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If I do borrow anything . . . you shall still find 
me to acknowledge it, and to thank not him only 
that hath digged out treasure for me, but that hath 
lighted me a candle to the place. 

John Donne: The Progress of the Sou/, 
Introductory Epistle. 1601. 








This is an attempt to elucidate Gawain Douglas's work, and to 
place it in its proper setting, as a literary document, in the hope 
that, until something better is achieved, this may fill a blank 
in Scottish Literature. My excuse is that it has not before been 

For reasons which I show in Chapter IV, I have taken the 
version of the Cambridge Manuscript, presented for practical 
purposes in the Bannatyne Club edition, as being the most 
authentic. This explains the difierences, of spelling and some- 
times of phrase in the quotations, from Small's text in his well- 
known edition. Small does not observe the pecuharities of the 
Elphynstoun Manuscript, which he professed to follow, especially 
in the remarkable terminations of Books V, VI, and VII, 
while he also interpolated certain verses, which are not in his 
exemplar, but taken from the Black Letter edition of 1553. I 
therefore make my references by the number of the Book of 
the Mneid, the chapter of Douglas's version, and the hne of that 
chapter, e.g. II, 3, 35. This seems the best way to facihtate 
reference to the three great manuscripts of the poem, which 
would not have been the case had I referred to the volume of 
Small, with the page, and Une of the page. At the same time, 
for the convenience of the reader, who has Small's edition at hand, 
I have given, where necessary, a reference also to his text. 

I have to thank the Marquess of Bath, the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, Sir Arthur Hirtzel, and Professor Clark of Oxford, 
for courtesies and opportunities of information ; the Rev. W. L. 
Sime, of Smailholm, for help in reading proofs ; and the Syndics 
of the Cambridge University Press, for their kindness. 

L. M'L. W. 

1 November 1919 


1. Cambridge (not later than 1522). 

2. Elphynstoun {circa 1525). 

3. RuTHVEN {circa 1535). 

4. Lambeth, dated February 1645 (1546). 

5. Bath, dated 1547. 


1. " Black Letter," 1553. 

2. Ruddiman'3, 1710. 

3. Bannatyne Cltjb's, 1839. 

4. Small's, 1874. 

Vide Chapter IV. 



Preface . . ix 


I. The Man and his Fame 1 

11. The Man and his Work 25 

III. The Translation : Its Method and Result . 69 

IV. Manuscripts and Readings ..... 124 
V. Language and Influences ..... 149 

Appendix A 179 

„ B 227 

„ C 237 

Index 247 



His misfortunes 

It is not necessary here to g« into details of the life of 
Gawain Douglas. The piteousness of his story arises from the 
fact that he was drawn into the fatal vortex of ambition and 
faction which followed upon Flodden, with the consequent 
unsettlement of affairs in Scotland. The widowed queen's 
infatuation, which first tempted and then compelled the poet's 
nephew, the Earl of Angus, to marry her, lay at the root of 
Douglas's disaster. The opportunity of preferment drew him 
into the political and ecclesiastical arena, and his record became 
stained with place-seeking. In this, it may be, he was no 
worse than his neighbours, but it is not pleasant to read the 
poet's letter to Adam " Wyllyamson," from Perth, of date 
21st January 1515, in regard to the bishopric of Dunkeld, — 
" Forzet not to solyst and to convoy weyll my promotion . . . 
for I haf gevyn the money quhar ze bad me." He was advanced 
to the see by Pope Leo X, " referente reverendissimo Cardinale 
de Medicis," the queen supporting his claims with her brother 
King Henry VIII. And on 29th June 1515, he paid at Rome 
by hands of his proctor 450 gold florins. It must be admitted 
also, that he was not mitouched by actual disloyalty to his 
country. His correspondence — in which he pleads that the 
EngUsh king should enter Scotland — and his method of pulling 
the wires at Rome through Wolsey's influence, laid him painfully 
open to more than suspicion, and exposed him to imprisonment 
and finally to exile. The duplicity of the queen, and the de- 
sertion by Angus of his own cause, were the final instruments of 
the shipwreck of the poet's hopes, into which, only for a little, 

A 1 

2 The Man and his Fame 

entered the soft light of a tender friendship in London with the 
Scholar Polydore Vergil, ere the darkness sank above the 
banished man, dying of the plague, far from home. His own 
letter to Wolsey ^ gives a touching ghmpse of his condition. 
He says, " I am and haif bene so dolorus and full of vehement 
ennoye that I dar nocht auentor cum in your presence . . . 
haif compacience of me, desolatt and wofull wycht." And he 
anticipates " penuritie and distress." It was the last he wrote, 
and one seems to hear, in this, the pang of a proud heart 

His dust sleeps in the Church of the Savoy ; and Scotland 
should not forget the resting-place of the great poet who was 
the first to write her name large upon the vestibule of the new 
age of light and learning. 

His circumstances 

Though, unfortunately, we know little of his early days, 
when poesy was the intimate companion of his soul, before 
ambition drew him into strife and sorrow, everybody is aware 
that he was, by circumstance of birth and education, of the 
most prominent note. He was not only a member of the 
leading noble family of the Scottish realm, son of Archibald 
" Bell the Cat," but he was also uncle of the nobleman who had 
become the husband of the widow of King James the Fourth. 
And he was also a bishop who just missed being the primate of 
Scotland. A busy man, plunged in the rolling welter of his 
unsettled times, he drifted into overmastering sorrows and 
disappointments when he left the quiet shades of poesy to 
mix in the bitter ambitions of his peers, and to die, in 1522, 
as his tombstone in the Hospital Church of the Savoy puts it — 
" patria sua exul." 

The poet is often forgotten and hidden behind the bishop, 
crowded and crushed out of sight by the multitudinous business 
involved in the hunt for preferment and the flotsam of pohtical 
scramble. And those who might have fully recorded contem- 
porary opinion regarding his poetic work, passed it for the 
most part over, as though in it he had not made an abiding 
1 State Papers, Scotland, MSS., vol. i. No. 85. 

The Man and his Fame 3 

mark more deeply lasting than any he was destined to make 
in the memory of the Church by his episcopate, except for the 
quarrels stirred by his quest for place and profit, in the crowd 
which, unfortunately, were seeking for the same things at the 
same time as himself. 

Henry VIII 

The letter of Henry VIII to Pope Leo X, of 28th January 
1514,1 written to further Douglas's claims in regard to the 
primacy of Scotland, summed up his public character when it 
spoke of him as possessing " praeclaram non generis solum sed 
etiam animi nobilitatem," and " eminentem videlicet doctrinam, 
prudentiae, modestiae, atque egregiae probitati conjunctam : 
et quantopere sit communis boni studiosus," though we must 
remember that it is the language of a testimonial which is here 
used. Douglas's own letters to Wolsey and Adam Williamson are, 
of course, the letters of a keen candidate for a very desirable post, 
and few men can stand the white light of criticism mider such 
circumstances. He doubtless maimed and stained his hands, 
when, instead of plucking at the chords of Apollo, he pulled 
the unclean wires of ecclesiastical and poMtical influence. A very 
sane modern historian is thus impelled to characterize Douglas 
as a " man reputable as a poet, but disreputable as a politician." ^ 

George Buchanan 

But it is fine to read the summary of George Buchanan's ^ 
residuary impression, when, writing of the poet's decease in 
London, he said : " Peste corruptus obiit, magno suae virtutis 
apud bonos desiderio relicto. Prseter enim nataUum splendorem 
et corporis dignitatem erant in eo multag, ut ilhs temporibus 
literae, summa temperantia et singularis animi moderatio, 
atque in rebus turbulentis inter adversas factiones perpetua 
ttdes et auctoritas." * There spoke the humanist, who, thou<»h 
a patriot, saw beyond the limit of provincial prejudice and the 
detriment of personal spite. He was himself to taste th© 

^ Monumenta Britannica ex autographis Romanorum Pontificum Deprompfew 
7oL xxxvii., Brit. Mus. 

* MacEwan: History of the Church in Scotland, vol. i. 403. * 1506-1582 

* Eerum scoticarum Historia, lib. xiv. c. 13, a.d. 1582. 

4 The Man and his Fame 

bitterness of all these, and to be able to describe his own case 
also, as " exul, vagus et inops." 

Douglas's personal friends knew of his scholarship ; but, 
in their view, that and his place as a Churchman were the 
greatest things about him, to judge at least from what they say. 

Abbot Myln 

Alexander Myln,^ Abbot of Cambuskenneth, and afterwards 
first President of the Court of Session, seemed to think as much 
of Douglas's position as a bishop, and his rank as a son of the 
Earl of Angus, as of anything besides. True, in the dedication 
of his Lives of the Bishops of Dunkeld,^ Myln included the 
Reverend Father in Christ, the Lord Gawain, " divinas efc 
humanas literas docto." But, in the biography, the main 
things that make him still remembered as a " prseclarus homo '* 
are practically overlooked. 

John Major 

John Major,^ the learned Doctor of the Sorbonne, who, during 

his regency of Glasgow University and professorship of theology 

there, had John Knox — and afterwards at St Andrews, Patrick 

Hamilton, Alexander Alesius, and George Buchanan— under 

his direction, dedicated to Douglas and Cockburn the Fourth 

Book of his commentaries on the Sententice of Peter Lombard.* 

And yet he does not speak of Douglas's eminence as a poet, 

though he knew him so intimately. Perhaps that aspect of the 

ecclesiastic did not appeal to the scholastic mind of Major. 

And, perhaps, to one who, of course, lectured in Latin, and sawj 

to it that within the University walls the students spoke together | 

in that language, the rendering of its greatest poetry into thai 

vulgar tongue may have seemed worthiest of silence. Hej 

dedicated the First Book of the Sententice ^ to George Hepburn, 

Abbot of Arbroath ; and following upon the epistle dedicatoryi 

is a pseudo dialogue " inter duos famatos %dros, magistrumj 

Gauuinum douglaiseum virum non minus eruditum quai 

nobilem, ecclesise beati Egidii edinburgensis prefectum, 

' 1474 ?-1549. 2 Vide Edition Bannatyne Club, pp. 72-5. 

I ^ 1470-1550. * Paris, 1519, '" impressore lodoco Badio."] 

Fans, 1510, " impressum ... per Henriciim Stephanum. 


The Man and his Fame 5 

magistrum Davidem crenstonem in sacra theosophia baccha- 
larium formatum optime meritum," In this dialogue Major 
makes Douglas appear as being an opponent of the scholastic 
mode of thought, objecting to the darkening of knowledge by 
the multiplicity of positions and subtleties, and also as quoting 
iEneas Sylvius, who had been so venturesome as to declare that 
time would wither the works of Aristotle. Douglas is also made 
to say that it was absurd to ascribe to Aristotle an authority 
equivalent to that of the Doctors of the Church ; and he is 
represented as admonishing Major to return to Scotland and 
scatter among the souls of the faithful, by the exercise of 
preaching, the best seeds of evangelical truth. This reflects 
the fact that there must have been some good-humoured ex- 
pression of differences between Douglas and Major, the latter 
of whom was well-known as a reactionary, despite his learning 
— evidently a laudator tevrtforis acti, and a staunch upholder of 
the old paths,! while Douglas is thought by his friend to be a 
somewhat dangerously advanced modernist. It is Douglas 
the Churchman whom Major admires. He either ignores the 
poet, or considers his poetic work not quite worthy of the notice 
of a grave scholastic mind. 

Polydore Vergil 

A third contemporary, of considerable note, and a friend of 
Douglas's closing days, was Polydore Vergil,^ the ItaUan whom 
Rome had sent to England to collect " Peter's Pence " ; and 
who, after holding several ecclesiastical positions, was naturalized 
in 1510, becoming later on a prebendary of St Paul's. He 
says in his Anglicce Historiw ^ — and in this he is the only person 
except Douglas himself whose hand draws the curtain, gi^^ng 
us a glimpse of Douglas in his exile from his native land — 
" Nuper enim Gauinus Dunglas Duncheldensis episcopus, homo 
scotus, virque summa nobilitate et uirtute, nescio ob quam 
causam in Angliam profectus ubi audiuit dedisse me iampridem 
ad historian! scribendam, nos conuenit : amicitiam fecimus : 
. . . verum non licuit diu uti, frui amico, qui eo ipso anno, 

* Considered by Rabelais (bk. ii. c. 7) worthy of laughter ; in List of 
library of St Victory as having wiitten de wodo faciendi puddinos ! 

* 1470-1555. 3 Lib ijj pp, 5o_2 1534^ Basel 

6 The Man and his Fame 

qui fuit salutis humanae IVLDXXI Londini pestilentia absumptus 
est." Douglas died between 10th September 1522, the date 
of his will, and the 19th of the same month, when probate of his 
will was taken. The Black Booh of Tayrmuth is therefore wrong 
in giving the date as 9th September. He had been declared 
rebel by Albany on 12th December 1521, and his denunciation 
as a traitor was confirmed under the Great Seal of Scotland on 
21st February 1522.^ It was as the scholarly Scot, " vir sane 
honestus," under the shadow of some mystery, eager to provide 
him with proofs of the antiquity of the story of his fatherland 
for insertion in the ItaKan's history, in answer to what he con- 
sidered to be the heresies of Major, who had denied the fabled 
legends of the northern people, that Polydore knew him, and 
not as the poet. 

These three — two of them, without question, familiar with 
the man of whom they wrote — do not seem to have recognized 
the full intent of that which was to link him on to the interest 
of later ages. The fact, that to Douglas were attributed 
" comoedise aliquot," - albeit they were " sacrse," may have 
helped the reticence of grave ecclesiastics, as, from their point 
of view, being somewhat of a lapse from dignity. 


Bishop Spottiswoode,^ however, though a Churchman, 
specially notes Douglas's poetic work with approval, while, at 
the same time, speaking highly also of the man. He says of 
him — " A man learned, wise, and given to all vertue and good- 
nesse : some monuments of his engenie he left in Scottish meeter, 
which are greatly esteemed, especially his translation of Virgil 
his books of iEneids." * 

As the number of poetic \An.iters increased in Scotland, it 
became the habit for each of them to record the names of his 
predecessors and contemporaries in catalogic eulogy. Dunbar 
gives his well-known hst. And The Complaynt of Scotlande 
enumerates its guess-provoking poems by name. 

1 Stillingfleet erroneously dates his death 1520. Antiquities of the Brilish 
Churches, p. Iv. Vide Art. Calendar, Encyc. Brit. 

* Cf. Dempster : Hist. Eccles. Gentis Scot., p. 382. ^ 1505-1639. 

* History, Church of Scotland, ii. p. 61. 1655. 

The Man and his Fame 7 


David Lyndsay, in his Testament of the Papyngo,^ has the 
acumen to observe that Douglas's really greater work was his 
rendering of the Latin Poet, the riving asunder of the close-set 
thorn-hedge of Scottish phrase, that it might permit entry of the 
full flower of the Roman golden age into Scottish fields. He 


Allace ! for one quhilk larape wes of this land 

Of Eloquence the flowand balmy strand, 
And m our Inglis lethorick the rose. 
As of rubeis the charbuncle bene chose ! 

And as Phebus dois Cynthia preceU, 

So Gawane Douglas Byschope of Dunkell 

Had quhen he wes in to this land on lyve 
Abufe vulgare Poeitis prerogative 

Both in pratick and speculatioun. 

I saye no more, gude Redaris may descryre 

His worthy workis, in nowmer mo than fy ve ; 

And speciallye the trew Translatioun 

Of Virgin, quhilk bene consolatioun. 
To cunning men, to know his gret ingyne 
Als Weill in natural science as devyne. 


Douglas is also especially considered as the poet, in the Ad- 
hortation of all Estaitis to the raiding of thir present warkis, by 
Charteris, in his edition of Lyndsay,- wherein he declares that 

in ornate metir surmount did euerilk man. 

Yet Lyndsay is set in a place of honour before him, of course 
for his matter and his religio-political purport. 


John Rolland ^ of Dalkeith, in his stodgy allegory, The Court 
of FewMS,* while acknowledging the difficulty, even then, of 
Douglas's work, refers to Douglas as 

ane honest oratour, 
Profound Poet and perfite Philosophour, 
Into his dayis above all buir the bell. 

1 1530. Prologue, 1. 22. * 1568. Stanza 3. 

» ft. 1560. * Bk. iii. 1. 113. 

8 The Man and his Fame 

Barnabie Googe 

Of knowledge of Douglas's Virgil in England we find evidence 
in the Eglogs Efytafhes and Sonettes of Barnabie Googe,i where, 
in an Epytaphe of Maister Thomas Phayre the Virgilian translator, 
he writes : 

The Noble H. Hawarde once, 

That raught eternall fame, 
With mighty Style did bring a pace 

Of Virgilis worke in frame, 
And Grimaold gave the lyke attempt, 

And Douglas wan the Ball, 
Whose famous wyt in Scottysh ryme 

Had made an ende of all. 

Thomas SpegU and Thomas Thorp 

It is interesting to find Speght in his second edition of 
Chaucer ,2 speaking of " the excellent and learned Scottish poet 
Gawyne Douglass, Bishop of Dunkeld," and drawing attention 
to Douglas's reference to Chaucer, in the Preface to the trans- 
lation of the Mneid. Yet, with regard to knowledge of Douglas 
across the Border, the fact that, in the Cornv-copia, Pasquils 
Nightcap or Antidot for the Headache,'^ printed for the famous 
Thomas Thorp, there is a reference to Lyndsay's Testament 
of the Papyngo, need not be pressed. The poet is writing 
praises of the cuckoo. He has evidently taken note of poetic 
ornithological references, but he has not necessarily read 
Lyndsay's poem, and so need not be taken as a corroborative 
witness to Douglas's fame mentioned therein. 

Question of the Books 

Among the notices of the sixteenth century unexpected 
glimpses are caught of what must either have been slips of 
memory or ignorance of facts. 

Confusion appears even regarding such a simple matter as 
the number of Books stated to have been translated by Douglas, 
as though the writers either did not know, or forgot about the 
Book of Mapheus Vegius included in the work. 

1 London, 1563. Cf. Phaer. « 1602. 

» London, 1612. Attributed to William L. Edited by Grosart, 1877. 

The Man and his Fame 9 


For example, Sir Francis Kinaston, in a note about Henryson,^ 
speaks of Douglas as " one of the most famous of the Scottish 
poets," and as author of the " learned and excellent translation 
of Virgil's jEneids, who was Bishop of Dunkeld, and made 
excellent prefaces to every one of the twelve books." The 
looseness of statement in the rest of the paragraph shews that 
he had no real idea of the chronology of the poets whom he 
mentions ; and the fact that he refers only to " the twelve 
books " shews that this may be taken as the note, currente calamo, 
of a man who knew about literary names and works, but had 
not, by personal corroboration or first-hand enquiry, made 
direct acquaintance with the contents of that to which he re- 
ferred, and did not remember the thirteenth book of Mapheas. 
It was just what any well-educated person was bomid to know 
in regard to Virgil himself. 

Black Letter Title 

It is somewhat strange also to see on the title-page of the 
first printed edition " quite as curious a statement of what it 
purports to be. There we read : 

The Xin Bukes of Eneados of the F^mose Poete Virgill Translated out 
of Latyne verses into Scottish Metir bi the Reuerend Father in God, Mayster 
<3awin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkel, and unkil to the Erie of Angus, 
Every Buke having hys perticular Prologe. 

This looks a« though it were the product of a hand other than 
the author's. It was, indeed, probably by the printer himself, 
William Copland, who seems to have been chief editor of the 
work, and who may have simply counted the number of books 
without thinking how many were contained in the ^neid, and 
not remembering at all, when he wrote, about Mapheus Vegius's 
supplement. The text is often inaccurate, and differs very 
frequently from all the manuscripts.^ 

In this respect it is interesting to find also what the body of 
^ recorders, the catalogue compilers, apart from the actual 

' » Written about 1640. Printed by F. Waldron, 1796. Kinaston MS. BodL 
1»MS. Add. c. 287. 

* Black Letter. 1553, London. ^ Vide p. 140. 

10 The Man and his Fame 

historians and critical writers, have to say regarding Douglas 
when they mention him ; and it is amazing how they seem 
to have " followed the lead," like sheep, jumping at the same 


Foremost in importance amongst these stands John Bale.* 
He had been compelled, as a consequence of his conversion tO" 
extreme Protestantism, to live for seven years an exile in 
Germany, till on the accession of Edward VI he returned and 
was made Bishop of Ossory, though on Edward's death he had 
again to flee, coming home again, however, in Elizabeth's reign. 
He was a voluminous writer, being author of as many as twenty- 
two religious dramas, of which only five have survived. His 
influence, as a source, was long and wide. He shews however^ 
in reality, as he himself acknowledges, no direct knowledge of 
Douglas otherwise than what he could pluck from the page of 
other writers.^ Nevertheless, in his Index he records the number 
of books of the translation accurately as thirteen, though without 
mentioning the name of Mapheus. Later he alters this to 
twelve,'^ probably recalling how many Virgil himself had written, 
though again without touching on Mapheus's share. He was 
aware of his limitations in regard to Scottish poetry, as he was 
not a Scotsman : and, as himself shews, his handicap was 
heavy. He says : " Paucos quidem esse scriptores a me citatos 
fateor . . . non quod non fuerint plures, sed quod mihi extera 
homini non perinde sint noti. Nee enim unquam in Scotia 
fui, nee eorum uidi bibliothecas ; sed ab extemis accepi quicquid 
hie adductum est." In his Summarmm, he similarly mentions 
Douglas's name and office as Bishop of Dunkeld and his " Com- 
mentariolum de rebus Scoticis Li. I." with the date and cause 
of his death. In his later work Douglas's Palice of Honour^ 
and the Mneid are noted, with acknowledgments to Nicholas 
Brigham. He explicitly mentions Polydore Vergil as his 
authority on Douglas. 

Epistola De 
Scriptorum lllmtrium. Posterior Pars, 1559. 

" Epistola Dedimioria to Alesius and Knox : Catalogue dealing with Scots 
writers. ° 

The Man and his Fame 11 


Holinshed ^ mentions Douglas's translation of Virgil's JEneid 
*' lib. 12 " — without reference to the supplementary thirteenth. 
When speaking of him as " a cunning Clerk and a very good 
Poet " he records the " rare wit and learning," with his nobility 
of birth, his episcopate, his strife, his flight, and death. There 
is, of course, no trace of actual knowledge of the work itself, 
but simply of the fact of Douglas having achieved it. 

Gilbert Gray 

Gilbert Gray, Principal of Marischal College,^ Aberdeen, 
followed Bale's reference. He says : " Anno proximo, scilicet 
1521, Fatis concessit vir multigenae Eruditionis ac magnum 
Ecclesise Lumen Galvinus Douglas, Episcopus Dunkeldensis, 
reUcto post se uberi Ingenii f oetu scilicet . . . et venusto Carmine 
Patrio Sermone fideliter redditis Duodecim Libris iEneidon 
Virgilii." He evidently wrote from memory, in general terms, 
as the custom was, and not from immediate knowledge, omitting 
reference to the supplement, but knowing of course the number 
of books in Virgil's original. It is very remarkable that, being 
an Aberdonian, he omits mention of Barbour in his oration. 


Leslie,^ Bishop of Ross, wrote regarding Douglas : " Hie 
Vir, si se his tumultibus non immiscuisset, dignus profecta 
fuisset, propter ingenii acumen acerrimmn ac memoria con- 
secraretur nostram linguam multis eruditionis suse monumentis 
illustrauit ; in quibus illud fuerat ingenii sui signum longe 
prseclarissimum, quod Virgilii ^neidos nostro idiomate donauit, 
ea dexteritate, vt singuUs latinis versibus singuli scotici re- 
spondeant." Here, in a matter which he ought to have known, 
Leslie slips — a matter which, indeed, if he had really read the 
work he could scarcely have forgotten. He either knew his 
Douglas but did not know Virgil, or knew his Virgil — which is 

^ History of Scottand, p. 307. 

* Oratio de Illustribus Scotice Scriptoribvs, 1611. See Nicolson's Scottish 
Historical Library, p. 70, ed. 17'3L6. Also Mackenzie's Lives and Characters of the 
Scottish Nation, vol. i. p. xxx, 1708. 

* De Rebus Gestis Scotorum, lib. ix. p. 396. 1578. 

12 The Man and his Fame 

much more likely to be certain — and followed the conventional 
idea about Douglas's work, namely, that the translation was 
a line for line rendering, though Douglas especially disclaimed 
that idea in his Introductions and Epilogues. Leshe knows 
scarcely a limit to his praise : "in Virgilio vertendo versuum 
suauitatem, sententiarum pondera, verborum significationes, 
ac singulorum pene apicum vim, nostra lingua plene enu- 
cleateque ; expresserit." 


Thomas Dempster,^ repeats the old convention as to the 
conspicuous mark of Douglas's translation, an instance of the 
perpetuation of errors, copied and handed on as a common 
heritage by successive compilers — " Virgilii Opera Scoticis 
Rythmis translata . . . mira ingenii felicitate, ut uersibus 
versus responderent, quod haud scio an exemplum habeat in 
antiquitate." Dempster was prone to writing without ex- 
actness or even without truth, and his Historia is rich in mistakes. 
He had a remarkable career, seeming to pick and choose pro- 
fessorial chairs, from Paris to Pisa, till he died at Bologna as 
Professor of Humanities in 1625 ; and he rivalled Sir Thomas 
Urquhart in the exaggerations and forgeries which he per- 
petrated in order to magnify, in his case, not his own position, 
but the literary glories of his native land. He apparently 
invented authors who never wrote, and books that never were 
written, so far at any rate as human knowledge goes. He 
quotes the authority of Polydore Vergil, Leshe, and George 
Buchanan, mistaking a reference of the latter as applying to 
Douglas, when it really applies to Gavin Dunbar. 

David Buchanan 

David Buchanan,^ is an untrustworthy person, following 
all the errors of his predecessors, and adding nothing to the 
sum of knowledge regarding Douglas. He makes " Robert " 
Langland the author of Visio Petri Aratoris, and speaks of him 
as a Scotsman educated in Aberdeen, which is, perhaps, his 

' Historia Ecdesiastica Gentis Scotorum, 1627, p. 221. 
* 1590-1652. De Scriptoribus Scoiis, ed. 1837, pp. 92-3. 

The Man and his Fame 13 

greatest originality ; and he repeats tlie myth of verbal literal- 
ness which had become a kind of formula when mentioning 

Hume of Godscroft 

Hume of Godscroft ^ knew both Leslie and Buchanan pro- 
bably better than he knew Douglas, for he paraphrases both of 
them. He says : " His chiefest work is the translation of Virgil 
yet extant in verse, in which he ties himself so strictly as is 
possible, and yet it is so well expressed that whosoever shall 
assay to do the like will find it a hard piece of work to go through 
with. In his prologues before every Book,, where he hath his 
Uberties, he showeth a naturall and ample vein of poesie, so 
pure, pleasant, and judicious, that I believe there is none that 
hath written before or since but cometh short of him. And in 
my opinion there is not such a piece to be found as is his Pro- 
logue to the 8 Book, beginning (of Dreams and Dri veilings, etc.) 
at least in our language." It is remarkable that he singles out, 
for special note, not one of those Prologues where Nature frowns 
or smiles in beautifully free painting, as though a man had sat 
down at his window to write them, or in the meadows face to 
face with her ; but the Prologue to the Eighth Book, which 
is of the most antique mould and deliberately archaic form. 

Colder wood and Anderson 

David Calderwood ^ quotes Douglas's translation with ap- 
proval, even though it had been done by a Bishop, and asserts 
him to have been " a good Poet in the Scots meeter." And 
his contemporary, Patrick Anderson,^ went the full length which 
a man can go, and a little fui-ther than many would venture, 
when he says that Douglas was " the best poet in our vulgar 
tongue that ever was born in our nation, of any before him." 
Both of these must have been interested in somewhat similar 
degree in the Bishop, for each of them had suffered exile and 
persecution, and had known the hunger for native land and 
the voice of home. 

* c. 1560-1630. History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus, ed. 1644. 

* History, Kirk of Scotland, 1575-1650. 
' 1575-1623, nephew of Bishop Leslie. 

14 The Man and his Fame 

In the seventeenth century Douglas was spoken of, borrowed 
from, and read by, an audience " fit though few." If Charteris 
bad spoken of his style, it was his matter that now was his appeal 
to his readers. 


Thus, Drummond of Hawthomden,^ when Charles the First 
came to Edinburgh in 1633, set up in the midst of the street 
" a mountaine dressed for Parnassus," where Apollo and the 
Muses appeared, and ancient Worthies of Scotland noted for 
learning were represented : such as " Sedullius, Joannes Duns, 
Bishop Elphinstoun of Aberdeen, Hector Boes, Joannes Major, 
Bishop Gawen Douglasse, Sir Da\dd Lyndsay, Georgius 
Buchananus." The motto over them was " Fama super sethera 
noti." This shews where Drummond considered Douglas's 
place to be ; and he was there as a poet, above everything. To 
him, elsewhere ^ Douglas was " a man noble, valient, and 
learned, and an excellent Poet as his works yet extant testifie." 
Here it is, of course, plain that he is regarding him mainly 
from a personal point of view. He takes his poetic quality for 
granted, but he looks at the man first. In fact, the majority 
of later writers, as opposed to the earlier ones, refer to the poet 
rather than to the ecclesiastical politician, and probably to 
the poet who looked out with tender gaze on the landscape and 
the customs of his native land, and who died in exile ; which 
is almost the sum of modern knowledge regarding him. 


The seventeenth century saw a suddenly revived impulse 
towards the historic study of Anglo-Saxon ; and William L'isle ^ 
whose interest was in the main along the line of Church History, 
published in 1623 a Treatise on ^Elfric's New Testament work. 
He tells how he wished to unearth what treasures lay hid in 
Old English ; and, in consequence of the dearth of grammars 
and dictionaries, he had approached the study through " Dutch, 

1 1585-1649. Entertainment of the High and Mighty Monarch, etc. 

2 History of the Five Jameaes. 1655. 

•' 1579-1637. Title of second edition: Divers Ancient Monuments in the 
Saxon Tongue, 1638. 

The Man and his Fame 15 

both high and low " ; and then he had read whatever he could 
find in Old English, of poetry and prose. " But the Saxon 
(as a bird flying in the aire farther and farther seems lesse and 
lesse) the older it was, became harder to bee understood. 
At length I lighted on Virgil, Scottished by the Reverand Gawin 
Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld ... the best translation of that 
Poet that ever I read : and though I found that dialect more 
hard than any of the former (as nearer the Saxon, because 
farther from the Norman), yet with help of the Latine I made 
shift to understand it, and read the book more than once from 
the beginning to the end. Wherby I must confesse I got more 
knowledge that I sought than by any of the other. For, as 
at the Saxon invasion, many of the Britons, so, at the Norman, 
many of the Saxons fled into Scotland, preserving in that Realme 
miconquered, as the line Royall, so- also the language, better 
than the Inhabitants here, under conqueror's law and custom, 
were able." i 

A kindred purpose induced Franciscus Junius 2 to use 
Douglas's work in his study of Chaucer. "To the end of 
illustrating and so illuminating difiicult and misunderstood 
passages, in Chaucer," he says, in a letter to Dugdale, February 
1667-8—" I hold the Bishop of Dunkeld his VirgiUan trans- 
lation to be very much conducing . . . there is very good use 
to be made of him." ^ Junius left some marginal notes on a 
printed copy of the Mneid in the Bodleian Library, and a 
manuscript, in the same place, Index Alphabeticus verhorum 
obsoletorum quce occurrunt in versions Virgilii Mneadum 'per 
Gawenum Douglas cum relatione ad Paginas* Ruddiman did 
not attach value to these. In this connection there may be 
mentioned an anonymous one leaf manuscript in the British 
Museum, bound along with Spelman's Glossarium archaiologicum 
(1644) entitled " A glossary to Gawin Douglas the famous Scottish 
poet, who wrote about the year 1490." 

^ To the Reader, sec. 9. a 1589-1677. Brother-in-law of Vossius. 

8 Letter to Dugdale, Feb. 3, 1667-8. 

* Nicolson's Scottish Historical Library, 1776, p. 28. 

16 The Man and his Fame 


In 1691, when Edmmid Gibson,^ afterwards Bishop of Lincoln, 
published his famous edition of the Pokmo Middinia and Christ's 
Kirk on the Green, he did so as an exercise and aid towards! 
Anglo-Saxon study. He treated Douglas as a classic, in a 
manner that conferred for the first time such a distinction upon 
a Scottish poet. He used these poems very largely as an excuse 
for hanging upon them his studies and illustrations from Gothic, 
Cimbrian, Icelandic, and Old English. 


Dr George Hickes, in his monumental Thesaurus of scholarly 
research along this line,"^ is emphatic when with pregnant brevity 
he says, of Douglas's work, " in versione Mneidos nunquam 
satis laudanda." 


Nicolson,^ Bishop of Carlisle, in his gatherings * for his 
Historia Literaria Gentis Scotorum of 1702, refers to the Mneid 
as supporting the qualifications of Douglas to be the author 
of De Rebus Scoticis — a remarkable plea. He tells how he 
turned the Mneid in eighteen months' time " into most elegant 
Scotch verse, thereby wonderfully improving the language of 
his country and age. One that was a good judge of the work 
assures us that it is done in such a masculine strain of true 
poetry that it may justly vie with the original ; every line 
whereof is singly rendered and every word most appositely 
and fully." ^ . . . Here he is quoting Bishop Leslie, and 
repeating the famiUar error. 

Sir Robert Sibbald 

Sir Robert Sibbald ^ acknowledges that he was waiting for 
the publication of Nicolson's work before he completed his own 
account of the sixteenth century, in which he acknowledges his 

1 1669-1748. 

* Linguarum Vett. Septentrionalium Thesauri Gramma tico-Critici et Archaeo- 
logici Pars Prima : seu Institutiones GrammaticaB Anglo -Saxonicse & Moeeo- 
Gothicae. . . . Oxon. 1703, p. 128. 

» 1655-1727. * Scot. Hist. Library, ed. 1776, p. 28. 

* MS. Historia Literaria Oentis Scotorum. Advoc. Lib., Edinburgh. 

The Man and his Fame 17 

indebtedness to Dempster, and to David Buchanan, whose 
style of Latin he calls " excellent." Unfortunately he leaned 
on an uncertain authority. In a letter to Wodrow he refers 
to an " Account of the writers of Divinity . . , done in our 
language for me by the Reverend Mr Lawrence Charteris to 
the year 1700." This may be included in a publication by 
James Maidment, published in 1833, from a Manuscript in 
Wodrow's writing, wherein is, among others, a brief notice of 

George Mackenzie 

Doctor George Mackenzie,^ lifted wherever he saw fair spoil, 
and included in his work a notice of Douglas, which owes an 
unacknowledged debt to Bishop Sage.^ 

Eighteenth-Century Nationalism 

In the eighteenth century Douglas was still one of the 
Scottish classics, and was read by such select souls as were 
sufficiently interested in things and men of the past ages, to 
take such trouble. 

Devotion to the Scots dialect had been a mark of patriotism 
at the time of the Reformation, as a protest against the " knap- 
ping of Southron," then in fashion, curiously enough, under 
Knox's influence, as we learn from a scornful reference by 
Ninian Winzet. In fact, the influence of the Reformation 
was really Anglic, copies of the Bible coming in from England, 
until the printing of the Bassandyne Edition in 1576-9, and 
even it is practically the Genevan scripture. In this connection 
John Hamilton, author of Ane Catholik and Facile Traictise 
(1581), had declared that it was actual treason even to print 
Scottish bodks in London, " in contempt of our native language." 
This became again prominent as a symbol of the same thing, 
after the Union of 1707 ; and with the Jacobite element of 
the nation was frequently, in fact, a political pose. 

By a curious irony, Douglas, who had fallen on the mortal 
edge of his desire for the English alliance, was actually looked 

^ Lives and Character a of the most Eminent Writers of the Scots Nation, vol. ii. , 
1711, pp. 295-308. ■•' Vide p. 19 infra. 

18 The Man and his Fame 

upon at this time as a true representative of the Scottish spirit, 
by those who either forgot the story of the cause of his life's 
disaster, or conveniently closed an eye to its record. It was 
to the Jacobite section of the nation that the revival of dialect 
poetry and the interest in the older Scottish poets were due, 
and principally to Allan Ramsay, Hamilton of Gilbertfield, 
and Thomas Ruddiman. It is of no importance, except to 
show the spirit of the period, that, in the " Easy Club " in 
Edinburgh, the members called themselves by the names of 
old Scottish poets, Ramsay's title being " Gawain Douglas." 
Ramsay, in 1716, printed Christ's Kirk on the Green, with 
a quotation from Gawain Douglas, in Greek characters,^ at 
the head of it ! The mistakes in printing this were regularly 
repeated in subsequent editions. 


Thomas Ruddiman's edition of Douglas's JEneid, in 1710, 
belonged also to this movement. It was the first since the 
Edition of 1553, on which it was based. Ruddiman, unfor- 
tunately, did not see the Ruthven Manuscript, ^ the only one 
he knew, until forty-five pages of his folio had been printed, 
having only then learned that any manuscripts of the poem 
existed. He claimed the liberty of choosing between the 
printed version and the manuscript, with the result that, not- 
withstanding the assertion in the title page that " innumerable 
and gross errors of the former edition have been corrected " 
by comparison with the Latin original and the Ruthven Manu- 
script, and " narrowly observing " the language of Douglas 
and his contemporaries, and that defects were suppUed " from 
an excellent manuscript," he himself fell into many inaccuracies 
and made some readings of his own without authority. He 
corrected, as far as the metre allowed, the classical names which 
Douglas had frequently transformed. Robert Freebairn, the 
bookseller, took the full merit for the edition, and thanked for 

* KovffiSep LT vapiXt piS a<pTvrip day e7ts. 
OwX 07 ec pXivK (rXt iroerpi yor rev is 

r. Aw7\as. 
The quotation is from ProL i. 107. 
2 Vide p. 138 infra. 

The Man and his Fame 19 

their help, Bishop Nicolson, Sir Robert Sibbald, Dr Drummond, 
and Urry of Christ Church, Oxford. He also mentioned his 
indebtedness to Thomas Ruddiman, who really was the man 
that had supervised the whole work. Ruddiman kept a note, 
which is preserved, of his charge for correcting the book, writing 
the glossary, etc., which amounted to forty-eight pounds Scots, 
or £8, 6s. 8d., a somewhat strange fee for the amount of know- 
ledge and special attainments which he had placed at the 
publisher's disposal. Well might the publisher recommend 
him to the notice of " the patrons of virtue and letters " as 
meriting " all respect and encouragement," a somewhat cheap 
way of passing on to others some of the burden of his own 
obhgations. Small ^ states that Urry had in some measure 
collated the Bath Manuscript for this edition. It is to be taken 
as following the printed version of 1553, in the main. Ruddiman 
added General Rules for understanding the Language of Bishop 
Douglas''s translation of VirgiVs Mneids. He also appended a 
Glossary, which is of note, as it was the foundation of Dr 
Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary of 1808.^ For this vocabulary 
he employed the aid of Hickes's Linguarum Veterutn S&pten- 
trionalium Thesaurus ; Ray's Collection of Local English Words ; 
Menage's Dictionaire Etymologique de la Langue Francoise \ 
Junius's Glossarium Goihicum ; Vossius's de Vitiis Sermonis ; 
Du Fresne and Spelman's Glossarium Gothicum ; and " above 
all " Skinner's Etymologicon Linguce Anglicance, on the whole 
a formidable body of learning and research. The Biography 
of the poet in this edition is by Bishop Sage, though printed 
anonymously. Sage's life is in regard to Douglas an Apologia 
pro vita, declaring him to have been " a wise Statesman, a 
faithful Counsellor, an excellent Patriot, a constant Friend, the 
Honour of his Country, the ornament of his Church, a Judge 
and Master of Polite Learning, and may be justly reckoned the 
best of Bishops and learnedest Man of his Age," a crescendo of 
praise difficult indeed to echpse. It was based on all that was 
worthy before its time, except Bale's Catalogue of 1559 ; but 

1 Edition 1874. 

* The copy of Ruddiman, with Jamieson's notes for his Dictionary, is in the 
hands of Mr Alexander Gardner, Publisher, Paisley. 

20 The Man and his Fame 

Ruddiman quoted Bale's Sumtnarium of 1548, along with the 
testimonies of Abbot Myln, Polydore Vergil, Bishop Leslie, and 
George Buchanan, and also used letters which were still in 

Sage's Biography 

Sage, in enumerating Douglas's works, suggests that the 
AurecB Nanationes mentioned by Dempster and Vossius as by 
the Bishop is the same as the Comment referred to by Douglas 
himself, and he conjectures this to have been a treatise on 
" Poetical fictions of the Ancients, with an Explication of their 
Mythology." We, of course, know that here Sage spoke in 
ignorance of what this Comment really was, as he had not either 
heard of or seen it. This biography was the first step towards 
a real, full, and modern life of the translator. 

Athenian Mercury 

It would be interesting if we knew who wrote, in the Athenian- 
Mercury,^ quoted by Ruddiman, the recommendation that, in 
regard to secular poetry, people should read " old merry Chaucer,. 
Gawin Douglas's kneads (if j'-ou can get it) the best version 
that ever was, or, as we believe, ever will be, of that incomparable 


Across the Border the occasional interest in Douglas as a poet 

was at this time manifested when Francis Fawkes, Vicar of 

Orpington, in Kent, published a paraphrase of Douglas's twelfth 

Prologue, A Description of May - ; and also of the seventh 

Prologue, A Description of Winter. In regard to the former, 

he speaks of 

this flowery lay 
Where Splendid Douglas paints its blooming May. 

He gives also some account of the Scottish author ; and he 

printed the text and his own paraphrases on opposite pages, with 

a glossary. These appeared together in his Original Poems and 

Translations,^ in the company of Anacreon, Sappho, and others. 

» Vol. 12, No. i., 24th October 1693. Conducted by Dunton, brother-in-la>w 
of Samuel Wesley. Influenced The. TaUer. 

* London, 1752; London, 1754. » 1761. 

The Man and his Fame 21 

Jerome Stone 

In our own coimtry, a somewhat forgotten personality inter- 
esting in connection with the Ossianic tradition, Jerome Stone, 
Schoohnaster at Dmikeld, did a similar work for Douglas in his 
Description of a May Morning, which appeared in The Scots 
Magazine} where he designated the Twelfth Prologue as " the 
most pompous description of that enlivening season I ever met 
with." Stone stated that he had endeavoured to accommodate 
the delicacy of the performance to modern ears. He renders 
the first lines thus : 

Avirora, joyful harbinger of clay, 
Now from the skies had chased the stars away ; 
The moon was sunk beneath the western streams, 
And Venus' orb was shorn of half its beams, 

wiiich may be compared with Douglas's — 

Dyonea, nycht bird, and wach of day, 
The starnys chasyt of the hevjai awaj-. 
Dame Cjaithia dovn rollyng in the see, 
And Venus lost the bewt« of hir E. 

Here one sees all the difference between the eighteenth century 
poetic conventions and those of the nearer fringe of the Middle 
Ages, where, in the compass of four lines, Venus is twice referred 
to, first by the Ovidian epithet, and then by her own name. 
Douglas makes her planet the shepherd of the stars, who, 
watching on the verge of night, drives them into the fold when 
day takes up the vigil over the awaking world, closing her own 
eyes then in slumber,^ — a far richer and more intensely beautiful 
bit of poesy than the modern grasped in his paraphrase. 

Thomas Warton 

Thomas Warton, in his History of English Poetry,^ included 
certain of the Scottish poets, and printed a large part of Douglas's 
Prologues VII and XII, using for this the Edinburgh edition of 
1710 by Ruddiman, and turning them inaccurately into English 
prose. He suggests that " a well-executed history of the 
Scotch poetry from the thirteenth century would be a valuable 
accession to the general literary history of Britain." He truly 

» Vol. xvii., 1766. 2 Vol ii., 1778, pp. 289-93. 

22 The Man and his Fame 

says, further, " The subject is pregnant with much curious and 
instructive information, is highly deserving of a minute and 
regular search, has never yet been uniformly examined in its. 
full extent, and the materials are both accessible and ample- 
Even the bare lives of the vernacular poets of Scotland have 
never yet been written with tolerable care : and at present 
are only known from the meagre outlines of Dempster and 

Perth Prologues 

The Prologues ^ were again offered to the public m 1786, 
with a reprint of the Palice of Honour, by Morison of Perth. 

Thomas Gray 

But a far finer mind, and a truly great poet, was attracted to 
Douglas, in Thomas Gray,^ who, in his Sketch of a 'projected 
History of English poetry which he communicated to Warton, 
included the names of Douglas, Lyndsay, Bellenden, and Dunbar. 
Speaking of Spenser's Eclogue, August, he says, discussing 
English metre, " Bishop Douglas, in his prologue to the Eighth 
Mn£,id, written about eighty years before Spenser's Calendar^ 
has something of the same kind." This can only mean that 
Spenser had written a poem in dialogue with a pastoral threnody 
in it, imder the influence of very strong alliteration, for other- 
wise there is not the slightest resemblance. Gray spoke from 
memory. Nevertheless, if the Rev. Norton NichoUs, his 
intimate friend, in his Reminiscences, records him truly. Gray 
also followed the usual erroneous impression, which showed 
that he really had read about the poet but had not read him 
in the full translation of Virgil. For Nicholls says of Gray, 
" He was much pleased with Gawen Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, 
the old Scotch Translator of the Mneid, particularly with his 
poetical prefaces to each book, in which he had given liberty to 
his muse, but has fettered himself in the translation by the 
obligation he has imposed on himself of translating the whole 

^ iv., vii., viii., xii., and xiii. 

2 1716-1771. Vide Mitford's Edition, vol. v., 1843, pp. 242-53. Also 
Tovey's Letters of Thomas Gray, voL ii. p. 280, 1904. 

The Man and his Fame 23 

poem in the same nmnber of verses contained in the original," ^ 
— a purpose which, of course, never had any existence. 

James Sibbald 

James Sibbald,^ gives abridged examples of Prologues IV, 
VIII, XII, and XIII, and certain specimens of the Mneid, with 
a note on the language of Douglas. 


John Pinkerton,^ the savage critic of all men's work but his 
own, declared that Prologues Seven, Twelve, and Thirteen, 
" yield to no descriptive poems in any language." Yet he had 
a painful fear of the vulgar tongue. He protested that his work 
amongst the relics of ancient Scottish poetry was not intended 
to prolong the life of the dialect, — " None can more sincerely 
wish the total extinction of the Scottish colloquial dialect than 
I do." He speaks of Scotticisms as barbaric, and mocks at the 
Edinburgh idioms. He wishes Scots to be maintained as an 
old poetical language ; and so he preserves the old spelhngs 
studiously, to take it " out of the hands of the vulgar." He 
selected from the Maitland Manuscript, in his work. He pro- 
posed to issue the seven poets of Scotland whom he considered 
to be truly classical, namely, Dunbar, Drummond, Douglas, 
James I, Barbour, Lyndsay, and Blind Harry ; and he in- 
tended in this project to omit all of Douglas's Mneid work 
except the Prologues. 


Joseph Ritson,* his rival, agreed with him in regard to the 
place of Douglas, but went further than Pinkerton, for he speaks 
of " the admirable translations of Douglas." 

To all the writers of modern times, it is as the poet that 
Douglas stands out clearly in the light, and in association ^th 
Dunkeld ; as when George Dyer writes — 

But thou, as once the muses' favourite haunt, 
Shalt live in Douglas' pure Virgilian strain. 

1 Mitford's Edition, vol. v. p. 36, 1843. 

» 1746-1803. Vide Chronicle, vol. i., 1802 ; also vol. iv. pp. xlv-vi. 

'1758-1826. Yide Ancient Scottish Poems, nSQ. * 1752-1803. 

24 The Man and his Fame 

In the anonymous poem prefixed to Alexander Ross's Helenore 
(2nd Edition, 1778), and attributed to Beattie, Douglas is spoken 
of as " that pawky priest." 

The picture of Scott is, however, usually accepted as the 
portrait of the poet-bishop — 

More pleased that in a barbarous age 
He gave rude Scotland Virgil's page, 
Than that beneath his rule he held 
The bishopric of fair Dunkeld.^ 

The ecclesiastic, tossed in the swelter of squabble for preferment, 
and the politician, wading in plots with the English Court, 
have dropped aside. And so a gentler thought has clothed the 
memory of Gawain, the Virgilian student, who in rude times 
brought the Roman into touch with the poetry of our Northern 


After Ruddiman's edition the next in point of time is that of the text 
only, printed from the Cambridge Manuscript in two volumes, in 1839, 
and published by the Bannatyne Club. 

In 1874 appeared the edition of the complete works, by John Small, 
LL.D., Librarian of the University of Edinburgh, in four volumes, the 
jE7ieid covering ii., iii. and iv. This edition is annotated, and has intro- 
ductions, with fascimiles in hthograph, and certain letters printed for 
the first time. The Editor states that his edition is printed from the 
Elphynstoun Manuscript, but this is a statement of intention and not of 

An edition by the Scottish Text Society is being prepared. 

Douglas is dealt with m David Irving's History of Scottish Poetry (1861), 
chapter xii. : in Dr John M. Ross's Scottish History and Literature (1884), 
chapter vii. : T. F. Henderson's Scottish Vernacular Literature (1910), 
chapter vii. : Gregory Smith, M.A., in The Cambridge History of English 
Literature, vol. ii., chapter x. The article in the Enclyclopcedia Britannica, 
tenth edition, is by Dr Small, that in the latest edition is by Gregory 
Smith ; and there are brief notices in the Imperial Dictionary of Biography, 
Clmmhers' s Dictioimry, and others. Under this general heading fall the 
Litroduction by Andrew Lang, in Ward's Poets : W. A. Neilson in Origins 
and Sources : also an introduction in Eyre Todd's Abbotsford Poets : and 
Geddie's excellently useful Bibliography of Middle Scots (Scottish Text 

^ Marmion, Canto vi. st. 11. 




To set a poet like Gawain Douglas in his place demands a 
■careful glance before and after. 

A man and his work are inevitably beset by the environment 
and circumstance of his time. A period of quick activities 
may snatch away his life and thought from the levels of their 
beginnings, and swing them forward and upward, as into a 
new world with farther horizons and wider vistas than he has 
known hitherto, if he be not an originator of those very in- 
fluences. Or it may shp its hold upon him. Or himself may 
falter, looking over his shoulder, and he may return to the 
€ities of the Plain. " And his works do follow him." Or he 
may abide like a fossil in the centre of great growth, recording 
an arrest in a life's development. Erasmus the Humanist, — 
who raised his foot and let the tide of the Reformation run 
away from under, miuplifting, — and all such souls, who seem 
«ither to resist the jog and tug of a new period of fresh-thought 
impulse, or who seem too deeply rooted in the past to be lifted 
into the future that calls the awaking world to move onward, 
always give pause for judgment, to the estimating mind of the 
recorder of men and matters. Gawain Douglas had the rising 
waters of the new birth-time of the world all about him ; and 
we cannot help but wonder how much of their far cry found 
response in his heart, and tmied the message and meaning of 
his thought. How does he stand in relation to it, \vith his life 
and work ? 

The Renaissance 

The Renaissance itself is not easily defined. There had been, 
in different lands, episodes with its mark upon them, — ^grey 
hints of the dawn, with crimson touches on the clouds, that 


26 The Man and his Work 

faded into grey again. A partial Revival of Letters manifested 
itself in the twelfth century, when the works of Aristotle were 
discovered ; and the labours of Grosteste and Roger Bacon, 
with the foundation of the Universities, were signs of awakening. 
But these fell into the hands of the Churchmen and Scholastics, 
whose conservatism numbed the enthusiasms and delayed the 

The Renaissance is generally understood to be the outbreak 
of the human spirit into freedom of thought and utterance ; 
the love of everything beautiful and true, for its own sake ; 
the enrichment of life by the advent of the natural and spon- 
taneous ; the dissatisfaction of the mind with the cold and 
trite ; and the protest against convention which, like a desert 
wind, withered thought upon its stalk. The joy of existence 
broke into the wilderness of stereotype with a fresh interpreta- 
tion of human experience. It turned the soul toward the 
fountains of reality, wherein lay the deep sources of truth and 

The Renaissance meant, first of all, a recognition of the life 
of humanity, pagan in its revulsion from mediaeval mysticism, 
and its rebellion against the bondage of the other world, the 
conventions of Allegory and Theological symbolism. It de- 
manded that knowledge of the best hterary monuments of 
" the golden past of classical antiquity," which gave birth to 
the Revival of Letters, when the faith and the literature of days 
long dead were born again into the later day. This was what 
Cyriac of Ancona meant when he said, "I go to awaken the 
dead." It was a quest after the wisdom of the past to enrich 
and enlighten the present. And it passed on to an elevation 
of the vernacular as a literary medium. We see in Douglas's 
work the touch of the last set of these influences, though scarcely 
the mark of the first. 

The Renaissance was not the clock striking a definite hour 
in the fifteenth century. It was a movement, — not a moment ; 
a process rather than an explosive event. Men could not set 
their watches by it, but they could float their spiritual emprise 
upon it. It did not come Uke one wave. The breathing of a^ 
great, far-drawn, on-pressing tide made itself felt through long 

The Man and his Work 27 

preparation. The atmosphere and hfe of the period were 
gradually saturated by a new spiritual influence. An all-per- 
vading general uplift was felt, and it spoke through poets as 
widely apart as Dante and Langland. 

The Revival of Learning, consequent upon the Fall of Con- 
stantinople in 1453, which scattered the Greek scholars over 
Europe, with their classical treasures and erudition, is generally 
thought of as the Renaissance, but this was only one of the 
results of the vast movement. 

