ENGLISH BARDS AND DUTCH REVIEWERS
of the Cumbrian hills, there was always Busken Huet in Java to open his eyes to the "truth". Pantheism, as it happened, was not one of his "interests" — not thus could ever arise any great and passionate declaration of himself as a poet. And of far greater importance than any difference of physical background in accounting for the fact that he did not learn more from Wordsworth is probably the spiritual difference between the ages in which they spent their youth; the difference mainly perhaps of being on the wrong sides of the French Revolutionary movement. Critically, as we must see, Potgieter left the major implications of his craft still to be taken. And this, later, was what brought him most violently into conflict with the "Nieuwe Gids-ers": a conflict that might well be considered, I think, as resolving itself round the question of how far he was aware — not of Wordsworth, as might just as reasonably have been asked — — but of the importance of Keats and Shelley; so very new-found in the Holland of 1885. Strangely enough, he seems actually to have been more aware of Crabbe than of either of these infinitely greater poets: his "Blik naar Crabbe", Dr Dekker calls "sy nobelste hulde aan die Engelse literatuur".1 Potgieter himself takes the opportunity to say here: "Het heugt ieder die voor vijfentwintig jaren jong is geweest, welk een invloed de engelsche poëzie toenmaals op de hollandsche uitoefende."2 But it was 1863 before he thought of dealing directly with Shelley; and then it was, in the words of the attacking Kloos, "een van diens minst belangrijke gedichtjes, 'The Fugitives' toevalligerwijs vertaald". 3 He made amends, however, with a study of the poet nine years later, taking as his text the famous saying: "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world". The measure of
1 De Invloed van Keats en Shelley in Nederland gedurende die Negentiende Eeu," p. 56.
2 "Studiën en Kritieken," Vol. II, p. 219.
3 "De Nieuwe Gids," 1922 II, p. 307.