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‘Piers Plowman’ B, Passus IX - XII: Elements in the Design of the Inward Journey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2016

Joseph S. Wittig*
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


‘The second division of Piers Plowman,’ writes Morton W. Bloomfield, ‘is essentially organized around the journey of the mind into itself.’ This observation seems true and vital to our understanding of the poem, yet the nature and course of that inward journey have never been conclusively determined. There is no general agreement on the identities of figures like Wit, Inwit, and Imaginatif. Perhaps more importantly, there is no agreement on the precise relationship of these personifications to each other, to their own speeches, to the Dreamer's progress or lack of progress, or to the nature of the poem's allegory. This article examines the inward journey in an effort to explain something of the nature of Langland's psychological lore and its connections with other elements of the poem. It hopes to show that such an explanation can best be derived, not from scholastic tags somewhat haphazardly applied to Langland's personifications, but rather from the traditions of ‘monastic,’ moral psychology consistently applied both to the poem's larger development and to a significant number of its details.

Copyright © Fordham University Press 

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1 Piers Plowman as a Fourteenth-century Apocalypse (New Brunswick 1961) 64.

2 For convenient surveys of previous scholarship see Frank, Robert W., Jr., Piers Plowman and the Scheme of Salvation (New Haven 1957) 4552, and Willi Erzgräber, William Langlands Piers Plowman (Heidelberg 1957) 116–120.

3 For a general discussion of ‘Christian Socratism,’ see Étienne Gilson, The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy, trans. Downes, A. H. C. (London 1936) 209228, and the same author's The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, trans. A. H. C. Downes (London 1940) 33 ff.; also André Combes, ‘Un témoin du socratisme chrétien au XVe siècle: Robert Ciboule,’ Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire de moyen ǎge 8 (1933) 195–206. For a classic expression of it in Augustine, see the De Trinitate 9–15.

4 The De spiritu et anima has been described as ‘une compilation curieuse reproduisant ou abrégeant les théories des Pères latins depuis Augustine, Gennade et Boèce jusqu'à saint Bernard et Hugues en passant par Isidore, Alcuin, et Anselme’ (DTC 1.2307). J.-M. Canivez attributes it to Alcher of Clairvaux (Dictionnaire de spiritualité 1.295), but see André Wilmart, ‘Les méditations,” Revue d'ascétique et de mystique 8 (1927) 251 ff. Thomas Aquinas refers to it in his De anima (12 ad 1), and Alexander of Hales cites it in his Summa theologica (Quaracchi 1928) II 424. Bartholomaeus Anglicus makes extensive use of it in the De proprietatibus rerum when discussing the rational soul (see, e.g., the Frankfurt 1601 edition 46, 47, 51, et passim). The Meditationes piissimae is also a compilation from earlier authors such as Ambrose, Augustine, Boethius, and Seneca; see F. Cavallera, Dictionnaire de spiritualité 1.500.

5 See Floyer, J. K. and Hamilton, S. G., Catalogue of Manuscripts Preserved in the Chapter Library of Worcester Cathedral (Oxford 1906) 36, 58, and 123. Reference to such a catalog will seem superfluous to anyone acquainted with the currency of this and similar treatises in the late Middle Ages. It can serve, however, to persuade those not so acquainted that such works are not esoteric and thus to combat the negative, external argument that ‘Langland cannot possibly have known them.’ The Worcester Chapter Library is within a few miles of the Malvern Hills, is about 17 miles from Cleobury Mortimer, and happens to be a collection whose medieval holdings have survived in reasonable number. References to it will occasionally be made for this rhetorical purpose.

6 Floyer and Hamilton 63; the manuscript was ascribed to Augustine.

7 Schmidt, A. V. C., ‘A Note on Langland's Conception of “Anima” and “Inwit,”’ Notes & Queries N.S. 15 (1968) 363364, shows how Langland's notions of the localization of the soul in the body and of the rational power's residence in the brain derive from the De spiritu and its tradition. Schmidt limits himself to considerations of the A-Text, and does not deal with the manifold other similarities between Langland and the treatises or with broader implications.

8 Unless otherwise indicated all references to the poem are to the edition of Skeat, W. W. (Oxford 1886) I, and will be given in the text. Passus and line references, unless otherwise specified, are to the B-Text.

9 The catalog in the De spiritu et anima reads as follows: ‘Anima nominatur totus homo interior, qua vivificatur, regitur et continetur lutea illa massa, humectata succis, ne are-facta dissolvatur. Dum ergo vivificat corpus, anima est; dum recolit, memoria est; dum judicat, ratio est; dum spirat vel contemplatur, spiritus est; dum sentit, sensus est’ (PL 40.803). The catalog in the Etymologies is substantially identical; see Lindsay's, W. M. edition (Oxford 1911) 11.1.13. The passages in the Differentiarum liber and Alcuin's De anima (PL 83.84 and PL 101.644) are farther from Langland's version. Another comparable passage is to be found in the De spiritu et anima (788) and this version is treated as an opinion of Augustine in Alexander of Hales' Summa (loc. cit. note 7 supra). There has been elaborate speculation about how the C-Text logically expands the B here. C adds to the catalog ‘dum declinat a malo ad bonum, Liberum arbitrium est.’ See Talbot Donaldson, E., Piers Plowman: The C-Text and Its Poet (New Haven 1948) 192–194, and George Sanderlin, ‘The Character “Liberum Arbitrium” in the C-Text of Piers Plowman,’ Modern Language Notes 56 (1941) 449–453. No one has bothered to mention that B already adds to the catalog of Isidore and the De spiritu the descriptions of Amor and Conscientia. The most straightforward explanation is the tradition, found in the De spiritu, that the soul, though distinguished by different names, is really one and acts as one. Thus, after the second catalog, the treatise states: ‘Ista tamen non differunt in substantia, quemadmodum in nominibus; quoniam omnia ista una anima est; proprietates quidem diversae, sed essentia una’ (788–789). And elsewhere: ‘Anima vero in quibuscumque suis motibus vel actibus tota simul adest’ (794). The passage from John Damascene which Sanderlin quotes (450) is not, as Donaldson claims (193), ‘exactly the same’ as the list in C; but it does consider the soul as acting in unity from the viewpoint of appetitive powers. One might simply suggest that Langland adapts a traditional list of names and powers of the soul without attempting to present a rigid faculty psychology. In the spirit of this tradition he can add Amor and Conscientia in B to emphasize the roles of charity and disciplined judgment, and sharpen the role of free choice in C by adding Liberum arbitrium to the list.

10 See PL 177.166.

11 See Glorieux, P., Pour revaloriser Migne tables rectificatives (Mélanges de science religigieuse 9; Lille 1952) 69.

12 PL 184.485 A; cf. 487 B and 497 C; also De spiritu PL 40.779–781, and De Trinitate 14.8.

13 Meditationes 497 A; cf. 486 B, 498 A, and De spiritu 781, 800–801.

14 Ibid. 496 B; the phrase is reminiscent of Ambrose's ‘fugiamus animo’ and Augustine's ‘noli foras ire.’

15 Ibid. 485; cf. 486 C and De spiritu 780.

16 Ibid. 494 D.

17 Ibid. 491 C; cf. De spiritu 800.

18 Ibid. 494 D; cf. 500 A, 502 D, and De spiritu 801.

19 Ibid. 502 A.

20 Ibid. 506.

21 Ibid. 486 B; cf. De spiritu 782, 786, and 801.

22 De spiritu 802; cf. 781.

23 Meditationes 486 B; cf. 495, 502, and De spiritu 782, 792.

24 Ibid. 508; cf. 490 A, 498 B, and De spiritu 801. All these passages are based on the theme of James 1.21 ff., a theme which Langland invokes frequently.

25 Konrath, M., ‘Die lateinische Quelle zu Ayenbite ed. Morris p. 263–269 und zu Sawles warde,Englische Studien 12 (1889) 459463.

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26 See PL 177.185.

