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The vision and the creed of
Piers* Ploughman

newly imprinted

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London William Pickering

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To the master and Fellows

OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

This Work

(EDITED FROM A MANUSCRIPT PRESERVED IN THEIR LIBRARY)

IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY

THE EDITOR.

INTRODUCTION.

THE History of the Middle Ages in England,

as in other countries, represents to us a series of great consecutive political movements, coexistent with a similar series of intellectual revolutions in the mass of the people. The vast mental developement caused by the universities in the twelfth century led the way for the struggle to obtain religious and political liberty in the thirteenth. The numerous political songs of that period which have escaped the hand of time, and above all the mass of satirical ballads against the Church of Rome, which commonly go under the name of Walter Mapes, are remarkable monuments of the intellectual history of our forefathers. Those ballads are written in Latin ; for it was the most learned class of the community which made the first great stand against the encroachments and corruptions of the papacy and the increasing influence of the monks. We know that the struggle alluded to was historically unsuccessful. The baronial wars ended in the

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