And nevertheless with support and correction,
for the natural love and friendly affection,
that I bear to thy works and achievements,
although, God knows, I know them very little;
And that your fruitful meaning might be sung,
In our language as well as Latin tongue,
'As well'...no, no, it were impossible, by God;
Yet, with thy leave, Virgil, to follow you,
I would, into my rural, vulgar tongue,
write something savoring of thine Eneados.
But sore I dread to stain your name,
through my corrupt, imperfect cadence;
'Stain you', nay, truly, that I could not,
I might well show my course and rough thoughts,
but your work shall endure in praise and glory,
without spot or fault, worthy of eternal memory.
Though I offend, your name is unharmed,
the credit is yours, and any shame is mine.
And netheles with support and correctioun,
For natural lufe and freyndly affectioun,
Quilkis I beir to thy werkis and endyte,
All thocht, God wat, tharin I knaw ful lyte;
And that thy fecund sentence mycht be song
In our langage alsweill as Latyn tong,
Alsweill, na, na, impossibill war, per de;
Yit with thy leif, Virgill, to follow the,
I wald, into my rurall vulgar gros,
Wryte sum savoryng of thyne Eneados.
Bot sair I drede forto disteyn the quyte,
Throu my corruptit cadens imperfyte;
Disteyn the, nay forsuyth, that may I cnocht,
Weill may I schwa my burall busteous thocht,
But thy wark sall endur in lawd and glory,
Bot spot or falt, condyng etern memory.
Thocht I offend, onhermit is thy fame,
Thyne is the thank, and myne salbe the schame.
Alsweill - Here Douglas indulges in a bit of word-play, with the first 'alsweill' taking the meaning of 'in addition to' and the second meaning 'to the same standard'.
per de - 'by God'. Used to positively affirm a statement. An interesting example of how religion permeates language. People still use 'oh my God' today, even those who aren't religious; although looking at the phrase in isolation it seems terribly archaic, it's perhaps more common to see it written as 'ohmygod!' or even OMG... (!)
burall - course/rough. 'Burel' was a type of rough woollen medieval cloth. Possibly stems from late Latin burra for wool/shaggy cloth. A burl is a knot of wool, a rough spot.
busteous - rough, rude, harsh. Perhaps related to 'bustling' and 'boisterous'?
condyng - deserved. From the Latin 'condignus' (worthy) by way of Middle English and Old French.
Dictionary of the Scots Language
Online Etymology Dictionary
The Poetical Works of Gavin Douglas - John Small ed.
University of Toronto Libraries
Elizabeth Chadwick @ blogger
'Word' Origins by John Ayto
Chambers Scots Dictionary