27 De spiritu 807–808.

28 Ibid. 802–803.

29 Ibid., italics added. Cf. 802, where the element aer is associated with breath, is placed ‘in pulmone,’ and is the cooling ventilation of the heart (therefore ‘wynde’?), while the fire is ‘vis ignea aere temperata’ which ‘a corde ad cerebrum ascendit.’ From here, ‘tanquam in caelum corporis nostri,’ the vis ignea is sent to the individual sense-organs and is, as it were, exhaled to make contact with external objects whence it returns, formed, to inform the five senses. Thus ‘fire’ is not flame, but a more subtle, invisible substance which the author can, with some cause, name aer.

30 See, for example, De sacramentis 1.8.13 (PL 176.314–318).

31 De Trinitate 12.7 (PL 42.1004–1005). The De Trinitate is extant in Worcester manuscripts (Floyer and Hamilton, Catalogue 7 and 80).

32 PL 42.1005; cf. 1007.

33 Ibid. 1006, italics added; cf. a further example in 12.9.

34 De spiritu 787.

35 For a summary of previous explanations of Inwitte see Frank, Scheme of Salvation 51–52. The present explanation proceeds from the assumption that Langland was not chiefly intent upon carving the soul into faculties and that such carving by critics in the past has produced no coherent interpretation. However, many past suggestions are broadly compatible with the present reading — a fact which might further argue the aptness of a looser, encyclopedic, and morally oriented ‘psychology’ to the poem. Thus Father Dunning's ‘practical reason’ and Frank's ‘intellect’ both correspond roughly (but in too limiting a way) to the ratio of the De spiritu and the De Trinitate, that is, the soul of man insofar as it operates between the realms of sensation and wisdom/charity. The term ‘Inwitte,’ taken at face value, means after all ‘knowledge or perception within’; and the word is so used in the Lay Folks Catechism, edd. Simmons, T. F. and Nolloth, H. E. (EETS OS 118; London 1901) 19, II. 349–366. The De spiritu expands on the functions of ratio as follows: ‘Ratio vis est animae supra corporalia, et infra spiritualia collocata: secernit enim vera a falsis, quod est Logicae; virtutes a vitiis, quod est Ethicae; et per experimenta rerum investigat naturas, quod est Physicae. In his vero tribus tota philosophia consistit’ (808). And finally, the most practical moral judgments of the ‘ethical’ ratio are what the Middle Ages called ‘conscience,’ the Middle English ‘Inwitte’ in an applied moral sense.

36 Piers Plowman: An Interpretation of the A-Text (Dublin 1937) 174. Skeat (II 142) lists four Old Testament passages as Langland's source (Ps. 110.10, Ecclus. 1.16, Prov. 1.7 and 9.10; to this list Job 28.28 should be added). Two of the passages are worded exactly as the text of B. Of these two, Ps. 110.10 and Ecclus. 1.16, the latter might more logically be the one Langland had in mind, both because Ecclus. 1.11–40 is a long disquisition on wisdom and because Wit speaks of ‘Salamones Sawes.’ But even a cursory glance at a commentary will show how all these passages receive a widespread and common interpretation. For example, on Ps. 110.10 the Glossa ordinaria reads: ‘Metus judicii janua est conversionis et via ad sapientiam’ (Venice 1588) III 254v. On Ecclus. 1.16 cf. ibid. 388–389, on Job 28.28 ibid. 54. Other citations will be given in connection with the ensuing discussion.

37 Piers Plowman and Scriptural Tradition (Princeton 1951) 112; they cite Rhabanus Maurus, Comm. in Ecclesiasticum (PL 109.767). The point might be elaborated further. The Augustinian text referred to by Father Dunning (In Epistolam Joannis ad Parthos 10.9, PL 35.2045) is a meditation on 1 John 4.17–21, where the apostle says ‘perfecta charitas foras mittit timorem’ and Augustine discourses on the progression from fear to love. When commenting on the iron fetters of Ps. 149.8 Augustine makes the same point succinctly: ‘Et tamen nisi timore incipiat homo Deum colere, non perveniet ad amorem. Initium sapientiae timor Domini. Incipit ergo a vinculis ferreis, finitur ad torquem aureum’ (Enarr. in Psalmos 149.15.7; CCL 40.2189). Bede, writing on Prov. 7.1, schematizes the notion: ‘Duo sunt timores domini: servilis, qui principium sapientiae vel scientiae est: amicabilis, qui perfectionem sapientiae comitatur. Servilis, principium sapientiae quia qui post errata sapere incipit, primo timore divino corripitur ne puniatur. Sed hunc perfecta charitas foras mittit. Succedit huic. Timor Domini sanctus permanens in saeculum saeculi: quem non excludit charitas, sed auget: quo timet filius, ne vel in modico oculos amantissimi personis offendat. Uterque in futuro cessabit, charitas nunquam excidet’ (quoted in Glossa, ed. cit. III 309v). Hugh of St. Cher is prepared to divide more finely; elaborating on Ps. 110.10 he distinguishes timor servilis (fear of hell) from timor initialis (mixed motives) and from timor filialis (fear of sinning out of love for God); Opera omnia in universum Vetus et Novum Testamentum (Venice 1732) II 291v. He expands the division to six categories when treating Ecclus. 1.16 (III 173). Thus Langland's progression from Dowel to Dobet has a broad tradition behind it. Of his division of fear and of Dobet more must be said in the following discussion.

38 Ed. cit. III 254; italics added.

39 Ed. cit. II 292.

40 For a lucid exposition of this tradition see John Freccero, ‘Dante's Firm Foot and the Journey without a Guide,’ Harvard Theological Review 52 (1959) 245281. The classic patristic locus is Augustine's Confessions 8.11–12.


41 De spiritu 784.

42 Ibid. 782.

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid. 781; cf. De Trinitate 12.10.

45 Ibid. 800.

46 Ibid. 819. Cf. De Trinitate 12.14 (PL 42.1009–1010): ‘Distat tamen ab aeternorum contemplatione actio quo bene utimur temporalibus rebus, et illa sapientia, haec scientia deputatur. Quamvis enim et illa quae sapientia est, possit scientia nuncupari … quam scientiam profecto contemplationis Dei vult [Apostolus] intelligi, quod sanctorum erit praemium summum. … invenio scriptum esse in libro Job, eodem sancto viro loquente: ‘Ecce pietas est sapientia; abstinere a malis est scientia.’ In hac differentia intelligendum est ad contemplationem sapientiam, ad actionem scientiam pertinere. Pietatem quippe hoc loco posuit Dei cultum … et quis cultus eius, nisi amor ejus, quo nunc desideramus eum videre, credimusque et speramus nos esse visuros. … abstinere autem a malis, quam Job scientiam dixit esse, rerum procul dubio temporalium … quamobrem quidquid prudenter, fortiter, temperanter et juste agimus, ad eam pertinet scientiam sive disciplinam….’ It is essential to note that neither knowledge nor wisdom is considered by Augustine to pertain to the intellectus alone, and that scientia culminates in sapientia. While it is true that Augustine tended to regard the latter as contemplation (i.e., as charity resting in the object loved), he also considered it to operate as a motus in this life (‘amor ejus, quo nunc desideramus eum videre, credimus et speramus nos esse visuros'), and therefore as entailing a moral effect. Elsewhere he says: ‘sapientia id est contemplatio veritatis, pacificans totum hominem et suscipiens similitudinem Dei’ (De sermone Domini in monte, PL 34. 1234). On the Augustinian notion of wisdom generally see Henri-Irénée Marrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique (Paris 1958) 362368 and 561–569.

47 De spiritu 809.

48 Besides line 50, see lines 37, 42, 44, and the long simile of the pen and parchment.

49 Commentarium in Genesim, PL 107.459 B; for other examples, see Robertson and Huppé 109.

50 De spiritu 805.

51 Ibid. 809; cf. 786: ‘Ille [i.e. humanus] spiritus dicitur factus ad imaginem et similitudinem Dei, in quo est cognitio veritatis et amor virtutis. Imago siquidem est in cognitione, et similitudo in dilectione.’

