The Coach: Dearly Paid For

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: Dearly Paid For

Scripture Reference:

Description: An elegant, harnessed with two horses, is seen from the back. Two boys sit on the back, who enticed by this easy means of transportation let themselves be carried far from their own destination. 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 Jeremiah 4:22 .

Although thou hast pleasure for free,
Thou dost pay for it with grief.

The young lad, in childish pleasure,
Jumps on the back, and lets himself be easily carried,
Far away, where he doesn’t need to be,
And then turns back on tired feet.
So one also sees the whole world jump,
On the rolling sweetness of many wrong things,
Pulled by easy pleasure,
For wisdom a ridiculous thing.
But he who so follows his childish desire,
Knows that he far away, must turn around with grief,
Tired and weary, oppressed from the struggle and the cross,
Before he arrives at the fatherly house.
Therefore it would be best, to let slide in time,
The wheels that drive away with joy,
Along the sweet delight of the world’s broad course,
Than to return so with regret and pain;
If he would not be cut off from all of that,
As his desire had driven so far away,
Where the Coach finally fell over,
Through which he broke the legs of his soul.
It is then best to cease those childish things,
Through true understanding and knowledge.

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

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