The Tower: To Watch over Everything

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 Tower: To Watch over Everything

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man points out to his companion a high church tower in a distant village. 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 Luke 21:36.

Look with a watchful Eye,
From the compassionate High.

The Tower rises far above the Roofs,
So that the Guard would watch over the Town;
That fitted well into the human heart,
That large Town, of much business,
Where so much evil and mischief are to be avoided,
So that the Heart would be carefully protected.
A Tower of an awake, watchful life,
Raised far above all the senses,
Occupied with regard for Carefulness,
Through which the Eye could overlook everything,
Each one Should build into his Heart,
Like the Man who pays attention to his well-being.
But yet, alas! although one does not find any Town,
Where deliberation of that need was not done,
Since the Tower shows itself everywhere:
But one finds thousands of precious Souls,
That of old did not keep watch in the Heart,
Where the sleep of carelessness dwells.
How the Eye would be surprised when looking,
If no High Towers rose above a Town;
How God’s eye must then indeed see something wrong,
With the great human race on the earth,
Where each one values a town,
Yet is, in general, without a guard on the heart.

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

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