DUTCH POETRY AND ENGLISH
of faith"; but artistically so, not psychologically. As a work of poetical introspection it does not compare, for instance, with the collected "Binnengedachten" of Kloos. For philosophical poetry Potgieter could really claim no great aptitude. "Poetry," it has been said, "is philosophy and philosophy is poetry"; but to agree, we have to think of the Goethes, the Wordsworths, and the Shelleys, not of the Scotts, the Byrons, the Potgieters. The most we may allow is that Potgieter did possess an unusually enquiring mind; chiefly directed towards perceiving the harmonies between man and his background in history, art, literature, and not between man and man. Meerkerk distinguishes this attitude from the true metaphysical when he says that "aan philosophie deed hij niet, doch was philosoof op eigen houtje. . . Strikt genomen kende hij niet wat men tegenwoordig 'objective waarheid1 noemt. Voor hem bestond er alleen betrekkelijke, Potgieteraansche waarheid." 1 This, however, also somewhat overstates the case. "Gedroomd Paardrijden" is assuredly a comprehensively wrought out poem, with its three hundred and eighty four verses. But it changes into such a vast compound of travel impressions, folklore, artistic ideas, historical notes that it tends to make correct aesthetic taste a substitute for the exercise of "the primary imagination"; it deals with the great historie process, but fails to realize that personal faith counts above it all; there is no note anywhere in it of that high Pantheism which was the product of immediate experience; in a word, spiritual unity is not achieved — "Toch is geen heilige in zijn mystisch droomen". Wordsworth himself has been rebuked by Mr Aldous Huxley for his failure to take stock of the elements of conflict and pain in nature and imposing on its terrifying multifariousness a tame "Anglican" pantheism. But few of these arguments are apposite here. No more had Potgieter been to the Tropics; but if it really were that the landscape of North Holland had failed to provide even the mild stimuli 1 "E. J. Potgieter's Gedroomd Paardrijden," Introduction, p. 4.