LAUDE, honor, prasingis, thankis infynite
To the, and thi dulce ornate fresch endite,
Mast reuerend Virgill, of Latyne poetis prince,
Gemme of ingme and fluide of eloquence,
Thow peirles perle, patroun of poetrie,
Rois, register, palme, laurer and glory,
Chosin cherbukle, cheif flour and cedir tree,
Lanterne, leidsterne, mirrour, and a per se,
Master of masteris, sweit sours and springand well,
Wyde quhar our all ringis thi hevinle bell ;
I mene thi crafty werkis curious,
Sa quik, lusty, and mast sentencious,
Plesable, perfyte, and felable in all degre,
As quha the mater held to foir thar ee ;
In euery volume quhilk the list do write,
Surmonting fer all wther maneir endite,
Lyk as the rois in June with hir sueit smell
The marygulde or dasy doith excell.
Quhy suld I than, with dull forhede and wane,
With ruide engine and barrand emptive brane,
With bad harsk speche and lewit barbour tong,
Presume to write quhar thi sueit bell is rong,
Or contirfait sa precious wourdis deir ?
Na, na, nocht sua, bot knele quhen I thame heir.
For quhat compair betuix midday and nycht,
Or quhat compare betuix myrknes and lycht,
Or quhat compare is betuix blak and quhyte,
Far gretar diference betuix my blunt endyte
And thi scharp sugurat sang Virgiliane,
Sa wyslie wrocht with neuir ane word in vane,
My waverand wit, my cunnyng feble at all,
My mynd mysty, thir ma nocht myss ane fall.
Stra for this ignorant blabring imperfyte
Beside thi polyte termis redemyte,
And no the les with support and correctioun,
For naturall luife and freindfull affectioun,
Quhilkis I beir to thi werkis and endyte,
Althocht, God wait, I knaw tharin full lyte,
And that thi facund sentence mycht be song
In our langage als weill as Latyne tong ;
Alswele, na, na, impossible war, per de,
Ȝit with your leif, Virgill, to follow the,
I wald into my rurale wlgar gros,
Write sum savoring of thi Eneados.
Bot sair I drede for to distene the quyte,
Throu my corruptit cadens imperfyte ;
Distene the, na forsuith, that ma I nocht,
Weill ma I schaw my burell busteous thocht,
Bot thi work sail enduire in laude and glory,
But spot or falt, conding eterne memory.
Thocht I offend, onhermit is thine fame,
Thyne is the thank, and myne sal be the shame.
Quha ma thi versis follow in all degre,
In bewtie, sentence, and in grauite ?
Nane is, nor was, nor ȝit sal be, trow I,
Had, has, or sal have sic crafte in poetrie.
Of Helicon so drank thou dry the fluid
That of the copiose flowith or plenitud,
All man purches drink at thi sugurat tone,
So lamp of day thou art, and shynand mone,
All wtheris on force mon their lycht beg or borow.
Thou art Vesper, and the day sterne at morow ;
Thou Phebus lychtnar of the planetis all,
I not quhat dewlie I the clepe sall,
For thou art al and sum, quhat nedis moir,
Of Latyne poetis that sens wes or befoir.
Of the writis Macrobius, sans fail,
In his grete volume clepit Saturnail,
Thi sawis in sic eloquence doith fleit,
So inuentive of rhetorik flouris sueit
Thou art, and hes sa hie profund sentence
Therto perfyte, but ony indigence,
That na lovingis ma do incres thi fame,
Nor na reproche diminew thi guid name.
But sen I am compellit the to translait,
And nocht onlie of my curage, God wait,
Durst interprise sic outragious foli,
Quhar I offend, the les repreif serf I ;
And at ye knaw at quhais instaunce I tuik
For to translait this mast excellent buik,
I mene Virgilis volume maist excellent,
Set this my werk full feble be of rent,
At the request of ane lorde of renowne,
Of ancistry noble and illuster barowne,
Fader of bukis, protectour to science and lare,
My speciall gude lord Henry Lord Sanct Clair,
Quhilk with grete instance diners tymes seir,
Prayit me translait Virgill or Omeir ;
Quhais plesour suithlie as I wnderstuid,
As neir coniunct to his lordschip in bluid,
So that me thocht his requeist ane command,
Half disparit this wark tuik on hand,
Noclit fullie grantand, nor anis sayand ȝe,
Bot onelie to assay quhow it mycht be.