" The Candles of the Renaissance " 

The key to the Renaissance is naturally found in Italy. In 
fact it was only in Italy or Greece that a rebirth was possible. 
The Commedia of Dante Alighieri, the Sonnets of Petrarch, 
and the Decamerone of Boccaccio are the monuments of the 
literary awakening. Petrarch was, in an especial sense, the 
awakener of mediaeval Europe from its sleep. Into his life came 
the influence of Boccaccio, whom he met in Naples when on an 
embassy from the Papal court in 1343 ; and one of his best 
pieces of work was a Latin version of Boccaccio's Griselda. 
Yet, though Boccaccio helped him, he also helped Boccaccio, 
by turning him towards ancient sources of culture.^ His was 
pre-eminently the spirit of true scholarship, under the touch 
of which the age quickened, and found a new, fresh, sunny, 
and onward-moving activity. From Italy the movement spread, 
like a sunrise, through Germany, France, and England ; and 
the best works of Italy were thus passed on to Scotland, with 
the classics. 

Petrarch the Awakener 

Born in 1304, Petrarch became, by deUberate choice, a man 
of letters and a scholar, refusing his father's solicitations to 
follow his own profession of law, and resisting temptations of 
ecclesiastical and scholastic positions which must have led to 
the very highest preferments in his age. Unlike Douglas, he 
kept himself disentangled from what might hinder his poetic 
and literary pursuits, avoiding thus the risks of distracting 
^ See his Epistles generally. 

28 The Man and his Work 

ambitions and tlie jealousies of smaller minds. In 1337 he 
sought the touch of Nature in solitary study and reflection. 
This was the quickening thing which gave its most telling 
impulse to the new Thought. 

Nature Vision 

The text of his oration, when he was laureated at the Capitol 
in April 1341 : 

Sed me Parnasi deserta j^er ardua dulcis raptat amor,-' 

was the keynote of the new age, whose characteristic was a 
" passion for Parnassus," uplifting hearts, as with the spirit of 
Spring, out of the hard-beaten tracts of old-time conventions. 
This love of the wild, combined with the expression of the 
sympathetic fallacy in verse, finds a kind of maxim utterance 
in Lorenzo de' Medici's lines : 

Non di verdi giardin, omati, e colti ... 
Ma in aspre selve, e valli ombrose colti. 

8ospir d'amore . . . 
L'aure son sute, e pianti d'Amor I'acque. 

It was this impulse which moved Bernardo Pulci to translate, 
in 1470, the Eclogues of Virgil, the first attempt to render the 
classics into the Italian language. The same spirit impelled 
Pietro Aretino to declare, " Nature, of whose simplicity I am 
the secretary, dictates what I set down before me " ; and stirred 
Politian to feel it was Nature and Youth that turned him to 
translate Homer's epic of the struggles of men near the world's 

In Douglas's Mneid, also, when his own voice speaks, and 
especially in his Prologues, we find the open-air vision char- 
acteristic of the new time ; though in him are found, also, 
some of the older framework of mediaeval conventions. These 
things were amongst the stock materials of poetry, then ; and 
a poet would have seemed odd amongst his fellows, not to have 
adopted them. He had, of course, the dialect and imagery of 
his predecessors and contemporaries pressing around him. 
And though to later generations these mediaeval furnishings 
and materials had become trite, and worn to the bone, they 
^ Georgics iii. 291. 

The Man and his Work 29- 

were in his day fresh enough to those who used them. The 
time came when a protest had to be made against them, as in 
King James VI's Reulis and Cautelis of Scottis Poesie} which^ 
though a juvenile work, had much good sense in it. The royal 
critic warns the poets : " Descryve not the morning, and rysing 
of the Sunne, in the preface of your verse ; for thir thingis are 
sa oft and dyverseUe written upon be Poets already that gif 
ye do the lyke it will appeare ye bot imitate, and that it cummis 
not of your awin invention." This was just and sound criticism 
in the seventeenth century, but would have been a literary 
heresy in the early sixteenth. 

The search for the Norm 

The influence of Petrarch as a humanist was, in reality, 
greater than as a poet, and it touched the later day of the singers 
of the remoter North. For he brought the scholars of his own 
time into direct contact with the scholarship of classical times, 
and gave a guiding impact to literary enquiry. He was the 
pioneer in the collection of libraries, in the study and com- 
parison of manuscripts, and in the recognition of authorities, 
himself receiving manuscripts of Homer and Plato from 
Nicolaus Syocerus of Constantinople. His influence was seen 
in the indefatigable restlessness of the scholars, searching 
everywhere for the hidden treasures of the classics, — men like 
Poggio,- who unearthed in the Monastery of St Gall the com- 
plete copy of Quintihan, and the first three and pai-t of the 
fourth books of the Argonautica, " not in the library but in a 
dark and filthy dungeon at the bottom of a tower," succeeding 
also in securing for Rome, by the hands of Nicholas of Treves, 
the first complete copy of Plautus, and dragging out of their 
hiding-places Lucretius, Silius Italicus, Columella, and ap- 
parently also the poems of Statins, as commemorated in the 
elegy by Landinus, declaring how these notables had been 
brought as guests out of gloom into undying light, — 

Poggius at sosjwa nigra e caligine tantas 
Ducit ubi aeternum lux sit aperta viros. 

And Guarino Veronese,^ returning with his recovered wonders, 

1 1584. Vide Arbor's Reprint. * 1380-1459. » 1370-1460. 

so The Man and his Work 

liimself losing all, and the world losing so much, by shipwreck, 
reveals but a part of the adventure of scholarship seeking after I 
truth in this time of dawn. 

The Classical Revival 

The sensuously beautiful, revealed in the dawning hght of 
the new age, was like a fresh creation. It demanded a new 
expression. The divine seemed to be splendidly humanized, 
and loved for its own sake. It required a wide channel for its 
exercise. Homo sum, humani ?iihil a me alienum jmto ^ was 
the Humanist's maxim and aspiration, and it led him by the 
only door of escape from the anarchy of his times, torn between 
feudalism and ecclesiasticism, and the failure of each of these 
to foster the highest in the soul of man and of society. The 
result was an almost fevered revival of classical learning. Bach 
land and each generation took its own way through the magic 
forest. The wine of the fountain of Bacbuc tasted different 
in the mouth of every man that drank it,^ but it gave each a 
sense of beauty ; a realization of his own power, individuaUty, 
and dignity ; the acknowledgment of Nature ; and the re- 
establishment of joy in life. 

The Individual Liberty 

In the first burst of freedom that broke like a new creation 
out of the shadow-land of Thought, some men leapt into licence ; 
and of this Poggio's Facetiarum Liber, with BeccadeUi's Herma- 
phroditus were notorious examples. In such a movement it is 
the new man as much, almost, as the new Letters, that becomes 
manifest, with the glow of anticipation on his face and the 
voice of the morning in his utterance. He will not be found 
haunting graves, but, like Adam, outside of old fenced gardens, 
turning over the soil of a new earth, creatingly, though it may 
be, reveahng much that is not lovely, in the labour of it. 
Villon and Dmibar are perhaps as interesting in this respect 
as Petrarch, set up against the level of Medisevalism. In ihevsL. 
you find the directness of outlook, the individuality of ij-nter- 

^ Terence : Heaut. i. 1-25. j 

* Rabelais : Gargantua and Pantagrud, bk. v. c. 42. 

The Man and his Work 31 

pretation, the free step marching to fresh music, no longer 
hobbling to trite tags of conventional measures, no more a 
thing of ghosts, but of the living soul, — men whose every word 
proves how the old conventions have palled, that poesy is no 
longer a thing of draping lay figures in a fresh robe, or the re- 
petition of the shibboleths of his predecessors. Though Villon 
was mediaeval in form and knowledge he was renascent in 
reaUsm and self -revelation. These went with their own basket 
to the table of the gods, carried their own pitcher to the well 
of Parnassus, and, traversing fresh ground of Nature and 
humanity as personal explorers, speak in the voice of the 
Rebirth, the Renaissance of Thought and Art, seeking for the 
reahty of things. Such influences are seen in the light of very 
clear contrast in the second part of Le Roman de la Rose. The 
first partji by de Lorris, 4000 lines, under the influences of 
Ovid and Chretien de Troyes, was intended to be a kind of 
Art of Love, clothed in the characteristics of its time, formal, 
learned, and allegorical. But when Jean de Meung,^ forty 
years later, added his 18,000 lines, he poured into this mass not 
only the scholastic learning of the IVIiddle Ages, but also that 
encyclopaedic and heterogeneous knowledge and voluminous 
thought characteristic of the new age, and far ahead of his 
own, in its intellectual tendency; while underlying it all was 
his doctrine of the Worship of Nature, setting him in the hght 
as a forerunner of the Renaissance. This mental activity fell 
to nought amid the stormy confusions in France of the Hundred 
Years' War, followed by the disasters of civil war, which left 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries probably the most barren 
of her hterary periods. This gave the classics a new signi- 
ficance for the hearts of men. And Douglas was one of those 
whose heart was turned towards that quest, as towards a land 
of sealed temples, and places where Truth lay waiting for the 
awaking touch. 

The Renaissance at first led to disdain of the vernacular, 

believing that cultured thought could find fit clothing only 

in the tongue of the ancient masters, the cosmopoHtan 

medium of literary feehng. We find Douglas's fear of the 

1 c. 1237. » 1250-1305. 

32 The Man and his Work 

uncopiousness of the Scots mother-tongue in the author of 
The Com'playnt of Scotlande, and elsewhere, a fear also which 
shrank as from lowering the work of the classical writers into 
the vulgar medium. Petrarch and Boccaccio valued their 
own vernacular works at a cheaper rate than those in the 
classical tongue, and their influence helped the contempt of 
the vulgar phrase. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
however, Lorenzo de' Medici and Politian, having absorbed 
the beauty and excellence of classical literature, handed it 
forward in the chaste and natural sweetness and power of the 

The Awakening of the Vernacular 

The hunger of the classics opened the door which a dead 
language barred, and its influence enriched the style, the literary 
form, and the vernacular. It is true that at first there was a 
crushing and distortion of expression into Latin mould, futile 
for final utility, as regards literary purpose, but yet helping 
towards elasticity of phrase and quickening of mentality, and 
prompting to analysis of the records of human passion and 

The influence of the Rhetoriqudres was felt in this, in their 
effort to enrich and improve the mother-tongue for literary 
purposes by Latinisms, and they affected strongly the writing 
of the early sixteenth century, though they also carried forward 
the mediaeval allegory and metrical intricate forms. 

It stirred a new and deepening desire to use the vernfcular 
as a medium of literary expression. This arose from the 
yearning to lead the heart of the world to the truth which 
heretofore had been reached only by the learned. Truti, and 
the joy of humanity, were to be within the right of all, ind no 
longer the privilege of the few. More than once Douglas ex- 
presses this as his ideal in his work. Nevertheless ii needed 
courage, and a defence. 

In this respect Lorenzo de' Medici, speaking of the astonishing 
power of the vernacular, shows, as if it were a discovery, in 
Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, the three " candhs of the 
Renaissance," how these have fully proved with what facility 

The Man and his Work 33 

the Italian tongue may be adapted to the expression of every 
sentiment. In Dante, he says, " we shall find in perfection 
those excellencies which are dispersed among the ancient Greek 
and Roman writers." ^ He compares Petrarch's treatment of 
love with that by Ovid, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, or any 
other of the Latin poets ; while he holds Boccaccio to be mi- 
rivalled " not only on accormt of the invention he displays, 
but also for the copiousness and elegance of his style. ... So 
considering, we may conclude that no language is better for 
the purpose of expression than our own." Leo Battista Alberti ^ 
also defended and developed his mother- tongue, from the point 
of view that a dead language cannot suffice for adequate ex- 
pression of the living thought of a living people : and forsaking 
Latin as a medium he used the vernacular. In this way, and 
by such men, the work of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio was 
continued and lifted into recognition by all as employing an 
instrument of dignified Uterary utterance. We find also cor- 
roboration in a true note struck by Joachim du Bellay, in the 
middle of the sixteenth century, in his tractate,^ so full of the 
spirit of modernity, wherein he endeavours to shew that the 
French tongue may not only become a hterary medium, but 
as a living thing may receive enrichment as well. If anywhere, 
we find in this a sense of what was the critical and creative 
impulse of the Renaissance, in the attempt to bring native 
culture into touch with that of the classical age reborn into 
his own time. He protests against the idea that the Greek 
and Latin languages were the last repositories of full utterance 
and of perfect taste. And he objects to culture being kept, 
like a curio in a casket, imprisoned in Greek and Latin books, 
instead of being restored as from the dead, and sent forth into 
the region of living utterance on words that should wino- their 
daily course along the Ups of men. He deprecates the neglect 
by Frenchmen of anything written in their own language, and 
laments the common idea that the vulgar tongue is contemptible. 
He pleads that in one's mother tongue are found ahke the 

* Commento di Lorenzo. Ed. Aide, 1554. « 1405-1472. 

' La Deffense et Illustration de la Langue Franfcyae. Cf. Speroni'a defence 
of the Italian tongue. Vide Villey's Edition of du Bellay. 1908. 


34 The Man and his Work 

greatest freedom for the utterance of passion and the finest 
music for such expression. What he says here is of universal 
appHcation. It had been imphed in Douglas's labour, and 
was said, in effect, by Lyndsay, and acted upon by him. 

The author of the Prologue to The Testament of Love ^ summed 
up the same cause when he wrote : " Let then clerkes enditen 
in Latin, for they have the propertie of science and the knowing 
in that facultie ; and lette Frenchmen in their French also 
enditen their queint terms, for it is kindely in their mouths ; 
and let us shew our fantasies in such wordes as we lerneden of 
our dames tongue." We find this feeling even in the letter of 
the Earl of March in 1400 ^ who, writing to King Henry IV 
of England, had excused his use of English, as being " mare 
cleir to myne understandyng than Latyne or Fraunche." 

Douglas had the same hope as those others for his native 
language, though he tried to enrich it too speedily by the in- 
troduction of terms and phrases which remained aliens in their 
Scottish environment. In his page we find a fresh and in- 
dividual attempt to create a new vehicle of utterance, though 
he does not shake himself away from the ancient influence, 
because like many in other lands in his day, he cannot quite 
liberate his tongue from the thought that common speech is 
not fit worthily to express the idea of the sublime, and the 
majesty of divinely passionate experience. 

Douglas's Work 

The translation of the Mneid was begun, according to 
Douglas's own statement, in 1512, and it was finished, as he 
says in his epilogue, 

Apoa the fest of Mary Magdelan, M 

Era Crystis byrth — the dait quha list to heir, W\ 

A thousand fyve hundreth and thretteyn zeir,' 

that is to say, on 22nd July 1513, two months before Flodden's 
sorrow. Douglas attributes the credit of the initiation of the 
work to his cousin Henry, Lord Sinclair, under whose protection 

^ Long attributed to Chaucer : now decided to be by Thomas Usk, executed 
in 1386. 

« National MSS. of Scotland, 1870, vol. ii. 
' Tyme, etc., 2. 

The Man and his Work 35 

he places himself against carping critic and unkind backbiter. 
Alas ! his noble patron was amongst the brave who fell at 
Flodden, so his book had to stand upon its own merits. 

Henryson had made the same excuse in his Dedication of 
the Fables : 

Nocht of my self for vane presumptioun, 
Bot be requeist and Precept of ane Lord . . . 

whether a genuine plea or a poetic shelter cannot be decided, 
although it was the tradition of poets, in accordance with which 
even Virgil himself began the Mneid to please a patron. 

Douglas pleads that his translation, though begun on the 
request of his relative and patron, was in reality but the ful- 
filment of a promise made to Venus, in the Police of Honour, 
when he undertook to translate a book in her name ; and, in 
rendering the story of iEneas her son into the Scottish tongue, 
he had now kept his word. The poets were, of course, uniquely 
the devotees of Venus, love being so largely the staple of their 
verse, — and the singers of France, in an especial degree, were 
in this category. Gower, in his Confessio Amantis, makes the 
goddess herself say : 

And grete wel Chaucer when ye mete. 
As my disciple and my Poete, ^ 

And the convention had a hardy life. Douglas's reference, 

shorn of its poeticism, seems simply to indicate that he had 

kept in contemplation, at any rate, the work which now he 

issues to the world. In his Dedication, or Dyrectioun, he says 

he now fulfills his 

aid promyt 
Quhilk I hit maid weil twelf zheris tofor : 
As wytnessith my Palyce of Honour.' 

He had promised it : 

Sum tim efter, quhen I hav mair lasier.^ 
As with John Milton, the shadow of a great purpose had 
floated before his imagination through the progress of his 
earher labours. 
He was " midway on the journey of his Hfe " when he finished 

1 MS. HarL 3490. * Dyrectioun, 120. 

* Police of Honour, Small, vol. i., p. 66, L 20. 


36 The Man and his Work 

his translation in 1513/ and lie bade farewell to poesy when 
he laid down his pen. He stakes his all upon it. 

Thus vp my pen and instrumentis full zore 
On Virgillis post I fix for evirmore 
Nevir from thens syk materis to discryve. 
My muse sal now be cleyn contemplatyve, 
And solitar, as doith the byrd in cage, 
Sen fer byworn is aU my childis age, 
And of my days neir passyt the half dait 
That natur suld me grantyn, weO I wait.* 

He may in this have recalled the tradition that Virgil himself 
had also intended on the completion of his masterpiece to leave 
the pursuit of poetry and devote himself to philosophy. 

Douglases Apologia 

He gives his pleas for having laboured as he had done. His 

work will give innocent pleasure to many. It will enable 

them to 

pas the tyme and eschew idylnes.' 

But it will also, he justly claims, be of use as an educational 
medium, at a period when the Latin tongue was, in fact, the 
main vehicle of instruction. It will be of advantage to those 


wald Virgin to chUdryn expone.* 

And, from the Church Councils of the age in which he wrote, 
it may be gathered, as by an intelligent eavesdropper, that the 
inferior clergy had httle enough grasp of the classical tongue, 
many of them being scarcely conversant with their liturgy, 
much less with the great Latin literature which was the staple 
of mediaeval culture.^ He feels that he may, by right, expect 
gratitude from them at least. 

Thank me, tharfor, masteris of grammar sculys, 
Quhar ze syt techand on zour benkis and stulys. 
Thus haue I nocht my tyme swa occupy 
That all suld hald my laubour onthryfty.* 

* Conclusioune, 19. ' 76. 13. 
3 Dyrectioun, 40. « lb. 43. 

* See Statutes of the Scottish Church, 1225-1559, Scottish History Society 
ed. Dr Patrick, 1907, p. 84. The preamble of the Statutes of the Provincia 
CJouncil held in Blackfriar's Church, Edinburgh, 27th November 1549, acknow 
ledges " crass ignorance of Uterature and of the liberal arts " as one of the 
causes of dissensions and occasions of heresies. Vide Hay Fleming's Reforma- 
tion in Scotland, 1910, c. iii. • Dyrectioun, 47. 


The Man and his Work 37 

It was not undertaken as a refuge from idleness, but as the 
task of a loving heart in scanty leisure. Douglas tells us how it 

for othir gret occupatioun lay 
Onsteryt clos besyd me mony day.^ 

Whatever that " othir gret occupatioun " was, while he was 
engaged upon this work he must have used special diligence, 
for he tells us, also, 

as God lyst len me grace 

It was compylit in auchteyn moneth space.* 

It may be concluded from internal evidence that he began 
the Seventh Prologue in June 1512 : wrote the twelfth Book 
in May, and the Mapheus Book in June, 1513. And, gathering 
from his own words that he was hindered for two months,^ it 
would seem that he took ten months to the first Six Books, 
and eight to the concluding Seven of the translation. He 
apologizes for its unre vised and unpolished condition, feeling 


gret scant of tyme and bissy cuyr 
Has maid my wark mair subtell and obscur 
And nocht sa plesand as it aucht to be.* 

The work itself does bear proofs, in many ways, of haste and 
lack of revision, but apologies on such grounds were the common 
pleas of all the poets of the time. Notwithstanding this, he 
has the author's pride in his own offspring, which resents, while 
it fears, meddlesome editing : for he appeals to writers and 
readers to give the book a fair chance — 

nother maggil nor mysmetir my rjine, 
Nor altir not my wordis I zow pray.'' 

He makes an appeal, above all, to those who are expert in 
poesy, — -those who are entitled to claim skill in the critical art, — 
to authorities rather than to authority, a poet's rather than a 
churchman's cry — 

Surs capitall in vejTi poeticall.' 

He leaves the work to their judgment, after they have read it 
through. The sense of their sympathy then assured, he is 

' Tyme, etc., 5. ' lb. 12. » lb. 13. * lb. 17. 

* Tyme, 24. Cf. Chaucer. — Preye I to God that non myswrite the, Ne the 
mys-metere. Troylus and Creseide, V. 1809. ® Dyrectioun, 57. 

38 The Man and his Work 

blinded to all shame in his task, and he offers himself willingly 
to the " weiriours," or doubters and cavillers, 

Quhilk in myne E fast staris a mote to spy.^ 
He heeds not 

Quha sa lawchis heirat, or hedis noddis,^ 
nor does he intend to trouble himself 

quhidder fulys bald me devill or sanct.' 

He has in this the spirit so fearlessly reflected in Sir John 
Trevisa's Epistle : "as God granteth me grace, for blame of 
backbiters will I not blinne ; for envy of enemies, for evil spiting, 
and speech of evil speakers, will I not leave to do this deed." 
It is fine to encounter a man who has faith in himself and his 
work. A man dedicated to his purpose touches the world to 
consecration and sacrifice. There is a great inspiration in 
every " Ego Athanasius contra mundum." 

His Critics 

He had apparently plenty of harsh contemners, who cen- 
sured him for wasting good time in the work ; and he feels that 
he has suffered somewhat in consequence, — 

Quhairthrow I haue wrocht myself syk dispyte.* 

It was doubtless considered, by many, a vain and futile labour 
to be dallying with 

fenzeit fabillj'S of idolatry.* 

What dealt with gods and children of the gods fell under this 
category, " for all the gods are idols dumb." By this work, 
considered by so many to be but misdirected industry he had 
been, in the eyes of some, degrading his oJ05ce, and making of 
himself, as he puts it, a butt to shoot at. 

This fear of blame for spending serious time in bringing 
before his period what so many seemed to think lying and 
obsolete superstitions and myths about persons that had never 
existed, had quite obviously been haunting him pretty closely, 

» Dyrectioun, 66. » lb. 67. * lb. 71. * lb. 20. « lb. 26. 

The Man and his Work 39 

and may have had some effect in causing him to follow certain 
modifications of a religious kind, quite in the spirit of the 
scholars of other countries. 

Further, for friendship's sake, and loyalty to his patron, not 
for reward or praise, he had laboured, for he is no " cayk fydler," 
no soming minstrel strumming for a meal. He is a friend 
writing for a friend, and trying to liberate a poet, locked up 
in a scholar's language, away from the general mass of the 
people. He thinks these should be the better for a share in 
the poetic delight and the moral guidance to be derived from 
the loosening of his thought into the vernacular. In fact, he 
is making Virgil free to all who list to read him, if they be athirst 
for his rich spirit. And it is no inferior poet whom he has 
translated, bringing forward out of obscurity 

Na meyn endyte, nor empty wordis vayn. 
Common engyn, nor stile barbarian. ^ 

He has led the majestic flood of noblest eloquence, in 

profund and copyus plenitude,* 

over the levels of his native plains enrichingly. And here he 
seems to have touched Dante's 

Or se' tu quel Virgilio e quella fonte 

Che spande di parlar si largo fiume ? . . . 

Yet, while he is confident of the merits of his labour, he is 
prepared for the accuracy of his rendering being questioned. 
He knows how 

detractouris intil euery place 
Or evir thai reid the wark byddis bym the buke,^ 

cruelly spying out deficiencies, and crowing over their discoveries 

of faults, 

sayand in euery manis face, 
Lo, heir he failzeis, sa thair he leys, luyk.* 

These, however, he challenges to go and do better for themselves. 
At any rate, he declares, if in a phrase here and there he may 
have erred, the sense of the poet he has truly grasped. 

> Dyrectioun, 53. " lb. 56. ^ Exdamatioun, 11. * lb. 17. 

40 The Man and his Work 

The Apologies of Poets 

In all this, although what he says and hints may have been 
quite true, he more or less followed a fashion, examples of which 
can be plentifully found in the current literature of his time> 
Thus, — ^in the Prologue of the Persones Tale, — Chaucer says : 

this meditacioun 
I put it ay under correccioun 
Of clerkes, for I am not textuel ; 
I take but the sentens, trusteth wel, 
Therfor I make protestacioun 
That I wol stonde to correccioun. 

The same kind of conventional humility is to be found in 
Henryson's Prologue to his Fables, where, having duly apologized 
for his " rudenesse," he pleads, 

And if I faUe, bi cause of ignorance, 

That I erre m my translacioun. 

Lowly of hert and feythful obeisaunce 

I me submyt to theyr correcioun 

To theym that have more cliere inspecioun, 

In matiers that touchen poyetry 

And to reforme, that they me not deny. 

Wyntoun, in his Orygipialle Chronykil, has the same throb. 

My wit I ken sa skant thartUl 

That I drede sair thame till offend 

That can me and my work amend ... ^ 

For as I said, rude is my wit. . . . 

Even the modem translator had the same mind, and makes 
the same claim as Douglas, when he writes, " I acknowledge 
that I have not succeeded in this attempt, according to my 
desire ; yet shall I not be wholly without praise if in some 
sort I may be allowed to have copied the clearness, purity, 
easiness, and the magnificence of his style," - — at once an apology 
and an assurance of the deepest and the highest, combined ; 
perhaps a little turned towards the " pride that apes humiUty," 
probably pardonable in poets. 

A poet is, perhaps, not always to be taken exactly at his 
word when he speaks either of his humility or incapacity. And 
Douglas's protestations may very well mean, " I know what I 

^ And earlier ! See the prologue of the grandson of Jesus the Son of Sirach, 
regarding his translation of Ecchsiasticus from Hebrew into Greek, 130 B.C. 
Cf. also Abacuc Bysett's Eolment of Gourks, * Dryden's Preface. 

The Man and his Work 41 

have achieved. Hands off from meddling." A poet, then as 
now, may say, " It is a poor thing, but mine own," and so be 
ready to defend his offspring to the last extreme. 

Genius is, of course, both modest and self-assertive. It 
touches the former things and is touched by them, while it 
must make the venture of faith into the new. And so, while 
it feels its wings, it must at the same time be conscious that 
its footing is unsteady. Even Virgil had not the self-assurance 
of Horace or of Douglas in regard to the abidingness of the 
fruit of his labour. In fact, in a letter written to Augustus, 
which Macrobius quotes, he spoke of his having undertaken 
a work so immense as the Mneid, in a moment of folly, — 

psene vitio mentis. 

In effect, however, it is what Rossetti's plea amounts to, when 
that poet speaks of his own translations as " not carelessly 
imdertaken, though produced in the spare time of other pursuits 
more closely followed " ; while he assures the reader that " on 
the score of care at least he has no need to mistrust it." ^ 

The old proud spirit which, at a later period, made a great 
mce " write on the walls of their dwelling-places, — 

" Thai say. Quhat say thai ? Lat thaim sai," 

supported Douglas as he declared, 

quhen all thar rerd is rong, 
That wycht mon speke that can nocht hald hys tong.' 

Though he has spoken somewhat doubtfully of the criticism 

that awaits him, and the carping time through which he has 

persevered, he yet has the true poet's confidence in his 

achievement : 

now ankyrrit is our bark, 
We dowt na storm, our cabillys ar sa stark.* 

Douglas felt the labour of translation a heavy task indeed. 
He speaks thankfully of the finish of 

the lang desparit wark. 

And he was not alone in thus deploring the drudgery of it. 

* Introduction, Early Italian Poets. ' The Keiths, Earh MarischaL 

' Exdamatioun, 35. * lb. 4. 

42 The Man and his Work 

Elphynstoun, the transcriber of the manuscript called after 
him, in Edinburgh University, after writing 

Explicit Liber Decimus tertius Eneados, 

expressed his deepest feelings on finishing his transcription, 
in the pregnant phrase — 

Quod Bocardo et Baroco. 

These are the mediseval names of the two hardest forms in 
Logic, from which whoso was entrapped into them found utmost 
difficulty in escaping ; and this seems to cover the emotions of 
the wearily thankful scribe. 

Churchmen and Virgil 

Alongside of Douglas's apologies we must of course remember 
that the only fit critics of such works as his, were Churchmen ; 
and that, in their eyes, the Latin tongue was too sacred to be 
lightly touched ; while there was also that ecclesiastical pre- 
judice against the vernacular, which made a translator be 
looked upon as one who was casting pearls before swine. 

Besides, in the Middle Ages, Virgil, — as with so many whose 
excelling natural abilities were explained as being due to trans- 
actions with the shady side of the other world, — ^had, through 
many strange mutations, become, in the common view a 
mythical philosopher and magician. An entirely false scheme 
of biography had rooted itself, in regard to him, in the popular 
imagination. 1 Tales of magic, of the most fatuous kind, 
obscured the charact3r of the poet; and this distorted fame 
spread over Europe. Petrarch was amongst the earliest of 
his defenders against these ridiculous calumnies; while, in 
1630, Gabriel Naude defended many of the famous men whose 
names had been associated with legends of the Black Art, — 

^ Vide Letter from Chancellor Conrad, 11 94, reproduced in Arnold of Lubeck's 
continuation of Helmold's Chronicon Slavicum : John of Salisbury : Gervase 
of Tilbury's Ofia Imperialia, bk. iii. (circa 1211): Alexander Neckham, 1217 : 
H61inand, 1227 : Gesta Bomanorum : Gower's Gonfessio Amantis : Lydgate's 
Bochas : separate romances collected circa 1499 in Chap-book, Les Faitz 
Merveilleux de Virgille : Thorns, Early English Prose Romances, 1853 : Com- 
paretti, Virgilio nel Medio Evo, 1872 : Rodocanachi, Etudes et Fantaiaies 
Historiques, Paris, 1919. Cf. legends of Horace at Palestrina, Thomas the 
Rhymer, Michael Scot, Faust, etc. 



The Man and his Work 43 

Virgil amongst them, with Aristotle and Julius Cassar. It 
should not have been difficult to clear the fame of the poet 
from such ridiculous stories as that, a lady in Rome having 
slighted him, he cast a glamour over the city so that not a fire 
could be lighted anywhere till she had apologized : that he 
built a palace in Rome, in which he could hear everything 
which was even whispered in the city : and that he married the 
daughter of the Soldan of Babylon, their mutual visits being 
made by means of a bridge of air ! The tales of his wonder, 
and especially of his mischief, were almost without number. 
A somewhat similar Puck-ish transformation was made of 
George Buchanan, the great poet and humanist, who, to 
popular imagination, was, and in some places still is, considered 
to have been the king's jester, the creator of many ridiculous 
situations, and author of innumerable vulgar jokes. ^ 

The Church, following TertuUian rather than Origen, was 
opposed to the works of the heathen authors finding a popular 
vogue. Gregory the Great said, " The praises of Christ cannot 
be fitly uttered in the same tongue as those of Jove," ^ and so 
clinched the argument for the language of the Latin Church. 
St Jerome's dream, which made him lay aside his favourite 
classic when the voice said, " Ciceronianus es, non Christianus ; 
ubi enim thesaurus tuus, ibi est cor tuum," ^ fully expressed 
the ecclesiastical attitude. Thus, also, Grwculus was taken as 
equivalent to hcereticus : while Latin was under frequent sus- 
picion as being the instrument of immoral teaching. And 
Alcuin forbade the reading of Virgil in the monastery over 
which he presided, as tending to sully the pious imagination, 
and rebuked a secret lover of the poet by the title VirgiUan, 
instead of Christian.^ Douglas, therefore, probably foresaw 
objection to his work, in the survival of such an attitude, as 
well as in the envy of those who did not love him. He also 
argued for the contact of Virgil with Christian teaching, as 
we shall see. 

^ Vide Chap-book. The Witty and Entertaining Exploits of George Buchanan, 
the King's Jester. This placed Buchanan at the English Conrt of James, 
twenty-one years after his death ! 

* Mullinger : Schools of Charles the Cheat, p. 77. 

' Epistola ad Eusiochium. * Mullinger, p. 110. 

44 The Man and his Work 

VirgiVs Position 

Among classical poets, Virgil, of course, occupied in the 
Middle Ages the sublimest position. Dante was steeped in 
Virgil, who was to him the very personification of Philosophy 
and Science, and therefore most suitably the guide of his 
pilgrimage through the world of shadow. To Petrarch, also, 
Virgil meant as much, as we find from the note in his copy of 
the Roman poet, in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, where 
he records the time of his first meeting with Laura, and the 
date of her death. " I write in this book," he says, " rather 
than anywhere else, because it comes more frequently under 
my eye." That Virgil's name was held in the very highest 
estimate is further proved by the admiration and reverence 
shewn to him, while others were neglected ; and when printing 
came to the help of authors he was an immediate beneficiary, 
for ninety editions, at least, were issued from the press before 
the beginning of the sixteenth century. The respect awarded 
to him by Dante confirmed his position. 

It is a little strange, in this connection, that Douglas does 
not mention Dante's name. He probably would be more 
inclined to recall the poet-exile of Florence in his own dark 
days of exile, when the sweet labour of his muse had, alas ! 
become but as a dream of light, remembered from the years 
that were dead. Such silences are not uncommon. Even 
Dryden does not mention Douglas, his own great predecessor 
in the work of translation. Nevertheless, one should have 
expected otherwise of Douglas, if only under the influence of 
Chaucer, who spoke of the great Florentine, and shewed the 
remembrance of his touch, in Troylus, and in The Parlement of 
Foules ; as well as from his own pioneer position. 

Virgil in Scotlmid 

By the period of Gawain Douglas the Roman was the 
favourite of all who anywhere loved lofty literature, Homer 
being known in Scotland only through Latin, as Greek did not 
penetrate to that country as an educational medium until 1534, 
when Erskine of Dun brought with him from his travels a 
teacher of the language, whom he settled at Montrose. The 

The Man and his Work 45 

story of Troy was more familiar in the now forgotten pseud- 
epigraphs ^ of Dictys of Crete, and Dares the Phrygian, which 
were supposed to be free from Homer's anti-Trojan prejudice. 

His Appeal to Douglas 

Douglas was drawn to Virgil both as a Churchman and a 
scholar. The works of the Roman poet had, in the Middle 
Ages, a pseudo-philosophical character attributed to them ; 
and the method of Sortes Virgiliance ^ lifted them into a position 
almost equal to that which the Bible held in this respect amongst 
our forefathers. Men left serious decisions, in crises of grave 
moment, to the phrases which first caught their eye on a chance 
opening of the page. He was, in common repute, an associate 
of Aristotle, Euclid, Solomon, Samson, King Arthur, and many 
others of similar standing. Allegory moved through the alleys 
of the Roman's thought, with dim candle ; and had long 
believed that it saw a kind of shadowy Christianity veiled in 
the noble utterance and stately phrase. It seemed as though 
Virgil carried a lantern which left his own path obscure but 
lit the path of those who followed him. This convention notably 
influenced Douglas in one side of his work. 

Though Douglas tells us that his cousin Lord Sinclair had 

given him the great alternative — 

With grete instance diuers tymys seir 
Prayit me translait VirgUl or Homeir, 

he could not have attempted the Greek poet at first hand. 
But he naturally knew his Latin classics, and speaks as with 
immediate acquaintance, of 

the mixt and subtiQ Martial, 

^ (a) Pretended discovery in fourth century of a MS. of the Trojan War, said 
to have been uncovered in the tomb of Dictys of Crete, by an earthquake ; 
written in the time of Nero, in Phenician characters, in the Greek language, 
by Dictys, companion of Idomeneus, mentioned in the Iliad, and translated 
into Latin by Quintus Septimus, (b) Trojan contemporary history by Dares 
the Phrygian — discovered at Athens by Cornehus Nepos, who had turned it 
into Latin. These pseudo-historical wi'itings had great vogue. Vide House 
of Fame, iii. 377, and Troylus and Greseide, i. 146, where these are set 
alongside of Homer. Vide M. Joly, Roman de Troie. 

' Cf. in this respect the portent so obtained by Alexander Severus, in ^n. 
vi. 852 ; and Charles the First in jEn. iv. 615-620. Vide Rabelais, bk. iii. c. 10. 
Cf. the mother of Goethe, in the same spirit, pricking the Bible with a pin to 
discover the chances of her son's recovery '. Vide Tennyson's Enoch Arden. 

46 The Man and his Work 

and of Horace as 

the morall wise poete. 

He refers again to Homer in a prose note to the Sixth Book, 
which appears in some copies of the Black Letter Edition, of 
1553, wherein he suggests that in the preceding Books Virgil 
had followed the Odyssey, for the perils through which ^Eneas 
had passed ; and in the other six Books had followed the Iliad, 
in describing battles. 

Humanism and Christianity 

The attempt of the scholars of the fifteenth century to re- 
concile Christianity and the ancient religion of Greece was 
probably, at root, the result of the instinct to give humanity 
as much as possible to feed upon, — ^practicall}'" the shifting of 
the flock of Thought to fresh grounds and virgin pastures. 
The ecclesiastical and feudal systems had failed, and the soul 
sought earlier sources for truth and life. The gods of Greece 
ceased to be looked upon with abhorrence ; their story became 
a new treasure-house of untrammelled art and poetic speculation. 
It is true that Gemisthus Pletho ^ had declared his aim to 
supersede the Christian Church and religion by a neo-Platonic 
mysticism ; but Ficino,^ when, according to tradition, he kept 
a candle burning before a bust of Plato and another before the 
Virgin, is perhaps more representative of the comprehensiveness 
of the new Spirit, for one large section of its scholars at any 
rate. Douglas leaves no reader in dubiety as to his position. 
He admires the genius of the pagan, but he lays his work on 
the shrine of divine truth.^ 

The Appeal of Universal Truth 

The Renaissance spirit awoke in man the feeling that he 
was a citizen of all the world of truth and beauty. Art became 
an integral part of religion, and no longer a mere acolyte at 
sacred shrines, or even a proselyte of the gate. The heathen 
Olympus was scaled by Christian poets ; and Hippocrene 
became the refreshing well in the desert for the pilgrim of 

1 1355-1450. " 1433-99. * Cf. ProL vL 

The Man and his Work 47 

Christian thought to rest beside. All souls met on the common 
ground of humane thought. There entered into this new 
atmosphere a fresh appeal of the gods who once had deigned 
to tabernacle in the tents of men and talk with rustic shepherds 
by their desert fires. And even Churchmen were turned thus, 
with a freshly sympathetic interest, to the pages of the ancient 

The Science of Comparative Religion appeals to-day with 
something of the same power, to the human mind, kaleidoscopic 
in its intuitions, which are the touchstones of the veracity of 
every age. But the fifteenth century had no Theory of Evolu- 
tion, or of mental progression from less to more, a process of 
the soul from darkness, through the dawn, to noonday. Nor 
had it, as the product of experience, that grasp of historic com- 
parisons which marks modernity. Allegory was the key to 
the divine mystery, and a world of analogues was evolved, in 
the misty border land between the old light and the new. The 
divinities of Olympus, and their speakers. Homer and Plato, 
addressed the children of the Middle Ages with the same power 
as the patriarchs and prophets.^ Pomponazzo ^ went so far as 
to declare that Moses, Mahomet, and Christ, were all of equal 
authority. The resultant process in literature was somewhat 
like a modern restoration of the shattered glass in an ancient 
ruined window, or the rekindling of extinguished fires. In- 
congruity, and a world of flickering and uncertain shadows, 
was the natural result. The Astrologers, the Cabbala, Plato, 
Homer, Holy Scripture, Boccaccio, and whatsoever the soul 
encountered in its awaking, were used as quarries for pseudo- 
philosophy and poesy, which sought to find, under fables of 
the gods of old, the substratum of universal truth. The issue 
was a semi-amalgam of the sacred and profane. The Revival 
of Learning cleared the field of its confusions, which had 
made Boethius equal to Plato, and even Homer inferior to 

1 Of. On loft is gone the glorius Apollo. 

Dunbar : 0/ the Resurrection of Christ, 1. 22. 

It has been unnecessarily argued from this that the Catholic Church did not 
adopt the Miltonic idea that the heathen gods were evil spirits. 

2 1452-1525. 

48 The Man and his Work 

The Discovery of the Age 

Humanism found that a great secret of vitality bad been 
dug out of the forgotten dust into which convention had trodden 
it. Whatever had touched the li^^ng interest of man had 
touched it vitally, and did not lose its force. No word that 
had spoken awakingly to a living heart had died utterly ; no 
vision that had ever unfolded the wonder of its beauty was 
futile entirely. The soul of a truth went eternally marching 
on, through all victorious spiritual progressions. It was in 
this that the unchristened wisdom and beauty of Virgil made 
their direct appeal to Douglas. And so he clothed them in the 
fairest vesture he knew, and tuned their music as fitly as he 
could to divine melody, for the benefit and enlightenment of 
the heart of man. 

Petrarch regarded the thinker and poet, thus, as also teachers 
of truth, without trammel of the dead hand. Progress towards 
perfect vision and utterance through the sense of individual 
personality using all the wisdom that lay in the words of Church 
father, and classical author, and, above all, in the page of Holy 
Scripture, was the true ideal of a living man, in his eyes. And 
Douglas, in his Virgilian labours, is filled and guided by the 
same spirit. 

Petrarch and Virgil 

Petrarch's deep devotion to ancient culture did not paganize 
him. He did not stumble into the custom and usage of later 
Italian humanists, whereby pagan and Christian ideals were 
awarded equality of reverence. Yet he says to Virgil : '' Did 
wandering ^Eneas welcome thee, and hast thou gone through 
the ivory gate ? . . . Dost thou inhabit that still expanse of 
heaven which receives the blessed, where the stars shine softly 
on the peaceful shades of the renowned ? Wast thou received 
thither after the conquest of the Stygian abodes, on the arrival 
of the Highest King who, victor in the mighty conflict, crossed 
the unhallowed threshold with feet that were pierced, and with 
might indomitable beat down the bars of Hell with his wounded 
hands ? " He plainly accepted, as an aid to the intellectual 
mastery of human questions, the classical writers, in their 

The Man and his Work 49 

degree, in co-operation rather than in co-ordination with the 
revelation of Jesus Christ. His grasp of the meaning of the 
true hght kept him from materiahstic impiety. All his work 
was anticipatory of the splendour, and with formative influence 
upon the age that succeeded him in Art and Letters. 

The Result 

While the awaking of the soul to expression of individual 

revolt from Medisevalism as a sealed and ultimate scheme of 

thought, prompted the flight of the spirit in reality into a world 

where all facts were relevant, there was at the same time an 

attempt to prove or discard theories by reference to their norm, 

— a long stride away from Allegory and ecclesiastical dogma 

into critical direct study of poets, historians, scriptural and 

patristic literatures, in their original forms. This involved, for 

some, escape from Aristotle to Plato, while many were turned 

back to the New Testament and the Fathers. For the first, it 

gave philosophy a chance. They fomid, as others had, how 

povera e nuda va filosofia.^ 

And Lorenzo de' Medici spoke w^hat many felt when he made 

his appeal to Reason, to break her bonds, leaving false hopes, and 

seeking freedom, her birthright. 

Leva dal collo tuo quella catena 
Ch' avolto vi tenea falsa bellezza : 
E la vana speranza, che ti mena, 
Leva dal cuor, e f a il governo pigli 
Di te, la parte piu beUa e serena. 

For the second, it seemed as though early Christianity were 
bom again, — that the divine Spirit of the universe touched 
directly the divine which had been sleeping in the clay, or 
muttering in its slumber. For all, it meant enrichment of 
fancy, extension of knowledge, and a draught of poesy fresh 
from wells that had been sealed against the lips of all except 
the learned. And the hand of Douglas rolled away the stone 
for his own people. As Jebb points out, not only in Philosophy, 
nor in Literature nor in Art alone, but in every form of in- 
tellectual activity the Renaissance threw open " a new era for 

^ Petiarcb : Sonnet, La gola e7 sonno, etc. 

50 The Man and his Work 

Virgil and Christianity— Douglas'' s use of him — Douglases View 
— Lymhus 
This movement was not, however, permitted to pass without 
protest, Padre Pompeo Venturi ^ leading against Dante for 
his having mingled paganism with Christianity. In fact, 
throughout mediaeval times Christian thought was in an almost 
constant grapple with the traditions of pagan antiquity and 
the deep reverence for the great Roman poet ; but many frag- 
ments of ancient beliefs actually passed at this time, without 
baptism, into Christianity. Even Erasmus expressed the fear 
that with the revival of pagan literature would come the revival 
of actual paganism, and he and his fellows busied themselves 
with the revival of simple Christianity^ — ^" primitive apostolic 
sincerity." It was known that St Augustine had commended 
Virgil as the first and best of poets, though St Jerome condemned 
him. Lesser lights followed the big candles, pro and con, so 
that, while some monasteries treasured manuscripts of Virgil's 
works, others held him to be opposed to the Psalms, and protege 
of the powers of evil. Douglas, however, had a far other view 
of his poet, and is prepared to quote the pagan as a defender 
of the Christian faith, or, at any rate, as a Christian evidence, 
though born out of due time. He was, of course, not a pioneer 
in this ; for, in the early liturgical play, Prophetce,^ of about 
the eleventh century, we find standing among the thirteen 
witnesses invoked for testimony to the divine mission of Jesus 
Christ, — and named as having predicted His advent, — ^Virgil, 
along with John the Baptist, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Sibyl, 
— ^with direct reference, of course, in Virgil's case, to that poet's 
fourth Eclogue. The play itself was evolved from the pseud- 
epigraphic Sermo contra JudcBos, which, attributed to St 
Augustine, was honoured in certain churches by having a place 
awarded to it in the ofiices for Christmas. In its earliest form 
it followed the Sermo closely, but the dialogue was expanded 
at a later time, and Balaam also inserted among the prophets. 
In this connection it is worth noting with what hardihood such 
a mode of thought survived, when we find that even in 1670 

^ Notable Commentator on Dante, b. 1693, d. 1752. 
* Vide Sepet, Les Prophetes du Christ, Paris, 1878. 

The Man and his Work 51 

John Eachard, in his Grounds and Occasions of ike Contempt 

of the Clergy, could write ironically, " It is usually said by those 

that are intimately acquainted with him, that Homer's Iliad 

and Odyssey contain mystically all the Moral Law for certain, 

if not a great part of the Gospel." The same remark might 

have been made in regard to Virgil, whom Douglas very seriously 

quotes along these lines, insisting, in fact, in his Prologue, that 

the Sixth Book of the ^neid is an inspired allegory of the 

future life.^ 

Schawls he nocht heir the synnys capital ? 

Schawls he nocht wikklt folk in endles pane ? 

And purgatory for synnys venyaU, 

And vertuus pepU into the plesand plane ? 

At al sik sawis fantasy, and invane ? 

He schawls the way ever patent down to hell. 

And rycht dlflficU the gait to hevin agane, 

With ma gude wordls than thou or I kan tell ^ , . . 

And, thocht our faith neid nane authorising 
Of gentiles bukls, nor by sik helthin sparkis 
Zit Virgil writis mony just claus condlng, 
Strengthing our beleve, to confound payan warkis. 
Qhow oft rehersis Austyne, chelf of clarkls, 
lia his gret volume of the cite of God, 
Hundreth versis of Virgil quhilk he markis 
Agane Romanys til vertu thame to brod.^ 

He gathers together what he considers to be the Christian 
teaching of Virgil's Sixth Book as to the other world : 

principally the sted of fell tormentis , . . 
Ane other place quhilk purgator representis, 
And dar I say the Lymbe of faderis aid, 
With Lymbus puerorum.* 

In support of this last-named doctrine he takes those Hues of 
the Mneid as authoritative : 

Continuo auditae voces, vagitus et ingens, 
Infantumque animse flentes, ia limine primo 
Quos dulcls vitse exsortis et ab ubere raptos 
Abstuht atra dies et funere mersit acerbo . . .^ 

As qhow thir helthin chUdir thar weirdis wary, 
Wepand and waland at the first port of hell . . .* 

Virgil seems to teach in the JEneid that a full term of life, ended 

^ Cf. Fenelon's Letter to Chevalier destouches : "You love Virgil . . . 
Well, I refer you to Horace . . I undertake to inculcate to you almost all 
the Christian counsels which you need ... or to dispone them under lines of 
Horace." Vide Sainte-Beuve, Causerie, 1st April 1850. 

» ProL vi. 41 3 /ft, 57, 4 jj^ §9. » 425, e proj ^j, 55 

52 The Man and his Work 

, by natural or lionourable death, is necessary in order to win 
admission to the fields of rest in the under-world of shades. 
He therefore places suicides, those who have been wrongly 
condemned, and those who have died of love's sorrow, cut off 
before their time, in Limbus, next to infants. Tertullian 
apparently agrees with this, but has an additional idea, as to 
the period of termination of this state : " Aiunt et immatura 
morte prseventas eo usque vagare istic, donee reliquatio com- 
pleatur setatum quas pervenissent si non intempestive obiisent." 
Douglas followed in regard to this ^ those who had gone 
before him along the same way. The first use of the word 
Limbus in its theological sense is in the Summa of Aquinas, 
and its extension was much helped by Dante's Inferno, Canto IV, 
where, in the uppermost of the nine circles into which the place 
of expiation and doom is divided, Virgil shews the souh, of 
whom himself is one, along with Homer, Horace, Ovid an(i 
Lucian, and all the figures of the great, from Scripture and 
from pagan writings — ^who, without ofience, were yet of the 
world's period before Christ, and so being unbaptizod, fell 
short of the full peace of the blessed. In the day after Douglas's 
day Archbishop Hamilton, in the Scottish Catechism,'^ expiscates 
the belief, shewing that it refers to the home of babes mibaptized ; 
but, being free from actual transgression, their only penalty 
is deprivation of glory, in consequence of their ordinary human 
heritage of original sin. 

The influence of Douglas in this matter of theology in literature 
is felt later on when Dr Farmer, in the famous Essay on the 
Learning of Shakespeare, refers to him in connection with the 
doctrine of Purgatory thus : " Gawain Douglas really changes 
the Platonic hell into the punytion of soulis in purgatory." ^ 
And he draws attention to the similarity of the phrase used by 
the ghost in Hamlet, to that used by Douglas. The ghost 
informed Hamlet of his unrestful doom, 

1 The first decree of the Church on the subject is found in the Council of 
Florence, 1439. Cf. Newman's Dream of Gerontius. 

^ 1552. Reprinted in facsimile 1882, with historical introduction by Professor 
Mitchell of St Andrews : also in 1884, with introduction by Dr T. G. Law. A 
copy is in the Library of Edinburgh University. It is very rare. Laing's copy 
in 1879 brought £148 at Sotheby's, and in 1905, £141. 

» Second Edition, 1767, p. 43. 

The Man and his Work 53 

Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature 
Are burnt and purged away.^ 

Douglas's explanation is, 

Quhen that the lif disseueris fra the body, 
Than netheles not zit ar fullely 
All harme ne cryme fra wrachit saulis separat. 
Nor aid infectioun come of the body layt : 
And thus aluterly it is neidfuU thing 
The mony vycis lang tyme induryng 
Contrackit in the corps be done away 
And purgit.^ 

It is true that all voices won their listeners at that period 
almost with equal weight, and were not looked upon, as now 
we take them, in their degree, in the natural growth of mind 
interpreting phenomena. But Douglas strikes out from the 
accepted standpoint, when he declares, as he appeals to the 
Virgin Mother : 

AU other Jove and Phebus I refus 
Lat Virgill hald hys mawmentis to him self 
I wirschip nowder ydoU, stok nor elf 
Thocht furth I write so as myne autour dois.' 

Douglas's Muse 

In the light of his period, Douglas, the Churchman and 
Christian poet, naturally feels in his poem that he must invoke 
the " Prince of Poetis," who is the very King of kings, to be his 

gydar and laid stern.* 
He turns also from Calliope to Mary Mother : 

Thou virgyn moder and madyn be my muse . . . 
Albeit my sang to thy hie maieste 
Accordis nocht.^ 

And again he cries : 

Thou art our Sibill, Cristis moder deir.* 

In similar thought he calls her Son, 

that hevynly Orpheus 
Grond of all gude, our Saluyour Ihesus.^ 

1 Act i. 5, 12. 2 vi. 12, 31. 

■' Pi'ol. X. 152. Mahomets, i.e. idols, as with early WTiters, used also of 
Satan. Cf. Burns, " Auld Mahoun," 

* Prol. i. 453 (Small, 459). ^ /^ 432 (Small, 468). 

« Prol. vi. 145. 7 pi.oi_ i_ 4^8 (Small, 474). 

54 The Man and his Work 


His Interpretations 

Again, in his Comment, he explains, in this spirit, the meeting 
of ^neas with Venus his mother " in hknes of a vergyn or a 
mayd : by the quhilk ye sail understand that Venus was in 
the ascendent, and had domynation in the hevyn the tym of 
his natyvitie ; and for that the planet Venus was the signifiar 
of his byrth and had domination and speciall influens towart 
hym. . . . And weyn nocht for this thocht poetis fenzeis Venus 
the planet, for the Caus foirsaid, to be Eneas mother, at thai 
beleve nocht he was motherles . . . and that Venus metis 
Eneas in form and lyknes of a maid is to be onderstood that 
Venus the planate that tym was in the syng of the Virgyn." 
All this is consonant with that borderland period of thought 
in which a man, one foot in the Middle Ages and the other in 
the dawning age of neo-classic literature, could look upon 
Christ as a diviner Plato, or Plato as a Christ in posse. 

