The Coach: Be Careful

Book Title: De bykorf des gemoeds : honing zaamelende uit allerly bloemen / vervattende over de honderd konstige figuuren ; met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen, door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Coach: Be Careful

Scripture Reference:

Description: A coach harnessed with two horses and carrying three passengers is driven fast by its driver who urges the horses on with a whip. A couple on the side of the road discusses this scene. 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 1 Corinthians 4:16-17.

It does move easily, with pleasure,
But sooner than one thinks, Harm has hit.

Through the turning wheel of day and night,
We are on life’s coach,
While sitting brought away,
And carried to the Eternity.
Yet with the power of the pulling animal,
In front of these wagon wheels,
A wise driver is also needed,
So that the load doesn’t fall over.
The Driver must not a drunkard be,
Overcome by absent-mindedness,
Through gulping the world’s wine,
Which many, however, dearly love.
As thus, dim by difficult tasks,
And outside the track made by wisdom,
Many Wagons do tip over,
Which have ended up on bumpy ground.
But he who, through the eye of Carefulness,
Wishes to arrive safely,
Makes sure that he rides with his Wagon,
On the road of all the truly Pious:
The golden course of faithful virtue,
That laid through the Earth,
Ends in Heavenly joy,
Thus is life’s wish attained.

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

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