THE VOGUE OF SCOTT AND BYRON
kind of imagined past, of jousts and tourneys, trumpets, drums and clattering horse. Of Scott himself Beets early became a devoted admirer, and his first published prose work, written at the age of eighteen, was fittingly entitled "Proeve van Hulde aan Sir Walter Scott".1 Proceeding to the University of Leyden, he followed up this piece of homage with his "Proeve uit de Dichterlijke Werken van Walter Scott", which contained translations of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel", "Rokeby", "Harold the Dauntless", and other shorter poems. But this second tribute attracted no attention, running counter, in fact, to Westerman's collected "Proeven uit Lord Byron's Werken" which appeared at that very time. It was probably this factor that was responsible, two years later, for Beets himself deciding to begin the composition of the poetic romance under the tutelage of England's second great pillar of early nineteenth century Romanticism. Not till his third tale, "Kuser", in 1835, did he come round to Scott's diametrically opposed style in narration. Previously he had followed Byron into Spain; but now he sought his history at home, in the story of the romantic Aleid van Poelgeest, loved by the historie Albrecht, Count of Holland, and by the fictitious Kuser. With this 'triangle' much definite mediaeval history, particularly involving the internecine strife of Hoeks and Kabbeljauws, is interfused, and the plagiarism that so disfigures Van Lennep's mock-romances is now fully counterbalanced by the original characterisation and by the fine natural descriptions given, particularly that of the far-famed landscape of The Hague forest — the romantic core of all Dutch history. As an historical romance this poem is successful in all but one respect — it does not truly revive the atmosphere of the past! It showed promise enough, however, to decide Van Lennep to retire from the field! By 1840 Beets had decided to shed every scrap of Byronic influence, and in his final poetic romance, "Ada van Holland", he 1 It appeared in "Algemeen Letterlievend Maandschrift" (Amsterdam).