The Cotton Nero poems are connected by a complex web of relations that emerges in full only under careful critical scrutiny. A matrix of numerical relationships, cyclical patterns underlying linear developments, repetitions in terms of both theme and phrasing, and networks of innumerable analogies and contrasts, all suggest that the manuscript is a coherent whole and ought to be read as such. Much of this escapes the notice of a casual reader, however. The proliferation of critical writing whose aim is to uncover such links proves that many of the latent connections can only be brought to attention through painstaking textual analysis. While this is certainly the case, few people would have put forward the hypothesis of common authorship in the first place if there was nothing that implied it even upon an initial, perfunctory reading. Indeed, the obvious similarities concern both themes and form and are manifest in the poems’ didacticism as well as in their artistry. The reader of Pearl who moves on to the text of the other three poems is likely to notice several analogies almost immediately. On the most general level of understanding, the manuscript seems to champion a sympathetic, compassionate attitude towards human imperfection. The Pearl Maiden never tires of trying to enlighten her father, Jonah always gets another chance, and the Green Knight light-heartedly dismisses the self-accusations of Gawain’s guilty conscience with a benevolent laugh. Although Cleanness, when taken alone, is far from advocating this sort of cheerful and understanding acceptance, the other three poems ostensibly share this common message-one affirming the tenability of human aspirations despite all the flaws in humankind’s constitution that in the end make us subject to continual error. Then, with regard to themes and symbolism, it is difficult not to notice the reappearance of the image of the pearl in Cleanness1 and SGGK,2 where it once again stands for perfection and purity. Finally, there is also the consistency in style, which manifests itself through a highly suggestive and easily noticeable abundance of detailed descriptions scattered throughout all four poems.