The Gout Sufferer: Who Doesn’t Abstain, Must Suffer

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 Gout Sufferer: Who Doesn’t Abstain, Must Suffer

Scripture Reference:

Description: In a Dutch interior, a gout sufferer sits with both legs bandaged in a wheel-chair next to a hot burning fire. A servant offers him a plate full of delicacies, while a woman in the room expresses surprise about 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 Isaiah 56:12.

O Sweet! With such sharp sourness,
Do pass it by; thou art too costly.

Mouths that swallow a lot of wine,
Must, after the delicious taste,
Experience the bitter after-taste,
As this stick hits mightily.
Though others, who watch their suffering,
Are not moved by that,
To give up the fondness for drinking,
Which soils Body and Soul.
But he who regards it with wise consideration,
Although he is not exactly a slave to wine,
Nevertheless holds his wineglass up to be filled,
With things that are only worldly:
He should really turn to his heart,
And think about the Eternal evil,
That according to the firm word of the Lord,
Follows the Worldly desire.
But if it were wise; to avoid,
Swilling the juice of the grape,
Because of the excessively bitter suffering,
Which afterwards grips the drinker:
It will be much wiser,
To be weaned from desire in this time.
To avoid the Eternal suffering that, following this,
Has been prepared for the heedless one.

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

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