DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH
by the feelings of strangeness and awkwardness to which his early verses gave rise; Professor Kalff, taking note, for instance, of the fact that Tollens who translated so much else attempted nothing of Wordsworth's. 1 But Potgieter, who would fain have taken the implications of the mind of the mature Wordsworth, with all its high and spacious intellectual machinery, was also most surprisingly lost when called on to deal with the "familiar matter of today" of "Lucy Gray" and "We are Seven", and of themes seeming to border on the ludicrous, as in "Simon Lee" and "The Idiot Boy". Only once does he at all succeed here, and that is when he interprets the typically poignant, if decidedly jingling, "Reverie of Poor Susan", under the title of "Arme Geerte":
"Op den hoek van den Dam, bij het dagen in 't Oost',
Zingt een lijster, sinds jaren haar kooi er getroost;
De arme Geert moest er langs om uit schomm'len te gaan,
Leende 't oor aan het lied en bleef peinzende staan."
But over his mind the specific and the contemporary had obviously too great a hold for him to compete for long with that distinguishing mark of Wordsworth, by which reality was taken, lost, and then restored at some higher point altogether.
It is unlikely that Dutch scholarship will ever manage to produce a dissertation that will reveal the "influences' (I use the plural advisedly) of Wordsworth upon the poets of Holland; as has been done so exhaustively in the case of certain other British writers. The direct references to him — which count for so much in works of the sort — are so few and fugitive as to render the task almost an abortive one. This, in itself, might not be a bad think at all; it might, for the first time, raise the whole question of the value of these "influences". "Influences," as Professor Cazamian all too truly says, "are moral facts, inward changes, and nothing that lives changes but according to the
1 "Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Letterkunde," Vol. VII, p. 744.