In the same spirit of semi-philosophical interpretation he 
follows Boccaccio's interpretation of the gods, as in the De 
Genealogia Deorum of that poet, — Juno being " the erth and 
the water," Jupiter " the ayr and the fyre," etc. For all kindred 
information he refers to " John Bocas," with the reverence of 
a devout follower. He also quotes Landinus,* " that writis 
morally apon Virgill," as shewing how " Eneas purposis to 
Italy, his land of promyssion ; that is to say, a just perfyte 
man entendis to mast soueran bonte and gudnes, quhilk, as 
witnessyth Plato, is contemplation of godly thingis or dyvyn 
warkis. His onmeysabill ennymy Juno, that is fenyeit queen 
of realmys, entendis to dryve him from Italy to Cartage : that 
is Avesion or concupissence to ryng or haf wardly honouris, 
and draw him fra contemplation to the active lyve ; quhilk 
quhen scho falls by hir self, tretis scho with eolus, the neddyi' 
part of raison, quhelk sendis the storm of mony wardly consalis 
in the just manis mynd." And so forth. 

With all his love for the heathen poet Douglas never 
forgets himself as " the reverend father in God . . . Bishop 
of Dunkeld." And herein his needle just trembles from its 
Renaissance polestar. But he had his Renaissance moments. 

' b. 1424; <1. .vbout 1508. 

The Man and his Work 55 

In fact, his translation of Virgil was itself a Renaissance act. 
Oleams of the new day flash along his line. His invocation 
in the opening of his work : 

Lawd, honour, praysyngis, thankis infynyte 
To the and thy dulce ornate fresch endyte, 
Maist reuerend Virgill, of Latyn poetis prynce, 

shews liis estimate of his original, as lofty as Ovid's regarding 
the jEneid : 

quo nullum Latio clarius exstat opus.^ 

The author of Lancelot of the Laik has the same phrase in 
regard to the poet's " fresch enditing of his laiting toung " ; ^ and 
Douglas's invocation might well be an echo of Dante's verse : 

O degli altri poeti onore e lume, 
Vaghami il lungo studio e il grande amore, 
Che m'ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume, 

for, over and over again, he displays a similar spirit of close 
devotion to his poet. 

His Originality 

In his work Douglas claims originality, in that he has not 
tried to imitate any other scholar, but that he follows 

eftu" my fantasy.* 

And he claims no inspiration, nor the possession of aught beyond 
what a scholar should possess, doing his best, 

Not as I suld, I wrait, bot as I couth.* 
And when he says he passes on the spirit of the ancient poet, 

new fra the berry run,' 
not in artificial phrase, but in 

haymly playn termys famyliar,' 

he is making that personal stroke which is characteristic of 
the neo-classicism in its search back to sources, and its claim 
for the rights of the vernacular. 

1 IL Eleg. xxxiv. 66 ; de Art. Amor. iii. 337. * Prol. 327. 

» Dyrectioun, 98. * lb. 110. ' lb. 90. * Jh. 94. 

56 The Man and his Work 

Douglas and Caxton 

Douglas objects to Caxton's work, which Caxton described 
as founded on, and as being practically a translation of, " a 
lytyl booke in Frenche, which late was translated oute of Latyn 
by some noble clerk of Fraunce,^ which booke is name Eneydos, 
made in Latyn by that noble poete and grete clerke Vyrgyle." 
His condemnation of Caxton's book is quite modern both in 
its reason and in its scathingly searching scorn. The original 
was, in reality, not at all a translation from Virgil, but from a 
loose French version of an Italian paraphrase of certain portions 
of the Mneid,—a, kind of eclectic romance based on that poem 
and The Fall of Princes by Boccaccio. It never reached, in 
Caxton's rendering, a second issue, though the Printer seems to 
have executed a large edition, to judge by the frequency of 
the copies extant. Caxton himself was painfully conscious of 
difficulties before him in his task, owing to the diversity of 
English dialects, and the fact that he was not acquainted at 
first hand with Virgil, as he explicitly declares. For he mentions 
how he had submitted his work to John Skelton, skilled in 
English, having " late translated the epystles of Tulle, and 
the boke of Dyodorus Syculus, and diverse other werkes oute 
of Latyn in to Englyshe, not in rude and olde langage, but in 
polyshed anrl ornate termes craftely, as he had redde Vyrgyle^ 
Ouyde, Tuiiye, and all the other noble poetes and oratours to 
me unknowen." 

Douglas justly complains that it is not Virgil ; that in time, 

place, style, spirit and character, it is wrong, and imfair to the 

author in whose name it is put forward. And here he is in 

touch with the Renaissance, and with its reverence for the 

norm. He mentions point after point where Caxton's book 

goes astray, and where it is deficient. He deplores that any one 

So schamefully that story dyd pervert ; 
I red hys wark with harmys at my hart, 
That syk a buke, but sentence or engyne, 
Sud be intitillit eftir the poet dyvyae.^ 

He mourns that his poet should be misrepresented 

With sycli a wycht, quhilk trewly, be myne enteut, 
Knew neuer thre wordis of all quhat VirgUl ment. 

^ Guillaume de Roy. ^ Piol. i. 144. 

The Man and his Work 57 

He returns to the attack in the Prolong of the Fyft Buik, again 
condemning the audacity of Caxton : 

Now harkLs sportis, myrthis and myrry plays, 
Full gudly pastans on mony syndry waj's, 
Endj-te by Virgil, and heir by me translate, 
Quhilk William Caxton knew never al hys days : 
For as I sayd befor, that man forvays, 
Hys febil proys bejai mank and mutulate.^ 

It seems a very persistent and hard attack, but Caxton's phrase, 
written, of course, in ignorance — " made in Latyn by that noble 
poet and grete clerke Vyrgyle " — provoked it. And probably 
also Caxton's appeal, " Aiid if any man . . . findeth such 
terms that he cannot understand, let him go and learne Virgil 
or the pistles of Ovid," only deepened the provocation. The 
" Good Bishop " was not, therefore, " furiously angry with 
Caxton for not doing what he never pretended to do with 
Virgil," 2 but was genuinely irritated over what he felt to be a 
misrepresentation of the poet to whom he was honestly devoted. 

Douglas and Mapheus 

Yet, notwithstanding his fierce attack on Caxton as having 
represented as Virgil's what Virgil never wrote, he himself 
included in his own book, on the level of companionship with 
the immortal Roman, the work of Mapheus Vegius, who had 
written a supplement to the poem, as a thirteenth book of the 
Mneid. Mapheus was Almoner to Pope Martin the Fifth, and 
died in 1458, so that his fame was quite fresh, and some of his 
Italian comitrymen esteemed him as the best of all poets who 
had appeared for a thousand years, not excludmg even Petrarch. 
His works were much read, and his supplement set without 
scruple alongside of Virgil's in the Edition of 1480 by Rubeus, 
the Venetian of 1482, and hosts of others later. 

Douglas whimsically explains his action in the matter by 
narrating, in mediseval fashion, how, in a dream, during his 
walk abroad in the fields, having fallen asleep in a pleasant 
evening in Jmie, he encomitered this poet as an aged man who 
is much displeased by Douglas's neglect of his poem. He asks, 

1 Prol. V. 46. "^ Saintsbury : English Prosody, vol. i. 275. 

58 The Man and Ms Work 

Gyf thou has afore tyme gayn onrycht 

Followand sa lang Virgill a gentile clerk, 

Quhy schrynkis thou with my schort cristyn wark ? 

For, thocht it be bot poetry we say. 

My buke and VirgiUis moraU beyn, baith tway.^ 

Here he looks over his shoulder from the New Light, and feels 
that the Christianity of Mapheus recommends his work to eqaal 
treatment with that of the pagan poet, though the Renaissance 
writers were inclined to reverse that plea. His Renaissance 
gird at Caxton is not only weakened here in regard to its in- 
fluence on his position, but he steps still further back into the 
dark when he adds to his impeachment the complaint that 
Oaxton does not do justice to what is veiled under " the cluddes 
of dirk poetry," — the Christianizing allegory, and the shadowy 
spirituality of the Roman's teaching. Douglas further answers 
the poet's complaint by urging that the addition was unneces- 
sary, indeed, unjustifiable, much as the fifth wheel added to a 
cart would only be an incumbrance. And, besides, he had 
probably given enough time, which might well have been more 
profitably employed, in the labours he had already spent : 

Thus sair me dredis I sal thoill a heit 

For the grave study I haue so long forleit.^ 

But the old poet suddenly assailed him with his staff, and so 
he was glad to escape by promising to take up the supplementary 
translation. It is quite apparent that Douglas was too good 
a scholar and too true a poet to do this without proffering an 
excuse. He probably bowed to some external advice ; or, 
against his own opinion, surrendered to popular custom of his 
time. But he may also have been influenced by the contem- 
porary editions of the poet, which included the supplementary 

Thomas Twyne, in 1584, followed Douglas in this same matter, 
in his completion of Phaer's translation,^ but he smilingly says, 
*' I have not done it upon occasion of any dreame, as Gawin 
Douglas did it into Scottish, but mooved with the worthines of 
the worke, and the neirnes of the argument, verse, and stile, 
unto Virgil, wherein I judge the writer hath declared himself 
an happie imitatour." 

1 Prol. xiii. 138. » lb. 129. » London, 1584. 

The Man and his Work 59 

His Early Method 

Douglas, in his Police of Honour, following the poetic 
tradition, had set a mob in the salon of Minerva, all on equal 
terms, — ^the sibyl, Circe, Deborah, Judith, Jael, Solomon, 
Aristotle, Sallust, Livy, Socrates, Averroes, Enoch, Job, Ulysses, 
Cicero, and Melchizedek, while the goddess Diana is attended 
by the daughter of Jephthah, Polixena, Penthesilia, Iphigenia, 
and Virginia, and " uthir flouris of feminitie," whom the poet 
does not particularize. The Court of Venus had Arcite, 
Palamon, J^milia, Dido, and ^Eneas, Troilus and Cressida, 
Pyramus and Thisbe, Paris and Helen, Antony and Cleopatra ; 
and others — 

" As ane multitude thaj- war innumerabil." 

The poem has its own crowd of poets, and, of course, one might 
guess who were there, though Douglas apologizes for some 
omissions. Homer is the only Greek mentioned. Ovid, " digest 
and eloquent," " the greit Virgilus," Terence, Juvenal, 

like ane mowar him allone 
Stude scornand everie man as they gaed by ! — 

Martial, Poggius, 

with mony girne and grone. 

On Laurence Valla spittand and cryand fy : 

Petrarch, Boccaccio, and other luminaries of the new learning, 
with Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate ; and the Scots, — Kennedy, 
Dunbar, and Quintin Shaw.^ 

Douglas is standing there on the old platform looking at the 
horizon of the new day. In his later poem he is the poet 
and priest in equal proportions ; and a similar division holds 
a hazy balance in his page between the Old Light and the New. 
His Mneid verse is redolent of the spirit of the New, while in 
his earlier poem there is the pride of a scholar in his mention 
of the names of his poets, and something of the catholicity of 
the humanist in massing them together as he does. 

• Cf. Henryson. In hell Orpheus finds Julius Csesar, with popes, cardin&b 
and others together. 

60 The Man and his Work 

His later Affinities — Hoiv he stands with Mneas — His Protest 

against Chaucer 

In his Virgil, his afl&nities with the conventions of the Middle 
Ages, his mental and moral bent towards theologizing, and his 
feudal outlook, which makes him speak of Virgil as a baron,^ — 
natural enough in one whose title-page later on bears the proud 
statement that the Author is " Unkil to the Erie of Angus," 
himself being the son of a house noble even to princehness in 
Scottish annals, — load Douglas, as with a bias, away from the 
New Birth. His work is, in fact, the work of an old aristocrat, 
in birth, blood, and learning. Noblesse oblige is the ideal he 
had before him as a maxim in it. He therefore had to defend 
the aristocrat Mneas, asserting that he is still a " mirror for 
princes, verteous, sincer, gentill and liberall . . . quhais vertavis 
gif the Pryncis of our dayis wyll follow they schal not onely 

be favored of God, but also well beloved of all gud men '* 

He is compelled, of course, in this spirit to object to Chaucer's 
reference to his hero in the Legend of Dido, — 

Glory and honour, Virgill Mantuan, 
Be to thy name ! and I shal, as I can, 
Folow thy lantern, as thou gost beforn, 
How Eneas to Dido was forsworn. ^ 

Douglas will have none of this, which he looks upon as a slander. 
For he clothes ^Eneas with the character of a mediaeval knight, 
faithful to his plighted word ; and, though he excuses Chaucer 
as being 

evir, God wait, aU womanis frend, 

he yet protects his hero from that poet's very painfully candid 
allegation, holding Mneas up as a mirror of virtue and grace, 
truly serving God — a method which, of course, brought the 
picture before his own time with a clearer outhne and a more 
convincing power. The following lines, six in number, most 
fully contain a summary for the defendant, — 

He hated vice, abhorring craftineis, 
He was a myi'our of verteu and of grais. 

^ Cf. Chaucer, making Theseus a duke and Aristotle a clerk, etc. Cf. also 
Henryson: Sir Troj'lus and Sir Orpheus, and their knightly piety. 
* Legende of Good Womeii, 925. 

The Man and his Work 61 

Just in his promys ever, and stout in mynd. 
To God faithfull, and to his freyndys kynd. 
Verteous, vyse, gentil and liberall, 
In feates of war excelling vderis all.^ 

There is neither note nor hint given by Small as to where he 
got these verses, which he printed in his edition. They appear 
in the Black Letter Edition of 1553 : and of course in 
Ruddiman. They are not in any of the known manuscripts 
except the Bath ; and Small quotes no authority for the inter- 
polation in the body of his text. Douglas was strong enough 
in his protest without them. He says : 

My mastir Chauser gretly Virgill offendit, 

All thoch I be to bald hym to repreif , 

He was fer baldar, certis, by hys leif , 

Sayand he foUowit VirgiUis lantern toforn, 

Quhou Eneas to Dydo was forsworn. 

Was he forsworn ? Than Eneas was fals : 

That he admittis, and caUys hym traytour als. 

Thus wenyng allane Ene to haue reprevit 

He has gretly the prynce of poetis grevit, 

For as said is, Virgill dyd diligens, 

But spot of cryme, reproch or ony offens, 

Eneas for to loif and magnyfy, 

And, gif he grantis hym maynswom fowlely, 

Than all hys cuyr and crafty engyne gais quyte, 

His twelf zheris laubouris war nocht worth a myte.* 

Reid the ferd buke quhar queyn Dido is wraith, 
Thair sal zhe iynd Ene maid nevir aith, 
Promyt nor band with hir fortill abyde ; 
Thus him to be maynswom may nevir betyde.' 

And so, further, in a full defence of the moral integrity of his 

Commentators, along with translators, have felt the same 
difficulty in this matter. Dryden had to write against his 
critics a defence of his poet " and what they have to urge against 
the manners of his hero "... He shews how Virgil, creating 
iEneas as a prototype of Augustus, was compelled to make 
him a perfect character. As such he was accepted ; and 
Sidney, in his Ayologie for Poesie, simply followed the tradi- 
tional estimate, whe'n he spoke of "so excellent a man as 
Virgil's iEneas," and called him "a virtuous man in all 

1 Piol. i. 330 (Small). 2 lb. i. 409 (Small, 415). 

3 Prol. i. 436 (Small, 442). 

62 The Man and his Work 

fortunes." Dryden's idea was that a hero ought not to be 
a character of perfect virtue, for then he could not without 
injustice be made unhappy ; nor yet altogether wicked, because 
he could not then be pitied, i Had Douglas dedicated his poem 
to James IV while writing it, he might have set up the King 
as an Augustus, or very suitably, though perilously, worked j 
out a parallel with ^neas ; but he was mindful in this, at any 
rate, that he was engaged on a translation, not in creating a 

The hero of the Latin poem inevitably appealed to a Church- 
man, along a special line. For the wanderings of iEneas were 
not only to found a city but to inaugurate a new worship in 
Italy,— ^ 

" inferretque deos Latio." 

He is spoken of as 

" insignem pietate virum." 
And he constantly displays his great faith, his trust in the 
guidance of the gods, with accompanying prayer, sacrifice and 
thanksgiving, while visions, omens, and prophecies are frequent 
concomitants of his experiences. Virgil set piety before valour, 
in his poem, and justly so, since a man may be brave enough 
and yet be impious and vile. So, under the circumstances, 
Douglas had to expatiate. But yet it is difficult to explain 
away Dido. " Upon the whole matter," says Dryden,2 " and, 
humanly speaking, I doubt there was a fault somewhere : and 
Jupiter is better able to bear the blame than either Virgil or 
iEneas. ... If the poet argued not right, we must pardon 
him for a poor bhnd heathen, who knew no better morals." 
A very characteristic method of " Glorious John " getting out 
of a difficult corner ! 


Douglas honestly tries to defend his hero. The blame had 
to be laid on the gods ; for ^neas still loved Dido when he 
left Carthage, but he set the will of heaven above his own 
inclinations and desires. 

' Preface to All for Love. 2 Dedication to ^neis. 

The Man and his Work 68 

Certis, Virgill schawys Ene dyd na thing, 
Frome Dydo of Carthage at hys departyng, 
Bot quhilk the goddis commandit hym befom, 
And gif that thar command maid hjrm maynsworn 
That war repreif to that diuinyte. 
And na reproch onto the said Ene.^ 

There is some casuistry of the Bishop here, as well as a poet's 
devotion to his original, even although Andrew Lang allocates 
his prose to the Bishop and his verse to the Humanist. 

Douglas might, in this matter, have had a gird at Occleve 
also, who, in The Letter of Cwpid, was quite frank in his statement 


the traitour jEneas, 
The faithless wretch, how he himself forswor 
To Dido. 

And in The House of Fame, we read : 

For he to her a traytour was . . . 
How he betrayed her, alias ! 
And left her ful mikyndely. 

Honest Chaucer, in fact, never minced matters with regard 
to human f aihngs and the duty of highest honour. And whoever 
wrote The Court of Love ^ shewed himself too modem to care 
for the heroic convention, when he finely said, 

Dydo, that brent her bewtie for the love 
Of fals Eneas. 

The rubric in the Black Letter Edition candidly shifts the 
blame to the divine shoulders, and leaves it there : " God's 
wyl and commandement shuld ever be prefered, and have 
the first place in all men's actions and doynges." ^ It is quite 
evident, however, that even Douglas himself was, in his Fourth 
Prologue, sUghtly shaky over Dido's distress, though he blames 
Love, and not the gallant. And in the marginal Comment 
of the Cambridge Manuscript, either from the promptings of 
conscience or in answer to adverse criticism, he writes later : 
" This argument excusis nocht the tratory of Eneas na his 

1 ProL i. 424 (Small, 430). 

* Formerly attributed to Chaucer. Printed by Stow in 1561 : one late 
manuscript speaks of author as "Philogenet, of Cambridge, Clerk," unidentified. 

• Cf. Sainte-Beuve : ^neas is to be looked upon as possessing a vutue which 
must be "une haute et froide impersonalite qui fasse de lui non un homme 
mais un instrument les dieux." Vide Etude sur Virgile. 

64 The Man and his Work 

maynswering, considering quhat is said heirafoir, in tlie ij. c. of 
this prolog, that is, 

Juno nor Venus goddes neuer war, 

Mercur Neptune Mars nor Jupiter. 

Of forton eik na hir necessitie, 

Sic thingis nocht attentik ar, wait we . . . 

" It follows than, that Eneas vroucht not be command of ony 
goddis, bot of his awyn fre wyl, be the permission of God, quhiik 
sufEeris al thing, and stoppis nocht, na puttis nocht necessite 
to fre wyll. He falit than gretly to the sueit Dydo, quliilk 
fait reprefit nocht the goddessis diuinitie, for thai had na 
diuinitie, as said is befoir." And, finally, he puts the burden 
on Virgil himself, as being bound by the unity of character 
which he is portraying, " and Eneas no all his wark secludis 
from all vylle offyce." 

Of course, it must not be overlooked that such a character 
as that of ^Eneas was in reality no novelty in Epic or Ballad 
times. To love and ride away seemed to be recognized as one 
of the commonest privileges of the feudal knight. And yet 
it was remarkable on Virgil's part to present in a hero what 
was actual treachery,— only paralleled in classic writing by 
the meanness of Jason, — moving in us compassion for Dido 
rather than sympathy with ^neas ; and in modern times by 
the unknightly forgery of Marmion. The same thing applies 
to Tumus, who is much more heroic than Mnesbs. And it is 
impossible to believe that this was the intention of the poet. 

Douglas felt confident of having made the poem a successful 
defence, for he writes : 

Be glaid Ene, thy bell is hiely rong, 
Thy fame is blaw, thy prowes and renown 
Dywlgat ar, and sung fra town to town 
So hardy from thens that other man or boy 
The ony mair reput traytour of Troy 
Bot as a worthy conquerour and kyng 
The honour and extoll as thou art dyng.^ 

His independence 

Though Douglas, of course, displays the conventional 
reverence for great names in his earlier labours, he, in the 

^ Dyrectioun, 128. 

The Man and his Work 65 

Virgilian translation, and in the Prologues, frequently shews 
also, as we have seen, an independent outview and power of 
depicting Nature, reproducing it from the sensitive records 
of his memory and sight,— the direct vision of a poet's mind, 
not the echo of books. This does not deny the influence of 
poets and scholars with whose classical works he proves his 
acquaintance by tacit imitation, or deliberate naming of them.i 
But in his Virgil he breaks with the old fashion which now 
palled upon him, and, very widely, with the Chaucerian tradition 
of which James I and Henryson were devoted followers, to 
whom he was the absolute " exemplar in the craft of verse," 
whose page they avowedly studied with patient care, and whose 
methods they absorbed in absolute entirety. 

It must be admitted, however, that, in his work as a whole, 
he naturally did not shake himself entirely free from the char- 
acteristics of his own age, and was not fully awakened to the 
spirit of the New Age, notwithstanding the evidence of John 
Major to his impatience with the methods of medieevalism. 
His scholarship enabled him to fill his verse with more abundant 
matter than his contemporaries, but he could not create an 
entire worid of his own. He had to set his properties upon 
the Stage of the older craftsmen. In his poetry, anterior to 
his Virgil, he painted entirely from the gallery of the old, 
rather than from the direct vision of the new. He had not yet 
m these attained the independence which made him, in his 
later work, the spontaneous lover and interpreter of Nature 
and of hfe. 

Even although you will find in his Virgil work phases of 
I movement, interpretation and life— birds and streams singing, 
1 stillness of stars, and moonUght falling over quiet places,' 
! humanity involved in the storm and hush of the natural world,' 
and love entering as with the tenderness of morning dew into 
ithe Ups and head; of living folk, the Past and the Future finding 
hints of something for To-day, yet the hght upon it is most 
I frequently the Ught of sunset rather than of breaking dawn 
I In fact, Professor Saintsbury's conclusion is the only final 
j judgment possible of Douglas, in this consideration, generally, 
^ Cf. Henryson's influence on Seventh Prologue. 

66 The Man and his Work 

as shewing " side by side with Renaissance tendency . . . 
the strongest symptoms of persistent medisevalism," though 
perhaps in regard to the Mneid the former clause is too weak, 
and the latter too strong. 

WilUam Blake said, " The ages are all equal, but genius is 
always above its age." And Douglas, though, in his Virgil, 
mediaeval in the aggregate, stands very frequently above his own 
average. His view of Virgil was the view of the old Learning, 
as the philosopher, the semi-veiled exponent of truth; while 
his Christianizing of the Muse, his appeals to the holy Virgin, 
his lifting the Roman's teachings into evidential values and 
prophetic weight, have the touch that gave pathetic incon- 
gruity to the seekers on the border-land of the neo-classical 

His Police of Honour and King Hart have not the graciously 
divine gift. He is still, in them, standing deep in the earlier 
age, and cannot free his feet from the old convention and 
allegory, and from the habit of using certain epithets, Uke a 
wedding garment kept in stock to be laid on the shoulders 
of every guest of thought whom the poet is expected to 

Douglas and Dunbar 

Douglas the Churchman was naturally more of a bookman 
than Dunbar the Cleric, who was the skilled craftsman, with 
the humour of a poet, rendered somewhat sardonic by the 
disappointments that run breathlessly at the heels of kings, 
and the sordid seeking that haunts courts. His theory of Ufa, 
so far as it can be gathered, was on the whole the ecclesiastical 
and monastic, not the humane and free. It is here that he 
differs most from Henryson, whose sorrows and joys in verse 
are as modern in their moving impulses as those that still 
move human hearts ; while Dunbar pours out of his heart all 
that he feels of human experience, without shame or restraint. 
Dunbar also, was, of course, a master-moulder of vibrant and 
flexible verse, — a very modern man, — a cleric with a human 
tongue and a very mortal heart, not a Churchman writing about 
passion, but a Cleric who had felt it, and could translate it into 


The Man and his Work 67 

laughter or tears. In the Prologues and Efilogues Douglas 
approaches that quite closely, when the poet drops his cowl 
and speaks as a man to men. He could not, however, like 
Dunbar, be " occasional " in poetry. His spirit was epic. 

Though his later hfe shewed that his real call seemed to be 
towards ecclesiastical ambition and political intrigue rather than 
to the free literary Hfe, yet, when he left his first love, and shut 
the windows which looked towards Parnassus, the rest was only the 
dust and heat of controversy, disappointment, exile, and death. 
Professor Hume Brown,^ speaking of Dunbar and Douglas, 
together, very appositely points out how, by their " larger view 
of Hfe " and " more direct knowledge of the classical tradition, 
they show that they have been influenced by the Revival of 
Letters,^ while, in the moments when they remember the pro- 
fessions to which they both belonged, they fall back on that 
cloistral attitude towards men and things which is the note of 
mediaeval Christianity." It is therefore said with much 
truth : " Such poetry as that of Henryson, Dunbar, and Gavin 
Douglas gives proof of contact with the advancing thought 
of Europe, even when its tone is mainly mediseval." ^ This is 
in general most closely true of Douglas. For his proHxities 
and digressions shew where he stands. The Humanist is too 
frequently lost in the Medisevalist. He did not grasp the 
disparity between the classical period and his own. He was 
content to clothe classical characters with attributes that 
seemed analogous. He did not quite break with the early 
i alHterative artifice, while he followed the Renaissance habit 
i in the creation of " aureate terms," and in a deliberate moulding 
I and hammering of literary phrase. He breaks away, sometimes, 
I it is true, in his Virgil, into the expression of individual and 
national purpose, but he is not ever, by any means, fully in 
rebellion against the former days. Even his Prologues em- 
1 phasize the allegory of Virgil. His modernity finds voice, it 
is true, for a while, in his quarrel with Caxton's work. But 
I his own work has more of evensong than of dawn about it. 

I * History of Scotland, vol. i. p. 278. 

I • Sir Walter Scott said that the genius of Dunbar and Douglas alone is 
^ Bufiicient to illuminate whole ceniuries of ignorance. 
• MacEwen'3 Church History of Scotland. 

68 The Man and his Work 

And yet his claim for the vernacular, and for the directness 
of his translation, 

Unforlatit, not jawyn fra tun to tun,^ 

was a purely Renaissance claim. These words could be written 
on the lintel of the new period. No fitter motto could be there. 
But it must be evident that it cannot be pressed beyond a 
certain limit in Douglas's case. 

The fact of Douglas's culture kept him in tracks which his 
predecessors had trodden out, till at last the flame of his native 
inspiration heated even words and phrases of dead time and 
past circumstance into a white glow which they still retain. 
It is natural that his work should seem frequently harsh and 
wild in its effect upon us of to-day, accustomed as we are to 
the refined and poUshed product of the labours of Poesy through 
past generations, — striking us as the huge cathedrals of the 
Middle Ages struck those who applied the term Gothic to them 
aa being expressive of vast ruggedness rather than of splendid 
art. But it was a work reared in a rough age, and it was the 
result of pioneer exploration, achieved with old-fashioned 
implements and imperfect charts, yet nobly achieved. 

He is not, of course, as great as his master. Nor have we, 
because we have no right to expect, the clear silvery tinkle, as of 
a bell, in such lines as Chaucer's regarding Petrarch, 

whos rethoryke sweete 
Enlumlned al Itaille of poetrye," 

or in these verses, — of which that poet has many such, — 

That as an harpe obeieth to the hond, 
That maketh soune after his f3Tigerynge, 
Ryglit so mowe ye oute of myn herte bringe 
Swich vois, rycht as youe lyst, to laughe or pleyne,* 

wherein the stillness that is the sudden revelation of genius 
fails right across the soul. 

1 Prol. V. 63. 

' Prol. to The Clerkes Tale, 1. 32. 

* ProL to the Legende of Goode Women, 1. 90. 



Sainte-Beuve said truly that Virgil " gave a new direction 
to taste, to the passions, and to sensibiUty." * And one must 
ask whether Douglas in his translation did this for his own 
people and time. The answer naturally involves negative and 
positive elements. 

Question of Translation 

It must be admitted frankly that his does not, any more than 
other translations, fully represent the sweetness of vocahc 
music, the aptness of articulated phrase, the frequently plangent 
tenderness, of his subUme original. As has been said, " No 
translator will satisfy himself, still less can he expect to satisfy 
others." ^ And this because the tone must be sufficiently modem 
to make the poems tolerable, say, as English poems, and yet 
sufficiently classical to be characteristic, and sue as the scholar 
will recognize as true. Douglas does not wish that the reader 
should take his book to be the touchstone of the excellence of 
the style of the JEneid, but rather as a representation of the 
fttory, and a just interpretation of the sentiments of Virgil, 
and his characters, divine and human. His original is naturally, 
he feels, so highly transcending his best ability both to com- 
prehend and to utter in fulness of excellence, that it is often 
easier for him to err than to succeed in his rendering, which 
he undertook 

Non ita certandi cupidus, quam propter amorem.' 

Yet, in its vigour, in its vision, in its characterization, it is 
almost an original epic that he creates. And its scholarship, 
and the intelligence of its purpose, stand the test. If it be 

' Vide £tude iur VirgUe. 

* Sir Theodore Martin, Horace, vol. i. p. clxxxiv. 1881. ^ Lucrot., iii. 5. 

70 The Translation : its Method and Result 

not, as Lang asserted, a " complete success," it is a success 
as complete as has been accomplislied, or as Douglas could 
achieve in his day. It may be that some may challenge the 
statements of Courthope and of Henderson, that " no poet 
ever drank more deeply of the spirit of Virgil," ^ and that 
"he is thoroughly interpenetrated with the Virgilian atmo- 
sphere, and succeeds in communicating this to the reader." ^ 
Nevertheless, it is true that he is imbued with the purpose of 
his author, and transfers thought and picture, of Nature and 
Humanity, to his own page as from the life, in a way that make 
them truly understood by his audience, and frequently, indeed, 
with the touch of genius. If the transference has sometimes 
more of Douglas than of Virgil about it, it probably is because 
his enthusiasm for his original speaks with the voice of the 
dawn. It is because he is not dealing with words only but 
with effects. And it promises a day beyond the makeshifts 
of Boethius, Dares, Dictys, and French hashes of the Trojan 
story. It promises, in fact, a day of direct knowledge of the 
heart and mind of a classic. And in this Douglas was a path- 
finder and a road-maker. He had to grope his own way, and 
widen it as he went forward. He could not claim the scholarly 
position of Erasmus or Buchanan, nor the metrical mastery 
which made Chaucer's Legend of Dido the best version of a 
Virgilian episode, before his time. But as in his own day 
Virgil embodied in himself the highest excellences of one of 
the world's rich ages of noble culture, so Gawain Douglas 
represented certainly the best culture of the period he lived in.* 
It may be acknowledged that he had not what Carlyle calls 
Virgil's " tenderness and meek beauty," or " matchless elo- 
quence," but he had a majesty and verve of his own. His 
original had, of course, what Conington describes as " marvel- 
lous grace and deUcacy, the evidences of a culture most elaborate 
and most refined." But Douglas concentrated more upon 
the matter than the style, the grasp and presentation of what 

1 Hist, of English Poetry, i. 378. 

'Scottish Vernacular Literature, 199, 3rd ed. 

' The boast of the Douglas clan was, " Ye find us in the stream, not in the 
source — in the tree, not in the twig." This pride and prestige of race, uplifted 
and refined by scholarship, was unique in his day. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 71 

the poet meant. And who has ever yet succeeded in conveying 
by translation the lambent phrase and fragrant atmosphere 
of the great Augustan's poesy ? 

We must remember that the jEneid itself lacked the revising 
touch of the master's hand. And Douglas's work suffered 
from the same cause. Lang says truly : " We must not ask 
the impossible from Douglas. We must not expect exquisite 
philological accuracy : but he had the ' root of the matter/ 
an intense delight in Virgil's music and in Virgil's narrative, 
a perfect sympathy with ' sweet Dido,' and that keen sense of 
the human life of Greek, Trojan, and Latin, which enabled 
him in turn to make them live in Scottish rhyme." ^ 

Influence of his Work 

The influence of his Mneid as an actively originating force 
in Scotland fell into immediate abeyance, for his native country 
was torn by internal strife, and its homes of learning were 
devastated by the EngUsh invaders. The conditions of the 
times following Douglas's work filled the hands of the clergy 
with other things than studiousness ; for political energy and 
interests were encouraged by James the Fifth and his nobles. 
Churchmen were not slow to wear their hauberk as well as their 
cassock ; and the classics had rest while sword and spear were 
in activity. The struggle between the Hamilton and Douglas 
factions, the ambitions of himself and his house, the return of 
Albany from France, which upset all the Douglas schemes of 
aggrandizement, finally sent Gawain into England to persuade 
Henry VIII to intervene, even with plans of conquest. These 
matters, along with the devastation of the Border lands by a 
Southern army, made widely impossible that settlement of 
mind necessary for literary pursuits, and deprived the learned 
of opportunities for studious leisure. Wolsey wrote ^ of one 
of those irruptions into Scotland, that there was " left neither 
house, fortress, village, tree, cattle, com, or other succour for 
man " in Teviotdale and the Merse. 

* Ward's English Poets. 

• 30th August 1523. Brewer, i. 643. Vide Hume Brown's History of Scot- 

i > 4. Cf. Scott's Introduction, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. 

72 The Translation : its Method and Result 

The influence of the French, with the weight of Archbishop 
Beaton on their side, unbalanced the EngUsh influence under 
Wolsey, and told in every way against Douglas ; till, in 1528, 
came the overwhelming disaster of the House of Angus, followed 
by their forfeiture, exile, ruin, with vast unrest for Scotland, 
and a stigma on one of her greatest names. It is easy to under- 
stand how infinitely deeply all this must have weighed not 
only against the position of Douglas himself but also against 
the prestige of his work, however great in itself. 

Later on, though Scottish poetry found its popular voice in 
Lyndsay, this was in reality because his verse, which consisted 
more in plainness of speech than in the spirit of poesy, was the 
mouthpiece of the people's dissatisfaction with the avarice of 
the clergy and the oppression by the Church. Lyndsay's day 
was on the active fringe of anti-Romanist, and that meant for 
a while anti-classical, propaganda ; and the work of Douglas 
the Churchman suffered accordingly. Of course every age 
does not find deepest interest in its own greatest intellectual 
work. And so, while men's hands were at each other's throats 
in Scotland, it was the time for a topical writer like Lyndsa}^ 
rather than for the exile of the Douglas house, to hold the 
attention of his people. Further, Lyndsay was a favourite of 
the king, a courtier who had liberty of speech, and at the same 
time a country gentleman who knew the people. The king, 
too, could not forget and did not forgive his experiences at 
the hands of the Douglas family. All these considerations 
entered into the chances of Gawain's poetical success or failure. 

Lyndsay w^as, like Douglas, an eager advocate for the use of 
the vernacular ; and especially as being the means of conveying 
truth directly to the national consciousness. He pnxslaimed 
himself a deliberately vernacular poet. 

Quhowbeit tliat divers devote cunning clerkis 
In Latyne toung hes writtin syndrie bukis 

Our unlemit knawis lytUl of thare werkis 
More than they do the raving of the rukis. 
Quhairfore to colyearis, cairtars and to cukis 

To Jok and Thome my rhyme sail be directit.^ 

* Ane Dialog betuix Experience and ane Courtier : Ane Exclamatioun fco the 
Bedar twycheing the Wrytting of Vulgare and maternal] I^mgnage, V. H cJ aeq. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 78 

He feels the time is past for believing that only in the ancient 
languages is found the vehicle of utterance of any actual truth ; 
and he points out that, after all, the classical writers only wrote 
in their own vernacular, for, says he, 

Had Sanct Jerome bene borne in tyll Argyle 

In to Yrische toung his bukis had done compyle. ^ 

Douglas's influence on later days, in his native land, was, 
it is true, only in reality a memory, of interest to learned men 
and dilettanti. And yet that memory did not. fade entirely. 
Henryson and Dunbar may have been actually submerged in 
oblivion for a period, but there never was a time when the 
name at least of Bishop Gawain was forgotten, or the fact that 
he had translated Virgil into Scottish verse. Sometimes the 
man and sometimes the work emerges into the light, but one 
or other occupies the stage of Scottish remembrance, with a 
kind of alternating continuity. 

Of course, the poetry produced in Scotland from the end of 
the sixteenth right into the eighteenth century was, in the 
main, only the poetry of the Scottish-bom man writing in 
Enghsh verse. This was the natural result of religious and 
pohtical circumstances, namely, the Reformation, the Union of 
the Crowns, and the transplantation of the Court to London. 
The development of later times necessarily and naturally 
followed, and Scottish poetry became a kind of moonhght 
reflection of English. Its golden age was past. 

Douglas and Lyndsay 

In the seventeenth century Danbar and Henryson were 
forgotten, while Lyndsay was the popular favourite, and was 
known in almost every household, not so much, indeed, for his 
poetic power or for anything like the glamour of poesy, but 
because he dealt with topics of immediate moment, and spoke 
with the voice of the Scottish folk, in a tongue understood at 
the firesides. He survived practically up to the time of Bums, 
and was looked upon as the pure well of Scottish undefiled. 
If a word was not " in Dauvit Lyndsay " it was considered to 

'■ Ane Dialog betuix Experience, and ane Cottrtier, 90-91. 

74 The Translation : its Method and Result 

be hybrid or exotic. ^ Douglas, however, is not quoted as an 
authoritative fount of Scottish. Yet Douglas was far above 
Lyndsay for both poesy and style. But his matter was not 
popular. The Dreames and Visions of the Middle Ages no 
longer appealed to men who had been in contact with the sweet 
and bitter realities of life, and who had come through the 
struggles and testimonies for the measure of political and re- 
ligious liberties which had been secured. And while Douglas's 
Virgil appealed of course primarily to scholars, for its matter, 
even its language and style kept the common people at a distance, 
although no nation was fonder of a story of heroic adventure. 
For though it has words of field and fell in its pages, it is very 
frequently a mosaic that never was the real language of the 
multitude, being in many places a literary creation, for a special 
purpose ; and itself, as we can see from every page, highly 
conscious of its origin and circumstances. Besides, the common 
folk had probably in their minds the idea of his having been 
a Bishop, and of the old faith ; as well as having been infected 
with suspicion of dealings with the enemy ; and did not think 
of his writings as being in any way for them, preferring the 
blimt, straight, and frequently indehcate though truly Scottish 
way of Ljmdsay's dealing with the facts of life. He was spoken 
of with reverence, and that admiration which unwittingly 
betokens a remote respect, as for one who had achieved some 
great task, by many who could not or did not trouble to read 
him. But he was not a poet of the people. He never had 
been. And he never could be. Like Henryson, also, he has 
been condemned by later times as using a dialect " distressingly 
quaint and crabbed," ^ although to dismiss him summarily on 
such a ground is only an acknowledgment of blindness and 
indolence. And this was not the whole reason of his missing 
the clutch on his own age. 

Influence on Latinity 

Naturally, in his own land, Douglas's influence upon Latinity 

^ Yet Lyndsay was not free from Latinizing — cf. Prepotent prince, etc.> 
Complaint of the Papingo, et al. 

^ Henley. Cf. Courthorpe, ii. 132, " unreadable tliough it is on account of the 
dialect in which it is written," . . . "the barbarous archaism of the diction." 

The Translation : its Method and Result 75 

was also, for the time, dead.* He probably did not turn a 
single mind in Scotland toward the original poem, for that was 
well enough known to the scholars, and even to those who 
could not claim that title, but whose education, as was ordinarily 
the case in Scotland, was based upon Latinity. No com- 
parison lies between his influence on Latinity and Buchanan's — 
the latter gave a great world impetus to Latin studies even in 
his lifetime, and it remained till modern times. ^ The educa- 
tionists of the period had reasons for fighting shy of one whose 
unseemly and misavoury squabbles after preferment, with the 
stain of actual treason against his ancient name, had cast a 
veil over his achievement. Yet it is clear that there was sufficient 
interest in his work to justify the laborious multiphcation of 
copies which survive to our own day. Recognition was, in 
reality, to wait in Scotland imtil a later age, although even 
his contemporaries realized that he had completed a labour 
of great weight and worth, at which they wondered. 

Beyond the border of his own land, however, his influence 
told, and almost immediately. Dunbar and Henryson did 
more than he for the rhythmic liberty of verse ; but not nearly 
so much as he for the widening of that view which is bom of 
knowledge of the literature of another land and age. His 
weight was felt with telling power in the impulse which it gave 
in awakening across the Border a regard for Virgilian trans- 
lation ; a natural issue, since the schoolmaster of England had 
been more French than Latin for a long time, so that the interest 
would be more spontaneously fresh than in the North. 

The Pioneer 

Douglas's Mneid is, in fact, an open door through which the 
spirit of Northern poetry walked into the wide fields of the 
South. The Kingis Quair was a window ajar, letting in the 
melody of the world's music, northward blown. This poem 
of Douglas is, however, not a passive thing but an actively 

^ Later on there were two complete translations of Virgil in Scottish litera- 
ture — (o) By John Ogilby, 1650. (6) By the Fourth Earl of Lauderdale : sent 
in MS. to Dryden. Vide his dedication — "' no man understood Virgil better 
than that learned nobleman." 

* Vide Montaigne's references. 

76 The Translation : its Method and Result 

originating force. For the first time, Scottish poetry crosses 
the Borders, and stirs the sleepers. This is the earUest trans- 
lation of a classic, in the true sense, into any Anglic tongue, 
and the Earl of Surrey's version of the second and fourth 
Books — ^the first in England — was undoubtedly inspired by and 
indebted to the Scotsman's verse. Surrey adopted "' almost 
every turn of expression and combination of words that was 
worth preserving," says Nott, in his edition of Surrey and WyaU} 
The Earl's version, indeed, occasionally contains almost verbatim 
transference of fines from Douglas, as may be seen from the 
following examples. 


The Grekis chiftanys irkit of the weir 
Bypast or than sa mony langsum zeir, 
And oft rebutyt by fatale destany. ... 

The Greeks' chieftans all irked with the war 
Wherein they wasted had so many years 
And oft repulsed by fatal destiny . . . 



With bludy crestis owtwith the waUis hie 
The remanent swam al ways vnder see 
With grysly bodeis lynkit mony fald. 

With bloody crestes aloft the waves were seen 
The hinder parte swamme hidden in the flood 
Their grisley backs were linked manifold. 



Of Priamus thus was the finale fait. 

Of Priamus this was the fatal fine. 


One must remember ,however, that parallelism is frequently 
a trap for the tail of the unwary ; and that in rendering from 
one language to another there must be similarities among trans- 
lators ; but the influence of Douglas is broad and plain over 
Surrey's page.^ 

' 1815. vol. i. pp. clxiii n. ; cciii-ccix. 

2 ii. 1, 1. ^ lb. 4, 13. " lb. 9, 79. 

* Vide Nott's Surrey and Wyati, vol. i. pp. 225-8. 1815. 

The Translation : its Method and Result T7 

Possibility of Translation 

It is very questionable, of course, whether any transla- 
tion whatever can perfectly represent its original. For there 
is an atmosphere that cannot be transferred from one language 
to another ; and the merely literal rendering of words and 
phrases egregiously fails, especially in the case of poetry. 
Something is always lost or missed in the achievement. Dante, 
in the Convito, says truly, " Every one should be aware that 
nothing harmonized by musical enchainment can be transmuted 
from one tongue into another without disturbing its sweetness 
and harmony." Even a consummate metricist and melodist 
like Shelley, himself a most successful translator, declares, 
" It is impossible to represent in another language the melody 
of the versification : the volatile strength and delicacy of the 
ideas escape in the crucible of translation." And again, in his 
Defence of Poetry, 1821, he speaks of "the vanity of translation: 
it were as wise to cast a violet into a crucible that you might 
discover the formal principle of its colour and odour, as seek to 
transfuse from one language into another the creations of a 
poet. . . . this is the burthen of the curse of Babel." Of that 
there can be no question. This I know to be so, for I was 
brought up in a bilingual household. And this fact is what 
makes the definition of the essentials of a real translation 
as elusive a pursuit as that after the definition of poetry 

What is Translation ? 

Is it to make a poem as closely as possible imbued with the 
spirit of the original, while yet in itself so fresh as to strike the 
reader with the force of an original ? Or is it to preserve every 
peculiarity of that original, impressing on readers that it is an 
imitation they are reading ? Du Bellay, who himself translated 
two books of the Mneid into French, held that it was impossible 
to carry over the beauties of one language into another with the 
" same grace as their author used in the original." For, he 
asserted, " each tongue has a distinct character of its own ; and 
if you try to reproduce this without going beyond the author's 

78 The Translation : its Method and Result 

own limits your words will seem stiff, frigid, and graceless." 
Roger Bacon had no love at all for translations, as he found them 
in his day ; and he declared that it might have been better had 1 
Aristotle never been translated at all, so sorely had knowledge 
Buffered at the hands of those who had neither that accurate 
scholarship nor that gift of exact expression so necessary for 


Translator and critic agree that the first duty of a translator 
is to be faithful. Charles Stuart Calverley very truly expresses 
this 2 when he affirms that the translator has a duty both to his 
original and to his reader, that is to say, fidehty on the one hand, 
and intelligibility on the other — a wholly faithful sense rendering, 
to some extent a word rendering, and even if possible a form 
Tendering.^ But neither translator nor critic seem to be quite 
clear as to what exactly faithfulness is. Matthew Arnold * tries 
to get near the matter when he says, "It is our translator's 
business to reproduce the effect of Homer." Du Bellay had said 
practically the same thing in an earlier day : " Read to me 
Demosthenes and Homer in Latin, Cicero and Virgil in French, 
and see whether they produce in you the feelings that move you 
when you read these authors in their original." Arnold, however, 
goes on to assert that the only judges competent to decide how 
far success has been achieved must be the great scholars of the 
day, who alone can say whether the translation affects them 
as Homer himself does. But to be a great scholar does not 
necessarily mean to be a great appreciator of poetry, or indeed 
to have any poetical feeling at all. And a scholar may, therefore, 
be touched only by one side of a translation, to the loss of the 
other entirely. Even if he listened to Homer himself to-morrow 
the performance might be to him more of a grammatical and 
linguistic than a poetical test. Homer did not sing only for the 
learned of his time. Sailors and fishermen, soldiers in camps, and 
people in market-places, who knew no grammar, and never had 

^ See Morley's English Writers, iii. 322. 

* The ^neid of Virgil. Works, p. 504, 1913 ed. 
» Works, 1913. Tlie jEneid of Virgil, p. 504. 

* On Translating Homer, 

The Translation : its Method and Result 79 

learned a verb by heart, thrilled to his verse. He always had 
an audience fit though far from few. And though Arnold further 
declares that no one can tell the translator how Homer afiected 
the Greeks themselves, it is narrowing down the test to preciosity 
to assert that only if a translation gives men hke " the Provost of 
Eton, or Professor Thompson at Cambridge, or Professor Jowett 
here in Oxford, at all the same feeling which to read the original 
gives them " is it a success. Such masters of ancient learning 
may not be able to get away, in regard to the classics, from their 
analytical point of view, and their educational habit. They have 
been accustomed to dissect the phrases, and anatomize the 
thought, of the poet — to set his every verse against a back- 
ground of discussion and paradigm, and to establish canons of 
prosody in regard to the author. The original was not meant 
only, nor even mainly, nor at all, for schoolmen and grammarians, 
however eminent. And the test of a translation must not ex- 
clude its efiect upon a crowd of common men, or a common 
individual, with imagination, and a heart responsive to poetry 
of noble deed and worthy thought. 

While it is true that, when Bentley said of Pope's translation, 
" It is a pretty poem, but you must not call it Homer," ^ the work, 
in spite of all its power and attractiveness was judged, it was only 
what, after all, might be said to some extent of almost every 
translation. It judges all. The consummate scholar is touched 
in one way by noble utterance ; the peasant in another. But 
there are, even amongst commonest folk, many whom great verse 
moves greatly, though of course they may be stirred also in 
the same way by far inferior compositions, which touch some 
universal truths and primitive emotions in their stumbling 
lines. Yet a translator must not fail to convey the matter of his 

It is, at the same time, an obvious truth that a translator, 
though he must give the matter, must also convey the manner of 
his original. Cowper in regard to his translation asserts, " My 
chief boast is that I have adhered closely to my original. . . . 
The matter found in me, whether the reader like it or not, is 
found also in Homer." But this is not sufficient. For, as every 
* Johnson's Life of Pope, ed. Murphy, 1824, vol. viii. p. 176 n. 

80 The Translation : its Method and Result 

man must see, if the reader is open to Homer's true influence he 
ought to Uke what Cowper, or any other, presents to him as 
Homer's, in the same or in a similar degree as he should like 
Homer. And this assertion is made apart altogether from the 
question whether the translation shoidd be in rhyme, blank verse, 
or prose. 

" A translator," said Dryden, " is to be like his author : it is 
not his business to excel him." But yet he himself frequently 
in his translations neither resembles nor excels his original. 
Thus, Horace's Ode, xxix.. Book iii., 

si celeres quatit 
Permas, resigno quae dedit. 

is certainly not 

But, if she dances in the wind. 

And shake her wings, and will not stay, ,^ 

/ puff the prostitnte away. 

The figure belonged to Dryden's age, but assuredly neither to 
the time nor the verse of his poet. Horace is speaking soberly 
and gravely of a deity, and Dryden conveys a different ideaf 
entirely, and on a very different plane. 

Or again, when Juvenal is speaking of the effeminate priests 
of Cybele, Dryden renders these as clumsy clergymen, and so 
conveys a totally different idea, just as Douglas in certain matters 
did in the Mneid. It is true that the characteristics of the 
original must not be lost, yet there must be conveyed the spirit 
that stirs and elevates the audience of the translator's day, and 
thus he can scarcely avoid the influence of his own environment 
and the necessities of his times. Nevertheless, if he be a genius, 
he will transcend these, according to the measure of his in- 


Sometimes with Douglas, in pursuit of his purpose, it meant in 
this way that oflSces and functions of a contemporary kind are 
transferred to the creations of the Latin poet, and strangest 
liberties taken with the text. For example, Douglas, in sym- 
pathy with the eclectic spirit of his age, on the verge of the 

The Translation : its Method and Result 81 

conquest of Scotland by the Renaissance, imparts to some of the 
personalities of the poem a novel character. The Bacchantes 
are with him "the nuns of Bacchus," an epithet adopted 
by Surrey along with his general appropriation of so much of 
Douglas's VirgiUan properties. The Sibyl herself becomes a 
nun also, and ^Eneas is actually told by her to tell his beads. 
In this he had the authority of Henryson's hues, in the use of 
the word : 

that sayeth your beedes beth to longe somdele, 
altered by Charteris to : 

And sayis your prayers bene to lang sum deill. 

The Black Letter Editor of Douglas makes a similar interpre- 
tative alteration to " thi deuotioune." Burton, in his Anatomy 
of Melancholy, also speaks, later, of 

praying in gibberish and mumbling of beads. 

Such anachronisms as Douglas's are found everywhere in litera- 
ture. Gillies, in his History of Ancient Greece,^ speaks, for 
example, of a " Bill " being proposed in the Athenian Assembly, 
and of the " Ught dragoons " of Alexander the Great ; 
Laurence Echard, in his translation of Plautus, speaks of the 
" Lord Chief Justice of Athens," of bombs, and the gospel, and 
makes the poet of 180 B.C. refer to the French ship 
Le Soleil, beaten by Russell in a.d. 1692 ; while Middleton 
in his Life of Cicero ^ makes, among other similar statements, 
the assertion that Balbus was general of Caesar's " artillery." 
Shakespeare's anachronisms and slips also are well known, 
and are the joy of critics, when, for instance. Hector 
quotes Aristotle, Pandarus speaks of a man born in April, and 
Bohemia has a seacoast bestowed upon it.^ These were, of 
course, writing so as to be understood by the mass for whom they 
wrote, giving, as Lang says, " a modem face to ancient manners,'* 
though, to later times, the results are incongruities. It was the 
clothing of the poet's creation in the garment of the translator's 
own time, in diction and phrase, so far as possible. In this 

* 1786 '1741. ' Vide Douce^a Illuatratione of Shakespeare, a. 291 . 


