KEATS AND SHELLEY AND "DE BEWEGING VAN TACHTIG"
Groot met den diadeem van eigen licht En eigen duister, maar toch allen saam Eén volk, één grootheid, één heerschappij.
En schoon de ruimte tusschen troon en troon,
Den sterfling zou verscheem'ren in 't verschiet,
Tóch kon een ieglijk, zonder dat hij rees,
Den beker reiken aan wie 't naast hem zat.
En over heel den wijzen omme-trek Dier eindelooze hallen gloeide en hing Hun innerlijkste godheid, diep en stil,
Als over de aarde een zonnig lente-weder."
It was in this poem that Kloos first announced himself in unmistakable fashion. Well over half a century has passed since then, and he has long been established as a classic beyond challenge. His work has been described, discussed, appreciated, in a perpetual stream of books, pamphlets, and articles, his poetic output has been endlessly edited and re-edited, and is known today in every high-school anthology. Yet, the portrait of the poet and the effect of his poetry will always be subject to the shifting lights and shadows of this world's passing show. So, in the end, we are brought back to the one stable category — the original poetry and the original poetic doctrine; in which, I think, the main lineaments of his character and genius were always so deeply imprinted and so faithfully recorded as never to be mistaken by unsophisticated readers.
Up to the last Kloos kept his alert habit of thought, amazing a wide circle of friends and admirers both by the prodigality of his ideas and the wealth of his imagination. Yet, something of the old virtue had undoubtedly gone: "De Willem Kloos van tegenwoordig, b.v.," noted Robbers in 1922, "is niet meer wat de man van '85 was, de vijfentwintigjarige die den Nieuwen Gids stichtte."1 But, after all, what would one expect? So deepfeeling, deep-thinking a writer as Kloos, was bound to assure
1 "De Nederlandsche Litteratuur na 1880," p. 28.