The Mole Trap: Danger, on Top of Danger

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 Mole Trap: Danger, on Top of Danger

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man points to a mole trap, consisting of a large block of wood with sharp downward pointing spikes that is suspended and can be released to quickly kill a mole in his burrow. Heaps of dirt dug out by the mole lie around the trap. In the middle distance, a man on a horse and a man with a cane travel in the direction of a church in the background. 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 1 Timothy 6:10.

If thou dost not look up from thy hole,
Thou art like a blind Mole.

He digs for his food from beneath,
While the sharp death hangs from above,
To pierce him so fast,
In the very best of his Hunt,
Suddenly and unexpected,
That he in his prime must die.
O Human-mole as thou art,
Who digs in the earth of the present time,
Of various unworthy things,
What doesn’t also hang above thy head,
While thou dost toil in the dark,
To finally hit thee so fiercely!
How the field of the wide world,
Is ruined by such Moles,
How one sees many heaps!
From the dark earth of worldly goods,
Dug upwards out of the soil,
Out of their tunnels in which they crawl!
But if they saw the enormous harm,
That is ordained for them,
How frightened they would be,
And stop digging,
Before the sharp spikes fell,
To kill them in the dark burrow.
Yet it hits the one unexpected,
And is by the other not heeded;
That is caused by those very blind senses,
Each one digs diligently on,
Though he sees and hears about the harm,
Hurried to fulfill his desire:
O Man! come out of thy dark hole,
And be no longer like a Mole.

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

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