DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH
forget for long the springs of racial feeling and experience and fail in the end to be drawn back. Is it not significant that little today is made of Antonides van der Goes and nothing at all of Feitama, but a great deal of Bilderdijk who, if he sedulously imitated Theocritus and Anacreon, did, besides, turn his later attention to the lyric, brought back the ballad to his own country, and almost managed to make even "Ossian Dutch. When all is said, what literature should be more national in its essential features than that of the "land of sea-dunes and sea borders", the land that shook off the yoke of Parma and became the equal of Britain in the spirit that derives from the sea?
The importance of Vondel, then, is not international but national. In 1824 Sir John Bowring wrote that "Vondel himself, ingenious, emphatic and sublime, as he is, has never found an interpreter, perhaps scarcely even a reader in England".1 Well over a hundred years later Professor Huizinga is still able to declare: "Es stehen fast drei Jahrhunderte zwischen ihm und uns, und seine Stimme klingt nicht hindurch wie die eines Shakespeare oder Dante. Man liest ihn vielmehr wie Vergil, das heiszt, es gehort dazu entweder eine bestimmte Erudition oder eine bewuszte aesthetische Beflissenheit. So steht es mit unserem gröszten Dichter."1 So, even nationally regarded, it is doubtful if Vondel is all to Holland that Camoens is to Portugal. For poetry he is supreme, but for art in general there is another figure that transcends quite uniquely. ■Het Land van Rembrandt! Thus did Busken Huet seek to apotheosize the period in a name. It is a view with which there can be no serious quarrel. Poetry does not complain, for it is surely a proud thing to be represented by a Rembrandt; to know that the seeds of verse and drama, being watered and nourished, should sprout forth and yield their quota to bis 'Golden Age'. That any other name should substitute his is utterly incon-
1 "Batavian Anthology," Introduction, p. 2.
2 "Hollandische Kultur des Siebzehnten Jahrhunderts," p. 41.