Quha mycht ganesay a lord sa gentle and kynd,
That euir hed ony curtasy in thair mynd,
Quhilk beside his innative polecy,
Humanite, curaige, fredome and chevalry,
Bukis to recollect, to reid and se,
Hes greit delite als euir hed Ptolome ?
Quharfor to his nobilite and estaite,
Quhat so it be, this buik I dedicaite,
Writing in the language of Scottis natioun,
And thus I mak my protestacioun.

First I protest, beaw Schiris, be ȝour leif,
Beis weill advisit my werk or ȝe repreif,
Considdir it warlie, reid oftair than anis,
Weill at ane blenk slee poetry nocht tane ys ;
And ȝit, forsuith, I set my besy pane
As that I suld, to mak it braid and plane,
Kepand na sudroun bot our awin langage,
And speikis as I lernit quhen I was page.
Nor ȝit sa clene all sudroun I refuse,
Bot sum word I pronunce as nychtbour doise ;
Lyk as in Latyne bene Grew termes sum,
So me behuvit quhilum, or than be dum,
Sum bastard Latyne, Frensch, or Inglis oiss,
Quhar scant war Scottis I had na wther choiss.
Nocht for our toung is in the selfin scant,
Bot for that I the foutht of langage want,
Quhar as the colour of his propirte
To keip the sentence thereto constrenit me,
Or than to mak my sang schort sum tyme,
Mair compendious, or to liklie my ryme.
Therfore guid freindis, for ane iymp or a bourd,
I pray ȝou note me nocht at euery wourd.
The worthy clerk hecht Laurence of the Vail,
Amang Latynis a greit patroun sans fail,
Grantis quhen twelf ȝeris he hed bene diligent
To study Virgill, scant knew he quhat he ment ;
Than thou or I, my freind, quhen we best wene
To haue Virgill red, understand, and sene.
The richt sentence perchance is fer to seik ;
Thilk werk tuelf ȝeris first was in making eik,
And nocht correct quhen the poet can decess ;
Thus for small faltis my wyiss frend hald thi pece.

Adherand to my protestatioun,
Thocht Williame Caxtoun, of Inglis natioun,
In pross hes prent ane buik of Inglis gros,
Clepand it Virgill in Eneados,
Quhilk that he sais of Frensch he did translait,
It hes na thing ado therwith, God wait,
Nor na mair like than the devill and Sanct Austyne ;
Haue he na thank therfor, bot lost his pyne,
So schamfully that storye did pervert;
I red his werk with harmes at my hert,
That sic ane buik, but sentence or engyne,
Suld be intitillit efter the poet divyne ;
His ornait goldin versis mair than gilt,
I spittit for despyt to see sua spilt
With sic a wycht, quhilk treulie be myne entent,
Knew neuer thre wowrdis of all that Virgill ment.
Sa fer he chowpis, I am constrenit to flyte.
The thre first bukis he hes ourhippit quyte,
Salfand ane litle twiching Polidorus,
And the tempest sent furth be Eolus,
And that full sympillie on his awin gyse,
Virgill thame wrote al on ane wther wyse.
For Caxtoun puttis in his buik out of tone,
The storme furth sent be Eolus and Neptone ;
But quha that redis Virgill suthtfastlie,
Sall fynd Neptune salf Eneas navie.
Me list nocht schaw how the story of Dido
Be this Caxtoun is haill peruertit so,
That bisyde quhair he fenis to follow Bowcas,
He rynnis sa fer fra Virgill in mony place,
On sa prolixt and tedious fassoun,
So that the feird buik of Eneadon,
Tuiching the luif and deith of Dido queue,
The twa part of his volume doith contene,
That in the text of Virgill, traistis me,
The twelft part scars conteins, as ȝe ma se.
