The Saw: Patience, Is a Noble Spice

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 Saw: Patience, Is a Noble Spice

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men watch as two workmen saw boards from a large beam. 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 Ephesians 6:18.

It will get done.

The Tooth, that bites ceaselessly,
In time divides the beam,
To give the construction what is required:
The diligence of the entire day,
And all the days that one sees,
Cuts the clumsy and dull life.
He, who keeps working, wins,
The steady hunter catches the game.
Doing something that seems of little force,
That ceaselessly gnaws and gnaws,
Is like a saw, that steadily saws,
And will gain victory.
But he who saw the quiet beginning,
That does not start with a push or stroke,
Might, in his considerations, fear;
How such insignificant work,
Through the heavy piece, so large and strong,
Would indeed end well!
Yet that happens, as one sees:
The work, done by virtue,
Causes little trouble on earth,
When he starts that great work,
With which one wins the Heavenly Kingdom,
Well worth a thousand worlds.
One doesn’t chop nor cut,
Nor make a big fuss,
One hears no thundering, nor cracking,
As if one will conquer the Town,
(A speck of dust compared to the great All)
To make oneself master of that.

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

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