Title Background

Quod and “Seide” in <i>Piers Plowman</i>

Quod and “Seide” in Piers Plowman

The verbs seide and quod appear very frequently in PPl, most often to introduce passages of direct speech. In this note, Burrow identifies two constraints on L’s use of quod in PPl. Firstly, quod must always precede its subject: L only writes quod he and never he quod. Secondly, while L is twice as likely to use quod than seide when introducing direct speech as part of the allegorical action of the poem, he is more likely to use seide than quod when introducing authoritative sentences (‘Forþi seiþ Seneca …’), or when recounting exemplary stories from the bible: in such contexts, Burrow counts eleven instances of quod and ninety-one instances of seide. This pattern helps to confirm that while Clergy quotes Piers Plowman as an absent authority at the Feast of Patience in B (‘þus seiþ Piers þe Plowman’ [B.13.130]), he is in fact present in the hall in C (‘Quod Peres the ploghman, “Pacientes vincunt“‘ [C.15.137]).