Title Background

Quod’ and ‘Seide’ in <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

Quod’ and ‘Seide’ in Piers Plowman.

Quod, always placed before the speaker (as grammatical subject), indicates in ME that the words of the speaker are being repeated; it is more restricted in use than the approximately synonymous seide, which can be used to ascribe indirect speech. When either word is grammatically possible, Langland uses seide only to fit the alliterative scheme or to avoid using quod near the end of a line. Quod tends to emphasize the act of speaking; seide draws attention to what is said. Quod in C. 15.138 rules out the possibility that Clergy’s speech continues beyond line 137. Kane-Donaldson’s punctuation of B.11.34-41 is to be preferred over Schmidt’s, since quod suggests Plato’s actual appearance here and direct speech. B. 11. 171 is probably to be seen as part of Trajan’s actual speech, which may extend from B.11.140 to 319 (as interpreted by Schmidt).