Piers Plowman

Piers Plowman or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman (William's Vision of Piers Plowman) is the title of a Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 allegorical narrative poem by William Langland
William Langland
William Langland is the conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman.- Life :The attribution of Piers to Langland rests principally on the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin...

. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse
Alliterative verse
In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. The most commonly studied traditions of alliterative verse are those found in the oldest literature of many Germanic...

 divided into sections called "passus" (Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for "step"). Piers is considered by many critics to be one of the early great works of English literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 along with Chaucer's
Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer , known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey...

 Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance outlining an adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. In the poem, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green, from his clothes and hair to his...

 during the Middle Ages.
The poem—part theological allegory, part social satire—concerns the narrator's intense quest for the true Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 life, from the perspective of mediæval Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....


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.

B-text, Prologue, line 1

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.

B-text, Prologue, line 17

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.

B-text, Passus 1, 153

Brewesters and baksters, bochiers and cokes – For thise are men on this molde that moost harm wercheth To the povere peple

B-text, Passus 3, line 79

I kan noght parfitly my Paternoster as the preest it syngeth, But I kan rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre.

B-text, Passus 5, line 395

For if hevene be on this erthe, and ese to any soule, It is in cloistre or in scole.

B-text, Passus 10, line 297