ENGLISH BARDS AND DUTCH REVIEWERS
the most dismaying factor is just that the thought seems immeasurably inferior to what was actually soon to go to the making of "De Gids" as a high-class review of letters. Not on this basis would we be justified in regarding Potgieter's poetry as a province of his fine critical prose. Here there is no infiltration of theory, no vision of the world of man save under certain broad and over-simplified aspects, virtually no speculative thought. For the past alone is there much vision at all; and even then it is bounded by the Rijksmuseum and the Prinsenhof. But there is much that is completely banal; and if the critic Potgieter affected to detest anything it was precisely that. Even if we allow that in him we have the sole pre-Jachtig poet holding so much as the faintest affinity with Wordsworth, we also remember how the very banalities of Wordsworth are of ten informed by an enthusiastic and meditative imagination, and can at once assure ourselves that not in this jingling "Jan Salie" stuff, with its most palpable design upon the reader, is there as yet the necessary groundwork for comparison.
Dr Popma, with his unerring instinct for what is thesistically relevant, has not failed to note that "een dergelijk dualisme merken we trouwens op bij Potgieter, die geen romantisch werk kon goedvinden, als niet onze nationaliteit er een rol in speelde." 1 And as one reads his animadversions on the Romantic qualities of "Gwy de Vlaming",2 or his disparaging remarks on Beets and Ten Kate as translators of Byron, 3 it comes home with laughable force that from the first moment he put pen to paper he belonged himself to "de romantische groep". Not, of course, that it was in his nature to seek the ornate and elaborate vein of Keats — beauty of imagery and musical subtlety had little power over his mind. Nor was poetry to be regarded as an
1 "Byron en het Byronisme in de Nederlandsche Letterkunde," p. 169.
2 "De Gids," 1837, p. 615 ff.
3 "De Gids," 1844, p. 242.