P R E F A C E
The inception of this study was owing to a suggestion of Professor W. L. Renwick, that in the poetry of the so-called 'Lake School' might possibly be discoverable a fruitful source of influence for just such a small, sane country as Holland. As it happened, I did not find the suggestion well borne out — less almost, it seemed, for Wordsworth and Coleridge than for the other English major poets — but the extensive course of delving into which it led me opened my eyes in new and further directions; in especial, it enabled me to realize how continuous and how important had been the part played in the Netherlands by the main line of British poets it still seems most convenient to refer to as the Romantics.
Having thus secured a foothold, the difficulty was to know where best to draw the line; Dutch being so definitely a literature of fluctuating inspirations and minor realizations, in no sense greater than the language (about the uncouthness and terrors of which people on this side of the North Sea seem to be altogether of one mind). Paramountly, the question had to be faced of whether it were truly worth while to ransack the dusty premises of its inchoate succession of Cats's, Smits's, Borger's, Tollens's, Da Costa's, merely to be the first British writer to compile a thesis of a type already too well known in Amsterdam and The Hague — the type that involves the application of an invloed here, the working out of a neiging there, with all the rest of that array of hackneyed terms so beloved by the student of literature and so wittily denounced, on its English side, by Sir Arthur QuillerCouch. There was only one basis, I decided, upon which it was