Piers Plowman or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is the title of a Middle English
allegorical narrative poem by William Langland
. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse
divided into sections called "passus" (Latin
for "step"). Piers is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature
along with Chaucer's
Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
during the Middle Ages.
The poem—part theological allegory, part social satire—concerns the narrator's intense quest for the true Christian
life, from the perspective of mediæval Catholicism
In a somer seson, whan softe was the sonne, I shoop me into shroudes as I a sheep were,In habite as an heremite unholy of werkes, Wente wide in this world wondres to here. Ac on a May morwenynge on Malverne hilles Me bifel a ferly, of Fairye me thoghte.
A fair feeld ful of folk fond I ther bitwene – Of alle manere of men, the meene and the riche, Werchynge and wandrynge as the world asketh.
For hevene myghte nat holden it, so was it hevy of hymself, Til it hadde of the erthe eten his fille. And whan it hadde of this fold flessh and blood taken, Was nevere leef upon lynde lighter therafter, And portatif and persaunt as the point of a nedle, That myghte noon armure it lette ne none heighe walles. Forthi is love ledere of the Lordes folk of hevene, And a meene, as the mair is, [inmiddes] the kyng and the commune.
Brewesters and baksters, bochiers and cokes – For thise are men on this molde that moost harm wercheth To the povere peple
I kan noght parfitly my Paternoster as the preest it syngeth, But I kan rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre.
For if hevene be on this erthe, and ese to any soule, It is in cloistre or in scole.