The Pea: Discard, for Something Better

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 Pea: Discard, for Something Better

Scripture Reference:

Description: A woman and two men are shelling peas in a gazebo; a box on the table and a fallen over basked on the ground are full of unshelled peas. In the garden more peas are being picked. 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 Luke 18:22.

Go ahead and discard,
For something more.

The white pea, thrown where it belongs,
Produces in one sowing eight hundred peas:
That is a power of rich increase,
Over which he who desires much laughs from joy,
He who especially loves the increase,
And gladly gains much from little output.
But if the pea, to greater pleasure,
Would bear that many Pearls,
Hidden in a designated soil;
What dost thou think, how many would one find,
Willing, and eager, to sow the fields,
And so to harvest a treasure that is beyond naming?
The lowest fruit, that benefits the Soul,
Out of the ruin of worldly desire and goods,
Has the value of a Pearl, if we believe God,
And far surpasses the Earth-Pea;
In number, as well as in noble nature,
Than of the Pea which had born those Pearls.
How then is many a person still found,
Whose mind remains so attached to Peas,
That he would rather keep them for his kitchen,
Than trust the word of wisdom,
Which has recommended that gain for sure,
And has pointed out such a Soil.

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

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