Hearing God’s Voice: Kind Wit’s Call to Labor in Piers Plowman.
Will’s clerical vocation is represented as a response to a call, as are all religious or secular liflodes. B.1.20-26 shows labor and liflode divinely ordained through God’s voice; the agent of the call is Kind Wit (natural instinct plus human reason), which mediates between the divine and earthly through an internal mechanism of knowing expressed as Thought, Wit, and Imaginatif. The traditional metaphoric connection of preaching and plowing seems to valorize manual labor in Piers: both preacher and plowman are called to their labor through the voice of God. WL seeks at times to vitiate hierarchy by not allowing the call to elevate the religious, yet he establishes the legitimacy of his own vocation by making the poem and its visions the sign of the divine call.
Frantzen and Moffat, The Work of Work. 191-205.
Bishop, Louise M.