YOUNG, "OSSIAN" AND THE BALLADS
for taking pains". Above all, one would say, it is the poet he has become — "met geheel zijn wezen , and niet met geheel zijn ziel". It is what corresponds in his life to all that was antirevolutionary, anti-Barneveldtian, anti-Loevensteinish, anti-liberal
and, for myself I would add, all that was anti-Romantic! It is
the view he presents as the intolerant dictator of literature, always so tiresomely pronouncing in favour of the past and always so determinedly opposed to the present; the view he gives as the ponderous scholar, the self-righteous, self-opinionated moralist, the stupid provincial who could calmly place Vondel above Milton and affect to abominate the "kindergrillen" of Shakespeare and, it would seem, the same kind of "puerillities" in Goethe, Schiller, Byron, and many another name great in poetry. The picture begins to lose its attractive colouring;in fact, it has changed into that of a singularly uninviting, unpleasing figure. How — one is quite justified in asking — can the productions, whether in prose or verse, of so insufferable a pedant as this, so merciless a castigator of the work of others, be truly of a calibre to entitle him to a high and lasting place in the literary records of his own — or any — country?
Such a rank he, undoubtedly, has — and merits. But, to me, it is no longer due on the basis of the great classicist — when he was only a stereotyped one; no longer as the purveyor of creative drama — when he but happened to be well versed in the canons of Aristotle; no longer as the Miltonian epic poet — when his respect was primarily for form and an appropriatelyassumed elevation of religious tone. On all of these scores it is by no means difficult to indict him. Indeed, as with Vondel himself, it seems to me we can now cast away, as having served their day, most of those very works for which for a century he has been chiefly lauded. The truth is that for dramatic and epic poetry his nature was entirely too subjective. Bij Shakespeare," says Jonckbloet, "spreken de menschen, bij Bilderdijk