Geen zoekvraag opgegeven

Tekst
Onderstaande tekst is niet 100% betrouwbaar

DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH

Within their own century the lyric impulses of Vondel and Hooft seemed dead and forgotten. Beyond Antonides the collapse was complete and absolute. A handful of pedants gained possession of the literary field and developed a perfect mania for translating and imitating from the French whatever material they could lay their inconsiderate fingers upon. Can any country ever have been so badly served by its poets as Holland now in its need? In the efforts of such a pernicious fop as Sybrand Feitama we surely reach a climax in sheer human futility. In the state in which he found the poetry of his country we can only shake our heads in sorrow that any writer should ever have managed to fill in twenty solid years of his life in making feeble rhymed translations of Fénelon's „Télémaque" and Voltaire s „Henriade . Had he but realized it, such unnatural orientation towards a foreign literature was actually the thing least calculated to launch Holland back into the main European current, and more than any other factor has been responsible for the failure to link up the Vondelian age with the recurring phases of Romanticism and weid Dutch poetry into something like a homogeneous whole. The absolute dominance of the classical spirit in England, we now see, has been exaggerated. Attention had been concentrated on the characteristic verse of the Augustans, written with Man as the theme, and upon the strict aesthetic discipline under which their choice of the closed couplet had brought their art. Above all, it had become a commonplace of criticism to speak of the absence in their work of a feeling for nature. Today we recognize even Pope _ the most typical of all these poets, and perhaps the greatest of his time anywhere — as a link in the Romantic chain itself — through the minor poems of Milton, to those of Thomson and Gray. Far too exclusively had we been told of his urban pre-occupation with morals and satire; far too much had it been overlooked that he was a country poet before he became a town one; that, in a word, his world of experience was really as ex-

Sluiten