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Mary, Queen of Scots was a poet – and you should know it
Therefore, good friends, for a quibble or sport, I pray you not blame me for every small word. Lawrence of the Vale, that worthy patron, Without a doubt a great scholar of Latin, Admits that even after twelve years of study On the texts of Virgil, he still found them muddy. Thus when you or I, my friend, aspire To have Virgil read, reasoned, and made clear, The proper meaning is what we seek. Give him no praise, therefore, nor credit his undertaking, So shamefully did he pervert great art.
His original verses were golden, not gilt; I spit in disdain to see them so spoilt By someone who knew not, as is apparent, More than three words of what Virgil meant. He translated 26 works into English, including the Aeneid in , from a French source text; Douglas published his translation in I crossed my heart, then braced myself for sleep, When, through the glass, I spied the gleaming shape Of Latonia, 4 queen of the long, irksome night. Her subtle glances shed a watery light, Whirling high up in her distant region, Toward Phoebus in his western opposition; She called the dusky Crab her proper home, And held the heights after the sun went down.
I heard the moon-horned night-owl in her cave Shout and yowl, as though she was depraved; Loathsome of form, with a crooked, wicked beak, My stomach curdled at her weird, wild shriek.
I sadly slid toward sleep, and soundly slumbered Till in the east the light crept softly upward. As dawn brought forth the dazzling light of day, And subdued Cynthia slowly slipped away, I awoke in my warm bed, and heard the cackles Upon the roof above of noisy grackles. Close to my chamber, in tall, barren trees, The beggar kite whistled, mewed, and moaned, And thus I knew for sure the day had dawned.
I summoned forth the fire and lit a candle, Then blessed myself and, donning my warmest mantle, Opened a shuttered window just a crack To look out on the dawn: chill, wan, and bleak, With a heavy mist engulfing all the sky, And the soil hoary, frozen, stiff, and gray, Branches rattling, and all the hillsides blackened, With ravaged ridges and withered banks of bracken; The morning dew-drops frozen on bark and stubble, And sharp hailstones, crusted into rubble, Hopping upon the thatch and nearby road.
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