82 The Translation : its Method and Result 

connection Dry den himself says, regarding his own translation, 
" I have endeavoured to make Virgil speak such English as he 
would himself have spoken, if he had been born in England, and 
in the present age." ^ And this is, so far, in line with Douglas's 
declared principle, which, however, goes further, and tries to 
make the Scottish reader feel and understand what Virgil said, 
and how he said it, to Romans, yet with the addition of the feeling 
of a Roman story told not in Italy but in a Scottish landscape — ■ 
an attempt after the matter and the spirit rather than the manner 
of his original. Examples of such liberties may be further 
instanced by his rendering of the constellation of Arctuxus, 
prompted by the similarity of name, and his own nationalness, 
as " Arthur's Huyfe," setting the ancient British King, in conse- 
quence of his Scottish connections in native m)rth, among the 
heavenly spheres. And under the familiar influence of Chaucer, 
he styles the Milky Way, " Watling Street," after the great 
Roman road that ran through Britain. This was, indeed, the 
usage of other countries.^ For the Spaniard spoke of it as 
" Santiago Road " ; and in The Complaynt of Scotlande we read, 
" It aperis oft in the quhyt circle callit circulus lacteus, the 
quhilk the marynalis callis Vatland Street." ^ The EngUsh 
spoke of it as " Walsingham Way." Douglas also names the 
Belt of Orion " the Elwand," or " yard measure," the name by 
which, in Northern Scotland, it is still familiarly laiown, and 
by which he hoped his readers would recognize the constellation 
referred to. All this only proves that translation and ex- 
piscation are not " the same in substance, equal in power and 

The Danger of Gifts 

Douglas and Dryden had in excelsis the necessary stock-in- 
trade of a translator, for they were both thoroughly competent 
Latinists, and they also knew their own language with a mastery 
beyond limit or mark. It was, however, just this latter weapon 
and their unparalleled proficiency in it, that led them frequently 

* Dedication of the ^neis, Estreryman's Library, Reprint, p. 259. 

* House of Fame, ii. 939 ; vide Skeat, Chaucer, iii. 263 ; Langland, ii. 8. 
3 C. of Scot., E.E.T.S., p. 58, U. 14-16. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 88 

astray. For they did not wait to weigh and value every word, 
but, carrying with a glance the general significance of Une or 
canto, they were too easily content to convey that impression 
in their own phrase. It follows that, while a translator must 
not be deficient in the language from which he renders, and 
copious in that which he uses for his rendering, or vice versa, 
indolence on the translator's part, and the endeavour to give 
over much ease also to the ignorant reader, are fruitful sources 
of error in his work. Thus Douglas, Pope, and Dryden can never 
satisfy the exact scholars to whom the Latin and Greek originals 
are familiar. To them the great classics, as sometimes clothed 
by those, must often justifiably seem a grotesque hybrid. Yet 
Douglas is not guilty of the constant metaphor of Pope, with 
whom no character can weep, but " from his eyes pour'd down 
the tender dew." 

Of course, the reader for whom the classics are dead, or '' as 
a clasped book and a sealed fountain," and for whom, indeed, they 
never lived, cares nothing for preservation of archaic manners. 
What he wishes is a conception of the " vital spirit and energy 
which is the soul of poetry in all languages, countries, and ages 
whatsoever." Of Douglas's Mneid it may be truly said, as of 
Dryden's translation, that he who sits down with the original 
text spread before him will be at no loss to point out passages 
that are faulty, indifierently understood, or imperfectly trans- 
lated, and some in which dignity is lost, or mere rhetoric sub- 
stituted for it. But yet the unabated vigour and spirit of the 
rendering more than atone for these and all its other deficiencies, 
and make it preferable to some versions" even of consummate 
scholars, which have as little of the real life of the original about 
them as the subject in the dissecting room has, even though it 
may have been searched through to its minutest material detail 
by anatomists unsurpassed. 


It must, however, be remembered that the JEneid by its 
regularity and sober dignity gives no opening to Ucence, and no 
excuse for neghgence. The composure and dignity of its style 
are as much disturbed by line upon line of Douglas as by many 

84 The Translation : its Method and Result 

a line of Dryden's dashing slang. Frequently the clean» 
chiselled description of a Virgilian battle becomes with Douglas, 
by his method, something like a Scottish street squabble, where 
" harnpans " get smashed. Thus Virgil's 

saxo ferit ora Thoantis 
ossaque dispersit cerebro permixta cruento 


And Thoas syne sa smayt apon the bed 
With a gret stane quhil mixt of blud all red 
The hamys poplit furth on the brayn pan.* 

The picture, also, of the wine-confused camp becomes a re- 
production of a drink-sodden corner near a Scottish changehouse, 
where for 

passim somno vmoque per herbam,* 

the scene is deepened into squalor by being rendered 

Apon the gyrs, ourset with sleip and wyne, 
Fordo verit, fallyn down als drunk as swyne.* 

Such expansions are, of course, as far from Virgil as can be con- 
ceived, and shew Douglas at his very worst. 

This method may not be without interest, but certainly it is 
not by any means the interest of the original, to say the least. 
Similarly, a recent writer, quoting Homer's ;^t;VTo x«M«' x^''^"^^?' 
ventured on a rendering 

His guts giished to the ground,* 

a hideously horrible picture — ^brutalizing the original — which, 
though it illustrated his theory, blotched his page. 

One sympathizes, in the circumstances, with Politian, when he 
wrote of similar work,—" I have marked through a few lines, not 
because I disliked them, but because, since they were only of the 
equestrian order, they had no right to remain in the senatorial 
and patrician poetry amongst which I found them." 

In fact, where the original is dignified the translation must 
never be grotesque, meanness must never take the place of 
majesty, nor bombast of eloquence. And here as translators. 

1 X. 413. » X. 7, 129. 3 ix. 316. * ix. 6, 19. 

* Tirms Literary Supplement, 12th Sept. 1918. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 85 

Douglas, Chapman, Dryden and Pope not infrequently err, and 
«rr quite naturally ; for the thought of the first was permeated 
by the facts of his pioneer position, and that of the others by 
the forms of their own times, which were stronger and more 
masterful than they. While Dryden is in this without excuse, 
Douglas has much. For he had only the candle of his own day 
to guide him in a track previously untrodden, while Dryden had 
the uphft of a great poetic tide behind him. Douglas, by the 
novelty of his enterprise on the classic seas, proved himself 
a master mariner. Even though his lantern was frequently 
dim, it had truth in it burning, and though his candle guttered 
occasionally, it ht a way for others. He clothed what he 
presented with an art above his age. 

It is true that he more than once is guilty of error in trans- 
lation, as seen in the famous slip when he renders viscum as " gvm 
or glew " instead of " mistletoe," thinking, apparently, with that 
quick mental glance already referred to, of the yellow berries 
from which bird-lime was made and not of the gleaming twigs 
among the green. And again, when telling of the fall of Her 
minius, how the " stalwart schaft of tre " that hero 

Transfixit so, and persand euery part 

It dowblis and renewys the mannis smart,* 

where Virgil reads 

latos huic hasta per armos 
acta tremit duplicatque virum transfixa dolore,' 

which gives the picture of the warrior himself doubled up with 

In fact, out of his own mouth Dryden is judged when he 
•declares : " Virgil is everywhere elegant, sweet, and flowing. 
... His words are not only chosen, but the places in which 
he ranks them, for the sound. He who removes them from the 
station wherein their master set them spoils the harmony. . . . 
They must be read as they he." And how the modern seems to 
echo the ancient, when he goes on : " From the beginning of the 
First Georgic to the end of the last Mneid, I found the difficulty 
of translation growing on me, in every succeeding Book. . . . 

1 Cf. Oeorgics, i. 139. * xi. 12, 107. » xi. 644. 

86 The Translation : its Method and Result 

Virgil called upon me, in every line, for some new word, and I 
paid so long that I was almost bankrupt." Herein lies the secret 
alike of his method of rendering, and his frequent shps in taste. 
And it covers also the case of Douglas. 

Method of Douglas's Renderitig — Douglas's Purpose — Paraphrase 
or Literalness — The Bondage of the Translator 

No greater mistake could be made than that which is 
repeated by writer after writer,^ that what is to be expected in 
Douglas's Mneid is a line by hne rendering. He himself does 
not make the claim, but asserts that he seeks the conveyance 
and embodiment of the " sentence " or meaning in plain and 
popular terms, direct from the original, and independently of 
any other man's work ; never before " in our tong endite," and 
not emptied from pitcher to pitcher, with much of the poet's 
meaning spilt in each exchange. Although in his Dyrectioun ^ he 
ventures on 

almaste word by word, 

it is, after all his protestations and acknowledgments, a very 
wide " almaste." His work was rather almost thought by 
thought, picture by picture. 

Sir Walter Scott in his Life of Dryden bestows on that poet a 
credit in this respect which does not truly belong to him, when 
he says : " Before his distinguished success shewed that the 
object of the translator should be to transfuse the spirit, not to 
copy servilely the very words of his original, it had been required 
that Hne should be rendered by line, and almost word for word. 
... a poem was barely rendered not Latin instead of being 
made English . . . and the interpreter was sometimes the 
harder to be understood of the two." The fact is, as we have 
seen, that Dryden when he applies his own method to the task, 
is only too clearly understood, and his distance from his original 
too vividly discerned, to the detriment of both. 

Douglas did not find his poet easy to render into another 

^ Ct. pp. 11, etc. * Dyrectioun, 4(5. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 87 

The hie wysdome and maist profound engyne 
Of myne author Virgile, poet dyvyne, 
To comprehend, makis me aknaist forvay. 
So crafty wrocht hys wark is, lyne by lyne. 
Tharon aucht na man irk, compleyn, nor quhryne ; 
For quhy ? he altyris hys style sa mony way, 
Now dreid, now stryfe, now lufe, now wo, now play, 
Langeir in mumyng, now in melody. 
To satysfy ilk wightis fantasy.* 

In such pioneer work lie was faced with many difficulties in 
conveying thought subhme in one medium over into another, 
much of which he had to create. 

So profund was this wark at I haue said. 
Me semyt oft throw the deip sey to waid ; 
And sa mysty vmquhyle this poetry 
My spreit was reft half deill in extasy 
To pyke the sentens as I couth als playn 
And bryng it to my purpos,* 

which was, truly to represent his poet. He intends to render, 
not line by line, but in accord with the sense and intention of his 

na thing alterit in substans.* 

He has, in this, the supposed sanction of Aristotle, dear to 
mediaeval translators, namely, that accuracy, in the bare sense of 
the word, was not to be expected. We see an example of that 
in Chaucer's version of Boethius's De Consolatione, which is not 
a translation at all, according to the modern idea. They con- 
sidered that they were justified in exercising their own bent, in 
interpolation of discussions, episodes, and unlimited side-tracking. 
And Douglas quotes, in support of this : 

sanct Gregor eik forbyddis ws to translait 
Word eftir word, bot sentens follow al gait.* 

He marshals into Une with the saint, Horace the Roman, who 
in hia Ars Poetica, says. 

Nee verbum verbo curetis reddere fidus interprea.^ 

Dryden in his Preface to the Translations from Ovid's Epistles^ 

» ProL V. 28. 2 Dyreciioun, 103. * lb. 95. 

* ProL i. 395 (Small, 401). ^ 1. 133. * 1680. 

88 The Translation : its Method and Result 

quotes those very words as his authority for the translator to 
assume " the liberty not only to vary from the words and sense, 
but to forsake them both as he sees occasion ; and taking only 
some general hints from the original, to run division on the 
groundwork, as he pleases." Douglas gives plenty illustrations 
of the same scheme. In this matter he falls out again with 
his master Chaucer, although he tempers his censure with the 
conventional adulatory phrases. 

Thoght venerabill Chauser, principal poet but peir, 

Hevynly trumpat, orlege and reguler, 

In eloquens balmy, cundyt and dyall, 

Mylky fontane, cleir strand and roys ryaU, 

Of fresch end5rte, throu Albion island braid, 

In his legend of notabill Ladeis, said, 

That he couth foUow word by word Virgill, 

Wisar than I may faill in lakar stile ; 

Sum tyme the text mon haue ane expositioun. 

Sum tyme the cullour wiU cans a htiU additioun. 

And sum tj'me of a word I mon mak thre.' 

Chapman, in the verse prefixed to his Iliad, condemns " word for 
word traduction." One may compare here what Dryden felt 
in the same matter. He says : "I have long since considered 
that the way to please the best judges is not to translate a poet 
literally, and Virgil least of any other. . . . The way I have 
taken is not so straight as metaphrase, nor so loose as paraphrase : 
some things, too, I have omitted, and sometimes have added of 
my own." The influence of Dryden made paraphrase the 
method of his time, and for a long period thereafter. When a 
translator chooses rhyme as his medium this applies closely on 
almost every line. It is a thing unavoidable. No matter how 
skilful an artist and consummate a scholar, the translator must, 
at times, expand or condense a thought or sentiment, under stress 
of the form which he has chosen as the mould for his work. Of 
course his consummate triumph comes when this is actually 
achieved without detriment to the meaning, or loss to the 
sentiment and atmosphere of his poet. 

In this connection Dante Gabriel Rossetti appositely writes : ^ 
" The life-blood of rhymed translations is this — ^that a good 

» Prol. i. 339 (Small, 345). « Early IlaUov Poets, Intioduction. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 89 

poem shall not be turned into a bad one. The only true motive 
for putting poetry into a fresh language must be to endow a 
fresh nation as far as possible with one more possession of beauty. 
Poetry not being an exact science, literahty of rendering is 
altogether secondary to this chief law. I say literality, not 
fidelity, which is by no means the same thing. When literahty 
can be combined with what is thus the primary condition of 
success the translator is fortunate . . . when such an object 
can only be attained by paraphrase, that is his only path." 
Nevertheless, the paraphrase must neither present less than the 
original held, nor what it never conveyed. It must not make 
the original babble where he spoke plainly, nor crawl where he 
soared, croak where he sang, nor smirk in garments obviously 
never cut to his shape or size, or undreamed of in the age to 
which he was born. 

Sir John Denham, in the Preface to his rendering of the Second 
Book of the JEneid, declares that the f.dus interpres is all right 
in matters of faith or fact, but that in matters of poetry his 
function is not to "translate language into language, but poesie 
into poesie," and that, as "in pouring out of one language into 
another," there is much of the spirit of the original that must 
evaporate, so "if a new spirit is not added to the transfusion 
there will remain nothing but a caput mortuum.^'' Roscommon 
made it essential that the translators should become possessed 
by the sense and meaning of their author, and then imitate his 
manner and style. Denham declares that otherwise " they but 
preserve the ashes." ^ 

Lord Derby felt this in his own endeavour ^ " throughout to 
produce . . . not indeed such a translation as would satisfy with 
regard to each word the rigid requirements of accurate scholar- 
ship, but such as would fairly and honestly give the sense and 
spirit of every passage and of every Hne, omitting nothing, and 
expanding nothing, and adhering as closely as our language 
will allow even to every epithet which is capable of being trans- 
lated, and which ha,s in the particular passage anything of a 
special and distinctive character." It is a fact which has lain 
before every great translator who has had originality of his 

» Essay on Translation. Cf. p. 131. * The Iliad of Homer. 1864. 

90 The Translation : its Method and Result 

own, sometimes urging him to sin in an original way in his labour. 
As PhiUp Stanhope Worsley ^ wrote in his preface, " The great 
doctrine which I endeavour to observe in a poetic translation, 
at as little cost as I can, but to which, if necessary, I am ready to 
sacrifice everytihing else, is that true poetry in a foreign language 
must be represented by true poetry in our own. If this cardinal 
condition is to remain ujifulfilled the meaning of verse is gone, 
and the work can be much better executed in prose." The truth 
of this cannot be controverted. There are innumerable in- 
stances where fidelity to the letter has meant absolute death of 
the spirit, and great poetry has been compelled to hobble in 
pitifully prosaic guise. As clear and painful an example of 
this is seen in the work of the Abbe des Fontaines, when Virgil's 

Apparent rari uantes ia gurgite vasto 

is rendered : "A peine un petit nombre de ceux qui 
montoient le vaisseau purent se sauver a la nage." Re- 
garding such, Voltaire truly exclaimed with disgust, "C'est 
traduire Virgile en style de gazette." The as magna 
sonolurum is lost and forgotten. Words that were rich in 
poetic association have been emptied of their idealism : and 
phrases that rang like golden bells have been made to sound 
like broken pots. The attempt has often resulted in a hybrid 
production that is neither Latin nor Enghsh, a dialect neither 
of men nor angels. The over-conscientious translator, bound 
to a quest for words rather than ideas, is apt to lose the melody 
even of his own speech, and ruin the music of that which he 
labours to set to the tmie of his endeavour. And so he not only 
fails to make his own work of intrinsic interest and harmony 
but also fails to prove that his original stood by native right 
within the category of masterpieces. Butcher and Lang,^ 
however, say wisely and truly in the introduction to their own 
masterly prose translation of a superlative poem : " Without 
this music of verse only a . . . half truth . . . can be told, 
but it is the truth without embroidery. A prose translation . . . 
only tells the story without the song." It is a great general, in 

* Homei''s Odynsey. 1865. * Homer's Odyssey (Macniillan), 

The Translation : its Method and Result 91 

an arm-chair instead of on his charger, and in mufti, without his 

decorations ! Nevertheless, verse has exigencies which compel 

the use of periphrastic expansion on every page, with constant 

risk, even in the hands of a master metrist and supreme 


Cotterill ^ puts the ideal extremely well, in regard to the 

purpose of his own work, when he tells how he longed to produce 

a translation which " might enable readers ignorant of Greek to 

follow the story with ease, and to experience something of the 

same pleasure as those might feel who can read the original . . . 

to avoid everything affected, quaint, archaic, literary, poetical^ — 

to clear my mind of cant — to ignore the jargon and the maxims 

of the so-called hterary person, and to endeavour to use a diction 

natural, simple, vigorous, direct, such as Homer himself uses . . . 

to be hteral as nearly as possible, just what Homer said, and to 

give it as far as possible, just as he said it, to act up to Browning's 


In translation if you please 
Exact ! no pretty Ij^g that improves 
To suit the modern taste." 

This is a fine clear chart, but hard to sail by ! 

It would have been easier far for Douglas to have written a 
poem of his own ; for, while he must express things in his own 
phrase, he feels himself still bound to what the master wrote. 
Afl he pawkily and pithily expresses it, 

Quha is attachit ontill a stalk we se 

May go no ferthir bot wreil about that tre.* 

He is honestly up against his original for measurement, and 
for judgment if he go wrong, or if he choose to follow his own 
devices, wantonly : 

to Virgillis text ybund 
I may nocht fle, les than my fait be fund, 
For, thocht I wald transcend and go besyde, 
His wark remanys, my schame I may nocht hyde.* 

But yet he holds himself at liberty to make digression, for the 

* Homer's Odyssey, latroduction. London, 1911. 
2 Prol. i. 296. ^ lb. 298. 

"92 The Translation : its Method and Result 

sake of clarifpng some " subtell wourd," or following the 
necessity or impulse of his rhyme — a universal servitude, as we 
have seen, of all translators into the verse of their own language, 
which holds them in a double bondage. 

I am constrenyt als neir I may 
To hald hys vers and go nane other way, 
Les sum history, subtell word, or the ryme, 
Causith me mak digressioim sum tyme.^ 

Sir John Trevisa, in his Epistle on translating the Polychroni- 
con, makes practically the same plea : "In some place I shall 
set word for word. . . . But in some place I must change the 
order of words. , . , And in some place I must set a reason for 
a word and tell what it meaneth. But for all such changing the 
meaning shall stand, and not be changed." This is in agreement 
with what Politian wrote in the preface to his translation of the 
History of Herodian addressed to Pope Innocent the Seventh, 
wherein he tells how he had endeavoured to follow his ideal of 
what a translator's effort should be, namely, " to render with 
fidelity the full meaning of the author ... to retain in the 
translation the same perspicuity, and grace, as well as the 
meaning which he possessed, along vnth his characteristic 
features, without outraging the genius of the language into which 
I have rendered his work." That is what Douglas set before 
him. And Rossetti, with almost an echo of Douglas, somewhat 
poignantly declares, " He who invents is master of his thoughts 
and words. He can turn and vary them as he pleases . . . but 
the wretched translator has no such privilege, for, being tied 
to the thoughts, he must make what music he can in the ex- 
pression." And again, " The task of the translator ... is one 
of some self-denial. Often would he avail himself of any special 
grace of his own idiom and epoch if only his will belonged to him 
. . . often the beautiful turn of a stanza must be weakened 
to adopt some rhyme which will tally ; and he sees the poet 
revelling in abmidance of language where himself is scantily 
supphed. Now he would slight the matter for the music, and 
now the music for the matter ; but no — ^he must deal to each 
alike. Sometimes, too, a flaw in the work galls him, and he 

1 ProL i. 303. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 93^ 

would fain remove it, doing for the poet that which his age denied 
j him, but no — it is not in the bond." ^ Herein we are reminded 
of the apt protest of King James, with his Reulis and CauteliSy 
! advising Scots poets to " put in na wordis ather metri causd or 
I yit for filhng furth the nomber of the fete, bot that they be all 
sa necessare as ye sould be constrained to use them." 
1 There must, of course, be in an ancient poet much that is 
out of place in the light of modern days and duties ; and the 
I translator is tempted and sometimes compelled to touch the chord 
'of paraphrase for these. The version that would move the 
Frenchman or the German, the Scot or the Englishman, must 
have an atmosphere here and there in it very difierent from that 
which in the early dawn of Time touched the Greek. But, just 
because of that morning influence of ancient life and thought, 
simplicity is one of the first requisites — a vocabulary and phrase 
easily understandable by contemporary minds. Hence the plea 
of Politian, censured for hberties of word and metre, in his trans- 
lation of Homer, — " Ego vero tametsi rudis in primis, non adeo 
tamen obtusi sum pectoris in versibus maxime faciundis ut 
spatia ista morasque non sentiam, vero cum mihi de Graeco psene 
ad verbum forent antiquissima interpretanda carmina, fateor 
afiectavi equidem ut in verbis obsoletam vetustatem, sic in 
mensura ipsa et numero quandam ut speravi novitatem." 

The Translator and his Age 

Every age does demand some reflection of its own mood, or 
it loses that general interest which turns it to the poem. That 
is the fault of the age, and the misfortune of the poet. The 
EUzabethan demanded " flowers of rhetorique " ; Queen Anne's 
age, dignity and poUsh ; Scott's, the ballad gallop. Douglas's 
did not know what it wished, or what it needed, for this was a 
new thing that he gave it. And Douglas himself only knew that 
he wanted to present Virgil's story as it seemed to him, and as he 
understood it, in his own rugged utterance, refined, as he thought, 
by enrichment of words classical or French in form, with such 
modifications and interpolations as made the poem and its age 
understandable to his own times. 

^ Early Italian Poets, Preface. 

94 The Translation : its Method and ResuU 


Douglas's mode of translating by presentation of the facts 

rather than the mere words of his poet leads him frequently of 

course, as we have gathered by this time, into paraphrase. 

For example, Virgil compares the onset of the Greeks with 

Pyrrhus, forcing their way in violent irruption into Priam'e 

Palace, to a river in flood : 

Non sic aggeribus ruptis cum spumeus amnis 
Exiit, oppositasque evicit gurgite moles, 
Fertur in arva furens cumulo camposque per omnis 
Cum stabulis armenta trahit.^ 

The Scottish heart of Douglas saw what this meant. He had 
seen the real thing too frequently in Scottish fields ever to 
forget. And he gives the picture thus : 

Not sa fersly the fomy ryver or flude 
Brekkis our the bankis, on spait quhen it is wode, 
And with hys brusch and fard of watir brown 
The dykis and the schoris bettis doun, 
Ourspredand croftis and flattis with his spait, 
Our al the feildis that thai may row a bayt, 
QuhU howsys and the flokkis flyttis away, 
The come grangis and standand stakkis of hay.^ 

This is translation on the verge of more than paraphrase, but 
it is successfully in hne with his declared purpose of giving, not 
verhum pro verho, but the idea of his original. The rendering of 
the eame portion by Surrey may be compared : 

Not so fiercely doth overflow the fields 
The foaming flood, that breaks out of its banks. 
Whose rage of waters bears away what heaps 
Stand in his way, the cotes and eke the herds. 

Douglas's verse may seem to the modern eye rugged, unkempt 
and uncouth, but it is stronger in conception and visuaUty than 
Smrey's, though that poet's blank verse is a great advance on 
Douglas for such a purpose as the translation of an epic, and it 
runs on easier bearings than the Scot's. He was, however, heir 
and beneficiary of the Northman, both in form and language. 

Douglas''s Descriptive Power 

Douglas's poem is permeated by the glow of strong character, 
of imagination, warm tenderness, and intense appreciation of 
1 ii. 496. 2 ii. 8, 101. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 95 

natural moods. It bears also the impress of a heart and brain 
well-stocked with classical poetry, history and mythology ; love 
of folk-lore and folk-poesy ; native pith of expression ; and rich 
sense of phrase. His learning, it is true, sometimes makes him 
move with heavy foot, and tempts him to the use of foreign formB, 
and curious word-creations. But he can, at the same time, give 
a clear glance inside his own heart, and reflect, in the spirit of 
the new school of thought, his own psychic and emotional states. 
He is very winsome in his portraiture and characterization, 
giving an original touch even to his translation : and in his 
renderings of Nature he shews a wide-open eye, looking very 
directly into the beauty and reality of things, and understanding 
what his original suggests. Thus of Camilla he writes : 

so spedely couth scho fle 
Our the comys, ourtred thar croppis hie. 
That wyth hir curs na reid ne tendir stra 
Was harmyt ocht, na hurt by ony wa : 
And throu the boldnand fludis amyd the see 
Born soverly furth hald hir way mycht sche. 
The swyft sohs of hir tendir feyt 
Nocht twichand onys the watir hir to weit.* 

This is the expression of a strong combination of gifts, both of 
rendering and of personal poetic sight. 

The same power is found in the picture of the result of Juno's 
prayer to Aeolus : 

Furth at the Uke port wyndis brade in a rout. 
And with a quhirl, blew all the erth about, 
Thai ombeset the seys bustuusly 
QuhU fra the deip, tU euery cost fast by. 
The huge walUs welteris apon hie . . . 
Sone efter this, of men the clamour rays, 
The taldllis graslis, cabillis can fret and frays. 
Swith the clowdis, hevyn, son and days lycht 
Hyd, and byrest furth of the Troianys sycht. 
Dyrknes as nycht beset the seys about. 
The firmament gan rummyUng rair and rout. 
The skyis oft lychtnit with fyry levin. 
And schortly bath ayr, sey, and hevin. 
And euery thing mannasit the men to de 
Schawand the ded present tofor thar E . . .* 

Heich as a hill the jaw of watir brak. 

And in ane hepe cam on thame with a swak, 

Sum hesit hoverand on the waUia hycht, 

1 vii. 13, 65. - i. 2, 51. 

96 The Translation : its Method and Result 

And sum the swowchand sey so law gart lycht, 
Thame semyt the erd oppynnyt amyd the flude, 
The stour up bullyrit sand as it war wode.^ 

He could, even when translating closely, because of his directly 
observant eye and brooding sympathy with Nature, bring into 
an interpretative phrase or two, very strikingly, the broad effect 
of calm after storm, as for example : 

« The swelland seys has swagit, and fra the sky 
Gaderit the clowdis and chasit sone away 
Brocht hame the son agane and the brycht day.^ 

His verbal imitations of sound are frequent, such as the follow- 
ing : 

Tyl Eolus cuntre that wyndy regioune 

A brudy land of furyus stormy sowne . . . 

In gowsty cavys, the wyndis, lowde quhissiUing.' 

The strength of vocahc movement here is extremely difficult to 
echpse in poetry before or since ; the influence of spacious 
loneliness, wind-searched, being uniquely conveyed in the last 
masterly Hne. Here Dryden's version may be compared to shew 
how personality tells in such work : 

The restless regions of the storms she sought. 

Douglas shews his grasp of pregnant phrase, as when Virgil's 
resonant saxa gets its full power of reiteration in his rendering, 

the craggis rowt and zell.* 

His picture of the Arcadian Menoetes is a piece of clean and 
clearly touched art, such as one sees standing out in Chaucer's 
Prologue : and especially pathetic in our own time of war's 
sorrow : 

That all his days evir hatit the melle, 

Bot all for nocht, for he most neid thus de. 

A puyr cote hous he held. 

1 i. 3, 21. 

* i. 3, 82. 

Citius tumida sequora placat, 
coilectasque fugat nubes, solemque reducit. — i. 142, 3. 
» i. 2, 3. 

in patriam loca feta furentibus Austria 
^oliam venit. Hie vasto rex iEolua antro 
Luctantis ventos tempestatesque sonores. — i. 51. 

* iii. 6, 146. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 97 

Hys fader ejnrit and sew ane peys of feld 
That he in hyregang held to be his beild.* 

And there is a modern touch in his Unes about the fair young 

Pallas, dead before his time : 

As is the fresch flowris schynand bewte 
Newly puUyt vp from hys stalkis small 
With tendyr fyngeris of the damysaiU, 
Or the soft violet that doys freschly schyne.* 

His description of a little bit of scenery, in a comer remote, 

has surely a native original for model, even though he gives a 

wonderfully close transcription the while : 

Thar lay a valle in a crukyt glen 
Ganand for slycht tyll enbusch armyt men 
Quham wonder narrow apon athir syde 
The bewys thik hampirris and doith hyde 
With skowgis darn and full obscur perfay 
Quharthrow thar strekit a rod or a strait way 
Ane narrow peth baith outgang and entre 
Full scharp and schrowit passage wonder sle.' 

Or again, 

Thar growys a gret schaw neir the chil ryver. . . . 

and with deip clewchis wyde 

Thys schaw is closyt apon euery syde 
Ane thyk ayk wod of skowgy fyrris stowt 
Belappys all the said cuthill abowt.* 

And more than once he lingers to recall the owls that he has heard 

>at home : 

That sum tyme into gravis or stokkis of tre 
Or on the waist thak or hows rufis hie. 

^ Et juvenem exoaum nequiquam bella Menoeten, 

... pauperque domus . . . 
I ... conductaque pater tellure serebat. 

I ^n. xii. 517. 

Douglas, xii. 9, 43. 
I * qualem virgineo demessum poUice florem 

' Seu mollis violae. 

^n. xi. 68. 
Douglas, xi. 2, 26. 
' Est curvo anfractu valles, accommoda fraudi 
Armoruraque dolis, quam densis frondibus atrum 
Urget utrimque latus, tenuis quo semita ducit. 

Mn. xi, 522. 
Douglas, xi. 10, 83. 

* Est ingens gelidum lucus prope Cseritis amnem . . . 
Inclusere cavi et nigra nemus abiete cingunt. 

^n. viii. 597. 
Douglas, viii. 10, I. 
E. Ms. — "and skowgy." 

98 The Translation : its Method and Result 

Sittand by nycht Byngis a sorowfuU toyn 

In the dyrk skowgis with scrykis inoportojna. ^ 

It may be true enough that of these passages some might say, 

Gyf ocht be weill, thank Virgill and nocht me. 

Yet though he is translating, it is as a true poet and a master, who 
has fine sympathy not only with his original but with the Nature 
which he describes. The Pallas picture is more than a mere 
translation, it is a fresh thing of beauty in itself. To see this, 
one need only compare Dryden's version : 

And looks a lovely flower 
New cropt by virgin hands to dress the bower, 
Unfaded yet. 

And other renderings of his miss the strong personal touch of 
phrase and vision. 

Douglas's " expositioun " methods sometimes make slight 
incongruities in reading, as when he puts his own " aside " into 
the mouth of King Evandrus, when that monarch is shewing 
^neas the woods and forest : 

Thir woddis and thir schawis aU, quod he, 
Sum tyme inhabjrt war and occupyit 
Wyth Nymphis and Fawnys apon euery syde, 
Quhilk fairfolkis or than elvys, cleping we.* 

This same desire to be understood fully and clearly breaks out 

especially in such portions of his work as are descriptive of natural 

scenes and human episodes. 

So, also, it is a picture of a Scottish cornfield after rain which 

Douglas gives when he renders faithfully 

purpureus veluti cum flos, succisus aratro 
languescit moriens, lassove papavera coUo 
demisere caput pluvia cum forte gravantur. . . .* 

Lyke as the purpour flour in fur or sewch 

Hys stalk in two smji; newly wyth the pleuch 

Dwynys away as it doith faid or de ; 

Or as the chesbo hedis oft we se 

Bow down thair knoppis sowpit on thar grane 

Quhan thai be chargyt with the hevy rane.* 

^ quae quondam in bustis aut culminibus desertis 
nocte sedens serum canit importuna per umbras. 

Mn. xii. 863. 
Douglas, xii. 13, 169. 
2 viii. 6, 4. =* ix. 435. * ix. 7, 147. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 99 

The following further examples of Nature, animate and in- 
animate, shew him at his best in this way ; and here we see again 
his clear vision and the reminiscent strength of his observation, 
reproducing not alone the poet's Unes but his own experience. 
The first is the description of a horse suddenly set free ; and both 
the Roman and the Scot must have loved that animal, to be able 
to present so forcible a scene — ^in fact, it is perhaps the best in 
all poetry deaUng with the subject. Says Virgil : 

qualis ubi abruptis fugit praesepia vinclis 

tandem liber equus, campoque potitus aperto 

aut ille in pastus armentaque tendit equarum, 

aut, adsuetus aquae perfundi flumiae noto, 

emicat, arrectisque fremit cervicibus alte 

luxurians ; luduntque iubae per colla, per armos. . . . ^ 

And Douglas gives us his picture of a steed broken loose, thus — 

As sum tyme dois the curser start and ryn 
That brokkyn hes his band furth of his stall, 
Now gois at large out our the feldis all 
And haldis towart the studis in a rage 
Quhar merys rakis in thar pasturage : 
Or than onto the deip rynnand lyver 
Quhar he was wont to (ir3aik the watir cleir : 
He sprentis furth and full provd walxis he 
Heich strekand vp his hed with mony a ne : 
Outour his spaldis and nek lang by and by 
Hys lokkjTTit mayn schakand wantonly.* 

With this may be compared also the description of a stag hunt, 
in the Twelfth Book, where Virgil's nine Unes become twenty 
in Douglas's vigorous expansion.^ 

The second is a river scene once more, — 

ceu saxa morantur 
Cum rapidos amnis, fit clausa gurgite murmur 
Vicinaeque fremunt ripae crepitantibus undis. . . .* 

Lyk as the swyft watir stremys cleir 
Sum tyme rowtand men on far may heir 
Quhar it is stoppit with thir stanys round 
That of the ryveris brute and brokkyn sound 
Brystand on skeUeis our thir demmjrt lynnys 
The bankis endlang all the fludis dynnys.* 

Other examples will sufl&ce to shew how, in spite of Umitations 
laid down by the poet, he sweeps into a large freedom whenever 

1 xi. 492. 2 xi. 10, 16. s xii. 12, 133. 

* xi. 18, 297. 5 xi. 7, 5. 

100 The Translation : its Method and Result 

an episode emerges which appeals to him. Virgil, in one very- 
comprehensive Une, describes a confused fight, and the whole 
episode Uvea in five words : 

immiscentque manu3 manibus pugnamque lacessunt.^ 

This one line, however, appealed apparently to Douglas's 
fighting blood, and he expands it into the following : 

Now hand to hand, the dynt lychtis with a swak ; 
Now bendis he vp hys burdon with a mynt, 
On syde he bradis fortil eschew the dynt ; 
He etlys zondir hys avantage to tak, 
He metis hym thar, and charris hym with a chak : 
He watis to spy, and smytis in al hys mycht, 
The tother keppys hym on hys burdon wycht : 
Thai foyn at othir, and eggis to bargane.* 

These shew Douglas at his best, when moving along the way of 
the liberty which he claimed. His modes may be further seen 
in the following. 

Virgil, in his address to the Muses, uses the one word " dese," * 
and this becomes with Douglas a very full invocation : 

2Jhe Musys now, sweit Goddessis ychone,* 

being exactly double, in extent, of the three words extra to 
which he asserts his right, in his introduction. And, again, the 
simple phrase. 

Audentis Fortuna iuvat,' 
becomes a wide maxim in 

Hap helpis hardy men, be myne avys, 
That weil dar tak on hand stowt interprys. • 

Sometimes, feeUng the pregnant power of Virgil's words, 
and by his poetic sympathy beholding the very picture rise before 
him, Douglas irresistibly expands a phrase. Thus : 

Msestum lUades crinem de more solutae,' 

dolorua Phrigyane wemen on thar gys 

With hair down echaik and petuus spraichis and cryis. ' 

He has probably before him here, as an interpretative fact, a 

1 V. 429. » V. 8, 10. » X. 163. * x. 4, L 

• X. 284. « X. 5, 175. ' xi. 35. « xi 1, 81. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 101 

Scottish funeral, with the wailing of the women for their dead. 
We see this again in his 

woful moderis . . . 
cryand, ichane, allace ! * 

almost a reminiscence of the matrons lamenting in the streets of 
Scottish towns, after some dire battle tidings. 
So also, for the reticent yet plangent phrase 

miserande puer ! 2 
Douglas gives 

O douchty child maist worthy to be menyt,' 
and feels called upon to explain 

pudendis vtdneribiis,* 
by the words 

schamefull wondis that he caucht in the bak.^ 

In this respect, however, he frequently compares quite favour- 
ably with Dryden. For example, in the Mneid, Book II. line 
332, we read : 

Obsedere alii telis angusta viarum 
Oppositis : stat ferri acies mucrone corusco 
Stricta parata neci. 

Dryden renders this characteristically : 

To several parts their parties they divide, 

Some block the narrow streets, some scour the wide. 

The bold they kill, th' unwary they siu-prise : 

Who fights finds death, and death finds him who flies. 

This is almost wholly Dryden. Douglas, on the other hand, 
writes more closely : 

Sum cumpanyis, with speris, lance and targe, 
Walkis wachand ia rewis and narow stretis : 
Arrayit batalis, with drawyn swerdis at gletis, 
Standis reddy forto styk, gor and sla. . . . • 

With the woods of native land before him, Virgil's pines 
become to Douglas the dark firs 

rekand to the stemys on hie. ' 

1 xi. 5, 71. » xi. 42. ^ ^i. 1, 96. * xi. 55-6. 

^ xi. 1, 128. • ii. 6, 68. ' xi. 3, 83. 

102 The Translation : its Method and Result 

And, as he reads of the busy waggons that creak through the 
forest under their heavy loads of tree trunks, these 

plaustris gementibus^ 


jargand wanya,* 

a phrase which almost seems to visuaUze the very sounds of the 
burdened carts. 
And again : 

nou vitae gaudia qusero 
Nee fas, sed nato manis perferre sub imoa,* 


Onlesum war syk plesour I set by : 
Bot for a thraw desyre I to lest heir 
Turnus slauchter and deth with me to beir 
As glaid tithandis onto my child and barn 
Amang the gostis law hi skowgis dern.* 

He was very fond of this word " dern " as an epithetic addition. 
It recurs again and again. Thus : 

silvis insedit iniquis * 

is rendered 

Lyggis at weyt vnder the dam wod schaw.® 

Somehow there is something in the individuahty of the words 
that makes us see a Scottish forest here. All shadowy places 
have this apphed to them by him as a descriptive tag. 

It is evident from these examples that he sees the thing plainly, 
and paints his own picture, dipping his pencil however in the 
edge of Virgil's material. 

He was wise in his choice of a dignified verse, which he got 
from Chaucer, the riding rhyme, that decasyllabic rhythm which, 
through the influence of Deschamps and de Machault, ousted 
the octosyllabic, and became the standard of English heroic 

Douglas was as wise as he could be expected to be in other 
things also, considering that he stood on the first edge of enter- 

^ xi. 138. 2 xi. 3, 87. ^ xi. 180. * xi. 4, 98. 

» xi. 531. « xi. 10, 104. 

' Used first in English in Prol. to Legende of Ooode Women. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 103 

jrise in his great labour. Yet he sang, not as others ; and he had 
few if any to give him either the keynote or the tune. 

John Nott speaks of him as being " homely, diffuse, and 
Eamihar : he brings down Virgil to the common vernacular 
language of his own country, instead of seeking to give him an 
elevation of style corresponding to the heroic style of the 
original." ^ Nott had, however, missed what Douglas set forth as 
his very purpose in his translation. His single aim was to clothe 
the story and the thought of Virgil in the vernacular of Lowland 
Scotland. Nobody was ever more conscious of the hardships 
of that task ; and his very effort not to lower but to Uft his 
medium into a dignity worthy of or proportionate to his original 
made him lift much of his work into realms of vocabulary whither 
the vernacular sometimes has to follow with difficulty, and often, 
as it were out of breath entirely. 


Their place 

What makes Douglas's Virgil of interest wider than merely 
to scholars, and to students of the Roman poet, is the fact 
that he interposes between each book a piece of original verse, 
of varying length, interest and worth. Some of these contain 
valuable word pictures, done " with the eye on the object," as 
never before in Scottish verse, and with a uniquely vigorous touch. 

The early EngUsh romantic poets were accustomed to give 
descriptions of landscape as introductory matter to their epic 
poetry. Henryson very finely uses this method in the opening 
of his Testament of Cresseid. He thinks 

Ane doolie sessonn to ane carefull dyte 
Suld correspond, and be equivalent 
Richt sa it wes quhen I began to wryte 
This tragedie. 

The froist freisit, the blastis bitterly 

Fra Pole Artick come quhisUng loud and schill. 

I mend the fyre and beikit me about 
Then tuik ane drink my spreitis to comfort, 

^ Works of Surrey and Wyatt, voL i. 1815. 

104 The Translation : lis Method and Result 

And armit me weill fra the cauld thairout, 
To cut the winter nicht and mak it schort, 
I tuik ane Quarr and left all uther sport. 

Douglas, in more places than one, has taken a suggestion 
from this very quaintly conceived picture. The painters of the 
Renaissance had the same habit — as one may see in the beautiful 
backgrounds of Leonardo da Vinci. 

But Douglas went in this to greater length, and gave full and 
perfect reflections of his own mood and environment, before he 
sat down to proceed with his great work. And, where he did 
not do this, he wrote, as introductory preparation of his readers 
for what was to follow, discussion and representation of the 
passions and circumstances of humanity, in their bearing, more 
or less, upon the Book of Virgil which he was next to give. The 
value of these Prologues, of course, varies much, but none of 
them can be ignored as samples of the poet's view of humanity 
and the world, in relation to the work he had chosen ; while in 
more than one he shows fine skill in verse- weaving, especially in 
the Ninth Prologue, where an artifice, used in Celtic poetry, and 
forming a kind of chain verse, though not what is usually so called, 
is employed with very rich effect, differing also from other 
examples of internal rhyme. 

The Prologues are usually discussed only in general terms, 
while, with the exception of the Seventh and Twelfth, their 
characteristics are frequently ignored. They are worthy, how- 
ever, of some separate notice. 

The First Prologue, in the same heroic couplets as the trans- 
lation itself, has ^already been sufficiently dealt with in the 
consideration of Douglas's purposes and aims, as stated by 
himself therein. 

The Second is a lament for the fall of Troy, written in rhyme 
royal, the stanza of The King's Quair, somewhat in the spirit of 
the trouveres : 

Harkis Ladeis, zour bewte was the caws, 
Harkis knychtis, the wod fury of Mart : 
Wys men, attendis mony sorofull claws. 
And ze dyssavouris, reid heir zour proper art. 
And fynaly, to specify euery part, 
Heir verifeit is that proverbe teching so. 
All erdly glaidnes fynysith with wo. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 105 

The Third Prologue is a general introduction, of five stanzas, 
consisting of nine lines each, beginning with an address to 

Homyt Lady, pail Cynthia, not brycht, 
QuhUk from thi broder borrowis al thi licht, 
Rewlare of passage and ways mony one 
Maistres of stremys and glaider of the nycht ; 
Schipmen and pUgrymys hallowis thi mycht, 
Lemman to Pan, douchtir of Hyperion, 
That slepand kyssit the hyrd Endymyon, 
Thy strange wentis to write God gif me slycht, 
Twiching the thryd buke of Eneadon. 

He again murmurs against murmurers, wondering whether it 
be against him or Virgil that they gird. The printer-editor 
has a rubric both of assault and comfort : " Inuyus personnys 
can do nothynge against good men but bark and chyd, and with 
that schaw ther awine fulyshnes. Good men with wysdom 
tempereth theyr tonges." 

This Prologue's scheme of rhyme in the introductory stanzas, 
is the same as that of the first and second part of The Police of 
Honour, namely, aab aab bab ; of Dunbar's Goldin Targe ; 
Chaucer's Compleynt of Anelyda ; and Henryson's beautiful 
lament for Eurydice. Curiously, in the third part of The Police 
of Honour Douglas changes his rhyme scheme to aab aab bcc, 
which is the same as that of Chaucer's Complaint of Mars. He 
has another remarkable irregularity in the Police ; in the first 
part, stanzas 6 and 7 are of ten Unes each, with the rhyme scheme 
aab aab be be, while, in the second part, stanzas 29 and 30 
have ten lines also, with a rhyme scheme, aab aab ba ba. 
Froissart has a nine hne Ballade de La Marguerite, but it follows 
the strict scheme of its form. Douglas has no Ballades with 
refrain, such as Dunbar has in his Merle and the Nychtingaill, 
though Dunbar breaks the usual ballade laws of length, and 
uniformity of vowel rhyme, throughout. He sometimes also 
uses the same metre as Douglas's Police of Honour with a refrain, 
which Douglas does not do. The remarks of Bemhard Ten 
Brink ^ in regard to rhyme-scheme apply only to parts 1 and 2 
of Douglas's Poem. 

The Fourth Prologue, in thirty-eight well-turned rhyme royal 
* English Literature, vol. iii. (transl.). 

106 The Translation : its Method and Result 

stanzas, is well summarized in the editor's rubric — " This Proloug 
treatis the strength of love, the incommodytys and remead of the 
same." Occleve, in his Letter of Cwpid, uses the same verse form, 
and also takes David, Solomon, and Samson as examples of men 
imdone by passion, referring also to Ovid's de Remedio Ainoris, 
which Douglas is said to have translated as an antidote to an 
early passion. Douglas speaks of Venus and Cupid as 

Fosteraris of bymyng, carnail, halt delyte . . . 
Begynyng with a fenzeit faynt plesance, 
Continewit in lust, and endyt wth pennance. 

And Solomon, Samson, David, Alexander, Jacob, Hercules, 

Hero and Leander, and others are taken as examples of its evil 

mastery. And yet he shows the shadow and the glory of love 

in the hne — 

Thow plenyst paradyce, and thou heryt hell. 

He passes on to Dido's tragedy, which he reminds us made 

Augustine himself weep, following here Ascencius, who says, 

in the first few lines of his Commentary on the Fourth Book of 

the JEneid — in the edition published " anno a Virginis Partu Md 

VIII " — " Augustinus sese ad lachrymas compulsum Didonis 

querela confiteatur. Nihil enim prsBtermissum est quod ad 

amantis misere officium pertineat." And so the poet warns all 

to vigilance over the citadel of their heart. It is conventional, 

and remarkably lacking in the slightest touch or token of the 

lyrical cry, so beautifully found in Henryson's 

" quhair art thow gone, my luve euridices ? " 

It is, in fact, a Churchman's treatment of a passionate theme, and, 

though touched with some tenderness, is cold. 

The Fifth Prologue has again the nine-hne stanza, with the 

rhyme scheme of the third part of The Police of Honour, as above 

noted. It has eight stanzas, opening with reflections on the 

aims and purposes which keep the heart going forward, a kind 

of excuse for games and sports, especially as the Fifth Book 

deals with these. And he has another gird at Caxton ! He 

puts aside the temptation to invoke Bacchus, Proserpine, or 

Victory, or any other 

But he quhilk may wa glaid perpetualy. 
To bryng ws tyl hys blya, on hym I cry. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 107 

Tfie Sixth Prologue is in octave verse, rhyming ababbcbc. 
It has been already used herein in consideration of his attitude 
towards the moral teaching of Virgil, regarding hell and the 
punishment of sin. In this he quotes Ascencius, in the Ught 
of the latter's remarks on the Fourth Eclogue — 

As twiching hym writis Ascentyus ; 

Fell of his wordia bene like the appostilis sawis. 

He is ane hie theolog sentencyus. 

And maste profund philosophour he him schawis. 

. . . He was na cristin man, per De, 

And zit he puttia a God Fader most hie. 

This eclogue, of course, had great influence in lifting Virgil in 
the estimation of Christian thinkers in the Middle Ages. But 
Hesiod and Ovid seem also to have traces of the influence of the 
Hebrew Scriptures. Theocritus, at the Court of Ptolemy, even 
borrowed Bible phrases. * Virgil, according to his own statement, 
owed the staple of this eclogue to the verses attributed to the 
Cumsean Sibyl, wherever these had borrowed their colour. 

The Seventh Prologue follows, in one hundred and sixty-eight 
Chaucerian couplets, naturally upon the Sixth Book, of the 
Descent of iEneas into the lower world ; and is intended by 
Douglas to " smell new come forth of hell." It gives a de- 
scription of a Scottish winter. There may be a reminiscence here, 
of the old northern idea of hell, as a place of chill and wretched- 
ness, not a place of flame, still surviving in the Gaehc ifrinn 
juar, i.e. " cold hell." ^ It seems, however, to have been suggested 
by the ghostlike aspect of objects in winter. I have seen this 
very thing in Flanders, with the dead lying, snow-shrouded ; 
and nothing can be Uker the land of the shades. It depicts the 
fierce, snell, and gloomy features of the season, with the dis- 
comforts of the poet's time. His high window looks out over 
Edinburgh, and the wild geese fly screaming across the city 
before the wind. 

This was a favourite picture for the poetic mind. And here 
as elsewhere it recalls Lorenzo de' Medici's Ambra, which opens 

1 Cf. Idyll xviJi. 30, and Canticles i. 9. 

* Cf. Cosmuilius ifrinn dano and cetamus-i-gaimred 7 snechtae, sin 7 nacht, 
aes 7 chrine, etc. Old Irish Homily, vide K. Meyer, Zeitschrift fiir Celtiache 
Philol. Cf. also Michael O'Clery'a MS. of 1628, i.e. Stowe MS., B. iv. 2, £o. 
146 ^■^■, for collocation of geimreadh . . . iffern . . . bron, etc. 

108 The Translation : its Method and Result 

with the description of an Italian winter, and has a flight of birds 
finely drawn : 

Stridendo in ciel, i gru veggonsi a lunge 
L'aere stampar di varie e belle forme : 
E I'ultima col collo steso aggiunge 
Ov' e queUa dinanzi alle vane orme. 

The Italian also, in another place,i appeals to Nature in his 

Oda la terra, e nubliosi e foschi 
Turbini, e piove, che fan l'aere oscura. 
Silenzj ombrosi, e solitari boschi : 

which awakes in us, as we read, a thought of Douglas also. 

He reflects on human struggle and distresses. He apparently 
recalls scenes familiar to him ; and the wild storms of his native 
fields rise up before his reflective eye.^ 

The frosty regioun ryngis of the zer 
The tyme and sesson bittir cald and paill, 
Tha schort days that clerkis clepe brumaill ; 
Quhen brym blastis of the northyn art 
Ourquhelmyt had Neptunus in his cart, 
And all to schaik the levis of the treis. 
The rageand storm, ourwaltrand wally seys ; 
Ryveris ran reid on spait with watir brovne. 
And burnys hurlys all thar bankis dovne, 
And landbrist rumland rudely with sik beir. 
So lowd ne rumyst wild lyoun or ber. 

Thik drumly skuggis dyrknyt so the hevyn . . . 

Flaggis of fire and mony feUoun flaw, 

Scharpe soppys of sleit and of the snypand snaw. 

The doUy dichis war all donk and wait 

The law valle flodderit all with spait . . . 

Laggerit leyis wallowit farnys schew, 

Brovne muris kythit thar wysnyt mossy hew . . 

The wjTid maid waif the red wed on the dyke . . . 

Puyr lauboraris and bissy husband men 

Went wait and wery, draght in the fen. 

The atmosphere, action, colour, and humanity, of this, make it 
uniquely powerful in its realism and pathetically modem in its 
touch. And so, as outside Nature was impossible for a poet to 
wander in, he seeks the fireside with his book again, admonishing 
his industry, as he was but half through with his labours — 
Na thing is done, quhiU ocht remanis ado.^ 

^ Orazione. * Cf. Henryson The Swallow and other Birds. 

^ Cf. Nil actum credens, cum quid superesset agendum. Lucan, Pharsalia, 
iL 657. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 109 

The Eighth Prologue is the most remarkable, in some ways, 
truly an odd thing in its place in a volume of Virgilian trans- 
lations. The verse is a kind of dancing rhythm, flexible and 
quick in action, and resilient in its bob- wheel tag. It consists 
of fourteen stanzas of thirteen lines each, with rhyme and 
alliteration together. But though he uses the semblance of 
antiquity he does not adhere to the ancient method, having 
frequently five alUterated accented words instead of three, to a 
line. The ancient model is shown in Piers Plowman's famihar 

In a somer seson when soft was the sonne 
I shope me in shroudes as I a shepe were. 

But Douglas assumes the liberty of Dunbar, in the Tua mariit 
Wemen and the Wedo, where that poet breaks away from con- 
ventional rule in Unes Uke 

Besyd ane gudlie grein garth full of gay flouris. 

Douglas's Prologue is as un- Virgilian and unclassical as any that 
could ever be — a most alien interpolation, which must have 
struck any but a Scottish reader as utterly uncouth, if not indeed 
as gibberish, in such hues as 

Sum latyt latton, but lay, lepys in lawyd lyt. 

Sum penys furth a pan boddum to prent fals plakkis, 

Sum gowkis quhill the glas pyg grow full of gold zit. 

A notable test of " plainness," even to Scotsmen of to-day, and 
many a day before now ! It begins with the dream, of course. 

Of dreflyng and dremys quhat dow it to endite ? 
For, as I lenyt in a ley in Lent this last nycht, 
I slaid on a swevynnyng, slummyrand a lite : 
And sone a selcouth seg I saw to my sycht, 
Swownand as he swelt wald, sowpyt in syte. 
Was nevir wrocht in this warld mair wofull a wycht, 
Ramand : Resson and rycht is rent by fals rjrte, 
Frendschip flemyt is in Frans, and faith hes the flycht. 
Leys, lurdaniy and lust ar our laid stam ; 

Peax is put owt of play, 

Welth and weilfar away, 

Lufe and lawte baith tuay 

Lurkis ful dam. 

