Title Background

Pissede or Passede: <i>Piers Plowman</i> C VI.67

Pissede or Passede: Piers Plowman C VI.67

Line 67 of the C-version of PPl contains a textual crux consisting of two variants: Envy desires that nobody should live who 1) passede or 2) pissede on his land. Although editors have suggested rationale for the priority of either reading, none have been completely satisfactory. The variant pissede, however, makes sense both as the lectio difficilior and as an allusion to the biblical idiom: ‘any that pisseth against the wall’. Despite being expunged from modern English translations, this originally Hebrew idiom, which essentially means ‘any man’, appears both in the Vulgate and the Wycliffite translations of the Bible. In addition to justifying the reading pissede, the allusion also allows Envy to be understood as not wanting anybody to live