The fyfte bulk of the feistis funerale,
The lusty gammys, and plais palustrale,
That is ourhippit quyte and left behynd,
Na thing therof ȝe sall in Caxtoun fynd.
The saxt bulk eik, he grantis that wantis hail,
And for therof he wnderstuid nocht the tail.
He callis it fenȝeit, and nocht for to beleif,
Sa is all Virgill perchance, for, by his leif,
Juno nor Venus goddes neuer wer,
Mercur, Neptune, Mars, nor Jupiter.
Of Fortune eik, nor hir necessite,
Sic thingis nocht attentik ar, wait we ;
Nor ȝit admittis that quent philosophy
Haldis saulis hoppis fra body to body,
And mony thingis quhilkis Virgill did rehers,
Thocht I thame write furth followand his vers.
Nor Caxtoun schrinkis nocht siclik things to tell,
As nocht war fable, bot the passage to hell ;
Bot traistis wele, quha that ilk saxt bulk knew,
Virgill therin a hie philosophour him shew,
And, wnder the cluddes of dirk poetry
Hid lyis thair mony notable history.
For so the poetis be ther crafty curis,
In similitudis, and vnder quent figuris,
The suthfast mater to hyde and to constrene ;
All is not fals, traste wele, in caice thai fene.
Thar art is so to mak thair workis fair,
As in the end of Virgill I sail declair.
Was it nocht eik als possible Eneas,
As Hercules or Theseus to hell to pas ?
Quhilk is na gabbing suthlie, nor na lie,
As Jhone Bocas in the genologie
Of goddis declaris, and like as ȝe ma reid
In the recollis of Troy, quha list tak heid.
Quha wait gif he in visioun hiddir went,
By art magik, sorcery, or enchantment,
And with his faderis saul did speik and meit.
Or in the liknes with sum wthir spreit,
Lyke as the spreit of Samuell, I ges
Rasit to King Saul was by the Phitones ?
I will nocht say all Virgill bene als trew,
Bot at sic thingis ar possible this I schew ;
Als in thai days war ma illusionis
By deuillich werkis and coniurationis,
Than now thair bene, so doith clerkis determe,
For, blist be God, the faith is now mair ferme.
Eneuch thairof, now will I na mair sayne,
Bot on to Caxtoun thus I turne agayne,

The namis of peple or citeis bene so bad
Put by this Caxtoun, that, bot he had bene mad,
The fluid of Touyr for Tibir he had nocht write ;
All men ma knaw thair he forvait quite.
Palenthe the cite of Euander king,
As Virgill planlie makis rehersing,
Stuide quhar in Rome now stant the chief palice;
This same buik eik in mair hepit malice,
On the self rever of Touyr sais plainlie,
Eneas did his ciete edifie.
Thus ay for Tibir, Touyr puttis he,
Quhilk mony hundreit mylis syndry be ;
For sickerlie, les than wyse autouris lene,
Enee saw neuir Touyr with his ene,
For Touyr devides Grece from Hungarie,
And Tiber is chief fluide of Italie :
Touyr is kend ane grane of that rever
In Latyne hecht Danubium or Hester ;
Or gif it be Tanais he clepis sa.
That fluid devidis Europe fra Asia.
In likwvise eik this Caxtoun all in vane
Crispina clepis Sibilla Cumane,
That in the text of Virgill, traistis ws,
Hait Deiphebe dochter of Glaucus,
Quhilk was Eneas convoiar to hell.
Quhat suld I langar on his errouris dwell ?
Thai bene sa plaine, and eik so mony fald,
The hundreith part tharof I laif outald.
The last sax buikis of Virgill all in feris,
Quhilk contenis strang batellis and weris,
This ilk Caxtoun sa blaitlie lettis our slip,
I hald my toung, for schame bytand my lip.
The greit efferis of ayther oist and array,
The armour of Eneas fresch and gay
The quent and curious castis poeticall,
Perfyte similitudis and examplis all
Quhairin Virgill beirs the palme of lawde,
Caxtoun, for dreid thai suld his lippis scawde
Durst neuer tuiche : thus schortlie for the nanis.
