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Virgil.
Virgil's Æneis, Translated into Scottish Verse, by the Famous Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld. Edinburgh: Andrew Symson and Robert Freebairn, 1710.
Text from the first book of the AeneidCall Number: (SPL) PA 6807 .A5 D6x 1710
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

Douglas's 1513 translation of The Aeneid is regarded as the first translation of Virgil into any English dialect. This comes despite William Caxton's production of a "translated Virgil from his press at Westminster in 1490. Caxton's translation was made not from the original Latin text, but from a French baroque romance printed at Lyons in 1483. Douglas wrote of Caxton's edition:

His buk is na mare like Virgil, dar I lay,
Than the nyght oule resemblis the popingay.

Despite having completed the translation in 1513, Douglas never saw his work published. The first edition of the work was not printed until 1553 in London. Scholars regard it as the greatest monument to old Scottish poetry. Douglas translated the text almost exactly in heroic couplets, though according to scholar Paul Distler, the translation can hardly be understood by a Scot without the help of a glossary.


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