Transliterations 3: Robert Crawford and Thomas Maitland's 'Iocus in Gallum Cuculum' ('A Jest against Gallus the Cuckold')

Steven Reid , Principal Investigator, and Robert Crawford

Concluding our current series of modern 'transliterations' of poems from the DPS, 1 the following 'transliteration' is a reworking by Robert Crawford of an undated poem by Thomas Maitland, which is in hendecasyllables and is modelled after similiar obscene poems by Gaius Valerius Catullus (c.84-54BC). The original Latin text and a literal translation will be available on the DPS site from next month, but background on Maitland can be found in our May 2014 feature.

Born in Lanarkshire, Professor Robert Crawford studied and taught at Glasgow and Oxford, moving to St Andrews in 1989. He has published six collections of poetry and over two dozen other books. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Academy, he has given readings and lectures at Berkeley, Oxford and Yale as well as in schools and village halls (smallest audience: four adults and a baby). An experienced broadcaster, he has been a judge of the National Poetry Competition, the T S Eliot Prize, and the David Cohen Prize. His full biography can be found here.

A link to the digital installation presented at StAnza 2015 featuring all our 'transliterations' from the past three months, and a range of readings and other materials, can be found here.

Mr Gallus
eftir the Latin o Thomas Maitland (c.1545-1572)

Ah've heard Mrs Gallus
Shags cuiks,
Shags muleteers,
Shags oniebodie
And raises their weans. Mr Gallus
Disnae bother, isnae fashed,
Brags aa the weans are his ain, brags
They're aa braw - like Mrs Gallus.
It's nae cos
He disnae ken whit's whit,
It's nae cos
He thinks his ain runkled todger faithered them,
But just cos yon Mrs G
Shags him tae:
He kens, hooever monie ithers
Ploo his wee croft,
Plantin it oot,
It's still, eftir aa, the work o the Lord
Which seed is gonnae sprout.


1: See our February and March 2015 features for further details.