52 The De spiritu consistently stresses this; see 806, 809, 819.

53 This is Skeat's suggestion as the reason for the quote (II 141).

54 See Hussey, S. S., ‘Langland, Hilton and the Three Lives,Review of English Studies 7 (1956) 132150, and T. P. Dunning, ‘The Structure of the B-Text of Piers Plowman,’ ibid. 225–239.

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55 Leclercq, Jean, in Études sur le vocabulaire monastique du moyen ǎge (Rome 1961), has written an enlightening chapter on the meaning of monastic contemplation (‘Theoria,’ 80–144) in which he shows that contemplation is indeed an orientation, a desire for and a tending toward God as end. If the contemplative becomes ‘remotus’ it is from the goods and ‘negotium’ of this world so that he may pray, meditate, and practice the ἂσϰησιϛ such an orientation requires while keeping in mind the provisional and imperfect nature of this earthly condition. Such a life demands the practice of virtue (and therefore fraternal charity), but its focus and its hope is eventual contemplation face to face with God.

56 PL 34.1034.

57 Ed. cit. VI 212v; cf. Bede, PL 93.19, Cassiodorus, PL 70.1378, Hugh of St. Cher, ed. cit. VII 315r.

58 Ed. Horstman, C., Yorkshire Writers (London 1895) I 272.

59 Frank (50 note 2) cites Jones and Quirk to the effect that ‘the word “wit” had a great range of meanings in ME and that this same range of meaning for the term is to be found in Piers Plowman.’ The interpretation here being suggested more or less accords with a ‘range of meanings,’ for it would consider the Wit of 9 to represent the soul under its cognitive aspects, the spokesman for knowledge and the knowable. Cf. Greta Hort, Piers Plowman and Contemporary Religious Thought (New York 1937) 89; NED, ‘wit,’ meanings 11–13.

60 Robertson, and Huppé, 117.

61 Skeat (II 143) cites Peter Comestor: ‘Adam cognovit uxorem suam, sed non in paradiso, sed iam reus et eiectus.’ More to the point is the passage from Rupert of Deutz cited by Robertson and Huppé 115: ‘Ille [Cain] primus in generatione iniquorum, iste [Abel] primus computatur in generatione iustorum’ (PL 167.322).

62 Ambrose, , De Cain et Abel, PL 14.321; cf. Claude of Turin, PL 50.910.

63 De Noe et arca, PL 14.387–8; cf. Claude of Turin, PL 50.925–926.

64 PL 198.1081.

65 Ed. cit. III 96r; cf. pseudo-Bede, PL 93.521 and Peter Lombard, PL 191.118. The Vulgate actually reads ‘Concepit dolorem …’ and I can find no variant either in the Vulgate texts or in the Vetus Italica or Vetus Latina Hispana which would account for Langland's in dolore. (Nor does the poet's wording correspond to any other Biblical verse, although Job 15.35 is identical with Vulgate Ps. 7.5, and other verses are close to these two.) Augustine's text in the Enarrationes is ‘concepit laborem,’ an eccentric but defensible rendering of the Septuagint πόνοϛ. If one is to explain Langland's form of the citation at all, it might most logically be accounted for by attraction to the Glossa's ‘in appetitu’ which, if Langland was writing with the tradition of commentary in mind, would be a perfectly natural adaptation.

66 An Interpretation of the A-Text 177.

67 Freccero cites the statement from Aquinas, In IV Sent. d. 17, q. 1, 23, sol. 3: ‘intellectus est fortior in cognoscendo quam affectus in diligendo; unde dicit Augustinus, “Praecedit intellectus, sequitur tardus aut nullus affectus”’ (‘Dante's Firm Foot’ 267). See Augustine, , Enarr. in Ps. 118 8.4.59–61 (CCL 40.1689).

68 At 10.331, where he misinterprets Scripture's prophecy.

69 Critics like Chambers, R. W., Man's Unconquerable Mind (London 1939) 130131, have read the inner dream as autobiography. Robertson and Huppé have suggested that it represents ‘spiritual slumber’ (129).

70 Bradley, Ritamary Sister, ‘Backgrounds of the Title Speculum in Medieval Literature,’ Speculum 29 (1954) 111.


71 On this topos see Les Confessions de saint Augustin dans la tradition littéraire (Paris 1963), especially 278–288. For texts illustrating the topos, see 623–640, where Courcelle cites over seventy occurrences of the ‘regio’ between Augustine's time and the year 1400. I am indebted to John Freccero for calling this tradition to my attention; see his ‘Dante's Prologue Scene,’ Dante Studies 84 (1966) 1–25.

72 7.10; CSEL 33.157. The Confessions are in Worcester Library; see Floyer and Hamilton, 16.

73 Sermo 36.5; PL 183.969 D—970 A.

74 De diversis sermo 42; PL 183.661 D, 662 B, 663 B.

75 PL 171.847 C, 848 C-D. So ascribed by Courcelle; Glorieux, Tables rectificatives, attributes it to Geoffroi Babion.

76 Les Confessions, 278–283.

77 PL 183.757 D.

78 NED, ‘long,’ verb, 1.I.3. For a discussion of Langland's fondness for punning, see Huppé, Bernard F., ‘Petrus, Id Est Christus : Word Play in Piers Plowman,’ A Journa of English Literary History 17 (1950) 163190.

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79 The Pricke of Conscience 1088–91, ed. Richard Morris (Berlin 1863) 30.

80 Peraldus, William, Summa virtutum ac vitiorum (Cologne 1629) II 234. On Fortune's offices see Howard R. Patch, The Goddess Fortuna in Medieval Literature (Cambridge, Mass. 1927) 58–69 et passim. He writes, ‘first and foremost there is a general notion that Fortune deals with the mundane, the temporal, in goods of mortal concern’ (63). Cf. Robertson and Huppé 130.

81 2. metr. 3.13–18 (ed. Ludwig Bieler, CCL 94.22–23).

82 De naturis rerum libri duo 2.154, ed. Wright, Thomas (London 1863) 239240.

83 Ed. cit. VII 111v; cf. the 12th-century Speculum peccatoris, PL 40.986 (Floyer and Hamilton, 40). The Allegoriae in universam Sacram Scripturam identifies ‘speculum’ with ‘favores saecularium’ (PL 112.1050D).

84 Robertson, and Huppé, (130) cite James and the Glossa in connection with the first part of the inner dream, but to a somewhat different effect.

85 For this topos see Bradley, ‘Backgrounds of Speculum’ 109–113, or consult practically any gloss on either James 1.23 or 1 Cor. 13.12.

86 Of the man who is ‘auditor verbi, et non factor,’ the Glossa ordinaria says: ‘Qui pro-ponit in animo suo considerare in scripturis quasi in speculo vultum nativitatis, qualiter homo sit natus, quam fragilis, vel quid futurus, quam brevis aevi, in quantis miseriis positus, compunctionem magnam et voluntatem poenitendi contraxit; et statim, aliqua tentatione seductus, obliviscitur compunctionis, et ad peccata redit’ (ed. cit. VI 212v). Concerning the same passage, Hugh of St. Cher comments that the mirror might be taken as Scripture, ‘in quo multi contemplantes per studium et lectionem suam miseram conditionem et exilium, ubi sunt cognoscunt, quid faciendum sit intelligunt, nec tamen faciunt’; or the mirror might be thought of as ‘verbum praedicationis, in quo multi suam fragilitatem et peccata et pericula audientes ad horam conpunguntur, sed a loco recedentes statim obliviscuntur’ (ed. cit. VII 313v).

