Book XIII - A Tale of Fortune
Virgil’s Aeneis, translated into Scottish Verse, by the famous Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld. A new edition…, Andrew Symson and Robert Freebairn, Edinburgh, 1610.
Book XIII, Pages 476-478, being a literal modern English translation from Middle Scots, with an attempt to preserve the rhyme & metre of Bishop Douglas.
And thus the feasting days, nine in all,
With large splendour and kingly apparel,
Befitting such a marriage as was this.
And when the tenth morrow coming is,
Then this same sovereign and most valorous man,
Aeneas, for to found his town began.
First began he with a plough to mark and fence,
Where the walls should stand, there he drew a trench:
Thereupon the Trojans found tenements for themselves,
And began the fosses and the ditches to delve.
But lo, forthwith a wondrous thing to tell!
A huge blaze of flames straight down fell
From above the clouds, at the left hand they molt,
In manner of lightning or fire bolt,
And did alight right in the very stead
Upon the crown of fair Lavinia’s head;
And from then high up in the air again
It glided away, and therein did remain.
The father Aeneas grew astonished a great deal,
Desiring this sign should betoken a seal;
His hands both he upheaved towards the sky,
And thus began making his prayer with a meek cry:
Oh Jupiter, if at any time, said he,
The Trojan people, both by land and sea,
Thine admonitions, command, and empire,
Has obeyed every page, man, or sire;
Or if I your power and godhead
Dread, and adorned unto any stead
Your altars, or any worship did thereto;
And if anything still remains to do,
If anything still behind is left;
With this your happy taken portent
Yield us your pleasant rest forthwith and peace,
Make end of all our harms, and cause them cease.
As he uttered such words felt from that tide,
His golden mother appeared to him beside,
Confessing herself to be fair Venus,
And with her blessed mouth she spoke thus:
Son, put such thought and dread out of your mind,
Restore these godly signs in better kind,
And joyously enjoy, my own Aenee,
The great welfare which from hence shall betide thee.
Now is thy rest and quiet found and kenned,
Now of thy harms is coming the final end;
Now at last, by my faith, as you pray,
This world with thee shall knit up peace for aye.
Abhor not the fire and flames bright,
Which from thy dear spouse’s head glided to the height,
But constantly thy mind thou now address;
It shall be she, as I declare to you express,
That shall with blood royal thy doughty name,
Thy succession, renown, and noble fame,
And Trojan princes of thy seat descended,
Above the clouds high and starry she sends.
She shall of thy lineage, my son Aenee,
Bear children full of magnanimity,
Of whose offspring such men shall succeed,
That all this large world for long bred,
With their excellent worship shall fulfil,
And by their mighty power, at their will,
As conquerors, beneath their authority
Subdue and rule this world’s monarchy;
Of whom the second sovereign glory shall wend,
And far beyond the ocean sea extend,
Make them equal with the heavens high:
When, finally, their ardent bounty
After innumerable so many deeds,
And sovereign virtue, spread so far overseas,
Shall make them Gods, and them deify,
And raise them up full high above the sky.
This flame of fire the worship and renown
Doth signify of thy mighty succession;
The God almighty from his starry heaven
Has shown therefore this song of fiery levin:
Therefore, in recompense of such a thing,
And so much worship of her shall spring,
This city, which you enclose with a wall,
After your spouse’s name shall you call.
And further also, the Gods whom you grasped
Of Troy, when it in flames did not last,
Penates, or the Gods domestic in all,
You set also within the same wall:
Therein you cause them soon be brought,
In high honour and time forever caught,
There to remain, eternally to dwell.
I shall to you a wonder of them tell.
They shall so violently love this new city,
That, if happiness carries them for to be
In any other stead or place thereby,
All by themselves again full hastily
They shall return to this very town of thine,
That you are building in the boundaries of King Latyne:
So, how often they away be taken,
They shall all return homeward again.
O happy town, and well fortunate wall,
With which such great relics remain shall,
Wherein thou shall in time to come, but even less,
Govern the Trojan folk in pleasant peace!
After this at last Latinus, thy father in law,
Weary of his life, and far in age be drawn,
Down to the ghosts in camp Elyssee
Shall wend, and end his dismal days, and die:
Unto his sceptre you shall succeed,
And under thy authority, further breed,
Shall wield and lead all these Italians,
And common laws for them and the Trojans
Decree you shall; and next thou shall ascend,
And up to heaven gladly thyself send.
Thus stands the God’s sentence and decree.
No more she said; but, as the light doth gleam,
From thence she went away in the sheer air,
I know not whither, for I never come down there.
Aeneas astonished, having his mind smitten
With such promise of renown and happy fortune written,
His blessed mother’s commands began to fulfil:
And now at pleasant rest, at his own will,
The Trojan people he ruled in peace.
With this the King Latinus could decease,
And left the sceptre vacant for his hand.
Then the compassionate Aenee over all the land
Of Italy succeeds in his stead,
And began full large borders in lordship to lead,
That wholly obey to his wand,
And at his liking rules all the land.
Now equally of free will everyone,
Both people of Troy and folk Italian,
All of one right, manner and usage,
Are becoming friendly but without dissimilarity;
Their minds and their hearts in amity,
In firm concord and great tranquility,
Began life at ease, confederate and ally,
As under one same law, conjoined aye.