Title Background

A New Fragment of the <i>Piers Plowman</i> C Text?

A New Fragment of the Piers Plowman C Text?

The four-line fragment appearing at the end of Huntington Library MS. HM 143 (MS. X of the C text), consisting of the first four lines of the Prologue, do not witness the B tradition, as Russell has suggested, but a branch of the C tradition closely related to that witnessed by British Library MS. Cotton Vespasian B.xvi (MS. M of the C text). The hand is that of John Redbery, whose signature appears above the fragment. Possibly Redbery was not only the first owner of the manuscript, but its patron, and wished to preserve a variant reading of the opening of the poem.