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THE VOGUE OF SCOTT AND BYRON

near the "norm" of human nature: he held the same sort of respect for convention and received tradition; his ideas were as local, allowing for no "development" of doctrine; an instinctive sense of wonder was as conspicuously lacking; and to a certain extent both of them were Romantics by a proved easiness of disposition and the evasion of serious, central issues. Where Scott triumphed supremely, however, was in the possession of an enormous creative power: never can the history — and the geography — of any nation and country have been so gloriously portrayed by any single pen as by his. Here one can only be blunt and say that Van Lennep is out of the hunt completely. With Scott the magie of his native countryside was always at work; his "genius for history" gave him an unsurpassed understanding, and he was always at his best when nearest to Lowland and Highland Scotland and its people. Against so inspired a background as this it is easily possible to find excuse for the Dutch poet; who for the Trossachs, or any other rugged and beautiful district, could but substitute the lonely heaths of Gelderland, and for the rocky romantic coastlands of Orkney and Galloway the dreary mudbanks of Frisia. But if geography was unkind, history should have more than made up to him; with all the absorbing incoherence of detail provided by the old feudal divisions, by chivalrous counts like Floris V, by the ancient Burgundian dynasty, by the heroic House of Orange. Into this picturesque national story Van Lennep — and it is to his infinite credit — did make some considerable attempt to delve: but, unfortunately, there was lacking that intense personal predilection for the task, that endless resource and patience to accumulate an encyclopedic knowledge of the past, which are the marks of the greatest of all historical romancers. Van Lennep's was truly no feudal mind: he was by no means kindly disposed to the Middle Dutch which would have been an invaluable aid to him; and not even a subject so rich in suggestion as Jacoba, "the Dutch Mary Stuart", could rally him to make

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