De Parnas: 'dichtwekkend steil voor Neerlands besten' Poëtikale opfettingen yn it iere wurk fan Cynthia Lenige


  • J. van der Kloet


The eighteenth-century poetess Cynthia Lenige (1755-1780) has won a
certain fame through a posthumously published collection of poems, entitled
Mengeldichten (‘Miscellaneous poems’). In addition to this a manuscript
containing poems of this poetess, ninety-three in total, almost exclusively in
Dutch, has come down to us. According to the title of this manuscript
Cynthia Lenige wrote these poems between the 14th and 17th year of her
life. Investigation of poetological conceptions in these early poems shows
that the youthful poetess explicitly participated in the contemporary debate
on the use of mythological imagery and the application of linguistic and
poetical rules. Both implicit suggestions and explicit statements in her
poems make clear that she follows the great seventeenth-century poet Joost
van den Vondel in opting for an idealistic kind of poetry: elevated language,
mythological imagery and not too strict an application of rules. Although
Lenige’s father, the Frisian poet Dirk Lenige, and the other members of the
poetical society ‘Konst voedt ‘s menschen geluk’ in her home-town of
Makkum had a practical and conceptual influence on her life as a poet, she
herself took up this stimulating environment to give shape to her works.
However, due to her premature death at the age of nearly twenty-five years
only, Cynthia Lenige never fulfilled the high hopes that contemporary poets
had had of her.