Gawin or Gavin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld (c. 1476 – 1522) was a Scottish Chaucerian poet or makar. His Eneados, a loose translation of Virgil's Aeneid, was the first complete rendering of any major work of classical antiquity into English.
- Fyrst I protest, beaw schirris, by зour leif
Beis weill avisit my wark or зhe reprief;
Consider it warly, reid oftar than anys,
Weill at a blenk sle poetry nocht tayn is.
- Bk. 1, prologue, line 105.
- Bot a sentens to follow may suffice me:
Sum tyme I follow the text als neir I may,
Sum tyme I am constrenyt ane other way.
- Bk. 1, prologue, line 356.
- It is richt facil and eith gait, I the tell,
Forto discend and pas on down to hell.
- Bk. 6, line 265.
- Ryveris ran reid on spait with watir broune,
And burnys hurlys all thar bankis doune.
- Bk. 7, prologue, line 19.
- Woddis, forrestis, with nakyt bewis blowt,
Stude strippyt of thar weid in every howt.
So bustuusly Boreas his bugill blew,
The deyr full dern doun in the dalis drew;
Smale byrdis, flokkand throu thik ronys thrang,
In chyrmyng and with cheping changit thar sang,
Sekand hidlis and hyrnys thame to hyde
Fra feirfull thuddis of the tempestuus tyde.
- Bk. 7, prologue, line 65.
- Dame naturis menstralis.
- Bk. 12, prologue, line 231.
- And al smail fowlys syngis on the spray:
Welcum the lord of lycht, and lamp of day.
- Bk. 12, prologue, line 251.
- As to the text accordyng never a deill,
Mair than langis to the cart the fift quheill.
- Bk. 13, prologue, line 117.
- Gavin Douglas, set on a particular labour, with his mind full of Latin quantitative metre, attains a robuster versification than you are likely to find in Chaucer…the texture of Gavin's verse is stronger, the resilience greater.
- Ezra Pound ABC of Reading (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934) p. 103.
- About Douglas as a translator there may be two opinions; about his Aeneid (Prologues and all) as an English book there can be only one. Here a great story is greatly told and set off with original embellishments which are all good – all either delightful or interesting – in their diverse ways.
- C. S. Lewis English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Excluding Drama (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954) p. 90.
- Arguably the best version of Virgil in English poetry.
- Douglas Gray, in W. F. Bolton (ed.) The Middle Ages (London: Sphere, 1970) p. 366.