His Morte d'Arthur, printed by Caxton in 1485, epitomizes the rich mythology which Geoffrey's work had first called into life, and gave the Arthurian story a lasting place in the English imagination.
Where possible, he substitutes human for divine intervention, and ignores the idea of the glorification of Rome and Augustus, which dominates the Virgilian epic. On this work were founded the Eneide or Eneit (between i180 and 1190) of Heinrich von Veldeke, written in Flemish and now only extant in a version in the Thuringian dialect, and the Eneydos, written by William Caxton in 1490.
In the first, or general, prologue, Douglas claims a higher position for Virgil than for his master Chaucer, and attacks Caxton for his inadequate rendering of a French translation of the Aeneid.
Chaucer translated it into English prose before the year 1382; and this translation was published by Caxton at Westminster, 1480.
In 1877 Henry Stevens, in his catalogue of the Caxton Exhibition, pointed out a statement by a certain Simeon Ruytinck in his life of Emanuel van Meteren, appended to the latter's Nederlandische Historie (1614), that Jacob van Meteren, the father of Emanuel, had manifested great zeal in producing at Antwerp a translation of the Bible into English, and had employed for that purpose a certain learned scholar named Miles Conerdale (sic).
His protection and encouragement of Caxton were of inestimable value to English literature, and in the preface to the Dictes the printer gives an account of his own relations with the statesman which illustrates the dignity and modesty of Lord Rivers in a very agreeable way.