ENGLISH BARDS AND DUTCH REVIEWERS
for the long delay in recognizing the English poets. The cause he rightly finds in the inherent conservatism of the Dutch national character. "Waar Bilderdijk en Van der Palm bloeiden," he characteristically takes the chance to lash his predecessors by saying, "was voor de twee vreemde planten geen lucht." 1 With regard to Huet only one further point remains to be considered — his relationship with the culminating movement in Holland now taking its beginning from the free rendering of Shelley's "Cloud" by the young poet Perk. It is perhaps typical that, to the end, the critic watched it from the outside — from his beloved Paris. His life's endeavour had been to show that literature is a loyalty with a higher claim than the national one. In this he had gone his own way, not even seeking to carry his friend Potgieter with him; but in the end it had left him in isolation, not as the unselfish devotee of modes more permanent and satisfying than the literature of his fatherland might allow, but as the neglectful, or at least very partial and erratic, reviewer where that very literature was concerned. He had intended to be ruthless in his dealings with it, but had often only succeeded in being grossly unfair towards it. To him it had consisted of two explosions merely — the poetry of the age of Hooft, rather than of Vondel — and the period of the "Oude Romans" at the end of the eighteenth century. Now, apparently, the wheel had come full circle. To the next writers his scepticism over their idealism was as unintelligible a thing as had been the platburgerlijk" flavour of Cats to his own sensitive ear. Kloos the leader took occasion much later to rebuke him for lack of het fijnaanvoelende, aesthetisch-psychische temperament" necessary to appreciate the great English poet, whose name he had freely enough mentioned in his critical studies while failing abysmally to understand for what it stood. "Neen," is his emphatic declaration, "voor Huet evenals voor Potgieter was Shelley slechts 1 Op. cit., p. 108.