleiȝ for feere . to phisik after helpe
And bisouȝte hym of socour . and of his salue he hadde
HeW.20.170: W alone reads He; all other manuscripts have And. gaf hym gold good woon . þat gladede his herte
And þei gyuen hym ageyn . a glazene howue

Lyf leeued þat lechecraft . lette sholde Elde
And dryuen awey deeþ . wiþ Dyas and droggesW.20.173: W alone reads drogges, "drugs"; most other manuscripts have dragges, "sweet medicines." Scribes are apt to confuse the two words (e.g. Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Prologue 426).

And Elde auntred hym on lyf . and at þe laste he hitte
fol. 127rI
A Phisicien wiþ a furred hood . þat he fel in a palsie
And þere dyed þat doctour . er þre dayes after

Now I se seide lif . þat Surgerie ne phisik .
May noȝt a myte auaille . to medeW.20.178: W alone reads mede, "bribe, reward"; other manuscripts have medle, "take action." ayein Elde
And in hope of his heele . good herte he hente
And rood forþ to aW.20.180: W alone reads forþ to a; all other manuscripts have so to. reuel . a ryche place and a murye
The compaignye of confort . men cleped it som-tyme

And Elde anoon after me . and ouer myn heed yede
And made me balled bifore . and bare on þe croune
So harde he yede ouer myn heed . it wole be sene euere

Sire yuele ytauȝt Elde quod . I . vnhende go wiþ þe
Siþ whanne whasW.20.186: The scribe has begun by writing an <h> and changed it to an <a>. þe wey . ouer mennes heddes
Haddestow be hende quod . I . þow woldest haue asked leeue

Ye leue lurdeyn quod he . and leyde on me wiþ Age
And hitte me vnder þe ere . vnneþe myȝteW.20.189: W alone reads myȝte; all other manuscripts have may. ich here
He buffetted me soW.20.190: W alone reads so; all other manuscripts omit it. aboute þe mouþ . þat out my teeþ he betteW.20.190: W alone reads þat out my teeþ he bette; most manuscripts have either and bet out my teth or & bett me on þe teth.
And gyued me in goutes . I may noȝt goon at large
And of þe wo þat I was Inne . my wif hadde ruþe
And wisshed ful witterly . þat I were in heuene
For þe lyme þat she loued me fore . and leef was to feele
On nyghtes namely . whan we naked weere
I ne myghte in no manere . maken it at hir wille
So Elde and she sooþly . hadden it forbeten

And as I seet in þis sorwe . I sauȝ how kynde passede
And deeþ drogh neiȝ me . for drede gan I quake
And cryde to kynde . out of care me brynge
Lo Elde þe hoore . haþ me biseye
Awreke me if youre wille be . for I wolde ben hennes
fol. 127vI
If þow wolt be wroken . wend in-to vnitee
And hold þee þere euere . til I sende for þee
And loke þow konne som craft . er þow come þennes

Counseille me kynde quod I . what craft is best to lerne

Lerne to loue quod kynde . and leef of alle oþere

How shal I come to catel so . to cloþe me and to feede

And þow loue lelly quod he . lakke shal þee neuere
Mete ne worldly weede . while þi lif lasteþ

And þere by conseil of kynde . I comsed to rome
Thoruȝ Contricion and Confession . til I cam to vnitee
And þere was Conscience Conestable . cristene to saue
And bisegede sooþly . wiþ seuene grete geauntz
That wiþ Antecrist helden . harde ayein Conscience

Sleuþe wiþ his slynge . an hard assaut he made
Proude preestes coome with hym . mo þan a þousand
In paltokes and pyked shoes . and pisseris longe knyues
Coomen ayein Conscience . wiþ Coueitise þei helden

By Marie quod a mansed preest . of þe March of walysW.20.220: W alone reads walys; all other manuscripts have Irlonde. An Irish manuscript of the C-Text, Douce 104, fol. 109v, also has the reading Wales. See the comment by Derek Pearsall in Piers Plowman: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Douce 104 (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1992), p. xiv.
I counte namoore Conscience . by so I cacche siluer
Than I do to drynke . a drauȝte of good ale
And so seiden sixty . of þe same contree
And shotten ayein wiþ shot . many a sheef of oþes
And brode hoked arwes . goddes herte and hise nayles
And hadden almoost vnitee . and holynesse adown

Conscience cryede help Clergie . or ellis I falle
Thoruȝ inparfite preestes . and prelates of holy chirche
fol. 128rI
Freres herden hym crye . and comen hym to helpe
Ac for þei kouþe noȝt wel hir craft . Conscience forsook hem

