Piers Plowman


William Langland

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Hawkin, also called Activa Vita (Active Life), is one of the characters that Will meets while traveling as a pilgrim with Patience and Conscience. Hawkin’s coat is badly stained, and he complains to his new acquaintances that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t keep the coat clean. Once he explains that his coat is Christendom and the stains are his sins (long-windedly detailing every single one of his sins), Patience provides him with a better method for laundering the coat—contrition (guilt for sin) and the sacrament of penance.

Hawkin Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below are all either spoken by Hawkin or refer to Hawkin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Nortona & Company edition of Piers Plowman published in 2006.
Passus XIV Quotes

…Contrition may
be used
To scrape your coat clean of all kinds of filth.
…Do-Well will wash it and wring it with a wise confessor.
…Do-Better will scrub it and scour it…
…And then send you to Satisfaction, to let the sun bleach it.
…Do-Best will keep it clean from unkind deeds.

Related Characters: Conscience (speaker), Do-Well, Do-Best, Do-Better, Hawkin
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
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Hawkin Character Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the character Hawkin appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Passus XIII
Corruption Theme Icon
...long after embarking on their journey, Patience, Conscience, and Will come across a wafer-seller named Hawkin, or Activa Vita. Hawkin’s coat is splattered with stains, like a “spot of insolent speech”... (full context)
Passus XIV
Corruption Theme Icon
Penance and Repentance Theme Icon
Long-windedly, Hawkin explains that he only has one outfit. Plus, he has a wife and kids, and... (full context)
Penance and Repentance Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Hawkin is skeptical, so Patience explains to him how “…through faith comes contrition… / Which drives... (full context)