THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
vrienden geteld had." 1 Faith is further shaken a little by his seeming to place "Ossian" with Shakespeare and Homer, as one of a great triumvirate in uninstructed genius: "Wie heeft Homerus, wie heeft Ossian, wie heeft Shakespeare onderwezen?" Van Alphen, on the whole, is happier in dealing with the poets nearer to himself in sympathy as in time; and in these respects his highest regard is for Pope, Thomson, and Young. That it is the "schoone, zinnelijke en beeldvolle stijl" of Young that most of all commands his respect can be accepted as a striking portent of what was soon to happen throughout all Holland. So thoroughly, indeed, does he seem to have indoctrinated himself with the spirit of "Night Thoughts" that something of Young's own vapid sensibility creeps into his style whenever he writes of him. 2 But the height of admiration is reached in a poem inscribed to "Mijne onbekende Vrienden", in which the English poet figures very prominently:
"Dronk ik eenen bittren kelk, en borst ik uit in klagten,
Dan koos ik Young tot medgezel."
The lines throughout are in this strain, but those beginning the second stanza are interesting as also pointing now to the partial relegation of "the Homer of the North":
"O Grijsaard! vol van God! uw schildrend dichtvermogen Heeft zuivrer gloed van Ossian." 3
While Van Alphen for his much greater union of practice with theory stands well apart from the poets so often named with him — especially Bellamy and Nieuwland — this is not to say
1 "Theory," Introduction, XLVI. Spelling "Addisson is as given. He also speaks of Pope's "Essay on !Men".
2 Vide "Theorie," Intro. XI, I 94, 127, 239; "Digtkundige Verhandelingen," XXXI, CLX1X and p. 157; Prijsverhandeling van 1782, VII, 220.
3 In his "Over het Aangeboorne in de Poëzie" he writes: "In Ossian treft men geen geestige wendingen, maar alles werkt op de verbeelding en de gewaarwording."