Antonides, John

, an eminent Dutch poet, surnamed Vander Goes, from the place in Zealand where he was born, April 3, 1647, of parents who were anabaptists, people of good character, but of low circumstances. They went to live at Amsterdam, when An ton ides was about four years old; and in the ninth year of his age he began his studies, under the direction of Hadrian Junius and James Cocceius. Antonides took great pleasure in reading the Latin poets, carefully comparing them with Grotius, Heinsius, &c. and acquired a considerable taste for poetry. He first attempted to translate some pieces of Ovid, Horace, and other ancients; and having formed his taste on these excellent models, he at length undertook one of the most difficult tasks in poetry, to write a tragedy, entitled, “Trazil,” or the “Invasion of China,” but was so modest as not to permit it to be published. Vondel, who was then engaged in a dramatic piece, taken also from some event that happened in China, read Antonides’s tragedy, and was so well pleased with it, that he declared, if the author would not print it, he would take some passages out of it, and make use of them in his own tragedy, which he did accordingly; and it was reckoned much to the honour of Antonides, to have written what might be adopted by so great a poet as Vondel was acknowledged to be. Upon the conclusion of the peace betwixt Great Britain and Holland, in the year 1697, Antonides wrote a piece, entitled “Bellona aan band,” i. e. Bellona chained; a very elegant poem, consisting of several hundred verses. The applause with which this piece was received, excited him to try his genius in something more considerable; he accordingly wrote an epic poem, which he entitled The River | Y. ‘the description of this river, or rather lake, is the subject of the poem, which is divided into four books; in the first the poet gives a very pompous description of all that is remarkable on that bank of the Y on which Amsterdam is built. In the second he opens to himself a larger field, beginning with the praises of navigation, and describing the large fleets which cover the Y as an immense forest, and thence go to every part of the world, to bring home whatever may satisfy the necessity, luxury, or pride of men. The third book is au ingenious fiction, which supposes the poet suddenly carried to the bottom of the river Y, where he sees the deity of the river, with his demigods and nymphs, adorning and dressing themselves for a feast, which was to be celebrated at Neptune’s court, upon the anniversary of the marriage of Thetis with Peleus. In the fourth book he describes the other bank of the Y, adorned with several cities of North Holland; and in the close of the work addresses himself to the magistrates of Amsterdam, to whose wisdom he ascribes the riches and flourishing condition of that powerful city. This is a very short abridgment of the account of this poem given in the General Dictionary, according to which it appears to have contained many other fictions that savour of the burlesque. Antonides’s parents had bred him up an apothecary; but his genius for poetry soon gained him the esteem and friendship of several persons of distinction; and particularly of Mr. Buisero, one of the lords of the admiralty at Amsterdam, and a great lover of poetry, who sent him at iiis own expence to pursue his studies at Leyden, where he remained till he took his degree of doctor of physic, and then his patron gave him a place in the admiralty. In 1678 Antonides married Susanna Bermans, a minister’s daughter, who had also a talent for poetry. In the preface to his heroic poem, he promised the life of the apostle Paul, which, like Virgil’s Æneid, was to be divided into twelve books; but he never finished that design, only a few fragments having appeared. He declared himself afraid to hazard his reputation with the public on theological subjects, which were so commonly the subject of contest. After marriage he did not much indulge his poetic genius; and within a few years fell into a consumption, of which he died on the 18th of Sept. 1684, He is esteemed the most eminent Dutch poet after Vondel, whom he studied to imitate, and is thought to have excelled in sweetness of | expression and smoothness of style, but in accuracy and loftiness he is greatly inferior to his original. His works have been printed several times, having been collected by his father Anthony Jansz. The last edition is that of Amsterdam, 1714, 4to, which, however, contains several miscellaneous pieces that add but little to the reputation he acquired. The editor, David Van Hoogstraten, prefixed his life to this edition. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri.