The Jug

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 Jug

Scripture Reference:

Description: A workman at his bench is careful to set down the jug so that it does not topple over, but people can be so careless in matters of the soul and conscience (Isaiah 1:3). 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: One lives where one loves.

Who would let go of the Wine-Jug,
And place it, thoughtlessly,
Instead of upright, on its side?
This is a sign to indicate:
How clever man is,
So quick, in the least important things,
Using his wits with everything,
So that the Wheel would turn as it should.
But in the matter of the highest Good,
The things of most importance,
The value of a good soul,
There he goes in a totally different way.
There he puts it, just as it goes from his hand;
There he throws down, there he lets roll,
There he pushes over and shoves to the side,
There he lets sling and toss.
And if thoughtfulness,
Accustomed to steer him into the right track
Places the crooked track before his eyes,
So must his mind acknowledge that as well.
So that one hears the half-hearted feeble word,
Born from water, without fire,
In brief persuasion;
It doesn’t exactly happen like that;
One doesn’t always think about it like that.
O Shame! that the noble senses,
So distracted, distorted and bent,
Love the lowest above the highest.
If thou wert uprightly moved,
To surmount the highest Well-being,
Forgetting would pass from thee,
And thoughtfulness would flow.

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

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