Gavin Douglas--This Once Was English


I post this excerpt from Douglas's translation of the Aeneid because it is beautiful in its own right and it reminds us of the evoltion of English. Much of this is incomprehensible without glosses. But it is very lovely to read.

from "The Introduction to the Aeneid"
Gavin Douglas

  Laude, honor, prasingis, thankis infynite
      To the, and thi dulce ornate fresch endite*, (*writing)
      Mast reverend Virgill, of Latyne poetis prince,
      Gemme of ingine* and fluide** of eloquence, (*imagination,**flood)
      Thow peirles* perle, patroun of poetrie, (*peerless)
      Rois*, register**, palme, laurer***, and glory, (*rose, **standard, ***laurel)
      Chosin cherbukle*, cheif flour and cedir tree, (carbuncle--a semi-precious stone)
      Lanterne, leidsterne*, mirrour, and a per se**, (*lode-star, **unique person)
      Master of masteris, sweit sours* and spring and well, (*source)
    Wyde quhar* our all** ringis thi hevinle bell: (*everywhere, **over all)
    I mene thi crafty* werkis curious** , (*skillful, **well-wrought)
    Sa quik, lusty, and mast sentencious,
    Plesable*, perfyte, and felable** in all degre, (*pleasing, **knowable, intelligible)
    As quha the mater held to foir thar ee; (as though the matter were held before our eyes)
    In every volume quhilk the list do write*, (*it pleases you to write)
    Surmonting fer all uther maneir endite*, (*manner of writing)
    Lyk as the rois in June with hir sueit smell
    The marygulde or dasy doith excell.

One could infer from this reading that the poet rather likes the work of Virgil, what do you think?

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 4, 2004 9:38 AM.

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