87 De spiritu 818. The Cistercian author of the De interiore domo writes: ‘Praecipuum et principale speculum ad videndum Deum, est animus rationalis inveniens seipsum. Si enim invisibilia Dei, per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta conspiciuntur (Rom. 1.20), ubi, quaeso, quam in eius imagine cognitionis eius vestigia expressius impressa reperiuntur?’ (PL 184.513). A passage almost identical is to be found in the Benjamin minor of Richard of St. Victor (PL 196.51) and in the Middle English translation of that work (Yorkshire Writers I 171). The notion is a widespread commonplace; cf. Neckam, ‘De speculo,’ De naturis rerum 239, and Hugh of St. Cher on 1 Cor. 13.12 (ed. cit. VII 111r).

88 De spiritu 818.

89 De interiore domo 513; cf. the passage in the Latin and Middle English Benjamin minor cited in note 87 supra.

90 Summa de arte praedicatoria, PL 210.118.

91 Meditationes 508.

92 See Patch, , Goddess Fortuna 75–76.

93 2. pr. 5.14–15; ed. cit. 27.

94 Nature’ seems here primarily to mean ‘what a creature has been made to be and, therefore, the rule of its operation.’ But the word connotes God the author of nature, and God as exemplar of creation, in whose perfections creation participates.

95 PL 176.952–954; Floyer and Hamilton 38.

96 Ibid. 954.

97 Ibid. 955.

98 Recall the C-Text: ‘And in the myrour of Myddel-erde made hym eft to loke’ (14.132).

99 The Pricke of Conscience 1030–1033, ed. cit. 29.

100 A sermon in Harley, MS 45 fol. 154, cited by G. R. Owst, Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England (rev. ed. Oxford 1961) 184.

101 Hugh of Victor, St., Expositio in hierarchiam coelestem sancti Dionisii Areopagitae, PL 175.948 A. See Javelet, Robert, ‘Image de Dieu et nature au XIIe siècle,’ La filosofia della natura nel medioevo (Milan 1966) 286296.

102 Itinerarium mentis in Deum, ed. Philotheus Boehner (St. Bonaventure, N. Y. 1956) 40; cf. p. 111 note 9.

103 Ibid. 44.

104 Ibid. 50.

105 Ibid. 32. Cf. the passage cited at notes 88 and 89 supra.

106 On this topos, see Leclercq, Études sur le vocabulaire monastique 91–93.

107 See Courcelle, Pierre, ‘La Vision cosmique de saint Benoǐt,Revue des études augustiniennes 13 (1967) 100106.

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108 Cyprian, Ad Donatum 6 (CSEL 3.1.8).

109 Gregory, Moralia in Job 31.44, PL 76.619D. Cf. Jerome, Epistola ad Heliodorum 60.18.2, CSEL 54.573.

110 See, for example, Macrobius, In Somnium Scipionis 1.11.11: ‘Quae vero appetentiam corporis et huius quam in terris vitam vocamus ab illa specula altissima et perpetua luce despiciens desiderio latenti cogitaverit, pondere ipso terrenae cogitationis paulatim in inferiora delabitur’ (ed. Willis, James [Leipzig 1963] 11).

111 In connection with this, and in relation to the first inner dream, one might consider the mountain of self-knowledge spoken of by Richard of St. Victor: ‘Oculos ergo quasi in imo defixos habere videntur, qui sola adhuc corporea mirantur. Sed jam quasi ad alta ascendunt, qui se ad spiritualium investigationem convertunt. Animus qui ad scientiae altitudinem nititur ascendere, primum et principale sit ei studium seipsum cognoscere. … Mons magnus et altus, plena cognitio rationalis spiritus. … Qui ad perfectam sui cognitionem pervenit, jam montis verticem apprehendit’ (Benjamin minor, PL 196.54). Cf. ibid. 55–56, and the De spiritu et anima: ‘Cum vero ab hac distractione [i.e. of corporal passions] per puram intelligentiam ascendens in unum se colligit, rationalis dicitur’ (781). Note that it is on the ‘mountain’ that Will encounters ‘Reason.’

112 Anima rationalis et intellectualis facta est ad imaginem et similitudinem Dei …’ (De spiritu 809). Cf. William of St. Thierry, De natura corporis et animae: ‘Erecta hominis figura ad coelum extensa, et sursum aspiciens, imperialem regalemque dignitatem animae rationalis significat; ostendens traditum sibi a Creatore dominium omnium aspicientium deorsum, et multum se habere cum supernis, si ingenitae imaginis custodit dignitatem …’ (PL 180.714).

113 Ibid. 715.

114 Ibid. 714.

115 The following section will argue that the debate which ensues and the encounter with Trajan are concerned not so much with the theory of predestination or the salvation of the heathen as with removing the dreamer's false hope that faith, without works, can save him.

116 For this use of ‘kynde,’ recall the vetus homo passage previously cited from the Meditationes (at note 20 supra), and cf. William of St. Thierry: ‘Auctor naturae et corporis et animae conditor Deus, hominem format ad imaginem et similitudinem suam, obscuriorem quidem in primo, evidentiorem vero et perfectiorem post operis consummationem. Sic ergo in sculptura organi animae species secundum subjecti analogiam praemonstratur, imperfecta in imperfecto, in perfecto perfecta futura. Quae et principio perfecta esset, si in suo principio corrupta natura per malitiam non fuisset. Propterea nascimur ut pecudes; nec continuo; nec nisi cum magnis et diuturnis laboribus relucere potest in nobis Factoris imago; sed longa quadam via per materiales et pecudales animae proprietates ad perfectionem suam homo ducitur’ (PL 180.710).

117 Reference is, of course, to the persona. It is fruitless, and probably irrelevant, to read the passus as the autobiography of William Langland the poet; the author's experience, to the extent that it is meaningful for the poem, is absorbed into that of the persona.

118 In addition, if the discussion of the vision from the mountain just presented has been at all convincing, then the lesson of Kynde is one which originates not from spiritual torpor, but from a moment of spiritual elevation.

119 One could feel much more confident about the notion of moral sleep if one could distinguish the inner dreams from the dreaming which is the mode of the entire poem. There are ways in which the first twelve passus of the B-Text could be thought the product of spiritual slumber.

120 7.1, CSEL 33.140–141. Further references are to this edition and will be given in the text.

121 If, as has been suggested, the narrative separation of the inner dream is respected, and if the entire vision is outside the pilgrimage time as a moment somehow apart, then there is a sense in which Will's sleeping and waking could still have a moral connotation without violating the logic of the poem. I would suggest such a connotation as an added, not as a sole or primary, significance so as to avoid both reducing the inner dream to a narrative accident and blurring the ‘sleep’ of Passus 11 with that of the rest of the poem.

122 See the De spiritu: ‘Tergamus ergo speculum nostrum ab amore vanitatis, et ab amore iniquitatis, id est, a pulvere et a sorde. … Aversi siquidem a Deo sumus; peccata nostra separant nos ab eo. Et ideo cum propheta dicamus: Converte nos, Deus salutaris noster. Si mulieres speculum suum, in quo facies inspiciunt, cum amiserint, diligenter quaerunt et curiose tergunt a pulvere et a sorde: multo amplius speculum interioris hominis debemus et invenire et tergere et inspicere; ut in eo totam turpitudinem nostram valeamus deprehendere, et ita per cognitionem nostram ad cognitionem Dei pervenire’ (818).

123 On the Latin tag at 11.406, the context of the Consolatio Philosophiae is enlightening. One's own conscience and virtues, not the words of others, constitute a man in ‘philosophy’; and one who achieves that state remains there by acting well, not by mere assertion: ‘Vos autem nisi ad populares auras inanesque rumores recte facere nescitis et relicta conscientiae virtutisque praestantia de alienis praemia sermunculis postulatis. Accipe in huius modi arrogantiae levitate quam festive aliquis illuserit. Nam cum quidam adortus esset hominem contumeliis, qui non ad verae virtutis usum sed ad superbiam gloriam falsum sibi philosophi nomen induerat, adiecissetque iam se sciturum an ille philosophus esset, si quidam inlatas iniurias leniter patienterque tolerasset, ille patientiam paulisper assumpsit acceptaque contumelia velut insultans: “Iam tandem,” inquit, “intellegis me esse philosophum?” Tum ille nimium mordaciter: “Intellexeram,” inquit, “si tacuisses”’ (2.7.19–20).

