The Ash Shovel

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 Ash Shovel

Scripture Reference:

Description: The woman who is so careful with a shovel to remove the ashes from the hearth without dirtying her hands should be equally attentive to keeping her soul clean from the corruptions of life. Even Abraham saw himself as dust and ashes before God (Genesis 18:27). The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649–1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible 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: Also of the heart.

Not with the hand, but with a shovel,
One removes the Dirt of the hearth,
And takes care not to dirty one’s hands.
So politely, and well considered,
Does cleanliness pay attention to everything,
And is proper in its matters:
But observe well, and see, how,
How the Soul’s hand gropes,
In the daily handling of many things;
Which are dirty and defiled,
How easily it dirties itself,
And considers the filth so trivial.
Is that not amazing for an Eye,
That has exalted itself on high,
To deem the Heavenly above the Earthly;
That the Noble Man is so careless,
And passes the most worthy by,
In order to pursue the least worthy!
O Earthling who is only Ash,
After the fleshly part of mortality,
Cleanse thy heart of that dirt,
And don’t grub with it so grittily,
In the Ash-heap called the World,
Under which burning coals are hidden.

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

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