Title Background

Two Notes on Langland’s Cato: <i>Piers Plowman</i> B.I.88-91; IV.20-23.

Two Notes on Langland’s Cato: Piers Plowman B.I.88-91; IV.20-23.

Identifies a possible source of B.1.88-91 as Disticha Catonis i..3, the phrasing of which in the poet’s concordance-trained mind was conflated with similar passages from Luke. WL understands “Cato” as a non-Christian whose learning is reconciled in the Easter passus with that of Christianity. So too in B.4.20-23, where the equipping of Reason’s horse by “Catoun” recalls Jerome’s exegesis of Matt. 21:6-7, in which the garments are understood for the soul as the teaching of virtues and the exposition of the Scriptures, without which the Lord will not ride.