The Aeneid

Original Text: 
Gavin Douglas, The XIII bukes of Eneados of the famose poete Virgill (London: William Copland, 1553). LL V816a .Edo 1553 Fisher Rare Book Library
1.3Mast reverend Virgill, of Latyne poetis prince,
1.9Master of masteris, sweit sours and springand well,
1.15In every volume quhilk the list do write,
1.17Lyk as the rois in June with hir sueit smell
1.18The marygulde or dasy doith excell.
1.22Presume to write quhar thi sueit bell is rong,
1.25For quhat compair betuix midday and nycht,
1.26Or quhat compare betuix myrknes and lycht,
1.27Or quhat compare is betuix blak and quhyte,
1.28Far gretar diference betuix my blunt endyte
1.30Sa wyslie wrocht with nevir ane word in vane;
1.34Beside thi polyte termis redemyte;
1.35And no the les with support and correctioun,
1.36For naturall luife and freindfull affectioun
1.42Yit with your leif, Virgill, to follow the,
1.44Write sum savoring of thi Eneados.
1.45Bot sair I drede for to distene the quyte,
1.46Throu my corruptit cadens imperfyte;
1.49Bot thi work sall enduire in laude and glory,
1.52Thyne is the thank, and myne sal be the shame.
Eneas first excusis him, and syne
Addressis to rehers Troys rwyne.
2.8The greit riches and lamentable realm of Troy,
2.9And huge misery quhilk I thair beheld,
2.13Sic materes to rehers, or yit to heir,
2.16Quhen the declining of the sternis brycht
2.17To sleip and rest perswades our appetite;
2.18But sen thou hes sic plesour and delite
2.20And schortlie the last end thairof wald heir,
2.24Yit than I sall begyne yow for to pleis.
Finis Libri Primi.


1.1] Extant in five MSS., of which the oldest is the Elphynstoun, written ca. 1525. First printed in London, 1553. Douglas's translation was begun early in 1512 and finished July 22, 1513. It is the first translation of the Aeneid into English. To the twelve books of Vergil's poem Douglas added a thirteenth, translated from the Latin of the Italian humanist Maffeo Vegio (d. 1458) which carried the story down to the death of Aeneas. Douglas prefaced the thirteen books with original prologues in various metres. Some of these are descriptive of nature, others reflective, didactic or critical, discussing problems of translation or interpretation. The prologue of the first book (over 500 lines in length) contains a criticism of the mediaeval attitude to Vergil as exemplified by Chaucer and Caxton. Back to Line
1.2] dulce. Sweet.
endite. Composition, writing. Back to Line
1.4] ingine. Talent, genius.
fluide. Flood. Back to Line
1.5] peirles. Peerless.
patroun. Pattern. Back to Line
1.6] Rois. Rose.
register. Standard.
laurer. Laurel. Back to Line
1.7] cherbukle. Carbuncle (precious stone). Back to Line
1.8] leidsterne. Lodestar.
a per se. One who is unique. See note on Dunbar, "To the City of London," 1. 9.
sours. Source, i.e. spring. Back to Line
1.10] Wyde quhar. Everywhere.
our all. Over all, everywhere. Back to Line
1.11] crafty. Skilful.
curious. Carefully wrought. Back to Line
1.12] mast. Most. Back to Line
1.13] pleasable. Pleasing.
felable. Intelligible. Back to Line
1.14] As if one had the subject-matter before his eyes.
the list do write. It pleases thee to write (literally "cause to write" but the do is intensive merely). Back to Line
1.16] maneir endite. Manner of writing. Back to Line
1.19] vane. Empty. Back to Line
1.20] engine. Intellect. Back to Line
1.21] lewit. Lewd, i.e. ignorant. See on Piers the Plowman, 69. Back to Line
1.23] contirfait. Imitate. Back to Line
1.24] Nay, nay. I cannot imitate them, but only kneel in reverence when I hear them. Back to Line
1.29] sugurat. Sugared, sweet. Cf. Meres on Shakespeare (1598): "his sugred sonnets among his private friends". Back to Line
1.31] at all. Altogether, in every way. Back to Line
1.32] thir. These. Back to Line
1.33] A straw for this ignorant, imperfect babbling in comparison with thy polished, laurel-crowned diction. Back to Line
1.37] quhilkis. Which (with plural ending, a feature of Middle Scots). Back to Line
1.38] Althocht. Although.
God wait. God knows.
lyte. Little. Back to Line
1.39] facund sentence. Eloquent matter. Back to Line
1.40] als weill. As well. Back to Line
1.41] per de. Pardee, by God. Back to Line
1.43] vulgar. Vernacular tongue.
Eneados. Genitive form of Aeneis. The use of the genitive for the nominative form is common in mediaeval literature. The title of Douglas's translation in the ed. of 1553 is The xiii Bukes of Eneados. Back to Line
1.47] Ma. May. Back to Line
1.48] burell. Crude (literally a kind of coarse cloth).
busteous. Rough. Back to Line
1.50] Bot. Without.
conding. Worthy of (Lat. condignus). Back to Line
1.51] onhermit. Unharmed. Back to Line
2.1] Really a translation of Aeneid, II, 1-13, but placed by Douglas at the end of Book 1. His Secund Buik of Eneados begins (after a short prologue) with the ensuing narrative by Aeneas.
anis. Once. Back to Line
2.2] clois. Closed.
tent. Heed. Back to Line
2.3] frome the hie bed. Lat. toro . . . ab alto, from the high couch, at the banquet. Back to Line
2.4] seige riall. Royal seat. Back to Line
2.5] Begouth. Began. Back to Line
2.6] I wis. Really the adverb ywis, certainly, but written as if it meant "I know". Back to Line
2.7] spuilye. Despoil. Back to Line
2.10] bair and feld. Bore and felt. Back to Line
2.11] Marmidon. Myrmidon, follower of Achilles.
Gregion. Grecian.
Dolopes. Thessalian troops of Achilles. Back to Line
2.12] wageor. Hired soldier. Back to Line
2.14] thaime contene. restrain themselves. Back to Line
2.15] ourquhelmis. Overwhelms. Back to Line
2.19] weir. war. Back to Line
2.21] grise. feel horror. Back to Line
2.22] oft sise. oftentimes. Back to Line
2.23] eschewis thairfra. escapes therefrom, avoids it. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.57; RPO 1996-2000.