Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Waddington, ed. > The Sonnets of Europe
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Samuel Waddington, comp.  The Sonnets of Europe.  1888.
 
To Hugo Grotius
By Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581–1647)
 
Translated by Edmund Gosse

GREAT 1 soul, that with the keenness of clear sight
  Just measure takest of approaching things,
  Yet by the wisdom that high memory brings
Dost hold full judgment of all past years’ flight,
What God or man in counsel or of right        5
  May speak, thou can’st expound; from thee light springs;
  Thou art the eye of Holland; when storm rings
In starless weather, thou dost lift thy light.
Sun of our sphere, how shall I liken you?
Art thou a blast that God from heaven out-blew,        10
  Come to our hearts, to find them well prepared?
Or, from the roofs of paradise, a spirit,
Dowered with all skill that sons of light inherit,
  Whose wit and power our earth with heaven have shared?

    Sept. 3, 1616.
 
Note 1. Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581–1647), the celebrated Dutch poet and historian, whose Castle of Muidea was for nearly forty years the centre of literary and artistic activity in Holland, was the earliest Dutch sonnet-writer. He first imitated Petrarch, and introduced Italian poetry to the attention of his countrymen, after his famous journey to the south of Europe in 1599. Vondel, the greatest of Dutch poets, wrote a few sonnets, but they are harsh and tuneless compositions. The sonnet has been almost, if not entirely, unattempted in recent Dutch literature. [back]
 
 
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