The scheme of rhyme here is the same as in Henryson's Sum 
Practysis of Medecyne, Holland's Book of the Howlat, Golagros 
and Gawane, the Awntyrs of Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne, and. 

110 The Translation : its Method and Result 

with some similarity, in Eauf Coilzear. The Howlat ^ goes back 
to 1475 at least, and Holland tells us of course that it was com- 
posed in " the mirthfull month of May." The influence of its 
matter is seen in Douglas's other prologues. Thus Holland says — 

This riche Revir dovn ran but resting or ruf 
Throwe ane forest on fold that farly was fair. 
All the brayis of the brym bair branchis abuf, 
And birdis blythest of ble on blossomes bair. 
The land lowne was and le, with lyking and luf , 
And for to lende by that laike thocht me levar 
Becauss that thir hartes in heirdis couth huf 
Pransand and prunzeand be pair and be pair 
Thus sat I in solace sekerly and sure 
Content of the fair firth 
Mekle mair of the mirth 
Ala blyth of the birth 
That the ground bure 

Very curiously there is a Douglas connection in this poem, as 
it was written for Elizabeth Dunbar, Countess of Moray, who was 
married first, to a Douglas, whose eldest brother was that earl 
whom King James II himself slew in 1452. A detailed de- 
scription of the Douglas arms is introduced in its verses. It also 
contains what may be taken as the Douglas authorized version 
of the pilgrimage of Sir James with Bruce's heart, accepted 
apparently as ofi&cial by Boece, and differing from Barbour's 
version, in that it represents Sir James as having fallen in Spain 
on his way back from the Holy Land, instead of having been slain 
in Spain before he had succeeded to carry the purpose of his 
journey further. The author seems to have shared the exile of 
the Douglasses in England, and was, with the banished earl, 
excluded from mercy and restoration in the amnesty of 1482. 
Bishop Gawain could not but know it, therefore, and both its 
rhythm and its imagery would be famiUar to him. 

In regard to Douglas's own peculiar verses here the 
printer's rubric says : "In this Prolug he schaws the stait 
of thys fals warld, quhou all thyng is turnit fra verteu tyl 
vyce." The vision tells how all men are wilful, seeking their 

1 Asloan MS. (a.d. 1515), Bannatyne MS. (1568). One leaf of Black Letter 
of about 1520 extant. fide Appendix Pinkerton's Scotish Poems, reprinted 
from rare editions. Vol. iii., 1792 ; Laing, David, for Bannatyne Club ; 
Amours, F. J., in Scottish Alliterative Poems, S.T.S., 1891-2. 


The Translation : its Method and Result 


own pleasures, but Douglas resents the interference of this aged 
mourner, as he desires to get on with his own work. The ancient 
shews him the book of God, written over the stars and in the 
laws of Nature ; and takes him to a corner of the field to dig for 
a hid treasure, but he awakes and misses it. He turns, however, 
to seek the treasure of hf e by the way of industry, in the duty that 
is at hand. Examples of this favourite method of vision and 
interview could be culled at large from the Italian poetry of the 
Renaissance, as well as evidenced in Henryson's interview with 
iEsop.^ It gave the poet an opportunity of passing on his 
opinions and philosophies, with the interest of a third person 
giving additional weight to their teaching. 

The Ninth Prologue begins with three stanzas of six lines, 
and either was already lying by him, or he grew weary of it, 
for he plmiges into rhyming heroic couplets for other eighty lines. 
The opening stanzas enunciate the general rules of honour and 
charity : — 

Scurilyte is bot for doggig at barkis, 
Quha tharto harkis fallys in fragilyte. 

Do tyll ilk wight as thou done to waldbe, 
Be nevir sle and doubill, nor zit our lycht : 
Oys not thy mycht abufe thjTie awin degre, 
Cljrm nevir our hie, nor zit to law thow lycht ; 
Wirk no malgre thocht thou be nevir sa wycht 
Hald with the rycht, and pres the nevir to le. 

In these verses he has not only tail rhyme but a curious artifice, 
hke the swing of a pendulum, a kind of weaving rhyme, where 
the chimes move out and in as if threading the maze of a country 
dance, thus : 

a- — — ' 


^^'- — 




a,-— — "^ 



^ - 

__- -' 




-— — ^ 


^ Vide Fables. Proloug to The Lyoun and the Mous. 

112 The Translation : its Method and Result 

He elsewhere uses internal rhyme, in the Hymn in 'praise of 
Honour, with which his Police poem concludes, but on a different 
scheme — a straightforward chime which rings like a dance with 
castanets, that chink at a foot-beat on the ground : 

O hie honour sweet hevinlie flour degest . . . 
Bot quhome in richt na worthie wicht may lest. 

The second verse gets one extra chime : 

Of grace thy face in every place sa schynis, 
That sweit all spreit baith heid and feit inclynLs, 
Thy gloir afoir for till imploir remeid. . . . 

And the third rings all the way : 

Haill, rois maist chois till clois thy fois greit micht, 

Haill, stone quhilk schone vpone the throne of licht. . . . 

It is an actual bit of dehberately created bell-and-cymbal praise, 
and if it be measured by the poet's intent, it is a successful piece 
of verbal music. 

This species of internal rhyme construction was not un- 
common in Kenaissance verse. Henryson uses it once, in the 
concluding stanzas of his Prayer for the Pest : 

Supeme lucerne gubeme this pestilens. 

Preserve and serve that we nocht sterf tharin. 
Declyne that tharin pyne be thy devyne prudens. 

And Dunbar in his Ballat of our Lady, beginning. 

Hale, steme supeme ! Hail, in eteme. 

In Goddis sicht to schyne ! 
Lucerne in derne, for to discerne 

Be glory and grace devjiie. 
Hodiem, modern, sempitern, 

AngelicaU regyne. 
Our tern infeme for to dispem, 

Helpe rialest rosyne . . .^ 

Neither of these has the natural swing of Douglas's verse in this 
Prologue nor in the Hymn. 

They are not to be confused with the Leonine verse, found as 
early as the eighth century, the real origin of which is not known, 
in which the syllable immediately preceding the caesura ot a line 

' Cf. St Caaimire's Hymn — Omni die die Marise, etc., from Hermann Adal- 
bert Daniel's Thesaurus Hymnologicus II., p. 373, App. Ixiv. Vide Dunbar, 
in., p. 357, S.T.S. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 113 

rhymes with the final syllable. The familiar lines are the best 
example : 

Daemon \a,nguehat monachus tunc esse volebat, 
' Ast ubi convaltttf mansit ut ante iuit. 

The following line by Ovid is also well known in this connection : 

Quot coelum steUas tot habet tua Roma pueiio*. 

Douglas goes on to shew how he tries to suit his quest by 
clothing his work in fit phrase. And with all his apologies and 
acceptances of censure he smirks to acknowledge his satisfaction 
with his product : 

mea culpa I cry, 
Zit by myself I fynd this proverb perfyte. 
The blak craw thinkis hir awin bjTdis quhite. 

HJB humour suggests. 

So faris with me, bew Schirris, wil ze hark. 
Can nocht persaue a fait in all my wark 
Affectioun sa far my raysson blyndis, 
Quhar I mysknaw myne errom*, quha it fyndis, 
For cheryte amendis it, gentil wycht, 
Syne pardon me, sat sa far in my lycht, 
And I sal help to smore zour fait, leif broder. 
Thus, vail que vail, oik gude deid helpis other. 

The Tenth Prologue is in Dunbar's five line stave — aabba, 
which came into Scots verse under the influence of France. In 
its other form aahab it is found in the envoy of Villon's Ballade^ 

En regal en arsenic rocher, 

and also in the Ballade contre les mesdisans. Dunbar uses it 

frequently, with a refrain, as in the Danger of Wryting. It 

speaks, in Douglas's thirty-five verses here, of the wonders of 

the works of God, in an invocation, throughout, of the " Maist 

Hie Plasmatour." 

Addresses to the highest Divinity were not unusual, at this 

period, under the influence of Saint Augustine's writings ; and 

one cannot help comparing Douglas's with Lorenzo de' Medici's 

Orazione : 

Spirto Dio, U verbo tuo la mente regge,, 
Opifice, che spirto a ciascun dai, 
Tu sol se' Dio, onde ogni cosa ha legge. 

114 The Translation : its Method and Result 

L'uomo tuo questo chiama sempre mai ; 

Per fuoco, aria, acqua, e terra t'ha pregato, 

Per lo spirto, e per quel che creato hai. 
Dall' etemo ho benedizion trovato, 

E spero, come io son desideroso, 

Trovar nel tuo disio tranquillo state : 
Fuor di te Dio, non e vero riposo. 

Henryson's voice also speaks thus in the Prologue to the Lyoun 
and the Mous. The suggesting source of these is evident. 
Douglas passes on to full statements of theological dogma, and 
of the Trinity, shewing how in ourselves we have understanding, 
reason, memory, with examples from " flame, lycht, and heyt " ; 
concluding with an address to God on the super- excelhng glory of 
divine love. There is no mention, in this, of purgatory. But 
of course he has already, in the Sixth, discussed that. Otherwise 
it might be taken as a very complete exhibition of the theology 
of his time. 

The Eleventh Prologue is again an octave of twenty-five verses 
without refrain. The rhyme scheme is ababbccb. It speaks of 
the examples of nobihty in prowess : 

Weill auchtin eldris exemplis ws to ateir. 
Tyll hie curage, aU honour tUl ensew. 
Quhen we consider quhat wirschip tharof grew 
AU vyce detest and vertu lat ws leyr. 

He proceeds to argue that, though war quickens chivalry : 

Our myndis suld haue just ententioun, 
The grond of batale fundyt apon rycht. 

And he is quite modem in his contention : 

Wrangis to reddres suld wer be vndertane 
For na conquest, reif, skat, nor pensioun. 

Now he discusses fortitude and cowardice. He then turns tb 
qualities of ordinary chivalry into the sphere of Christianit , 
and of course Aristotle and Boethius are used as authoritie, 
while the example of ^Eneas is appealed to, as an incentive 1) 
faithful response to the call of his destiny. St Augustine :• 
finally quoted, against ease and fear, in the warfare of tb 
Christian Hfe. It is not poetry, but well-managed verse, sfi- 
tentious and heavy, and, Uke its predecessor, proHx. 

TJie Twelfth Prologue is famous for its description of My, 

The Translation : its Method and Result 116 

vibrant with the freshness of the hving air, the eager hfe of the 
world and the stir of Nature quickened ; and sweet with the sheen 
of sunlight on the water and the land. It describes a day Uved 
through in every detail. Dazzling Phoebus emerges from his 
loyal palace. 

Before hys regale hie magnificens 

Mysty vapour vpsprjoigand sweit as sens . . . 

The large fludis lemand all of lycht 

Bot with a blenk of hys eupernale sycht, 

Forto behald it was a glor to se 

The stablit wyndis and the cawmyt see. 

The soft sessoun, the firmament sereyn, 

The lowne illumynat ayr, and fyrth ameyn . . . 

The fish dart to and fro in the " cleir stremis " ; the harts and 
hinds stir in enclosure, park and wood : 

In lyssouris and on leys litill lammys 

Full tayt and tryg socht bletand to thar dammys. 

All the life of meadow and loan move and browse before him, 
with the love of swain and quean in sunny May-time, and echoes 
of folk-song, full of music. If we drop his nymphs and go on, 
we find truth at once : 

wenchis and damysellis 
In gresy gravys wandrand by spryng wellis, 
Of blomyt branchis and flowris quhite and red 
Plettand thar lusty chaplettis for thar hed ; 
Sum sang ryng sangis, dansys ledys and rovndis, 
With vocis schill, quhill all the daill resovndis . . . 
Ane sang, The schyp salys our the salt faym. 
Will bryng thir merchandis and my lemman haym., 

evidently a reference to some folksong. In the objective paint- 
ing of Nature here and in the Seventh Prologue, he is the pioneer 
of Montgomerie, Thomson, and Scott. 

He is awakened by the simshine at four of the May morning. 

For Progne had, or than, sung hir complaynt. 
And eik her dreidfull systir Philomeyn, 
Hyr lays endyt and in woddis greyn, 
Hyd hir selvyn, eschamyt of hyr chance. 

All the birds everywhere startle the sluggards. 

our awyn natyve byrd, gentill dow 
Syngand in hyr kynd, / come hydder to wow. 

So he leaps to his labour. 

lie The Translation : its Method and Result 

He thought highly of his work in this poem, for he exclaims : 

Explicit scitus prologus 
Quharof the autour says thus : 

The lusty crafty preambiU, perle of May 
I the entitil, crownyt quhil domysday, 
And al wth gold in syng of stait ryaU 
Most beyn illumnyt thy letteris capital, 

which is as far as a poet can well go, even in regard to his own 
production ! 

This direct outlook upon Natural scenes is vibrant with the 
spirit of the Renaissance. One finds a good example of that in 
the Ambra of Lorenzo de' Medici himself thus : 

Al dolce tempo il bon pastore informa 

Lasciar le mandre, ove nel verno giacque : 
E'l heto gregge, che ballando in torma, 

Toma aU' alte montagne, aUe fresche acque. 
L'agnel trottando pur la matema orma 

Segue : ed alcun, che pur or ora nacque. 
L'amorevol pastore in braccio porta : 

II fido cane a tutti fa la scorta. 

At the same time it must be said that this Prologue, with all 
ite direct observation and insight, fails in some degree because 
of its very completeness of detail. It is too catalogic. The poet 
presents a palette or a crammed sketch-book rather than a 
picture, and the hst is apt to pall on the impatient reader of to- 

The Thirteenth Prologue has already been discussed, in its place, 
in connection with Mapheus Vegius. But it has other claims to 
consideration, by right of its poetry also. In it he describes very 
finely a June evening in which he falls asleep, and dreams tiB 
daybreak awakes the world. 

Furth quynchyng gan the starris one be one, 
That now is left bot Lucifer aUone. 
And forthirmore to blason the new day 
Quha mycht discry ve the bjTdis blissful bay ? 
Belyve on weyng the bissy lark vpsprang 
To salus the blyth morrow with hir sang 
Sone our the fieldis shynys the lycht cleir 
Welcum to pilgrym baith and lauborer. 

^ Cf. Minto's Characieneiics oj English Foeis; tn ioc. where the ciitic is too 
mpetuously scorniul. 

The Translation : its Method and Result I IT 

In this Prologue the influence of Dunbar may be felt in at 
least one glimpse, where, when Douglas tells how 

Ontill a garth vndir a greyn lawrer 
I walk onon . . . 

we hear a distinct echo of Dunbar's episode beginning 

Within ane garth undir a tre 
I hard ane voice. 

But yet reminiscence is a natural thing, and poetry is full of 
it, while the artifice was also a common one. 

The " grieve " calls his workers, the herd his loon ; the heu- 
wife wakes up " Katheryn and Gill." 

The dewy greyn pulderit wyth daseis gay 
Schew on the swerd a cullour dapill gray 
The myety vapouris spryngand vp full sweit 
Maist confortabill to glaid all manis spreit, 
Tharto thir byrdis sjTigis in the schawys 
As menstralis playing, the joly day now dawys. 

This was a favourite melody, and is found in a collection aoiade 
about 1500. Dunbar speaks of it, in his sarcastic address to 
the Merchantis of Edinburgh} as a favourite worn trite : 

Your common menstrales hes no tune 
But Now the day daws, and Into June. 

It is quoted in the Gude and Godlie Ballads ^ in 1567, and is met 
with in Montgomerie's Poems in 1579, while it is spoken of as 
being played by Habbie Simpson, the piper of Kilbarchan, in 
1625.^ It is supposed to be the song commencing; 

Hey now the day dawia 
The jolly cock era wis, 

and was sung to the melody Hey tutti taitie, the same to which 
Bums wrote Scots wha hae. Its identification, by Chambers,* 
with that in the Fairfax manuscript, and the conclusion which 
he draws therefrom that " at the commencement of the 16th 
century there were songs common to the literate classes of both 
nations " is erroneous, being based on the similarity of the 
opening words. The music for three voices in the Fairfax 
collection is not the same as that of the Scottish bagpipe air with 

* Stanza v. * Edition, Irving, p. 219. 
' Watson's Collection of Scots Poems, 1706. 

* Scottish Songs, vol. i.. Int., pp. xvi et seq. 

118 The Translation : its Method and Result 

the same name. It was, in fact, the awakening tmie of the town 
pipers in most places in Scotland which had such an oJB&cial. 

It cannot be denied by all who know and love poetry, that, in 
these productions, unique from their connections and place, we 
have a bulk of visually imaginative work, which gives their poet 
a niche of his own. 

Douglas not only sees, but he feels and imderstands, and 
humanity speaks in response to the world's appeal. A winter 
day, or the song of the birds in the woodlands, or the flocks 
spread along the meadows and hillsides, impress him with a 
heart-significance, and stir a deeper than merely recording note, 
just as in regard to human character in his greater work. 

Here, and throughout the general translation, where character- 
istics of flood and fell are touched by him, Douglas is on his own 
ground as a truly descriptive poet — the forerunner of the later 
Nature poetry of the open world. He is leagues away from any 
of the descriptive work that is in his earlier poetry, where he 
was simply weaving conventional tapestries of mediaeval design. 
He is here truly modem, directly personal in spirit and in pur- 
pose, a poet of the New Birth. In face of such descriptive poetry, 
and even remembering his faults, it is difficult to agree with 
Thomas Campbell, in his Specimens of English Poets, when, 
evidently feeUng that he should praise and condemn at the 
same moment, he says of Douglas, " He was certainly a fond 
painter of Nature, but his imagery is redundant and tediously 
profuse." This is, we feel, only a general remark of a modem 
in passing. 

Douglas's Nature pictures are true pictures of Nature, done 
with an open eye, a true heart, and a full brush. There is httle, 
if any, writing about Nature in extent, hke it, till the publication 
of The Seasons.^ 

* Prologue I., printed in Gregory Smith's Specimens of Middle Scot* 

Prologue VII. has been reprinted in Sibbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry 
(1802), i. pp. 428-457; Eyre Todd's Abbotsford Poets, i. pp. 249-269, Hand 
Browne's Selections from the Early Scottish Poets, Ba.timore, 1896, pp. 154-165 
(both of these were reprinted from Small's edition) ; Gregory Smith's Sfecimens 
of Middle Scots. 

Prologue VIII. appears in Sibbald. 

Prologue XIII. , partly in Sibbald, and in Eyre Todd. 

Cf. further, pages 20, 21, 22 supra. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 119 


Douglas was frankly a Scottish poet in his intent, with 
little thought of a wider audience than the readers and 
teachers of his own land and race. Yet at times there 
are gleams of a larger hope, that by his work he had 
loosened a music bound hitherto in the chains of ancient 
phrase, and given an example and incentive to others. The 
Scottish Poet hoped by his method to make what was a world 
classic, a classic of the Scottish folk, and a guide to Scottish 
thought and action, in familiar phrase, vocabulary, and idea. 
Professor Henry Morley says of Chapman's translation of 
Homer, that in it " the Iliad is best read as an EngUsh book." 
And in this sense Douglas's is a great Scottish poem, while at the 
same time a translation of a very great Latin work. If, as 
Montaigne said, Amyot in France made Plutarch speak French, 
truly Douglas made the refined Augustan speak Scots, though 
as a dignified schoolman, with a Scottish tongue still in his mouth, 
might speak it, standing between the scholar of his day and 
the peasant, touching now the one and now the other, but never 
quite both together at once. Douglas himself hoped to be a 
popular poet, for he says, 

Throwout the ile yclept Albioune 
Red sail I be and sung with mony one.^ 

But this, as we have shewn, could never be, both from his subject 
and the mode of his achievement. It has been his fate to be 
remembered and spoken of, rather than read. Says David 
Masson,^ speaking of " Gavin Douglas, the most difficult of the 
old Scottish poets perhaps to a modern reader, but of higher 
quahty in some respects than any of his Scottish contemporaries. 
What is Gavin Douglas now, for most of his own countrymen 
even, but a pretendedly afiectionate name for an uncouth ecclesi- 
astic that lived in Scotland at some time or other, and is said 
to have written verse ? " Andrew Lang ^ makes too wide an 
assertion when he says that Douglas's verse is still plain enough 

1 Cf. Occleve : Letter of Cupid, 1. 16— 

The little isle 
That cleped is Albion. 
* Preface, Three Centuries of English Poetry, xii., 1876. » Ward's PoeU, i. 

120 The Translation : its Method and Result 

to a Scotch reader. It is only so if he take a very considerable 
amount of trouble to master it, although there are passages that 
with less application may be easier — ^but still, only for the 
student. Even an educated contemporary might have had 
difficulty in understanding fully the archaisms and neo-isms of 
Douglas, who deemed it necessary to paint the vernacular, and 
deck his phrase in strange garb. It was a manifestation of a 
gilding age, rather than a golden. In fact, Skeat, speaking of 
Douglas's Twelfth Prologue as compared with the selections he 
makes from The Kingis Quair, Harry the Minstrel, Dunbar, and 
Lyndsay, says, " Partly from his profuse employment of Northern 
EngUsh words, and partly from the freedom with which he 
introduces Latin and French terms, the worthy Bishop has 
succeeded in producing many lines which puzzle even the ex- 
perienced . . . such hues as 

moist hailsum stovya ourheldand the slak . . . 

We can hardly find lines so unfamiliar in appearance as this 
without going back at least to the fourteenth century." ^ There 
are hundreds, indeed, that even a Scottish reader could make 
little or nothing of. How many even of the most Doric of Scots 
folk to-day could tell the meaning of apirsmert, as applied to 
Juno : or what a fiemyt tvauengeowr is ? - And yet a word like 
sewchquhand is quite familiar still in Scottish vernacular, though 
its old speUing clothes it with repellent difficulty of recognition. 
There are multitudes of words in his pages " which are never to 
be revived," as Dryden says, " any more than the crowds of men 
who daily die, or are slain for sixpence in a battle." In fact 
they never really hved, and were not repeated in the world of 

Apart from other considerations, the real test of a translation, 
after all, is not analytical detail but general efiect. As Glad- 
stone said, " It is not a matter of mere Uterary criticism, but a 
full study of hfe." And the best translation of any poem must 
depend on what the best poet of his period, writing at his beat, 
can achieve. It must have hanging above it, like a fine atmo- 

^ Specimens of Early English. 

* Cf. Cedicua al totrynschit Alcathous, x. 12, 143. 

The Translation : its Method and Result 121 

sphere, the grace of style, which, as Baldassare Castiglione ^ 
said nobly, is " a manner of speech which remains after a man 
has spoken — the life of the words," practically what Sir Philip 
Sidney set down as the test of poetry — allurement, and hauiiting- 
ness, as well as edification. It is this haimting charm which 
essentially differentiates poetry from philosophy, intensifying 
the allurement of the tale which " holdeth the children from 
play, and old men from the chimney comer." ^ This must be 
in every great translation of every great poem, clothed in words 
that carry with them " the splendid emotion of the mom.'' 
Herein lies secretly hidden, for the translator's downfall, the 
temptation to over-enrichment, creation of phrase-embroideries 
where purest simplicities are in the original, though that be- 
longed more naturally, of course, to the period we look at here, 
prompting even Machiavelli to don pompous garments as he 
sought the companionship, comfort, and inspiration of the sageb 
in his library.^ Douglas in a similar way tried to clothe his great 
original in golden words, enriched by every artifice within his 
reach. And so he sometimes overloaded and incommoded hie 
guest with his hospitable intentions. But in tliis he erred in the 
general company of his age. 

The question then arises, did Douglas achieve nobly in his 
rendering of a noble poem ? It is clear that he did, though only 
as far as it was possible in his time and according to his Ughts. 
The true measure of the achievement of a pioneer is perhaps not 
so much what he achieved as what he left behind him in hi& 
forward step. And it was a very original advance which Douglas 
made when he lifted Virgil's work out of the dark of a dead 
tongue, and at least set it clearly in the light, on the threshold 
of English Literature. He did what no man had done before him ; 
and few men since have done it better, even though they have 
had what he had not, namely, examples both of failure and 
success, as warning and as examples of incentive power. That 
fact must not be forgotten to him for righteousness at the bar 
of judgment. It had the merit both of courage and achievement. 

* 1478-1529: Stood very high among neo-Latin poets ; Hie Alcon influeaoed 
Drummond's Exequies and Milton's Lycidas. 

* Sidney: Apologiefor Poesie, p. 57. Morloy's Edition. 
^ Cf. Lovers Labour^ s Lost, Act I. sc. i. 72. 

122 The Translation : its Method and Result 

Virgil differed from Homer in that Lis poem was, by its nature, 
rather for the few than the many. Its subject was imbued with 
a divine philosophy, and its style was greater than its matter. 
Its appeal, from the beginning, was to a level far above the 
masses. It was a Court poem, while Homer's was a poem for 
the people. Where Virgil was to touch the nation all through 
was rather through the nation's leaders, in their conduct and 
outlook, moulded and coloured by his great teaching, clothed in 
a style and diction as great as what he taught. And though to 
the ear of to-day, attuned to a very different measure of modu- 
lated speech as in verse expressed, Douglas's phrase seems 
rugged, and his words often more than merely quaint, yet his 
work swung out from his world of conventional Dream and Vision, 
with a clang of reality that made it practically a creation. And 
where it was indebted poetically to those who were before it 
recognized as masters, its very debts were ennobled by widening 
vision of natural beauty, by the power of storm and the spell 
of calm, and by the cleaving grace of a rich humanity, which 
shot a shaft of light through the vagueness and shadow of MediaB- 
valism. It was touched by the first brealdng of the full wave 
out of the great deep along the shore of our Northern Literature. 
It was the rendering of a great work, greatly done, with a majesty 
of its own. And it remained in men's remembrance as a real 
achievement ; while its influence undoubtedly turned others 
to the same task in a later day, and kept before a land frequently 
involved in unpoetic conflicts the fact, at least, that Virgil's 
verse had in it what made it worthily memorable and profitable 
as an incentive to elevated thought and nobihty of life. 

What Douglas claimed to have attempted he may be taken 
to have achieved, as fully as could be done by anybody at the 
time ; and in accord with what he considered to be the principles 
of translation. His work remains as, on its own merits, one of 
the great translations of the Roman poet. Lang truly asserted 
that " by his Mneid Douglas lives, and deserves to Uve." 

Douglas stands, it may be, far short of the peak of Parnassus. 
Yet it is not by right of his Police of Honour, nor of his King Hart, 
that he is there at all, but as translator of Virgil ; in which he 
displayed his keen observation of Nature, his shrewd under- 

The Translation : its Method and Result 128 

standing of humanity in itself and in relation to the external 
world, and by which he holds, in Scottish Literature, a position 
not to be taken from him, and a place of unique interest in the 
general Literature of the EngUsh-speaking folk. 

George Buchanan's tribute can be taken as that of a man who 
knows — ^no one better — ^both the original, and what the shadow 
work should be. He does not go into detail, but gives an almost 
epigrammatic epitome of the man and his work, when he says, 
" ReUquit et ingenii et doctrinae non vulgaria monumenta, 
sermone patrio conscripta." ^ This is what Douglas aimed at, 
and in this he did not fail — ^to leave in the vulgar tongue a monu- 
ment that was not vulgar. 

In regard to this hope his own prophecy is true, in the last line 
here quoted, under the direct influence of Ovid, the first love of 
his muse : 

Quhen . . . 

endis the dait of myn oncertan eild 
The bettir part of me sal be upheild 
Abufe the stamys perpetualy to ryng 
And heir my naym remane, but enparyng.' 

^ Hist. Lib. xiv. c. 13. 
* Conclusio, 5. Cf. 

Cum volet ilia dies quae nil nisi corporis humus 
Jus habet, inerti spatium mihi finiat sevi. 
Parte tamen mehore mei super alta perennis. 
Astra ferar, uomenque erit indelibile nostrum. 

Ovid, Meia, xv. 873. 
Cf. also Sidney Lee's Life of Shakespeare, where this claim of immortality 
through verse, is traced. See Pindar's Olympic Odes, xi. : Horace, Odes, iii. 
30 : Virgil's Georgics, iii. 9 : Sidney, Apologiefor Poetrie : Nash, Pierce Penni' 
lease, and throughout EUzabethan poetry. 



Risks of Error — Sources of Error 

Any work circulated in manuscript is open to the risk of be- 
coming a problem to a later age in consequence of the variety 
of text certain to be evolved by the falhbility of copyists. And 
a poem which, besides being preserved on the written page, lives 
also on the lips of men, is exposed to the fickleness of the memory 
of its reciters as well as to the slips to which scribes are prone. 
It is to the former that the poet is especially in peril of change, 
for while, of course, the sense, purpose, or drift of his work may 
be kept intact he is constantly at the mercy of inaccurate re- 
membrance, the reciter retaining the meaning, while forgetting, 
it may be, chaste phrase or golden word. With the copyist on 
the other hand, the inaccurate or wearied eye or the uncertain 
ear of the transcriber, and it may be the unclear utterance of one 
dictating to him, may, by their slip, make havoc of both sense 
and phrase, to the grave detriment of the poet's repute, and the 
€onfusion and despair of his later readers.^ The boldness 
of the careless also misleads him by his hasty guess. And the 
ignorantly rash redactor who thinks he knows what the poet 
meant better than the poet wrote his meaning, is perhaps the 
man most apt to tangle meaning and form alike, inextricably. 
Then, also, later hands of those who, ignorant of the exquisite 
laws of verse, or of the delicate secrets of poesy, attempt to alter 

* That Chaucer in his lifetime suffered from this very cause in evident from 
hifl Verses unto his oum Scrivener : — 

Adam Scrivener, if ever it thee befalle 
Boece or Troilus, for to write newe. 
Under thy longe lockes maist thou have tiie scalle. 
But after my making thou write more trewe ! 
So oft a day I mote thy werke renewe, 
It to correct and eke to rubbe and scrape : 
And all is thorow thy necligence and rape. 

Manuscripts and Readings 125 

what to them seems wrong, only multiply the faults, if any. And 
thus the most beautiful flowers of the muses' garden are crushed 
and broken, and sympathetic chords are snapped, or at the least 
untuned, by touch of the unsophisticated. For a word which 
the transcriber did not understand, he has supplied another 
which he supposed would make the meaning clearer, though 
oftenest without referring, say in the matter of a translation, to 
the original which the poet had before him when he wrote. Or 
a word is inserted, impletive or expiscatory, most often to the 
harm of the rhythmic hne. Or a usage of syntax, or a verbal 
form mifamiliar, perhaps, to the days before the poet or to his 
day, are altered into accordance with the laws of old convention 
still governing the redactor. And it may be that, in the archetype 
itself, a reading may be held, so to speak, in suspense, in the 
margin ; which, as has frequently happened, gets incorporated 
by the scribe in the body of the page or line, making havoc 
with rhythm, and often with significance, or creating curious 
pleonasms, to the wonder of readers of a later age. The difl&- 
culties of dealing with these matters are much increased and 
intensified when the author's holograph, as with Virgil and 
Shakespeare, has disappeared, and there is no real norm left to 
be the certain arbiter in consequent inevitable discussion regard- 
ing variations that arise. In these two great poets we find ample 
illustration of what we have said, and the source and nature of 
error in their texts are exactly similar to those of Douglas's 

Examples in Virgil 

Certain of the Hues of Virgil's original in his unrevised master- 
piece bear marks of the meddhng of redactors — whether at the 
hands of his hterary executors, Tucca and Varius, or of later 
editors, cannot be decided. In fact, one has only to turn to the 
text of the Roman poet to see how confusion and darkness arise. 
Take for example the passage from the Georgics Book III., line 
181 to Une 214, which bristles with specimens of how manuscripts 
are made to differ, and how errors of reading multiply. Thus, 
where the accepted version has 

126 Manuscripts and Readings 

L 182 


the Augustean fragment gives 


» 183 


„ Vatican „ „ 


„ 184 


,, Medicean Codex „ 


» 212 

in sola., 

„ Palatine „ „ 


» 213 


„ Medicean „ „ 


It does not require long lapse of time for such dangers to emerge. 
Even by the beginning of the first century questions of criticism 
were raised in regard to the text of Virgil, and manuscripts 
appealed to for true readings ; while by the fourth and fifth 
centuries scribes who were ignorant of classical Latin had 
strewn the poet's page with confusion. 

The difficulty attending the search after authentic sources of 
the text is also well illustrated by the history of the text of the 
Roman. The clear-eyed inspection of modem critics has dis- 
placed some manuscripts which have held positions of authority 
above others. Thus the Medicean manuscript, so long received 
with reverence, is found now to have the majority of the other 
uncials against it, and the texts before Heinsius, which were 
supposed to represent the Palatine Manuscript, and received an 
appropriate respect on that account, have been found to hold 
no such position as was awarded to them by tradition. At the 
same time, the readings of the Medicean Codex have been seen 
to arise apparently from the scribe's over-familiar remembrance 
of parallel passages in Virgil's poem ; showing that cleverness, 
ahke with stupidity, and knowledge as well as ignorance, may 
be a source of dangerous confusion, a conclusion confirmed by 
some of the readings in Douglas's page. 

Examples in Shakespeare 

From a similar cause — the loss of a holograph, or the want of 
a printed norm, with sanction of the author's revision — ^the plays 
of Shakespeare present a soil in which mistakes of actors and 
editors have flourished richly. Thus, in the Midsummer Night's 
Dream, we find 

I know your patience well,^ 

that is, your endurance — which has been altered by Hanmer to 
" your parentage " ; by Farmer, to " your passions " ; and by 

» III. i. 177. 

Manuscripts and Readings 127 

Mason, to " I know you passing well," — the words being all the 
while, in the original, used in their natural sense. Again, in the 
«ame play, the words 

I have found Demetrius like a jewel. ^ 

have been changed by Warburton to " Hke a gemmel," which 
he interprets to signify " hke a twin," because Demetrius had 
acted two different parts in one night, an alteration which 
appealed to the classicism of Dr Johnson, but which was quite 

In the same way in Shakespeare one finds, as everybody knows, 
remarkable differences of reading between the quarto and foUo 
editions ; as, for example, actual contradictions, in the former, 
for no cause, becoming in the latter, forced cause ^ ; and alterations 
to conformity with editorial ideas, as, in the quarto, the phrase 
that should learn us, altered in the foho to teach us.^ Then, also, 
we find the hnes. 

And, like the kind life-rendering pelican, 
Repast them with my blood,* 

where the first foHo alters pelican to politician. The fohos also 
read Soris for Forres, in Macbeth,^ readings whose source and 
spirit can be easily paralleled from the Black Letter Edition of 

The Case of Douglas 

Thus, aUke in Virgil and in Shakespeare, we see clearly illus- 
trated not only the sources of errors and confusions in any 
unauthorised text, but especially in such a text as Douglas's 

Notwithstanding Dr Johnson's statement in his Proposals for 
Printing the Dramatick Works of William Shakespeare, that " most 
writers by pubUshing their own works prevent all various readings 
and preclude all conjectural criticism," it is remarkable that even 
the mystery of printing has not prevented the text of Shakespeare 
from being even more uncertain than that of Sophocles.* And 
in Johnson's statement we see a sidelight on our own problem. 

* IV. i. 190. * Hamlet, V. ii. 367. » Hamlet, V. ii. ». 

* Hamlet, IV. v. 125. » Macbeth, I. iii. 39. « Times L.S., 896. 

128 Manuscripts and Readings 

Shakespeare sold his plays to be played, not to be printed. 
Copied by or for the actors, " and multiplied by transcript 
after transcript, vitiated by the blunders of the penman, and 
changed by the affectation of the player . . . and printed at last 
without the concurrence of the author, Mdthout the consent of 
the proprietor, from compilations made by chance and by stealth, 
out of the separate parts written for the theatre : and thus thrust 
into the world surreptitiously and hastily, they suffered another 
depravation from the ignorance and negligence of the printers, 
as every man who knows the state of the press in that age will 
readily conceive." In that day no proofs were sent to the 
author : if errors were corrected, fresh errors were made even 
while the sheets were at press. Hence, no two copies of the First 
FoUo agree. Even in later days the editors of Gray and Keats 
must consult the manuscripts, and editors of Wordsworth and 
Shelley compare the editions in the search for an authentic text. 
In the first five editions of Spenser's Shepheard's Calender, each 
repeats the errors of its predecessor, and makes fresh ones of its 
own. Even the printing press therefore does not exclude the 
possibilities of misreading which transmission by manuscript 

"With Donne's poems, though the printed edition of 1633 is the 
foimdation of his text yet there are earlier manuscripts not of the 
poet's holograph, and the later editions include two poems which 
are not reprints, and so the present various readings of this poet 
are not dependent alone on negligence or conjecture. The 1633 
edition itself is frequently questionable or entirely corrupt, and, 
no more than the manuscripts of an ancient author, can this 
printed copy be taken as an authority. Hence, just as with our 
present author, the questions of these readings in this modern 
poet must be decided on the grounds of ingenuity, however 
perverse, on mere negligence, and on the matters of editorial 
or printer's alterations or misreadings. And it may be that no 
final decision can be reached. 

Even in modern proof reading error is a constant pitfall for 
the author himself, for the unspecialized eye sees what it expects 
to see, and thinks it reads the right word when the wrong is 
staring at it. 

Manuscripts and Readings 129 

Copies of the same edition may have different texts, and 
contemporary manuscripts present countless difficulties and 
varieties, owing to the copyist taking the easiest path 
of transcription. Douglas's Mneid presents every risk and 
every variety accordingly. That work suffers from them 
all, because it was exposed to the certainty of every one of 
them. In it we find readings which have origin in actual 
misinterpretation of the Latin original, in interpretation of 
untextual portions of the translation, in mal-transcriptions 
from ignorance of the meaning of archaic words, and in 
deUberate corrections by the scribe, the dictator, or the editor, 
some transcriptions having clearly been of the nature of 
subsequent redactions. 

No holograph of Douglas's jEneid is extant, so far as is known ; 
yet, unless his picture of himself, working in early mornings 
and late evenings, be a poetic fiction, he wrote his translation 
at first with his own hand. He permits us to see him rising, not 
unreluctantly, while the city sleeps, and turning over the volume 
of his author, page by page, as he transmutes the message of the 
Latin poet into the rugged vernacular of grey old Scotland. If 
only those sheets had remained to our day, all would have been 

For, if a poet leaves a manuscript which may be accepted as 
an undoubted original, being written by his own hand, that must 
of course be taken as the norm, and every copy of a later day 
must be carried to the bar of its judgment, which judgment 
must be accepted as final, so far as regards the poet's utterance, 
even though he himself may have erred. But such a happy 
condition is not commonly found, as we have seen ; and it is 
therefore necessary to decide which among few or many copies 
is most probably nearest to the original in date, and how intimate 
were the relationships of the scribe to that original or to its 
author. By all laws of natural frailty and imperfection it is 
found that as each copy falls further back from the date of the 
first, so does it run the risk of falling away from accuracy, for 
the very reasons stated. So, also, it must follow that if a manu- 
script can be fixed as having been made by one who was closely 
in touch with the mind and hfe of the author, and if it can be 

130 Manuscripts and Readings 

shewn that the author had handled it, leaving marks of his 
approval upon it, its authenticity is assured, and its authority 
above the others must be accepted. 

MSS. of Douglas 

There are certain copies of Douglas's work extant, sufficiently 
near the author in point of origin as to date, to justify respectful 

1. The Cambridge 

The first, preserved in Trinity College, Cambridge, is of prime 
importance, as it seems to be closest, in relationship of time and 
contact, to the original transcript, for it has in its colophon the 
expUcit statement, of intense interest, that it is " the first 
correck coppy nixt efter the Translatioim, wryttin be Master 
Matho Geddes, Scribe or Writar to the Translator." Nothing 
could be clearer than that claim, nor more intimate than that 

Its Character 

It is a fine manuscript, executed with evident care and good 
penmanship, displaying almost loving interest on the part of 
the scribe, and it may be taken as the actual document, direct 
from Geddes's hand. Geddes was chaplain and secretary to 
Douglas, and esteemed by him with such intimacy of friendship 
as to be nominated by the Bishop in his last will and testament, 
as one of his executors.^ In that document he is described^ — 
" magistrum Matheum Geddis vicarum de Tibbirmure." In 
fact, it was he who proved the will, when the poet's sorrows and 
trials were ended, in London. The manuscript is referred 
to by Bishop Nicolson as being in the possession of Bishop 
Gale while he wrote ; and Gale's name is still attached to it 
in its catalogue description.^ 

What became of the precious original, after Geddes was 
done with it, no man can tell. Those were hard days for 
Scotland, when perishable things were exposed to serious risks ; 

1 See Small'a Douglas, Vol I. cxii. » Gale's MSS. O. 3, 12. 

Manuscripts and Readings 131 

and the papers of an exiled Churchman, of a disgraced clan, were 
apt to be treated lightly. The question as to whether those 
laboured sheets, so priceless in our thought to-day, were passed 
from hand to hand, and copied, in haste and leisure, by those who 
were interested sufficiently in them and qualified to do so, can 
never be settled : but such a thing was sure to happen. That 
they would not always fall into the hands of the capable and wise 
may be taken as a certainty, and that they suffered also in their 
pilgrimage, even in the houses of friends, we may be sure. It 
was the usual fate, to be expected in such a case, before printing, 
under the guidance of an author himself, had fixed what could be 
reasonably received as his final intentions. 

Perhaps, however, Geddes, with his careful mind, would 
prevent the original drafts from getting into circulation ; and 
his claim as to the authenticity of his copy may mean this very 
thing ; though it may suggest that already copies were abroad 
which were being looked upon as authentically representing the 
great work of the poet, but which were not to be taken as such, 
alongside of his own. Anyhow, from his position, Geddes must 
be accepted as having the right to make his claim, not only as 
having had before him the holograph of his master, but also as 
probably being entitled, best of any, to assert knowledge of his 
master's intention throughout, even allowing that like Tucca 
and Varius, he had the task of dealing with what his master had 
to leave without final personal revision. 

The Comment 

And, indeed, Geddes's claim finds corroboration from the fact 
that his copy was quite evidently approved by the author him- 
self, who began to write upon its margins what he apparently 
intended to become a complete commentary on the poem, for 
be says : 

I have alsso a schort comment compyld 

To expone strange historeis and termis wild.* 

Whether this meant that he had a full commentary ready for 

transcription, but was only able to set on the margin what is 

found there, the original of the remainder being afterwards lost, 

* Dyrectioun, 141. 

132 Manuscripts and Readings 

or that he really overtook only what he has there written ere 
the great Interruption intervened, can never be known. He 
was at any rate only able to cover in this marginal writing the 
first Book in its entirety, but the notes display how fully endowed 
the translator was with the scholarship of his times. He deals 
with the meanings of Latin words ; sometimes also pretty fully 
with the interpretations of Landinus and Boccaccio, and with 
such matters as the character of ^Eneas and the relation of his 
actions to the will of the gods. There seems to be little question 
as to this marginal Comment being in Douglas's holograph, 
though in regard to hne 36 of the First Prologue we find, " Heir 
he argeuis better than befoir," — where one is for a Httle in doubt 
as to whether the reference is to Virgil or the translator. If we 
accept this Comment, as being holograph, the manuscript was 
therefore undoubtedly written in the lifetime of the poet, and 
certainly not as Small says, " about the year 1525," a statement 
which he curiously forgets when, on the next page, he asserts 
that " it seems to have been in the hands of Douglas himself, 
as it has several marginal glosses or notes in the Bishop's hand- 
writing," — here overlooking the very important fact that the 
Bishop had died three years before the date he fixes. 

In the Bibliography, volume ii, of the Cambridge History 
of English Literature, p. 477, appended to chapter x, by Mr 
Gregory Smith, this date " c. 1525 " is repeated, although Mr 
Smith, in his edition of Henryson (vol. i. page xx.), says of 
Douglas, " The latter in a holograph note on the Cambridge MS. 
of his Mneid, which must have been made not later than 1522, 
refers to Henryson's Orpheus and Eurydice." These two notes 
demand a remarkable spiritualistic feat on the part of Douglas. 

It would be extremely curious to find when Douglas was able 
to do this holograph work. It imphes a certain leisure, a time 
of close re-perusal of the fine copy of his poem. It would also 
be interesting to discover where Geddes was at the time of this 
fresh study of the subject. He most probably, of course, shared 
the exile of his master. And it would not be at variance with 
other instances in history, if the poet, in his last dark days, 
turned back to the great work of his brighter times for relief 
from the anguish of his circumstances, ere death shook the pen 

Manuscripts and Readings 133 

from his grasp.^ Clarendon writing his History of the Rebellion 
John Milton fulfilling the dreams of his youth, and Douglas 
handhng again the precious fruit of his long labours of former 
days, when the world of each of them had crumbled about their 
ears, touch us with the power of literature as a sedative and 
minister of balm to troubled souls. It seems, however, more likely 
that the work may have been snapped off finally by the succes- 
sion of disasters accumulating in turn upon him, before his exile. 

Scheme of Spelling 

It is, further, of interest to observe that this manuscript 

differs on the sm"f ace from those others in its scheme of spelling, 

which makes it look odd beside them, though it follows in this 

respect the scheme observable in Douglas's letters. For example, 

Adam Williamson is as often " Wyllyamson," and he writes to 

Wolsey, " The Castell of Dunbar is bayth with mwny mentis and 

wytallis prowidit as evyr wes ony in the yle of Bartane." . . . 

" I am cummyn in this realm . . . apon certan neydfull dyrec- 

tiounes, and specially concernyng the weylfar and surte of 

his derest nevo the Kyiig my Soueran . . . besekyng elyke wys 

the samin to pardon this my hamly wrytyn. . . ." And again, 

" Placyt your grace, ye had yist3Tday syk byssynes that I mycht 

not schew your grace quhat I thocht twych}Tig the cummyng 

of this Scottis prest . . . has brocht wyt hym wrytyngis and 

dyrectyones fra thaini bayth." It is true, of course, that "y " was 

interchangeable with " i " but in this manuscript it may be said 

practically to take its place. This is so characteristic of the 

Cambridge manuscript that in comparison with the others, it 

might be called the " Y " text throughout, and this not in obedience 

to linguistic rules, nor archaic fancy, nor in imitation of Chaucer, 

but simply as following the idiosyncracy of the Aviiter. For 

instance, we find in it, as compared with the Elphynstoun copy, 

mysmetyr for mismetir ; sculys for sculis ; idylnes for idilnes ; 

seys for seis ; hevyn for hevin ; onys for anis ; luyk for luik ', 

ivycht for wicht ; hys for his ; cabillys for cabellis ; venyall for 

veniall ; prynce for prince ; aUyrris for alteris. This is very 

^ He seems to have been prevented from further activity, for he offers to 
write anything more which his patron might desire besides the Comment. Vide 
Dyrectioun, 143. 

134 Manuscripts and Readings 

noticeable in the Orygnale Cronykil where Wyntoun speaks of 
Barbour as having in his Brus 

Mare wysely tretyde in to wryt 
Than I can thynk with all my wyt. 

Barbour himself had the same habit, e.g. 

He levys at ess that frely levys, 
Na ellys nocht . . . 

cowplyt to foule thyrldome. 

Blind Harry, or rather his scribe Ramsay, who also was the scribe 
of Barbour's manuscript, had the same method ; and Huchoun 
in the Morte Arthure, says 

He clekys outte Ciollbrande full clenlyche bumeschte, 
Graythys hym to Golapas that greuyde moste. 

This may not, of course, by some be considered of essential 
importance, but it suffices to give a very distinctive characteristic 
colour to the Cambridge manuscript alongside of the others. 
It is, at any rate, not by any means the mark of Henryson or 
Dunbar in the form in which we have them. 

Along with this most prominent peculiarity one finds not for 
nocht, and shght variations in the syllables -ene, -eyn, etc. 

Its Differences 

More striking is the fact, as we shall see, that, when this manu- 
script differs in its readings from the rest, and especially from 
the Ruthven copy, and when these readings are compared with 
the Latin original, in nine cases out of ten it is found that it has 
the correct translation, often the very word ; and that it has 
observed the case, and even, sometimes, the nuance of an almost 
insignificant particle. In other matters of difEerence, where, say, 
in paraphrase or impletive passage, the Latin text is not the 
actual test except for interpretation, it secures the verdict of 
common sense. It seldom or never strays into unintelUgibiUty. 
And it has most frequently the support of the Elphynstoun copy, 
the nearest in date to itself. 

The Cambridge Manuscript, when it differs from the others, 
differs with a' finer rhythmic effect. Thus, where the Elphyn- 
stoun reads : 

And deip regioun of hell the behuvis se, 

Manuscripts and Readings 135 

the Cambridge reads the better 

And deip regioun of hell behuifs the se. 
Again, where others read : 

Na the owle resemblis the papmgay, 
we have in the Cambridge, 

Than the nicht owl resemblis the papjnagay. 
And 8uch a Une as 

Be thou my muse my leidar and leidsteme, 
is not 80 good as the Cambridge 

Thow be my muse, my gydar and leidsterne, 

which avoids the obvious weakness of the repeated syllable. 

Sometimes, however, Geddes slips, and the others overtake 
him to their advantage, as in such lines as 

I follow the text als neir as I mai, 
where he has 

I follow the text als neir I may, 

probably the result of simple omission. But he is more careful 
in matters of rhyme, where it would seem that a strange word 
trips the others, as when he has the good old Saxon nummyn 
which gives both rhyme and reason, while the rest have wunnyn 
to the detriment of the former. And in simple touches of 
style he stands higher. Thus where Elphynstoun reads frecklit 
spraiklis, Cambridge gives frecklit s'prutlis. These may not be 
to our ears to-day euphonious, but it is evident that the reading 
of Cambridge avoids the hard repetition of word forms here 
in a synonymous rendering. So also with dyrk as nycht, where 
Elphynstoun reads hlak as nycht, making thus a repetition of the 
word blak in immediate contiguity. He is also truer to fact, 
frequently, as with strange Enee, where the Elphynstoun has 
Strang Enee, though the latter may well have been a slip of the 
scribe in consequence of the collocation of the same letters, a 
common enough experience with ourselves, writing hastily. 

2. The Elphynstoun 

The Elphynstoun copy stands second in point of date and 
value, being almost, indeed, in touch with the Cambridge copy 

136 Manuscripts and Readings 

in regard to the former. It is in the University of Edinburgh, 
and is named after its transcriber, " M. Joannes Elphynstoun," 
who wrote his name on the last page of it. Three worthies of 
the name Elphynstoun appear in the Church story of the period. 
The first, Bishop Elphynstoun of Aberdeen, the founder of that 
city's University, was translated to the See of St Andrews 
vacant by the death of Alexander Stuart, but Elpyhnstoun 
having died a few months later, Douglas secured the presentation 
by the Queen, and so began the squabbles which finally led to 
his ruin. The second was John Elphynstoun, rector of Inner- 
nochty, whose son WiUiam, legitimated in 1554, was the 
third.^ I wonder whether the manuscript was copied in Strath- 
don by one who was doubly interested through the Angus 
connection of its author, and the very probable Northern strain 
of its first authentic scribe, and whether through that Northern 
touch it passed along to Turriff parsonage, and by way of Aber- 
deen to its present resting-place. In this connection it must not 
be forgotten that Douglas himself had in early life the teinds, at 
least, of Monymusk in Aberdeenshire ; and the North does not 
forget. Small used it as the text of his edition of the Mneid^ 
though he did not faithfully adhere to it throughout. It has 
neither a special title nor colophon, and it contains only the first 
twelve hues of the quaint rhymed Contents of Every Buik follotv- 
ing. It is an extremely neatly executed copy, caref idly and very 
legibly written. Its date is early, for " 1527 " is written on it, 
along with the name of its owner in that year, " Mr Wm. Hay, 
Person of Turrefi," in Aberdeenshire. He gifted this manuscript 
to " David Andersone, burgeis of Aberdene " in 1563. It was 
passed on to the University of Edinburgh in 1692 by Aikman of 
Caimie, who in his note of gift latinizes Dunkeld into " Castri 
Caledonii," according to the commonly accepted etymology, 
though at variance with usual custom. Its readings are in 
general agreement with those of the Cambridge Manuscript. Its 
system of spelling differs however in a marked degree, as we 

1 The Elpliinstone connection with Aberdeenshire became of note when the 
founder of the titled branch received the lands of Kildrummy from King 
James IV on his marriage. Another branch became " of Balmerino," and later 
" Lords Balmerino," till the catastrophe of 1745. The iStrathdon connection 
is clearly established. 


Manuscripts and Readings 137 

have shewn, from that copy, which makes it seem easier to read 
for the modern eye famihar with vernacular phrase. 


By a comparison of these two manuscripts we get what is 
nearest to Douglas's original. Where they essentially differ it 
seems to be for the most part on the ground of editorship, or 
occasionally in the way of eye error or clerical slip. For example, 
Elphynstoun had apparently commenced to transcribe Book 
I., but suddenly remembered and inserted the Contents of the 
Book after he had written the first Une of the translation, which 
he repeats when he gets to the translation itself. He seems to 
have endeavoured to make his copy as full as possible. For 
instance, in the body of his manuscript ^ he included the ex- 
planatory lines : 

Attrides beyn in Latyn clepit thus, 

Thir nevois reput of King Attryus. 

That in our langage ar the broder tway, 

King Agamemnon and Duke Menalay. 

