Terms for my MS study

Bob and wheel: 诗行中很短小的一行与随后的较长的内部押韵的诗行。比如珍珠诗人        在 SGGK中。解释自https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_and_wheel


Initial: 首字母

Miniature: 微型画

Miniatures of CA, 该网站有?http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/

(P&A iii. 710, pl. LXXI) ?? http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/medieval/fairfax/fairfax.html



My Reference book for MS study

Bob and wheel: 诗行中很短小的一行与随后的较长的内部押韵的诗行。比如珍珠诗人        在 SGGK中。解释自https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_and_wheel


Initial: 首字母

Miniature: 微型画

Miniatures of CA, 该网站有?http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/

(P&A iii. 710, pl. LXXI) ?? http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/medieval/fairfax/fairfax.html



1.point out what is wrong

  • In the Prologue, Langland introduces the moral and social framework for the Vision in the poem.The vertical axis describes an individual’s relation to God, and the extreme value is assigned with God or Devil. The horizontal axis describes the social roles that an individual takes in the field of world.
  • In the prologue, Langland depicts the contemporary society a ‘pathological function’, where it truly is continuously working, but nowhere leading to a closer relation to God. Salvation shall not be achieved though religious lives are still led.
  • Langland is upset about having religious people getting more and more involved in the secular responsibilities. He finds the current sacrament of penance is conveying misconception of salvation. Finding more and more religious people are initiatively making profitable business on sacrament, instead of getting charity from layman’s dedication, Langland thinks that God’s Kingdom shall not be built in this way that religious people are taking over all secular roles, but it should be built on secular’s faith and fulfillment of God’s words. The absence of God is in these sacrament in the eye of Langland, which is missing the whole point of God’s love. ‘And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath; 28 so the Son of man is lord even of the Sabbath.”‘ (Mark 2:27)
  • Pilgrimage. which part is wrong?
  • Langland is not so supportive for pilgrimage. The original motivation is for pilgrimage is a spiritual journey.  The word ‘peregrinatio’ was used by Augustine of Hippo 354-430AD , who was considered to be the writer of some of greatest theological works of all time, to describe a Christian spiritual journey as a kind of estrangement and exile – a wanderer. Other religious leaders such as Saint Jerome also encouraged it in their religious writings.(source?)

     However, in the prologue 46-54,hermits and palmers with secular scene. The motivation for seeking spiritual progress is questioned, for example moralists such as the Lollard preacher William Thorpecomplained that pilgrims were merely out for a good time, their minds on partying, not penance and prayer:

    … every town that they [groups of pilgrims] come through, what with the noise of their singing, and with the sound of their piping, and with the jangling of their Canterbury bells, and with the barking out of dogs after them, they make more noise than if the King came there away, with all his clarions and many other minstrels. And if these men and women be a month out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be, a half year after, great janglers, tale-tellers, and liars.
    —From “The Examination of Master William Thorpe,”

    However, Langland is not such moralist to only support things that is good for moral’s sake. He would say honest minstrels are sinless to earn money, as long as he pays honest work and do not harm others. So if the pilgrims are self-dependent financially, it does not harm when they would go travel, whatever they will get in the end. But Langland is worried about the hermits and palmers who are paid to go pilgrimage by others, who still seek the secular pleasure and take it more for fun, this would otherwise creates obstacle for the laypeople to find truth, because they over emphasizes the visible form and rites and undermines the experience with God. Such pilgrims are criticized, because Langland keenly notices that from the perspective to economic earning, they are no much difference than the other peasantry, who should work honestly to keep the estates and feudal system work. No superior are they just because they are doing religious work. It is sin to have dishonest money.

    1. Dee Dyas. Pilgrimage in Medieval English Literature, 700-1500.[M] 2. Ronald Blythe. Divine Landscapes.  [M]3. ‘Chaucer’s Packaged Pilgrimage’. Ronald Blythe. ‘Chaucer’s Divine Landscape’4.Brett Edward Whalen. Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, A Reader.[M]  5. Pilgrimage: Very Short Introduction. Oxford.

