The Parrot: Leaves, Without Fruits

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 Parrot: Leaves, Without Fruits

Scripture Reference:

Description: Next to a large tree in full leaf, two women and a dog listen to a parrot talk. The parrot’s cage hangs on the outside of the house. Several chickens pick in the dirt in the middle background; a family walks along a canal and a church can be seen in the far 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 Matthew 7:21.

Satisfy thine ears not with talk,
But see with eyes how things are.

Though the Bird can learn to talk,
And places itself in the rank of speakers,
Nevertheless, one sees very well from its feathers,
That it is no Human being.
Though one carries on about Christ with the mouth,
And praises his worthiness,
One clearly sees from the feather of sin,
That no Christ lies there under.
Though the wild tree also bears leaves,
Like the beautiful Apple tree,
It cannot satisfy hunger,
The Fruits are proof of virtues.
Everything one then hears as clever talk,
Like the talking of the Birds,
Is not worth very much:
It does not proceed from wisdom.
But he who wants to be wise in truth,
And carry that very worthy security,
Must sincerely fear the Lord,
For that is wisdom and understanding.
A human voice would deceive the Ear,
If the Eye does not see the mouth,
But clear evidence cannot lie,
Light dispels darkness.

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

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