The Heron: Attention finds

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 Heron: Attention finds

Scripture Reference:

Description: A heron stands in the water next to a group rushes waiting for a catch. A couple on the shore watches him; in the distance a church. 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 Psalm 62:1, 5 [Psalm 62:2, 6].

With stillness of the senses,
Can the secret good be won.

The blue Heron stands in the pond,
And patiently lies in wait,
For what moves at his leg,
So as to carry that to his nest.
O Man! Do so pay attention to thy Heart,
What moves thereon of goodness,
So that it becomes food for thee,
To feed the pious life.
Since why would thou be worse,
Than the dumb beast in matters of quickness,
So as to make that which is not visible,
Nevertheless useful to thee.
But what concerns the temporal part,
About that, one need not tell thee,
There thy catches are quick and many,
To hoard all for profit.
Yet in that respect thou art like the beast,
And dost not reach a higher rank,
And only dost pull eels from the mud,
To fill the bag of maggots.
But, what another does temporarily,
To support the mortal life,
That the Wise one does for the Heart,
To build for the Eternal life.

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

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