  • Such journeys served a variety of functions: a pilgrim might set out to fulfill a vow, to expiate a crime, to seek a miraculous cure, or simply to deepen his or her faith.
  • (Palmer in Faerie Queene. The Economic Foundation of Hermits)
  • http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/the_shrine/why_pilgrimage.htm
  • Pardon. Pardon, or Pardoner, which is wrong?
  • The first known use of plenary indulgences was in 1095 when Pope Urban II remitted all penance of persons who participated in the crusades and who confessed their sins.  Later, the indulgences were also offered to those who couldn’t go on the Crusades but offered cash contributions to the effort instead.  In the early 1200s, the Church began claiming that it had a “treasury” of indulgences (consisting of the merits of Christ and the saints) that it could dispense in ways that promoted the Church and its mission.  In a decretal issued in 1343, Pope Clement VI declared, “The merits of Christ are a treasure of indulgences. By the late Middle Ages, the abuse of indulgences, mainly through commercialization, had become a serious problem which the Church recognized but was unable to restrain effectively. (proof? some sermons from the Church) In the problem with Pardon, the forgiveness is needed for life, however, the practice is all wrong because from the result, it inspires a more severe side effect, Avarice is the root of all sin. (Chaucer’ Pardoner’ Tale)
  • Samuel McChord Crothers. The Pardoner’s Wallet.[M]
  • Bishop Butler. ‘On forgiveness and Resentment’.[J]
  • Secular responsibilities
  • (The Economic Foundation of Pardoner.)
  • The Changing roles of clergyman in the society
  • Leadership is weakened, because more than to go to London to make more money.to serve for Money.
  • Langland points out the among the whole Church, from the leadership to clergy, to pardoner, to hermits and to layman, a serious misleading information is given that It is good to have money to serve for Church, money is so useful for religious life. Langland’s satire is that he admit that money is not sinful in the first place, but he hints that A lot of problems are raised because of money. He sets off the alarm for the reader about the relation between salvation and money.

Actual sin Passus by Passus.

Mortal sin, without repentance we will lose the relationship with God. Mortal sin must be serious, and person knows that it gravity and commits it freely. Otherwise, the venial sin injures the relationship with God.

  • Prologue. In the prologue, the allegorical introduction of the includes a ‘vertical  axis‘ to describe individual’s relation to God. ‘Tour, deep dale, and a fair field full of folk’ depict a three-level backdrop conveying a religious outlook on the world, where people either go upwards to be closer to God, or downwards to Devil. The ‘horizontal axis‘ is to describe the secular relationships that people keep from each other. Social roles extend across the society to live in the field ‘as the world asks’. ‘It is the mixing of the two axes on which human beings live which makes Langland’s estates satire to subtle.’ That is to say, the poem is an allegory on how one should find their suitable position on each axis, to question some prejudice and stereotype, and estrange same familiar experience to help readers to reflex, and to think about how to improve the relationship with God. Winners and Wasters are in both secular and religious life. Langland asks a question on whether religious worthiness justifies social dependence. ( the dreamer himself, Piers, Will, Patience, Hawkyn, Conscience) Religious wasters are the counterpart of the damage to the vertical relationship. Hermits and palmers, paid to perform pilgrimage for others are shown robbing pilgrimage of spiritual value. Pardoner and friars are not performing penance properly.
  • bibliography. Jones E. ‘Langland and hermits’ ; Mann. Chaucer and Medieval Estates Satire. 
  • Q. What is the function of Prologue in elaborating the relationship between secular and moral interdependence?
  • (Langland’s logic: 1.the contemporary salvation is full of holes. The pardoner and the palmer are both corrupted because of the involvement of money in the the pilgrimage. Why this is not good?–2. Not just, Meed. 3. So you should find the correct way to repent. 3. to know sin in your self. to know your self. to know sin. 4. to change with a determination of repentance. to plowman. 5. to get pardon is never a ending. it is a start. look for dowel. 6.
  1. Meed, a parable to point out world is not good, sorry for confession
  2. Examination of sins
  3. sacrament to pilgrimage, from palmers to plowman

The Disillusion from Vision

  • There are always ways of telling story, there are always reasons to justify, there are always motives to compose; there are always point of view to read. I start with the motivation, why should I ‘Shrouds in sheep’ as hermits of unholy work, and ends with a tragic close in seeking grace in a lost world, as if back to the mode of hermit.
  • Salvation, the crucial question for the medieval person, layman and  clergyman included, is a keen motivation for composing the poem. As it it seen right on the first Passus, the narrator keenly begs Holy Church for the Truth, how to save one’s soul. The theological understanding of Salvation is through Baptism and then subsequently by those sacraments instituted by Our Lord, then one has an absolute obligation to act upon this knowledge. Repentance and asceticism are necessary personal efforts to gain redemption. As asceticism, as hermits who hold themselves in the cells are firstly taken with cynical tone by the narrator, thus is poem is generally a narration of poet’s attempt to seek salvation through repentance.
  • Repentance. Repentance, also called penitence, is the attitude of having sorrow for personal sin and the turning away from it towards a new life.(http://www.theopedia.com/repentance) Thus at least three processes are supposed to be involved to complete repentance: the recognition of one’s own sin, a true sorrow for its result, and the change made from attitude that would lead actions to the satisfactory of God. The failure of the poem is salvation seeking means that after all, the narrator is convinced that the world should be doomed in sin.The discussion on the Works and Sin in Scripture, Ymaginative. (Passus 11, Passus 12)
  • Sins in the poem.
  • Original Sin. (??)
  • Actual Sin. Mortal sin must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense.A venial sin weakens our power to resist mortal sin, and a venial sin makes us deserving of God’s punishments in this life or in purgatory. Passus 5. The sermon of Reason reinforces the recognition of seven deadly sin. Other sins.  Passus 10. Thought to provoking confession and recognition of sins. Passus 14. Kawhyn as an example of penance. Passus 15. Pride. 

Notes. Brainstorm. Things i should know.

