The Cradle

Book Title: Het leerzaam huisraad : vertoond in vyftig konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Cradle

Scripture Reference:

Description: While a youth watches from outside, a mother rocks her baby to sleep in a cradle. The poem raises the question, though, of whether people are content to move through life as children, as lost in a dream and ignoring the important things of life. If so, there will be a rude awakening and the realization that no time remains to make amends. Therefore, the Apostle Paul summons Christians to be alert and exercise self control (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6). 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 wrote the accompanying poem.

Motto: Deception hides there.

As the child’s mind,
So that Sleep overcomes it,
Is, through a steady to and fro,
Drawn to calmness,
As it comes to rest,
And restlessness is turned around:
Likewise someone rocks steadily,
To deceive the old child
Through a constant pastime;
So that the mind does not awaken
For the greatest and heaviest tasks,
But acts as if they are unimportant.
Thus all his time escapes him,
With dreaming and slumbering!,
And he remains the ignorant child;
Who thoughtless and ill-advised,
Doesn’t get around to manly deeds,
Until life’s End finds him.
Then he is frightened on the soft bed,
And wishes to save himself from the Cradle,
And do the work of Old Age;
But, since his Hourglass has run out,
He must pay with his life,
Therefore one must realize this in time.

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

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