Gawin Douglas, Or Gavin, a Scottish poet, bishop of Dunkeld, third son of Archibald, fifth earl of Angus (called "Bell-the-Cat" ), born in Brechin about 1474, died in London in 1521 or 1522. He was educated for the church, partly in Scotland and partly at Paris, and when 22 years of age was appointed rector of Hawick. While in this office he made a translation of Ovid's " Remedy of Love," which has been lost. In 1501 he addressed to King James IV. the "Palace of Honor,11 an allegory whose structure so much resembles the "Pilgrim's Progress," that Bunyan has been thought to have borrowed his idea from it. About 1509 he was appointed provost of St. Giles's, Edinburgh. His translation of the AEneid into Scottish verse, made in 1512 - '13, was first printed at London in 1553, with the following title: "The xiii. bukes of Eneados of the fa-mose poet Virgill, translatet out of Latyne verses into Scottish metir, bi the Reuerend Father in God, Mayster Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dun-kel, & vnkil to the Erle of Angus : euery buke hauing hys perticular prologe." It is praised for its spirit and fidelity.
The 13th book was the production of Mapheus Vegius. In September, 1513, Douglas accompanied the king to Flodden field, where his two elder brothers, the master of Angus and Sir William Douglas, with 200 gentlemen of their name, were slain. Soon afterward the earl his father died of grief. The chief of the house of Douglas was now the young earl of Angus, nephew of Gawin. This youth married the queen regent, and was the means of Gawin's obtaining the abbacy of Aberbrothwick, and a nomination to the archbishopric of St. Andrews, which would have made him head of the church in Scotland. The pope would not assent to this appointment, and as the partisans of the various candidates appealed to arms, it ended in Gawin's abbacy being taken from him. The queen made him bishop of Dunkeld in 1515, but on attempting to establish himself in his see he found it in armed possession of the earl of Athol's brother, Andrew Stewart. Douglas's friends rallied in force and took the cathedral, after which the contention went on for years between the rival families of Angus and Hamilton, and in April, 1520, they met in Edinburgh to fight it out. Bishop Gawin, foreseeing bloodshed, endeavored to prevent the fray. But his intercessions were of no avail; the forces of the rival lords met, and Hamilton was defeated.
The next year the regent Albany called the Angus party to account, and the earl, with Gawin and the chief men of his name, were forced to fly to England, where Henry VIII. received them well and allowed Gawin a pension. An allegorical poem of his, entitled "King Hart," was left in manuscript, and published by Pinkerton in his " Ancient Scottish Poems," 1788.