The Clouds: They Promise Pleasure or Sorrow

Book Title: Beschouwing der wereld : bestaande in hondert konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken.

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Clouds: They Promise Pleasure or Sorrow

Scripture Reference:

Description: A woman standing in the left foreground points to the clouds while a man sitting next to her listens to her. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and composed the poem that accompanies it. The etching was executed by Jan Luiken or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708), who had used this image in an earlier work, which may be found in the Digital Image Archive under the call number 1699Weig. The attendant scripture text is Revelation 1:7.

It existed; and is expelled;
So it goes with the transitory life.

The Cloud composed of Vapor,
Undergoes many changes when viewed,
While it moves along the blue field,
Sometimes adorned, by the Evening light;
Sometimes very sad, heavy, and dismal,
Promising a flood of rain,
That would be harmful to this one or that one,
And elsewhere to someone a blessing:
But someday we expect a sky,
Which thousands fear with terror,
And many desire with longing,
For that one will wound and heal.
When the holy Majesty,
At the arrival of the Son of Man,
Will with great force and glory,
Show himself in the clouds.
Then hangs the raised head,
And the head that hung is raised,
Then is the Time, promised for so long,
To be punished and rewarded for human life.
O Jesus! It is now long ago,
That thou hast taken away a cloud:
Oh! if thy return would appear!
So is the desire of the pious,
Although thy dwelling according to the Spirit
Has never been on earth.

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

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