YOUNG, "OSSIAN" AND THE BALLADS
himself have made a poor editor for so eclectic a work, for we find again in his "Sint Albaan" that, while he actually draws upon the story of Scott's "Fire King", he proceeds to ascribe it this time to his own friend Southey! And the metre seems also to prove that he had definitely Scott in mind, for it is in exactly his early anapaestic style:
"Nu schudden haar knieën, heur blosjen verschiet."
Where Bilderdijk still breaks down as a disciple of Scott, however, is in his failure to disabuse his Romanticism of that strain of sentimentality he affected to despise so unutterably in contemporaries like Feith and Post: the truth being that, as Dr Zijderveld thesistically positions himself to maintain, "Bilderdijk toont zich in zijn romancen veel meer een sentimenteel poëet, dan hij zelf wil doen voorkomen".1 He had a heart more sensitive perhaps than Scott's, but also one far more unquiet; a heart born out of self-pity and passion in the best manner of the current Wereld-smart — in a word, the heart of a Byron ...
Between the actual lives of Bilderdijk and Byron Professor Prinsen has drawn an illuminating comparison — the unhappy boyhood of each, their disastrous marriages, their sharp reactions at all times to authority, their political exile and complete social ostracisation. And in their respective ideas he has also found something to compare — Byron's continuous lashing of English hypocrisy and Bilderdijk's endless vituperations against almost every colleague and contemporary, their joint love of liberty, and their unusual fondness for the writings of Pope. 2 Unfortunately, not much in the end is to be made of these deductions; the use to which these experiences and ideas were put having been so wholly at variance. The fact that, withal, Bilderdijk was Dutch simply serves to change the entire complexion of matters. He was a born Dutch-
1 The fifth of the Stellingen attached to his "Romancepoëzie in Noord-Nederland van 1780 tot 1830".
2 Vide "Geïllustreerde Nederlandsche Letterkunde," p. 195.