Title Background

Robert Crowley’s <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

Robert Crowley’s Piers Plowman.

Although comparison of the annotations of Crowley’s three impressions of 1550 with the annotations of Cambridge Univ. Lib. ms. Ll.iv.14 cannot definitively prove Skeat’s suggestion that the glossator/annotator was Crowley (who almost invariably uses word-forms as they appear in this ms.), it certainly establishes him to be of Crowley’s frame of mind; and annotations of the ms. might well be preparatory work for a new copy. Crowley’s texts modernize spelling and grammar, but are remarkable in preserving the poem’s “difficult vocabulary.” Crowley’s Protestant bias comes out clearly in the marginal commentary; the faithfulness of his text is due to the wide readership the poem had gained in manuscript for two centuries.