500 years of Gavin Douglas

Posted on November 8, 2013 | in Collections, CRC, Exhibitions, Featured | by

CRC is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Scots, by the Edinburgh poet Gavin Douglas.

Gavin Douglas completed his Eneados, a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid into Scots, in September 1513, just seven weeks before the Battle of Flodden. Douglas, son of the Earl of Angus, was a poet, Edinburgh priest, bishop of Dunkeld, and the first translator of Virgil into any form of Anglic or English.

Douglas’ rendering of Virgil into Scots has been admired by many generations of readers and writers, including David Hume, Sir Walter Scott, and the poet Ezra Pound, who wrote of Douglas: “I am inclined to think that he gets more poetry out of Virgil than any other translator…”.

The University of Edinburgh is fortunate to possess two of the five surviving early manuscripts of Douglas’ poem.  We are displaying these and some early printed editions of Douglas, during November and December 2013, in the two cases in the CRC Reception on the 6th floor of the Main Library.

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