The Carelessness

Book Title: De onwaardige wereld : vertoond in vyftig zinnebeelden, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Carelessness

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two women stand near a drowned calf [the Soul] while two men are in the process of filling the pit with soil. A stork flies away from her nest on the roof of the farmhouse in the left 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 and for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant scripture text is 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3.

Pray, let’s fill up the open Pit,
Before the Calf has drowned,
Satiated from the worldly feasting,
And careless darkness.
That very best Calf of all,
That in the human flesh and blood,
The Peak of all rich stables,
Has been raised with pure milk.
That fat Calf of the good conscience,
The Soul, it immortal eternal part,
That is so miserably forgotten,
Threatened by the abyss’s open gorge.
On which’ dangerous sides,
The careless wandering judgment,
At ease in its desire goes grazing,
And puts care aside.
How quickly has it sunk,
From the support on which one firmly goes!
How many, alas, already drowned,
Who serve us like a Mirror!
In the hope that we one time renounce our negligence,
From such an occurrence,
And turn ourselves to filling this [pit] up,
Before it causes the Calf to drown!

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

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