124 Long Will, Dante, and the Righteous Heathen,Essays and Studies by Members of the English Association 9 (1924) 6667.

125 Langland and the Salvation of the Heathen,Medium Aevum 12 (1943) 46.

126 Robertson, and Huppé, 155.

127 Frank 61.

128 Skeat's brief note on B 11.155 cites Bacon's recounting of the legend, a version which omits the most pertinent details of the traditional story. For a convenient summary of the various versions of the legend and of general studies of Trajan, see Savage, Henry L., St. Erkenwald (New Haven 1926) xvi-xxi, and especially xvii note 9. See also Guido Biagi et al., La Divina Commedia nella figurazione artistica e nel secolare commento (Turin 1924–39) ‘Purgatorio’ 183–185, for the commentary on Dante's presentation of the legend in Purgatorio 10.73 ff. There was also an account by John Damascene, PG 95.261–264. In addition to the reference to Aquinas cited by Savage (p. xx) see: De veritate q. 6 art. 4 ad 4; Sent. I. dist. 43 q. 2 art. 2 ad 5; Sent. IV dist. 45 q. 2 art. 2 q. 1 ad 5. For an intriguing account of the early popularity of the Trajan story, see Robin Flower, The Irish Tradition (Oxford 1947) 6–9.

129 Sancti Gregorii Magni Vita,’ PL 75.56–57.

130 Ibid 57 C.

131 Sancti Gregorii Magni Vita,’ PL 75.105 B.

132 John of Salisbury, Policraticus 5.8, ed. Webb, Clement C. J. (Oxford 1909) I 317–8.

133 The widow says: ‘Quid proderit tibi si alius mihi benefecerit? tu mihi debitor es, secundum merita recepturus. Et fraus est nolle reddere quod debetur cum possit reddi. Cum successore tuo bene agetur si seipsum liberavit’ (Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden monachi Cestrensis 4.13, ed. Lumby, Joseph R. [Rolls Series 41; London 1865–1886] V 4–6).

134 Jacobus a Voragine, Legenda aurea, ed. Th. Graesse (Leipzig 1890; reprinted Osnabrück 1956) 196. Cf. also the early-15th-century Original Chronicle of Andrew of Wyntoun 79.1138–48, ed. Amours, F. J. (Scottish Text Society 37; Edinburgh 1903–14) III 290:

… ‘Schir emperour, I bid nocht layne,

Of thi successour pe deid

May nouther the mend na thi meid,

And tharefore,’ said scho, ‘schir emperour,

Thow art of law to me dettour,

And gif that thi successour will

His awne det in his tyme fulfill,

3it seker thare of my pov nocht be;

Quhy suld pov set him pan to me?

And his awne dettis for to qwite

May nocht mend thi meid a myte.’

135 Dunning, Father, in ‘Langland and the Salvation of the Heathen,’ has sought to clarify the theological difficulties of the Trajan story. As a survey of the theology of baptism with reference to the salvation of the heathen, the article is most helpful (see especially 48–53). But in his efforts to demonstrate Langland's orthodoxy, he has overlooked several details pertinent to the poem and seems to have misconstrued the Legenda: ‘The author of The Golden Legend not only gives an orthodox account of Trajan's salvation, but carefully sets out the theological crux presented by the story. Now the Legenda is clearly Langland's source: it is mentioned explicitly; and it will be seen that in his version of the story, Langland follows the Legenda exactly. For according to Jacobus de Voragine, it was the consideration of Trajan's good works while on earth that moved Gregory to pity and to prayers; and he does not state that Trajan was restored to life. St. Thomas and Dante accept the account in which the Emperor is restored to life and at once find themselves in difficulties' (53). This statement is misleading. First, the Legenda's account of the incident is the same as that of earlier versions. Secondly, Jacobus de Voragine does not ‘carefully set out the theological crux,’ but, as will be seen shortly, simply catalogues the various solutions which previous authors had offered. Trajan remains a theological problem.

136 PL 75.105D-106A.

137 Polychronicon 5.6–7.

138 Graesse 197.

139 Graesse 196.

140 Ed. cit. I 318.

141 Langland may well have meant this particular instance in Trajan's life to recall a broader picture of the emperor's virtue. While it is true that Trajan was a pagan and a persecutor of Christians, a strong tradition concerning his goodness developed in the Middle Ages. See John of Salisbury: ‘Ego his omnibus [imperatoribus] Traianum praeferre non dubito, qui in solius uirtutis cultu regni constituit maiestatem’ (Policraticus, ed. cit. I 316). Also Trevisa's translation of Hidgen's Polychronicon: ‘Among [his] frendes pis was free of herte, and besy in dedes of armes, and asy in governance of pe citeseyns, and my3ty in relevynge of citees and of towns. … He made hymself everich manis felowe, and visited ofte his freendes, for he wolde be ygete of hem, and wete how pey ferde; he greved no man, dede no ping wrongfulliche for to have the more and pe gretter enchetes. But he made his servauntes riche, that hem nedede to greve no man. His frendes blamede hym, for he was so comyn to alle manere men; he answered and seide: “I will be suche an emperour to oper men as y wolde pat pey were to me and pey were emperours”’ (5.13, ed. cit. V 3–5); ‘Loos and mynde of hym is so i-spronge, pat 3it in oure tyme me prayep in plesynge of princes, “More gracious mote pou be pan evere was Augustus, and bettere pan Traianus”’ (ibid. V 13). The latter tag is also preserved by Denys the Carthusian (Opera [Montreuil 1896–1913] 11.410). Cf. also Wyntoun's Chronicle (Amours 3.286).

142 Graesse 196. Cf. Paul the Deacon: ‘… atque veluti somno correptus [Gregorius] in extasim est raptus, quo se per revelationem exauditum discit’ (PL 75.57 C); John the Deacon: ‘Sic enim cum non oraverit Gregorius, plangendo potuit exaudire….’ (PL 75. 105 C). Higden: ‘Pro tam insigni justitia beatus Gregorius videtur animam ejus ab inferis revocasse’ (Polychronicon 4.13, ed. cit. V 6). It is true that the Legenda presents two accounts of this part of the story, but they do not differ in this respect: ‘Damascenus autem in quodam suo sermone narrat, quod Gregorius pro Traiano orationem fundens audivit vocem sibi divinitus illatam: vocem tuam audivi et veniam Traiano do’ (Graesse 196). The account of John Damascene here referred to is from a treatise (cited by Thomas and other Scholastics as the source of the legend) translated into Latin in the twelfth century. It presents the Trajan story in rather truncated form, and the account stresses only Gregory's intercessory power and God's mercy (PG 95.261–264).

143 There has been some question about who speaks lines 148–310 of Passus 11; see Frank 60 note 1. Skeat assigns them to Lewte, Frank to Trajan. Other possibilities are the dreamer, Scripture, or the poet Langland himself. The dreamer is hardly a likely candidate since, within the fictive structure, the dreamer cannot be sure of what he is still being taught. Langland the poet does not seem a likely candidate either, for such an intrusion breaks the pattern of the dream in an equally awkward way. Scripture seems an unlikely speaker, since the import of lines 135–311 is rather uncongenial to the point to which Scripture has just been cited. One might argue that what Langland has done is to let Trajan, the example of leaute, turn into and fuse with the larger idea of the virtue itself, and that in personifying that virtue, he has left enough doubt about the identity of the speaker to suggest the fusion to the reader. At any rate, the speaker of these lines will be referred to henceforth as ‘Lewte.’

144 See ‘Righteous Heathen’ 67; Robertson and Huppé 155. The rhetorical purpose for which Imaginatif brings Trajan into his speech will be discussed below.

