KEATS AND SHELLEY AND "DE NIEUWE GIDS"
Common-sense, of course, points part of the way. I do not doubt that such a poetical gem as the second verse of the "Ode to a Nightingale" must at some time have caught the eye of Gorter (as quick to see as his own Balder was blind) but I am by no means prepared to say that its wealth of associations and suggestions are rendered at all adequately by these decidedly earthy lines:
"Zoo heb ik zien staan Een monnik bij een volle donkre ton Met glazen geraad, en weg nam hij de spon Dat 't vonken spoot in bekers of de wijn De zon nog in had van den geelen Rijn."
In this instance, it seems clear to me, our learned friend has
allowed his mind to be too easily intoxicated by the inviting
sight of such words as bekers and wijn, and could Keats, I
wonder, ever have brought himself to make reference to anything
so unpoetical as a bung-hole?
The fact that "Mei" was built up so extensively upon the pattern of "Endymion", and so little upon that of the infinitely greater "Hyperion", should in itself be sufficiënt to indicate to us the writer's line of demarcation between Keats and Shelley. In this way. Though Keats was his most obvious precursor in Romanticism, and though "Mei" itself, artistically, must be taken as marking the culminating-point reached by him as the fullfledged Nieuwe- Qidser, the study of the English poet necessarily involved in his own work of composition raised anew for him the whole conception of his professed art. So "Mei" itself, though it might be the embodiment of the visionary quality of his genius, with all the ethereal colouring, all the flow of musical cadence, it borrowed from Keats, could only be as yet an incomplete expression of the poet's nature. Is there not a definite hint of disillusionment, for example, in the discovery that beauty must needs be presented as an impalpable dream only, and not as the glorious vesture which familiar things wear to the imaginative