romantic theme; at Mary's death he was two years old, and therefore in some sense her contemporary".1 But plainly (as all too frequently with his Dutch commentaries) Sir Edmund had never read the original work, for, had he done so, he would soon have found that the treatment given in it is so much the reverse of romantic that the whole performance can only be called forced and tendencious; it is a play full of flat and dismal lines of the order of:
"Twee punten hebben haer de bijl door 't vleesch gedreven,
Haer erfrecht tot de Kroon, en haer Katholisch leven."
In general one could scarcely imagine much greater martyrdom for the Muse itself. Yet, let the poet permit himself but a momentary relaxation from the woes of the Queen, and at once we get the magnificent storm-song in Act. II;
"In 't schuim der Kaledonsche baren,
Om Orkades noch Yrlant vont De visscher, grijs en afgevaren,
Geen zeegedroght, zoo wreet van mont Dan dit, zoo spits en scherp van vinnen,
Zoo schalck, zoo loos en boos van vaert."
Even the otherwise far from convincing tragedy, "Jeptha", is not without its notable song-lyric:
Tegens eigens oordeel,
Dat hier tegens pleit,
Afstaen van zijn voordeel,
Heeft een stercke maght
Onder sich gebracht Dan die heiren overwint."
It is, of course, a narrow and misleading conception of Vondel as lyricist that would seek to confine him primarily to what was
1 "Vondel and Milton" in "Studies in the Literature of Northern Europe", p. 281.
2 It is not without interest to notice that he claimed to have based his play on the Protestant William Camden's "Rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Annales Regnante Elisabetha".