DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH
Met gout, saffier, puikpaerlen, purperstrooken,
En koele roozeblaên;
Beloofe thans door aertsbevalligheden
En goddelyken lach Een' goên, gedweên, hoogmilden, luisterbreeden,
En schoonen dagh."
This, technically, is well-shaped, finished verse, but one looks in vain for that key-note of poetic genius — the ceaseless effort to extend the range of human consciousness; it does not belong to Poot personatly — one feels that all the time. Against that, of course, one may put the simple and sincere, almost sublime:
"Jacoba trad met tegenzin
Ter snode werelt in,En heeft zich aen het endt geschreit
In haere onnozelheit.
Zy was hier naeu verscheenen,
Of ging, wel graeg, weêr heenen."
In three hundred poems there is not much of it, yet it seriously makes us reconsider how near the truth De Clercq's dictum comes, that he "was een dichter door de natuur gevormd, door de kunst bedorven. Geen onzer dichters was beter dan hij in staat de natuur te schilderen." 1
It cannot be held that De Clercq bears out his contention really well; and while indicating a line by no means unprofitable to pursue, he has probably put many on quite a false trail by implying for Poot a place along with Burns. Certainly, in a number of external features of the lives of the two bards are obvious resemblances — each was born to the plough and reared in the hardest of circumstances, and each later sought the distractions of the town and of town society, greatly to the deterioration of his rustic character. But the chronological difference of more than two
1 "Verhandeling ter Beantwoording der Vraag: Welken Invloed heeft Vreemde Letterkunde, inzonderheid de Italiaansche, Spaansche, Fransche en Duitsche, gehad op de Nederlandsche Taal- en Letterkunde, sinds het Begin der Vijftiende Eeuw tot onze Dagen," p. 270.