About this book
The title of this book, taken from Thomas Goffe's unwieldy com plimentary poem to Constantijn Huygens, expresses some part of my own debt to him. Seven years ago, in search of a key to Anglo Dutch relations in the late Renaissance, I was rewarded by this gigantic Huygens, because of his close Connections with English life and his deep involvement with the life of bis own country apparently the perfect guide to the difficult and often tedious territory of Anglo-Dutch cultural relations. To the student attacking a new subject, wealth of documen tation means much: Huygens left behind him eight volumes of poetry, six volumes of letters, together with many published books, pamphlets and notes, rich in the material of his English 1 journeys. However illuminating at the start of an investigation, this wealth soon proved itself an embarrassment. After a little I was plunged into a cloud of unknowing, feverishly striking out in too many directions, following too many leads, amassing too many notes on too many subjects. For Huygens was almost too good an exemplar of his time: his interests were too wide to comprehend, his manifold function too difficult to grasp. No Rum pelstiltskin came at night to help, no friendly ants to clear away the mountains of grain.