A twenty devill mot fall his werk at anis,
Quhilk is na mair lyke Virgill, dar I lay,
Na the owle resemblis the papyngay.
Quharfor, ȝe gentle redaris I beseik,
Traist on na wyse at this my work be sik,
Quhilk did my best, as my wit mycht attene,
Virgillis versis to follow, and nathing fene.
Ye worthy nobillis reidis my werkis forthy,
And cast this wther bulk on syde fer by,
Quhilk, ondir colour of sum Franch strang wicht,
So frenschlie leis, oneth twa wourdis gais richt.
I nald ȝe trast I saide this for dispyte.
For me list with na Inglis buikis flyte,
Na with na bogil na browny to debait,
Noder auld gaistis nor spretis deid of lait,
Nor na man wil I lakkin or despyse,
My werkis till authoreis be sic wyse.
Bot tuiching Virgillis honor and reuerence,
Quha euer contrarie, I mon stand at defence.
And bot my bulk be fundin worth sic thre,
Quhen it is red, do warp it in the se,
Thraw it in the fyir, or rent it every crum,
Tuichand that part lo heir is all and sum.

Syne I defend and forbiddis every wicht,
That can nocht spell thair Pater Noster richt, 1
For till correct, or ȝit amend Virgyle,
Or the translatar blame in his vulgar style.
I knaw quhat payne is to follow him fute haite,
Albeit thou think my sang intricaite.
Traist wele, to follow ane fixt sentence or mater,
Is mair practik, difficill, and mair strater,
Thocht thine engyne be eleuait and hie,
Than for to write all ways at libertie.
Gif I had nocht bene to ane boundis constrenit,
Of my bad wit perchance I culd haue fenit
In ryme ane ragmen twise als curious,
Bot nocht be twenty part sa sentencious.
Quha is attachit on till a staik, we se,
Ma go no ferrar, bot wrele about that tre;
Richt so am I to Virgillis text ybound,
I ma nocht fle, les than ane falt be found,
For thocht I wald transcend and go besyde.
His werk remanis, my schame I can nocht hyde ;
And thus I am constrenit, als ner I may,
To hald his vers and go no wther way,
Les sum history, subtell wourd, or the ryme
Causis me mak digressioun sum tyme.
So thocht in my translatioune eloquence scant is,
Na lusty cast of oratry Virgill wantis ;
My studious brane to comprehende his sentence,
Leit me neuir taist his fluide of eloquence.
And thus forsuith, becaus I was not fre,
My werk is mair obscure and gross, per de,
Quharof, God wait, Virgill hes na wyte,
Thocht myne be blunt, his text is maist perfyte;
And ȝit persaif I wele, be my consait,
The king of poetis ganis nocht for rurale estait,
Nor his fressch memor for bumbardis; he or scho
Quha takis me nocht, go quhar thai haue ado;
The sonis licht is neuer the wers, trast me,
Althocht the bak his brycht bemis doith fle.
Grene gentill engynis and breistis curagious,
Sic ar the peple at ganis best for ws.
Our werk desiris na lewit rebaldaill,
Full of nobiHte is this story alhaill.
For euery vertu belangand a noble man,
This ornait poet bettir than ony can
Payntand descrivis in persoun of Eneas ;
Nocht for to say sic ane Eneas was,
Ȝit than by him perfitlie blasonis he
All wirschep, manheid and nobilite,
He hated vice, abhorring craftineis,
He was a myrrour of verteu, and of grais.
Just in his promys euer, and stout in mynd,
To God faythfull, and to his frendys kynd,
Verteous, vyse, gentil, and liberall,
In feates of war, excelling vderis all,
Witht euery bountie belangand a gentle knycht,
Ane prince, ane concquerour, or a vailȝeand wycht.
In luifis cuir aneuch heir sail ȝe fynd ;
And schortlie, Virgill left na thingis behynd,
That mycht his volume illumyne or crafty mak ;
Reid quhay him knawis, I dar this ondertak,
Als oft as ȝe him reid, full wele I wait,
Ȝe fynd ilk tyme sum merye new consait.