145 Langland and the Salvation of the Heathen’ 53. It may be true that some theological commentaries explicitly say that Trajan was restored to the body, but the legends themselves merely imply some kind of infusion of grace.

146 See 11.135, 137, 155, 157; 12.210. There was some problem, of course, about how to reconcile Trajan's reputation for being a just man with the fact that he was in hell. As Aquinas points out, however, he was only temporarily assigned there by God, who foresaw Gregory's intercession: ‘Dicendum quod quamvis Trajanus esset in loco reproborum, non tamen erat simpliciter reprobatus; praedestinatum enim erat quod precibus Gregorii salvaretur’ (De veritate, q. 6 a. 4 ad 4). As Imaginatif says, he ‘tilde nou3te depe in helle’ (12.210). Perhaps this much damnation was inevitable to a sincere but misguided persecutor of Christians.

147 One need not be a professional theologian to reason to this. At death, the soul faces its particular judgment. A soul is damned for being without sanctifying grace (with appropriate allowances made for infants and others who have never performed a fully deliberate or ‘human’ act). One can lack this grace through either actual sin (if mortal) or original sin (which is, practically speaking, bound to be accompanied by mortal, actual sin). Trajan is dead, and has been damned — even if only secundum quid. Any amendment of his particular judgment is a smashing exception (even if foreseen by God), but God is quite at home with exceptions, as is only just. It is, in fact, much easier to account for Trajan's salvation than for his damnation. The problem is, of course, that ‘Trajan’ is not an historical fact but a literary tradition. The Middle Ages found itself with a pagan and persecutor of the Church (therefore damned) saved by Gregory (therefore the accumulated good reputation, undoubtedly embellished after the fact). Langland is enough of a poet to be entirely uninterested in the potential theological morass, as will be shown below.

148 Since the reading of these lines is difficult and open to some dispute, a translation of the interpretation adopted here (one based on Skeat's) should perhaps be given:

… Trajan was a true knight and never became a Christian

And he is saved, so says the book, and his soul [is] in heaven;

Because there is baptism of the font, and baptism in shedding of blood,

And baptism through fire, and that is an established belief….

But one who never trespassed against truth, and did not trespass against his [own] law

But lived as his law teaches, and believed that there is no better [law]

But if there were [a better law], he would accept it, and if he dies in such a will:

A true God would not want but that truth were permitted [i.e., efficacious].

And whether the above proposition is so or is not so, the faith of truth is great,

And great is the hope dependent upon it [i.e., the proposition and truth's faith] of having a reward for its [i.e., faith's] truth….

149 Imaginatif restricts himself to repeating the witness of the Legenda: ‘And he is sauf, so seith the boke….’ (12.281).

150 It seems misleading to insist too strongly that the poem is here concerned with predestination, as scholars have been inclined to do. Frank writes, ‘There is no evidence, however, that the poet had read widely in this controversy, in Bradwardine's De causa Dei, for example, and his difficulties with predestination have probably been exaggerated. It is a topic, Nevil Coghill aptly remarks, “on which, for a wonder, Langland has less to say than Chaucer”’ (Frank 56–57). When Will wonders if he is saved, he is wondering about the efficacy of various means of salvation—about what Dowel is—as this discussion will try to show. To use ‘predestination’ as a label, therefore, is unprofitable. For the same reason it seems misleading to insist that the problem being discussed is merely the ‘salvation of the heathen.’

151 The fact that renunciation of the faith is unreasonable in no way guarantees man will not renounce it: the dreamer is about to be shown man's unreason (11.361 ff.). And the conditions under which repentance is possible will soon be qualified (11.254–256 and 12 passim).

152 The word ‘won’ is not intended here in the strict sense of ‘merited’; this writer is aware that no man can ‘merit’ salvation or baptism, since the initial grace is always gratis data.

153 Piers Plowman: An Essay in Criticism (London 1962) 110.

154 Frank, Scheme of Salvation 31.

155 For one of the clearest examples of the connection Langland makes between knowledge, keeping the law, and the dispensation of the life of grace, see 12.105–128.

156 St. Bernard, for instance, displays a spirit quite close to Langland's both in its humane interpretation of baptism of desire (see especially PL 182.1032) and in his displeasure at bad priests. He cites, for example, John 15.22: ‘Si non venissem, et locutus fuissem eis, peccatum non haberent; nunc autem excusationem non habent de peccato suo.’ Bernard interprets ‘eis’ as the apostles, and concludes: ‘ “Qui vos audit,” inquit, “me audit; et qui vos spernit, me spernit”; ac si diceret, Judicium meum inter obedientes et contemnentes, non de mea secreta traditione, sed de vestra publica praedicatione pendebit’ (ibid. 1033 D). This treatise is in Worcester Library; see Floyer and Hamilton 134.

157 Langland's Walnut Simile,’ Journal of English and Germanic Philology 58 (1959) 650654.

158 Ibid. 653.

159 Trajan has exemplified exactly this emphasis: ‘By loue, and by lernynge of my lyuyng in treuthe / Brou3te me fro bitter peyne there no biddyng my3te’ (11.146–147).

160 On the relation of this Biblical verse to the all-embracing law of charity, see notes 56 and 57 supra. The implication is that only ‘lele love’ is an adequate standard against which priests can be measured.

161 For a general discussion of Imaginatif, see Bloomfield, Morton W., ‘The Problem of Imaginatif,Piers Plowman as a Fourteenth-century Apocalypse 170–174 and especially 230 note 2.

162 Chambers, R. W., Man's Unconquerable Mind (London 1939) 139; Joseph A. Longo, ‘Piers Plowman and the Topological Matrix: Passus XI and XII,’ Anglia 82 (1964) 302.

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163 Bloomfield (172–174) tries to solve the problem of Langland's ‘exaltation’ of imagination by positing a link (‘some as yet undiscovered fourteenth century English psychological work’) between Langland and the tradition of the faculty as the source of prophetic vision: ‘To a prophet who is seeking the way, aware of perfection but not sure of its exact meaning, prophetic imagination would be an important guide. … To Langland, Imaginatif is a vehicle of divine assurance of truth….’

164 This suggestive idea is stated, but not explained or elaborated, by Longo 302.

165 Robertson, and Huppé, (147) suggest this without any real proof. There is no reason to think such a capacity suits either the name of the personification or his role in the poem.

166 Lawlor, , Essay in Criticism 113. This suggestion seems very relevant to the figure's role in the poem, but is susceptible of considerable refinement.

167 For a survey of the Thomistic view, see Edward Brennan, Robert, ‘The Thomistic Concept of Imagination, New Scholasticism 15 (1941) 149161. For a survey of the complex heritage of the concept see Harry Austryn Wolfson, ‘The Internal Senses in Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew Philosophic Texts,’ Harvard Theological Review 28 (1935) 69–130. The usual treatment of imagination, common to both Aristotle and Aquinas, basically describes it as the storehouse of sense-images, capable of reproducing those images in the absence of the objects which first gave rise to them, and capable of recombining sense impressions toward creative effects. This latter ability will be discussed in more detail below.

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168 On the ‘O Imaginativa …’ addressed in Purgatorio 17.13ff., see Newman, Francis X., ‘St. Augustine's Three Visions and the Structure of the Commedia,’ Modern Language Notes 82 (1967) 5678. Briefly, Dante addresses the faculty of Imagination as that faculty chiefly involved in the second mode of ‘vision,’ one which mediates between the corporeal and the intellectual, conveys sense-impressions without sensual objects, and is characteristic of dreams. Consideration of Dante's ‘Imaginativa,’ then, raises a host of problems in the reading of Piers Plowman, for the mode of Langland's vision has never been thoroughly discussed. According to the Augustinian scheme, however, the entire poem is a dream-vision, and thus all of it, not just Passus 12, might be called ‘imaginative.’ Dante, in Purgatorio 17, is speaking of the mode of vision of that cantica, a situation which does not seem to explain Langland's figure.

