YOUNG, "OSSIAN" AND THE BALLADS
hem alles koud"; of Wordsworth's theory concerningpoeticdiction he seems never to have heard, but as much as ever ekes out his compositions with resounding words and forced effects. The whole truth seems to be that, though he has tried hard enough to take the implications of his art, he has never managed to work out an adequate theory of poetry. With the realm of pure aesthetics he had little concern — being content to take the word of Lessing in all things — and on that score marks an advance on predecessors like Van Alphen and Feith. His general definition of poetry, however, surprises us not a little by having the true Wordsworthian mark upon it. Poëzie, he declares, "is eenzelvig; zij is uitgieting van het overstelpende Gevoel, even onwillekeurig als schreien of lachen; uitstorting van het hart; afspiegeling van het binnenste der ziel; uitdrukking van het innigste overtuigen." * are at once in difficulties, however, when we begin to enquire what he means by concepts like beauty, feeling, nature. Over the first-named especially there is a distinct vagueness about his thinking. When he speaks of it as Eenheid gevoeld", we might think of it as subjective, as something we can receive; but when he goes on to say:
"De Dichtkunst des Poëets, de Godsdienst van den Christen Is één,"
he indicates that it is really something to be reproduced for us. "Objectief bestaat de schoonheid in de afspiegeling van Gods alvolmaaktheid en algenoegzaamheid." 2 It is, thus, a conception far from the undiluted feeling of Keats; nor could it possibly hope to satisfy the later Jachtigers. Again, in his "Kunst der Poëzie", he insists:
"Ja, uw kunstkracht is gevoelen,
Juist gevoelen, met een hart," _
but in practice makes no strong distinction between art and know-
1 "Taal- en Dichtkundige Verscheidenheden," Part I, p. I ff.
2 "H. Bavinck, "Bilderdijk als Denker en Dichter," p. 149.