Passus’ in Fitzralph and Langland.
WL is perhaps the earliest author to employ “passus” in English to mean not a literal “footstep” or “track” but rather a “stage” or “section” in an argument. However, WL may have borrowed this figurative usage of “passus” to refer to the sections of the A version of PPl from a similar use by Richard Fitzralph in the published Latin version of an antimendicant sermon preached in the vernacular on 18 December 1356. WL may well have been in residence in London at the time and heard the sermon since the A version (dated by Skeat to 1362-63) presupposes an already existing detailed knowledge of London geography on the part of the poet.
ELN 23 (1985): 5-7.
Dolan, T. P.