William Langland

(1330 - 1390 / Wales)

William Langland
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William Langland was born in 1332, probably at Ledbury near the Welsh marshes and may have gone to school at Great Malvern Priory. Although he took minor orders he never actually became a priest.

Having later moved to London he apparently eked out his living by singing masses and copying documents. His great work, Piers Plowman, or, more precisely, The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman, is an allegorical poem in unrhymed alliterative verse, regarded as the greatest Middle English poem prior to Chaucer. It is both a social satire and a vision of the simple Christian life. The poem consists of three dream visions:
(1) in which Holy Church and Lady Meed ... more »

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Quotations

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  • A fair feeld ful of folk fand I there-betwene,
    Of alle maner of men, the mene and the riche,
    Worching and wandringe as the world asketh.
    Some putte hem to plow, playede ful selde,...
    William Langland (1330-1400), British poet. The Vision of Piers Plowman (l. 9-14). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Fr...
  • on a May morwening upon Malverne hilles
    Me befel a ferly, of fairye me thoughte;
    I was wery ofwandred and wente me to reste
    Under a brod bank by a bournes side;
    And as I la...
    William Langland (1330-1400), British poet. The Vision of Piers Plowman (l. 9-14). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Fr...
  • ''I saw a towr on a toft tryely y-maked;
    A deep dale benethe, a dungeoun thereinne
    With deepe dikes and derke and dredful of sight.''
    William Langland (1330-1400), British poet. The Vision of Piers Plowman (l. 9-14). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Fr...
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