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Gavin Douglas

Douglas, Gavin (1474?-1522). Poet, 3rd son of the 5th Earl of Angus, was born about 1474, and ed. at St. Andrews for the Church. Promotion came early, and he was in 1501 made Provost of St. Giles, Edinburgh, and in 1514 Abbot of Aberbrothock, and Archbishop of St. Andrews. But the times were troublous, and he had hardly received these latter preferments when he was deprived of them. He was, however, named Bishop of Dunkeld in 1514 and, after some difficulty, and undergoing imprisonment, was confirmed in the see. In 1520 he was again driven forth, and two years later died of the plague in London. His principal poems are The Palace of Honour (1501), and King Hart, both allegorical; but his great achievement was his translation of the Æneid in ten-syllabled metre, the first translation into English of a classical work. D.’s language is more archaic than that of some of his predecessors, his rhythm is rough and unequal, but he had fire, and a power of vivid description, and his allegories are ingenious and felicitous.

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