Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Aeneid/Eneados

The Aeneid of Virgil
Translated into Scottish verse
Gavin Douglas
Bishop of Dunkeld

This project is going to chart my reading and interpretation of Eneados - Gavin Douglas's 1513 translation of Virgil's Aeneid from Latin into Middle Scots. This includes the twelve prologues that he wrote for each of the books, as well as one he wrote for the 'thirteenth book' written by Maffeo Vegio in the sixteenth century. I've been lucky enough to handle a 1710 edition in the collection of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Burns was familiar with the work of Douglas; he even uses a quotation from the prologues to introduce Tam O Shanter: "Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Beuk."

I'm interested in the words and language that Douglas uses, both in his prologues and in his translation, and what this language can tell us about life in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. To this end, I'll not only be providing a basic translation of the prologues, but also my notes on any unfamiliar words or phrases I come across. Hopefully you'll find them as interesting as I do.


  1. Thanks for this Becca. This is a fantastic idea for a blog.

    feilabill (feelable):- touchable, tactile, tangible, perceptible, sensible, discernible, appreciable, palpable – all carried in that simple Scots form

    My favourite line from the passage is

    Wide quhare owre all rung is thine heivenly bell;

    This, plus ‘feelable’, plus ‘as wha the maitter held tofore thair ee’, etc, makes it philosophical indeed; not just observation, but a full sense of connection, being a small part of the whole, someone who knows what it is like seeing the Pentlands, Fife, the Forth, the North Sea, the distant fringes of the Highlands, and the city below with its castle, all under the sky from the top of Arthur’s Seat.

  2. New to blogging - I tried to post a comment here, wrote one, clicked 'publish' and it disappeared. Any help with where it has gone, or have I lost the text I have just written? It tells me it has been published. I don't know what this means.

  3. Ah! I see it now!! It appears in the grey space! Panic over.

  4. ...the city below with its castle and crown of Sanct Giles, I should have said... : )

  5. I now see I have published these comments - damn - on the wrong section of the blog. They are, of course, meant to go with the post of 14 February (Fame, Honour, Praisings...). Please make allowances for the newbie numprtiness. Have never responded to a blog before and I just created this blogging profile a few minutes ago. Argle!

    1. Please don't worry about it! Now I'm off to respond to your comments on the other post.