KEATS AND SHELLEY AND "DE NIEUWE GIDS"
He was but twenty, of course, when he composed "Cor Cordium". And if he did, indeed, ever come round to the Eliotian view that "an enthusiasm for Shelley seems to me also to be an affair of adolescence,"1 perhaps it was not altogether on different premises. For the work, the mind, the art, of the English poet he had certainly displayed an almost all-absorbing enthusiasm. Yet, had he really explored him to the full in any one of these aspects? Poems so characteristic, for instance, as "Prometheus Unbound", "The Revolt of Islam", "Alastor", "Adonais",he seems either not to have wished to handle, or not known how to do so. Over the technique of poetry, I allow, he had some right to regard himself as having been let down by his countrymen; and as a professor of poetry — in a doublé sense — was almost bound to try at least to make good the omission. So he went ahead with his study of Shelley. No complaint he made there, and seems not to have imagined that "The Defence of Poetry" might have left many problems undiscussed and unresolved. The truth is — as with Mr Eliot himself — that apostasy finally resulted not mainly on account of poetical considerations at all, but arose far more from the vexed question of beliefs. Kloos, with remarkable intuition, seemed already to point to the likely outcome of this serious division when he wrote: "De heer Verwey is een mengeling van twee temperamenten, hij is een Calvinist, door de schoonheidskoorts bezocht." 2 This explanation, of course, errs on the simple side, and is put forward with a measure of partiality not unnatural under the circumstances. But it does contain, I hold, a good modicum of truth. Dr Haantjes, however, sees the position rather otherwise, for, speaking of the change of mind and heart which carried Verwey out of "De Nieuwe-GidsBeweging" into his own "Beweging", he says: "One of these poets, however, Albert Verwey, understood at last that beauty
1 "The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism," p. 89.
2 "De Nieuwe Gids," 1890 I, p. 284.