Thocht venerable Chaucer, principall poet but peir,
Hevinlie trumpat, horleige and reguleir,
In eloquence balmy, condit, and diall,
Mylky fountane, cleir strand, and rose riall,
Of fresch endite, throw Albion iland braid,
In his legeand of notable ladyis, said
That he culd follow word by word Virgill,
Wisare than I mycht faill in lakar stile ;
Sum tyme the text mon haue ane expositioun,
Sum tyme the colour will caus a litle additioun,
And sum tyme of ane word I mon mak thre,
In witnes of this terme oppetere ;
Eik, wele I wait, certane expositouris seir
Makis on ane text sentence diuers to heir,
As thame apperis, according thair entent ;
And for thair part schaw resounis euident.
All this is ganand, I will wele it sua be,
Bot ane sentence to follow ma suffice me,
Sum tyme I follow the text als neir I may,
Sum tyme I am constrenit ane wther way:
Besyde Latyne our langage is imperfite,
Quhilk in sum part is the caus and the wite,
Quhy that of Virgillis vers the ornate bewtie
Intill our toung may nocht obseruit be ;
For thar bene Latyne wordis mony ane,
That in our leid ganand translatioun hes nane,
Les than we menis thar sentence and grauite,
And ȝit scant weill exponit ; qnha trowis nocht me
Lat thame interpreit animal and homo,
Witht mony hundreith wther termes mo,
Quhilkis in our langage southlie, as I wene,
Few men can tell me cleirlie quhat thai mene.
Betuix genus, sexus, and species,
Diuersite to seik in our leid I ceis.
For obiedum and subiectum alsua,
He war expert culd fynd me termes tua,
Quhilkis ar als rife amange clerkis in scule
As euir fowlis plungit in laik or puile.
Logitianis knawis heirin myne entent,
Ondir quhais boundis lurkis mony strange went.
Quharof the proces, as now, we mon let be.
Bot ȝit tuichand our tongis penurite,
I mene onto compair of fair Latyne,
That knawin is mast perfyte langage fyne,
I mycht also, percaice, cum lidder speid,
For arbor or lignum, intill our leid
To find different propir termes twane,
And tharto put circumlocutioun nane.
Rycht so, by about speche oft in tymes,
And seuthable wordis we compile our rymes.
God wait, in Virgill ar termes mony ane hundir
For to expone maid me ane felloun blundir.
To follow alanerlie Virgillis wordis, I wene,
Thar suld few onderstand me quhat thai mene ;
The bewtie of his ornate eloquence
May nocht all tyme be kepit mth the sentence.
Sanct Gregour eik forbiddis ws to translait
Word eftir word, bot sentence follow algait ;
Quha haldis, quod he, of wordis the propirteis,
Full oft the verite of the sentence fleis.
And to the samyng purpose we ma applie
Horatius in his art of poetrie ;
Preis noclit, sais he, thou traist interpreter,
Word eftir word to translait thi matar.
Lo he repreifis, and haldis missemyng,
Ay word by word to reduce ony thing.
I say noclit this of Chaucer for offence,
Bot till excuse my lawit insuffitience.
For as he standis beneth Virgill in degre,
Ondir him als far I grant myself to be ;
And nocht the les into sum place, quha kend it,
My master Chaucer greitlie Virgile offendit.
All thocht I be to bald hyme to repreif,
He was far baldar, certes, by his leif,
Saying he followit Virgillis lantern to forne,
Quhen Eneas to Dido was forsworne.
Was he forsworne ? than Eneas wer fals ;
That he admittis, and callis hyme tratour als.
Thus, wenyng allane Enee to have reprevit.
He hes greitlie the prince of poets grevit.
For, as said is, Virgill did diligence,
But spot of cryme, reproche, or ony offence,
Eneas for to loife and magnify ;
And gif he grantis hyme mansworne foulely,
Than all his cuir and crafty ingyne gais quyte,
His twelf ȝeris labouris war nocht worth a myte.
