End of Europe's Middle Ages

"Piers Plowman"

Detail of the month of March

Excerpt from "Piers Plowman"
(The Vision of William Concerning Piers Plowman)

"I have no penny," quoth Piers, "Pullets for to buy
No neither geese nor piglets, but two green [new] cheeses,
A few curds and cream and an oaten cake
And two loaves of beans and bran to bake for my little ones.
And besides I say by my soul I have no salt bacon,
Nor no little eggs, by Christ, collops for to make.
But I have parsley and leeks and many cabbages,
And besides a cow and a calf and a cart mare
To draw afield my dung the while the drought lasteth.
And by this livelihood we must live till lammas time [August].
And by that I hope to have harvest in my croft.
And then may I prepare the dinner as I dearly like.
All the poor people those peascods fatten.
Neans and baked apples they brought in their laps.
Shalots and chervils and ripe cherries many
And proffered pears these present...

From "Piers Plowman" in W.O. Hassall, ed., How They Lived (1961), in The Middle Ages Volume I, p.358.

Return to William Langland and Piers Plowman

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