The Moth: It Carries Its Mark

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 Moth: It Carries Its Mark

Scripture Reference:

Description: In a room of a house, two women inspect a sheet in front of an open linen closet for signs of a moth. A third woman holds a sheet in front of the window to view the numerous moth holes. An open door shows a city view. 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 Job 27:18-19.

The mark of the house shows,
The kind of Man who lives within.

As the Earth is where he lives,
So is the color that he shows:
Those who are seated in the world,
And always eat from the world,
Show also the World’s color,
That pierces through on all sides.
And again; Those who with their mind,
Love true Virtue,
Show also clearly,
On which meadow they feed;
Still, it is a Color of dislike,
For those who do not see clearly:
But in the all-seeing eye,
These colors are Heaven’s high.
Yet the other Colors of the earth,
Are of great value in the world,
But by Wisdom wholly despised,
As the dismal black night,
By the clear light of morning’s Dawn.
He who then wishes to please God’s eyes,
Should see to it that he eats from God’s meadow,
And clothes himself in true Virtue.

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

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