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HOLLAND'S HERITAGE

Vondel, Hooft — appears to coalesce a truly impressive blend of sound — a suggestion of strong intellectual integrity and artistic balance and perfection. On that score alone one would fain consider their poetry as a grand organic whole. Rarely, however, can there ever have lived so near one another, in time and place, two writers of such utterly dissimilar taste, temperament, outlook, style: Hooft, the comfortable bourgeois, the founder and presiding genius of the cultural 'Muiderkrin^, the admitted Dutch "Tacitus", the amused sceptic for whom Montaigne was "den Godlijken Gascoen"; Vondel, the humble incomer, the strenuous Amsterdam citizen, the afflicted father, the belated home-student of the classics, the financially embarrassed business man, the devout believer, engulfed more and more by the mysticism and the obscurantism of the age. Only in one incontrovertible respect do the two seem to align themselves — in the respect that they were both of the late brood of the Renaissance. Certain it is that without that impulse working in them they could never have given their mutual tongue its highest finish and perfection. Yet, even in this, the classification made by Professor Prinsen tends, I think, to be much too rigid. He is right, of course, in seeing "twee groepen van Vroeg-Renaissancisten", to distinguish "de zoekers van schoonheid van Vondel, Hooft en Breero als hoofdfiguren tegenover de zoekers van nutte leering en levenswijsheid als Huygens en Cats".1 But Hooft is so much more the "Renaissancist" than Vondel that one is constrained to wonder if, in the final analysis, he is anything beyond that. R. J. Spitz grasps the implication clearly when he says: "Levenskracht, schoonheid, ziedaar de wezenlijke kenmerken van het werk van Hooft, van het schoonste van zijn werk, gelijk zij de kenmerken zijn van die groote geestelijke beweging waarvan hij, gelijk boven al gezegd werd, de meest karakteristieke vertegenwoordiger in onze literatuur is: de Renais1 "Geïllustreerde Nederlandsche Letterkunde," p. 122.

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