After a brief critique, in a first part (pp. 507–510), of previous scholars' biographical approach to the politics of translating Virgil, this paper proceeds to offer an alternative approach by looking at the “linguistic ideology” underpinning translations (especially of theAeneid) (parts II and III [pp. 510–512 and 512–517]). What emerges is a contradictory tension between the idea of a single, unifying national vernacular and competing varieties or kinds of English. Inherent to this tension is the question of whose English (and consequently who) was to be included in the constituency of the “our” in “our English tongue”—a recurring phrase in translators' comments on their work. In a fourth and final part (pp. 517–527), these linguistic—and political—stakes are shown to have accrued around a critique, by George Puttenham inThe Arte of English Poesie (1589), of Richard Stanyhurst's translation of the opening lines of theAeneid. Specifically, this critique is taken up in the following decade (the 1590s), and the politics of its hierarchical and exclusive linguistic ideology opposed, on the one hand, by Richard Carew, in an important essay on the English language, and, on the other, by William Shakespeare, in two of his early plays, most importantly,The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play unique in the Shakespearean canon for its focus on “our English tongue,” a focus which is here precisely placed in its intertextual relation to contemporary debate surrounding Richard Stanyhurst’s translation, of Virgil'sAeneid.