The Rapeseed: Transitory Beauty

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 Rapeseed: Transitory Beauty

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man contemplates a field with blooming rapeseed. 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 1 Peter 1:24-25.

The Flower perishes,
But it is about the seed.

The Rapeseed cultivated on the land,
Shows itself as a Field of Gold:
But before it gets to be properly enjoyed,
It must suffer many blows;
So that it gives the Intended Target.
That is hidden in its depth:
O Man! Lose the Beauty before the eyes,
So shall thy worth increase,
When the Oil is beaten from thy Heart,
By God’s command;
So shalt thou, without fail, after this,
Become a joyful little light,
To enter with the Wise,
And not to stand with the Foolish,
Before the closed Doors of Heaven,
With regret, suffering, and Eternal sorrow.
The Flesh is like a beautiful Flower,
But in the Spirit resides the glory
Of God, who is the origin of all,
Who keep the Kernel, and let the Chaff fall.
The Beauty, which the Childish eye views,
And which comes first, is not the right kind,
But wiser and calmer senses,
View the true Beauty inside.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.