These do not so occur in the others : but they appear as a 
note on the margin of tlie Lambeth copy. Of course this might 
indicate that between Geddes's copy and the date of Elphyn- 
stoun's a copy may have existed with this already done. If so, 
the spelhng system may have been altered before the text got 
into Elphynstoun's hands. But this is unlikely. At the same 
time the copy before Elphystomi may have had the note on the 
margin already. If so, his transcript was not made directly 
from Geddes's original. They are on the face of them expisca- 
tory and untextual, being found in the Comment which Douglas 
wrote on the margins of the Cambridge copy, where they are 
obviously intended to be a mere note, and not in any way to be 
taken as a part of the text, for he simply placed them where they 
a,re, as any other note there, without introduction. When he 
quotes from his text, in this Comment, he says so, as in that note 
on the relation of ^Eneas to the will of the gods, where he ex- 
plicitly states " considering quhat is said heirafoir in the ij cap 
of this prologue, that is, 

" Juno nor Venus goddes never wer," etc. 

1 After I. 7, 70. 

138 Manuscripts and Readings 

3. The Ruthven 

The third important copy is known as the Ruthven Manuscript, 
from the fact that it bears the signature of " W. Dns. Ruthven," 
who went to the block in 1584 as Earl of Gowrie. It also is in 
the University of Edinburgh, having been presented in 1643 " a 
magisterio candidatis." It is written in a large, full, and free 
hand, but seems to be not so carefully executed as the others 
mentioned, for it has several omissions, and its readings, when 
they differ from the Elphynstoun, differ also most frequently, 
and sometimes very markedly, from the Cambridge Manuscript, 
though on a rare occasion they agree with that copy, and more 
rarely still are nearer the Latin original. Ruddiman used this 
for the greater portion of his edition of 1710, and supported on 
its authority most of his amendments upon the readings of the 
old printed edition of the poet, though he has made some altera- 
tions of his own, with no authority. It has many readings which 
differ simultaneously from both the Cambridge and Elphyn- 
stoim standards, and some omissions, which are for the most part 
evidences of carelessness and haste, either on the part of its 
scribe or of the copy before him. Thus, the fine hne 

Schipmen and pilgrymmis hallowis thi mycht.^ 

This is an eye slip, as " the nycht " concludes the preceding 
Une. It has several similar errors, obviously both of eye and 
ear, from their nature leading one to conclude that it or its original 
was partly copied direct, and partly dictated. For example, 
where the Elphynstoun and Cambridge have braid syide, which 
is translation, the Ruthven has braid saill, which is not correct, 
but which finds explanation from the fact that the word saill 
occurs a few lines up the page. Again, where they have to the 
iverh on hie, he has volt, which is the repetition of a word on the 
same hne. He has also rutis for rokkis, the word ruite occurring 
only three hnes lower down : and hillis for holtis, the word 
occurring in the line above. The same reason makes his reading 
de'pe for dark. Such readings as 'plesand haris for the correct 
blaisand haris ; kynrik for kynrent ; send slepand for sound 

1 ProL iii. 6. 

Manuscripts and Readings 139 

sh'pand ; wyde for woyd ; happy for Harpy ; hatit for hutit ; fare 
for fey ; war inchasit for warrin chasit ; Aeit? for ^ei^ ; grisly 
for ^resy ; awne sylly cuntre for onsylly cuntre ; i^ey /w^e for 
they ff age ; fostaris for foresteres ; awe /ia6*r Jo^we for a hahirgeoun ; 
fellony for villany ; which have not originated in processes 
of translation, seem to be in reality errors from dictation. 

He also has reositure for reiosit of the ground ; inhabitacioun for 
inhibitioun ; beseik for chastise, and similar readings which are 
meaningless and not easily explained, except as arising from 
simple carelessness. 

Other readings seem to have arisen from an attempt to put 
words more easy of miderstanding or interpretative from the 
scribes point of view, sometimes in the place of others more 
difficult, or not local, as, lowis for lochis ; holtis for hills ; bentis 
for feildis ; ribbis for ruvis ; the samyn fa perchance for the samyn 
mischance ; mycMy for wechty ; growar for gevar ; grisly for 
bltidy ; snekkis for chekis ; slepery for sleipryfe ; craft of weiffing 
for craft of Mynerve ; lyghtnes for blythnes, etc. Many of these 
upset the rhythmic scheme, making Alexandrine lines ; and most 
of them are not in accord with the translation. Few of them 
shew any sign of reference having been made to Virgil's text, 
or to have had any real justification to plead for their 

A glance over the Appendixes A B and C will plentifully 
illustrate this. 

4. The Lambeth 

Two other well-known manuscripts are those designated the 
Lambeth and the Bath Manuscripts respectively, from the fact 
that the former is in the Library of the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury at Lambeth Palace, and the latter is in the Library of the 
Marquess of Bath. 

The Lambeth copy was written by " Joannes Mudy, with 
Maister Thomas Bellenden of Achinoull, Justice Clerk, and endit 
the 2nd February anno m V^XLV." ^ It evidently belonged 
to one " Edmund Ashefeyld " whose signature, with the date 
1596, is written on it. Its title runs, " Heir begynnys prolong 

^ t.e. 1646 new style. 

140 Manuscripts and Readings 

of Virgile Prince of Latin poetry, in Ms tuelf buke of Eneados 
compilit and translatit furth of Latin in our Scottis language," 
etc., and the colophon says, " Heir endis the Buik of Virgill," 
etc., without in either case mentioning the fact of a thirteenth 
by another hand, as though begun without first examining the 
volume. It contains on its margin the Atrides lines, with the 
first two of the Comment in their places of reference. How this 
Atrides note came here is not known. It either was not in the 
original from which Mudy copied, and if so it was added to his 
own copy from another containing it, being considered an 
omission, or it was in his original and omitted by accident, being 
restored to the margin by design. But it is most likely that the 
scribe lifted it from the Comment and set it as a rubric where it is. 
In any case Mudy or whoever wrote it there deemed it to belong 
to the poem as by right, though the other manuscripts which had 
the marks of undoubted authenticity upon them had apparently 
no knowledge of it as such. 

5. The Bath 

The Bath Manuscript, written by " Henry Aytoun, No tare 
publick " also gives the date on which it was " endit the twenty 
twa day of November the zeir of God M V fourty sevin zeiris." 
This copy, according to Small, had Urry's hand upon it when he 
collated it with the Black Letter Edition for Ruddiman. It 
contains the six lines regarding the character of iEneas already 
referred to on page 70, which appear in the Black Letter Edition 
and which Small incorporated in his edition, but which are 
lacking in the other manuscripts. As we have seen, Small does 
not make any explanation as to his having inserted them in what 
was ostensibly a reprint of the Elphynstoun Manuscript, and he 
does not mention them as being in this transcript. 

Black Letter Edition 

The Black Letter Edition of 1553 is sufficiently close to these 
in date to be of interest, and it is also interesting in itself. It is 
the earliest printed edition of the poem. The copy in the 
Library of Edinburgh University bears the inscription, " given 
to the College of Edinburgh by Mr William Drummond, 1628." 

Manuscripts and Readings 141 

The title-page has the same border as The Police of Honour, 
except that at the foot, where was " God save Quene Marye ", is 
only " Imprinted at London 1553." It has readings of its own, 
of a most miscellaneous kind, though many of them are of easily 
apparent origin. It was printed by Copland, and in respect of 
some of its variations it reflects his known characteristics of mind 
and belief, for his Press was very strongly anti-Popish in its bias. 
The second work which issued from it in 1548 was a translation 
of a book by Ulrich Zwingli, exposing " the blasphemies and 
errours " of the Mass. So we are not astonished to discover, 
first of all, that Douglas's appeals to the Virgin are modified and 
often rewritten by the printer-editor. This peculiarity has fitly 
given it the title of " The Protestant Edition." Thus, in the 
Prologues, you find the text altered as follows : 

Protestant Readings 

Throu prayer of thi moder, queyn of blys, 


Throu Christ thy sone, bring us to hewynly blys. 



On the I call, and Mary Vkgyn myld. 


On thee I cal, with humyl hart and milde. 



In Crista is all my traste, and hevynnys Queyn, 
Thou Virgyne modir and madyne be my muse. 


In Christ I trest, borne of the virgine quene, 
Thou salvuiour of mankind, be mye muse. 



For the sweit liqour of thi pappis quhite 
Fosterit that prynce, that hevynly Orpheus, 
Grond of all gude, our Saluyour Jhesus. 


1 Prol. I. 456 (Small, 461). * lb. 458 (Small, 464). 

"" lb. 461 (SmaU, 467). * lb. 467 (Small, 473). 

142 Manuscripts and Readings 

For thy excelland mercy and love perfite, 
Thou holy gost, confort and sanctifye 
My spreit to ende this wark to thy glory. 


Helpe me, Mary, for certis vail que vaUze 
War at Pluto, I sal hym hunt of sty. 


Help me, Christ, sone of the Vyrgyne Mary, 
To end this wark to thy lad and glorye. 



ay the moder of grace in mynd enprent. 


aye unto his wourd thy mind be bent. 


He also apparently thought that Douglas's language sometimes 
required toning down ; and, with reference to English and 
French people's feelings also, some modification to avoid 
ofience : thus : 


(a) Thocht Wilzame Caxtoun of Inglis natioun, 
In proys hes prent ane buke of Inglis gros. 


(b) Thocht William Caxtoun, had no compatioun 
Of Virgin in that buk, he preyt in prois. 

Black Letter. 


(a) Durst nevir tuiche 

A twenty deviU way fall hys wark atanys, 
Quhilk is na mair lyke Virgill, dar I lay, 
Na the nycht owle resemblis the papyngay. 


(b) Durst nevir twiche this vark for laike of knalage 
Becaus he onderstude not Virgils langage. 

His buk is na mare liker VirgU, dar I say. 

Black Letter. 


(a) Quhilk vndir cullour of sum strange Franch wjcht. 

Sum strange wycht. 

Black Letter. 

1 Prol. vi. 167. * ProL xi. 112. ' ProL i. 138. 

* Prol. i. 259. • lb. 269. 

Manuscripts and Readings 143 


(a) For me lyst uith nane Inglis bukis flyte. 


(b) For me list with no mau nor buikis flyte. 

Black Letter. 

He also omits passages, such as lines 65 to 130, in cap. 4, Book IV. ; 
and lines 49 to 54, in cap. 6, Book V. 


He gives readings like handand for hydand ; soiierane nou for 
souerane nun, which, considering his tendency, may be on pur- 
pose, for appetit of meit he gives appetit of men — ^in this case 
quite as true a rendering as the other, so far as the original is 
concerned. EQs quhen stane for queme stane is a shot at inter- 
pretation or correction, and is, though an error, yet understand- 
able, when we think that " whin-stane " is still well-known, 
while queme, less famihar always, describes the stone from the 
fact that it means close-fitting. He multiplies such misprints as 
of sen for of fen ; honorit for hornyt, which may be a deUberate 
alteration ; eik for reik ; na time for na thing ; than thryis for 
than twise ; figurate for su^gurat, which may well be no printer's 
mistake but interpretative, as meaning metaphorical or ornate. 
And he changes Beaw Schirris to gud readers. There is no question 
also of the origin of such readings as we ken for ye ken ; quhilk 
for quhill ; moist for mot ; bene for kene ; mene for wene ; windis 
for wyngis ; Dame Phebus for Daii Phebus and a host of others. 
And yet sometimes he curiously touches a better translation than 
the manuscripts. 

An examination of the appendixes will drive us to the con- 
clusion that the work of this edition passed through several hands 
in the printing of it. In some of the readings method is clearly 
shown. They are not all the product of religious bias, or of 
haphazard, at the mercy of an ignorant typesetter. Some arise 
undoubtedly from a direct knowledge of the Latin text, as 
strekit in stretis for stickit in stretis ; and first for and fast ; hedis 
thre for bodeis thre. Some arise from interpretations of a Scottish 
word, as few saland for quhoyn salaris = rari nantes ; grant schir 

» Prol. I. 272. 

144 Manuscripts and Readings 

for gudschir ; utheris for wychtis, and the like. Some arise 
also from an attempt to correct the thought or style, as culhur 
for f,gur ; fosterit for 'pasturit. Many, however, spring from 
pure ignorance, as when Mont Helicone becomes mouth of Elicone 
because the poet invokes the gods to open it ; while Numycus 
becomes Munitus ; Tibyr becomes Of Tyher ; and Sirtis 
becomes Certes ; arising in many cases from an attempt to make 
a guess at the manuscript reading. It would seem, indeed, as 
though the copy before the printer must have been poor and 

This edition contains, as already shewn, the six lines re- 
garding iEneas which are not in any of the manuscripts, except 
the Bath, but inserted there most probably from a marginal 
note, and it incorporates the verses from the Comment previously 
referred to. The inner history of this edition would be a most 
interesting study. The editor supplied rubrics, often of a most 
quaint character, which are preserved in Ruddiman's and 
Small's editions. These are still worth reading, like the chapter 
headings which the early translators of Scripture prefixed to 
the sections of their work. 

Unique Feature of C. E. and R. MSS. 

The most remarkable thing, however, in connection with the 
copies, is that the three earliest manuscripts mentioned take the 
first sixteen Unes of Book VI. as the closing lines of Book V. ; 
chapter I. of Book VII. as the concluding chapter of Book VI. : 
and the first forty lines of Book VIII. as the closing fines of 
Book VII. The Lambeth Manuscript agrees in this only in 
regard to Book VII. ; while the Bath Manuscript, the Black 
Letter Edition, and Ruddiman's edition follow the divisions of 
the traditional Latin text. Small deals somewhat remarkably 
with these variations. He does not print them in his edition, 
but he draws attention to two of them, namely, the conclusion of 
Books V. and VI. But the note is misleading, as though it were 
only in the Cambridge Manuscript that these peculiarities occur, 
whereas they are also in the Elphynstoun Manuscript, of which 
he says his edition is a reprint, but to which he does not adhere. 
Everybody knows, of course, on the authority of Servius, that 

Manuscripts and Readings 145 

Virgil had concluded Book V. with the two hnes with which the 
existing Latin text of Book VI. begins ; and that Tucca and 
Varius removed these to their present position. But no Latin 
text, manuscript or printed, so far as known, is in agreement with 
this arrangement of Douglas's translation. I have searched and 
enquired everywhere, and cannot find one ; and Sir Frederick 
Arthur Hirtzel, editor of the Oxford Virgil, and Professor Clark 
of Oxford, inform me that they have no knowledge of any, with 
these arrangements. One is inchned to wonder whether we are 
not here in the presence of a bit of textual criticism on the part 
of Douglas, who may have considered that the unity of the Books 
was helped by such an act. This might be said of the beginning 
of Book VII., which, in its first four lines at any rate, is sufficiently 
closely connected with the two Unes that conclude Book VI. to 
prompt an alteration, in hands sufficiently bold. So also of 
Chapter I. of Book VIII. in relation to Book VII. It looks hke 
an intentional Uberty ; and it is a poet's alteration. That it is 
dehberate seems proved by the fact of the Prologues having been 
put in between the Books. The only other explanation would 
be that the scribe had copied all the translation before he in- 
serted the Prologues, or that Douglas himself had done so, and 
that confusion had arisen among the sheets. But this does not 
appeal, as the headings of the chapters are dehberate, and both 
Douglas and Geddes may of course be taken as having known 
the original, a supposition confirmed by the quahties of the manu- 
script itself. Conrad's theory ^ that Virgil did not write the 
Mneid in the order of Books in which he finally left them, a 
theory with which Ribbeck and Nettleship agree, does not help 
us, as it is based on internal discrepancies, such as those between 
the accounts of the death of PaUnurus in the Fifth and Sixth 
Books, and not on such difEerences of arrangement as those 
referred to in Douglas. It would be of great value in fixing the 
Latin text used by Douglas if an edition or Codex with these 
pecuharities could be discovered ; and it would be the only clue, 
as the readings of the manuscripts do not in reahty point to the 
employment of any but the generally received text of the Latin 

* QuestioTiea Virgiliance, Treves, 1863. 

146 Manuscripts and Readings 

From what has gone before, it would seem that Elphynstoun 

(a) had in his hand Geddes's work containing the terminal 
readings of Books V., VI., and VII. ; and he incorporated in the 
body of it the note in verse regarding the Airides, from the 
Comment in the margin of the Cambridge Manuscript, or 

(b) he made his copy from one which, like the Lambeth Manu- 
script, had the note on the margin, at its place of reference, 
whence he transferred it to the text, misunderstanding its in- 
tention, or never having seen Geddes's original with the Comment 
upon it. 

The fact that this Comment is not in the Elphjmstoun version, 
while the note is, may, of course, shew that the writer transcribed 
from an already modified original, and not directly from Geddes's. 
His readings might be taken as corroborating this, being so 
generally in agreement with Geddes that they point to an early 
transcription, very near to Geddes's. This last seems the most 
probable event, and, if so, it was a version in which the scribe 
had adapted Geddes's spelling to that of his own dialect, or that 
of the district in which he lived, unless Elphynstoun carried this 
out himself as he went along. 

The scribe of the Lambeth Manuscript, or some other who 
handled it, had seen the Atrides note also,^ not in the Elphyn- 
stoun transcription, which was not his original, but in the 
Comment, in the Geddes book, or a copy of it, and he put it in 
the margin, as explanatory of the reference which it was intended 
to clarify. There is proof that such a copy was in the hands of 
the Lambeth scribe, for, as we have seen, he had begun to write 
out the Comment from it, and got so far as the first two notes in 
it, which he set in their proper place, on the margin of his own. 
He corrected the terminations of Books V. and VI,, but whether 
on his own initiative or from an already modified copy, it is 
difficult to decide, as the manuscript has its own share of verbal 
differences, like on ye sey sand, for on the sand, and costis syde 
for schoris syde. The Bath Manuscript, on the other hand, has 
either been copied from an original which had the terminational 
peculiarities corrected, or its scribe did this for himself. Con- 

1 Cf. p. 137. 

Manuscripts and Readings 147 

sidering its later date the former alternatives seems the more 
probable. Its scribe had also seen the six lines regarding 
Mne&s in the First Prologue, but where cannot now be told. 
He however incorporated it in his copy. 

I have examined something like eight himdred readings in 
this connection, and I think the following conclusions are in- 
evitable : 

(a) The Cambridge Manuscript's readings almost invariably, 
with rare exceptions, are in agreement with the Virgilian text, 
and with common sense. It bears the stamp of authenticity 
upon it, in verity and style. If the words " correck copy " 
might imply that it is a revise, it is a revise from an original 
which had been written with an eye strictly on the Virgihan 
text, so far as general verbal accuracy is concerned, and it has 
the first-hand mark of Douglas's approval upon it. 

(6) The Elphynstomi Manuscript, though differing from the 
Cambridge in simple matters of spelUng, agrees most closely in 
reading. Where the differences are irreconcilable they seem to 
arise mainly from slips of the scribe, or attempts at correction. 
If it is a revise, it followed a source which had accepted Geddes's 
manuscript as a norm so far as the text stands. 

(c) The Ruthven verbal differences are, on the whole, of httle 
textual account, although in regard to form it follows its 

(d) The Lambeth and Bath readings seem to have the personal 
marks of correction or improvement modifications natural to 
later copies, being of no special value as guides to sources. 

(e) Next to them are the Black Letter readings, of less value, 
and Ruddiman's follows this edition, for the most part. 

(/) None of the various readings seem to arise from the use 
of different Latin texts, though occasionally Douglas would seem 
to touch a Latin reading which varies from the traditional form, 
but closer examination shews the difference to arise from his 
method of paraphrase or exphcation. 

There is no doubt, therefore, that several copies of the poem 
were in simultaneous circulation, rimning the usual risks of 
manuscripts in such circumstances, some of which had the 
jEneas fines, and some probably the Atrides note, but none with 

148 Manuscripts and Readings 

both of these together ; and that fact explains the source 
of the greater number of verbal variations, as well as the gradual 
correction of the form of the three Books already referred to . 

In the appendixes I have shewn the bases of these propositions 
fully, dividing the readings of the three great manuscripts and 
the Black Letter into 

(a) Those which can be settled from the Latin original. 
(6) Those which can only be settled by considerations of 
common sense, having arisen from errors of the scribes, 
in circumstances which afford no VirgiUan verbal original, 
except on the ground of interpretation, 
(c) Those which can be settled by considerations of rhythm, 
ordinary grammar, and intelligence. 

Where the Cambridge and Elphynstoun Manuscripts are quoted 
in combination in these, it signifies that the readings are actually 
the same except with regard to spelUng. In this respect on these 
occasions the Cambridge spelling is followed. 



The language of Douglas's Mneid is basically, of course, that of 
his period, known as Middle Scots. 

The early affinity between the AngUc speech of the North of 
the Tweed and that which stretched to the Humber is well 
known. Even later, allowing for inevitable accretions, mutations, 
and verbal invasions, such as develop provincial dialectic 
pecuharities, the anatomy of that speech remained unchanged. 
Barbour's Brus, written out first in the fourteenth century, has 
no quarrel in the matter of language with the work of Richard 
Rolle of Hampole, near Doncaster. One has only to look at 
this example to be assured — 

Than es our birthe here bygynnyng 
Of the dede that es our endyng : 
For ay the mare that we wax aide 
The mare our lif may be ded talde. 
Tharfor whylles we er here lyffand 
Ilk day er we thos dyhand.^ 

In this connection one must, of course, remember that the only 
manuscripts extant, of date 1487 and 1489 respectively, may 
not have been exact copies of Barbour's original; but it happens 
that Andrew of Wyntoun, about fifty years earher, quoted some 
two hundred and eighty lines of the poem, and these support 
the authenticity of the existing copies. Sir J. A, H. Murray 
and Professor Skeat drew attention to the uniformity of the 
Anghc dialect which stretched along the eastern coast from the 
Humber to the Dee ; but this is perhaps rather a wide statement 
if appHed to other than the literary dialect. The Aberdonian 
and Forfarshire speech in its purity, probably fell always as 
alien upon Lothian ears as it does to-day. Trevisa wrote in 1387, 

' Hampole. P. of C, p. 58. 

150 Language and Influences 

in regard to Northumbrian, " We Southerners can scarcely 
understand that spesch." That, of course, may have been true, 
then, of all Southerners, and would be true enough to-day also ; 
but, at the same time, we must remember that Trevisa was a 
Cornishman, though a scholar of Oxford, and his native district 
spoke, in his time, a language not English but Celtic. And such 
English as it did speak it spoke with a Celtic tongue. He should 
not, therefore, be taken in regard to Anglic dialects as a witness 
on the same level as one from a purely English territory. 

'' ScoUisr' 

When Scotland emerged from its continuous struggle with 
England, and her writers in the Lowlands had taken the name 
Scottish as describing the language in which they wrote, certain 
Anglo-French elements were absorbed into the mass of the 
Teutonic Scots language, or dialect, of the Lothians ; and the 
literary resultant was intimately cognate with the literary English 
of the fifteenth century. But, from the latter half of that century 
onwards, a clearly discernible change took place on the Scottish 
literary medium. Its WTiters, adopting certain forms, largely 
from Chaucer and his school, created a web of language, purely 
of the pen. It was a book diction, drawn from various scources, 
searched out and grouped according to a clearly marked scheme. 
Old words were recovered, refurbished, and re-set in the written 
page : while new elements were amply called into active use 
from the store-houses of Latin and French literatures. 

The Kingis Quair and Lancelot of the Laik, which are the earliest 
witnesses of the Anglo-French element in Scots poetry, illustrate 
the changes involved, in matters of grammar as well as of vocabu- 
lary, overflowing into the diction of Douglas. The popular idea 
of the direct weight and mass of French in Middle Scots is, 
however, greatly exaggerated ; the influence of Chaucer and legal 
and Court usages accounting for much. 

Douglas's Statement ^ 

Douglas makes a clear statement of his necessity for drawing 
upon other sources than that to which, at the beginning of his 
labour, he had intended to adhere. 

Language and Influences 151 

kepaud na sudron bot my awyn langage 
... as I lemyt quhen I was page . . . 
Nor zit sa cleyn all sudron I refus 
Bot sum word I pronunce as nychtbouris doys 
Lyke as in Latyn beyn Grew termys sum, 
So me behufyt quhilum, or than be dum. 
Sum bastard Latyn, Franch, or Inglys oys 
Quhan scant was Scottis, I had nana other choys.^ 

The same reason is found elsewhere — for example in The Com- 
'playnt of Scotlande,^ — namely, the uncopiousness of the Scottish 
tongue in rich literary phrase, at least in the opinion of the 
writing scholar of the period. The idea was, in fact, quite common 
in other lands, in regard to the use of the vernacular, and led them 
into experiment to produce what is called on Henryson's title- 
page " eloquent and ornate Scottis meeter." 

Difficulties of Literary Lmujuage — Chaucer^s Influence 

The same question of the hterary language which was troubUng 
Douglas in the sixteenth century had given trouble to the EngUsh 
writers of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the 
fifteenth. It was a time of much recasting of literary material, 
lemodeHing of old work, and imitation of ancient forms. It 
meant a struggle between the drag of archaisms and the modifi- 
cation of existing diction, a contest between Old and New French 
and the growth of EngUsh forms ; and it was Chaucer's achieve- 
ment in this matter that won for his works that poetic acknow- 
ledgment of their position as " the well of English undefiled," 
from which his successors drew copiously. His influence on the 
poets of the Scottish Golden Age was manifold and manifest. 
To Douglas he is " the fount of rhetoric." This was, of course, 
the fashion of epithet as regards Chaucer, and poets were apt 
to echo the chime of their predecessors' praises, Douglas in this 
falUng into step with those who were before him. James the 
First, in The Kingis Quair, with Henryson and Dunbar, had 
openly acknowledged their discipleship of the great English poet. 
They studied his work as the handbook of the secrets of their art. 
And one can easily discern how they absorbed his methods, and 
benefited by their assiduous analysis of his craft. They warmed 
themselves at his fire. They lit their candles at his flame. They 
> Prol. I. 101. « 1548. Prologue to the Redar, foL 14 b. 

152 Language and Influences 

fed from his table. To them all, he was the source of very much 
of the glamour that shone within and above their work. And 
they never failed to record their gratitude and admiration. 

Verstegen's Challenge — Skinner's Protest — Ward — Trevisa 

This unmitigated praise was not, however, permitted to go on 
\mchallenged. Richard Verstegen * was probably the first who 
disagreed on this topic, telhng how Chaucer, " writing his poesies 
in English, is of some called the first illuminator of the Enghsh 
tongue. Of their opinion I am not, though I reverence Chaucer 
as an excellent Poet for his time. He was, indeed, a great 
mingler of English with French, into which language (by like 
for that he was descended of French, or rather Walloon race) 
he carried a great afiection." Skinner ^ also says : " Chaucerus 
pessimo exemplo, integris vocum plaustris ex eadem GaUia in 
nostram hnguam invectis, earn, nimis antea a Normannorum 
victoria adulteratam, omni fere nativa gratia et nitore spolia\dt." 
Here the schoolmaster speaks. But the poets retained their 
opinion. And, in fact, the charge was just only in parts. For, 
as Ward shows, Chaucer grew up among the last generation in 
England that used French as an official tongue. It was in 1363, 
when Chaucer was just entering manhood, that the Session of the 
House of Commons was first opened with an EngHsh speech. 
Enghsh lads in his time learned their Latin through French, for 
English of the people was not yet in the schools of England. It 
is easy, therefore, to discern how the influence of this Anglo-French 
remained in the hterary dialect of the country. The change 
was coming, however. Trevisa tells us how " John Cornwaile, a 
maistre of grammar, chaungide the lore in grammar scole and 
construction of Frensch into Enghsch, and Richard Pencriche 
lemed that maner teching of him, and other men of Pencriche. 
So that now, the yere of oure Lord a thousand three hundred 
foure score and fyve, of the secunde king Rychard after the 
conquest nyne, in alle the gramer scoles of Englond children leveth 
Frensch and construeth and lerneth in Enghsch." 

1 Died circa 1635. Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Aniiquitiea, obsp. vii. 
Antwerp, 1605. London, 1653, 1674. 
* Prcef. Etymologicon Linguce Anglicance. 

Language and Influences 153 

Dryden — Cheke — Puttenham 

The discussion of linguistic importations had a long life. Thus 
Dryden,^ under similar charges, says, in defence of the method 
adopted by himself, " If sounding words are not of our growth 
and manufacture, who shall hinder me to import them from a 
foreign nation ? . . . I trade both with the living and the dead 
for the enrichment of our native language." But he sees clearly 
the necessary hmitations within which this method moves : 
^' Upon the whole matter a poet must first be certain that the 
word he would introduce is beautiful in the Latin, and is to con- 
sider, in the next place, whether it will agree with the EngUsh 
idiom . . . for, if too many foreign words are poured in upon us, 
it looks as if they were designed not to assist the natives, but to 
conquer them." And he sums up the defence against the 
allegation that he had latinized too much, by saying, " What I 
want at home, I must seek abroad." Nevertheless in this respect 
Cheke ^ had already given a warning opinion in plain terms, " Our 
own tung should be written clean and pure, unmixt and un- 
mangeled with borrowing of other tunges, wherein if we take not 
heed, by tym ever borrowing and never payeng she shall be fain 
to keep her house as bankrupt." And again : " borrowing if 
need be, should be done with bashfulness." Yet frequently, of 
course, these critics failed in vision, and were deficient in know- 
ledge of the secrets of linguistic enrichment, Puttenham, for 
instance, objecting even to words Hke audacious, fecundity, and 
compatible,^ which the assent of Time has set in honoured place. 

VirgiVs Grcecisms — Douglas's Coinage 

The same charge in regard to language was in some degree 
made against Virgil himself, who introduced into Latin all that 
it could carry of the subtlety and flexibiUty of the Greek. And 
undoubtedly this modification of words and alteration of the 
structure of sentences, while it, of course, appealed very strongly 
to the literary classes of his time as an enrichment, tended to 
<X)rrupt the pure current of native speech. The very titles of 

1 Dedication to JSneis. 1697. ^ 1514-1.557. 

» Tht Arte of English Poesie (1589). Aiber's ed., p. 259. 

154 Language and Influences 

his books, BucoUca, Georgica, Mneis, were importations, while 
he brought in such words as dius, dcedala, trieterica ; foreign and 
barbaric names ; and new creations like mulciber, turicremus, 
silvicola, nubigena. For this he was attacked by Bavius and 
Maevius, Cornificius, and others, whom he answered, according 
to Servius and Suetonius. Posterity, however, has of course 
given the final reply. On the other hand, most of Douglas's 
new words never touched the stream of Scottish diction. His 
coinage never passed into active circulation. It was kept in his 
own page, as in an enclosed cabinet of curios — souvenir of his 
own learning, but not enriching the life or utterance of others. 
Rossetti 1 says very truly, " A translation does not suffer from 
such offences of dialect as may exist in its original." Neverthe- 
less, it may suffer severely from its own. 

Latin in Scotland 

It must be remembered that the scholastic language of Scot- 
land was Latin, and it was spoken by the boys in the grammar 
schools and their precincts. 

The Scottish Education Act of 1496 provided that barons and 
freeholders were to send their eldest sons to school from eight 
to nine years old, and they were to remain there till they had 
acquired " perfyte Latyn." - The influence of this is seen in 
Ninian Winzet's remark, " Gif ze throw curiositie of novationis 
hes forget our auld plane Scottis quhilk zour mothir lerit zou, 
in times cuming I sail wryte to zou my mynd in Latin : for I am 
nocht acquynt with zour Southeron." ^ In the eighteenth 
century, as in Iceland till quite recently, travellers in the High- 
lands of Scotland found the influence of the classical tradition 
helpful in communicating with those they met who did not suffi- 
ciently know English to converse in it.* Professors lectured 
in Latin, till Hutchison of Glasgow in 1727 broke away from 
the convention. Indeed, when Dr Cullen of Edinburgh began 

^ Note on Jacopo da Lentino : Early Italian Poets. 

* Acts of Parliament, ii. 238. Yet Major writes : Liberos suos principes viri 
in Uteris et moribus non educant, in reipublic£e non parvam jierniciem. — De Oest. 
Scot, f. XV. b. 

' Buke of four-scoir-thre Questions, etc. Antwerp, 1563. 

* Stew^art's Sketches of the Highlanders ; Bos well's Toiir in the Hebrides ; 
Dufferin's Letters from High Latitudes. 

Language and Influences 155 

) to lecture on medicine, in English, though he retained Latin for 
his Botany class, it was asserted that he was not sufficiently 
erudite in the classical medium. A survival of old custom till 
our own day was seen in the fact that the theological students 
of the Church of Scotland had, amongst their prescribed exercises, 
to compose a Latin exegesis on a given subject or text. In the 
sixteenth century Latin was not only esteemed as the language 
of scholarship but most scholars were convinced that if one 
wished to have an assured vitality for his work it must be written 
in that tongue.^ This conviction was nowhere stronger than in 
the mind of George Buchanan. Sturm and Buchanan believed 
that Latin was destined finally to supersede all the vernacular 
languages of Europe. Bishop Gardiner recommended Latin or 
Greek as the writer's medium, because their forms were fixed, 
while for two centuries English had been in a state of flux. As 
early as 1534, however, Elyot, in England, wrote, " If physicians 
be angry that I have written physicke in English let them re- 
member that the Grekes wrote in Greke, the Romains in Latin." ^ 
Yet in 1561 Hoby, who himself had done work in the vernacular 
out of the classical tongues, stood on one foot of opinion, remark- 
ing that the consensus of the most learned seemed to be that " to 
have the sciences in the mother tongue hurteth memorie and 
hindereth learning." Ascham, however, held that " good writing 
involved the speech of the common people." Nevertheless, as we 
have seen, the older habit continued. 

It is not at all wonderful, therefore, that the Scot, who, at 
school and college was as familiar with Latin as with his own 
tongue — a famiUarity deepened by the use of Latin as the 
universal medium of commmiion among the learned of his time 
— should quite naturally and even with preference, turn to that 
language for supplement of his literary expression. It would 
have been wonderful otherwise, for a man's mind and tongue 
may even acquire ahenation from his native phrase, as many of 
us know. Irenaeus, in his work on heresies, apologizes for his 
" rustiness " in Greek, with the plea that he has so long been 
using the Celtic tongue, in the Churches of Lyons and Vienne, 

J Hume Brown, Buchanan, p. 296, 1890. Vide Dditice Poetarum Scoiorum. 
Amsterdam, 1637. 

» Elyot, Castie of Health. 1534. Cf. Don Quixote, Pt. II. cap. 17. 

156 Language and Influences 

under liis care. Jolin of Ireland pleaded, as an excuse for his 
style, the fact of his having been educated at Paris, and having 
lost fluency in his own language, so that he had to look, for help 
for his writing, to that with which he had grown more f amiUar, 
" that is Latin." ^ " Thretty zeris nurist in fraunce, and in the 
noble study of Paris in Latin toung, and knew nocht the gret 
eloquens of chauceir na colouris that men usis in this Inglis 
meter." So also John Craig the Reformer, on his return to 
Scotland, had for a while to resort to Latin in the Magdalene 
Chapel, Edinburgh, for his addresses and sermons, until be 
recovered his ease in his native dialect.^ This is within the 
experience of every biUnguist. And a Churchman, who had 
steeped his ears in Latin could not easily shake off the habit of 
classical form in his speech and writing. 

Douglas's Source 

It is not difficult, then, to know where Douglas got his Latin 
forms in his translation. He had, first of all, the influence of 
the very book he was translating, the whole phrase of it ringing 
through his mind and heart. And he had, besides, the influence 
of the Scottish educational system, already referred to, by 
means of which, sometimes, the Latin language was as ready to 
his tongue and pen as his own, so that the Latin forms became 
naturahzed to his expression. Douglas, in such uses as preferris 
for excels, pretendis for arrives at, shews that Latin v/as his most 
direct influence. In this he was not alone, for the Scot, in writing, 
often makes confession that Latin is " the toung he knawis best." 
In fact, he must frequently have had to evade a Latin term, and 
consciously seek for a native one in his work. But Uke all our 
greatest poets, he gleaned from the wealth of every field he knew, 
so that he might supplement his vernacular and enrich it for the 
worthier clothing of the noble thought of his original. He was 
dehberately rhetorical and " aureate," seeking for dignity, orna- 
ment, and sententious weight, and just as antiquarian as Spenser 
in his eclecticism. 

Though the Scottish Court poets were, of course, in directest 

I 1490. MS., 18. 2, 8. Advoc. Ldb. Edin., fol. 357 b. 
' Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh, ii. 265. 

Language and Influences 157 

contact with France, yet Douglas's slighting reference to the 
French in his first Prologue and his noted Enghsh leanings shew 
how his inchnations ran. The French that would affect him 
most would be the French of the Romances, and the Chaucerian 
example. The period of his residence in France would have less 
influence than at first sight would seem, for there his association 
would be with scholars rather than courtiers, and Latin was the 
lingua franca of the educated men of his day.i 

Greek had practically no influence on Douglas's Ufe or work, 
even although he says that his patron has suggested that he 
should turn his attention to the supreme poet of that language. 
In fact, Greek was a rare grace for his time. Even Petrarch, the 
prime influence of the Renaissance, though he had been taught 
some Greek by Barlaam, who visited Avignon in 1339 regarding 
the contemplated union of the Greek and Latin churches, and 
though he possessed a manuscript of Homer, and of some 
portions of Plato, yet had to depend upon a Latin gloss by 
Boccaccio, of 1361 ; and himself declared that Homer was dumb 
to him, and he deaf to Homer. In England, although occasional 
scholars had alome acquaintance with it, Greek was not really 
known and seriously studied until after the Fall of Constantinople 
and the dispersal of the scholars, when Greek chairs were founded 
in various centres of learning in Europe. We find references to 
Greek scholars such as Adam Eston, a Benedictine, of Norwich, 
who died at Rome in 1397 ; John Bate, a CarmeUte, of York, in 
1429 ; FlemmjTig, of Lincoln, in 1450 ; and John Tilly or de 
Sellynge, of All Souls, Oxford, who studied the language in Italy^ 
bringing back with him MSS. for the library of his monastery of 
Christ Church, Canterbury.^ 

In England, even by 1520, as we see from a manuscript Ust 
of the books sold by John Dome, bookseller in Oxford,^ Uttle 
Greek was read. That year he sold 2383 books. Of nine of 
Aristophanes, amongst these, only one was in Greek ; and of the 

* Vide Ruddiman's EpistolcB Regum Scotorum for examples of Scots Latinity. 
It was in September 1513 that Louis XII issued Letters of Naturalization to 
every Scotsman in France. Memoirs of Alliance between France and Scotland, 
p. 53. 

'^ Vide Leland, De Rebiis Britannicis, ii 406, Or. 1715. Tanner, Bibliotheea 
Britannico-Hibernica, 1748. 

' Library Corp. Christi, Oxon. 

^^^ Language and Influences 

same number of Lucian, only one also. In Latin there were 
breviaries, missals, grammars and lexicons, with certain works 
of Cicero, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, etc. Cicero and Terence head 
the list with thirty-seven ; but Aristotle is next with thirty. 

It was only from about 1560, through the influence of John 
Row at Perth, that the knowledge of the Greek tongue spread 
m Scotland. Hence the arrest of Douglas on the threshold of 

Douglas felt that he was doing a patriotic work,— something 
for Scotland's sake. And yet the fact remains that he is the first 
Scottish poet who was not finally Scottish, and whose work 
became extra-national in its influence and significance. He was 
the first Scot to be spoken of across the Border as a classic writer 
in an Anglic dialect. 

He is also the first non-Gaehc writer in Scotland who regularly 
calls the language of the nation the " Scottish tongue." i Yet 
Don Pedro de Ayala, Spanish emissary to the Court of James IV, 
in a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella, of date 25th July 1498, wrote 
of the King : " His own Scottish language is as different from 
English as Aragonese is from Castilian. The King speaks besides 
the language of the savages who dwell in some parts of Scotland 
and in the isles." Until the fifteenth century the tongue of the 
native people of the ancient kingdom was styled, in Latin, Lingua 
Scohca, meaning the Gaelic language. Reginald of Durham 
speaks of the people of Kirkcudbright as using the sermo 
Pictomm.^ Yet at the Battle of the Standard the Gallowaymen's 
war-cry was Alhan.^ Fordoun in his Scotichronicon mentions 
that m Scotland there are two tongues, namely, "Scoticavidehcet 
et Teutomca : cuivs linguae gens maritimas possidet et planas 
regiones: hnguae vero gens Scoticae montanas inhabitat, et 
msulas ulteriores." ^ Wyntoun also dehberately makes a state- 
ment as to the language he thinks he is writing : 
Aliswa set I myne intent 
My wyt, my wyU, and myne talent. 

lby-l/i>. Ct. Mill Uuiton s erroneous statement • Hist i '^06 
2 Twelfth century Reg. Dun. Libellus, c. Ixxxiv. "' ' "" * 
^ Vide Henry of Huntingdon: Hist. Angl., p 253 
Scotichronicon, bk. i. 1. 9. Cf. Ray's Rebellion, 1754 p 361 

Language and Influences 159 

Fra that I sene had stories sere. 
In cronnyklys quhare thai wryttyne were 
Thare matere in tyl fowrme to drawe 
Off Latyne in tyl Ynglis sawe.* 

It is interesting in this connection to observe liow Wyntoun 
identifies Gaelic and Basque as belonging to the Celtic stock, and 
explains that, the latter having been left behind in Spain, ^ 

Scottis thai spek hallely. 

The Gaelic of Scotland was not spoken of as " Irish " or 

" Erse " until the fifteenth century. Barbour, Dunbar, Bhnd 

Harry, and Fordoun shew abundantly that they take the true 

Scottish vernacular to be the Gaelic tongue. Thus, Barbour 

writes : 

This was the spek he maid, perfay, 
And is in Inglis toung to say , . .^ 

Bhnd Harry, speaking of Longueville, the Frenchman, re- 
marks : 

Lykely he was, manUk of countenance, 
Lyke to the Scottis be mekill governance, 
Saiff of his toung, for Ingliss had he nane.* 

Dunbar, referring to Chaucer, styles him 

Of our IngUsch all the lycht.* 

Even in the famous, or infamous, Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy, 
where he tries to whip up the ire of the Western poet, — which 
he succeeds in doing, more than fairly well, — by casting his 
Irishry in his teeth, he falls back, almost imwittingly into the 
truth again. Kennedy had retorted : 

Thow luvis nane Erische, elf, I understand, 
Bot it sowld be aU trew Scottismennis leid.' 

And Dunbar, with characteristic coarseness, answers how 

ane pair of Lowthiane hippis 
SaU fairer LigUs mak and mair parfyte 
Than thow can blabbar with thy Carrik lippis.'' 

Even at the close of the fifteenth century, Scots was spoken 
of by writers of Lothian birtb as the language of " broken men," 
savage and uncultured. Yet those writers were, in their own 

' Qronykyl. ^ Cf. Henry of Huntingdon, 15. ^ Bk. iv. 252. 

* Henry's Wallace, ix. 295. ^ Goldin Targe, 259. 

« Flyting, 105. ' 1^- 246. 

l60 Language and Influences 

eyes, Scotsmen, though proud of their " Ynglis " tongue. The^ 
Flyting of Kennedy and Dunbar shews most forcibly the geo-j 
logical fissure between the East and West. I 

As late as 1682, Christopher Irvine in his Historiw Scoticm 
Nomeficlatura says, " Indeed the Scoti Albini are oft-times 
stiled Hibemi," and " Scoti Hihernenses et Scoti lerni are really 
to be interpreted of our Highlanders and Red-shanks, and not 
of the Irish, except in mistake." 

Dr Farmer, in a footnote in his famous Essay quoting Douglas, 
says, " It is very remarkable that the Bishop is called by his 
countryman Sir David Lindsey, in his Complaint of our Souerane 
Lordis Papingo, — ' In our Inglische rethorick the rose.' And 
Dunbar hath a similar expression in his beautiful poem The 
Goldin Terge."' Of course this only shews that, with all his 
wealth of reading, there were some things Dr Farmer did not 
know ; and this was one of them, — ^that, while the name of the 
people was the Scots, their Lowland writers were aware that they 
spoke and wrote a dialect of English. Farmer refers, in another 
place in the same Essay, to Douglas, among others — ^the only 
Scottish name among the known EngUsh translators. 

In the Highlands even to-day the Gael speaks of a song by 
Bums, in the Doric, as an " English " song, and the Lowland 
Scots is Beurla, i.e. " Enghsh." 

The deepened spirit of nationalism which came into the land 
after the Wars of Independence, and especially the deepening 
dislike of the " auld enemie," ^ made the people of the 
Lowlands desire to claim the word Scottish for their language 
as well as for their folk-name. By the sixteenth century 
this was established. The word English was discarded : and 
Irish, with a suggestion of depreciation in it, was appUed 
to the tongue of the older indigenous race. This usage 
appeared in the Edicts of the General Assembly of the Scottish 
Church till 1816 when Gaelic became the proper term 
(Acts of Assembly, Edinburgh, 1831). I do not agree with 
Gregory Smith that the Celtic influence on E. and M.Sc. would 
more naturally be from Strathclyde and Galloway rather than the 

1 James III was considered suspect for his leanings towards Englishmen. 
Vide the great fear of English influence in the Scots Acts of ParUament. 

Language and Influences 161 

North. He forgets that the Court and Court writers knew 
Perthshire and northern districts better than probably any other 
through the position of Scone, Perth, Stirhng and Dunfermline, 
the early Scottish capitals. Barbour distinguishes the Erischry 
of Ireland from the Erischry of Scotland.^ Yet Lyndsay, as 
we have seen, later than Douglas, used the earUer term for his 
[ own Uterary medium, which became the model and fountain of 
Scots until the time of Bums. 

It would be interesting to find what might have been looked 

for within access of such a man as Douglas to influence his 

work. We have of course the poem of Alcuin, with its List of 

the Library at York.^ Fortunately, the invention of printing 

was coincident with the awakened hunger for classical learning 

which stirred the fifteenth century. In Italy, portions of 

Virgil were printed in 1470 ; but it was not till 1483 that in 

England appeared at Oxford the first printed classic — Cicero's Pro 

Milone, probably for school use. An edition of Terence followed. 

King James the Fourth had, under the influence of Bishop 

Elphynstoim, brought printing into Scotland in 1507, when the 

press of Chepman and Myllar had bestowed upon it the monopoly 

of the new art. Until 1540 the only classics, in addition to Virgil, 

which passed through the English press were Sallust, Cicero's 

' De Officiis, and two books in Greek. French translations, of a 

I loose kind for the most part, satisfied those who wished to hsten 

I to what the ancients had to say ; and they were listened to 

j imperfectly, or with dissatisfaction, as we see from Douglas's 

I animadversions on Caxton, in his Virgilian translation. But 

Douglas left little trace except the trail of Macrobius, Boccaccio, 

Petrarch, Poggio, Badius Ascencius, and Landinus, with Lorenzo 

Valla — " Laurence of the Vail " — who, in the fifteenth century, 

: translated the Iliad of Homer, Thucydides, and Herodotus into 

' Latin ; but the crowd we meet in Alcuin's List of the Library 

lat York ^ must have had meaning elsewhere. Gower would, in 

j ^ xiv. 9. 

I ' Poema de Pontificibus et Sanctis Ecclesiae Eboracenis, Migne, ci. 843-4. 
^ Illic invenies veterum vestigia Patrum : 
Quidquid habet pro se Latio Romanus in orbe : 
Grsecia vel quidquid tiansmisit clara Latinis : 
Hebraicus vel quod populus bibit imbre superno 
Africa lucifluo vel quidquid lumine sparsit. 
Quod Pater Hieronymus, quod sensit Hilarius atque 

162 Language and Influences 

some form, be known to every poetic student tlien ; The Roman 
de Troie of Benoit de Sainte More, French Trouvere of the late 
twelfth century, worked up, a century later, in the Historia de 
Bello Trojano by Guido delle Colonne ; Boeihius, of course, the 
popular classic, translated by Chaucer, and by everybody who 
could translate anything, from Alfred to Elizabeth ; Lydgate's 
Fall of Princes — from Boccaccio— and The Tale of Troy, were 
sure to be lying about. 

The commentary of Christopher Landinus, which, with others, 
appeared in the Venetian editions of 1495, 1499 and 1501, and 
likewise in Sebastian Brandt's edition of Virgil, in 1502, at 
Strassburg, was before Douglas in his labour. From Douglas 
himself we know that he sought for guidance in Landinus and 
Ascencius, and in Boccaccio's Genealogia Deorum. That 
Scotland was not cut off from the influence of new books was 
shewn by David Laing, who proved that the Gesta Romanorum, 
published in 1474 at Utrecht, was in a year or two in circulation 
in Scotland, and presented to the Fratres Predicantes of Dundee. 

It has been pointed out that Octavien de St. Gelais, an early 
contemporary of Douglas, and a bishop, was also a translator of 
Virgil. He is, however, probably a coincidence rather than an 

The Pastons had The Siege of Troy, The Book of the Seven Sages, 
and the Meditations of Chylde Yfotis, under which title Epictetus 
could not have recognized himself ; while Caxton's book was 
only too well read by Douglas, and duly castigated. 

In London in 1480 had appeared a Latin Commentary on 
Aristotle's Metaphysics ; while, in 1495, at Oxford, had come 
forth an edition of Terence, and, in 1520, one of Virgil. Books 
from abroad were always readily imported, if they had the 
sanction of the Church. And in the catalogue of the Peterhouse 
Library in 1418, is found, above all, the Efistles of Petrarch, 

Ambrosius, praesul, simul Augustinus, et ipse 
Sanctus Athanasius, quod Orosius edit avitus, etc. : 
mentioning — Basil, Fulgentius, Cassiodorus, Chrysostom, Aldhelm, Beda, 
Boethius, Pompeius, Pliny, Aristotle, Tullius, Sedullius, Juvencus, Alcimua, | 
Clement, Lactantiua, Maro Virgilius, Statins, Lucan; and the grammarians 
Servius, Donatus, Priscian. ... 

Plurima qui claro scripsere volumina eensu, 
Nomina sed quorum praesenti in carmine scribi 
Longius est visum quam plectri postulet ubus. 

Language and Influences 163 

amongst a host of dry-as-dusts, like a candle in the dark. Of 
course, Douglas would know Dares Phrygius and Dictys of Crete ; 
the Pinax of Cebes, printed at Bologiia in Latin in the fifteenth 
century ; the Trionfi, d'Amore of Petrarch ; and, intimately, 
Chaucer's House of Fame. 

Douglas's quick eye and heart, responsive to human action 
and the sights and sounds of nature, were, however, the best 
interpreters and tutors that he had. And it is to these we are 
indebted for all that really lives in Douglas's work. 


There are certain features of IVIiddle Scots ^ which, while of 
course well-known to those who already know well the works of 
the Makars, are not familiar to others. And the following 
examples from Douglas's Mneid may be considered with profit. 
The last word, by a native writer familiar with dialect survivals, 
on the living tongue, and not from hearsay, has not been said 
about them yet. And although they are found also in his other 
works, they are in place here. 

Generally speaking, the ordinary Southern o is equivalent in 
power to the Scottish a ; while the long Southern o is represented 
by the Scottish ae, or a as in the syllable -ame. 

The vowels e and short u in combination with -rk terminal^ 
become open, with the sound of the broad Latin a ; e.g. merk is 
mark ; clerk is dark ; and work becomes ivark, though written 
werk. Similarly we find expart for expert in Douglas. Morris 
speaks of this as having become a habit in Scotland in the 
eighteenth century, but there are districts in Southern Scotland 
where e in a closed syllable has always the broad sound. One 
finds an a development in such words as star, and far, from e, in 
Middle Enghsh sterre, and ferre. 

I is frequent for e, as in rathir, invy, etc., a spoken usage still. 

Syllables are lengthened ordinarily 

(o) by insertion of i ; e.g. 

The soil ysowpit in to waitter wak. — Prol. vii. 35. (E. Ms.) 
Moist forcy steid, my lovyt foill. — Bk. x. 14, 89. 

^ Vide Gregory Smith's Specimens. 

164 Language and Influences 

Boiih is, however, hybrid, the o being Southern, and the 
i Northern. 

(6) by using equivalents in other vowels : e.g. 
ee is represented by y. 

Made syk warm stovis. — Prol. vii. 89. 

(c) Frequently hene is written for heen ; dej)e for deef, etc. 
was used for au. 

Semyt tobe a clos volt. — Bk. ix. 8, 114. 

e was used for o, as in appreve = approve, widely in use in 
North-eastern Scotland still. 
Frequently a final d appears, supplementary in script, though 
not sounded in the vernacular : e.g. 

With rude engyne and barrand emptyve brayn. — Prol. i. 20. 
Final d was sometimes added in Old English, e.g. 
Ilde oiWizt. — Beuis of Hampton, 1, 1335. 

This tendency to add d after final n was very general in Middle 
English, and in the first period of modern English, where hine 
became hind, and expone became expound ; especially was it 
used after I, where vild appears in Elizabethan writers for vile. 

The letter t also occurs in the same usage in Scots, e.g. 

The storme furtht sent be eolus.— Prol. i. 160. (E.Ms.) 
Enee maid nevir aitht. — Prol. i. 438. (lb.) 

In heycht wysnyt treis. — Prol. vii. 124. 

Thocht for though ; prolixt for prolix. — passim. 

This is still common after I final in certain districts of central 
Scotland, where vennel, meaning alley, is daily spoken of as 
venneU. This final t appeared sometimes in proper names. I 
have a document before me in which Bishop Farquhar of Caith- 
ness in 1309 is spelt " Ferquhard," and another of date 1655 
where Kemp is spelt Kempt. In the Records of Inverness we 
find, in 1521, Kenny cht for Kenneth or Coinnich, M''Intoisicht 
for Mac-an-toiseach, Cumenycht for Cuminach, Tearlocht for 
Tearlach, etc. 

Language and Influences 165 

(a) d is used for th : 

Cesar the eld fader. — Bk. vi. 14, 58. 

And gaddir hys folkis to wart the cost togydder. — Bk. iv. 6, 19. 

Kepand na sudroun. — Prol. i. 111. 