  1. Why should I do

2.What I’ve know

  1. What I will do?


  1. cf. http://www.shmoop.com/medieval-english-literature/

1.1 Medieval literature has been hugely influential in modern popular culture.

Twilight- Bisclavret(Taylor Lautner ^_^);Hobbit- Beowulf;King Arthur and the knights;Renaissance fairs (which should, in our opinion, be re-christened as “Medieval Fairs”) Medieval Times restaurant.


1.2 It’s highly entertaining, and it speaks to a lot of our deepest desires as humans—the want for adventure, for romance, and to save and be saved.


2.1 Background.

(1) The Norman Conquest, 1066

(2) The Black Death, ca.1348

(3) popular genres: romance, most popular genre of non-religious book; allegory

(4) King Arthur, leader of 5th-6th of Saxons

(5) Peasants’ revolt, 1381. Havoc and riot in London

(6) gang, revenge, forgiveness

(7) antifeminism

(8)sir Gawain and Green Knights, a poem about the knight of Arthur, 1300s.

(9) Chaucer. Canterbury Tales. London dialect

(10) Sir Gawain’s author, probably also “the Pearl Poet”

(11) good parliament

(12) Thomas Bradwine. 1290-1349.


the poemm what is it about?

  • Prologue: the prologue is a “tour de force”(according to Ms. Baldwin). it sets the backdrop of the poem, a may day in the field between a tower and ditch at Malvern Hill area. It sets the genre of the the poem, a dream vision. It presents the snapshots of the folk of the field, the secular works and parasites, including religious workers, rulers, orders, and the courts. Though the poem puts the author’s identity in a myth, the intention is to provoke thoughts on how the society should change and work better at the late fourteenth century  with all estates included.
  • The first vision: 1. Will is visited by Holy Church, whom gave him a sermon on the most worthy of treasure, Truth. She explains that the ‘kind knowledge’ to get truth is in love, which will lead salvation, because he who dwells in love dwells in god. 2. The search for Truth through kind knowledge, which is the main concern for the medieval dwellers, and should be for us people too, continues to the second Passus,  where Lady Meed is introduced by Holy Church with her evil origin. The debate on the legitimacy of Meed’s marriage with Truth is carried out to sort out the origin of Meed, False or Amends. A moral judgement of Lady Meed is await to be made, because obviously by so far it is causing confusing among the characters of the poems, which leads Will and the reader to confusion.3. The popularity of Lady Meed sweeps all the way across the court before the solemn refusal by Consciousness. The evil of Meed is distinguished from Consciousness with her corruptive bribery. Further judgement is appeal to be at king’s court, assuming Reason to be the judge in the good parliament. 4. The attention is called to the trial of Wrong, from which Meed is proved with a corruptive force for the whole society’s sake. So this vision is ends with the recognition of evil finally made.
  • the second vision:5. Reason is preaching his sermon, who is authorized to govern the community. The step of salvation, after the recognition of sin, comes to penance. Seven deadly sins are introduced and made confessions. The sermon and confession ends with prayer of repentance. To fulfill penitence, sinners are determined to go on pilgrimage, where Piers Plowman enters and offers to lead the pilgrimage to find Truth. 6. After contrition, confession, penitence shall be completed with satisfaction of their sin, which needs pilgrimage. Piers directs the pilgrimage, and puts the spiritual pilgrimage as the concrete plowing half-acre’s land. He requires Commandments, Remedies and Virtues to Truth. So Piers Gives tasks to the different estates as an allegorical pilgrimage of ploughing. But not very long after, the wasters refuse to work. 7. Truth offers pardon to all Winners: nobility, bishops, merchants, men of law, the workers on the land, the beggars. Piers tears off the pardon.
    • third vision: 8. Will makes his research for Truth. In the Somnium, he encounters two friars. ‘In meeting the friars Will is meeting the social group who seem to be most like him both in their ideal of teaching the poor and their itinerant ways of life.’ Then he meets Thought, and Wit. 9. Will encounters Wit, and asks him about dowel. Wit gives a sermon from the perspective of marriage to show the sexual propensity to sin of the laity. Wit explains how people fail to follow inwit and lose the control of bodies. 10. Now Will meets Wit’s wife, Study, who attacks false study and hypocrisy. Study directs Will to Clergy and Scripture. Scripture and Will debate salvation. 11. Will falls into his ‘inner dream. Will encounters Fortune with her three daughters. Praise for patience poverty. The vision of Kynde and Reason and the appearance of Ymaginatif. 12. Ymaginatif admonishes Will and discusses works and grace.
  • Fourth Vision: 13.Feast of Clergy, encounter of Hawkyn. 14. Hawkin’s penance (Avarice)
  • Fifth vision: 15. William and Anima (Pride). 16. The Tree of Charity. Will meets Faith. 17. Three Virtues.
  • Sixth Vision:18. Faith. Christ’s debate with the Devil.
  • Seventh Vision:19. Vision of Christ. Unite
  • Eighth Vision: 20: The fall of Unite.