‘Meed Mercede, Mercede, and Mercy: Langland’s Grammatical Metaphor and Its Relation to Piers Plowman as a Whole.’
As WL revised the poem he not only introduced the term mercede and the grammatical metaphor of C.3, but replaced huyre with meed in C.7.200-04 (cf. B.5.556-59) to make clear the distinction between good and bad rewards. In the A text, Lady Meed is money, an evil force in society; in C, money is shown to be both good and bad, depending on the motives behind its accumulation and the uses to which it is put. Mercede and the related term mercy are used to refer to all the instances of reward which are good, meed to rewards which are bad; references to money in the rest of the poem are revised accordingly. The grammatical metaphor, not an isolated passage, has a clear purpose in the poem as a whole
Medieval Perspectives 9 (1994): 73-84.
Miller, Martyn J.