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169 Jones, H. S. V., ‘Imaginatif in Piers Plowman,’ Journal of English and Germanic Philology 13 (1914) 583588; Randolf Quirk, ‘Vis Imaginativa,’ ibid. 53 (1954) 81–83.

170 Jones 584.

171 Quirk 81.

172 Ibid. 82.

173 The ‘deliberative imagination,’ φαντασία βονλ∊ντική, is discussed in De anima 3.11. 434a lines 5ff. It is only found in rational creatures, and is considered as that subject in which the reason combines images “Ωστ∊ δύναται ν ἐκ πλ∊ιόνων φαντασµάτων πο∊ῑν (ibid. 11.9–10). Earlier Aristotle clearly distinguished φαντασία from reason (νοῡς), science (ἐπιστήµη), and opinion (δόξα). And when he distinguishes imagination as either ‘rational’ or ‘sensitive’ (φαντασία δὲ πᾱσα ἢ λογιστικὴ ἢ ἀισΘητική in 3.10.433b line 29), it is clear from the context that he speaks of rational imagination as the principle and subject of reason's operations (λογιστική) and of the sensitive imagination as the end or consequence of sensation (αἰσΘητική) at which point animal cognition terminates. This is, moreover, the way Aquinas reads the ‘deliberative’ phantasy: see his De anima 3.16 (Paris 1871–80; XXIV 188).

174 Avicenna had distinguished the imaginatio (sense memory) from vis imaginativa (in man, called cogitativa); the latter combined images conserved by the imagination. See Étienne Gilson, ‘Les sources gréco-arabes de l'augustinisme avicennisant,’ Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire de moyen ǎge 4 (1929–1936) 56. Albertus Magnus, in De anima metaphysica 3.1.1, made the same distinction: the imagination conserved sense-impressions; another power of the soul combined them (Opera [Lyons, 1651] III 122). Albertus chose to call that power ‘phantasia’ (a term which Avicenna had used to mean ‘sensus communis’), and to emphasize the connection between combined sense-images and appetitive tendencies springing from them (cf. Aristotle's discussion in De anima 3.10). He observed a power of choice in the higher animals and in man's lower operations more elaborate than simple instinct (‘vis aestimativa’) which he attributed to this potency ‘Multi dixerunt,’ he observed, ‘quod phantasia est aliquid rationis’ (Aristotle had called it ‘reason’ analogously; see De anima 3.10.433a line 10). Albertus explains that it is a passive potency: ‘potentia componens imagines cum intentionibus et intentiones cum imaginibus, et imagines et intentiones cum intentionibus ad duplicem finem qui est in particularibus,’ i.e., science and art (ibid. 124). Thomas Aquinas makes the same distinction between the conservation of sense-images and the combination of them, but differs from both Avicenna and Albert about a special combinatory power. He says that the ‘vis aestimativa’ suffices to explain instinctive intentions in animals, but that in man there is some participation of reason: ‘alia animalia percipiunt huius modi intentiones solum naturali quodam instinctu, homo autem etiam per quandam collationem. Et ideo quae in aliis animalibus dicitur aestimativa naturalis, in homine dicitur cogitativa, quae per collationem quandam huiusmodi intentiones adinvenit’ (ST 1.78.4). With respect to those combinations which do not derive directly from images received, however (e.g., the notion of a golden mountain assembled from the separate sensations of gold and mountain), he denies their presence in animals, and says the imaginatio produces them in man. Although there is obvious disagreement about terminology, all these writers acknowledge a combinative capacity in the internal senses, and an association of such combinations with basic intentions.

175 De Bruyne asks what, in the Victorine view, is the nature of the metaphysical link which unites body and soul in one self-conscious person (Études d'esthétique médiévale [Bruges 1946] II 219). The question, which seems to place the emphasis on our modern concept of consciousness, is perhaps not one the medieval philosophers would have recognized. De Bruyne answers it for them: ‘Hugues répond explicitement par une nouvelle faculté: affectio imaginaria, Richard, moins clairement par l ‘imaginatio moderatrix….’ (ibid.). It is rather dubious to consider Hugh's ‘affectio imaginaria’ as a ‘faculty,’ and equally dubious to regard it as a unique concept. Imagination mediates between sense-knowledge and reason in every medieval psychology, and the passages cited in note 174 supra show that it is also connected, from Aristotle onwards, with intentionality or appetition. Hugh, in the treatise De Bruyne is citing, speaks in a Platonic framework about the same subject: the relation of sense-knowledge to reason, of imagination to desire — something which De Bruyne recognizes perfectly elsewhere in his discussion (ibid., 224–228). To make all this clear consider briefly ‘affectio imaginaria’ in its context, the De unione corporis et spiritus of Hugh (PL 177.285–294). The position towards which Hugh moves is that, since intellectual knowledge originates by abstracting from sensible objects offered through imagination, and since whatever is known sensually presents the danger of sensual desire, man must take care in separating the carnal from the spiritual (291 B). He defines imagination clearly: ‘Imaginatio nihil aliud est quam similitudo corporis, per sensus quidem corporeos ex corporum contactu concepta extrinsicus, atque per eosdem sensus introrsum ad partem puriorem corporei spiritus reducta, eique impressa’ (288 A). There is great danger that the reason be corrupted by this corporeal likeness: ‘Ipsa quippe anima, inquantum delectatione corporis afficitur quasi quamdam corpulentiam trahens, in eadem phantasiis imaginationum corporalium deformatur. … Quae vero in hac vita se ab ejusmodi faeculentia mundare studuerint, hinc exeuntes quia nihil corporeum secum trahunt, a corporali passione immunes persistunt’ (288 D). There follows immediately the passage from which De Bruyne excerpted his ‘new faculty’: ‘Sic itaque ab infimis et extremis corporibus sursum usque spiritum incorporeum, quaedam progressio est per sensum et imaginationem; quae duo in spiritu corporeo sunt. Postea in spiritu incorporeo proxima post corpus est affectio imaginaria, qua anima ex corporis conjunctione afficitur, supra quam est ratio in imaginationem agens’ (ibid.). Hugh has set himself a difficult task in talking, as he is indeed doing, about the nexus between bodily and spiritual knowledge, and the point at which he invokes ‘affectio imaginaria’ is a crucial one. But by that phrase he clearly means the impression and disposition effected in the incorporeal spirit by the corporeal ‘spirit,’ on the basis of which reason can operate. Like all Neoplatonic mediations, it is an unsatisfactory one and infinitely expandible; yet Hugh's motive for positing it has been clearly stated just previously when he defined imaginatio which ‘in rationalibus purior fit, ubi ad rationalem et incorpoream animae substantiam contingendam defecatur; tamen illic quoque extra substantiam illius manens, qui similitudo corporis est et fundatur in corpore’ (288 A). ‘Affectio imaginaria,’ then, is hardly a new faculty. Nor is it uniquely important to Hugh except as a potential danger to a soul seeking contemplation, since it is the disposition towards sensuality left by virtue of its origin in sense perception. (Richard of St. Victor will be considered in the ensuing discussion.)

176 Jones, ‘Imaginatif’ 584.

177 In the Benjamin minor (PL 196.1–64) Richard is moralizing the Biblical account of the generation of the twelve sons of Jacob, Gen. 29.16 – 30.23 and 35.16–26. All references are to this edition.

178 Omni spiritui rationali gemina quaedam vis data est ab illo Patre luminum, a quo est omne datum optimum, et omne donum perfectum. Una est ratio, altera est affectio: ratio, qua discernamus, affectio, qua diligamus; ratio, ad veritatem, affectio, ad virtutem’ (3 B). The affectio is Jacob's wife Lia, the ratio his wife Rachel.

179 ‘Sed quis ignorat quam sit illud laboriosum, quam sit istud jucundum? Utique non sine labore magno animi affectio ab illicitis ad licita restringitur; et recte talis uxor Lia (hoc est laboriosa) vocatur.’ (3 C).

