Title Background

<i>Piers Plowman</i> A.5.155: ‘Pyenye.

Piers Plowman A.5.155: ‘Pyenye.

In referring to Glutton’s desire for spices with his ale, WL may be relying on a metaphorical use of the peony seed (“pionium”) in the early fourteenth-century Fasciculus morum, as the experience and effect of sacramental penance (the hard and bitter husk representing the apparent harshness of penance which, if humbly accepted in the penitent’s willingness to be corrected, yields the profitable seed of his virtuous triumph). Moreover, the Fasciculus morum describes the medical value of the peony when worn as a charm against falling down. Glutton eschews discipline when he enters the tavern, desiring the gratification of the kernel without availing himself of the medico-penitential husk of the peony, and he “falls down” as a result.