Nede neghede þo neer . and Conscience he tolde
That þei come for coueitise . to haue cure of soules
And for þei are pouere parauenture . for patrymoyne þei faille
They wol flatere and fare wel . wiþW.20.234: W alone reads and fare wel wiþ. Hm has and fare wel; most other manuscripts have to fare wel. folk þat ben riche
And siþen þei chosen chele . and cheitiftee pouerte
Lat hem chewe as þei chose . and charge hem with no cure
For lomere he lyeþ . þat liflode moot begge
Than he þat laboureþ for liflode . and leneþW.20.238: The reading could as well be leueþ. it beggeris
And siþen freres forsoke . þe felicite of erþe
Lat hem be as beggeris . or lyue by Aungeles foode

Conscience of þis counseil þo . comsede for to laughe
And curteisliche conforted hem . and called in alle freres
And seide sires sooþly . welcome be ye alle
To vnitee and holy chirche . ac o þyng I yow preye
Holdeþ yow in vnitee . and haueþ noon enuye
To lered ne to lewed . but lyueþ after youre reule
And I wol be youre boruȝ . ye shal haue breed and cloþes
And oþere necessaries ynowe . yow shal no þyng faille
Wiþ þat ye leue logik . and lerneþ for to louye
For loue lafte þei lordshipe . boþe lond and scole
Frere Fraunceys and Domynyk . for loue to be holye

And if ye coueite cure . kynde wol yow teche
That in mesure god made . alle manere þynges
And sette hem at a certein . and a siker nombre
And nempnede names newe . and noumbrede þe sterres

Qui numerat multitudinem stellarum . et omnibus eis &c

Kynges and knyghtes . þat kepen and defenden
fol. 128vI
Han Officers vnder hem . and ech of hem a certein
And if þei wage men to werre . þei write hem in noumbre
Alle oþere in bataille . ben yholde Brybours
Pylours and Pykeharneys . in ech a place y-cursed
Wol no man tresoreW.20.262: W alone reads no man tresore; most other manuscripts have no tresorer. hem paie . trauaille þei neuer so sooreW.20.262: Apart from WHmB, the other scribes copied this line after W.20.259.

Monkes and Moniales . and alle men of Religion
Hir ordre and hir reule wole . to han a certein noumbre
Of lewed and of lered . þe lawe wole and askeþ
A certein for a certein . saue oonliche of freres

For-þi quod Conscience by crist . kynde wit me telleþ
It is wikked to wage yow . ye wexen out of noumbre
Heuene haþ euene noumbre . and helle is wiþ-oute noumbre
For-þi I wolde witterly . þat ye were in þe Registre
And youre noumbre vnder Notaries signe . and neiþer mo ne lasse

Enuye herde þis . and heet freres to go to scole
And lerne logyk and lawe . and ek contemplacion
And preche men of Plato . and preue it by Seneca
That alle þynges vnder heuene . ouȝte to ben in comune

And yet he lyeþ as I leue . þat to þe lewed so precheþ
For god made to men a lawe . and Moyses it tauȝte
Non concupisces rem proximi tui

And yuele is þis yholde . in parisshes of Engelonde
For persons and parissh preestes . þat sholde þe peple shryue
Ben Curatours called . to knowe and to hele
Alle þat ben hir parisshens . penaunce to enioigne
And sholden ashamed[be] ashamedW.20.283: W alone reads ashamed; most other manuscripts read be ashamed. in hir shrift . ac shame makeþ hem wende
And fleen to þe freres . as fals folk to westmynstre
That borweþ and bereþ it þider . and þanne biddeþ frendes
Yerne of forȝifnesse . or lenger yeres loone
Ac while he is
fol. 129rI
Ac while he is in westmynstre . he wol be bifore
And maken hym murie . wiþ ooþer mennes goodes

And so it fareþ with muche folk . þat to þe freres hem shryueþ
As Sisours and executours . þei wol ȝyue þe freres
A parcel to preye for hem . and make hem-self murye
Wiþ þe residue and þe remenaunt . þat oþere men biswonke
And suffre þe dede in dette . to þe day of doome

Enuye herfore . hatede Conscience
And freres to philosophie . he fond þanneW.20.295: W alone reads þanne; most other manuscripts read hem. to scole
The while coueitise and vnkyndenesse . Conscience assaillede
In vnitee holy chirche . Conscience held hym
And made pees porter . to pynne þe yates
Of alle tale-telleris . and titeleris in ydel
Ypocrisie and he . an hard assaut þei madeW.20.300: Following this line, all other manuscripts have Ypocrysie atte ȝate . hard gan fiȝte (in the spelling of L).
And woundede wel wikkedly . many a wys techere
That wiþ Conscience acordede . and Cardynale vertues

Conscience called a leche . þat koude wel shryue
To goW.20.304: W alone reads To go; HmCrGYOLMR omit To. C2CBF omit go. salue þo þat sike ben . and þoruȝ synne ywounded
Shrift shoop sharp salue . and made men do penaunce
For hir mysdedes . þat þei wroȝt hadde
And þat Piers were ypayed . redde quod debes

