Mount Etna: Something Hides There

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: Mount Etna: Something Hides There

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two hikers contemplate the heavily smoking volcano in the background. 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 Matthew 25:41.

What shows itself for the eyes,
Testifies of what lives hidden.

The sparks that ascend out of Etna,
And glimmer in the dark vapors,
Testify to the hidden fire,
In that ancient Sulfur-store:
The miseries that threaten life,
And fly over the entire world,
Are children of the great Womb.
As if the spark was carried out of Etna.
Therefore, caution should heed,
What is hidden, concealed from the eye,
In the deep hole of Eternity,
Which gives sparks in this Time!
Who would be so courageous,
As to look boldly into Etna’s mouth?
Since if only a little piece broke off,
He would descend into a fiery grave.
Who then dares to place himself perilously,
On the brink of the throat of hell,
Where grief does not last a short while,
But is without end and always!
Nevertheless, one sees so a great many,
Play merrily near that eruption.
O Man! thou who dost see the sparks,
Think about their origin, and flee.

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

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