University of Virginia Library



One of the greater Dutchman dirges the departed three-deckers of De Ruyter and Van Trump. To divert from which monody, a Lesser Master verbally hits off a kitchen-dresser, and in such sort as to evoke commendation from one [of] the Grand Masters, who nevertheless proposes a certain transmuting enhancement in the spirit of the latter's own florid and allegoric style.

Here Van der Velde, who dreamy heard
Familiar Brouwer's unanswered word,
Started from thoughts leagues off at sea:
“Believe in smoke? Why, ay, such smoke
As the swart old Dunderberg erst did fold—
When, like the cloud-voice from the mountain rolled,
Van Tromp through the bolts of her broadside spoke—
Bolts heard by me!” And lapsed in thought
Of yet other frays himself had seen
When, fired by adventurous love of Art,
With De Ruyter he'd cruised, yea, a tar had been.
Reminiscent he sat. Some lion-heart old,
Austerely aside, on latter days cast,
So muses on glories engulfed in the Past,
And laurelled ones stranded or overrolled
By eventful Time.—He awoke anon,
Or, rather, his dream took audible tone.—


Then filling his cup:
“On Zealand's strand
I saw morn's rays slant 'twixt the bones
Of the oaken Dunderberg broken up;
Saw her ribbed shadow on the sand.
Ay—picturesque! But naught atones
For heroic navies, Pan's own ribs and knees,
But a story now that storied made the seas!”
There the gray master-hand marine
Fell back with desolated mien
Leaving the rest in fluttered mood
Disturbed by such an interlude
Scarce genial in over earnest tone,
Nor quite harmonious with their own.
To meet and turn the tide-wave there,
“For me, friends,” Gerard Douw here said,
Twirling a glass with sprightly air,
“I too revere forefather Eld,
Just feeling's mine too for old oak,
One here am I with Van der Velde;
But take thereto in grade that's lesser:
I like old oak in kitchen-dresser,
The same set out with Delf ware olden
And well scoured copper sauce-pans—golden
In aureate rays that on the hearth
Flit like fairies or frisk in mirth.
Oak buffet too; and, flung thereon,
As just from evening-market won,


Pigeons and prawns, bunched carrots bright,
Gilled fish, clean radish red and white,
And greens and cauliflowers, and things
The good wife's good provider brings;
All these too touched with fire-side light.
On settle there, a Phillis pleasant
Plucking a delicate fat pheasant.
Agree, the picture's picturesque.”
“Ay, hollow beats all Arabesque!
But Phillis? Make her Venus, man,
Peachy and plump; and for the pheasant,
No fowl but will prove acquiescent
Promoted into Venus' swan;
Then in suffused warm rosy weather
Sublime them in sun-cloud together.
The Knight, Sir Peter Paul, 'twas he,
Hatted in rich felt, spick and span,
Right comely in equipment free
With court-air of Lord Chamberlain:
“So! 'twere a canvas meet for donor.
What say you, Paola of Verona?”—
Appealing here.
“Namesake, 'tis good!”
Laughed the frank master, gorgeous fellow,
Whose raiment matched his artist-mood:
Gold chain over russet velvet mellow—
A chain of honor; silver-gilt,
Gleamed at his side a jewelled hilt.
In feather high, in fortune free,
Like to a Golden Pheasant, he.


“By Paul, 'tis good, Sir Peter! Yet
Our Hollander here his picture set
In flushful light much like your own,
Tho' but from kitchen-ingle thrown.—
But come to Venice, Gerard,—do,”
Round turning genial on him there,
“Her sunsets,—there's hearth-light for you;
And matter for you on the Square.
To Venice, Gerard!”
“O, we Dutch,
Signor, know Venice, like her much.
Our unction thence we got, some say,
Tho' scarce our subjects, nor your touch.”—
“To Saint Mark's again, Mynheer, and stay!
We're Cyprus wine.—But, Monsieur,” turning
To Watteau nigh; “You vow in France,
This Pittoresque our friends advance,
How seems it to your ripe discerning?
If by a sketch it best were shown,
A hand I'll try, yes, venture one:—
A chamber on the Grand Canal
In season, say, of Carnival.
A revel reigns; and, look, the host
Handsome as Cæsar Borgia sits—”
“Then Borgia be it, bless your wits!”
Snapped Spagnoletto, late engrossed
In splenetic mood, now riling up;
I'll lend you hits. And let His Grace
Be launching, ay, the loving-cup


Among the princes in the hall
At Sinigaglia: You recall?
I mean those gudgeons whom his smile
Flattered to sup, ere yet awhile,
In Hades with Domitian's lords.
Let sunny frankness charm his air,
His raiment lace with silver cords,
Trick forth the ‘Christian statesman’ there.
And, mind ye, don't forget the pall;
Suggest it—how politeness ended:
Let lurk in shade of rearward wall
Three bravoes by the arras splendid.”