180 1 B. By ‘justice’ Richard clearly refers to that entire internal ordering of spiritual parts to the whole; see cap. 2 (2–3).

181 Filii Jacob ex Lia, ut diximus, nihil aliud sunt quam ordinati affectus’ (6 B).

182 Primus est timor poenae, secundus dolor poenitentiae, tertius spes veniae, quartus amor justitiae, et posthaec [Lia] desinit parere. Sufficere enim sibi posse existimat, cum se vera bona veraciter amare considerat’ (9 D).

183 “Quia invisibilia Dei, a creatura mundi per ea, quae facta sunt, intellecta conspiciuntur” (Rom. 1), inde manifeste colligitur quia ad invisibilium cognitionem numquam ratio assurgeret, nisi cum ancilla sua, imaginatio videlicet, rerum visibilium formam repraesentaret’ (4 D).

184 11 C. Cf. Aquinas, cited in note 174 supra.

185 13 B-C. Bala and Zelpha, the handmaids of Rachel and Lia respectively, Richard interprets as imagination and sensuality.

186 Et saepe instrumentum et ejus actionem uno nomine appellamus: nam illud quod videmus, et illud quo videmus, visum vocamus. Sic cum ratio, vel voluntas, vel intellectus nominatur, aliquando instrumentum, aliquando ejus actio intelligitur. Et scimus quidem quia instrumentum quam eius actio semper prius est, et sine ipsa esse potest. Habet ergo ab instrumento actio esse, non instrumentum ab actione. Unde nec inconveniens est, per instrumentum matrem, per actionem autem filium ejus intelligere. Imaginatio ergo, quando instrumentum significat est vis illa animae qua cum voluerit quodlibet imaginari valet. Hoc instrumento cum ad aliquid imaginandum mens utitur, actio procul dubio efficitur, quae similiter imaginatio nominatur’ (12 B).

187 17 D. Abstinence ‘calcat mundanum gloriam,’ patience ‘propter Deum libenter patitur mundi pressuram’ (18 D). These two virtues, identified with Gad and Asser respectively, must be preceded by the activities of the imagination just described: ‘Quis enim unquam affectioni cordis posset persuadere mundi hujus prospera contemnere, et ejus adversa formidare, nisi suggerentibus Dan et Nephtalim futurae vitae tormenta, vel praemia aeterna, non solum frequenter, imo pene indesinenter cogeretur aspicere ?’ (19 C).

188 See note 174 supra. Both concern fairly elaborate and controlled appetition or intentionality connected with the knowledge of the internal senses.

189 M(iddle) E(nglish) D(ictionary), edd. Hans Kurath et al. (Ann Arbor 1954 ff.) ‘Imaginatif’ 2.a, b, and c.

190 The texts to be cited will be numbered from 1 to 6. Definitions offered by the MED are (corresponding to texts 1, 2, and 6) ‘(a) suspicious, prying, curious'; (corresponding to texts 4 and 5) ‘(b) inventive, resourceful’; (corresponding to text 3) ‘ ?pensive; ? brooding.’

191 Lines 1094–96, The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Robinson, F. N. (2nd ed. Boston 1957) 139.

192 2.3505–3509, ed. Henry Bergen (EETS ES 97; London 1906–1935) I 244.

193 4.2382–2386, ibid. (EETS ES 103) II 634.

194 Lines 115–119, ed. Phyllis Hodgson (EETS ES 218; London 1925) 52.

195 Lines 3528–3529, ed. Furnival, F. J. and Stone, W. G. (EETS ES 105; London 1909) 106.

196 Lines 3–7, ed. Hodgson, op. cit. 152.

197 For instance the MED suggestion ‘ ?pensive; ?brooding’ might well convey a specific emotional overtone of Achilles' ‘imagining’ in text 3 above. With respect to texts 4 and 6 it should be noted that, although ‘imaginatif’ there might first seem connected with the narrower notion of knowledge based on the forms of objects sensed, further reflection on the passage will suggest that ‘ymaginatiff witte’ and ‘Ymaginatyve resons’ are references to the powers of the entire soul (strictly speaking, all those from the external senses up to but excluding ‘intellectus') to represent after their proper manner of knowing what can only be known by divine illumination.

198 Citations and definitions of the form ‘as noun’ are given by the MED at 4 a and b. Under b, the word is defined as ‘the ability to form images of things not experienced, e.g., of past or future events.’ If the ability referred to is imaginatio as mere combiner of sense experience this is clearly too narrow a definition for some of the texts cited. Consider the following three examples (all from Lydgate):

Which [Publius] loved more his worshep than his lyff,

Ches rather deie than lyuen in servage;

This conceit hadde in his imagynatyff,

And considered, sith he was in age,

To saue his honour it was moor auauntage

So to be slayn, his worshep to conserue,

Than lich a beest in prisoun for to sterue.

(Fall of Princes 8.519–25, ed. Henry Bergen, [EETS ES 123; London 1924] III 837). The next passage is from the Troy Book, where the poet declines to give details about Jason and Medea's love-making:

Wherefore I seie, 3e pat be wyse and can,

Axeth not me, which am so rude a man,

To deme a ping, and namely whan pat it

Passyth my knowying also and my witte;

For-dullid is myn ymagynatyf,

To deme in practik or in speculatif,

Where-fore I passe and late it over slyde …

(1.3573–3579, ed. cit. I 117–118). Finally there are these lines in the ‘Procession of Corpus Christi’: ‘Seope and considrepe in youre ymaginatyf / For Adams synne how Cryst was crucefyed….’ (Lines 10–11, ed. Henry N. McCracken, The Minor Poems of John Lydgate [EETS ES 107; London 1911] 36). Now in each of these cases it is the whole process of representation, from calling up sensory images to arranging concepts, which is involved. The sense is close to the figurative meaning of the Old French word from which the English came — ‘imaginer,’ to make a (mental) image of. According to L. Foulet, the Old French word took on figurative meanings for the first time in Froissart, in whose usage ‘imagination’ implies precisely ‘a vivid representation to oneself,’ and ‘imaginativ’ is said to imply ‘prudence founded on a penetrating vision of the situation, and initiative accompanying this prudence.’ (‘Études sur le vocabulaire abstrait de Froissart: Imaginer,’ Romania 68 [1944–1945] 258–272). Both F. Godefroy, Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue Française (Paris 1880–1902) 4.547, and A. Tobler and E. Lommatzsch, Altfranzösisches Wörterbuch (Wiesbaden 1925 ff.) 4.1344–45, cite only Froissart for ‘imaginatif’ as an adjective. Tobler-Lommatzsch, loc. cit., cite three instances of the word used as a noun, and gloss it as ‘Einbildungskraft’ or ‘Vorstellungskraft’; but the contexts cited in the dictionary entry argue a broad interpretation of the word, something closer to Froissart's ‘vivid representation to oneself.’ There is only one instance, cited by Godefroy, where the word is clearly used to refer to the philosophical imaginatio (in Jean le Bel, Li ars d'amour 2.1.9). For the broader, generalized meaning of ‘imaginatio’ in Latin, see Marie-Dominique Chenu, ‘Imaginatio: Note de lexicographie philosophique médiévale,’ Miscellanea Giovanni Mercati (Vatican City 1946) II 593–602.

199 Robertson and Huppé 152.

200 With Glossa ordinaria, ed. cit. V 129v.

201 ‘The Pardon Scene in Piers Plowman,’ Speculum 26 (1951) 328. The author offers a discussion of the possible approaches to the scene and a summary of past scholarship (318–319).

202 Ibid. 323.

203 See, for example, Augustine, Enarrationes in psalmos (CCL 38.134–135); pseudo-Jerome, Breviarium in psalmos (PL 26.937–939); Glossa ordinaria (ed. cit. III 116v-118v); Cassiodorus, Expositio in Psalterium (PL 70.167–171).

204 The author hopes to elaborate this pattern in a forthcoming article.

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