Certes, Yirgill schawis Enee did na thing,
Frome Dido of Cartaige at his departing,
Bot quhilk the goddes commandit him to forne ;
And gif that thair command maid him mansworne,
That war repreif to thair diuinite,
And na reproche vnto tlie said Enee.
Als in the first, quhair Ilioneus
Spekis to the quene Dido, sais he nocht thus,
Thair cours by fait was set to Italy ?
Thus mycht scho nocht pretend ane just caus quhy,
Thocht Troianis eftir departis of Cartage,
Sen thai befoir declarit hir thair vayage.
Reid the ferd buik quhar quene Dido is wraitht,
Thair sal ȝe fynd Enee maid neuir aitht,
Promit, nor band with hir for to abyde ;
Thus him to be mansworne ma neuer betyde,
Nor nane vnkyndnes schew for to depart
At the bidding of Jove with reuthfull hart,
Sen the command of God obey suld all,
And undir his chargis na wrangus deid may fall.
Bot sickirlie, of resoun me behuvis
Excuse Chaucer fra all maner repruvis,
In loifing of thir ladyis lilly quhyte
He set on Virgile and Eneas this wyte ;
For he was euer, God wait, wemenis frend.
I say na mair, bot gentili redaris hend,
Lat all my faltis with this offence pas by.
Thou prince of poetis, I the mercy cry,
I mene thou king of kingis, lord eterne,
Thou be my muse, my leidar and leidsterne,
Remitting my trespas and euery mys,
Throw praier of thi modir, quene of blys,
Afaild godheid, ay lestand, but discrepance,
In personis thre, equale of ane substance.
On thee I call and Mary virgine myld ;
Calliope nor payane goddis wyld
May do to me no thing bot harme, I wene,
In Christ is all my traist and hewynnis quene.
Thou virgyne modir and madyne be my muse,
That neuir ȝit na synfull list refuse
Quhilk the besocht devotlie for supple.
Albeit my sang to thi hie maiestie
Accordis nocht, ȝit condescend to my wryte,
For the sweit liquare of thi palpis quhite
Fosterit that prince, that hevinlie Orpheus,
Ground of all guid, our saluiour Jesus.
Bot forthirmor, and lawar to descend,
Forgif me, Virgill, gif I the offend,
Pardoun thi scolair, suffir him to ryme,
Sen thou was bot a mortall man sum tyme :
In caice I fail haue me not at disdenȝe,
Thocht I be lawit, my leil hart can nocht fenȝe,
I sall the follow, suld I thairfor haue blame.
Quha can do bettir, say furth in Goddis name.
I shrink not anis correckit for to be
With ony wicht grouudit ou charite,
And glaidlie wald I baith inquire and leir,
And to ilk cunnand wicht lay to my eir ;
Bot laith me war, but other offence or cryme,
Ane bruitell body suld intertrike my ryme ;
Thocht sum wald sweir that I the text haue vareit,
Or that I haue this volume quyte myscareit,
Or threip planlie that I com neuer neir hand it,
Or that the werk is wers than evir I fand it,
Or ȝit argew Yirgile stuide wele befoir,
As now war tyme to schift the wers ouer scoir ;
Ellis haue I said, thair ma be na compair
Betwixt his versis and my style wlgair.
All thocht he stand in Latyne maist perfite,
Ȝit stuid he neuir wele in our tong endite,
Les than it be by me now at this tyme :
Gif I haue failȝeit, baldy repruif my ryme,
Bot first, I pray ȝou, grape the mater clene,
Reproche me nocht quhill the work be oursene.
Beis nocht our studious to spy a mote in my ee,
That in ȝour awin a ferry bote can nocht see,
And do to me as ȝe wald be done to.
Now hark, schirris, thair is na mair ado,
Quha list attend, gewis audience, and draw neir,
Me thocht Virgill begouth on this maneir :

I the ylk wmquhile that in the small ait reid
Tonit my sang, syne fra the woddis ȝeid,
And feildis about taucht to be obeysand,
Thocht he war gredy, to the besy husband,
Ane thankfull werk maid for the plewmanis art,
Bot now the horrible sterne dedis of Mart.