The Snow: Occurs Only When It Is Cold

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 Snow: Occurs Only When It Is Cold

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man and a woman dressed in heavy hooded cloaks walk in a snow storm. Across a canal are several houses and a large pile of snow. 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 scriptures are Job 37:6 and Psalm 147:16.

What is the Jewel,
That perishes again.

When the Snow coats the earth,
And covers it with whiteness,
Then the Dunghill looks beautiful:
Where is Linen, so white,
That the beauty is not removed,
And does not change its appearance?
But when the Sun melts that cloth,
One sees the true state;
When it looks ugly,
On this and that corner,
Then there appears an effort,
To remove the dirt.
O Dunghill of the dirty heart,
So beautifully covered with worldly goods,
How base is your shame as discovered,
When God’s Wrathful fire shines so,
That your cover disappears,
As if lifted off by hands!
Instead of such a white appearance,
It would be better to be black earth,
That bore Gold and Silver within:
That is Virtue; whether or not anyone knows it;
As no one will be shamefully undressed,
And Virtue shall win this Honor through nakedness.

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

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