YOUNG, "OSSIAN", AND THE BALLADS
Winkel, it seems to me, sums up much more acutely here. "Feith," he plainly states, "had voor volkshumor geen gevoel." 1 Herder, Bürger,, Stolberg, De Moncrif for him, if you will — but not the great "Anon" of the ancient ballads. Personally, I would say that the far less versatile Bellamy offers more in his single "Roosje" (though the connotation "romance" has for him is not unlike Wordsworth's later conception of "ballad"). Feith, even when superficially he seems to be giving us Percy, is really providing us with the more spurious "Oudschotsch" atmosphereof "Ossian"; names like Colma and Alpin he clearly borrows from this source. 2 But of all the English sentimentalists it is, undoubtedly, to Young that he comes nearest in his own "pale cast of thought" — 3 Richardson he left to the lady novelists, Wolff and Deken, and to the poetess Elizabeth Post, and the much less subtle Blair again, to Betje Wolff. 4
Professor Ten Brink shows considerable courage when he writes: "Van den beginne is er iets nieuws in Feith's gedichten: de zeer duidelijke bewondering voor Klopstock's pathos," 5 for yas not this strong "man of feeling", in turn, a member of the tribe of Young? Assuredly, not any of the German poet's odes, nor even his "Messias", can take the place of "Night Thoughts" as the typical poem for Feith of this age of simulated melancholy. Also, Klopstock's nature was best attuned to lyric poetry; while Feith's "mortuary verse" has little that is lyrical in it, and shows him, like Young, as the heavy didactic-moral poet. De Beers
1 "De Ontwikkelingsgang der Nederlandsche Letterkunde," III, p. 47.
2 Dr Zijderveld also notes his use of Edwin, "later een veel voorkomende naam voor een romanceheid", and surmises that this he acquired from Goldsmith's "Edwin and Angelina".
3 Dutch translation of "Night Thoughts" published in 1767.
4 Strangely enough, the title of her "Eenzame Nachtgedachten over den Slaap en den Dood" almost as exactly suggests Young as does Feith's own "Graf", Blair.
8 "Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Letterkunde," p. 565.