Some liked noȝt þis leche . and lettres þei sente
If any surgien were þe segge . þat softer koude plastre
Sire leef to lyue in lecherie . lay þere and gronede
For fastynge of a fryday . he ferde as he wolde deye

Ther is a Surgien in þis sege . þat softe kan handle
And moore of phisik bi fer . and fairer he plastreþ
Oon frere Flaterere . is phisicien and surgien
fol. 129vI
Quod Contricion to Conscience . do hym come to Vnitee
For here is many a man . hurt þoruȝ ypocrisye

We han no nede quod Conscience . I woot no bettre leche
Than person or parisshe preest . penitauncer or bisshop
Saue Piers þe Plowman . þat haþ power ouer hem alle
And Indulgence may do . but if dette lette it

I may wel suffre seide Conscience . syn ye desiren
That frere flaterere be fet . and phisike yow sike

The frere her-of herde . and hiede faste
To a lord for a lettre . leue to haue to curen
As a Curatour he were . and cam with hise lettres
Boldely to þe bisshop . and his brief hadde
In contrees þer he coome . confessions to here
And cam þere Conscience was . and knokked at þe yate

Pees vnpynned it . was Porter of vnitee
And in haste askede . what his wille were

In faiþ quod þis frere . for profit and for helþe
Carpe I wolde wiþ contricion . and þer-fore cam I hider

He is sik seide Pees . and so are manye oþere
Ypocrisie haþ hurt hem . ful hard is if þei keuere

I am a Surgien seide þe segge . and salues kan make
Conscience knoweþ me wel . and what I kan do boþe

I praye þee quod Pees þo . er þow passe ferþer
What hattestow I praye þee . hele noȝt þi name

Certes seide his felawe . sire Penetrans domos
fol. 130rI
Ye go þi gate quod Pees . by god for al þi phisik
But þow konne som ooþerW.20.341: W alone reads ooþer; other manuscripts omit it. craft . þow comest nouȝt her-Inne
I knew swich oon ones . noȝt eighte wynter hennes
Coom in þus ycoped . at a Court þere I dwelde
And was my lordes leche . and my ladies boþe
And at þe laste þis lymytour . þo my lord was oute
He saluede so oure wommen . til some were wiþ childe

Hende speche heet . Pees . opene þe yates
Lat in þe frere and his felawe . and make hem fair cheere
He may se and here . so it may bifalle
That lif þoruȝ his loore . shal leue coueitise
And be adrad of deeþ . and wiþ-drawe hym fram pryde
And acorde wiþ Conscience . and kisse hir eiþer ooþer

Thus þoruȝ hende speche . entred þe frere
And cam in to Conscience . and curteisly hym grette

Thow art welcome quod Conscience . kanstow heele þe sike
Here is Contricion quod Conscience . my cosyn ywounded
Conforte hym quod Conscience . and tak kepe to hise soores
The plastres of þe person . and poudres biten to soore
He lat hem ligge ouer-longe . and looþ is to chaunge hem
Fro lenten to lenten . he lat hise plastres bite

That is ouer-longe quod þis Lymytour . I leue I shal amende it
And gooþ and gropeþ Contricion . and gaf hym a plastre
Of a pryuee paiement . and I shal praye for yow
For al þat ye ben holden to . al my lif-tyme
And make yow my lady . in masse and in matyns
As frere of oure Fraternytee . for a litel siluer

Thus he gooþ and gadereþ . and gloseþ þere he shryueþ
Til Contricion hadde clene foryeten . to crye and to wepe
fol. 130vI
And wake for hise wikked werkes . as he was wont to doone
For confort of his confessour . Contricion he lafte
That is þe souerayneste salue . for alle kynne synnes

Sleuþe seigh þat . and so dide pryde
And comen wiþ a kene wille . Conscience to assaille

Conscience cryed eft . and bad Clergie helpe hym
And also Contricion . for to kepe þe yate

He lyþ and dremeþ seide Pees . and so do manye oþere
The frere wiþ his phisyk . þis folk haþ enchaunted
And plastred hem so esily . þei drede no synne

By crist quod Conscience þo . I wole bicome a pilgrym
And walken as wide . as þe world lasteþ
To seken Piers þe Plowman . þat pryde may destruye
And þat freres hadde a fyndyng . þat for nede flateren
And countrepledeþ me Conscience . now kynde me avenge
And sende me hap and heele . til I haue Piers þe Plowman
And siþþe he gradde after Grace . til I gan awakeW.20.385: A final, formal nota abbreviation ends the text. We have ordinarily taken this form to represent a flourish. The explicit is written in ornamented letters touched in red and about twice normal size.

Explicit hic Dialogus Petri Plowman