The Stork: From Here, to Better

Book Title: De Bykorf des Gemoeds : Honing zaamelende uit allerley Bloemen / Vervattende over de Honderd konstige Figuuren ; Met Godlyke Spreuken En Stichtelyke Verzen, Door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Stork: From Here, to Better

Scripture Reference:

Description: In the foreground of a polder landscape, a stork stands next to a ditch. A man, on the other side of the ditch, points to several migratory birds flying southwards. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem, as well as for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant Scripture text is Psalm 55:6-7.

Is it here not fit for our condition,
There is yet another country.

Nay, cold Winter, sharp wind,
We can not escape you,
But the Stork takes flight,
Since the spacious sky is open for it.
There it sweeps through on its wings,
Who knows to which foreign lands!
Neither mountain, nor valley hinders its trail,
Neither wood, nor water restrains it.
O! He who would also have such wings,
And be admitted into the sky,
And find an unobstructed path,
To get to a better land!
For each, who feels like that,
Escape is open, through faith,
For him wings are prepared,
Which lift him up as wished,
So that he finds no obstacle,
From water, mountains, woods, valleys,
From things which the heart loves,
As long as he wanders on earth.
One should accept then those wings,
Consisting of all virtues,
With which one can beautifully fly to,
A blessed land of all joys:
And so, with the Stork one escapes,
Not only a temporary suffering,
But the threat of an Eternal evil,
To be avoided far above all evil.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

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