This usage is still very common in Aberdeenshire. 
(6) t, also, is used for th : 

Of secret materia and attentik thing. — Bk. viii. 8, 30. 

Also Fift, saxt, etc. 

Middle Scots retained hard t in attar for autlwr, an 
etymological retention, representing auctor. 

L in Scots is so liquid that it runs out into silence. It is used : 

(a) as merely phonic : 

Amang rolkis unsure. — Bk. iii. 6, 133. 

Forfeblit wolx hys lemand gylty levyn. — Prol. vii. 10. 

That dolly pyt of syte.— Bk. vi. 9, 80. 

Sometimes its phonetic form is written r 

Strippyt of thar weid in every howt. — Prol. vii. 66. 

This usage remains in Southern Dialects, where owd = old : 
and in certain parts of North-eastern Scotland. 

(b) with the effect of prolonging a syllable : 

To graith the chalmeris. — Bk. i. 11, 21. 
Quharof the altar says thus. — Prol. vii. 164. 

L is, indeed, in Scots a very active liquid ; and in this respect 
may be compared with the Dutch I, which may be said to oscillate 
without running over into silence as in Scots. For example, 
take a word common to both, — balk = a rafter, or roof beam. In 
Dutch this is pronounced ball"k, a kind of sheva sUpping in 
between I and k, while in Scots it is pronounced bawk, as in 
Bums when he speaks of the withered leaves 

Wavering like the bawky bird, 

i.e. the bat, fluttering down from the beams. The poets wrote 
the letters in the words, but they were not sounded in reading. 
Burns wrote phonetically, marking his elisions by an apostrophe, 
e.g. /a', ha\ for fall and hall. Henryson wrote dully, and Douglas 
most frequently dolly for dowie ; but the usage of Douglas proves 
the identity of the forms. David Calderwood, in his History, 
makes an explicit statement on the matter, when, speaking of 

166 Language and Influences 

the Waldenses he says, " Their offspring were called in England 
Lollards . . . and in Scotland Lowards, according to our custome, 
in turning a double II in a German w, as when we pronounce Bow, 
Paw, Row, Scrow, for Boll, Poll, Roll, Scroll." By Bums's time 
the Scots would have read the two Vs as in English, but he always 
wrote the word dowie, as it sounded on the hps of the people. 
It is to be remembered that the Enghshman does not trill r, but 
he trills I. The Scot on the other hand trills r, but does not trill I. 
Therefore, when I is doubled the first only prolongs the precedent 
vowel, and the second I runs out altogether, e.g. hall is, in Enghsh 
=hawl ; but in Scots it is haw, or, as Burns wrote it, hd'. BUnd 
Harry ^ and others frequently used the phonetic form without 
marking the fact of consonantal elision with the apostrophe. 
Curiously in Barbour there is scarce a symptom of this Scottish 
characteristic, but in Wallace we find such words as call rhymed 
with laiv, and small written stnaw, while fulled is written as 
fowed. Dolly disappeared as a written form after 1581. 
N liquid also appears in such words as the following : 

In cace I faill haue me not at disdenze. — Prol. i. 476 (Small, 482). 
Hys hair enoynt well prunzeit. — Bk. iv. 5, 80. 

A similar usage holds with I, e.g. 

Aad into a^t failzeis. — Prol. iv. 119. 
B drops out in writing, here following the vernacular ; as : 

And eik stamping of their feit maid me trembil, 

My wrechit fuid wes beiTeis of the brymmel. — Bk. iii. 9, 110. (E.) 

Here we have the vernacular phonetic alongside of the purely 
literary form, in which, of course, the h would be lost in reading, 
the rhyme proving the pronunciation. This usage is common 
to-day in Scotland with such proper names as Abereromby, which 
is pronounced Abercnimmy. We find also MacCombie for 
Mac'Omie, i.e. the Son of Thom. 

Ge for S : 

We clenge ws first. — Bk. iii. 4, 132. 

Ful mony carcage of thir oxin gret. — Bk. xi. 5, 35. 

Cf. Wallace viii. 1339 ff . 

Great Julius that tribute gat aff aw. 

His wynnyng was in Scotland bot full smavr. 

Language and Influences 167 

Here we have coalescence of sibilants, following vernacular 


S for Sh : 

Sal and sud, vernacular for shall and should, literary. — Passim. 

The fasson eik and gys we lernyt thar. — Bk. iii. 2, 89. 
Eftir all was faUin in puldir and in as. — Bk. vi. 3, 135. 

This is vernacular still, — ase = ashes : and wish is wis in 

Aberdeenshire, and the North- East. 

Similarly, S for ch : 

sersand ahont me. — Bk. ii. 11, 123. 
The reverse is not uncommon : 

Of massy gold the veschel war furth hynt. — Bk. ii. 12, 10. 
Bew schirris, haue gud day. — Tyme, etc., 27. 
Ch for sh : 

Chiverand for cald.— Prol. vii. 137. 

Cf. chyf = shop, devilitch for devilish, in Aberdeen and 

K for ch : 

The benk ybeldyt of the grene holyne. — Bk. viii. 3, 193. 

Cf. birk, breeks, kirk, etc. in Scots usage. 

Quh for wh. 

Quha, sometimes quho, for who. Quhen, quhilk, etc. 

This combination may have been suggested by the written 
form of wh or hw, and is to be taken, in its initial position, as of 
that power. But the breathing wh in Scots is always more 
guttural than with an Englishman who, e.g. pronounces wharf as 
warf, from old custom. Baildon says, " The combination fell out 
of use, and is only perpetuated in proper names." But there it 
does not represent wh. Such names as Farquhar represent the 
Gaehc strong guttural name Fearchar, which is pronounced 
Ferrachar, and not the modem Farkwar, nor Farwhar. In fact, 
in places where Gaehc has died out, that name is pronounced 
Fra'har, under the traditional influence of the old tongue. So 
also with the Highland name Marquis, which has nothing to do 
with the peerage but is only the genitive of Marcus. Imperfect 
observation persists in spelling the King's Quair as Quhair ; and 

168 Language and Influences 

Sir Walter Scott was responsible for quaich for the Gaelic cuach, 
a cup ; but lie meant qu to be sounded kew, and not as kw. 

G has the power of hard g and z, the latter being equal to y 
in pronunciation e.g. year was always written zeir ; although in 
certain words it was equivalent to g.^ The power of z in Scottish 
names and words is being forgotten, and it has generally become 
merely the soft English s. This is very strikingly seen in the 
name Mackenzie, representing the Gaelic MacCoinnich, i.e. the 
Son of Kenneth, pronounced MacConnyich. This name in Scots 
was, and still in the North famiHar to many ears is, under GaeUc 
influence, called Mackennie or MacKinnie, though in certain 
districts Mackenzie, and in the seventeenth century the two forms 
appear on the same page. The modem pronunciation is not 
older than the eighteenth century. Lord Kames said it turned 
his stomach to hear it.^ Even in Edinburgh the old habit 
survived till recent times in colloquial usage ; and old people 
tell me how the Edinburgh boys used to pelt the door of the 
tomb in Greyfriars Churchyard, of Sir George Mackenzie, 
of odious memory for Presbytery, crying out, as they ran 
away : 

Bluidy Mackenyie, come oot, if ye daur : 
Lift the sneck and draw the bar ! 

In the Roll of Highland Landlords and Chiefs, appended to an 
Act of Scottish Parliament in 1587, the name is spelt Mackanyie ; 
in the Roll of Clans, of the same year, it appears as Clankayne, 
while Menzies appears as Menyess ; in the Roll of 1594 it is 

H breathing, or Cockney h, is foimd, for example, in the 
Elphjnistoun manuscript : 

Hinder his chargis. — Prol. i. 442, 

where in the printed text we read " under." Bhnd Harry also 
wrote this breathing : 

And witt haboundyt than. — Wallace, Bk. i, 
while Wyntoun wrote it also. 

^ Cf. the double usage in Scotland Mengis and Meenis. Cf. also the district 
of the Enzie in Banffshire pronounced the Engie. 
* Cf . the change in Scotland of Forbz for Forbess. 
3 Cf. R. L. Stevenson's Edinburgh, p. 94, ed. 1914. 

Language and Influences 169 

The Gn combination becomes -ng, as in : 

Kything na syng of heyt. — Prol. vii. 5. 
This vsage condyng. — Bk. iii. 6, 103. 

V disappears in utterance, being oftenest written as u, 
approacliing the power of w. Deuil = vernacular deil. 

This is to-day habitual, as in proper names like Purves and 
Beveridge, which the Scots pronounce Purris — Paris, and 
Burridge or Berridge ; while gahle, in Scots gavil, is pronounced 
gale ; and shovel = skill or shool} This weak power of v is not 
a Scots pecuUarity. Puttenham in The Arte of English Poesie, 
Chapter XVI, says that it was usual to contract 'peradventure 
into peraunture ; povertee into poortie (Cf. Scots poortith), sove- 
raigne into souraigne, etc., Queen Elizabeth herself habitually 
employing this mode. It may disappear in Scots script, as in 
cunnand for covenant = promissa, e.g. 

This is nocht thy last cunnand. — Bk. xi. 4, 30. 

V also appears in Middle Scots as / : 

Relief our lang travail. — Bk. i., 6, 49. (E. Ms.) 

Sauf is also used for saive : moif for move : wyfjis for 
wyvis, etc. I found in the war, in Flanders, that the EngUsh 
common soldier speaks of leave as hif, probably perpetuating 
old habit. 

A very common transliteration, common still in Scotland also 
to-day, is such metathetic usage as : 

Scho bryst forth mony a teir. — Bk. iii. 5, 60. 
Warpit my heid. — Prol. vii. 95. 

There are districts where we still hear, " My hert's brast." ^ 

Certain words also press themselves upon our notice in Douglas, 
as in the Middle Scots writers. 

(a) Alkyn, alkin, is originally a genitive phrase — omnis generis, 
or omnium generum, which, used before a noun = of every 
kind or every sort, e.g. 
With alkyn portage quhilk was bidder brocht. — Bk. ii. 3, 64. 

* Cf. poem attributed to Dr Beattie, addressed to Alexander Ross, Lochlee, 
author of Helenore, The Fortunate Shepherdess. " The foremost place Gavin 
Douglas claims," where Gavin is =Ga'n. 

* Cf. in Aberdeenshire in writing and in speech the peculiar metathetic form 
tvardle for ivarld. See Abel's Wylins fae my Wallet. 

170 Language and Influences 

(b) Allthiir, is also a genitive 3rd plural. Douglas, erroneously, 

following late usage, writes : 

Bot gret lak war to return althar last. — Bk. v. 4, 71. 

al thar last 
The ancyant kyng Acestes. — Bk. v. 9, 21. 

Shakespeare uses (2 K. Henry VI i. 1) alderliefest = the 

dearest of all — a residuum of this ancient case-ending. 

(c) Allyris is another form, = al-re = omnium. 

our allyris offens. — Bk. xii. 1, 40. 

(d) Til = to. In reality it has a substantive meaning, " goal.^^ 

It appeared first as a preposition in the Northern dialect 
of EngHsh, in the Durham Gospels, of the eleventh century. 
It appears also in Scots as the mark of the simple infinitive. 
This form is still in vernacular use. 
Hys awin myschief weill worthy til allow. — siii. 6, 112. 

Douglas uses hiddirtillis = hitherto. 

(e) Into and ontyl for in, are found, but not so often in Douglas 

as in The King's Quair. 

(/) Suppois, is commonly used by Douglas, for */ ; or 

(g) except, with gif or geif in the same sense. 

The plural is in -is or -ys, where the i or y, like the Chaucerian 
final e, may be either silent or sounded according to exigency of 
metre. For example, in the opening Une of the version one must 
slur batalis, while in the second line houndis must be read as a 
dissyllable. The same remark applies to the termination -it. 
And illustrations of these might be multiphed ad infinitum. But 
Douglas, following vernacular usage in regard to crowding 
sibilants, writes burgeis for burgesses : 

Burgeis bringis hame the boithe. — Prol. viii. 85. (E. Ms.) 

This does not rule his form in 

sic as muUs, horas. — Prol. vii. 81. {lb.) ' 

which expresses a common mode of speech. In Ascham we 

find " Tame and well-ordered horse," which was a regular usage. 

In Scotland, a farm is described in regard to size, as a four- 

horse farm ; and a lad will tell you that he looks after horse and 

^ C. text : burgeisais : horasis. 

Language and Influences 171 

tiowt, and likes to work among horse. In Douglas we find the 
opposite also, in a singular sense for a plural noun, as : 

to a houndis constrenyt. — Prol. i. 293, 

a usage one which hears in America everjrwhere to-day, where 
you will be told that a certain place is " a long ways " distant. 

A cognate usage is found in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of 
Windsor : 

Come a little nearer this tvays. — ii. 2, 50. 

T/^e adjective is frequently placed after the noun, a French 
custom, of course, but in Douglas's case directly from Latin 
influence, most naturally, that language being, to him, and every 
Scottish student of his time, as famiUar as his own. The plural 
adjective agrees with the plural noun, a habit also of Latin 
origin, not necessarily as Murray suggests, from Latin usage, nor 
as others, from French influence as with Chaucer, but as probably 
from the fact that Scottish scholars were steeped in Latin forms 
from beginning to end of their scholarship, and would have 
followed these even if they had observed it in Chaucer's page or 
heard it elsewhere. This apphes to the use of quhilk : 

For naturall lufe and frendely affectioun 
Quhilkis I beir to thy warkis and endyte. — Prol. i. 37. 
And mony thingis quhilkis Virgill dyd rehers. — lb. 187. 
The pressoneris . . . quhilkis. — xi. 2, 67. (E. Ms.) 

Sometimes we find the adjective used for the noun, as : 

To spy thia auld that was als slow of speech. — Prol. xiii., 79. ^ 

This same usage is foimd in The Pilgrimage of the Lyf of Manhode 
(early fifteenth century) : 

These twejTie olde. 

It survives in modern custom, when we speak of shallows, deeps, etc. 

The article ane is not universal with Douglas, who as frequently 
uses a. 

Douglas uses at for quhilk. At is also in his work for that by 
Douglas, is indeed a feature of his. 

But at syk thyngis ar possibill this I schew. — Prol. i. 214. 
' Cf. Wyntoun, v. 9, 14. C. reads stern. 

172 Language and Influences 

At is rare in Middle Scots after 1500. In Early Scots at 
was regularly used for the relative pronoun. Douglas has quhill 
ci — until} 

Sir J. A. H. Murray says that qulm for the relative was not used 
before 1540. Henryson and Dunbar used it for " he who," as 
in the latter poet's Epitaph on Donald Oure : 

Quha is a tratour, 

Vpoun him selfE turnis the mischief, 

in the sense of quisquis. The accusative form is quham ; but 
is the following a feminine, made by the French addition of e to 
the usual form ? 

On hir quham by Troy brynit is. — Bk. ii. 10, 50. 

The King^s Quair writes quho, quhois, imder English influence 
of course. Quhich that = ivhich, never occurs in Douglas. The 
initial th was, of course, unvoiced in Old and Middle Enghsh, 
till the close of the Middle English period. It is still common in 
the North, vide Alexander's Johnny Gihh of Gushetneuk and 
George Macdonald's novels, where the dialect of Aberdeenshire 
is reproduced in fulness. 

The undechned possessive is common ; e.g. 
his fodder brudir. 

Of course, in Old Enghsh, this very word father had formed the 
genitive with -es, but in the first half of the sixteenth century 
as well as throughout the Middle Enghsh period, words which had 
so formed their genitive were found without that distinguishing 
mark of inflexion. This was especially so with proper names, as : 

Umy son. — Sir Oawayne and the Greene Knight, 113, 
but also with others, as : 

for God merci. — Caxton. The four Sonnes of Aymon, 450. 
Douglas speaks of Nereus douchtir, and Tithonus spous, and 
moneth space, where of course the sibilants control the con- 
struction. Traces of this uninflected use are still to be foimd 
in the Scots vernacular, and naturally in connection with the 
pronoun it. A woman in the North will say that a child has 
" bladdit it hand." Everybody knows the sound grammatical 
reason why — its not coming into use till the sixteenth century, 

1 xi. 25. i. 

Language and Influences 173 

and not finding its way into the Authorised Version, or into 
Spenser's verse. It is rare in Bacon and in Shakespeare ; more 
frequent in Milton, and common in Dryden. His was the 
genitive of it. 

When the verb is remote from the governing subject a third 
personal form is occasionally used by Douglas with the first 
personal pronoun : as : 

I set my bissy pane . . . 
. . . and s^e^ts as I lemyt. — Prol. i. 109-111. 
Syne I defend and forbiddis euery wicht.— Prol. i. 283. 

In the very stately Proclamation on the news of Flodden in 
Edinburgh, this is regular throughout e.g. " We wyssis . . ." 
It is still common in Scotland to say " I runs," etc. 

Frequently also a singular verb is found with a plural noun ; e.g. 

Haldis sawlys hoppys fra body to body. — Prol. i. 186. 

Douglas's use of the imperative, with the person unexpressed, 
is quaint and alien to Scots : 

Beis nocht our studyus to spy a moyt in myne E. — Prol. i. 498. 
Traistis me. — Ibid, 

a modification of the EngUsh imperative plural, in -th. An 
imperative Eschames is employed for Let us be ashamed. 
The past tense is usually -it or -yt, but sometimes in -at : 

I crosyt me, syne bownyt me for to sleip. — Prol. vii. 99. 
Quhou mony crakyt cunnand. — Prol. viii. 102. 

Past-participles are frequently of such unmodified Latin form 
as fatigat, repite, jyredestinate, etc. 

He is very prone to the use of the prefix y-, representing the 
Old Enghsh ge-, with the past-participle ; e.g. 

Yconquest in this batall. — Bk. xi. 2, 50. 
Yplet ilk nycht.— Bk. xii. 2, 126. 
Yclept, frequently. 

But he also uses this prefix with the ordinary preterite, making 
such forms as, y-tvymjpyllit ; y-lowpit ; y-fetterit ; y-slain : all 

174 Language and Influences 

The present participle is of course in -and ; the verbal noun in 

-yng : 

Forfeblit wolx hys lemand gylty levyn. 

Throw the dedynyng of his large round speire. — Prol. vii. 10. 

Smale byxdis flokkand throu thik ronys thrang, 

In chyrmyng and with cheping changit ther sang. — Prol. vii. 69, 70. 

In the earUest periods of English -ende was the West Saxon 
participial termination, -and the Northumbrian. Ben Jonson 
in his Sad Shepherd played upon this Northern note, just as 
Spenser did, with his archaic art, using glitterand and trenchand. 
Chaucer employs it rarely, but has frequently the French termina- | 
ation -ant. It appears in the proud motto of one of our best 
Scottish regiments — Bydand, i.e. siccar, staunch, sure. 

Douglas writes the root of the verb for the past participle : as : 
Quharin was grave maste curyus to behold. — Bk. i. 9, 110. 

He is fond of taking or than as signifying before, or rather 

than ; e.g. 

Or the soft violet that doys freschly schyne, 

Or than the purpour flour hait jacynthyn. — Bk. xi. 2, 29. 

Wyntoun has the same usage of the phrase. In Lancelot of 
the Laik the combination = or. 

The Editor of Lancelot of the Laik points out that while the 

author of that poem, along with the author of The Quare of 

Jelousy, under the influence of Chaucer, uses the word Soundeth 

in the sense of tends, Douglas alone of all the Makars employs it. 

The first soundia towart virteu sum deyll. — Prol. xi. 49. 

Other rare words used by Douglas are seen in the following lines : 

The dasy dyd on breid hir croivnell smaill. — Prol. xii. 113. 
This word is used in Lancelot 59, and also in Douglas : 

His crownel picht wyth mony precyus stane. — Bk. vii. 1, 111. (Small, 

vii. 2). 

The hevynly portis cristallyne, 
Vpwarpis braid. — Prol. xii. 19. 

He also employs adew in a pregnant sense ; as : 

We wenyng thame hame passit and adew. — Bk. ii. 1. 22. 

Trevoux's Dictionairre Universelle Frangois et Latin (Paris, 
1752), says of this word : " Adieu est aussi un terme de com- 
mandement de chagrin ou de refus, = apage <e." 

Language and Influences 175 

Douglas also uses it in combination with the verb to go, e.g. 
Thus he repreuis, bot sche is went adew. — Bk. i., 6, 173. 
TaHbus incusat gressumque ad mcenia tendit. — 1. 410. 

The author of Lancelot has the same figure : 

Your wordly honore nedis most adew. — 1. 518. 

His use of the word Ward is also notable : 

Apon this wys the ostis and wardis haOl 

On athir part retumyt in bataill. — Bk. xdi. 9, 1 15. 

He makes a wide use of quhy as a substantive, in the sense of 

cause or reason, a usage foimd also in The Kingis Quair, The 

Quare of Jelousy, and later on in Alexander Scot, and Stewart's 

Croniclis : e.g. 

Syne zeild the to thy fa, hut ony quhy. — Prol. xi. 138. 

Frequently words that are compound are written as separate 
elements, as attanys and at anys : ouer floivys and ouer flowis. 

Naturally one finds also the double negative intensive, as 
elsewhere, with the constant usage of unrude for rude, with the 
same power of strengthening. 

Douglas's page is a quarry from which can be dug out innumer- 
able words which, neither beautifying nor poetic, lay where they 
fell. Some had really no vital spark in them to ensure continuity 
of fife. 

He had certain words which he Hked to use, such as derne, 

and sprangis or sprayngis, with fine effect : 

purpour sprangis with gold and asure ment. — Prol. xii. 22. 
twynkland sprayngis with their gilten glemys. — Bk. vii. 2, 82 
(SmaU, 3). 

He uses the word acquart as equivalent to aversa : 

Dydo aggrevit ay quhU he his tayl tald 

Wyth acquart luke gan towart hym behald. — Bk. iv. 7, 1. 

And he has the word Adelytit = debueram : 

And was adelytit for my mysdoing. — Bk. ix. 14, 76. 

He employs freely the intensitive per, as in perbraTckit schippis 
for fessas navis ; and sailrif se, which gives a strong picture, true 
enough in effect. He conveys the idea of untimely by expres ; 
and he uses the word ery in the sense of being afraid, rather than 
in the later sense of fearsome. One can easily grasp his enteche- 
ment for rudiments, tyrment for interment, dolf for dull, and 

176 Language and Influences 

bowand for hent. But words like the following can have 
no resurrection : barnage = childhood ; baivburd = larboard ; 
bewauit = wandered ; bylappit = surrounded ; camscho = crooked ; 
cwrfewfoe = leather ; c^es6ot(J = poppy ; ^afiar = maple ; forowtin — 
without ; naimcouth = known ; hjrneUis = battlements ; fertyrs = 
biers; bellane = ^lovea; thoilmude = 'pa,tient; widequhair = eveTj- 
where ; pilchis = gowns ; scurrevagis = wanderers ; stupefak = 
shocked ; haitsum = warm ; vgsum = ugly ; howsouris = extem- 
plo ; queme = silence ; tichwris = spots ; wmberauch — fire flaucht ; 
ourthortour = over across ; indigest = rash ; and crowds of others 
like them. They are dead, and never had the secret of life 
in them ; and we may bet hankf ul that they practically were 

As with Chaucer there are found Unes in Douglas which can 
only be counted regular by use of eUsion, or taking the steep bits 
at a gallop. Otherwise, by counting the syllables with the 
fingers, they become Alexandrines. Only, one must remember 
that non-classical poetry is accentual on the whole, though, 
with Douglas and earlier writers, it is, on occasion of exigency, 
purely syllabic. 

Thus the Hues : 

Ne charge thame nother to be callyt Troianys. . . .^ 
Intil hys hyddus hand thame thrymlyt and wrang,^ 

and many others, just as in Chaucer, may be looked upon as 
Alexandrines, if so coimted out as by a pendulum ; but it is 
questionable whether the translator intended them to be so read. 
Scottish vernacular is however rich in slurs and ehsions. 
Certainly the following, in which ensenzies is not trisyllabic with 
Douglas, but more like its descendant " ancients," is not Alex- 
andrine, for the Scot still would take " armour and " at a dis- 
syllabic canter, as " arm'r'n." 

And Troiane armour and ensenzies uith me saw, 
i.e. " And Troiane artri'r'n enshens uith me saw" 

is how it would be run through even to-day. 

Some of the alterations in manuscript and in the Black Letter 
edition make Alexandrines, as : 

Quhare at the last they of Anchises gat ane sycht 
1 xii. 13-79. 2 iii. 9-67. 

Language and Influences 177 

But the genuine text avoids this quite clearly, except in one or 
two instances where quite apparently a word has slipped in from 
the margin, where it had been kept as if being weighed against 
another of the same meaning. 

Now and again we find localism of utterance making itself 
felt in the matter of rhythm, as when a syllable so receives a 
wave utterance which makes it dissyllabic. Thus, a line may 
have to be read, 

Quhil blude and brae-an all togiddir mixt. 

This is quite common colloquially in many districts of Scotland 
to-day, and was carried from England to the Southern States of 
America where you hear such words as him and hymn pronounced 
somewhat Uke hay-um. 

In Rhyme, he often uses the same word if it have a different 
meaning, as in Book XI., cap xi. 11, 91-2, where grond rhymes 
with grund : 

And with hir solis first dyd mark the grond 
With dartis keyn and hedis scharply grund. 

He rhymes also -ing and -ing, -age and age frequently, while 
to avoid this he makes such changes as be for bene, beforne for 
before, etc. 





= Cambridge MS. *=eye error. 

= Elphynstoun MS. § = ear error. 

= Ruthven MS. t — interpretation. 

= Black Letter Edition. **= correction. 

:: VirgiUan Text. §§ = editorial alteration. 


Readings Dependent on the Latin Text 


ok I. 



: 62 


byreft furth of the Troianys sycht. 
brest out ,, „ „ 
Eripiunt / ex oculis . 





turnyt hir braid syde 
„ turnit braid saill. 
„ „ dat latus 



: 43 





quhoyn salaris 
quhen salaris. 
few saland. 
apparent rari nantes . 




raif rovis 




„ ruvis 
„ ribbis 
laxis laterum compagibus omnes 






180 Appendix A 

Book I. 5. 

3 : 69 C/E. I sal zou chastys 

R. ,, „ beseik 

V. mihi non similia poena commissa 

luetis ..... 136 


i6. 99 C. He wyth his wordis gan slaik thar mynd 

and swage 
E. He w}^h his wordis can slaik thar moide 

and swage 
V. ille regit dictis animos et pectora 

mulset 153 

4 : 24 C. goddessis 

*E. goddes 

V. nympharum ..... 168 


5 : 25 C/E. the sammyn myschance 

R. the samyn fa perchance 

V. nunc eadem f ortuna . . . 240 


5 : 127 C. with gret fard of weyngis 
E. „ greit faird of wyngis 

§BL. „ „ „ „ windis 

V. remigio alarum ..... 301 


5 : 132 C. the queue hir self has kaucht 

E. „ ,, „ knaucht 

V. regina / accipit .... 303—4 


6 : 79 C/E. And of the gret luf of hys systir suyr 

f BL. not mouit of piete unto his sister sure 

V. Securus aniorum / germanae . . 350-1 


6 : 82 C. with vaynhope trumpit the wofuU lufEar 

fE/R. „ wanhope „ „ lele „ 

V. aegram / vana spes lusit amantem . 351-2 

Appendix A 181 

Book I. 








And welt vp stanys to the wark on liie 
And wolt „ „ ,, „ 

„ „ „ to the volt 
mohri arcem et manibus subvolvere 
saxa ..... 






domys and law 
domes of law 
jura dabat legesque 





Albeit the strenth of men zhe set not by 

„ „ scanth of men „ „ 
Si genus humanum et mortaha temnitis 
arma ..... 





Hym sail I sownd slepand steill away 
Himself I send slepand to stele away 
hunc ego sopitum somno . . . recondam 



; 58 


Kyssand sweitly thi quhyte nek 

55 55 55 swete 5, 
amplexus atque oscula dulcia figit 


11 : 

: 30 


brusyt or payntit tapetis 

brusit and payntit carpetis 

toris . . . pictis , . . . 



: 66 



A wechty 

ane raychty 

gravem . . . . . 



: 80 




gevar of glaidnes 

growar „ 

laetitise dator . . . . 



: 116 

\ C/E. 

kynd hors 

kynd of hors 

quales . . . equi . . . . 











Appendix A 

Book II 


1 : 



Hyd Grekis covert with irne to haue rent 


The Grekis covert with joy 


(Cf . How Dido . . . hir perpos to covert. 
Heading, IV. c. 9.) 
ferro ArgoUcas fcedare latebras . 





with eyp blent about 


with ane „ „ 


ocuhs agmina circumspexit 




Hevyly weyand my innocent frende 
thus slane 


Heavyly wittand my innocent frende 
thus slane 


Casum insontis mecum indignabar amici 




The Grekis oft 


„ oist 


ssepe fugam, etc. .... 





Amang the rysp and redis out of sycht 

„ „ rispand redis „ ,, 
obscurus in ulva . . . . 





bludy handis 

grisley handis 

manibusque cruentis .... 





Thrys schyning ... 
„ schowing 


terque . . . emicuit 




thar sprutUt skynnys 

„ spurtlet „ 
squamea / terga .... 









Appendix A 

Book II. 


4: 66 




mony bassyn raip 

„ brasyn „ 
stuppea vincula 


5: 35 




on fordoverit mortale creaturis 

„ forwalkit „ „ 
mortalibus segris 


6: 31 


trumpys blist 
trumplis „ 
clangor tubarum 


7 : 8 



stekit in stretis 

strekit „ 

perque vias sternuntur 


8: 19 


gilt sperris 
,, sparris 
auratasque trabes 


8: 72 




f urth of bar 
f urth of hir 
a cardine vellit 


8: 96 




zet chekis 
zettis snekkis 


8: 104 




evicit .... 


. 236 


. 313 

. 364 

. 448 


. 480 

. 497 


Appendix A 

Book II 







I saw my self thair Neoptolemus 
Mak felloun slaughter wod and furyus 
I saw myself Neoptolemus thare 
Mak felloun wod and furious slauchter. 
vidi ipse furentem / caede 





Fyfty chawmeris . . . quhar warryn 

„ „ quharin was 
quinqueginta ilU thalami 






The auld grayth 

The aid gray 

Senior ..... 







voyd hall 



vacua atria .... 





at thou has done 
that now is done 
quae taUa curet 







Behald ! for I . . . 
„ for thy . . . 
namque . . . eripiam 







So cleir 
sail „ 
nubem eripiam 







Fell Gorgones 


Gorgone sseva .... 










Appendix A 185 


Book II. 







Remanyng alyve eftyr the cite tane 

„ eftir the ciete fell plane 
excidia et captae superavimus urbi 


11 : 



Quhen suddanly a wonder thing to tell 
Wounderlie ane suddane ,, „ 
Cum subitum dictuque oritur mirabile 


11 : 




the blesand haris 
the plesand „ 
crinemque flagrantem 


11 ; 

: 24 




begouth to rumbill and rout 

,, rattill 
fragore / intonuit Isevum 


11 ; 

; 34 




quhil al enveron rekit lyke bryntstane 

„ bimstane „ 
late circum loca sulphure fumant 



: 40 



zour awyn kynrent defend 

„ kynrik 
servate domum „ 



: 75 



in quhat cost or cuntre 

in quascumque vehm pelago deducere 
terras .... 

Booh III. 



: 48 




greyn bewis doune to haill 
grene levis „ 
viridem . . . silvam , . . 
ramis tegerem ut frondentibus aras 



: 117 


of erd a gret fluyr 

of the erd „ 

to the erd ,, 

ingens aggeritur Iwmulo tellus 








186 Appendix A 

Book HI. 55. 

2 : 14 C. it flet roily ng from costis to and fro 

E. „ fleit „ „ 

BL. quhen it fletit ,, „ 

V. oras et litoras circum / errantem . 75-6 


2 : 18 C/BL. and comptis nowthir the wynd 
E. „ „ „ hie wynd 

V. et contemnere ventos ... 77 


2 : 52 C/E. We plat law gruflyngis on the erd 

BL. we plat lay „ „ „ 

V. summissi petimus terrain . . 93 


2 : 123 C/E. The folio wand wynd blew strek in our 

BL. The followand wynd blew sterk in our 

V. prosequitur surge ns a puppi ventus 

euntis ..... 130 







active gemmys 

Actiane „ 

Actiaque ..... 





Harpye Celeno 


Harpyia Celaeno .... 





far landis alswa 

sere landis ,, 

longa procul . . . terris 






and zet pertrubbil thus / Tha thyn leiffis 

„ perturbit „ 
turbavit janua frondes 





Appendix A 

Booh in 

63. ' 




with Grekis fors ourrunnyn 


„ ourcumyn 


,, „ „ overrunnyng. 
minus obvia Graiis 





or the speyre his howris rolUt 


„ „ „ his ouris reuht 
necdum orbem medium nox Horis acta 
subibat ..... 



; 28 


syne slakis down the schetis and maid 


syne schakis „ „ „ „ 
velorum pandimus alas 



: 41 


hie eft castell 


his „ 


hiest „ 


celsa in puppi .... 




Saland on bawburd towart the left syde 


„ . „ „ „ „ west syde 
contorsit laevas proram ... ad undas 



; 128 




The grisly Ethna dyd rummyll schudder 

and cry 
The grisly Ethna dyd rummyll thunder 

and cry 
sed horrificis iuxta tonat Aetna 



: 146 


his irkit syde 

„ hukit „ 
fessum . . . latus .... 



: 34 



seys brak ( = salt ?) 
seis wrak 


vastoque . . . ponto 










188 Appendix A 

Booh III. 71. 

9 : 62 C/E. Hutyt to speke of and aucht not 

nemmyt be 
fR. hatit to speke of and aucht not nemmyt 

V. nee visu facilis nee dictu adfabilis ulli 


9 : 89 C. 

10 : 20 C/E. 


10 : 78 C/E. 



thrawyn front 

his awn figur 

torva . . . subfronte 


We far from thens affrayt 
„ war „ 
nos procul inde fugam trepidi 


Undir the sey gan thyddir flow and 

Undir the sey gan thyddir flow and 

occultas egisse vias subter mare . 




10 : 100 C. 

Book IV. 
1 : 11 C. 

1 : 17 C/E. 

1 : 66 C/E. 







with hys lamp brycht 

„ „ bemys „ 
lustrabat lampade .... 


quhat swevynnys beyn thir 

„ schevynys 
quae . . . insomnia terrent 


Ever murnand thus waist away thy 

Ever murnand waist thi womanheid 
perpetua mserens carpere juventa 



Appendix A 189" 

Book IV. 79. 

1 : 74 C. Suppos thou lychtlyit than 

E. „ „ lychtUe thame 

V. nulli quondam flexere mariti . . 35 


1 : 84: C. Heir the ondantit folk of Numyda dwell 

E. „ „ indowtit „ 

fR. „ „ intractable ,, „ „ 

V. genus insuperabile bello/et Numidse 

infreni ..... 40-41 


1 : 87 C/BL. . . . the desert regioun alsswa 

Ay full of thryst, in barrand Libya 

. . . the desert regioun alsswa 
E. ay full of thryst, in burnand Libya 

V. deserta siti regio .... 42 


2 : 9 C/BL. thai sekyng 
E. thai beseik 

V. per aras / exquirunt .... 56 


2 : 11 C. brytnyt 

R. bykynnit 

V. mactant ..... 57 


2 : 75 C/E. euyr of weir 

3: 38 



sere of were 




I afEeir me les the fatis onstabill 
„ offer les „ „ ,, 
sed fatis incerta feror 



and setis set the glen 
and sutis the glen 
saltusque indagine cingunt 




190 Appendix A 

Book 7P 





rungeand the fomy goldyn byt gyngly 
gnyppand „ „ „ „ „ 
ac frena . . . spumantia mandit 



; 18 




envolupyt war and wond 
involuppit war and sound 
crines nodantur 



; 19 




nodantur .... 





sclirewit sawys 
schort ,, 


ficti pravique 


; 92 



graith the wyndis 
graith thi wingis 
voca Zephyros 


7 : 

: 62 




apon rych carpettis spred 

„ „ tapettis „ (Cf. No. 18) 
stratisque .... 







saysyng half onwrocht 

baissing „ „ 

infabricata .... 



; 8 




Dyn and resoundyng al the large see 
dynand „ „ „ „ 
litora fervere late . • • / tantis clam- 
oribus sequor 



; 40 


his dul ontretabill eris 


„ „ uncredyble „ 
duras demittere in auris 










Appendix A 

Book IV 





Quhidder haistis he sa fast 
» . „ „ „ salf 
quo ruit ? ... 





stikkis to the rochis 

„ to the rutis 
ipsa haeret scopulis 





sleipryfe chesbow seyd 
soporiferumque papaver 







intil our innar clos 

„ „ inwart „ 
secreta . . . tecto interiore 



: 8 


in the braid lochis 
„ „ „ lowis 
lacus late 



; 62 




Hecht to Sycheus assys 

„ „ „ oft syis 
fides cineri promissa Sychaeo 



: 20 


quhar am I ? 

quhair am I now ? 

ubi sum ? ... 



: 22 





werdis onkynd 
weirdis „ 
wourdis „ 
facta impia 



: 27 



Quham as thai say. 
Quham as they see. 
quern . . . aiunt 





. 494 




. 596 

. 598 

192 Appendix A 

Book IV. 105. 

11 : 53 C/E. Ze infernale fureys that wrekis al wrang 
§§R- » „ „ „ wirkis „ 

V. Dirae ultrices G0» 


11 : 106 C. Se on this wys scho cum 
§E. „ „ „ „ scho can 
V. sic veniat 637 


11 : 112 C. And byrn zon Troiane statw in flamb 

E. And byrn zon Troians statw in flamb 

R. To bring zon Troianis state in flambe 

V. Dardaniique rogum capitis permittere 

fiammae ..... 640 


12 : 5 C. tythirris 

E. tichwris 

f R. with teris 

V. macuUsque . . . interfusa . . 643-4 


12 : 44 C. the noys ran wild out our the cite waUis 

§§E. „ „ „ wyde „ „ „ „ „ 

V. bacchatur Fama per urbem , . 666 


12 : 72 C. And the self hour mycht haue tane hyne 

E. And the self hour myght haue tane us 

R. And the self hour myght haue tane him 

V. ambas . . . eadem hora tuUsset . 679 


12 : 82 C. To wesch hir woundis 

E. „ „ „ handis 

V. vulnera . . . abluam . . . 683-4 








(These are synonyms, but the C. text 
avoids the hard repetition of word 


2 : 102 E. Hys faderys hie sawle queith 

K/BL. „ „ „ ,, queinth 

V. genitori instaurat honores . . 94 


3 : 63 C. seyttis and thoftis 

E. settis „ thortis 

R/BL. „ „ coistis 

V. transtris . . . • .136 

Appendix A 

Book IV 


12 : 100 




of hir lang sorow and tarysum ded 

„ „ „ „ tarsone „ 
longura miserata dolorem 


12 : 109 


dubbyt hir hed ... 

doublit ,, ,, 

caput damnaverat Oreo 

Book V. 


I : 21 




the streym wolx vgsum of the dym sky 
„ storme „ „ ,, „ „ 
irihorruit unda tenebris 


1 : 40 


let ws follow tharon 
„ „ ,, tharefore 
superat quoniam Fortuna sequamur 


1 : 42 



not far hens 
„ „ thens 
nee Utora longe .... 





frekUt sprutUs 

„ spraiklis 
cerulese cui terga notse maculosus 

194 Appendix A 

Booh F. 120. 

3 : 85 C/E. tlirou the gild and rerd of men so zeld 

K. „ ,, ,, the rers ,, ,, ,, 

V. turn plausu fremituque virum . . 148 


4 : 109 C. not byssy weyngyt hot planand esyly 

E. „ besy wingit 

BL. „ „ „ „ playand „ 

V. radit iter Uquidum celeris neque com- 

movet alas .... 217 


5 : 22 C. clewis 

E. clukis 

V. uncis ...... 255 


5 : 29 C. a habirgyon 

E. a habirgeoun 

§R. ane habir Johne 

V. loricam . ..... 260 


5 : 55 C/E. Lyke as oft happy nnys 

R. Lyke as the oist hapnys 

V. quahs ssepe ..... 273 


5 : 64 C/E. Strekand hyr nek with hyssis 

§R. „ „ „ „ hissilis 

V. sibila colla / arduus attolens . . 277-8 


5 : 76 C/E. in the craft of Mynerve wondyr sle 

fR. „ „ „ weiffing 

V. hand ignara Minervse . . . 284 


6 : 40 C/E. with brycht hedis . . . schort speris 

BL. „ „ „ „ sharp speris 

V. „ ,, „ „ lucida / spicula 306-7 

6 : 49-54 BL. omits . . . 

V 311-314 

Appendix A 195 

Book V. 129. 

6 : 54 E. And fra thai hard the takyn sone onane 

R. Quhen they had the takynnys sene by 

V. signoque repente .... 315 


6 : 92 C. And gre Dyor has nummyn 

E. „ „ „ wunnyn 

V. tertia palma Diores .... 339 


7 : 22 E. hym avansyt of Kyng Amycus blude 

R. „ avantit „ „ „ 

V. Amyci de gente ferebat . . . 373 

8 : 22 C. gowsty 

E. goustly 

V. anhelitus artus ..... 432 


8 : 113 C. persyt the hard pan 

**E. „ ,, harn pan 

V. inhsit in ossa cerebro . . . 480 


10 : 52 C/E. blythnes 

fR. lychtnes 

V. gaudentque ..... 575 


11 : 37 C/E/R. in myscheif ful expart 

BL. „ „ maist expert 

V. hand ignara nocendi . . . 618 


11 : 40 C. by came agyt Beroes 
E. by come „ ,, 
V. fitBeroe 620 


11:83 C. the peralus fyre first hynt scho forsably 

E. „ „ „ furth „ ,, „ 

V. prima infensum vi corripit ignem . 641 

196 Appendix A 

Book V. 138. 

11 : 91 C. matronys 

E. matrouns 

R, Of matronis 

V. matres ..... 646 


11 : 105 C. And with evil willy eyn the schippys 

fE. and with evil wil ane the schippys be- 

*R. and with evil will evin the schippys 

V. ocuUsque maUgnis . . . / spectare rates 654-5 


11: 109-10 E. omits 

V. 656-7 


12 : 2-3 C/E. First brocht Ewmolus word quhou the 

navy Was al infyryt 
*R. First brocht Ewmolus word quhere the 

navy Was al infyryt 
V. incensas perfert navis . . . 665 


12 : 7 C/E. als swyft and fersly spurris hys steid fute 

R. And spurris als swift and fersly his steid 

fute bote 
v. acer equo turbata petivit / castra . 668-9 


12 : 18 C. al voyd 

E. all wod 

V. inanem ...... 673 


12 : 46 C/E. outscrape 
R. vnskape 

V. evadere ...... 689 


12 : 63 C/E. smyte with this smart cace. 

R. smert with his scharpe cais 

V. casu . . . acerbo .... 700 

Appendix A 197 

Book V. 146. 

12 : 141 C. quhom fleys thou ? 

E. quhy fleis thow 

V. quern fugis ?..... 742 

13]: 64 C/R. maid byrn 
E. gart birn 
V. exussit 794 

14 : 33 C/E. ane howris rest 

R. „ nychtis „ 

V. hora quieti ..... 844 

14 : 81 C. bewaland gretly 

E. beleifand weill 

V. multa gemens ..... 869 

Book F/.i 150. 

1 : 30 C/E. perpetually ilk zeir a sair presand. 

(Sm. 38) BL. and of ther lynes ther to mak ane end 

V. pcenas . . . quotannis . . . 20-1 

1 : 32 C/E. wairin draw 

(Sm. 40) R. mycht thai draw 

V. sortibus ductis ...... 22 

1 : 44 C. Onreturnabil dissait 

<Sm. 52) E. Vnreturnable desait 

BL. ouerturnabil „ 

V. inextricabilis error .... 27 

1 : 100 C. Of thi bedis nor the prayeris 

(Sm. 108) E. „ „ „ and of 

BL. of thi devotioune ^ . . . 

V. vota precesque . . . . . 51 

1 : 157 C. forgeand hir sayngis. 

(Sm. 165) E. forsand „ ,, 

V. fingitque premendo .... 80 

' Vide p. 144. * Vide p. 141. 

198 Appendix A 

Book VI. 155. 

2 : 43 C/E. In subtel wordis of obscurite . 

Involupand the trewth and verite 
BL. involwand 

V. obscuris vera involvens. . . . 100 


2 : 70 C. perellis of fiudis stremys 

E. of stremis seis . . . 

V. omnis pelagique minas . , . . 113 


2 : 146 C. pollutis al thi navy 

§§E. infekkis ,, ,, 

V. totamque incestat funere classem . 150 


3 : 22 C. jonand 

E. jouand 

V. obibat et hasta ..... 167 

3 : 40 C. for the sepulchre funerale fyre 

E. „ „ sepultur 

V. aramque sepulcro .... 177 


3 : 58 C/E. zon goldyn branch 

R. thou „ ,, (more probably 

V. ille aureus arbore ramus . . . 187 

3 : 61 C. our trew, alace 

E. cum trew ,, 

V. vere / heu nimium .... 188-9 


3 : 99 C/E. Siklyke was of this gold the figur brycht 

BL. „ „ ,, ,, „ cullour „ 

V, talis erat species auri .... 208 


3 : 137 C/E. the reliqueis and the dry ammeris syne 

R. and the rehquyis of the dry ameris syne 

V* rehquias . , . et bibulara lavere favillam 227 

Appendix A 199 

Book VI. 164. 

4 : 69 C. waist dongion 

E. werst „ 

V. vacuas ...... 269 

4 : 70 C. voyd boundis 

E. wyde 

V. inania regna ..... 269 


4 : 77 C. befor the porcb 

E. „ „ port 

V. vestibulum ante ipsum . . .273 


5 : 5 C/E. popland and bulrand 

R. „ „ bowkand 

V. sestuat . . . eructat .... 297 


5 : 35 C/E. Quhom the cald sesson cachis owr the 

§§E. Quhen the cald sesson thame cachis 

V. ubi frigidus annus / trans pontum fugat 311-2 

5 : 90 E. starnys 
BL. stormis 
V. sidera 338 


5 : 182 C/E. reiosyt of the grond hys surname bayr 

R. reositure „ ,, ,, ,, ,, 

V. gaudet cognomine terra . . . 383 


6 : 47 C/E. The rageand hart all full of wraith and ire 

Than wolx appesit of this laithhe syre. 
R. transposes these hnes. 

V. tumida ex ira turn corda residunt . 407 

6 : 59 C/E. byg weghty Ene 

R. „ wourthy 

V. ingentem ^Enean .... 413 

200 Appendix A 

Book VI. 173. 

6 : 62 C. Gan grane or geig ful fast the sewit barge 

E. „ „ „ „ „ jonit „ 

f R. gan grane or grank full fast the jonit or 

sewit barge. (Here probably a 
marginal explanation incorporated.) 
V. cumba / sutilis ..... 413-4 






Amang the fawch rispis harsk and sear 
,, ,, ,, ,, harsk and star 
„ ,, ,, rilsis harsk and star 

glaucaque ,, ulva 


7 : 

; 42 


infectioun wastit away 

infortoun „ „ 

crudeh tabe peredit .... 







fey Dido 

fare Dido 

infeUx Dido ..... 



: 60 


Apon the wrethis and wandrand gaistis 


Upoun the wandring and wiachit gaistis 


magna manis ter voce vocavi 


: 83 


ducebat ...... 



: 115 




Quhat f ortoun doith the each and steyr 

„ „ teich 
quae te fortuna fatigat 



; 23 


souerane nun 


souerane now 

magna sacerdos .... 







Appendix A 201 

Book VI. 181. 

9 : 83 C/E. skurge and bete 

R. skoure 

V. castigat / flagello . . . 567-70 


9 : 137 C/E. brudy bowellys 

BL bludy 

V. fecundaque poenis / viscera . . 598-9 


9 : 153 C. langand tyl a kyngis fest (Cf. every 

deill langand the goddes) 
E. redy til a kingis fest 

V. epulse . . . paratse . . . regifico luxu . 604-5 


9 : 165 C/E. warryn chasj^ 

§R. war inchasit 

V. pulsatusve parens .... 609 


10 : 1 C/E. the ancyant nun of Dan Phebus 

*R. „ „ „ Deiphebus 

BL. „ „ „ Dame Phebus 

V. Phcebi longfBva sacerdos . . . 628 


10 : 25 C. beyn swardis 

E. grene suardis 

V. amoena virecta ..... 638 


10 : 112 C. in the hie way 

E. „ „ rycht „ 

V. faciU iam tramite .... 676 


11 : 7-8 C/E. His tendir nevois and posterite 

Thare fatis and thair fortonys euery gre 
BL. transposes these, and for the first line 

reads : The noble actis of ther posteritie. 
V. carosque nepotes / fataque fortunasque 

virum 682-3 

202 Appendix A 

Book VI. 189. 

12 : 49 C. large feildis of Elysee 

E, „ seis „ 

V. ampluin . . . Elysium ... . . 743-4 


12 : 78 C/E. rowmyt to and fro 

§ V. rownit ( = whispered) 

V. venientum ..... 755 


13 : 16 C. Comniixit of 

E. „ with 

fR. comptit of 

V. commixtus sanguine .... 762 

13 : 24 C. lordschip hald 
E. „ haif 
V. dominabitur 766 


13 : 30 C/E. of piete or in were 

*R. in pece or in were 

V. pietate vel armis .... 769 


13 : 48 C. grandschir 
E. gudschir 
BL. grant schir 
V. avo 777 


13 : 90 C. On schuldir 

E. In „ 

V. umero ...... 797 


14 : 38 C/E. sail blason 

§R. sail bUssing 

V. ferent ea facta ..... 822 


14 : 80 E. Agamemnonys realm Mycene 

C. „ regioun „ 

V. Agammemnoniasque Mycenas . . 83ft 

Appendix A 

Book VI 



14 : 101 


Quhilk only throw thi slycht and tareyng 
„ onely throw the sicht of cawing. 
unus qui . . . cunctando . 


15 : 23 


deirly dycht {deirly ?) 

duly dycht 

insignis spoUis . . . opimis 


15: 50 



dyrk as nycht (avoids contiguity of blak) 
blak as nycht 
nox atra .... 


15: 67 


thou God of the flude Tyberyne 

„ ,, „ blude Tyberiene 
Tiberine ...... 


15: 68 




funera ...... 


15 : 112 


Departis all ways 
Dapertis all wyse. 
faciUs datur exitus .... 

Book VII 


1 : 13 C/E. 
(Sm. 2 : 13)§R. 

sworland weUs 

swelland „ 

verticibus rapidis .... 


1 : 25 


now thou 
now now 
nunc age ..... 


1 : 77 




bUsfuU bewis 

blythfuU „ 

sacra comam ..... 











204 Appendix A 

Book VIL 207. 

1 : 145 C/E. ane hundreth wollit wedderis 

§R. „ „ . walit 

V. centum lanigeras .... 93 


2:8 E. Thar navy can thai ankyr fast and hank 

(Sm. 3) R. * Thare navy come, they ankirrit fast and 
V. rehgavit . . . classem. . . . 106 


2 : 46 C/E. mesis etyn, done, and lost 

BL. meissis consumit ar and loist 

V. accisis . . . dapibus . . .125 


2 : 67 C/E. He dyd involup and aray his hed 

BL. He did inuoluend „ ,, „ 

V. tempora / imphcat .... 135-6 


3 : 22 C/E. And fast by the ilk costis syde of the see 
(Sm. 4) Hys first mansioun. 

BL. And first ,, 

V. primasque in litore sedes . . . 158 


4 : 34 C/R. thame hard I say 
(Sm. 5) E, Than hard I say 

V. memini / Auruncos ita ferre . . 205-6 

4 : 35 C/E. of this cuntre. 

BL. of this mater 

V. his ortus ut agris .... 206 

4 : 80 C/E. plagis temperate 

§R. placis „ 

V. plagarum / quattuor .... 226-7 

4 : 157 C/E. and joy 

BL. na ioye 

V. opulentia ...... 262 

Appendix A 205 

Book VII. 216. 

4 : 166 C. as a gaist 

E. as ane „ 

§R. as agast 

V. exhorrescat ..... 265 


4 : 169 C/E. turnand zour went 

§R. tome in your went 

V. mandata referte .... 267 


4 : 193 C/E. Thar brusyt trappuris 

BL. thare brusouris ,, 

V. pictisque tapetis .... 277 


4 : 201 C. fast sneryng owt 

E/R. „ swermyng „ 

BL. fast furth snering 

V. spirantis naribus ignem . . . 281 


5 : 33-4 C/E. fund / sovir way 
(Sm. 6) R. „ sone away 

V. invenere viam ..... 297 


5 : 45 C/E. Syrtis 

BL. certes 

V. syrtes 302 


6 : 17 C/E. Thys eddir slydyng our slekit bodeis soft 
(Sm. 7) R. this eddir slyding oureshppit sleikit 

bodyis soft. (Cf. No. 173) 
V. ille inter vestis et levia pectora lapsus . 349 


7 : 21 C/E. hyghty boundis 
(Sm. 8) §R. lichtlie 

V. tectis ... in altis . . . .413 


Appendix A 

Booh VII. 


7 ; 

: 104 




consider tliir syngis 
„ thir thingis 
respice ad haec ..... 


7 ; 

: 115 


lith and bane 
lyth and vane 
ossaque et artus .... 



: 126 


The licour sparklis for the heyt bulyng 
„ lykoure sparkis „ „ hait buhng 
exsultantque sestu latices . 



; 127 


the fervent bullyr violent 
„ frawart „ 
furit intus aquai .... 


8 : 3-4 
<Sm. 9) 



With hir infernall weyngis f urth can cary 
Alecto towart Troianys but mair tary. 
transpose these 

Allecto in Teucros Stygiis se concitat 
ahs ...... 



; 15 


wild fosteris 
,, forstaris 
animos accendit agrestis 



; 18 



With large hed and tyndis burnyst far 
,, ,, heis ,, ,, furnest fayr. 
cornibus ingens ..... 





gyde / of studdis flokkis bowis 

„ „ stedis folkis „ 
cui regia parent / armenta . 



; 43 C. 




to cuyll his feit 

„ „ „ heit 

„ „ „ heid 
sestus . . . levaret .... 










Appendix A 207 

BooJc VII. 233. 

8 : 75-76 C/E. Tyrrlieus / The churlys all assemlyt 

jx. ,, ,, carlis J, J, 

V. vocat agmina Tyrrhus . . . 508 


8 : 91 C/E. the blast was hard 
BL. the blaw „ „ 

V. audiit et, etc. ..... 516 


8 : 138 C/E. fyve flokkis pasturyt 

BL. „ „ fosterit 

V. quinque greges illi . . . . 538 


9 : 88 C. and rowpyt eftir batale ernystfuUy 
(Sm. 10) **E. „ „ „ „ rycht ernystly 

§R. and roupit efter fatale ernyst folly 

V. Martemque fatigant .... 582 


9 : 91 C/E. Contrar answeris and dispositions 

BL. „ „ ,, disputacyounis 

V. contra fata deum perverso numine . 584 


10 : 7 C/E. quhen first thai move 

(Sm. 11) BL. „ first euir thay move 

V. cum prima movent .... 603 


10 : 34 C/E. pronunce the new weir 

BL. promyse „ „ „ 

V. vocat pugnas ..... 614 


10 : 71 C/E. battellit about 

R. battelit all about 

V. turrigerae ...... 631 


10 : 77 C/E. With latit sowpill siluer weill annelit 
BL. „ „ „ „ „ ammelyt 

V. lento . . . argento .... 634 

208 Appendix A 

Book VII . 242. 

11:2 C. mont of Helycone 

(Sm. 12) E. mont Helicone 

BL. mouth of Elicone 

V. Pandite nunc Helicona . . . 641 

11:41 C/BL. insete 
E. inset 

V. clipeoque insigne .... 657 


11 : 56 C/BL. in his handis 
E. in thair handis 

V. manu . . . gerunt .... 664 


11 : 59 C. poyntaUs 

E. pynsaUs 

R. poyntis 

V. tereti . . . mucrone . . . 665 


12 : 38 C/E. in the zallow corn 

(Sm. 13) BL. in ane zallow ,, ' 

V. flaventibus arvis .... 721 


12 : 71 C/E. Nor thow 
BL. nor now 
V. nectu 733 


12 : 107 C/E. all enarmyt laubour thai thar land 

*R. „ „ „ „ thorn land 

V. armati terram exercent . . , 748 


13 : 39 C/E. Numycus thou hallowit fresch ryver 

(Sm. 14) BL. Of Munitus now „ „ „ 

V. tuos sacrumque Numice . . . 797 

Appendix A 

Booh VII. 


14: 78 
(Sm. 15) 






thai gove 

thai gofe 

thai gang 

thay go 

miratur . . . et prospectat euntum 

Book VIII. 


3 : 33 


Quham hardy Pallas did / forbyd 

quhen „ 

audax quos . . . vetat 


3 : 104 


starrit speir cumpas 
sterrit cumpas ,, 
ffitherios . . . orbis . 


3: 126 


treuth and band 

faith and band 



3: 172 


adionyt in band 
adjoint in hand 
iuncta est mihi foedere 


3: 176 


and suppovell 

and uith supple 

auxiUo ..... 


3: 183 


with ws do hallow 

„ „ alhallow 
celebrate / nobiscum . 


4: 1 


Eftir that stanchit was the hungris rage 

„ „ „ „ hungry „ 
Postquam exempta fames . 




appetit of meyt 
appetite of men 
amor . . . edendi 












Appendix A 

Booh VIII. 



: 26 


sonnys beme nevir schane 
sonnys beme neuer nane 
solis inacessam radiis . 


. 195 


: 32 




ordur of filth stilland fra 
odour of fylth stynkand tharfra 
caede tepebat humus . 


. 196 


: 46 


bodeis thre 
hedis thre 


tergemini ..... 

. 202 




out from thar stand 

out from that land 

a stabuhs ..... 


. 207 




queym stane 
quhine stane 
saxo . . . opaco 


. 211 







impleri . . . clamore 


. 216 




demmyt wyth the rokis ran abak 
dynnyt quhill the rolkis „ 
dissultant ripse refluitque . . . amnis 


. 240 





instat ..... 


. 250 

5 : 





of Creit the monstreis 
in Crete „ „ 
Cresia . . . prodigia . 

. 294-5 

Appendix A 

Book VIII. 



: 61 


In sic sangis thar fest thai sanctify 

,, ,, „ „ and sacrify 
talia carminibus celebrant 



: 10 


hard runtis 

hard rutis 

duro robore .... 



: 19 


from the hie hevynnys 
from the hevynis 
primus ab setherio 



; 22 




ontaucht pepill 

uncouth ,, 

genus indocile .... 



: 45 


hys auld trew name 
his awin trew name 
verum vetus . . . nomen. 


6 : 



wyld beistis 
„ busMs 
silvestribus horrida dumis 


7 : 



furth of hys bed startis 
„ „ „ steris 
e stratis . . . surgit 






Of Tyber 

Thybri pater .... 







on the followand flude 
„ „ flowand „ 
secundo defluit amni . 











212 Appendix A 

Book VIII. 211. 

9 : 57 C/E, enarmouris spulzeit dene. 
BL. „ of spulze clane 

V. exuit armis ..... 567 


10 : 35-36 C/E. Amyd ane holl cleuch or a dern valle 

Off hir fre will tyll hym apperis sche 
§§R. Amyd ane holl or ane derne vaill 

Of hir fre will to him scho tald ane tale 
V. in valle reducta talibus adfata est dictis 609-11 


10 : 46 C/E. child 
fR. son 
V. nate 613 


10 : 80 C/E. gresy 

§R. grisly 

V. \aridi ... in antro . . . 630 


12 : 22 C/E. stammys sic as schippis beris 
BL. stanis „ ,, „ „ 

V. navali . . . rostrata .... 684 


12 : 35 C/E. ruschand 

BL. ruschit 

V. omnes ruere ..... 689 


12 : 66 C/E. in plait and mail 

BL. in place and male 

V. caelatus ferro ..... 701 


12 : 69 C/E. in went 
BL. inuent 
V. vadit 702 

Appendix A 213 

Book VI 1 



12 : 73 



Actyus Apollo seand in the sky 
Of this meUe the dowtsum victory 
And utheris Goddis in thar cumpany 
Actius Apollo fleand in the sky. 
Actius haec cernens, etc. 


12 : 83 



sclakand schetis 

scaland „ 

laxos . . . immittere funis . 

Booh IX. 


1: 30 


zour cartis 
zone cartis 


currus ..... 

2: 47 




hys feris all ressauyt the clamour hie 
„ „ all rasit „ „ „ 
clamorem excipiunt socii 


2: 69 


Rasys in ire 

raisis in the air 

ira/saevit .... 

3: 45 


Eneas ..... 


3: 78 


gret plesand lycht 
new plesand lycht 
nova lux . . . et ingens 


3: 167 


ze valzeand knychtis 

waUt ,, ,, 

lecti .... 


4: 5 


f eill tymys 
fyue tymes 
nee non ..... 











Appendix A 

Book IX. 


6: 20 




passim sorano . 

6: 46 


trake of deth 




6: 106 




lat be 

Lat thame be 



6: 118 


and beft {= finished) 
and neft 


. 316 


. 355 

. 357 

7 : 57 C/E. persewit 

BL. persauit 

V. sequentum ..... 394 

299 . 

7 : 86 C. or bawkis Me 

E. of balkis hie 

R. And bawkis hie 

V. aut ... ad fastigia . . . 408 


7 : 97 C/E. hang on his bak 

f R. nerehand his bak 

V. in tergum ...... 412 


7 : 98 C. al in schuldir brak 

E. „ schundir „ 

V. ibique / frangitur .... 412-3 


8 : 2 C/BL. Titan 

E/R. Tithone 

V. Tithoni 460 

Appendix A 

Book IX. 


8: 55 



to leif alyve 
to leve on live 
to leif alase 
Unquere solam 


8: 82 


absumite ferro . 


8: 103 




manus .... 

8: 126 


with pikkis 
with wappinys 
duris . . . contis 


9: 1 




CaUiope and ze Musys all 
CalUope thou god of musis all 
Vos, CalUope . 


9: 52 




evill farrand 


inglorius .... 




TSigyt best 


ut fera . . . furit 


9 : 77 


demens .... 


9: 118 





full lichtly 

demens .... 





. 510 







Appendix A 

Booh IX 



: 22 




en qui 



: 29 


a pepill derf and dour 
of nature ,, „ „ 
durum a stirpe genus . 







on bedis bair 
„ „ bare 
canitiem galea . 





of turnyt buscbboun tre 
„ „ buscbbome 
buxusque . 












witb bornys fuyn and put 

crune „ „ 
cornu petat 


11 : 





silvestris . 


11 : 



to kepe stekit 

to be streikit 

portam . . . recludunt 


11 : 






. 600 

. 603 

. 612 


. 624 

. 629 

. 673 



Appendix A 217 

Book IX. 


11 : 49 


Tynarus . . . menyt 
Tymarus fers myndyt 
praeceps animi Tmarns 



12: 16 


febill bestes onstabill 

„ J, onfensabill 

„ „ miserabil 
pecora inter inertia . . . . 



12: 54 




hevyng hys swerd 
heving up his swerde 
sublatum ... in ensem . 



12: 67 



of dreidf ull raddour ( — fear) 

witli dredful dreddour 

formidine . . . . . 



12: 113 




sangis and gestis musyk and harpyng 
„ musyng „ 
,, ,, „ musit in harpying 
„ „ „ carmina semper 

et citharse cordi numerosque intendere 
nervis ...... 



13: 18 



onselly cuntre 


awne sylly „ 

infelicis patriae ..... 


Book X. 


1 : 22 






contra vetitum ..... 



1 : 23 


tbame or tbame 
thaim or thayrs 
hos aut hos ..... 



Booh X. 
1 : 26 

1 : 36 

2: 75 

4 : 78 

5: 73 

5: 76 

5: 91 

5: 95 

5 : 123 

Appendix A 





with bludy wappynnys 
the bludy ,, 
ferrumque lacessere . 



glaidly do makis {imperative 
glaidly to mak 
glaidly and with one mak 
laeti componite . 



the Phrigyane febill geir 
the Utill Phrigiane gere 
fluxas Phrygiae res 





Led hys age 
„ „ hfe 
duxisse senectam 




Gyf thow belevys not my sa^ 
„ „ „ nocht 
„ „ beleves ocht j 

mea si non inrita dicta puts 



by fell occisioun 
by fel occasioun 
caedis acervos 



moder of the Goddis 
modir of wodis 
parens . . . deum . 



lyonys zokkyt to the char 
„ „ thi chayr 
,, lokkit in ane schare 
biiugique ad frena leones 



of crannys crowplyng 

„ crowping 
dant signa grues 





in vane 

. " . 244 
. 245 
. 252 



Appendix A 219 

Book X. 


5 : 




Thai fle the weddiis blast. . . . 
Thar glaidsum soundis foUowand thame 

Thar glaidsum sownes flowand thame 

fugiuntque Notos clamore secundo 




versas ad ..... 


5 : 



hardy men 
hardy me nt 
audentis ...... 





quhais zallow berd 

zoung berd 

flaventem prima lanugine . 

6 : 



concur runt . . . . . 


7 ; 

: 17 




quhidder do ze fle 

do ze fle hens 

quo fugitis . . . . . 



: 146 




that it may throw Alesus body scheir 
that I may Ilessus body here 
viam duri per pectus Halsesi 


: 10 




solus ...... 




: 160 



plente of terys 
playnt of teris 
multo gemitu .... 











Appendix A 

Booh X. 



: 73 




writh down 
bowit downe 
reflexa / cervice 



: 82 


into sycht 
in to fecht 
apparuit ..... 



: 116 


My rycht hand sal the saysing geif 
„ „ „ » » sauyng „ 
hac dabitur dextra tellus 


11 : 

: 160 


evir . . . se 

neuer se 

iterum . . . videbo . 

11 : 

: 197 




labitur alta .... 


: 2 


ardens ..... 


14 : 






ultor ..... 


14 : 



moist forcy 

thou „ 

fortissime ..... 


14 : 






nor that the hst dedeyn 
„ „ „ „ dedene 
. nor at the leist dedenete. 
neque credo . . . dignabere 










Appendix A 221 

Book XL 356. 

1 : 47 C/E. Goddis 

BL. god 

V. superi ...... 20 


1 : 109 C/E. war bald and stern ; said we had wer at 

*R. wald were and sterf sa we had were at 

V. acris esse viros cum dura proclia gente . 48 


3 : 27 C/E. restyng place providit and herbry 

BL. „ „ promouit ,, „ 

V. locum sedemque dedissent . . 112 


3 : 28 C/E. Ne na weirfar 
fR. na mare ,, 
V. necbellum 113 


3 : 36-7 C/E. To end the weir or Troianys of this land 

Forto expell. 
R. or for to were oure Troianis . . . 

V. si bellum finire manu, si pellere Teucros 116 


3 : 74 C/E. Tharto annerdis with haill voce 

fl^- ,. cryis „ „ 

V. unoque omnes eadem ore fremebant . 132 


4 : 2 C/E. of sa gret womentyng 

BL. of the grete ,, 

V. tanti . . . luctus . . . .139 


4 : 21 C/E. Thar was na fors Evander mycht 

BL. Thar was na fors Evander mycht not 

V. at non Euandrum potis est vis uUa 

tenere ..... 148 

222 Appendix A 

Bool XI. 


4: 62 




As therto detbund in my wrachit age 
„ „ detborne „ ,, „ 
senectse / debita erat nostrse 


5 : 26 






spolia ..... 


5: 63 




scrapis owt atanys 

trumpis ,, „ 

ruebant ..... 


6: 57 




fortunat folk 

y ^ 5 > 5 » 

fortunatae gentes 

6: 108 


natyue land 
. . . cuntre 
patriis . . . aris 


7 : 92 



our febill weill 
oure pepill weill 
rebus . . . fessis 


10: 65 




schaip on our cite 
scbapis in our cietie 
adventat ad urbem 


10: 67 




ane buschment 

furta ... in tramite silvse 

11 : 34 



spumabat .... 










Appendix A 





: 118 


is at all tyrne 

is all tyme 

is oft al tyme 

seternum .... 



: 140 



And dekkyt 



: 42 


to schuldris with a crak 

in schunderis ,, ,, 
to schudderis ,, ,, 
ruinam / dant sonitu . 



: 103 




so bustuus blomyt he 
„ „ bownys he 
tantus in arma patet 


; 106 


tremit .... 




deicis .... 




R. &BI 

bustuus powis 
1. „ browis 
caput ingens 


14 : 





fat ofEerandis 
first oiferandis 
hostia pinguis . 





haymwart brocht 

hame war brocht 

hame has brocht 

reducem ut patria alta videret 



. 596 



. 645 

. 665 




224 Appendix A 

Book XL 382. 

16 : 60 C/E. Quhill that the bow and nokkis met 

fR. Quhill that the bow nokkis met almaist 

V. donee curvata coirent .... 860 

Book XII . 383. 

1 : 4 C/E. onbrokyn 

BL. vnwrokin 

V. implacabilis ..... 


2 : 50 C/E. nor quhen I pas onto thir mortall werys 

R. Bot that I may recounter my aduersaris 

V. me ... in certamina . . . euntem . 72-3 


2 : 73 C/E. fast to hys in he spedis 

R. „ „ his stable in 

V. rapidusque in tecta recessit . . 81 


2 : 108 C/E. rude 
BL. gude 
V. ingenti 92 


2 : 116 C. now the in hand withhaldis 

E. „ ,, ,, vphaldis 

V. te Turni nunc dextra gerit ... 97 


4 : 159 C/E. chekis walxin leyn 

tR. „ „ thyn 

V. tabentesque gense .... 221 


5 : 143 C/E. feirfuU braid 

R. felloun braid 

V. csecique ruunt ..... 279 


6 : 34 C. Dyd hym avant he wondit had Ene. 

E. That present was persauit in the melly 

V. sese .i^nese iactavit vulnere . . 323 

Appendix A 






: 156 




lymouris and hamys 

„ „ hamouris 



: 89 


spargitque . . . . 



: 56 




from the month a large gait 
from the mouth of ane large gate 
de montibus altis 


9 : 

: 110 




hous and famyll 
housis of famell 
domus alta .... 



: 80 


and wyde the zettis^cast 
and wyde to the walhs cast 
pandere portas .... 







scartis sche 

startis she 

manu . . . laniata genas . 







patent was the plane 
patent was and plane 
ut vacuo patuerunt aequo re campi 





Fe mastris 

The maistris 

pavidi . . . magistri 







sanguine largo .... 












Appendix A 

Booh XII 




; 116 




celebrabit .... 



; 125 


ane other craft 
ane vther cast 
aUud . . . . 



; 41 


that he ne knew hym selvyn 

„ mysknew „ ,, 
se nee cognoscit 



; 75 




ne can he fynd 
ne fend he fyndis 
nee quo se eripiat 



: 88 




fulmine . , . . 




. 917 


Readings in Translation not dependent on Text, beino 
Impletive or Explicative Phrases 

Booh I. 1. 

4:4 C. prosper cours 

E. propir „ 

V. dat lora secundo . . . .156 

Booh II. 2. 

5 : 7 C/E. vapour of sleip 

R. sapour 

V. sopor . . . complectitur artus , . 253 


7 : 33 C/BL. rowch serpent 

E. ruth 

V. anguem ...... 


8 : 103 C. brusch and fard of watir 

E. bruschand ,, „ 

V. spumeus amnis .... 496 

9 : 2 C/E. chance 

R. case ....... 


9:6 C the auld grayth 

E. the auld gray 

V. senior ...... 509 


10 : 161 C. Besowth my fader to salue his wery 

E. besocht my fader to salue his wery 

R. besocht my fader to salue his wery 

barnys ..... 


228 Appendix B 

Book II. 8. 

11 : 49 C/E. clym vp anone 

R. wy up anone ..... 

Book III. 9. 

1 : 130 C/E. The mon we follow 

BL. there „ „ .... 

4 : 75 C/E. Theyfage 

§R. they fuge 

BL. theiffage ...... 


4 : 82 C. of torment 

E. and turment 

V. Furiarum ego maxime . . . 252 


5 : 42 C/E. onbodeit 

fR, unberyit ...... 


5 : 52 C/E. half mangit fel scho down 

R. all mangit „ ,, 

V. calor ossa rehquit / labitur . . . 308-9 


5 : 127 C/E. bricht teris 

**R. grete „ 

V. multum lacrimas . . . fundit . . 348 


8 : 98 C. brokyn seys vost 

E. broldn seis bost 

Y. longe fractasque ad litora voces . . 556 

Book IV. 16. 

8 : 56 C/E. without weir 

R. forowtin were ..... 


8 : 76 C. maister stok schank . . . 

E. maister stok is smyte 

V. vaHdam . . . quercum ... 441 

Appendix B 229 

Book IV. 


8: 99 


changyt and altyr 


changit in the altare .... 
(The word altares occurs a few lines up.) 


12 : 107 


befor hir day had hir self spilt 


„ ,, had onusylie hir self spilt 


misera ante diem .... 

Book V. 


1 :58 


The followand wynd blew strek thar 
saill furth evyn 


The followand wynd blew strek thar 
saill full evin. 


et vela secundi / intendunt Zephyri 

2: 52 


to preif hys picht 


„ „ „ pith 


qui viribus audax .... 


3: 16 


fair armouris of trivmphe and myche 


fair armouris of trivmph and mychty 


armaque ...... 

Book VI. 


5: 14 




prevagely ..... 

5: 55 


Anchises get, heynd child curtas and 


Anchises get, heynd kynd curtas and 

gude ...... 

(C. avoids here the repetition of 
similar word.) 


6 : 41 C/E. skuggis of hell 
**R. stagis „ „ 





230 Appendix B 

Book VI. 26. 

9 : 85 C/E. to pyne thame 

§R. apoun thaim ..... 

11 : 5-6 C/E. Hail the nowmyr of hys geneologye 

His tendir nevoys and posterite 
BL. Transposes these lines and reads for the 

second — 
The nobil acts of ther posteritie 
V. fataque fortunasque virum . . . 683 

15 : 10 


for til exers 

for tyl expert ..... 

15: 26 


beutie ...... 

Book VII. 


4 : 122 C/E. 
(Sm. 5) tR- 

mast douchty 

maist wourthy ..... 


5: 71 

(Sm. 6) 


To thame that far doun into Achiron 

To them that far doun into Achiron fell 


5: 119 


dochtir of the dyrk nycht 

„ „ „ myrk „ 
sata Nocte ..... 


6: 38 
(Sm. 7) 


wyld dotage 

auld dotage . . . . . 


6: 87 


the round tap of tre 
the ground top „ . 


6: 126 


pylchis of fowne skynnys 
pilchis and foune skynnis 
incinctge pelUbus . . . . 



Appendix B 231 


Booh VII. 


6 : 132 C. 

wedding sangis and ballettis 
„ „ „ battallis 




7 : 70 C/E. 
(Sm. 8) *K. 

hef na way 
Uef ha may 


9 : 102 C/E. 
(Sm. 10) BL. 

thai assay 
thay affray 


10 : 50 C/E. 

marbill hirst 

(Sm. 11) BL. 

mekil hirst . . ,^^^. 


11 : 21 C/E. 
(Sm. 12) **R. 

the gydar of hys army 
togiddir with his army 


12 : 41 C/E. 
(Sm. 13) R. 

stamping stedis 
stamping of stedis 


12 : 66 C/E. 

at thar fays 
at thar feris 


in thair face 

Book VIII. 


3 : 50 C. 



peple . . . . 


3 : 160 C. 

or band 


ane band 


our band . . . , 


4 : 25 C/E. 

fendUch hole 


fendich hell 


spelunca . 



Appendix B 

Book VIII. 


4: 45 


stern melle 

Strang melle .... 


4: 46 




bodeis thre 

hedis thre 

tergemini ..... 


5: 24 



Lugyng a bab in creddill 

lugging abed „ 

lugeing a bab .... 


6: 16 


Bot as thir beistis or the doillit as 
Bot as thir beistis ar thai dulht was 


7: 53 



welterand ..... 


9: 36 




sair hart 
sad hart 
lacrimans ..... 


10: 79 


had tharin porturat 
had thar importurate 

Book IX. 


3: 162 


Thair lyfe is now 

That Hvis now .... 


4: 62 


Quhat thinkis thow, now say 
quhat thingis thow now say 


4: 66 



wrytyng ..... 



Appendix B 

Book IX. 



: 24 


I zow tell 


I zow fur 



: 26 


and turnys wentis 


tnrnis and wentis 




in wilsum den 


in this wisdome then . 


: 69 


to reduce thy spreit 


to reduce again „ 


: 133 




vnserit ... 


; X. 





of fyr and bych tre 


„ „ of the busche tre 


finus is alone in text . 




forto leif and lest 


„ „ „ rest 


sevumque agitare sub undis 




half deil in efEray 


half deid „ „ 


trepidi . . . , 




that auld cite 


that cald ciete . 




wil he be 






His promys and cunnandis 


„ „ ,, commandis 


dextrseque datae 









Booh X. 


10 : 2 C/E. 




11 : 55 C/E. 

claT- agane 
all agane 
totumque . 



11 : 118 C/E. 

baith schuke and schew 
„ drewe 
with ,, ,, 
coruscat ..... 

11 : 191 C/E. 



lay . . ' . 

12 : 48 C/E. 


cry . 

13 : 174 C/E. 


14 : 94 C/E. 


cowartlie . 



14 : 127 C/E. 

starve iu fyght 
stoure „ „ 


14 : 136 C/E. 


dartis ..... 
{Dartis occurs three Unes below.) 

Book XL 


2 : 25 C/E. 


bigging . 


3 : 5 C/E. 





Appe7idix B 235 

Book XL 78. 

3 : 7 C/E. gentre 

R/BL. gentricee ...... 


5 : 28 C. as helmys scheildis and rych swerdis 

E. as helmys swerdis and riche scheyldis 

V. galeas ensis decoros . . . .194 

5 : 76 C/E. Cryand ichane, allace and weill away. 

fR. „ ilkane ,, ,, ,, ,, 

7 : 57 C/E. holtis 

*R. hillis 

(Repeating from line above.) 

7 : 123 C/E. I meyn of hym by quhais 

*R. „ „ by him „ „ (eye error) 
V. cuius 347 

8 : 2 C/E. sik sawys 
f R. sic wourdis 

V. taUbus . . . dictis .... 376- 


9 : 28 C/E. The flycht of byrdis fordynnys the thik 
*R. the flycht of byrdis fedderis the thik 

V. alto in luco . . . catervse / consedere 

avium .... 456-457 

10 : 23 C/E. full provd walxis he 

BL. „ „ wallopis .... 

10 : 64 C/E. and passage scharp and wyll 

R. derne passage and will 

V. per deserta ..... 514 


Appendix B 




11 • 











enterit . . . . 





the giltyn bow Turcas 
,, „ bow to rais 
aureus ex umero sonat arcus 

Bool Xli 







Thou all our rest 
Thou art our rest 







giete and teris 

gretand teris 

lacrimis . . . . 





has a line here which is not i 



Hardy and stout, Uberal and syncere 


6 : 16 C/E. And villany 

§R. and fellony 


6 : 173 C/E. Clenly with hys brand 

§§R. cruelly . 


11 : 96 C/E. in maner feir 

R. in maner of feir 


Readings from the Prologues and Appendices, 


Prol. I. 




Thocht I offend onwemmyt is thy fame 
„ „ „ onhermit „ „ „ 




Amang Latynys a gret patroa 

,, ,, ,, ,. ciert . . 




to se sua spilt 
to here thame spilt .... 





neuer thre wowrdis at all quhat Virgill 
ment ^\ 

neuer thre wowrdis of all that Virgill 
ment ..... 





thystory (C/. Comment., — Thistory of 

Saul, etc.) 
the story ...... 




Juno nor Venus goddessis neuer war 
» „ „ goddea „ „ 



for the namya 
for the nanis ..... 



Than the nycht owle resembhs the 


na the owle resemblis the papyngay 


238 Appendix C 

Frol. I 9. 

269 C. vndir cuUour of sum strange Franch 

E. vndir cuUour of sum Franch. Strang 

BL. vndir cuUour of sum Franch strange 

wicht ..... 

(BL. is right, as Douglas is blam- 
ing Caxton for sheltering behind 
another, in a kind of pseudepi- 








frenschly ...... 




I nold zhe trast I said this for dispyte 
I wald ze traist nocht „ ,, „ 




to follow a fixt sentens 


„ „ „ quyk „ ... 



I follow the text als neir I may 



„ as I may 



semabill wordis 


seuthabill „ . 


(Sm. 440) 


mycht scho not pretend na just caus 
>> >j >> jj ane ,, ,, . 


(Sm. 460) 


Thou be my muse, my gydar and laid 

Thou be my muse, my leidar and leid- 



Thou be my muse, my ledar and gyde 
stern ...... 

^ Small inserts six lines re /Eneas at line 329, see ante, p. 60. 

Appendix C 239 

Prol. III. 17. 

1 C/E/R. Hornyt Lady, pail Cynthia 

BL. Honorit ,, ,, ., . . 

18 C. otheris forvayis 

E. othir „ 


22 C/E. Weyn thai to murdrys me 

R. mene „ „ ,, „ . 

{Weyn is repeated four lines lower, 
evidently on purpose, and R. is a 
correction for style's sake.) 

rol. IV. 




Zour joly wo neidlyngis most I endyte 
Zour joly were neidlings must I indite . 
(C. is an oxymoron deliberative.) 




zour fvkill seyd 
„ febill „ 




glaidnes lestis not ane houris lenth 
lestis bot „ 




Sampson thow reuist hys fors 

„ rubbist „ „ . 




So rumysyng with hyduus lowand cry 
Sum rumesing „ „ ,, „ 




Sum hait byrnyng as ane onbridillyt 

Sum hert hait brenyng as ane vnbridlet 
hors ...... 

167 C/BL. Eschamys na tyme in rovste of syn to ly 

E. „ „ thing „ sone ,. 

(E. is right in na thing and wrong in 



Prol. IV. 




forcy alane in villans deid 

,, „ ,, will and dede 
(An editorial alteration which alters 
and weakens sense.) 




wil I repeyt this vers agane. 
„ „ report „ „ „ . . 




Nor at his first estait no thio" abyde 
„ „ „ „ no quhile „ 




In hir faynt lust sa mait, within schort 

In hir faynt lust sa schort a quhile . 




Allace the quhile thou knew the strange 

Allace the quhile thou knew the Strang 





Be the command I lusty ladeis quhyte 
Be command of lusty ladyis quhite 
(Wrong in sense and rhythm.) 

Prol. V. 




Gladys the grond the tendir florist greyn 
Glad is the ground of the „ „ „ 




in thar barnage 

in his barnage ..... 

(C. agrees with next hue, thar tahill.) 




gyf he be nocht joy us now lat se. 


„ „ „ „ lat ws se 



I byd nothir of zour turmentis 

I set by nowthir zour turmentis . . 

Appendix C 241 

Prol. YI. 37. 

7 C/E. this dyrk poyse 

R. „ depe „ 

BL. „ dark ...... 

{deip Acheron is in the sixth Une above.) 


9 BL. gaistis is wrong, as the rhyme demands 

the reading ja'pis 


12 C/E. reid agane this volume mair then twys 

BL. reid agane this volume mair then 

thryis ..... 


19 C/E. wow ! thow cryis 

*R. now 

>} >> 


24 C/E. Or cal on Sibil, deir of a revyn sleif 

R. or call on our Sibil „ 

>> >» 


43 C/E/R. and purgatory 

BL. ane mitigate pane .... 

(The Une above ends with " endless 


59 C. Virgil writis mony just claus conding 

E. „ „ „ „ caus 

76 C/E. And maste profound philosophour he 

him schawis 
R. And made profound philosophour be his 

sawis ...... 

{Saivis ends the second Une above 
this one.) 

89-96 This purgatory stanza is omitted in BL. . 


242 Appendix C 

Prol VI. 46. 

166 C. the lyknes tHs mysty poetry 

E. the lyknes of this misty poetry . 

Prol. VII. 47. 

28 C. bewavit oft the schipman by hys race 

E. bewaUt of „ „ „ „ rays 


36 C/E. ourcast with rokis blak 

R. „ „ cluddis „ 


43 C. seir bittir bubbis 

E. soure „ „ 

BL. omits 11. 43-46 probably from its refer- 

ence to hell 


70 C/E. chyrmyng and with cheping 

R. „ „ wythweping 


92 C. stern wyntir 

E. storme „ .... 


93 C/E. repatyrrit weil 

R. recreate. ..... 


105 C. Hornyt Hebowd 

E. Hornit he bawde 

*R. Hornyt the bonde 

BL. The horned byrd 


115 C/E. the greking of the day 

tR. „ breaking „ „ . • 


154 C/E. ourvoluyt I this volume 

R. ourevolvdt of „ ,, • • 


Appendix C 

Prol VII. 




Quhen frostis doitli ourfret 

„ dayis „ . . . 




And as our buk begouth hys weirfar tell 
„ „ „ „ „ welefare ,, 

Prol. VIII. 




leys, lurdanry 
,, lurdanly ..... 




Sum glasteris, and thai gang at 


„ glasteris at the gangat . 




Sum grenys eftir a guse 
,, ,, eftir a grene gus 




The hyne crynys the corn 
,, „ cries for the corn 




a pan boddum 

a plane boddum .... 

Prol. X. 




Sessonys and spacis 

Sessionis and placis .... 


{Placis ends the third line above.) 


15 C/E. Wyntir to snyb the erth 

E. „ for to „ „ „ 

\ (The hne above has Hervyst to rendir 

\ and jor upsets balance.) 


17 C. to that fyne thou maid all thing 

*E. to that kynd „ ,, ,, . . 

{Kynd is directly above, four hues up.) 

244 Appendix C 

Prol. X. 66. 

20 C/E. Set thou ws wrocht and bocht 

*R. Set vs wrocht of nocht 

{Nocht is the rh5mie word already three 
Unes above.) 


127 C/E. to male ws bondis fre 

R. „ ,, „ bondis fle . 


137 C/E/R. in form of wyne and bred 

BL. lufly with wyne and breid . 

170 C/E. Thy spows and queyn maid, and thy 

nioder deir. 
R. Thy spows maid of thi moder dere 

Prol. XI. 70. 

1 C/E. Thow hie renown 

R. The hie renowne .... 


57 C/E. Gyf Crystis faithfull kuychtis lyst ws be 

R. Giff of chrystis faith knychtis Ust we be 

137 C/E. Bot quhet avalys begyn a Strang melle 

R. „ „ „ bargane or „ „ . 

Prol. XII. 73. 

76 C/E. law in hyr barm (=bosom) 

§R. „ „ „ barne . . . . 




the scherald fur 
„ scherand „ 




the gers pihs thar hycht 

» „ „ „ lycht 



columby blank and blew 
» blak „ „ 

Appendix C 245 

Prol XII . 


121 C/E. 

Gymp gerraflouris thar royn levys 


Gymp gerraflouris has thareon levis 
vnschet ..... 


193 C. 

sum sang ryng sangis, dansys ledys, and 


sum sang sangis, dansys ledys, and 
rovndis ..... 


212 C. 



zistrene ...... 


247 C/E. 


notis ...... 


381 C/E. Les Phebus suld me losanger attaynt 

R. „ „ „ „ to fangare „ 

Prol. 13. 82. 

118 C/E. fift quhevill 

R. thrid quhele .... 


^neas, 60, 62 

Albert!, Leo Battista, 33 

Alcuin, 43, 161 

Alesius, Alexander, 4 

Alexander Severus, 45 n. 

Alexander William, 172 

All for Love, 62 

Allegory, 45, 47 

Amyot, Jacques, 119 

Anachronisms, 80 

Anderson, Patrick, 13 

Anglic Dialects, 149 

Anglo-French, 150, 152 

Angus, Earl of, 1 

Apologiefor Poesie, 61, 121 

Appendixes, 179 

Aquinas, Thomas, 52 

Aretino, Pietro, 28 

Aristophanes, 157 

Aristotle, 5, 26, 43, 81, 114, 158, 162 

Arnold of Lubeck, 42 n. 

Arnold, Matthew, 78 

Ascenscius, Badius, 106, 107, 161, 162 

Ascham, Roger, 155 

Athenian Mercury, 20 

Augustine, St, 50, 106, 113 

Ayala, Don Pedro de, 158 

Ay ton, Henry, 140 


Bacon, Roger, 26, 78, 173 

Bale, John, 10, 19, 20 

Barbour, John, 11, 134, 149,,159,«161 

Barlaam, 157 

Bassandyne Bible, 17 

Bate, John, 157 

Bath MS., 19, 61, 139, 144, 146 

Baviufl, 154 

Beaton, Archbishop, 72 

Beccadelli, Antonio, 30 

" Bell the Cat," 2 

Bellay, Joachim du, 33, 77, 78 

Bellenden, Thomas, 22, 139 

Bentley, Richard, 79 

Bible-pricking, 45 n. 

Black Book of Tayinoufh, 6 

Black Letter Edition, 9, 46, 61, 63, 81 

Blake, William, 65 
Blind Harry (see Harry the Minstrel) 
Bocardo and Baroco, 42 
Boccaccio, Giovanni, 27, 32, 33, 54, 

132, 157, 161, 162 
Bochas, Lydgate's, 42 n. 
Books of ^netd, confusion regarding, 8 
Boes (Boece), Hector, 14 
Boethius, 47, 70, 87, 114, 162 
Brandt, Sebastian, 162 
Brigham, Nicholas, 10 
Brink, Bernhard Ten, 105 
Brown, Professor Hume, 67 
Browning, Robert, 91 
Brus, 134, 149 
Buchanan, David, 12, 17 
Buchanan, George, 3, 4, 12, 14, 20, 42, 

43, 70, 75, 123, 155 
Buke of the Howlat, 109 
Burns, Robert, 117, 160, 161 
Burton, Robert, 81 
Butcher and Lang, 90 
Bysset, Abacuc, 40 n. 


Caesar, Julius, 43 

Calderwood, David, 13 

Calverley, C. S., 78 

Cambridge MS., 24, 63, 130, 133. 137, 

Campbell, Tliomas, 118 
Carlyle, Thomas, 70 
Casimire, St, 112 n. 
Castiglione, Baldassare, 121 
Catholik and Facile Traictise, 17 
Catullus, 33 

Caxton, William, 56, 58, 161, 162 
Celtic Hell, 107 
Chambers, Robert, 117 
Chapman, George, 85, 88, 119 
Charles I, 45 n. 
Charteris, Henrie, 7, 14, 81 
Charteris, Rev. Lawience, 17 
Chaucer, 15, 20, 37, 40, 44, 59, 60, 70, 

87, 105, 124, 150, 151, 152, 162, 





Cheke, Sir John, 153 

Chepman and Myllar, 161 

Christ's Kirk on the Green, 16, 18 

Chronicon Slavorum, 42 n. 

Church and Heathen Authors, 43 

Cicero, 158 

Clarendon, Lord, 133 

Clark, Professor, 145 

Classical Revival, 30 

Cockburn, Bishop, 4 ' 

Colonne, Guido delle, 162 

Columella, 29 

Comment, The, 20, 54, 63, 132, 137, 

Comparetti, Domenico, 42 n. 
Complaynt of ScoUande, 6, 32, 82, 151 
Complaynt of the King's Papyngo (and 

Testament), 7, 8 
Confessio Amantis, 35, 42 n. 
Conington, John, 70 
Conrad, Ciianceilor, 42 n. 
Conrad, 145 

Coastantinople, Fall of, 27 
Copland, William, 9, 141 
Cotterill, H. B., 91 
Court of Love, 63 
Court of Venus, 7 
Courthope, W. J., 70, 74 
Cowper, William, 79, 80 
Craig, John, 156 
Cranstoun (Cienstoun), David, 4 
CuUen, Dr William, 154 
Cyriac of Ancona, 26 


Daniel, Hermann Adalbert, 112 n. 
Dante, 27, 32, 44, 50, 77 
Dares the Phrygian, 45, 70, 163 
Deffensc et Illustration de la Langue 

Frangoyse, 33 
Dempster, Thomas, 6 n, 12, 17, 20, 22 
Denliam, Sir John, 89 
Derby, Lord, 89 
Deschamps, Eustache, 102 
Dialog betuix Experience and ane 

Courtier, 72 
Dictys of Crete, 45 n, 70, 163 
Dido, 61, 63 
Donne, John, 128 
Dome, John, 157 
Douce, Francis, 81 
Douglas, Gawain — 

his misfortune and place seeking, 1 

date of death, 6, 14 

and Nature, 28 

and classics, 31 

and vernacular, 34 

Douglas Gawain (continued) — 

his Apologia, 36 

his Muse, 53, 106 

bis renaissance moments, 54, 65 

his originality, 55 

and Mapheus, 57 

methods, 59, 86 

and ^neas, 60 

and Lyndsay, 72, 73 

influence on Latinity, 75 

his purpose, 87 

descriptive power, 94 

sources of language, 154 

vide Readings, Prologues, and 
Dream of Oerontius, 52 n. 
Drummond ot Hawthornden, 14, 23, 

Drummond, Dr, 19 
Dryden, John, 40, 61, 80, 81, 85, 87, 

96, 98, 101, 120, 153 
Du Fresne, Charles (du Cange), 19 
Dunbar, William, 6, 22, 23, 30, 47 n., 
59, 66, 73, 75, 105, 109, 112, 117, 
120, 134, 151, 159, 172 
Dunbar, Gavin, 12 
Dunkeld, Lyves of the Bishops of, 4 
Duns, Joannes, 14 
Dunton, John, 20 n. 
Dyer, George, 23 
Dyodorus, Syculus, 56 


Eachard, John, 51 

Easy Club, 18 

Echard, Lawrence, 81 

Elphynstoun, Bishop, 14, 42, 136, 16J 

Elphynstoun, Joannes, 136 

Elphyastoun, John of Innemoclity, 

Elphynstoun, William, 136 
Elphynstoun MS., 24, 133, 135, 137, 

Elyot, Sir Thomas, 155 
English and Scots, 158 
Enoch Arden, 45 n. 
Epictetus, 162 

Epitaph on Donald Oure, 172 
Erasmus, 25, 50, 70 
Erskine of Dun, 44 
Eston, Adam, 157 


Fail-fax Manuscript, 117 
Fall of Princes, 162 
Faniaisies Historiques, 42 n. 



Farmer, Dr Robert, 51, 161 

Faust, 42 n. 

Fawkes, Francis, 20 

Fenelon, 51 n. 

Picino, Massilio, 46 

Flemmyng of Lincoln, 157 

Fly ting of Durihar and Kennedy, 159 

Fontaines, Abbe des, 90 

Fordoun, John, 158, 159 

Freebairn, Robert, 18 

French, 152 

Froiseart, 105 

Gaelic, 159 
Gale, Bishop, 130 
Gardiner, Bishop. 155 
Geddes, Matthew, 130, 131, 132, 145 
Geddie, William, 24 
Genealogia Deorvm, 54, 162 
Gervase of Tilbury, 42 n. 
Gesta Romanorum, 42 n., 162 
Gibson, Edmund, 16 
Gillies, John, 81 
Gladstone, W. E., 121 
Goethe, 46 n. 
Googe, Barnabie, 8 
Gower, John, 35, 42 n., 59, 161 
Gowrie, Earl, 138 
Gray, Gilbert, 11 
Gray, Thomas, 22, 128 
Greek in Scotland, 44, 157 
Greek in England, 157 
Gregory the Great, 43, 87 
Oriselda, 27 
Grosart, A. B., 8 n. 
Grosteste, Bishop Robert, 26 
Guarino, Veronese, 29 
Guillaume de Roy, 56 n. 
Gude and Oodlie Ballads, 117 


Hamilton, John, 17 

Hamilton, Archbishop, 52 

Hamilton of Gilbertfield, 18 

Hamilton, Patrick, 4 

Harry the Minstrel (Blind Harry), 23, 

120, 134, 159 
Hay, William, 136 
Heinsius, Daniel, 126 
H61inand, 42 n. 
Helenore : the Fortunate Shepherdess, 

24 n. 
Helmold, 42 n. 
Henderson, T. F., 24, 70 
Henley, W. E., 74 n. 
Henry VIII, 3 

Henry of Huntingdon, 158, 159 
Henryson, Robert, 35, 40, 59, 65, 66, 

73, 75, 80, 103, 105, 109, 113, 132, 

134, 157, 172 
Hepburn, Abbot George, 4 
Hesiod, 107 
Hey tufti taitie, 117 
Hickes, Dr George, 16, 19 
Hirtzel, Su- Arthur, 145 
Historice ScoticoB N omendatura, 160 
Historia de Bello Trojano, 162 
Hoby, Sir Thomas, 155 
Holinshed, Raphael, 11 
Holland, Sir Richard, 109 
Homer, 29, 45, 47, 78, 122 
Horace, 41, 42 n.. 87 
House of Fame, 63, 163 
Huchowne, 134 
Humanism, 48 
Hume of Godscroft, 13 
Hutchison, Professor, 154 


Iceland, Latin in, 154 

Incongruities, 83 

Independence, Wars of, 160 

Irenaeus, 155 

" Irish," 160 

Irvine, ChrL«topher, 160 

Irving, David, 24 

Jacobitism, 18 
James I, 23, 65, 151 
James IV, 158, 161 
James V, 71 
James VI, 29, 93 
Jamieson, Dr John, 19 
Jebb, Professor, R. C, 49 
Jerome, St, 43, 50 
Jesus, son of Sirach, 40 n. 
John of Ireland, 156 
John of Salisbury, 42 n. 
Johnny Gihb of Gusheineuk, 172 
Johnson, Dr Samuel, 79, 127 
Joly, A., 45 
Jonson, Ben, 174 
Jowett, Pi'ofessor, 79 
Junius, Franciscus, 15, 19 
Juvenal, 80 

Keats, John, 128 

Keiths. Earls Mariscliai, 41 

Kennedy, Walter, 59, 159 



Kinaston, Sir Francis, 9 
King Hart, 65, 66 
Kingis Quair, 75, 120, 15(t 
Knox, John, 4, 17 

Laing, David, 162 
Lambeth MS., 137. 144, 146 
Lancelot of the Laik, 55, 150, 174 
Landinus, Cristoffero, 29, 54, 132, 161, 

Lang. Andrew, 24, 63, 70, 71, 81. 90, 

119, 122 
Langland, William ("Robert"), 12, 

Language and Influences, 149 
Latinity in Scotland. 75, 154 
Lauderdale, Earl of, 75 n. 
Lee, Sidney, 123 n. 
Legend of Dido, 70 
Legend oj Oood Women, 60, 102 
Leo X, Pope, 1, 3 
Leonine Verse, 112 
Leslie, Bishop, 11, 16,20 
Letter oj Cupid, 63, 106, 119 
Limbus, 51 
L'isle, William, 14 
Literary Language, 151 
Lombard, Peter, 4 
Lorris de, 31 
Lucian, 158 
Lucretius, 29 

Lydgate, John, 42 n., 59, 162 
Lyndsay, Sir David, 7, 14, 22, 72, 120, 



Machault, G. de, 102 

Machiavelli, Niccolo, 121 

Macro bins, 41, 161 

Maevius, 154 

Maidment, James, 17 

Major, John, 4, 5, 14, 65, 154 n. 

Manuscripts and Readings, 124 

Mapheus Vegius, 8, 57, 116 

March, Earl of, 34 

Marmion, 64 

Masson, David, 19 

Medici, Lorenzo de', 28, 32, 107, 113, 

Meditations of Chylde Ypotia, 162 
Menage, Giles, 19 
Meung, Jean de, 31 
Middleton, Conyers, 81 
Milton, John, 35, 133, 173 
Minto, Professor, 118 

Mitford, John, 23 
Montaigne, 75, 119 
Montgomerie, Alexander, 115, 117 
Morison of Perth, 22 
Morley, Prof. Heiu-y, 119 
Morte Arthure, 134 
Mudy, Joannes, 139 
Murray, Sir J. A. H., 149, 172 
Myln, Abbot Alexander, 4, 20 
MacDonald, George, 172 
MacEwen, Prof. A., 3, 67 
Mackenzie, Dr George, 17, 22 
Mackenzie, "Bluidy," 168 


Nationalism, Scottish, 17 
Naude, Gabriel, 42 
Neckham, Alexander, 42 n. 
Neilson, W. A., 24 
Nettleship, Prof. Henry, 145 
Newman, Cardinal, 52 n. 
Nicholas of Treves, 29 
NichoUs, Rev. Norton, 22 
Nicolson, Bishop, 16, 19. 130 
Nott, John, 76, 102 


Occleve, John. 03, 106, 119 

Ogilby, John, 75 n. 

Origen, 43 

Orpheus and Eurydice, 132 

Orygynalle Chronykil of Scotland, 40, 

Otia Imperifilia, 42 n. 
Ovid, 31, 32, 47, 87, 107, 113, 123 

Palice of Honour, 35, 59, 65, 105, 140 

Parlement of Foules, 44 

Paston Letters, 162 

Pencriche, Richard, 152 

Peter Lombard, 4 

Petrarch, 27, 29, 32, 42, 48, 157, 161, 

Phaer, Thomas, 58 
Philogenet of Cambridge, 63 n. 
Pilgrimage of the Lyf of Manhode, 171 
Pinkerton, John, 24 
Plato, 29 
Plautus, 29 
Pletho-Gemisthus, 46 
Poets, their Apologies, 40 
Poggio, Bracciolini, 29, 30, 161 



Politian, Angelo Ambrogini, 28, 32, 

Pomponazzo of Padua, 47 
Pope, Alexander, 79, 83, 85 
Printing, 161 
Prologues, 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 37, 67, 

103 et seq. 
Propertius, 33 
ProphetcB, 50 
Prophetes du Christ, 50 n. 
" Protestant " Readings, 141 
Pulci, Bernardo, 28 
Purgatory, 52 
Puttenham, Richard, 153, 169 


Quare of Jelousy, 174 
Quintilian, 29 


Rabelais, Francois, 5 n., 30 n., 45 n. 
Ramsay, Allan, 18 
Ray, John, 19 
Readings, Various, 124 
Reformation, Anglic influence of, 17 
Reginald of Durham, 158 
Renaissance, 25, 26, 49 
Reulis and Cautelis of Scottis Poesie, 29, 

Revival of Learning, 26, 27, 30 
Rhetoriqiieres, 32 
Eibbeck, Otto, 145 
Ritson, Joseph, 23 
Rodocanachi, E., 42 n. 
Roll, Richard, of Hampole, 149 
Rolland, John, of Dalkeith, 7 
Rolment of Courtes, 40 n. 
Roman de la Rose, 31 
Roman de Troie, 45 n., 162 
Roscommon, Earl of, 89 
Ross, John M., LL.D., 24 
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 41, 88, 92 
Row, John, 158 
Roy, Guillaume de, 56 n. 
Ruddiman, Thomas, 15, 18, 20, 21, 24, 

61, 140, 157 n. 
Ruthven MS., 18, 134, 138, 144 

Sad SJiepherd, 174 
Sage, Bishop, 17, 19, 20 
Sainte-Beuve, 51, 63, 69 
St Gelais, Octavien de, 162 
Sainte More, Benoit de, 162 

Saintsbury, George, 57, 65 

Sallust, 161 

Savoy, Church of the, 2 

Scotichronicon, 158 

Scot, Sir Michael, 42 n, 

Scots, Middle, 163 

Scots Wha Hae, 117 

Scott, Sir Walter, 24, 67 n., 86, 115 

Scottish Catechism, 52 n. 

Scottish Language, 150, 158 

SeduUius, 14 

Sellyngc, John de (Tilly), 157 

Sepet, M., 50 n. 

Serm^ contra Judceos, 50 

Servius, 144, 154 

Seven Sages, Book of the, 162 

Shakespeare, 81, 126, 173 

Shaw, Quintin, 59 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 77, 128 

Shepheard's Calendar, 22 

Sibbald, James, 23 

Sibbald, Sir Robert, 16, 19 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 61, 121 

Siege of Troy, 162 

Silius Italicus, 29 

Sinclair, Lord, 34, 45 

Skeat, Professor, 120, 149 

Skelton, John, 56 

Skinner, Stephen, 19, 152 

Small, Dr John, 19, 24, 60, 132, 136, 

Smith, G. Gregory, 24, 132, 160 
Solomon, 59 
Sophocles, 127 
Sortes Virgilianae, 45 
Speght, Thomas, 8 
Spelman, Sir Henry, 15, 19 
Spenser, Edmund, 22, 128, 173 
Speroni, Sperone, 33 n. 
Spottiswoode, Bishop, 6 
Statins, 29 

Statutes of Scottish Churches, 36 n. 
Stillingfleet, Bishop, 6 n. 
Stone, Jerome, 21 
Stuart, Alexander, 
Sturm, Johannes, 155 
Suetonius, 154 
Surrey, Earl of, 76, 81 
Sylvius, ^neas, 5 
Syocerus, Nicolaus, 29 


Tale of Troy, 162 
Taymouth, Black Book of, 6 
Tennyson, 45 n. 
TertuUian, 43, 52 
Terence, 161 
Testament of Love, 34 



Testavieni of the Papyngo, 7, 8 

Theocritus, 107 

Thomas the Rhymer, 42 n. 

Thompson, Professor, 79 

Thorns, W. J., 42 n. 

Thomson, James, 115 

Thorp, Thomas, 8 

Tibullus, 33 

Tilly (de Sellynge), 157 

Todd, Eyre, 24 

Translation, 77, 93, 81, etc. 

Trevisa, John de, 38, 92, 149, 152 

Trionfi d'Amore, 163 

Troj'es, Chretien de, 31 

TroyluH and Creseide, 37 n., 44, 45 

Tucca, 125, 145 

Turriff, 136 

Twyne, Thomas, 58 


Urry, John, 19, 140 
Usk, Thomas, 34 n. 

Valla, Lorenzo, 59, 161 

Varius, 125, 145 

Vcgius, Maphcus, 8, 57. 116 

Venturi, Pompeo, 50 

Vergil, Polydore, 2, 5, 12, 20 

Verruicular. Renaissance of, 31, 32 

Verstegen, Richard, 152 

Villey, Pierre, 33 

Villon, Fran9ols, 30, 113 

Vinci, Leonardo da, 104 
Virgil — 

and Churchmen, 42 

medieval view of, 42 

and Christianity, 43, 50 

position, 44 

and Petrarch, 44, 48 

appeal to Douglas, 45 

Douglas's view of, 50 

and Limlius, 51 

and Homer. 122 

Readings. 125 

Grsecisms, 153 
Virgilio net Medio Eva, 42in. 
Virgille, Les Faitz Merveilleux de. AS, n. 
Voltaire. 90 
Vossius, 19, 20 


Ward, Professor, 152 

Warton, Thomas, 21, 22 

Williamson, Adam (Wyllyamson), 1, 3, 

Winzet, Ninian, 17, 154 
Wodrow, Robert, 17 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 1, 2, 71 
Worsley, Philip Stanliope, 90 
Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 76 
Wyntoun. Andrew of, 40, 134, 149, 

158, 174 

Zwingli, Ulrich, 141 



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