The Flounder: Catching Is Catching

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 Flounder: Catching Is Catching

Scripture Reference:

Description: On the quay of a harbor, a fisher and his wife examine a catch of flounder collected in a basket. Several fishing nets are lying near the water; a number of fishing boats can be seen in the harbor. 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 91:2-3.

Even if the Snare is not evil to the Eye,
It nevertheless brings thee death.

The Fisherman knows to pay attention to his enterprise,
And catches the Flounder in the string of his nets:
The Man from Hell, his soul’s nets are,
Not all rough, woven from coarse hemp,
To catch the clumsy and dumb life,
But they are also soft, deft, neat and delicate.
Thus many were caught in the respectable net,
On which the Fin of the sharp mind remains hanging,
Therefore each one should pay attention to his freedom,
So as not, as appetite that desires us all,
To fall into the cunning net of Satan’s weaving,
But that each one takes heed of the rough and the fine.
All that pulls him to bend away from God,
And from the path of the Teaching of God’s witnesses,
That is the way to stray, into sorrow.
Although the Flounder was ensnared in silk,
That does not help it from being carved and cut;
Neither does the net of Honor and Respect.
What God forsakes, falls into Satan’s bonds;
The Snare is Honor, but the outcome is a huge disgrace
That, the Eye of wise deliberation sees well,
And tries to tame its mind in the sea in which it must swim,
Such as it may through avoiding,
So that it does not fall into the Entangled-net of Hell.
How one sees many suffer sadly on the deathbed,
And like a fish, through the carving and cutting,
Of its Soul by the sharp steel of Judgment,
As the Heart, tormented about the evil,
Lies grilling on the Broiling-fire of remorse,
To the horror of all us human beings.

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

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