The Glass Peddler: With Trepidation

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 Glass Peddler: With Trepidation

Scripture Reference:

Description: A glass peddler walks carefully while bent under the heavy weight of a loaded wooden case, which he carries on his head and back. He holds a walking stick, with a disc on its top to support the load during periods of rest. In the left background a heavily loaded lorry is pulled by two horses. 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 Luke 9:23-25.

What’s delicate must be preserved,
By protecting what’s pure in Life.

Whoever carries glass, has a good reason
To tread forward quite carefully,
While also being attentive,
To prevent much damage,
To his load,
If he were to miss his foothold.
Why then does life spring,
With such priceless things,
As the Chrystal, of the Soul and Spirit,
And place those precious Wares,
In such peril and danger,
As if there is no fear of breakage?
Here caution was needed,
For all that’s of value is only worthless,
Compared to what is contained in the earthly vessel.
Here one should study one’s course,
Here one should watch out for stumbling,
Here is the very greatest Treasure:
Not, to carry easily on cart or wagon,
But to carry bent over on the back,
Through the high and low of this time,
To so, with fear and dread,
Travel the course safely,
Into the Blessed Eternity.

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

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