DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH
The incurable diffuseness of the Dutchman also militates against a high measure of success. Often he requires two stanzas, or even three sometimes, for no more than one in the Reliques . We have an excellent example of this trait in his very first adaptation of a genuine old ballad. It is "Child Waters and the verse runs:
"She leaned her backe to the manger side,
And grievously did groane:
She leaned her backe to the manger side,
And there she made her moane."
Bilderdijk's "Jonker Brand van Wijk" manages to expand this somewhat ludicrously out to:
"Zij leunt zich zuchtend aan de ruif
En schreeuwt en gilt het uit,
En kromt het lichaam van de pijn Waarmee het zich ontsluit."
"De droeve jammert hier eri schreit,
Van allen heul ontbloot:
Niets speurt ze dan een scheurend wee,
Niets wacht zij dan de dood."
He also lost a further great opportunity by not making his selections the best available. Often, indeed, he seems to have gone out of his way to procure the most exotic or least interesting models; such as "Valentine and Ursine" and The Child of Elle . Or he may decide to serve up his simple matter so richly and mysteriously that in the process it grows almost out of recognition. this, rather notoriously, he does with his Spanish-flavoured Almanzor en Zaïde", which is at heart no more than Percy's "Gentle River", and with his French-flavoured Graaf Floris de Vierde , when 'all the time "Young Waters" or "The Bonnie Earl o| Murray" was crying out simply to be translated. In Edom o Gordon" he does take one of the most famous of Scottish ballads, but once more, almost from the start, the sense of direct appeal is